Artists at a glance
KIDS AND CHEMICALS
THE HOWL & THE HUM
TOAST OF BOTSWANA
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s Sharon Pearce AKA SweetP this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
ANNEKA – Life Force
Anneka describes herself as a vocalist, songwriter, producer and visual artist based in Brighton.
Life Force is the title track off her forthcoming EP, due to be released on April 28, 2017 and is available for preorder. Anneka explains that Life Force was inspired by films such as Under The Skin and Ex Machina, written from the perspective of an android trying to understand and replicate what it means to be human.
Achieving a clean production which was mastered by Shawn Joseph at Optimum Mastering, the track is a real treat to listen to. Anneka’s beautiful yet haunting vocals reinforce the mood of the song that effectively transports the listener on a mysterious, eerie journey of wonderment. Experimental layers of synths, drumbeats and choral style backing vocals, all of which are cleverly placed, complement the overall ethereal sound of this exquisite track. On top of all that, there is an impressive self directed and edited music video to accompany the track that can be found on YouTube.
I could find very little information about Anneka other than the artists she has collaborated with: Forest Swords (Tri-Angle); Lone (R&S); Falty DL; Ital Tek; Starkey (Planet Mu); Blue Daisy (Black Acre).
BRIDIE JACKSON – No Baby To Lull
Bridie Jackson is an established artist based in the North East. A freelance musician, she works as a performer, composer and teacher. Her band The Arbour Birdie split last year but saw much success and achieved radio play on BBC 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 Music including live sessions for Radio 4’s Loose Ends and Radio 3’s Late Junction. In addition she won a journal Culture Award for the project Music In Museums, and if that’s not all, won the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Award back in 2013… PHEW! More recently, Bridie is also involved with FOTN’s very own Louis Barabbas’ new musical Jocasta.
Bridie’s hypnotic soulful vocals float effortlessly along the track reinforcing the words they carry. Backed by the strum of the bass reinforced acoustic guitars and drum beats, the clever addition of a dark woodwind sound gives this folk song a real bluesy feel.
You can hear the songs premiered at The Lowry, together with a full ensemble and special guests here.
COURTEOUS THIEF – Once Burnt
Courteous Thief is an Indie/Folk Singer-Songwriter from North Wales and has been described as acoustic indie pop and contemporary new folk. They have previously been featured here on Fresh Faves and have also achieved radio airplay with some previous releases from BBC Radio Wales, including Single Of The Week, plus live sessions and interviews. This track has also featured on BBC Radio Wales after gaining the attention of Bethan Elfyn.
Once Burnt is a well put together melodic track, led by its strong, emotive vocals and well written lyrics. These are backed by beautifully plucked acoustic guitars and a momentous drum beat and bass line. An excellent guitar solo is later added in for good measure. Check ou the music video over at YouTube.
Courteous Thief have also earned support slots with artists such as Turin Brakes, Chris Helm, Catfish And The Bottlemen, Mark Morris (The Bluetones) and Tom Hingley (Inspiral Carpets), and have performed at festivals including Glass Butter Beach, Festival No. 6 and Gorjys Secrets.
There are some live events coming up if you fancy popping along plus an EP, named Tribal, which is due out this summer.
GREATER SIRENS – The First Big Number
Greater Sirens are a new-wave/post-punk inspired indie rock band based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Formed in 2007 and with some member changes along the way the five-piece are made up of Greg Andresen and his brother Tim, Matt Whitbred, Bobby Savre and Steve Taylor.
The First Big Number, is the first single from their upcoming album, Unnatural Causes. The long intro showcases a sound with a modern edge, the guitar line running in tandem with the bass guitar. The track then steadily builds with the addition of Greg’s vocals some 43 seconds in. Greg’s distinctive vocal style sits perfectly on top of textured layers of mesmerizing guitar melodies, trippy keys, and energetic chords, drums and percussion.
Greater Sirens are planning to release their 12 track debut album, Unnatural Causes, later this year with Greg at the helm for both engineering and production. The band’s PR describes the record as: “a refreshingly unique approach to an often sterile genre. Incorporating their twin bass guitar sound, unconventional percussion, and more toy keyboards than could fill a toddler’s playroom, there is an experimental edge to the 12-track set that works in tandem with its pop core, making it a great album for both casual and close listening.”
Great Sirens have some live shows coming up in May and June if you fancy seeing them live.
JOESOLOMUSIC – Blue Town
JoeSoloMusic AKA Joe Solo is from Scarborough, and in his own words, is hammering out his unique brand of folk, punk and blues. He has released an incredible fifteen albums since 2004, meanwhile earning support slots with the likes of Chris Wood, David Rovics, Attila the Stockbroker, Otis Gibbs, Robb Johnson, Edgar Broughton, TV Smith, Paul Simmonds, Emily Portman, Pete Wylie, The Blockheads and Billy Bragg; whilst his songs have been played by John Peel on Radio 1, Mike Harding on Radio 2 and Tom Robinson on BBC6Music.
Blue Town is a spoken word track delivered with a great big slab of punch-in-the-air attitude. Although starkly backed by slapped hand percussion, this solo artist sure knows how to deliver a strong, opinionated protest message about issues that we face today, including the rise of the far right, among others.
