Another week, another installment of the Fresh Faves which our loyal readers singled out over the weekend on the Listening Post. Much appreciation to each and every artist who submitted their lustrous recordings making it nigh impossible to pick and choose the best of the crop. Cracking on then, let’s hear it for the bands featured in Batch 49 of the Fresh Faves:
ABIGAIL HUBBARD – People Watching
First up comes the unique soundscape provided by Whitstable based singer-songwriter Abigail Hubbard who, after dancing around to the Chim Chimeree sounds of Mary Poppins, dived into the deep end at the tender age of eleven, picking up her first guitar on her birthday. Although a trip-hop devotee at heart, “People Watching” is a supreme example of her unique genre olios adding a hint of jazz, classical and folk and her tantalisingly haunting Bjorkesque voice to the concoction. It’s not too often your ears get to cherish a voice that plays the perfect chaperon to trip-hop beats but Abigail has definitely cracked the code on this sublime track, which is well worth the trip (no pun intended).
ATLAS – Hunter
ATLAS, Sarah Hezen’s brainchild featured in Mr. Casson’s Prick and Ding 38 this very month and not surprisingly so. After the pulsating, trippy prologue, Sarah’s haunting, menacing vocals echo though your eardrums for the song’s entirety. An amazing vocal range is on display here, particularly towards the end of the track. The band have also featured as band of the week on Amazing Radio and the music video for Hunter has also graced the NME website no less. Need I say more? As Johnno says, it just makes so much more sense with the visuals to accompany the audio so I recommend you check it out here.
BOXER – Hey Hey Honeybee
The Brighton based band Boxer – try saying that over and over again – are next up with their tasty slice of what they describe as sexual failures sang over Pavement songs with the chords reordered slightly. Personally, and to their credit, despite a totally bare, stripped down intro, the track shifts into top gear, rivalling the sounds of Tribes or new age-new rage Palma Violets. The raw, disconsolate guitar, particularly towards the end, will have you diving into the internet to find out when they’re set to play live at a town near you. Tentatively forming back in 2010, Boxer is the vanity project of Mike Bissett. Although Mike insists that he took to writing and recording music against everyone’s advice, FOTN hopes he sticks to his guns and doesn’t pay attention to his team of advisors.
The band released their debut EP “Valentines Day” on a certain date last week. I’ll leave you to ponder on that one.
GYMNAST – Build A Boat
Despite being split between Edinburgh and Manchester, the duo, made up of Cathy Wilcock (lead vocals, guitar) and Chris Lyon (synth, cello, guitar, backing vocals), decided it was time to dig their teeth into the live circuit and both decided to set up base camp in Manchester. Armed with a mesmerizing combination of agitated trippy beats and Cathy’s wispy, angelic vocals surely Manchester must have welcomed them with open arms whilst Edinburgh are sorely missing them. It just as well they will be playing at the Electric Circus in Edinburgh on the 16th of March.
THE HUBBARDS – Dog Bite
Hull four-piece The Hubbards were one of my particular favourites this week and if a dog’s bite is anything like this then I’m more than willing to endure a bout of rabies. The tracks shimmery guitars and insolent infectiousness will have your head bobbing back and forth without you even realising it. Only last month they graced the same stage as Tribes in a supporting slot so already they are in good company.
You can get your ‘Dog Bite’ when it’s released as a free-to-download-single on March 25th. In the meantime, the video can be seen here and is the perfect bone to tease us into digging up as much as we can about them.
KITE AND THE CRANE – London
This came as quite the surprise to me. Not the fact they made it as a Fave this week, but rather that the track was recorded with all of one microphone in a flat using an antiquated version of Garageband. Homegrown musicians take note!
