Fresh Faves: Batch 258

Samuel J Lawrence

Artists at a glance

ALICE & THE LOVERS
DOS FLORIS
FENNE LILY
GAFFA TAPE SANDY
GECKO
HUMAN PYRAMIDS
LUKE DE-SCISCIO
SAMUEL J LAWRENCE
THE OPERA COMIC
USELESS CITIES

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

ALICE & THE LOVERS – Boneyard

Alice Offley of Alice & The Lovers is a distant relative of Dusty Springfield, and her latest single Boneyard is driving ‘girltar’ garage rock with lots of attitude, it has been produced by Andy Partridge (XTC) and Mixed by Mike Chapman (Blondie/Suzi Q). Alice Offley appears to have piqued the interest of some high profile people in the industry, and currently tours with her female backing band The Lovers, featuring Izzy Lizzard on Guitar and Mirre on drums.

From Swindon, Alice has a passion for 60’s girl groups and the ‘Stax’ sound, she uses her eclectic collection of old guitars, keyboards and organs to help craft her tracks. The band were formed on Valentines day 2013, in contrast Boneyard is due for release on Cargo Records for Halloween (27/10/17).

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

DOS FLORIS – Water

Born to a Dutch mother and English father Florence Donovan is a multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter. As a lifelong fan of Kate Bush I feel Water will appeal to fans of Kate’s later albums, with a particular nod to last years theatrical version of “Dream of Sheep”. I make no apology for the reference to Kate, I mean it in a positive way. The song is in no way a musical copy, it has its own soundscape, and is incredibly evocative. The track has oceans of space and time to listen to the words, and to relax into the world she has created.

Florence spends time in both Bologna and London, her video for this song is filmed in the Italian woods, and mirrors the songs magically cinematic feel, and is definitely worth a watch. Dos Floris are on tour from the 13th of November.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

FENNE LILY – Three Oh Nine

I picked Fenne Lily as my favourite track this week. I have been fortunate to be moderating long enough to hear several of her submissions. Fenne writes beautiful songs. When she sings, it is as if you are overhearing a whispered conversation between a girl and her imaginary friend, it is otherworldly with purity and fragility at the same time.

I realise that Three Oh Nine has a much bigger sound than Fenne’s previous work, yet I am relieved that it has managed to place her voice front and centre within the mix. The track has percussion, keys and underlying bass, and a fabulous chorus pleading “please don’t leave”, and why would anyone want to?

I see the track already has nearly 50,000 listens in less than a month, with 300 likes, and I read the track has been a hit on her recent tour with the talented Siv Jakobsen and Sivu. Fingers crossed that Fenne’s success continues to grow.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

GAFFA TAPE SANDY – Beehive

Gaffa Tape Sandy describe themselves brilliantly as a garage rock/punk trio from Bury St Edmunds, with an undying love for music that makes you want to move around and punch your best friend in the head. Their sound is “loud and very exciting”.

This is not my genre of choice, but when a song is as good as Beehive genres don’t matter. The song has a relatively quiet opening, which seduces the listener with lyrics about butterflies and hummingbirds. The intro is followed by a simple vocal melody, then unexpectedly the chorus opens up and hits you straight in the face. I’m sure the contents of every plastic pint glass at every gig will end up on the floor in the ensuing melee.

Gaffa Tape Sandy are influenced by The Pixies, White Stripes and Violent Femmes and were chosen by BBC Introducing to perform at Glastonbury this year, Beehive fittingly closed their set. The band are Catherine Lindley-Neilson (voice and bass), Kim Jarvis (voice and guitar) and Robin Francis (drums).

Beehive came out on October 20th through Antigen Records, and is available through all the usual platforms

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

GECKO – iPhone Therefore I Am

I missed this track in my picks from the full inbox, fortunately my fellow moderators spotted it, and i’m glad they did.

Gecko has appeared on several of Tom’s BBC Introducing Mixtape and our Fresh Faves dating back to 2013. iPhone, Therefore I Am is the lead track from Gecko’s brand new album Volcano which was released on the 13th October. Gecko is from North London and a very intelligent wordsmith.

The song opens with 808 drums, and the line “…yeah – I’m out of battery – just send me a letter”, and witty lyrics about smart phones ensue, every word carefully crafted and delivered with perfect timing.

I’ve watched a Sofar video of this song – he delivers like a well honed stand up comedian, the crowd love it; just the right mix of comedy and acoustic guitar. Gecko has played alongside Ed Sheeran, Lee Scratch Perry & has a swathe of radio DJ admirers. His whole set seems to accomplished and equally charming.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

HUMAN PYRAMIDS – Crackle Pop

I have recently become aware of some amazing projects which fuse elements of Brass, orchestral music, and a more contemporary sound. Jeremy Deller’s acid brass project, Hannah Peel’s Tubular brass, and now thanks to the Listening post I have discovered this.