In October 2016 he was awarded the Outstanding Songwriting prize at Yorkshire Gig Guide Grassroots Music Awards for his work on the album Never Be Defeated, telling the stories of the men and women of Hatfield during the 1984-85 Miner’s Strike.
Joe has his live dates listed online, including this Thursday 13th April at Fire In Your Heart Folk Club, Leicester.
KIDS AND CHEMICALS – Sea Of Trees
Kids And Chemicals are a electronic music and atmospheric rock style duo made up of siblings, Elizabeth and Patrick Carney from Springfield, Missouri. Although it also appears they have since evolved into a four piece…
Drawing from a kaleidoscope of musical styles, Kids And Chemicals’ beat driven tracks reference Hip-Hop, Soul, IDM and Jazz, but the result is unexpected. Patrick Carney’s production is dark and turbulent, and singer Elizabeth possesses the voice to match and together the pair execute a memorable, energetic presence.
Sea Of Trees is a heavy rock tune with a spaced-out feel. With the simple addition of a pan pipe sample comes a layer of interest and texture that adds a quirky feel. Elizabeth’s vocals are strong and effortlessly wrap around their heavy rock sound.
The song is, in their own words, “about a girl who is on the cusp of committing suicide to be with her dead lover.” They also give a little welcome insight into the recording process: “Just guitars, drums and a little pan pipe sample. We really wanted the guitars to sound huge, like something from Weezer’s Blue Album. We ran a Jaguar through a Marshall 800 and layered it like five times and it came out pretty great.”
The single is due out on 4th July, 2017 and has a music video out now which you can view on YouTube. New album After Life is due out soon, and there are some live shows lined up too, so check their links below for more details.
SOLBERG – I Never Liked Sundays Anyway
Solberg is the pseudonym of Henrik Solberg, a Norwegian Singer-Songwriter currently based in London.
Writing folk songs with a dash of Norwegian soul and pop that takes inspiration from artists like City and Colour, Bon Iver, John Mayer, Allen Stone, together with a style heavily based around his own unique vocals and melodies.
I Never Liked Sundays Anyway has a really feel-good, laid back vibe to it. Starting off with a soulful vocal backed by that melancholy organ adds sincerity and honesty and effectively exhibits Solbergs artistry. Simply backed by laid back grooves and catchy melodies that you’ll want to hear more of. This song really has a warm, soulful feel. Definitely Norway’s answer to John Mayer!
Solberg released his debut EP, Hello World, back in February, 2015. He has frequently gigged at classic London venues such as, The Bedford, The Finsbury, and The Islington. Solberg’s launch gig for his latest EP, I Have Been Told, will be held at The Water Rats this coming Tuesday, 11th April, 2017.
THE HOWL & THE HUM – Godmanchester Chinese Bridge
The Howl & The Hum are a four piece act comprising of Sam Griffiths, Conor Hirons, Bradley Blackwell and Jack Williams who are based in York.
They describe themselves as; “The Howl & The Hum used to have one head and then someone cut it off so it grew two heads, and this situation reoccurred until the now four-faced hydra began its slow takeover of this planet.”
Godmanchester Chinese Bridge (what a great title) is their debut single and has an air of simplicity about it. A well crafted song led by Sam Griffiths’ strong vocals, adding emotion and animation to the lyrics. The tempo really helps the song really move along, forever building into that huge overdriven guitar swell.
As well as reaching this week’s top ten, the track was also featured as Jericho Keys’, Track Of The Week on BBC Introducing York. Pretty good start for a debut single, and I very much look forward to hearing what this talented bunch of lads turn out next.
Great to see so many tracks accompanied by a music video this week, and this track is no exception. Check it out here.
They have a couple of live dates listed, one of which is on Wednesday 19th April, at Fibbers, Toft Green, York, UK.
TINY ARROWS – The Antidote
Tiny Arrows are a band based in Barcelona/Dorset, making skewed dream pop. Their profile picture is of a male and female so not sure if they’re a duo or if there are any other members as no other information is available at present.
There is only one track on their SoundCloud page so maybe they’re just starting out, I can only guess.
The Antidote leads with a catchy intro of textured guitars, keys and drums, bass with synths/electronics added here and there for good measure. Strong and emotive vocals give the track a captivating, interesting edge with a whisper style floating to the backing vocals. The line “Take Me Back To The Stars” gives this track a particularly spiritual feeling.
[Let’s hope they get some more info on the web soon Sharon… – Ed.]
TOAST OF BOTSWANA – Storm Of Dust
Toast of Botswana, with their catchy name, is made up of Elise and Tom from Champagne-sur-Seine, FR / Burton-on-Trent, UK.
There is very little information about the duo online and I think that’s the way they like it, stating that “We are the Toast of Botswana. This is all you need to know”. Apart from that they’re also “Fuzzin’ all over ya…”.
Storm of Dust, with a short intro, gets straight to business in this fuzzy, buzzy style alternative indie track. With a light-hearted happy feel, and with duo vocals creating interest, catchy guitar riffs and simple yet effective drum beats. The track is driven along with a strong undertone bass line that almost takes centre stage at various points along the track. All in all a real fun track to listen to.
There is also a music video available to watch now.
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.