Last week our moderators listened to 180 tracks in our inbox and chose our favourite 25 for our Listening Post. Our readers then picked their own favourites from that shortlist over the weekend.
These ten Fresh Faves were collectively the most popular tracks of the week. Reviewing them, please welcome back composer, performer and Fresh On The Net moderator Ola Szmidt. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
AISHA BADRU – Happy Pretending
Personal Favourite. Why? It’s winter and this one melts on the skin and warms slowly. It’s a perfect resonance. No, I did not listen to it once. It was at least couple of times, in fact. It somehow made me think about the blue paper cardboard I use with my daughter to make an imaginary sea filled with clouds.
The song builds an entire universe of those fluffy things in my head. I’m in a happy and warm place. I can promise that Aisha Badru‘s music will take you on a boat to wherever you want – just like that, with one sigh, It’s an angelic soundtrack…
Wait! I listened to it again and oh, the lyrics! I let them take over from the music – and five stars for the beautiful balance between guitar, vocal and overall atmosphere. One of the nicest winter evocations I’ve heard in a while. Bravo!
BAGPIPE WHISKEY – Tobias
Electronic and experimental music fans? Bagpipe Whiskey (Benjamin Mason) hails from Pembrokeshire, describing himself as “Tasty Meaty Beat Treats”. I dig that description – and in my humble opinion it could sit as a music category somewhere in between early Amon Tobin, Bonobo and Mr Scruff – with a pinch of Dj Krush and Squarepusher.
If you are a hibernating bear, well… this stuff will cheer you up and make you move your bottom from the bed – I can forsee some seriously twisted dance moves. Ha! I began to explore his Soundcloud and there are some rather pleasant tunes there: Highly Recommended!
BEACH FATIGUE – To Die For
Beach Fatigue have shared this track with us from their upcoming self-titled debut album, which will be out on March 4th via Kool Girl Records. Under their previous name of Heavy Petting Zoo the Swansea-based band played at Reading & Leeds and Green Man festivals – and were featured many times on our Fresh Faves and the BBC Introducing Mixtape.
Beach Fatigue tell us they represent “a blend of garage-surf rock and riot girl vocals” and that founding members Amy Zachariah, Ben Rodway, and Billy Horwood went to the same school as the city’s most famous figure – Dylan Thomas! They are joined by new bassist Ian.
Last November Beach Fatigue returned to Cardiff’s Swn Festival and in his NME review Huw Stephens said they combined “a dry wit with a sense of fun in their punk that’s pretty irresistible” while God Is In The TV concluded “at the end of the day, they are the best show in town”.
DEAD CEREMONY – Tell Me Lies
Dead Ceremony‘s Tell Me Lies features seductive Jamie XX-esque production, which might just take over many dance floors. I listened to it far too many times and still haven’t had enough!
It brings to mind busy slowly moving traffic in London: being on the bus watching people passing by, guessing their life stories… Or simply running in the rain and slowly getting drenched and feeling good about it.
Thank you for sharing this song with us. It teleports to other places and – of all the magic spells music can achieve – that is one of my favourites.
FALSE ADVERTISING – Piece Of My Mind
This track is like a monumental shot of caffeine and a serious kick in the backside! I feel as if this top Manchester trio False Adevertising open up a sonic vault – with some of the finest fuzz you can imagine – that you won’t ever want to leave! It’s going to be seriously hot and sweaty in there.
One second you’re in Seattle – and the next in Los Angeles: it reminds me of the finest creations by Smashing Pumpkins and Queens Of The Stone Age. I love it! You want more? Go catch them live on tour: for full list of dates see their Songkick page.
MASTERS IN FRANCE – Vaporise
Good work! If you like Jungle and Outfit, this one is for you and I’m predicting a bright future for this mysterious electronic combo. Mysterious? Well I was little frustrated, as Masters In France don’t give away any details about themselves online. Even their location is confusing: they say “London” on Soundcloud but “North Wales” on their Facebook page.
You’d never guess MIF were originally a bilingual Welsh five-piece – fronted by Matthew Ellis-Sayer – who formed seven years ago in Caenarfon. A hotly tipped band in 2011 who played Radio 1’s Big Weekend and have been regularly supported by Tom on BBC 6 Music over the years.
