Fresh Faves: Batch 36

Each week up to a hundred tunes come into our inbox here at Fresh On The Net, and each of them gets listened to – briefly – by several members of Team Freshnet, including me. We each pick our two or three absolute favourites from that week’s batch, and those tracks form our Listening Post: thirty handpicked tracks for your listening enjoyment every weekend. And very enjoyable they were this time around. From a very strong field indeed, nine tracks came narrowly ahead of the rest in the popularity stakes and are listed here in alphabetical order… [to see the full list click Read More]

CLEFT – Trapdoor

A few months ago the world had never heard of this Mancunian instrumental math-rock duo, but since then they’ve pretty much taken Fresh On The Net and BBC Introducing by storm. It’s not a genre that often points at the high road to mass popularity, and the warmth with which their music has been received seems to have taken John and Dan by surprise more than anybody.

The tightness of their playing and composition skills clearly has a lot to do with it but so do their production skills. There’s a real art to recording a guitar’n’drum two piece with overdubs so subtle that the tracks sound wonderful on your hifi, yet still sound exactly like the noise they make live.

Their factual yet entertaining biog reveals that Dan discovered the joys of cheese in Brighton, while John had to move away from Lancaster after a bad experience with a three foot garden gnome and a bucket. You couldn’t make it up. Their debut EP “Utter” was released in June 2012, and they have a second one “in the oven” right now.


Within the first three seconds of hearing this track in our inbox, London trio Dora Brilliant had already won themselves a place on my BBC Introducing Mixtape. From bar one Talk It Up goes straight for the musical jugular –  I adored its vital, sharp & energetic musicianship – and the fact that it didn’t sound like anything else in the pile. Anthony Chapman‘s powerful, clean production doesn’t show off or draw attention to itself – you hear the song, not some clever-clever James-Blakey studio shenanigans.

The band’s 7-track EP Real Bombing has just been released on Bandcamp and can be downloaded for whatever you think it’s worth – and frankly this is the kind of tight, classy musicianship that money can’t buy. Well it can, of course, but in the normal run of things it comes from top international session musicians and comes very, very expensive. I only wish they had uploaded this track to BBC Introducing so I could include it in our Mixtape.

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HOT FEET – Under October
Track not embeddable - click to hear on Soundcloud

Another beautiful recording with clear-as-a-bell folk vocals, immaculate fingerpick guitar and lovely ensemble playing from the whole band. No wonder so many people rated Under October by Hot Feet in their favourite five tracks this week. So – apart from the fact that they didn’t “widget enable” their track on Soundcloud as requested – what can I tell you about this quartet ?

Well their hometown is either Stroud or Brighton – take your pick – and their Facebook says “Chai Tea, Cats and Charangos” And that’s about it. There are plenty of links on their homepage for Videos, Links & Contact, Music, Upcoming Gigs, Archive and Ask. But none for About or Biog. All we can pass on is the fact that they play The Living Room in Cambridge on Nov 2nd, followed by shows in Woodbridge, London, Ramsgate and Brighton.

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IAMCHARLII – Boy Like A Girl

As the owner of I was predisposed to like this song for its title alone – though musically it does place I Am Charlii dangerously close to the category we reviewers tend to dismiss as a mere “piano botherer”.  It’s redeemed by both her songwriting expertise and her irresistible smoky blues vocal style. Boy Like A Girl is the free B side to her single called “Some Way Out” which will be made available on iTunes on Halloween – 31st October 2012.

Charlii formerly sang lead vocals, we’re told, in the Swedish 7os-style rock band Fixx-Aztridh – but is now focussing on her own solo career. “I want people to not just listen but to also experience my music…” says Charlii “…like they are drifting through the clouds like a feather in the wind, or are suddenly about to explode and disappear in the unknown – where darkness, light, sadness and happiness are one”. Does she succeed? Listeners, you be the judge.

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LONESOUND – The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors by the Reading-based project Lonesound was a highly popular choice with many of our regular volunteer reviewers this week – and this recording appears to be the work of a single versatile musician and songwriter, according to his helpfully factual biog.

