Artists at a glance
JOE BONE & THE DARK VIBES
THE KING’S PARADE
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s STEVE HARRIS this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
CHILI & THE WHALEKILLERS – Ad Morgni Næsta Dags
Cards on the table: my Icelandic is a *bit* rusty and as much as I’d love to let the music do the talking, I have a review to write. The magical internet tells me Ad Morgni Næsta Dags means “The Next Morning”. However, Chili & The Whalekillers have their lyrics on their website, and those describe the type of morning where two people’s clothes from the night before are now strewn across the bedroom, while the music tells us this is a good morning too, no regrets!
Chili & The Whalekillers are an Austro-Icelandic band from Salzburg and Ad Morgni Næsta Dags is taken from their third album, A Dot in the Sky, available now from their website. They’ll be appearing at the Iceland Airwaves festival in November, with tour dates in Germany, England and Austria to be announced soon. No whales were harmed in the writing of this review.
EDUARDS OZOLINS – Interlude
Interlude is a captivating piano and violin piece that somehow conjures the rural Latvia of pianist Eduards Ozolins’s ancestry. I mention this because his self-penned bio doesn’t so much talk about himself as his lineage, from great-great grandparents down to his mother, on whose piano he first learned to play. It’s easy to be a little sceptical when people trade on their family history in that way, but one listen confirms that same talent must run through his veins.
This version of Interlude is taken from a live performance for Radio NABA with violinist Paula Sumane, while the original, piano-only version is on the album Eclectic, which is available through Bandcamp. Another track, Vivant, was reviewed way back in Fresh Faves 61.
EMMA HUGHES – Baby
There’s a purity in Emma Hughes’s voice and guitar playing that seems absent from the character Baby that this song is about, a girl who’s “got a lot of poison in her blood” and “won’t be wasting no time” amongst other things. According to her bio, Emma Hughes is an 18 year old from Bucks, now studying in London, who draws inspiration from a range of artists from Taylor Swift to The Black Keys and Lady Gaga to The Eagles. That said, someone in the SoundCloud comments for this track compares her to Joni Mitchell, which is a lot to put on anyone, but certainly fits better here than some of those other artists. It’s a talent for storytelling with just guitar and voice that, I suspect, explains how Emma got voted into our Faves this week.
FAT SPATULA – Chatterbox
Fat Spatula! There’s a name. While it doesn’t tell you exactly what’s coming, you’re prepared for a large dollop of something, and Chatterbox delivers. Describing their sound as “Transatlantic guitar racket / fat beats and greasy riffs”, Fat Spatula are a four-piece from York and Chatterbox blends 90s slacker rock with the aforementioned riffs and frantic, antsy lyrics from a sleep-deprived mind. Reassuringly, their Facebook profile states “Influences” as “We’re always under the influence of something or another.”
I know it’s not always wise to make comparisons, but I suspect it won’t hurt to mention names like Pixies or Parquet Courts, with some Pavement thrown in — and that’s just things that begin with the letter P. Another word beginning with P is “pastiche”, but this is NOT that, there’s far more going on here and some kind of magic in the way it’s all pulled together.
This is not Fat Spatula’s first time on Fresh On The Net; Mr Snitch appeared in Fresh Faves 132 earlier in the year, channelling similar energy, but with some dirty little groove going on too. Their eponymous debut EP is out now via Bandcamp on Snowfall Records.
JOE BONE & THE DARK VIBES – The Exorcist
Speaking of names that send out a message, here’s Joe Bone & The Dark Vibes with The Very Rev D Wayne Love and a track called The Exorcist. Can you judge this, er, book by its cover? Well, it certainly won’t make your head spin when you hear the Hammond-like organ, slightly deranged sax, American accents and so on. There is a twist at the end, where it sounds like our exorcist isn’t quite as godly as one might hope, but really this does what you expect. And did that disappoint? No, because The Exorcist was our listeners’ favourite track this week (unless there’s something else at work!).
Joe Bone & The Dark Vibes are from Glasgow and will release their EP with The Very Reverend D Wayne Love, entitled Four Shades Of Dark, on Grass Roots Records soon. The band have previously appeared on Tom’s BBC Introducing Mixtape in June 2013 and November 2014.
NONNY DENNY – Turning Season
I promise not to keep banging on about names, but if you happen to be called Nonny Denny and have a song called “Turning Season”, I think a ukulele is pretty much a given, and sure enough this is a simple folk song that tells the story of four seasons.
Sadly I can’t tell you much about Nonny Denny herself, but this track is taken from her album, Flights Of Fancy, which is released through Middle Sea Music and available on Bandcamp. I must say, for all of Turning Season’s earthly simplicity, there are stronger, richer tracks on the album that I think showcase her talent far better, with the title track in particular a standout for me. Check it out.
OLA SZMIDT – Sensitive
Regular Fresh On The Net readers will probably know that Ola Szmidt is one of our moderators, many of whom are musicians plucked from these very pages for obvious reasons. Ola appeared on Tom’s Mixtape many times before becoming a moderator, and he says “Ola is the real deal – one of those rare artists whose voice speaks heart to heart at a level deeper than words.”
Sensitive exemplifies this, her ethereal vocals float across a plaintive guitar, gradually building before dropping down to a cappella, then allowing the guitar back in and those vocal layers to dance on top, almost as light as air. And it is the vocals that stand out here. By the end, it sounds as though something has healed, and in Ola’s words, she feels complete.
THE KING’S PARADE – Silhouette
The King’s Parade is Olly Corpe, Sam Rooney, Tom English, and Chris Brent, who formed after a stint as a house band on a Hawaiian cruise liner made them enough money to move to London and start playing the UK live circuit. You can definitely hear that in their bluesy sound, just as you can tell this band will be tight live. All that gigging seems to be working out for them too as they’re now playing sold out shows in London and Germany, and have also performed at The Great Escape and Bestival. Silhouette is part of the Vagabond EP, which is out next week.
WAKE AMERICA – Silly Boy
I love Silly Boy, it starts out gently enough until some power drums kick in and everything’s turned up a notch. The lyrics are self-flagellating, “I’ve become a shadow of myself… silly boy” and that looped guitar is as catchy as a chipped fingernail on knitwear (sorry).
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you much about Wake America, apart from “a producer from Derry, N.Ireland”. I suppose I could tell you their track was submitted by Amelia Records, whose sole artist on their website is Fresh On The Net fave Best Boy Grip, also from Derry, but Wake America is not listed there or anywhere else, and Silly Boy is stylistically very different.
ZURICH – Small Wars
Oxford trio Zurich is another band we’ve seen before on Fresh On The Net, having appeared in Fresh Faves 157 and Tom’s BBC Introducing Mixtape in June, along with support from BBC Introducing in Oxford. Quite unexpectedly, Small Wars features Fairport Convention’s Chris Leslie on violin, a solo that electrifies the track when it kicks in. Zurich make an impressive sound anyway, it’s the kind of thing that could easily fill some decent-sized venues, and while the elements are familiar, the vocals mean business and the melody and structure oozes a compelling originality that I think will take them a long way.
Small Wars is the title track of their EP, available for pre-order on iTunes and Bandcamp for release on September 21, with gigs up and down the country over the next month.
PS from TR: If you’ve submitted a track that hasn’t made the Listening Post you’re welcome to re-submit it another week. If your music has appeared on the Listening Post but not in our Fresh Faves, feel free to send us an even stronger track another week.
But if we’ve recently featured you in our Fresh Faves – or on my BBC Introducing Mixtape – please wait three months before sending us another track, so we have space to help other deserving artists… For more info see Robinson Has A Good Old Moan.