These reviews are dedicated to the members and manager of Viola Beach, who tragically died in Sweden on the weekend. The band were supported by BBC Introducing, and known and loved by so many contributors and friends of Fresh On The Net – they will be fondly remembered and sadly missed.
GRACESARAH – Underwater
GraceSarah first appeared on Fresh On The Net almost 2 years ago, then aged just 15, and again more recently last November, with each submission building on the last. Underwater takes the chilled vibe and light vocals of her previous submission to us, Birdaha, and adds irresistible beats to create something poppy and uplifting, contrasting with the submerged sadness you find in its quieter moments. It’s the ebb and flow of yearning for someone seemingly out of reach, and the feelings of elation that sustain them.
From Cambridge, GraceSarah has support from BBC Introducing at many levels, and has plenty of fans here at Fresh On The Net too.
GRIS-DE-LIN – The Kick
When listening to 180 tracks each week, tasked with selecting just a handful, what gets your attention is inevitably something that stands out or stops you in your tracks. It doesn’t need to be wildly original, it can just be very good, because there is comfort in the familiar, but original and good will obviously win out. With The Kick, Gris-de-Lin has both, and in a world that loves to put things in boxes, you’re gonna need a new box.
So what is it about? Mercy for this writer comes in the form of some inside information, thanks to a little bird from Dublin, that may help demystify this track’s inner workings, without diminishing its brilliance. It began with an article in the paper about rugby, from which Gris picked words and wrote around them. The music was then composed with her friend Clyma Gooderson, who also helped produce the track. And it works, taking on a whole new meaning, one that you can decide for yourself.
Gris-de-Lin is from Bridport, Dorset, has support from BBC Introducing in the South and even did a session for Marc Riley on BBC Radio 6 Music not too long ago. Her album will be out in April.
It’s tempting to suggest that if you want your new cohabiting partner to know you have no intention of living in a tidy home, then writing a song may not be the most effective way to convey that message, although it’s a great way to put off doing the chores.
But actually that would miss the point. This is a love song about the differences that make two people click, what one brings to the other, and ultimately the blissful intimacy of living together.
Laish is the music project of Danny Green, and Song For Everything is the first track to be taken from his forthcoming third album, which is being funded by an Indiegogo campaign. Danny and his full band will be performing at the Sebright Arms in London on April 21.
MASASOLO – Really Thought She Loved Me
I fell in love with this track the first moment I heard it, even before the story unfolded in the lyrics: finding out the singer’s object of desire is already in a relationship, quite by accident, listening to her love for this other man and dealing with the knotted feelings inside. We’ve probably all been there, and it feels like a knife through the heart. For all that, this track sounds just as dreamy and blissed-out as if those revelations had never come to light.
Really Thought She Loved Me is the debut single from Danish band Masasolo, who have an EP planned for autumn 2016.
REWS – Death Yawn
At first I thought a “death yawn” signified boredom, but there is an interesting story on the Soundcloud page for this track by Rews, based on information that singer Shona gleaned from Louis Nowra’s book, Into That Forest. Some animals, such as baboons, guinea pigs and, er, Siamese fighting fish (gotta love Wikipedia) yawn to threaten their enemies, and this is called a “threat yawn”. Shauna encountered a “very creepy man” who, it’s claimed, “followed her around and took photos, while eating Rice Krispies,” amongst other things, and considered using this tactic to scare him away. Instead, she just wrote a song about the situation (see also: avoiding domestic chores).
Rews are London / Belfast duo Shauna Tohill and Collette Williams, and Death Yawn is their second single. They’ve recently been played by John Kennedy on Radio X’s X-Posure and Adam Walton on BBC Radio Wales, and have funded four videos for their tracks, including this one, through a Pledge campaign. They’re also playing at Time Out London’s Rising Stars at 229 event tomorrow night. Go Rews!
SUNSPOTS – How Do I Know?
Clarity is overrated, particularly in music where, much like staring into darkness, our minds fill in the blanks, perhaps with strange and terrifying images. Or, when it comes to emoshuns, fear and uncertainty. Why did I spell emotions like that? Who knows. Sometimes you’ve just got to go with it.
How Do I Know is a song about doubt, and there’s a great line that goes some way to explaining the problem: “we’re built on lust, we’re built on lies.” Sunspots are a quartet from Leeds, and have recently been supported by BBC Introducing in West Yorkshire. This is their second single, after the similarly titled I Know What You Don’t, which I must admit I like even more. Both are available on iTunes and the band will be supporting This Feeling at the Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen on February 26.
T E MORRIS – Never Let Me Go
Never Let Me Go by T E Morris builds in ways that you don’t expect from the lo-fi banjo intro, with atmospheric strings, vocal harmonies and more, all gradually appearing to turn this track into something that’s both serene and haunting.
Tom Elliot Morris is the lead songwriter from Her Name is Calla, and decided to spend 2015 producing three solo albums, with Never Let Me Go the first single taken from the last album of that trilogy, Newfoundland.
THE BLET PROJECT – Mr David Harris
From Edinburgh, The Blet Project tell us they specialise in “accessible, three-minute pop songs with socially conscious lyrics.” Well, you’ve come to the right place!
Mr David Harris (no relation) is their first single, with lyrics that apparently touch on gym culture (“chat in gyms, chest and arms”), cyber bullying (“like her status, hate her life”), hypocritical pop stars (“Blurred line misogynists”) and the lack of opportunity for young people (“wasted young”), although they happen to do this with rather pleasing dance pop that occasionally takes on an air of greater menace.
Formed in August 2015, the band consists of lead vocalist and bass guitarist Maisie Hutt, Stephen Dennis on synth and backing vocals, guitarist Gavin McDiarmid and Colin MacGregor on drums.
THE BUZZARD ORCHESTRAL – Marchioness
The Buzzard Orchestral certainly know how to deploy drama in their music, as the Marchioness amply demonstrates, swaggering in, all jagged guitars, tales of emotional blackmail and doors slammed shut. Well, whatever gets you through the day, innit.
The Buzzard Orchestral featured on our Fresh Faves and Tom’s BBC Introducing Mixtape with their previous single, One Stone, last July. More recently, Marchioness has been played by the beautiful John Kennedy on X-Posure, and the band will be performing at the Camden Barfly this coming Friday, February 19.
ZYGMUNT DAY – Red Red Red Red Roses
If you saw the title of this track and were expecting a cheesy number contrived for Valentine’s Day, perhaps some “you are so beautiful”-style crooning, or something more along the lines of Barry White to crank up the temperature in the lurve department, well… no. No, no and no.
If, however, you were hoping for something about a rowdy night out in Shoreditch, the night bus to a house party in Islington, then waking up next to a girl whose dreams, like yours, died a long time ago, you’re in luck! You probably didn’t though, did you, and that’s what’s so good about Red Red Red Red Roses by Zygmunt Day.
Zygmunt Day has appeared before on Fresh On The Net with Echo Pressure and the track Wanderers— that was very different to this solo piece though. Red Red Red Red Roses is available as a free download from this track’s Soundcloud page and will be part of an LP that will be released later this year.
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.