Artists at a glance
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed this week by DJ, globetrotter, and now Freshmod, James Hunter. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
ALBERT JONES – Come Alive
I think I could listen to the first 13 seconds of Come Alive more times that would be healthy: the melody in Albert Jones’ voice completely draws me in. This impressive melodic control is then displayed throughout the song, while a backing of splashy drums and satisfying guitar riffs energetically move the track along.
Albert Jones describes himself as a singer-songwriter with a quintessentially British modern acoustic sound, which pretty much hits the nail on the head, and Come Alive only serves to bolster this description. He’s released another track previous to this, which gained a fair bit of attention; being one of our very own Faves on Fresh On The Net (Faves 216), as well as featuring on Dermot O’Leary’s BBC Radio 2 show. You can find that on his Soundcloud and keep up to date with Albert’s latest acoustic offerings via his website.
BETHAN LEES – Water and Wine
I must say when I first saw that Bethan Lees only had 14 followers on Soundcloud I was quite astonished. Don’t worry, I’m not about to ramble on about musicians’ social media strategies in the digital age, but rather make a comment on how established her music sounds, despite its infancy.
Her latest song, Water and Wine, comes from her debut EP Ships, released on Folkstock records. The track is easily the most up-tempo on the EP, as it oozes with the classic folky, infectious energy that builds over the course of the song that, if played live, would easily end in a dance floor knees-up. Sadly, there don’t seem to be any live dates programmed at the moment but it’d be well-worth keeping an eye on her Facebook page for updates.
ENNIO THE LITTLE BROTHER – Talcum Powder
If you were told Ennio The Little Brother was an indie hip-hop artist from North Wales before you hit play on his latest track Talcum Powder, then I’d still bet you’d be quite far off if you’d try to guess what was about to come out the speakers.
Not only does Ennio adopt a hoarse delivery that wouldn’t be out of place in a ’90s horror flick, but does so over ethereal synths and the course of almost seven minutes. However, despite it’s down-tempo feel and considerable length, it never feels like it drags, which is only testament to his abilities as a songwriter and producer, both of which are self-taught.
I’d seriously recommend going down to The Golden Eagle, Chester, on April 28th to enjoy the diversity this artist has to offer; even if the music isn’t quite to your liking then his ability across a variety of instruments might make the performance a deserving spectacle.
FENNE LILY – What’s Good
Right from the first syllable cooed by Fenne Lily on her latest track What’s Good, it’s clear why this Bristol based folk songstress is rapidly gaining attention. Her third single again enlists the help of Dave Dixon (Tamu Massif) to produce the next installment to this young artist’s career.
With a natural voice that seems like it’s already been played through a smorgasbord of studio hardware equipment and one of those chord progressions that you feel rather than hear, Fenne dreamily glides through the emotion laden journey of What’s Good.
Now with three consistently gorgeous singles, Fenne is building her exposure touring with Charlie Cunningham across Europe, which ends in Amsterdam on April 12th. I can only hope that once the lights have faded on that tour it will give way to some much needed quiet time spent on crafting a debut album.
FINN ANDERSON – Some Days
Even without listening to Finn Anderson’s music, you could tell that he has something about him. He spent his early teens producing his own theatre productions at his local theatre in Fife; he then used the profits from that to build his own home recording studio. As if that wasn’t enough, Finn then self-released two EPs before leaving school at the age of 16. Impressive doesn’t quite cover it.
The chorus to his latest release Some Days asks, “Does anybody want share my empathy? Does anybody want to bear this weight with me?” It’s something I can’t help but do when listening to the emotionally burdened track. Finn’s skillful use of poetic storytelling, in tandem with his knowledge of musicality, simply steal you away into a world of own his making. Each time I listen to it, I can imagine it being played live in completely different ways: it has this versatility about it where it seems like it could easily be scaled up with a full-blown orchestra in support, or stripped right down to a bare acoustic session.
Finn released an EP called Uncharted Lands in 2016, so I would heavily recommend buying that if you enjoyed Some Days. He also still remains firmly in the theatre and film world, which you can find out more about on his website.
