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 Fresh On The Net moderator Raphael Doyle. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
DAN AMOR & HUW OWEN – Mothers In Day Glo
Mothers In Day-Glo by Dan Amor and Huw Owen is gaining fans as it rolls down the hill and has just been played on Steve Lamacq’s show as I write. It’s a track from the compilation album Swooshed – coming out from Cae Gwyn records from North Wales. Derv loves “the bass playing and the quirky little talky inserts.” I love the rolling lyrics, like a gentle waterfall of imagery. Dan and Huw have been putting out music separately on Cae Gwyn – mainly in Welsh – and the joining of forces seems a great move. Looking forward to more.
KIDSMOKE – Cut Yourself Loose
There is great music from all corners of our big island this week on Fresh On The Net. Kidsmoke are from Wrexham, North Wales and Cut Yourself Loose was recorded all over the place – drums at the university (no drummer jokes there then) and everything else in assorted bedrooms and garages. You wouldn’t know it though. There is an organic, integrated feel to cut Yourself Loose as if played live. Kidsmoke have had a busy couple of years. Now relocated back home to Wrexham this new recording (released 26 Feb – see their Facebook) suggests they are regrouping for an even bigger emergence this year. Bright, jangly, engaging indie pop. Bet they’re really good live.
MERAQI – Contours
I would buy this for the intro alone. If you’re concerned – like me – that maybe it’s just a production job check out Meraqi‘s live performance of this on YouTube. This is great musicianship and great singing: tasty tasty ambient stuff. Although this isn’t my personal genre of choice, you can’t argue with The Real Thing. Available on iTunes, Google Play, Juno etc
PALACE WINTER – Positron
Palace Winter are two guys who hit it off while sharing a tour bus around Denmark. Carl Coleman was opening the show; Caspar was synth player in the main act. Somehow they crossed the unwritten line and clicked, geting into the studio together before Spring was out. This sort of enthusiasm is to be applauded. The music hauls me back to when me and my friends were schlepping round supporting Barclay James Harvest (the only band member who would even acknowledge us was the late great Woolly Wolstenholme) and their grand themes would swirl around the halls after we had tucked our acoustic guitars out of sight. These chaps are nicer, and Positron funkier. More info on Facebook.
SNOWAPPLE – Businessmen
Well, the idea seemed harmless enough. Safe even. Take this trio of frankly yummy looking Dutch girls. Give them a pop song about the business-commuter-rat race. Simple enough. Think Matthew And Son revisited. What they didn’t tell us was that someone at Debt Records – possibly our very own Louis Barabbas – has an attic where he keeps his train set, his stash of bad drugs and his bowler hats… The timing is weird. The sound effects a little disturbing. But it’s when the harmonies start flying off in all directions that you know this particular train won’t be arriving in Liverpool Street. Great stuff. Handle with care. Businessmen is Snowapple’s new single, taken from their upcoming train-themed mini-album Tracks.
SOPHIE MORGAN – Quietly
Sophie Morgan is 19. She’s “from the North West”, she says and this track is “A song I wrote at the end of the summer and recorded at home.” OK, I’ll just go and put the kettle on…. Wrong!! In my defence there was little in that scenario to suggest we were about to get a bit of a master class but in fact both this song – Quietly – and the arrangement and performance are tastefully and subtly realised. The singing is sensitive, not mawkish, and Sophie’s friends Tom and Harriet do a really good job augmenting mood and music. Even the outro is a creative delight. Lovely.
THE STARLING RADICALS – Another Shade Of Gloom
Welsh with attitude about sums up The Starling Radicals. Hardworking and assertive, this indie-rock trio hit the mark Spot On. They claim to be nice but the picture worries me. They’ve put the nice looking one at the front, the guy behind him definitely has something dodgy going on in that look he’s giving us, and the third one they wont even show himself. Approach with caution I say!
WOAHNOWS – Mess
Tim, Whirly and Philly G of Woahnows describe themselves as “indie-punk with a short attention span”, but I think they know what they’re doing. Very likeable, with a loose, garage band groove and hints of Blur and the Red Hot Chilis – and that’s a Good Thing! Whoahnows hail from Plymouth. At some point they’ve morphed from a duo to a trio and only gotten stronger. Mess has been streaming on Upset and if you like this you can preorder the 7” vinyl via this link. More details on their Facebook page. An honest Mess from an honest working band. Love it.
WREKIT88 – You’re Here
You’re Here by Wrekit88 is a beautifully produced, controlled, understated soul pop ballad. Hard to pigeonhole, it’s so well done it transcends genre. Not sure where the song title You’re Here even comes from – the refrain is actually “Frozen In Time”. I can’t find out who the great vocal is by either. But if Chris and Neil are the writers and producers of stuff this good, then I guess the music will just speak for itself. (But while you’re here guys… that title?? And c’mon, that singer???)
YAKIMA – Burn
There’s an arresting inventiveness to the guitar playing on Burn by Yakima. It starts with a woozy interplay of riff and chords, hauled back to an upright position by a strong, anchoring bass line before the moody, reverb rich vocals reinforce the dream like quality of the track. One of our keen listeners was put in mind of a modern day Suede. This is the 3rd EP by the Glasgow band though the first two came out under their old name Franklin. It’s due for release on 15th March and if you buy it on Bandcamp you get a bonus track!
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.