Kite and the Crane are an Edinburgh based trio dabbling in an eclectic mix of alternative/indie/folk music. This week’s track, ‘London’, is all about a friend of the band who moved to the bright lights and big city to secure a high flying job. What really lit my musical candle here were Hannah’s striking, vast ranging vocals with every single word of the lyrics remaining comprehensible; a pet love of mine. I imagine it was a no-brainer when the band opted for the grand finale featuring Hannah on acappella to the backing beat of finger clicks. I can’t even imagine what the band could achieve in a fully fledged studio. Can’t wait to find out either!
LAURENCE MADE ME CRY – Paper Chains
Although things start out with the sound of a simple acoustic guitar coupled with distorted percussion things just flourish and flourish throughout. It takes several listenings to really appreciate just how many levels there are at play. Jo Whitby, the woman behind the project, provides a sheer shock to the senses with her skilful combination of folk and rock roots with electronic instruments and organic sounds. It’s apparent that her master plan is to arouse the listener’s imagination as much as is humanly possible – something she pulls off majestically with the sheer scope of instrumentation.
MONTEZUMA – I Won’t Beg
This track really hit home this week with me. These guys certainly don’t need to beg as I am already up to listening to everything they have and will record.
Unfortunately there was not a great deal to be found on the net but seeing as there are only a couple of tracks on Soundcloud for now I imagine we’ll being seeing much more of them in the near future. For now, what I can tell you is that Montezuma is the moniker of Welsh singer/songwriter Steffan Davies. What grabbed my attention from the get go were his warm affecting vocals. What to say about the chorus? Contagious as heck, and as anthemic as anything the arena filling big boys of the moment are capable of putting to tape.
PIXEL THIEF – Maybe I’m Dreaming
Second double take of the day! This young chap hailing from Leeds is all of FIFTEEN years of age. He’s been producing for just over a year and there’s absolutely no telling what he’ll be capable of by the time he’s a fully fledged…… adult! Despite his youthfulness he has more than capably paraded his adeptness at sampling House and Garage. If this jaunty offering is anything to go by are we looking at the next Clint Mansell? If he were 10 years his older then I would be advising him to give up his day job but for now I’d say he obviously needs to keep his socks pulled up at school for the moment but certainly mustn‘t neglect this hidden talent. Keep it up young sir!
SIR SLY – Ghost
The pulsating, trippy sounds of LA’s SIR SLY have already gained praise with the band featuring as New Band of the Day in the Guardian and hitting the number one spot on Hype Machine last month. The track ‘Ghost’ is a slow, downbeat affair built around the backbone of a pummeling bass, adorned with guitars and driven along with synthesizer sounds. Whilst many have been quick to compare his vocals to a certain Mr. Chris Martin the delivery exhibits the bands weakness for a totally different genre: that of rap. The lyrics are also rather unique in themselves in the fact that they are sung from a first hand view from the other side. Keep your eyes out for these as they’re going to be haunting your eardrums, in a good way, for a long time to come.
STATEMENT HAIRCUT – Second Look
Statement Haircut are an indie/electro duo hailing from the Northwest and Midlands. With ‘Second Look’ the instruments at play induce a spacey, surreal soundscape. This is even true of the echoey I Am Kloot-esqueness of the lead vocals. On their official site they claim to draw influences from dance, post punk, funk, dub and pop with an interest in guitars vs. synths and harmonies vs. beats. Something tells me these are a band to be experienced on the live circuit where they promise to feature special guests, one off collaborations and a growing live band.
SUPERMASSIVEELEPHANT – Pterodactyl
Always good to finish off big so what better than to end with a Supermassiveelephant? ‘Pterodactyl” is a swooping bite of plucky guitars and jaunty, singalong vocals with a chorus that can only be deemed as anthemic. Unfortunately, on the internet Supermassiveelephant, aka Alex Hall, are more of a needle than an elephant in a haystack. Let’s just say that their indelible chorus chants “Let the sequel comfort me” and I’m certain whatever comes next will do just that.
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Fresh Faves reviewed this week by
Howard Gorman from comedychords.com
FROM TOM: 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…