Artists at a glance
DUTCH CRIMINAL RECORD
KING NO ONE
PASSPORT TO STOCKHOLM
THE GRAVITY DRIVE
THE MOUTH OF GHOSTS
THE SILHOUETTE ERA
WE ARE ANIMAL
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s Russel Jeanes this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
COURTEOUS THIEF – Ice & Stone
Courteous Thief from Llandudno has been described as acoustic indie pop and contemporary new folk.
Ice & Stone was hugely popular on the listening post this weekend, and is a wonderful exercise in how to craft beautifully melodic indie acoustic pop. Gary Roberts has a back catalogue of two albums: Symphony and Beyond These Walls, these have both been heavily championed by BBC Radio Wales, with live sessions and interviews, and the songs definitely have potential for national and international appeal.
Gary has started work on a new single which he hopes to release in March/April 2017, which will be the last single before the release of a new album next summer.
Courteous thief are a regular on the live circuit and have supported artists like Turin Brakes and Chris Helm. If you want to see Gary in person, he has a show coming up on Saturday, December 17th in Sale, Manchester as part of the Scruff Of The Neck Pop Up Winter Festival.
DUTCH CRIMINAL RECORD – Stuck Between
Stuck Between was popular with listeners and moderators alike this week. The song is about being pulled in too many directions, and is by the wonderfully named Dutch Criminal Record, who are a 4 piece indie surf band from the South Coast.
The band have appeared on FOTN & mixtape before with On The Fence, and Socks and Sandals. Each time their songs are youthful, vibrant, with a great sense of humour and jam packed with energy.
Stuck Between is wonderful slice of indie pop, fast drums, underpinned by catchy guitars and dance floor filling base lines, all delivered in under two and three quarter minutes.
The band seem to play regular gigs around Southsea and Chichester with a few gigs in London. Their gigs look like great fun; packed crowds brandishing inflatable champagne bottles and bananas. Their music is available on Bandcamp (below), Amazon & iTunes.
KING NO-ONE – Alcatraz
King No-One are indie rock charmers from my own beloved Yorkshire. They spent this summer playing gigs, creating an ever increasing buzz everywhere they went. Their sound is incredibly tight and professional, and both Alan Raw and Jericho Keys from Yorkshire’s BBC introducing have tipped them for great things.
Alcatraz is about the warped vision of your past deluding your view of the present. The song has a memorable chorus, and great hooks, but it is Zach Lount’s vocal makes this song soar. Near the end of the song where the song reaches climax; Zach holds a note on the word “alcatraz” which leaves him breathless and gasping for air, yet he is till able to continue the vocal into the next line “hold my heart I’m slowly dying”.
With the band’s ever growing admirers including Steve Lamacq (BBC 6 Music), Huw Stephens (BBC Radio 1), Dermot O’Leary (BBC Radio 2), and our very own Tom Robinson, King No-One are surely destined for great things.
With a full tour in December, best to go see them now while it’s still affordable…
MENINX – Until The World Blows Up
There is not a lot of information available about Meninx, and after contacting Gok (Meninx) he has courteously explained that he does not want to be drawn into the minefield of clichéd artist bios.
Meninx is still working on his website, but his music is available from all the major online retailers. He explained that he draws many musical influences ranging from Wu-Tang to Nirvana with a bit of Village People sprinkled on top (but he later suggested in his email that the Wu-Tang part was untrue). Meninx produces all his own beats with his mac/Logic set up.
Until The World Blows Up is lyrically complex and considered, the song is punctuated with very clever, hard hitting wordplay surrounding national newspapers and politics.
I enjoy the production, drums and well rounded structure and chorus, some of the rap delivery reminds me in a positive way of Gangsta’s paradise, yet the track definitely has a London/British feel and twist.
PAPER BUOYS – After Dark
Paper Buoys are Stu, Pug & Nick who all went to the same school, and Newey. The band grew up being influenced by Sleaford Mods, Radiohead, Eagulls, The National, Jamie T. They are a Birmingham based Indie quartet which was formed in early 2016.
After Dark is taken from their forthcoming EP which is scheduled for release early in 2017 and was recorded at Magic Garden Studios, produced by Gavin Monaghan and is available from all the usual online platforms.
The track has the indignantly delivered, almost punk, vocal line “this is not a walk in the park”, which underpins this track with heated energy and driving base line/guitars.
Paper Buoys are on tour through then end November to early December.
PARADISIA – Warpaint
Within 20 seconds of hearing Warpaint I added it to my Fresh Faves short list.
Sophie-Rose Harper (vocals), Anna Pesquidous (harp) and Kristy Buglass (vocals, keyboard) have a wonderfully rounded sound. Everything about this London band is wonderfully considered, crafted and designed; from the detail of their web sites to every element of production and structure to their songs, making it a pleasure to research, watch and listen.