Well, the trick of keeping quiet certainly works – because they’ve got me hooked with the song alone. It’s sexy and addictive – and they really want you to buy it. Are you going to? I’m expecting to see those boys all over the music blogs and slowly revealing their new 2016 identity. Looking forward to hearing more music from them too.
SARAH GRIFFIN – The Beloved
If Sarah Griffin‘s The Beloved doesn’t get airplay, nothing will… Those cello swirls, the guitars, the vocals, the lyrics! For starters: the length is perfect – while the whole primary and secondary climax are just SO catchy. It’s true that I don’t normally listen to music like this but I can’t help pressing the replay button again and again – analysing every part with my songwriter’s hat on and coming to the conclusion: “nailed it!” When the song finishes you just want to scream “no, not yet – I want more!”
Sarah deserves more attention in my opinion, so I visited her Facebook and found these generous words:“I’ve been very fortunate to be able to make this album and to have been flanked by the wonderful musicians and all round good eggs that are Sam Eads, Rob Aston, Ross Richardson and Sam Turner. Not forgetting the fantastic Tom Manning at Keep Recording (do check him out).” The Beloved is the title track of Sarah’s latest album which you can buy direct from her website.
SLTP – Station
The more I listen to Station by SLTP (Summer Loving Torture Party), the more I like it. It’s a song that makes me think of bands like Shopping – which is not bad at all. In fact that makes it VERY good indeed! What I managed to gather off the internet is they’re a quintet from Birmingham, who’ve been making music together since 2013.
This single comes out on April 29th via iTunes. It has been mixed and mastered to perfection – every little note is transparent – it’s gorgeous! I really appreciate the quality and hard work the band put into this passionate work, and I’m more than sure it’ll pay off. If you like it, order the single, follow them on Soundcloud and mark them as “must-see” at The Great Escape Festival this Spring: put May 19th-21st in your calendar!
THOMAS CAMERON – Tides
Tides by Thomas Cameron starts gently with pizzicato strings, then gently unfolds its beautiful vocals and guitars. If you are into acoustic music, prepare yourself right now for five minutes of heaven. Here’s what I did (but remember – HEADPHONES ARE MANDATORY!)
Sit down beside the fireplace with a warm cup of hot chocolate: close your eyes and allow the sound to make you forget everything else in the world. I truly appreciated this stunning arrangement filled with aural treats, well-crafted guitars and exquisite violin notes. It’s an ideal companion for these winter days…
WHITE APE – Barabbas
I sat down to review this track with my cup of tea – but quickly felt like it should have been strong whisky! I have to admit never having heard of White Ape. But after listening to Barabbas (great song title, by the way!) I’ve realised that every now and then a punk band will appear out of nowhere and slay me with their political commentary. Just like this one did!
The combination of energy, lyrics and vocal delivery on this song creates a sonic Molotov cocktail – boom! I can’t help but quote some of it: “Just because it’s mellow, doesn’t mean it’s magic / Just because it’s miserable doesn’t mean it’s tragic / Just because it’s retro, doesn’t last forever / Just because you’re boring doesn’t mean you’re clever”…
The words stuck in my head and I ended up jumping around to it like a Mad Hatter. As Tom commented on this week’s Listening Post, he might not get permission to play Barabbas on BBC6 due to its “Parental Advisory” language, but I’m quite sure it will go viral because the song is so damn good! If you want to check out the band live head to their Songkick page for upcoming gigs.
Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Songkick
PS from TR: if you’d like your tunes considered for the BBC Introducing Mixtape on BBC Radio 6 Music, don’t forget to upload them to BBC Introducing in the first place, via this link. Among the 150-200 tunes that arrive our inbox each week, we hear at least half a dozen great tunes by UK artists that haven”t been uploaded there, and like it says in our guidelines: NO UPLOAD = NO AIRPLAY
If we do feature you in the Fresh Faves or BBC Introducing Mixtape please do us a favour and wait three months before sending another track, so we can help other deserving artists in the meantime… More info here.