These Fresh Faves were chosen by our readers on our Listening Post from a shortlist of 25 tracks over the weekend. They are reviewed this week by vocalist, pianist, flautist, composer, improviser, FOTN moderator and proud mother Ola Szmidt. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
BROOKFIELD – Kaleidoscope
Many of our listeners rated this track in their top five over the weekend, and so did several of our moderators. Duncan Brookfield is a graduate of Brit School, based in London, and Kaleidoscope is his latest single. It will appeal to fans of Tom Odell, City And Colour and James Bay and I can appreciate all the hard work he’s put into it.
Personally though, the track didn’t grab my attention. It reminded me too much of those music playlists created by Mood Media that bombard us everywhere from UK shops to online advertising – and didn’t resonate with me at all. To my ears, it’s one of those over-produced and over-crafted productions that lose all actual emotion in the song. These perfectly placed climaxes and bombastic bridges – where the drums kick the very gate of heaven – turn the artist’s real identity and originality into something generic and flat. It’s not for me, sorry.
But one line (“it’s hard to learn behind those fashion lights”) did stick in my head. It makes me think that if Burberry Acoustic are looking for another upcoming piano balladeer to groom for stardom, they need look no further than Brookfield.
HOO HAS – This Is The New Me
Hello to Hoo Has! You need a recipe for a good radio song? Here it is! 3m14s-diamond-land! I love it! A song acting as a statement across the generations! Right on! Here we have a sarcastic take on life changes, one of those songs you listen to when having the worst hangover on the earth, deciding that you are going to be a new person; a better you. Sometimes it’s just words, sometimes you act on it…
The song’s instrumentation is minimal, but full of pleasant little riffs here and there, while the lyrics are smashingly good and made me laugh too. I am dreaming of a Santa Cruz beach and summer – and will be saving this one for bike ride playlists. They remind me of Mac Demarco too so big up! Keep an eye on these boys…
HUGH REILLY SMITH – Best Ideas
I enjoyed this tune so much from Hugh Reilly Smith! I will be swinging and bouncing to it in the morning over my cup of coffee! Yes! This tune changes the temperature in the room, takes the rain away and brings a spring in every possible way!
It’s a song that transforms, and that is my favourite thing a piece of music can do! Personal adjectives: quirky, sexy and super-breezy! I would love to ask him what inspires him to write and what music he listens as I’m intrigued by the structure of the song – there are so many sweet sonic surprises. If this song was candy floss I’d eat it all at once! [Blind Date flashback!]
I normally geek and search for more information about the artist – but all I know for now is that we have a mysterious fella in cool shades. Let’s see what the future will bring for Hugh – I believe it is bright!
LYON ROAD – Moving
This is not the kind of thing I normally listen to but I’m falling in love with Lyon Road‘s Moving – consider me a convert: it reminds me of my childhood! Let’s hope I’m not going to get told off for comparisons of guitars a la Durutti Column and vocals reminiscent in places to Kings Of Convenience? [We’ll let you off this time Ola…]
It’s a beautiful track. Catchy all the way, with a chorus that turns my chair into a dance floor: my feet are moving and I can’t stop! Another good potential radio song here too as, in my humble opinion, it contains all the good factors including the most important one: I’m getting addicted! Bravo!
PRODBEAR – Superheroes
“Prodbear has arrived complete with gizmos, gadgets and perfect poetry.” I’m extremely happy that Prodbear landed on my list of songs to review this week, as he’s one of my personal favourites. I listened to Superheroes and forgot about the entire world!
I was hypnotised by his lyrics and simple observations: a voice that is clear and speaks the truth helps to make a good song into a fantastic one! What he talks about has happened to many of us. He has the gift of speaking to us in the same way that Kate Tempest or The Streets can: every word reaches in all the way to the soul! But don’t take my word for it – hear for yourself: click on his Soundcloud and listen to what he’s got to say.
I hope this goes viral in some magical way.
RICHARD MAULE – For You
It wasn’t love at first sight, but after couple of listens and checking out more of his tunes on Soundcloud, I’m realising that Richard Maule is a very talented songwriter and am super impressed! For You is an emotive and intimate song. I always moderate in headphones, so believe me when I say – please don’t listen to this song when you’re in a rush. This one is a “late nighter” and headphones are absolutely mandatory. The mix is absolutely stunning and Richard’s vocal is so beautiful. I’d love to hear this music live as I believe would be really interesting! Head to his Soundcloud and lose yourself in his sound just as I did. It’s so worth it!
ROXANNE DE BASTION – Wasteland
Well, in Roxanne de Bastion we have a Real Deal songwriter, and in Wasteland, a wonderful song! Not only this one but many more on Roxanne’s Soundcloud: I’m really chuffed to have come across her. I adore the strings appearing from nowhere in this piece, and my ears can’t get enough of the guitar for entirety of the song.
This reviewer thinks of Feist with a spark and reminiscence of Joni Mitchell, yet I am surprised to hear that some of her songs conjure the work of Purity Ring. That is what I call being eclectic and versatile! Roxanne de Bastion was born and raised in Berlin, and is currently based in London. She’s touring with her new release: the dates are listed at the live music page on her website.
SILENCES – There’s A Wolf
Next up we have There’s a Wolf by Silences. The song structure here makes me think about a morning meditation: you breathe in, you breathe out. Slowly everything is fading away and you are in the woods, surrounded by the wolves, yet still calm.
I like how the textures all slowly unfold: they’re beautifully balanced all the way through and then all of a sudden you are surrounded by fire! It really made me think “wow”! It also reminds me a little of Tame Impala and Alt- J.
Really happy to discover that the band is getting airplay from Radio 1 and RTE – and that they’ve performed at the Reeperbahn and The Great Escape Festival. They are playing live soon: for the full list of dates see their website!
VIENNA DITTO – Ticks
Prepare yourself for a psychedelic trip – a la Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas – no joke… Vienna Ditto are a duo from Oxford, and Ticks contains a twisted and mind blowing blend of genres: blues, gospel, rock’n’roll and electronica. I can totally see this song in one of Quentin Tarantino’s movies or in the next True Detectives series.
This is the title track of their upcoming new album which will be released on May 13th. If you like what you hear, head to their Bandcamp page and support their craft by purchasing a limited edition CD. Or perhaps you want to attend their gigs? You’ll find a list of those on Bandcamp too – ahoy! See below.
PS from TR: If you’ve submitted a track that hasn’t been picked for the Listening Post, our team will definitely have 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… More info here