“Lonesound is me, James Ewers. I’ve assumed an alias.  I’m making and releasing my first solo album The Great Outdoors in 3 parts. Part 1 came out in July. Part 2 is released in December and the final part released along with the complete album next spring. I felt this was a better way of doing things in today’s saturated music market. It seems to be working pretty well, though it’s a real test in consistency. I’ve been playing some shows backed by a great band (Dave Wade Brown, Leah Kardos, Mike Murray & James Wakefield), and also some solo ones.”

The next one – with said band – is in London at The Sebright Arms opening for Broken Hands) November 7th, 2012.

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SCARLETTPARADE – March Of The Fallen

People simply adored March Of The Fallen by Scarlett Parade as soon as they laid ears on it. Almost half the readers who heard our Listening Post this weekend rated this startling vocal-led ballad in their Top Five – simply click play you’ll hear why. Rather than grabbing us by the throat or slapping us round the face, the charismatic vocals of Geoffrey Tinkler gently take us by the hand – Blue Nile fashion – and lead us off into the atmospheric soundscape of this elegaic number.

Their self-titled debut EP is due for official release in November 2012, but in fact can already be heard on their Soundcloud – the fact that all their tunes have racked up hundreds of plays speaks for itself. Geoffrey, along with fellow founding member Adam Jones is originally from the Isle Of Man, and the pair formed Scarlett Parade in London earlier this year.

The band has a series of shows in and around the capital during November, starting at The Grey Horse in Kingston on November 2nd. For the full list of dates and a comprehensive biog, see their website.

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I know we seem to say this every week, but there are some genuinely exceptional tracks in this latest collection of tunes picked by our readers. Brownie points go to Melbourne’s Sunk Junk – or the Junkies as they’re affectionately known to friends and fans – not only for some of the most original music, but also for far and away the most original band biog of the week. It’s written in an oblique dictonary-style and deserves to be quoted in full…

Experimental: (Of a new invention or product) based on untested ideas or techniques and not yet established or finalised. Collaborative: Produced or conducted by two or more parties working together. Quartet: A group of four people playing music or singing together. Melbourne: The capital of Victoria, in southeastern Australia, on the Bass Strait, opposite Tasmania. Two Vocalists: Two lead vocalists. Neither leading more than the other. Suburbia: The suburbs or their inhabitants viewed collectively. 1990’s: This is the decade that we grew up in. Nostalgia.

Sunk Junk’s first release “Junior Bloom” is available and free to download from their Bandcamp. Listen and enjoy.

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It seems like at least one great new track a week has to emerge from the North East of England here at Fresh On The Net, and this deliciously understated gem ticked all the boxes – with its careful, thoughtful instrumentation and arrangement. The Lindsay Tin is a “new musical endeavour” from Paul Christian Patterson (a founder member of the splendid Dark Sky Singers) and Paul Jeans (the sole member of Jeans goes POP!) who began writing together in the early winter months of 2012 in a small attic room in South Shields, overlooking the North East coastline.

Astonishingly, given the assurance of this performance, they only played their first gig in July this year. The next is at The Cluny 2 in Newcastle with Hooded Fang and Dead Indians on Monday 12 November 2012. Fire at Will is their debut single, due out on November 26th with an EP to follow in the New Year.

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THE WATERMELONS – Dance Strange Together

The Watermelons are an alternative indie/rock band based in Brighton or possibly Chichester – their Soundcloud disagrees with their Facebook so let’s just say West Sussex. We first played their music back when Fresh On The Net was a radio show at the end of 2009 – and again early in 2010. Since then they’ve toured extensively in Germany and France and are now back home writing, recording and gigging in the UK.

We heard the first fruits of their newly energised songwriting style when their 6-track EP Better Together was  released in May – from which the song Tender Love blasted its way onto our Listening Post three weeks ago, and this tune Dance Strange Together is also taken. They play Seven Stars in Brighton on November 7th, followed by shows in Arundel, London, Chichester, Manchester and Halifax.