Human Pyramids is the brainchild of Paul Russell from Glasgow. Paul spent his childhood in a mining village in West Lothian which has one of the oldest brass bands in the country, so I would imagine he is no stranger to groups of people coming together to make music. The band is made up of a 16 strong ensemble of hand picked musicians, the sound they make together is passionate and triumphant.

Crackle pop gets into your head immediately, with a catchy piece of looped percussion. The track builds, swoops and lifts with elements of electronica and explosive crescendos of fantastic orchestral noise; maintaining the songs hooks and building on them until the listener is left happily exhausted.

The track is one of 12 taken from the album Home which will be released on the 10th November on Three Mile Town Records.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

LUKE DE-SCISCIO – Jessica

Raised on the edge of Stanton Park in the Wiltshire countryside Luke De-Sciscio relocated to Bath where he spent two years living on a canal boat. His songs are full of quiet contemplation. I have voted for Luke de Sciscio tracks on the listening post before, the track Anywhere comes to mind, my notes about the artist refer to tender vocals and painfully honest lyrics.

This latest track is a whopping 8 minutes long! this clearly was not an issue for our voters, however I personally believe the track would benefit from being much shorter. The song reads like a letter to a past love, talking of the love they shared, and life as it is now; it is beautifully sad, and drenched in nostalgia. I love the simplicity of the arrangements, and Luke’s voice is soft and tender.

My favourite section is the “you’ve got to remember: I’m a mama’s boy and my father’s only son, you were the first thing that went wrong” which in my opinion could be developed into an incredibly beautiful 3 minute song on its own.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

SAMUEL J LAWRENCE – Bitter Mind

This was the most popular track with voters on the Listening Post this week. I struggled to find out much about Samuel J Lawrence online, so contacted him and he responded with a lovely email.

Samuel was born in South Africa but grew up in Nottingham, he moved to Brighton last September and formed a band in April, his main influences are Jeff Buckley, Vulfpeck and Nick Mulvey. Bitter Mind was recorded at Electric Studios and released on the 2nd of October, it’s a mixture of Folk, Rock and Funk.

The song is about long term relationships, and how bitter arguing becomes when people get overly comfortable with one another. It has a gorgeous folk intro, which is accomplished in its own right. One minute into the track it evolves into something funkier, then morphs again to a guitar-laden anthem. The song gels seamlessly, and is all the more interesting for mixing genres. Bitter Mind is a fantastically accomplished piece of “three for the price of one” songwriting coupled with passionate raw vocals.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | YouTube

THE OPERA COMIC – Fantasise!

Fantasise by Leeds-based The Opera Comic was another hugely popular track with voters this week. The band are a five piece made up of Luke, Mitch, Jack, Nathan & Mitchell who take influence from The Smiths, The Last Shadow Puppets and The Killers. They describe their sound as psychedelic indie-pop.

The track wastes no time getting going, with brass stabs, full on guitars and driving backbeat, then the vocal comes in “…well tonight by the blessings of heaven” with an underlying sixties organ. I’ve watched footage of the band playing in a beautiful church, backlit by huge stained glass windows, they sound brilliantly loud, and are definitely worth seeing.

The band played their first headline at Brudenell Social Club, and are currently on tour with dates until mid December.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

USELESS CITIES – EYESORE

When I first heard this indie alternative rock track by Useless Cities, it strangely reminded me of Atmosphere by Joy Division. I note that Ian Curtis is not an influence, instead Mogwai, Arcade Fire and The National are listed, which I can also hear in the track.

The London band consists of Tom on vocals/guitar, Conny singing and playing keys, Clare on bass and Seb on drums. They were formed in 2016 and used a disused public toilet in Kentish Town to rehearse.

Tom’s deep and eerie vocal on Eyesore, with its underlying dark guitar patterns, are countered by Conny’s brighter backing vocal coupled with touches of simple piano melodies. The band have previously released EPs to much acclaim from music bloggers and writers alike.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

Gaffa Tape Sandy

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.

Russ

Russell Jeanes is a Yorkshire born songwriter, graphic designer and film maker with a passion for poetry. He writes songs about trees, birds and bees – which have been sung by artists from around the world. Some of them have already made their way onto the Listening Post and BBC Introducing Mixtapes. Russ hopes that his role as moderator on FOTN will help other new artists to find their audience.

6 Comments

  1. Thanks so much Russell and all who listened you’ve made my Monday bright and breezy! x

  2. Me G

    Nice reviews Russ

  3. Lovely reviews and lovely music indeed! Boom!

  4. Thank you so much for the review and to everyone who took the time to listen during the weekend on the Listening Post. It has been a great experience. x

  5. Joe Holtaway

    beautiful – thanks Tom and team for all you do

  6. Thanks so much for all of your work and love of new music x x

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