Fresh Faves: Batch 253

Chembo

Artists at a glance

ALI HORN
ANAPHASE
CHEMBO
FALSE ADVERTISING
FAMILY JOOLS
KIDSMOKE
L-SPACE
OOBERFUSE
SYLVA
WHITE ROOM

These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s Derval McCloat this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.

ALI HORN – Bloom

Oh wow – Ian Brown eat your heart out! Is it possible to get any more fuzzed up with one song?

Bloom is a glittering piece of lo-fi psych with continents of effects woven through its gauzy fabric. ‘Highly strung’ guitar riffs, rivers of dreamy melodies and vocals so wet that if they were pushed any further back in the mix they’d be in the next song.

There’s a lot of innovative reimagining of vintage ’90s indie into which I suspect influences from the golden glory days of the Charlatans, Inspiral Carpets and the Seahorses et al have been swept up. But while Bloom takes its direction from the past, its gaze is purely face-forward and the infusion of so much ambient pedal into the mix ensures Horn’s take on a long-standing genre is as fresh as it is scuzzy.

Ali Horn shrinks his clothes in the bath whilst drinking beer and is known to play with Liverpool’s Strange Collective. Aside from that I know stuff all else about him other than this track got a spin by Gary Crowley BBC Intro London and that Ali is playing the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia on 21st September.

Word to the wise you Ali – get your FB “About” abouting!

Bloom is out now via Label Recordings.

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter

ANAPHASE – Ornament

Cripes! It’s all ‘going-Radiohead-on’ here this week.

Ornament, the FOTN entry by Anaphase is the first of this week’s songs that lean towards the idiosyncratic sounds of the Abingdon 5.

It’s very Yorke on one of his less neurotic Kid A / Amnesiac kind of days.

The track kicks off with ‘subterranean’ piano chords brooding under a pensive, husky demi-falsetto; the light n dark, vocal vs instrumental is a constant throughout ever-increasing atmospherics. The sombre minimalism of the intro spills over onto a multi-dimensional coda resplendent with electronic gymnastics and dramatic dashes that perfectly ‘ornament’ the song’s emphatic climax.

Hailing from Brixton, Anaphase is Oliver Wennink and Matt Owen.  The duo debuted their Cortex EP in August – you should check it out pronto chop chop! And boys, you should send a hard copy to Abingdon (or is it LA these days, Thom?)

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter

CHEMBO – TIGHTROPE

Ooh hark at this voice – very Estelle innit!

Zambian-born, Welsh reared Chembo is the real vocal deal folks. A confident, rich, pristine vocal that wheels up and down those scales with all the ease of a well-oiled roller-skate.

Her track Tightrope is a muddle of R&B, Latin, electro-pop and Afro-beats. With its mellow, chilled-out vibe and warmly inviting melodies, this is the type of song you want playing in the background as you cook up some nice food and fondle a glass of vino while trying to unwind after yet another hectic day.

Note – there is some seriously lush Spanish-esque guitar playing on this track with which I have fallen in love. Whoever is pulling those strings, they have totally yanked mine.

Vocally and melodically this is a winner – it ticks all the right boxes to make it radio, media and ear-friendly. If you’re missing out on our not the Indian Summer, let Tightrope cast a few last warm rays of sunshine on ever-cloudy, grey Autumn evenings.

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

FALSE ADVERTISING – Hey You

In the two plus years since I began modding for FOTN, Manchester three-piece False Advertising have gone from nowhere to very much somewhere on the UK music scene.

Back in 2015, their sound was on the edge of clangourous. Cue 2017, and the emergence of a more matured and fully rounded sound, one that has found its sense of purpose and a style that serves the trio’s musicianship well.

The band’s new single, guitar-driven Hey You, is a low-key melodic swagger towards a fuzzy horizon. It changes gears more times than Lewis Hamilton, has more than a hint of the B52s about it on the chorus and there’s a serious amount of hot’n’heavy petting going on with those guitar chords while Jen Hingley’s vocal is charmingly two fingered as always.

