Artists at a glance
THE BROKEN ORCHESTRA
THE HONEY ANTS
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s Raphael Doyle this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
AARON KING – Old Excuses
There’s a hypnotic melancholy to Old Excuses. A strange recording to present — it seems in many ways a rough draft early demo of something unfinished. Yet the simplistic piano playing sneaks in a delicacy and musical sophistication that somehow evokes Paul Simon’s Night Game.
Aaron King is hard to track down: a very young album / EP from 2009. No information or photos. His Facebook page declares “Aaron King Does Not Have Any Concerts”, though lurkers around Camden might differ.
Self-consciously arty; another one eyeing the gap left by Elliott Smith. But this track suggests that if Aaron King takes such an intriguing toying with ingredients to the point of producing a meal, it could be a feast.
INDRI – Je Ne Sais Quoi
Indri variously describe themselves as Indie Art Rock and Indie Folk. There is an assertiveness about the philosophy they set to music that suggests a lingering allegiance to a better way, while Je Ne Sais Quoi helpfully points out the negative cul-de-sacs that “You Sir” is wasting his whole life on: drinking and such like.
There’s a storytelling feel to this that has an oddly Australian feel about it. I keep expecting some grizzled Vietnam vet to stroll into the flickering firelight, while singer Clary Amelia swirls around like a dervish wrapping us all in a scat spell. Indri hail from Liverpool, though, and featured last month on BBC Introducing in Merseyside. Also, I suspect, a band well worth seeing live.
JOHNNY SANDS – Das Pop
Johnny Sands is aiming to be more than a musician. He’s positioning himself to be a catalyst, running open original music nights in Liverpool, collaborating with Swiss producer Dave Berger, performing in Korea. He seems keen to explore different and interesting creative ideas with a scientific eye, from graphics to analog synth pop, which is great if it works. And here it does because he also has great feel. Das Pop has a lovely steady groove, strong techno-hooks and a rawness in the singing that has me looking forward to more. His first single was download of the month in the Sunday Times, but we wont hold that against him.
JOSEPH RUDDLESTON – The Silver Salute
The Silver Salute is the first single from Midas Rise, the new album from London based indie folk singer songwriter Joseph Ruddleston. Joseph graduated from the BRIT school of Performing Arts in 2011. He lists as his main influences the singer songwriters from Jeff Buckley and Joni Mitchell to Bon Iver and Joanna Newsom. His love of Jeff Buckley comes through strongly in this swirling driving multi-textured track. Joseph has already released the follow up single Mango Tree and has a lot of momentum going. Check out the artwork by Brandon Elrod.
LUNA ROSA – Fever
I can just feel those rehearsal room walls throb! Brings to mind the time my friend Paul, guitar clamped to his chest, went flying backwards across the sweaty space and slowly slid down the wall, a surprised look on his face. How we laughed, until we realised it was no joke but a lesson in why you should turn the amp off before fiddling with the valves. Paul can still play a storm though, as do Luna Rosa on this free download Fever. It’s the single from their new EP which was launched on Saturday night at a gig in their home town of Corby. As I seem to be indulging rather in categorising, I will tell you what Popped Music — in a very enthusiastic review of said EP — have to say: this is blue collar noise rock. Aren’t you glad you know that? PS Very nice dribbly artwork. Wouldn’t mind one of those t-shirts.
RUNRAIN – Time and Tide
RunRain are from London, keep themselves to themselves, and make interesting, atmospheric piano music that will mean something different to each of us. I hear a disgraced music student, exhiled from Vienna, who has discovered an old battered piano in the dusty, disused saloon bar of a frontier ghost town. She wipes the dust aside, doodles for a moment regretfully, then sits and gets lost in an extemporaneous reverie…
THE BROKEN ORCHESTRA – Shallow Humour
A look at their Facebook page shows what a busy bunch The Broken Orchestra are. From their 2012 album Shibui onwards they have been recording with an impressive number of guest vocalists (they seem to relish projects), but looking at a spy-on-the-wall glimpse of an early rehearsal, they are a tasty, self contained soft funk outfit making the kind of music you could listen to for hours. Shallow Humour features a male singer for a change, Jack Conman, and it works. The Soundcloud page includes him doing an acoustic version — well worth checking out.
THE HONEY ANTS – Lies
“East Nashville meets East London” proclaims The Honey Ants‘ Soundcloud page. Now, I know I shouldn’t like this. I mean, I grew up in Ireland scarred by the ubiquitous presence of Jim Reeves, and this is Country. Indeed it’s Smaltzy Country. But damn, it’s good! I was trying to think what it reminds me of, and it’s the Robert Plant, Alison Kraus pairing. But The Honey Ants don’t need to apologise for that. They are making this music their own. Good job.
WE/OR/ME – The Dusty Roads
The folky singer-songwriter thing is not going to run out of steam if people this good keep coming along. We/Or/Me is Bahhaj Taherzadeh, from Ireland and currently based in the US. The Dusty Roads is a simple, almost bare performance of a thoughtful and poignant song. Lovely understated harmonies. There is a back catalogue to explore but this is recent and suggests We/Or/Me has refined his craft and has things to say now. Nearly booked my passage to Clonakilty for a show, but it was 2013. Come back Bahhaj.
YOUR ILLUMINATIONS – Hey Scarlet
This one is noisey — and mildly rude. Which reminds me, my apologies to Fresh On The Net aficionados for the late posting of this week’s reviews. I went to see Mr Robinson and his wonderful band at Gateshead Sage last night and they were, well, noisy, and somewhat ruder. Knocked out, I was. Tom is a great performer, musician and story-teller (there was the one about Alex Harvey…. but no, better not).
Talking of which, Your Illuminations spin a good yarn themselves. They tag themselves as Brand new Anthemic pop-rockers, but this infectious and fun piece suggests that, while that may be true, there is more sparky intelligence to them than that. They come from York, just down the road from me, and are heading for a stadium near you. All the best guys. And thanks, I enjoyed it, and all the picks this week. See you soon.
PS from TR: If you’ve submitted a track that hasn’t been picked for the Listening Post, our team has definitely listened to it and there’s no need to send it again: feel free to send us an even stronger track another week. The same goes if you were picked for the Listening Post but didn’t feature in our Fresh Faves.
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.