Artists at a glance
LAURENCE MADE ME CRY
ROSEMARY & GARLIC
THE LITTLE UNSAID
Welcome to our final Fresh Faves of 2016. Thanks to everyone who sent us tracks and turned up to vote and comment this year. Our inbox will reopen for submissions on January 4, 2016.
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.
BED. – The Rule
How do you make something slinky and graceful out of a piece of industrial grunge left lying about? I love the ugly, overloaded guitar that may well have been the starting point for this shivery, otherworldly, doomed-yet-committed romance. For the purposes of Fresh On The Net I could wish Bed. were from our side of the pond. In fact this trio are from Portland, Oregon, but my sister lives in that very cool town so that’s OK. Bed. describe their genre as “slow-fi”, and the captivating meshing of disparate elements — the deep, pulsing groove, the dissonant guitar machine noise and the lovely resigned yet resilient singing of Sierra Hagar make the forthcoming EP Klickitat, from which this is taken, something to look forward to.
BELL’S ROAR – Black Lives
Skipping lightly across a continent we move from West Coast to East for this slice of New York bedroom art. Sean Desiree is Bell’s Roar. She has been refining and defining her project, starting as voice and guitar then adding self-played bass and drums to the mix, before linking up with producer Cedar Apffel to create this song and voice centred EP also titled Bell’s Roar. The Facebook name of that page shows how active she is on the New York circuit, as well as a growing number of “likes”.
LAURENCE MADE ME CRY – Melete
There’s a refrain on this Laurence Made Me Cry track — “Practice makes perfect sense” — with an insidious, surreptitious harmony that I wouldn’t mind having on a loop. Give me 20 minutes of that! But there’s a lot of lovely ornaments and interventions popping up throughout the rest of the song too. This is a very assured piece of music. Musician / singer / artist Jo Whitby has swapped folk guitar for producer Simon Parton’s electronica, and it works. Coming from Titan’s Daughter — planned to be a two part EP release — this shows an artist who wants to explore and develop new ground and not just continue in the style that got her nominated for the 2013 Welsh Music prize. Good on ya! Release date 8th February.
POLLEN – You Love to Love Me
Someone’s having fun in the middle of all this hayfever. A very international outfit, Pollen are based in Helsinki but are made up of British-Australian Cam Allen and Jake McMullen from Florida. They experiment with different instruments and sounds — the last offering was ukulele based Nukulele — and they describe themselves as mid-fi Indie Rock. But this one is a nod to Electronica. A bit suggestive of Human League trying to find their way home after a rather long and excessive night out.
ROPE STORE – What Life’s All About
I have to admit to a bit of a soft spot for Rope Store. It’s relaxed, effervescent, upbeat pop with a nice line in exploring what instruments can do rather than shackling them to the service of the voice and song. Written and recorded by Jason and Gemma in a cold war bunker in Norwich, you might wonder what they’ve got to be so cheerful about, but these two are developing nicely. I appreciated their previous upload Never Too Late Too Love with its Roy Wood-esque 60s references, but this one shows a developing assurance and skill in the writing and recording. More please!
ROSEMARY & GARLIC – Old Now
This isn’t exactly new, its true. Old Now and the EP it comes from — The Kingfisher — have been online for a year, but it’s been a slow burn for Dutch folk duo, Rosemary & Garlic, who have been making steady inroads into the field of middle of the road acoustic music. A lovely clean recording sound and the attractive voice explain why they are gaining interest from Australia to Russia. A full album release is planned for April 2016.
SECULAR GHOST – Catenary Wires
I’m a sucker for a slow, heavy beat and this one opens up like an old steam train emerging out of a tunnel — ominous or what! — then goes on to drag us through considerations of life and death. Ryan James – for it is he – has been around a bit, achieving successful collaborations with Norwegian electronic veterans Royksopp and also as one half of his own duo Man Without Country. Secular Ghost is his solo project and he takes us out into the stormy ocean. It’s well worth the journey. But take your lifebelt.
SUBLIME WIZARDRY – When The Chaos Comes Feat. Iceski
Watch out now. While you’re not looking this track sends out marauding commando parties to plant packages among the presents under your Christmas tree… all over the country outbursts of sheer Anarchy will transform trendy Fresh On The Net-following households into hotbeds of Christmas revolution. You may forget to get the turkey out on time.
Sublime Wizardry are a well established collaboration of Hamburg Hip Hop producer Merlin and The Remarkable 1 and One Native Son from Brighton. After four albums they are now releasing their first 12″ vinyl on their own Show And Prove label, including this track.
THE LITTLE UNSAID – Alive As
We have a few old favourites reappearing on Fresh On The Net at the moment and The Little Unsaid is one such. The brainchild of singer-songwriter John Elliott, they offer up this beautifully constructed track which builds on an unsettling drum pattern through a lyrical consideration of, again, chaos and peace in nature, rising to a storm of electronica and 6/4 battling to reflect the wildness of things. Love the string quartet inserting Arabic elements.
This comes from another crowdfunded album by The Little Unsaid called The Kingfisher, as was his 2013 Dig For The Promises. It can be done!
TOXIC MELONS – Today Didn’t Go…
Toxic Melons hail from Newcastle Upon Tyne and make a point of drawing on the great pool of talent available in that area. Chief Melon is Paul Fairburn who writes and crafts this multi-referencing Power Pop. Here the lead vocals are taken by guest Roger Joseph Manning Jnr on the new EP Four Play. A nice touch of Beach Boys mingled with hints of assorted pop classics makes this infectious listening. You could almost be forgiven for thinking it’s summer. But no, it’s Christmas. So thanks, Toxics, and all our other contributors. Have a great time and we’ll see you again in 2016.
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.