Our cousins over at BBC Intro Manchester invited False Advertising in to play a live sesh back in August during which they performed a lush acoustic rendition of Hey You – listen to it here!

There’s a new EP – I Would Be So Much Happier If I Just Stopped Caring – (wouldn’t we all, love!) on the way further down the Autumnal tracks. Right now, the trio are on the cusp of a six week tour. 22nd September will see them beating their meat at the John Peel Centre, Suffolk.  Full details here.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

FAMILY JOOLS – American Dream

Family Jools want you to have their telephone number… it’s on their FB page… can’t you get any girlfriends in yonder Bristol then boys? Unfortunately, I’m too old for you but if you want me to put in a good word for you at the local disco just say the word!

Family Jools are George, Euan, Jack and Tim and they’re itchily contagious, which in my world, really isn’t a very good thing. When you’ve had as close a relationship with Dermovate as me, the last thing you need is more contagion, thanks all the same.

All jocularity aside, Family Jools have already notched up quite a spread of press reviews that swerve from Gram Parsons to ’60s bubblegum pop. The four-piece have also managed to score plenty of radio airtime including plays by Amazing Radio and BBC Intro The West (hiya Sam!).

Their song American Dream does what it says on the tin – it’s an American influenced sync-rock jam that turns on a 4-chord trick. A never-ending riff rolls its way through the track while the percussion stays very much in the background. What marks this song out as different to say, your Green Days, or your Tom Petty, is the vocal, which belongs firmly in a vintage echo-chamber. It’s pure past-tense, from an age when singer’s gave a powerful delivery without tying their larynx in a knot.

By the looks of their events page, Family Jools have had a busy summer and I’m not surprised. There’s a definite edge here that ranks them above many of their alt/American rock style peers. It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds.

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter

KIDSMOKE – Seabirds

Oh hello Wales, how the hell are you?

Voila Kidsmoke a quartet from Wrexham playing 80’s inspired indie since 2013. Nice. Except on this track entitled Seabirds, I don’t hear any Smiths or Joy Division; what I hear is Crowded House feat Prefab Sprout with Maggie Reilly on the side. However, and anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I don’t say this lightly, there is without a shadow of a doubt, more than a hint of Radiohead going on in here.

I won’t beat about the hyperbolic bush. This track is absolutely gorgeous. A sublime piece of golden-hued indie pop delivered with the most delicate of touches and windswept of finishes. This is the  kind of soundscape where hazes of jangly reverb and Fleetwood-esque drumming counter iridescent clouds of harmonies billowing airily through dreamy skies.

Live dates in Birmingham, Manchester and the Swn Festival in Cardiff are imminent – check out the band’s FB page.

The single Seabirds is lifted from the EP Save Your Sorrow, available now here. Also, before I do one, there’s also a self-directed video, which you can watch here!

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

L-SPACE – Aloe

Oh look, it’s Dave Gahan and his sledge hammer back to knock the beats into shape on Aloe, the L-space entry in this week’s faves.

This electronic-dystopia opens with a hammering thump a la Stripped that continues to knock lumps out of the instrumental just about up to the end, but not quite!

Stylistically, there is a lot going on in here, more than is first apparent to the ear. Arch synths, sinister guitar fuzz, dark vocal distortions – so many textures and hues. So many sonic pictures that flow in and out and across each other. There is a myriad of sounds, a plethora of gear changes like ever changing plot-lines, to keep the listener riveted.

Vocally, this is very Nordic delight meets Julee Cruise – breathy glacial dreaminess meets strangely otherworldly and slightly unnerving. Interestingly, on the instrumental there is a serious line in Twin Peaks-esque surrealism! In fact, the whole thing is rather like an episode of a David Lynch series and to underline the point, the hypo-dramatic coda tails off leaving a rather menacing guitar sequence to close out the track. Gorgeously dark.

L-space are Gordon Johnstone, Lily Higham, Dickson Telfer (what a lovely name – very film star) and Maura Keane (very Irish) and they are nailing their colours to the transhumanism mast (only those in Mensa need apply). They’re based in Scotland and cite three of my favourite music artists as influences – Philip Glass, Sigur Ros and Radiohead – which means they’ve got seriously good taste!

I’d imagine L-space are the kind of band that’d be intriguing live! They’re set to play some gigs in Edinburgh and Glasgow – dets on their FB page – get ye to them and be enthralled.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

OOBERFUSE – Never Give Up

Ooberfuse is Hal St John and Cherrie Anderson who deal in ethereal, electronic pop.  Ipso facto they should be Norwegian but judging by their names, they’re from team GB (exact location unknown).

Tom Robinson describes their sound as “Classy, well-made pop music” and well-polished, slickly packaged pop it is too. There’s a touch of Cyndi Lauper about Anderson’s childlike vocal; it’s a voice teetering on the edge of adulthood yet not quite managing to get a firm enough grasp to pull itself up out of jejunity.

In fact her delivery on upcoming single Never Give Up is more of a sorrowful whisper rather than a full on vocal. Replete with breathy melancholia it floats aloft o’er delicately woven electronic threads and pop-up snatches of accordion. It’s all rather sad and sweet and warm fuzzy feelingingy.

Never Give Up will be released on this reviewer’s birthday (whoop!) but before that Ooberfuse will play Sofar for Amnesty International on 20th September.

There’s a rather touching but very insightful video accompaniment to this song featuring Jihyun Park, a human rights campaigner who fled North Korea for the UK . It takes someone special to be able to reshape their life having endured years in a “1984” type dystopian bubble. You can watch the video here.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

SYLVA – Fragile Heart

Sylva is a brand new collaboration between singer/songwriter Amy May Ellis and songwriter/producer Will Cookson, both respected solo artists in their own right.” Okeydokey then.

Sylva’s brand of environmentally friendly folksy pie is the kind of vibe that would be a magnet for fellow humanist artisans like Susanne Sundfor or IRAH. Their song Fragile Heart is a rustic swathe of country-folk awash with delightful vocals, pleasing melodies and well-scribed lyrical poesy about spent love in a broken world and that youthful impatience we all experience when we think we’ve been standing too long at life’s bus-stop.

There’s a lot of energy going on for the genre that homes this track. There’s also some really nice low-key electronica, perfectly layered and very well played guitars sequences and energetic yet subtle drumming. Amy May Ellis doesn’t half sound like Gris-de-Lin (you related?) which as far as FOTN is concerned, is a really super cool thing. She has a voice that’s at once youthful and mature, romantic yet cynical, punchy but raw.

Fragile Heart is a nicely textured kick of the folksy heel to dud romances and stalled futures. Astonishingly, it’s Sylva’s first single, so having it faved within like two minutes of getting together and setting up their FB page is pretty wow by all accounts. Speaking of FB, er, it’s a bit light on detail.

Best of luck to you both in your new collaborative venture!

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | YouTube

WHITE ROOM – Tomorrow Always Knew

White Room come from that southmost music mecca – Brighton. They’re a five-piece that wrap themselves in the multi-coloured stains of cheeky prog-psych.

They recently released a Double-A combining this track Tomorrow Always Knew with an equally hallucinogenic The Blue. Both tracks come from the band’s forthcoming EP Eight due out later this year. I suspect we’re talking mid-end November as that seems to be when the next tranche of lives have been diaried in for.

Tomorrow Always Knew is a languorous trip through the bright lights of ’60s prog (King Crimson, Pink Floyd and possibly a dash of the Kinks) that’s beamed up by Scotty to a place in Tim Burgess’ back garden. This is vintage meets retro in a very colour me languid kind of way. It comes with psychedelic, helter-skelter spins, kooky guitar play and a vocal interplay that’s really imaginatively arranged.

Lovers of music from times past will adore this gilt-edged slacker blur. I think it’s fantastic. Go buy, go see. Ciao.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

White Room

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.

Derval

Devotee of Music, Books, Art, Fashion & all things cultural. Keen interest in IT/Social media. Currently trying to plug musical gaps. With a special fondess for Nordic music, Derv has written for The Monitors, Ja Ja Ja and The 405, and blogs at DervSwerve.

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