Paradisia have been together since 2010. They met after independently spotting Anna’s harp at a house party, and then discovering their mutual love for Joni Mitchell. They have supported Paolo Nutini and Bruce Springsteen, and have earned recognition for their beautifully sad slowed down cover version of Dancing In The Dark.
Films of them playing in more paired acoustic environments exist on their website, which to my ears sounds even more beautiful than their fully produced sound.
They have been likened to a mix between ’70s acts Linda Ronstadt, Fleetwood Mac with a mix of First Aid Kit. They have a sound which conjures yesteryear.
Paradisia have recorded a new album between Berlin, Hanover and London which is due for release in 2017.
PASSPORT TO STOCKHOLM – Shooting Stars
Shooting Stars is the new track from Passport to Stockholm. The band now have a new line up of Chris ‘Barny’ Barnard, Tom Piggott and Henri Grimes, after cellist Mariona De Lamo’s unfortunate lay-off after a long stint in hospital.
Since the release of their EP All At Once last summer, Passport To Stockholm have toured heavily, and continued to build momentum. The new sound of Shooting Stars with simple, infectious verses and elevated well written choruses has led to the track already receiving over a million streams on Spotify.
I have listened to other tracks on Soundcloud, and every track I’ve heard seems to have been touched by the same level of song craft. I personally love the earlier tracks with Mariona’s cello, yet I can see that the newer songs have a more contemporary commercial sound.
Our own moderator Derval McCloat has described the track as perfect pop, and said the track should go “straight to radio please”. The track does seem to be an incredible fit for radio, and this is surely another young band destined to breakthrough to a whole new level.
THE GRAVITY DRIVE – Kaleidoscope
This week seems to be full to the brim with beautifully written songs that mainstream radio will love – and Kaleidoscope is another such song.
The song has a gorgeous piano intro and outro motif, which builds with beautiful strings, drums and vocal harmonies to each of its anthemic choruses. It has perfect balance and the right mix of everything to give it broad appeal.
Kaleidoscope is the new single from The Gravity Drive‘s forthcoming album crowdfunded album The Wildlight, and has already garnered radio play from BBC radio 2 and radio 6. The track is due for release on Friday the 6th Jan 2017.
The Gravity Drive are husband and wife duo Elijah and Ava Wolf who independently release records from their home in Bridport, Dorset. The duo have appeared on Fresh On The Net on numerous occasions through the years. If you enjoy their music, I’ve included links to their crowdfunding campaign which has a series of great rewards for anyone who helps.
THE MOUTH OF GHOSTS ft. ELISA ZOOT – Sudden Lights
Featured numerous times on Fresh Faves, The Mouth Of Ghosts are Simon (guitars, keys), Yannis (bass) and Phil (drums).
The band are London based, making atmospheric music, fuelled by distinctive vocals and electronica. They work with a series of different vocalists, and the current single Sudden Lights features Elisa Zoot from Black Casino And The Ghost.
Sudden Lights has a music box intro which leads into atmospheric chords with some backwards percussion. Elisa’s haunting and layered vocal calls to the listener “will you let me in?” The whole thing is like Trip Hop mixed with Wuthering Heights and guitars.
The Mouth Of Ghosts regularly gig in London, but there are currently no up and coming dates. Simon has told me that Sudden Lights will be part of a future EP featuring different vocalists.
THE SILHOUETTE ERA – Tides
The Silhouette Era are from San Francisco, and state that their influences are the Pixies, Beach Boys, Sonic Youth and The Smiths.
Their “dreamwave” music is said to define Northern California’s brand of surf pop, apparently this is not pop inspired by hot summer nights, but instead it recalls freezing dawns and infinity grey skies and oceans (which sounds to me to be a bit like Scarborough).
However, the band prefers not to be defined by one sound, and they state that they create everything from orchestral pop to driving new wave to rigid rock and roll.
Tides was released on November 18th on Breakup Records, and was recorded with Jay Pellicci at Tiny Telephone on reel to reel tape in San Francisco. Singer/guitarist Carlos J. Gonzalez says the song is a “triumphant breakup song, and about when you realise that dragging things out isn’t achieving much, so you have to just let go”.
WE ARE ANIMAL – Capoeira
My standout favourite this week are We Are Animal with their amazing track Capoeira.
We Are Animal hale from the picturesque Welsh valleys below Mount Snowdon. There are five band members and they come from in and around a village called Llanberis. The band live near jaw dropping scenery and expansive woodland, and they regularly go into the forests to jam and then work these recordings into something more polished.
I looked up Capoeria on Wikipedia, and it says that “Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art developed by slaves and former slaves bought from Africa, that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music”.
The track starts with an intriguing musical ident which sounds like Windy Millers windmill from Camberwick Green, and cuts to foot pumping beats, a great vocal melody and standout chorus. The whole thing is completely hypnotic and infectious. I envy anyone who chances upon them in woodland clearings, deep in one of their forest jams.
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.