ALEX HIGHTON – I Left The City
A longstanding favourite artist here at FOTN, it’s no surprise that this Alex Highton classic proved so popular with readers at the weekend. For those who missed his Prick’n’Ding feature last August, Alex grew up in Liverpool, spent a decade in London, then decamped with his family to rural Cambridgeshire. What he found was “an England he didn’t know existed and a life he didn’t know he was looking for”. With no expectations at all he wrote and recorded a bunch of songs that chronicled his journey from the city to the country. Just stuff about what was going on around him, his wife, his kids, breathing in the fresh air and staring into the abyss. The result is his debut album, Woodditton Wives Club, from which we’ve played several tracks on 6 Music Introducing.
BRIDIE JACKSON AND THE ARBOUR – Scarecrow
Again no surprises that readers loved the gorgeous vocals, simple piano and understated strings of Newcastle-based four-piece Bridie Jackson & The Arbour. They tell us they “use sparse instrumentation and intriguing vocal harmonies to create music that is simultaneously beautiful, ethereal, dark and powerful” and for once the music more than lives up to the PR bumph. The band formed gradually, drawing together experienced musicians from across the North East, with very different musical backgrounds but a shared passion for creating beautiful and interesting new music.
DEMAIN – Broad Strokes
I can tell you nothing about Demain except that he or she is a 23 year old producer from Southampton who has been producing for three and a half years. “I make old school Hiphop and occasionally some garage and house” declares this enigmantic personage, whorecently shed a final ‘e’ from his or her project name, turning it into the French word for “tomorrow”. Could this fine lopic electronic sample-based music possibly be the work of Dan Demaine from the Southampton University DJ Society ? Your guess is as good as mine.
FOLD – Blinding Light
Another outfit who are no strangers to Fresh On The Net, and who have once again barged their way into our Fresh Faves through sheer music quality. Based in Leeds, live downtempo / trip-hop band Fold integrate speech into music in experimental ways in order to reflect some of the heavier stuff going on in the world. Band founder Seth Mowshowitz dedicates this unreleased track to his mother Harriet who died on August 3rd, 2012 aged 70. “She brought kindness, laughter and light to a lot of people throughout her life.” says Seth “I hope that this track will inspire others to come together and overcome their own darkness.” You can read the full lyric on Soundcloud where the Scottish Harp samples are credited to Corrina Hewat – who may or may not be the female voice featured on this outstanding track.
HARRY RIDGWAY – Running To The North
Fine fingerpicking acoustic guitarist and songwriter Harry Ridgway inhabits the fenlands of Market Deeping, just North of Peterborough. He mentions on Twitter that he’s “going to be doing some video stuff and other things for Running To The North soon…” Beyond that he tells us nothing whatsoever about himself, his background, his interests, his music, why he makes it, where you can hear him play it or where you can buy it. Readers loved this track and it’s for gifted artists with a low online profile like Harry that we’ve devoted a whole page here at FOTN to why having an artist biog really matters.
LUMIN BELLS – Hold You Inside
Another band who’ve taken a great deal of time and trouble to create a beautifully wrought soundscape – but who couldn’t even spare ten minutes to tell the online world about themselves or their music.
That would have been it, except that I happened to remember Lumin Bells was the name of a new project from Mick Dolan – formerly a main mover in the Merseyside band Bird. I consulted that dependable oracle on all matters Liverpudlian, the Von Pip Music Express and learned this is a brand new trio who consist of Mick plus Nico Hercules and Neil Frost. Also that ‘Hold You Inside’ is from a forthcoming EP called ‘Beyond My Gaze’ which they’re recording at Track studios in Liverpool with Steve Powell. They’ve called on the help a whole host of Liverpool musicians to flesh out their songs including George Hitchmough (from Swingin Bricks) on drums, Danny Poole on bass and the trumpet playing of Martin Smith (who’s played with Shack) on the EP’s title track Beyond My Gaze. Austin Ronald Ray from Ratty Little Fingers also joined in on violin and Alistair Ligertwood played cello. They are set to start recording another eight tracks, which will then form the basis of their first album provisionally entitled titled “The Hidden Room”.
Huge thanks to Andy Von Pip for this clear, detailed information. And Nico, Mick and Neil – it wouldn’t have killed you to tell us that information on your Soundcloud page in the first place, now would it?
SHANE BEALES – A New Year
“Hello, my name is Shane Beales. I was born in Nottingham in 1982 but my family relocated to Perth, Australia where I lived till I was 6 and my favourite pastime was Breakdancing. I wrote my first song aged 8 and for my 12th birthday, my parents bought me a drumkit. As I teenager I went to high school in Melbourne, where my favourite subject quickly became music. In 1999, I moved to Colchester to do A levels in music, music technology and philosophy. I lived with my granny in the country and, because the drums all had to come over on a ship, I spent most of my time time bashing her piano and writing songs. I studied music at LIPA and released my first EP Beautiful in 2005. After university, I stayed in Liverpool and for the next year wrote, recorded and released a new song every week in what I called Project 52. In the Autumn of 2010 I relocated to London, where I am currently based. Last year I released and promoted my micro album or song cycle Tel Aviv, a suite of six short songs from the spring. I also worked with Egyptian singer Nadya Shanab on a new collaborative song inspired by the events in the Middle East and North Africa entitled It’s All About The People.
My latest single, A NEW YEAR is released on New Years Eve. It is 365 beats for 2013…”
THE ANDROID ANGEL – Chicago John
More musicmaking from Reigate’s most musical son – the startlingly talented and prolific Paul Coltoféanu. Not content with the every growing success of Free Swim he returns here to his alternative persona as The Android Angel to charm the pants off readers this weekend with this cheeky slice of twee electropop. It seems to me that Paul’s increasingly assured approach to musicmaking depends partly on a whimsical approach and exceedingly light touch so that he never appears to be taking the importance of his work too earnestly. Yet also on a real seriousness of execution so that his songs and recordings are all quietly crafted to perfection. Here is an artist to watch in 2013 because – to coin a cliche – whatever he comes up with next, you can always expect the unexpected.
THUMPERMONKEY – Wheezyboy
Thumpermonkey has existed in one format or another since 2003 and currently consist of Michael Woodman (founding member, vocals, guitar, lyrics, a.k.a. the most important one), Rael Jones (guitar, piano, wizardry, a.k.a. the most useful one), Ben Wren (drums, opinions, a.k.a. the most complainingy one), Sam Warren (bass, peircing eyes, a.k.a. the most least uncool one) Right now, Thumpermonkey aims to make “heavy, progressive music” although, they add, “we think it’s best we let others describe it in detail.” This track Wheezyboy comes from the band’s latest album Sleep Furiously which was released in October and also featured former Fresh Fave When Scouts Go Bad. Actually in almost 10 years, they have released six albums – “but still struggle” they claim “to write a convincing biography.” Not so sure about that – they make a damn sight better job of it than our final band in this week’s Fresh Faves…
TIGERCUB – Little Rope
A song and a vocal that grab you from the get-go, with a band to match. I liked a great many of the tracks on this week’s Listening Post and particularly the Fresh Faves on this page, but without question Little Rope by Brighton’s Tigercub is my absolute favourite. Really interesting sounding band and I’d love to tell you all about them, but hey – here’s the “About” section of their Facebook – you may as well read it for yourselves: