Artists at a glance
FINS A LUMINOUS
JACK ELLIS MUSIC
MICHAEL BAKER MUSIC
SAM AND THE BLACK SEAS
SHE MAKES WAR
CHASIN VEGAS – Blue Eyed Skies
Anthemic rock with a nod to BritPop-era Indie, Blue Eyed Skies not only features the Essex Symphony Orchestra, but a guitar solo fit for the highest of high mountain tops to boot.
Hailing from East Anglia, Chasin Vegas were a popular choice with the Freshnet family. Sounding like a blend of Oasis and The Verve, singer Tony Clarke expresses his compassionate realisation “that throughout life people come and go”, longing to be held and told “it’s gonna be alright”.
As well as an abundance of potential, the band have a healthy schedule of gigs coming up including a number of music festivals in the East of England which can be found on their website or social media pages.
FINS A LUMINOUS – Antipodes
Get your headphones on to truly experience depth in the electronica soundscape of Fins A Luminous. Along with poignant vocals; a reminder of humanity’s fragility (“the sea will live on long after we’re gone”), Joe Bond and Ross Saunders have crafted an alternative OST to your favourite Earth-stricken movie, in Antipodes. One that Hans Zimmer would be proud of.
The reverb disorientates, the track steadily builds with continuous rhythms as its heartbeat, while the vocals act as a haunting caveat. Big fan of this and look forward to hearing more of the same.
JACK ELLIS MUSIC – The Storm
Hailing from Cardiff, singer songwriter Jack Ellis is surely on the cusp of being picked up in the Music Industry. A sound that will have fans of Ben Howard, Alt-J and Jose Gonzalez salivating, Jack growls “love take me home, I don’t feel any more”.
A great track leaves you wanting more and The Storm reaches its climax far sooner than I had wished. After live radio sessions and award shows, add Jack Ellis to your “ones to watch” list because it’s just a matter of time before he breaks onto National playlists and regular TV appearances.
LARKHALL – A Transitional Fossil
A wonderful change of pace delivered by pianist Charlie Williams as Larkhall. His track A Transitional Fossil spoke directly to the Nils Frahm fan in me, 2 minutes and 45 seconds of glorious, heartfelt melody. No words needed, the tracks instrumentation gives me all the sentiment I need, conjuring an emotional cinematic moment; a coming-of-age for the lead character created on the big screen in my mind.
Returning from a recent European tour, you can see Larkhill perform at upcoming shows in York and Southampton. If you’re a fan of film score or soundtracks, then take an evening to explore Larkhall. See the links below for more.
LF – Britvic
Before even hearing Britvic by LF, their description of self-proclaimed “sleaze pop” from Telford gave me a hint that I’d enjoy their track, and enjoy it I did! Not to mention their tale of how the band came to be; with a fight over a sweat-drenched shirt thrown into the audience by Morrissey. Now THERE’S a press release!
Take tongue-in-cheek lyrics (“Monday always gets in the way because work doesn’t work if you’re not in on the day”) and add a playful sound similar to that of Blur or Super Furry Animals and you’re onto a winner.
I’m a big fan of this so will be keeping a close eye on the bands activity and forthcoming gig announcements. If you’re a fan too, you know what to do. Check the links below and give the band a like!
MICHAEL BAKER MUSIC – Anywhere Anytime Soon
4 minutes and 17 seconds of gorgeous, soothing singer-songwriter folk that would give Ben Howard a run for his money. Candid lyrics claim “you can’t have too much of a good thing” and I’d have to agree with Michael Baker after replaying Anywhere Anytime Soon several times.
It oozes authenticity, a life fully experienced; real moments rewritten by a talented musician who knows how to manipulate his voice as it breaks boldly through acoustic guitar and strings, or retreats to a whisper. This was one of my favourite tracks from the selection and one that felt like it was written personally for me, as a confession or life lesson shared. Highly recommend you check it out for yourself.
SAM AND THE BLACK SEAS – The Love We Owe
Indie-folk from Milan, Sam & The Black Seas are rapidly growing a fond following and positive press, with their latest single The Love We Owe; a hypnotic tale, well produced.
Influence from John Butler Trio, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and especially Mumford & Sons can be heard throughout. It’s a delicate song, full of hope, with a music video narrative demonstrating the different stages of relationships, with one small omission: an emotionless mannequin “acting” as one half of the couple…
Looking forward to hearing more from the band as their forthcoming debut album Silver is set to arrive next month on the Atomic Fat label.
SHE MAKES WAR – Cold Shoulder
Addictive “gloom-pop” from Bristol, Cold Shoulder by solo multi-instrumentalist She Makes War was another of my favourite tracks from Batch 198, possibly THE stand out track. She might make war but Laura Kidd is bound to make heaps of new fans too because this track is GREAT. I’m usually a pacifist but after hearing this, sign me up for duty.
Guitar work that instantly conjures the angular grit of Queens of the Stone Age, vocals that remind me of The Long Blondes or Amanda Palmer; vocals peppered with attitude, memorable melodies and lyrics, and that chorus… YES!
Currently nearing the end of her UK album launch tour with Bryde, I really recommend giving She Makes War a listen, catch her live and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! I’ve got my eye on her London date, penciled in and raring to go.
TAMU MASSIF – Holding Back
I feel completely spoilt by such a rich mix of music, all of which would fit snug in my record collection and Tamu Massif is undoubtedly no different. Mix the polygonal layers of Alt-J, fragility of Bon Iver and production work of James Blake to get somewhere close to Holding Back, and if you like any or all of those three artists, then prepare to become an instant fan of Tamu Massif.
“Say it isn’t so, but I know that you’re holding back, you’re moving on.” I’ve listened to this track about 5 times in a row now and my enthusiasm is showing no signs of letting up. The song has incredible balance in its restraint. To me, the movement between sparse moments and bursts of multiple layers feels like one is moving from mulling over a painful situation to the subsequent realisation and acceptance.
THE ZOLAS – Swooner
Hailing from Vancouver in the US of A and about to launch into a European Tour, the high energy of The Zolas pure synth-pop is infectious. I immediately thought Passion Pit when I heard Swooner, the title track from their new album. Not quite the same I know but it holds the same cheerful, bubblegum-tinted pop fun that brings a smile to my face.
I took a listen to some previous tracks and The Zolas know how to write hooks, not to mention the quality of the videography featuring the signature Zola Z logo, worn with pride like a mob seeking adventures of youth.
Take a listen and share what you think. If you like it like me, then… well… “a swooner – that’s what you are!”
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.