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Our Listening Post was a close-run thing this week with even more standout songs than usual – which meant that the votes were spread across a wide range of the tunes we had on offer. Here are a further four songs which also scored highly with our readers. If you’ve enjoyed the nine Fresh Faves above, then I’d strongly recommend checking out the following. In alphabetical order:

Kleine Schweine - click to zoom image in new window

KLEINE SCHWEINE – Pride (In The Name Of Yugoslavia)
You have to love a Northern political punk band obsessed with Eastern Europe and pork products and I like this so much we already played it on my 6 Music show last Saturday. To declare an interest, their Facebook profile picture was taken by me on my iPhone (above) and I sang backing vocals on their debut album – which is released next month and produced by the excellent Whiskas from Forward Russia.To finance the record on PledgeMusic they offered various bonus enticements such as albums, exclusive previews, signed photos, pig masks, sauerkraut and… the chance to sing backing vocals on their album. Well – who could resist? The launch party takes place in their native Leeds at The Well on Friday 2nd November 2012 with guests including The Chapman Family, Micky P Kerr, The Reacharounds and Guerin. And then on Saturday (November 3rd) they launch it all over again in London at the Hope & Anchor.

ORLANDO – Sleeping Lambs (Smallfish remix)
Our friends Orlando are the Barcelona-based duo of Hilary James and John Stuart. You would never guess from the quality and delicacy of their recordings that they were made in a living room using Apple’s free GarageBand software. This is, they tell us, a remix of their recent scary folk tune, made by the estimable Jonathan Huxtable from Smallfish Recordings… “Lars von Trier, are you listening?” they ask. I thought of tweeting him to ask – before realising I had found a bogus account. if only internationally famous avant-garde Danish film directors were as easy to reach on Twitter as that.

This Gravesend-based duo were first recommended to us on 6 Music Introducing by Huw Stephens at Radio 1 –  who discovered them thanks to the good offices of Jacob Rickard at BBC Introducing In Kent. This track is both oddly interesting and interestingly odd – with its peculiar groove and falsetto vocals – and comes from their selftitled debut EP which has just been released via their Bandcamp. Once again, the fact that they’ve kept this recording at a concise length (2:38) means it’ll be dead easy for us to slip it into one of our BBC Introducing Mixtapes next month. Also by the fact that – unlike a depressing number of UK artists who submit here each week – they always take the trouble upload their latest tunes to BBC Introducing.

This lovely slice of lo-fi driving grunge comes from a Manchester 4-piece whose interests include crap films, Arnie quotes and cheap Tesco stubbies. I can’t give you any more information than that because they don’t provide any. See How To Write A Band Biog, for why artists regularly shoot themselves in the foot by not providing enough of a “story” to help them stand out from the many thousands of other decent-sounding bands out there. Just one man’s opinion, of course.  I did manage to find out from their Bandcamp page the additional information that they’re available for children’s parties – and are supporting Electric Six at Club Academy in Manchester on 6th December 2012.

Tom Robinson

PS: If you’ve submitted a track that hasn’t made the Fresh Faves you’re welcome to re-submit it again. But if you have been a Fresh Fave in recent weeks could you possibly hold back for at least six weeks before sending us another one. If you keep sending us great tracks every week it leaves less room for new names who haven’t had a chance yet…

Tom Robinson

London-based broadcaster & songwriter, born 1950. His best known songs are 2-4-6-8 Motorway, Glad To Be Gay and War Baby; he has also co-written songs with Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Dan Hartman and Manu Katché. Read More...


  1. Thanks for the kind write-up. It’s probably too late, but Talk It Up is now on the Introducing Uploader.

    Dora x

  2. Tom Robinson

    2-4-6-8 ain’t never too late 🙂 Thanks for sorting that, will go get it now

  3. Cor I’m blushing, Tom! Many thanks for the kind, kind words. I’m really proud of the Dora Brilliant stuff, so it’s good to know I’m not the only one who can hear how special they are.

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