Artists at a glance
This week’s Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend, and, straight off the back of his own latest release, they are reviewed by multi-media artist and musician Robjn.
You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
ACID CHILD – Slow Reverse Flow
Even though these playlists are arranged in alphabetical order, it seems a fitting running order to open with the seductive pads of Acid Child. The song uses its synths to their best effect, with a range of retro and modern sounds selected and mixed for calm and drama. The lyrics and vocals are delivered with longing and melancholic beauty.
The band, hailing from Manchester via Corsica, are made up of Nicolas Digiacomi, Arnaud Castelli and Seymour Orsoni.
ANARCHIST ROB – Internal Damage
This is a complex song for me to review; I find it totally original. The lyrics, delivered by Robert Eunson in beat poet fashion, bring you into his characteristic confidence. The music is a post punk/funk combination. It all works remarkably well. ‘Zombie talk from the living dead’ is a line I can picture William Burroughs typing out. After typing out the lyrics and playing the song, I did a google search to investigate and discovered my premonitions were near the truth: Anarchist Rob is ‘based in Hull but Nomadic. Ex-lead singer with 70s/80s punk band Dead Fingers Talk’.
CEILING DEMONS – Sundays
A trip-hop song with a Billie Holiday sample from the famous track Gloomy Sunday, featuring lyrics like ‘it’s hard to be happy when your heart is made of tin’. Hailing from both Richmond, North Yorkshire and Bristol, Ceiling Demons have a brooding musical sound and confessional sounding lyrics. An after-hours party feel with serious talk.
COUSIN KULA – Hesitation
Tranquil music with a good drum beat. It threw me right back to the Eno/Hyde album Someday World but with a better direction. Cousin Kula are a Bristol based psych-pop band who clearly understand pop production. I always worry when people use the term ‘summery sound’ to describe something musically, and now I am doing the review I found myself falling into using it, but – what that phase means to me is a list of emotional responses; it has a happy, upbeat, carefree feel, and is easy to dance to, too. It’s worth playing on loop for the synth solo at the end. It is likely a good song to hear live.
HOLY ’57 – Jep Shuffle
I hope I am correct in assuming Jep Shuffle is inspired by the film La Grande Bellezza (one of the best films I saw in 2013). This is a wonderfully mixed track, especially the ending; it’s harder to wind up a song for a lot of artists but the synths and vocals combinations at the end are fantastic. It mixes nostalgic sounds with the contemporary. As the Beach Boys are to Animal Collective, they are both to Holy ’57. The band have also had success on blogs and the hype machine, appearing in their top twenty songs!
STUART NEWMAN – One Big F
Stuart Newman‘s track One Big F opens with a set of chords which would be perfect for both BBC Radio 6 and Radio 1. When the vocals and drums kick in I am impressed. The whole structure of the song is folk styled in a pop format, clearly composed by someone who is heading for great things musically.
I found myself reviewing with headphones on due to works outside my apartment and I think if it wasn’t due to builders I could have mixed the subtle details in the stereo mix, splitting the guitar and vocal tracks – its so simple with computers to only record in mono ways, but this needed an extra mention – when it’s done well it stands out. This sounded totally professional as a recording. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear from Stuart Newman again.
SÜRDO. – Sente
A song so lush it is like being in the centre of a tornado of synths and vocal samples. Originally from São Paulo, Brasil, Sürdo now is working from Bavaria, Germany. At only 20 years old he has bridged and blurred the lines of instrumental and vocal music by using the vocals almost as synthesisers with samples. Can’t wait for an album to come.
THE CLEAR – Maria Brown
I love lyrics. I seem to absorb them as if a three minute song was a novel. In the case of this song from The Clear the lyrics are a biography of a lady whose lover dies at war. It throws back to protest songs of the ’60s. The nice thing about retrospective music is that hindsight means it can be so much better than the contemporary. This song’s complex vocal layering and folk guitars make it both longing and yet upbeat. The organ is also delightful!
THE METATRONS – Smile (Don’t Let Me Down)
Acording to their biography ‘The Metatrons are a fuzzy indiepop band, from Hitchin in the UK’ but their sound is harder to pin pound down, a complex and articulate mixture of influences like punk and indie bought together to great effect. The guitars and vocals on the chorus would have anyone singing it for the rest of the day, and the drums are recorded really well, especially the percussive rises and hi hats.
WAKE AMERICA – Love You More
Love You More by Wake America is both subtle and hard hitting in the way Nine Inch Nails compose a track. That is not to stay it’s like them, but I couldn’t think of anyone with such dreamy pads and hard synths, but the song being a love song. Lyrically I think it’s so rare to hear men express love openly that it is always a delight when done well. As a song its structure is faultless. I would dance to it and it makes a perfect pop record. The vocals and production are done with skill. I hope it bridges the gap from internet to radio soon.
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.