JACKSON – Jenny
Meet Jackson. He comes from London, he bears a remarkable likeness to Iggy Pop, he makes music somewhere in between dirty rock ‘n’ roll and f**ked up electronic and he has appeared on numerous tracks from The Prodigy. That’s about as much as I can tell you about him, but somehow I think that’s exactly how he wants it.
His debut single release consists of two tracks: American Line and Jenny. The latter features here and harks back to the anarchic, golden age of rock ‘n’ roll. I can’t help but conjure images of KISS – by that I don’t want to be upsetting anybody, but rather mean that it wouldn’t be out of place in a stadium full of baying fans, losing themselves in the waves of sound.
Jackson has more releases coming out April 10th and April 17th, which you can preview on his soundcloud and buy via his Bandcamp page.
LOW ISLAND – Holding It down
Holding It Down is the first release from the Oxford band, following their debut EP Just About Somewhere. Low Island have been building momentum over the past year and this latest release is only going to add to it. The band’s understated style plays testament to their talent, which is in full-force on the track, as they somehow manage to create something with the lingering catchiness of a pop tune and yet none of the superficiality of your Top 40. Not only that, they manage to effortlessly blend a punchy ’80s-style bassline, driving percussion, cinematic synths and low-key vocals.
The band will be taking over London’s Electrowerkz on April 21st, but if that isn’t enough, then you can head over to their Facebook to check out the video for Holding It Down, which they posted alongside one explanatory sentence:
“After spending 48 hours building a living room in a remote forest, it only took us 10 minutes to burn it down”.
Definitely worth a watch.
PRODBEAR – What Can You Do For Me 1983?
Looking at Prodbear’s Soundcloud the word industrious springs to mind: owing to the consistent string of releases dating back seven years and spanning various genres, as well as links to other sites consisting of instrumentals he’s made for aspiring vocalists. The more eidetic of you will, of course, be conjuring images of his interview with Fresh On The Net’s very own Steve Harris back in 2015, which sang his rightly deserved praises following an appearance on the Fresh On The Net playlist and Tom’s Introducing Mixtape the week after.
While it’s labelled as hip-hop on Soundcloud, Prodbear’s What Can You Do For Me 1983, definitely harks of a more Kraftwerk vibe, as the title would hint at. However, a funky little guitar refrain and the four to the floor beat firmly place it in a modern context.
While there doesn’t appear to be any touring or release dates available, you can sign-up to Prodbear’s newsletter here, which I’m sure won’t be lacking in content.
SILENT CITIES – Cave Paintings
Another folk inspired masterclass in songwriting comes this time from Silent Cities. Labelled as one of the 9 bands to watch in 2017 by The Skinny Magazine, you can understand why on their latest track Cave Paintings. The track’s acoustic string melodies lay the foundation for the serene vocals that have a tinge of vibrato, playing with the imagination and building on the story-telling qualities of the track.
The band describe themselves as ambient “psych-pop on steroids”, and there’s certainly elements of that poking through, but also a definite move towards a more accessible sound than that label would suggest.
They’ll be surely wanting to build on their momentum so keep an eye out on their Instagram for upcoming shows.
THE KING’S PARADE – Haze
Sam Rooney, Tom English, Chris Brent and Olly Corpe make up this four-piece from London. The King’s Parade released their debut EP, Vagabond, last year and have since had a succession of singles that have truly rooted them into the alternative soul genre. Now, this is not just my opinion; they’ve already received praise from such places as Clash and Notion magazine, Earmilk and even London’s commuter bible, The Evening Standard.
Haze undoubtedly further adds to this campaign of genre domination, with its anguished vocals, bluesy guitars and shuffling drums, there’s no mistake that someone’s suffered some unrequited love along the way. If that’s a feeling you’re looking to relive or you just fancy some finely executed, soulful music then you’d better hop on down to Oslo (the venue, not the city) on May 11th for the full effect or you can ease yourself in with their Soundcloud or Youtube channel.
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.