This week our readers picked tracks by ALI WARREN BAND, DE PEDRO, DESPERATE JOURNALIST, DOM FOX, JOHN LaMONICA, LOST IN THE FOG, ROSIE MAY, SALT CATHEDRAL and THE BIRDMAN RALLIES as their Fresh Faves. Team Freshnet’s very own Howard Gorman reviewed them.
ALI WARREN BAND – What We Say
London based Ali Warren, recently added a five-piece band to the works bringing a much more comprehensive, resilient and layered sound to his works. In the midst of so many folk bands treading where so many folk bands have trodden before, Ali and co. clearly tread precariously and bear more than just a few fleeting similarities with the likes of the great Arcade Fire. Despite only a couple of tracks available from the band as a cooperative affair, I’m sure there are many a hopeful looking forward to what I’m certain will make for a stunning debut album, and accompanying summer festival dates.
DE PEDRO feat NICK URATA – Sanity
Although DePedro may not ring bells straight away, the man behind the moniker is in fact Jairo Zavala, having previously dabbled with Calexico in a number of projects. ‘Sanity’ is an excellent teaser for what is in fact his third album ‘La increíble historia de un hombre bueno’ (The incredible story of a good man). The track features DeVotchKa’s Nick Urata backed up with some rather tasty brass accompaniments, replete with Mumford-esque western guitars. DePedro most recently collaborated with the likes of Evan Dando and The Dodos and ‘Sanity’ certainly packs some early Lemonheads punch.
DESPERATE JOURNALIST – Cristina
Desperate Journalist hail from London with this track lifted from their June released EP bearing the same name. Cristine serves up vocalist Jo Bevan’s frustrated vocals on a platter combined with a generous helping of noisy post-punk whilst nailing hugely anthemic chorus for good measure. If this track hasn’t already enticed you to investigate their back catalogue a bit further you will find much the same “noisy whilst anthemic” dexterity throughout the EP.
DOM FOX – Masters Of Our Fate
Note to Dom: Stop being so humble and please change the quote you use on Soundcloud. Is it really true that you consider yourself to be “Still very early in learning different techniques and mastering in general?” If this is just an experimental taster then I can’t even imagine where your sampling creativity will take you in the next few months, let alone next few years. Although admittedly never a fan for speech sampling I have to admit that your use of Charlie Chaplin’s Great Dictator was inspired. The world had to wait a further seven year’s before Chaplin’s next great masterpiece, Monsieur Verdoux. Here’s hoping Dom won’t take anywhere near that long for another inspirational piece of work.
JOHN LaMONICA – Ghost
John LaMonica boasts in excess of 10 official releases under a plethora of monikers and additional collaborations, remixes and songwriting credits and it certainly shows in the form of ‘Ghost’. I understand that he was also one of the many, many, many members of the Polyphonic Spree and all I can say is I’m ever so glad he decided to stand out from that crowd, producing this hauntingly beautiful track. John’s falsetto plays perfect companion to his unique brand of folktronica which is as much timorous as it is adventurous and experimental. Surprisingly, this track wasn’t included in his latest album ‘Volunteers’ as it more than champions how talented this unique one man musician really is.
LOST IN THE FOG – Ghost Ship
Lost in the Fog are a Japanese rock band that I’ve had my work cut out trying to find further information about. Surprisingly, they only got together last year and if ‘Ghost Ship’, or any of the other five tracks from their debut mini EP, ‘The Grave of Einsvach’, are anything to go by, more please. The swirling mood they create certainly recreates something not more than a stones throw away from some of Smashing Pumpkins’ earlier gems and what fortunate souls you all are as “Ghost Ship / Suicide Parade” has been released as a free download.
The title of the track says it all really, boasting resplendent medieval touches and churchlike acoustics, something she had in mind when sitting down to write her latest EP ‘Roof Over Our Heads’. Rosie cites inspiration from old English folk songs written in admiration of one’s local landscapes as she wrote an album to raise money for a little church near to where she grew up that was recently the victim of lead thievery from its roof, and consequentially suffered water damage over the rainy Winter.
SALT CATHEDRAL – take me to the sea
Long-time followers of the band may have been concerned when Salt Cathedral decided to do away with their former moniker Il Abanico but I’m certain they breathed sighs of relief when the Brooklyn based band’s new name brought with it a swanky sound makeover to boot. Juliana Ronderos’ applies her lucid vocals atop the band’s more than sui generis carnal drum beats and skittish guitar riffs. Not surprisingly, the band have already been paralleled to the likes of Twin Sister and Foals and if ‘Take Me To The Sea’ is anything to go by, therein lies an extremely promising amount of talent. Watch this space.
THE BIRDMAN RALLIES – What is this house
Many may be wondering what a birdman rally is. Well, for the curious amongst you, it is in fact a competition where people construct home-made gliders, hang gliders and human-powered aircraft, and jump off into the void for entertainment value. It looks like The Birdman Rallies have also jumped right in and they certainly do provide the entertainment. Hailing from York, the band already boast a plethora of support slots under their belt for the likes of The Joy Formidable, Gruff Rhys, Stornoway and Dry The River. ‘What is This House’ features some certainly solitary, uncompromising, yet fun, rhythmic melodies with more layers than a club sandwich, without overdoing it, turning it into one of the more addictive tracks this week.
Fresh Faves reviewed by
Team Freshnet’s Howard Gorman
Editor-in-chief at Comedy Chords
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 please hold back for 6-8 weeks before sending us another one. After all if you keep sending us great tracks every week it leaves less room for new names who haven’t had a chance yet…
PS… Many readers said they felt torn at having to choose between so many tasty tunes on this week’s Listening Post. So as a special one-off bonus for your listening enjoyment (and also because I personally happen to like these artists quite a lot) here are the four next most popular tracks from this week’s batch:
DRUNK MULE – Shenanigans On The Last Train Home
JAY SPEARS – We Are All Born Lucky
KILL MURRAY – Everything For Free
TREE OF WOLVES – Icy Water