Fresh Faves: Batch 66

Hentai Babies

“The trees are bare,” sang Bing Crosby many years ago, “but I can feel the scent of roses in the air… It’s June in January”. Well here in Manchester I have to report that pretty much the opposite is true. Yes indeed good people, the summer has been and gone. We have had our brief window of sun, it popped its head around the corner and certainly didn’t like the look of what it saw. So now that it has run yelping into the safety of different skies, we can return to the good old grey clouds we know so well. Hello familiar winds and cosy rain, it’s January in June.

Read more: DEAN MARTIN – JUNE IN JANUARY LYRICS. But hey ho and on we go. Here is the latest batch of wonderment from triumphant bands whom you have so skilfully chosen with your ears, brains and whatever other parts of your anatomy you deemed necessary. It’s Fresh Faves 66.

HENTAI BABIES – One Potato Two

Angular, interesting stuff from this gutsy three-piece outfit. Hentai Babies, deliver music like pine-cone bubblegum, with vocalist Paul McCann calling to mind the likes of Atom and his Package. In any case, bands that describe themselves as the new wave daughters of cough syrup certainly get my vote.

This track can be downloaded for free alongside two earlier releases, ‘Girl Love’ and, ‘Yes Future’ from the band’s Bandcamp page which is something I recommend you do. Not recommend quite so emphatically is entering the words ‘Hentai’ and ‘Babies’ into a search engine, unless of course you wish to be placed on some sort of list and receive a knock at the door from the nice people at Operation Yewtree.

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LONGFELLOW – Gabrielle

‘Gabrielle’ is the debut single from London-based five-piece, Longfellow and one that successfully manages to tread a delicate line between sweet sincerity and downright epic. With its combination of rich production and a nice big chorus, this is soulful indie that would suit a festival crowd down to a ‘T’.

The amount of work put into honing the art of a strong, palatable pop tune is more than apparent and as such, I would not be in the least bit surprised if we were to hear a lot more from Longfellow in the future. And with support slots for To Kill A King, Jack Panate and Feeder already under their belt; Longfellow are clearly a band with their sights set on big things.

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Are we destined for certain paths in life? Do our names influence or indeed dictate the road we are to walk in this mixed up world of ours? Had I been christened Sampras Smackballs would I now be gracing the courts of Wimbledon instead of writing this? Most likely not. Then again I do know someone called William Morris who also happens to be an incredibly talented fine artist, so go figure.

Either way, this German-born song-writer and producer has a brilliant name and one with connotations to not one, but two of the most famous composers in history. Luckily he also happens to be very good indeed. At only 23, Ludwig Amadeus has already been playlisted on MTV and produced music for Disney.

With this in mind, I am now scouring the internet for a Mozart van Beethoven in order to instigate what will no doubt become one of the most famous rivalries in modern music.

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The word ‘Nolita’ is apparently derived from “NOrth of Little ITAly” and refers to a neighbourhood in Manhattan in New York City. It lies east of SoHo, south of NoHo, west of the Lower East Side, and north of Little Italy and Chinatown.Once regarded as part of Little Italy, the area plays host to the Feast of San Gennaro, which featured in the film The Godfather Part III. Notable property-owners in the neighbourhood include David Bowie, Gabriel Byrne and Moby.

This track is not by a neighbourhood in Manhattan, because that would be impossible. Finding out much more than that however has proven a tad tricky; the band’s photo indicates a four-piece but only three members are named. Hm, in any case, let us enjoy this slice of alt-rock.

From a band, not a collection of buildings.

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SAXUAL HEALING – No.2 Cradle Song (arr. Karen McAulay)

The similarity between the words ‘sax’ and ‘sex’ has proved a rich source of material in terms of band names and album titles, rivalled only perhaps by the close proximity of ‘folk’ to another particular four letter word. That aside, it is a real testament to the breadth of tastes of you, our discerning audience, that Fresh on the Net is able to present music in all manner of styles. As such, take a moment to re-listen to this piece arranged by one Karen McAulay and performed by Cambridge female sax quartet, Saxual Healing.

The piece is a result of Karen’s work which you can read more about on her blog, ‘true imaginary friends’ in which she details some of the challenges faced in putting this all together; from choosing the harmonisation, to ensuring there were enough textural breaks as to allow the song to breathe. ‘Cradle Song’ appears to have been archived by Alexander Campbell, a sort of Scottish Cecil Sharp who collected folk-songs in the Hebrides in 1815. It’s all fascinating stuff and definitely well worth a gander.

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Formed in 2010, The Antics are an indie/folk band from Bishops Stortford and consist of Evie Wilson, Joe Beckwith, Alistair Wilson, Katherine Terris, Joss Mann-Hazell and Sam Kightley. After spending the summer of 2011 in southern Spain together, the band recorded their first EP ‘Stranger’ and last year concentrated on writing material whilst performing across Hertfordshire and Essex. In January they released the tune you see before you, which is taken from their upcoming EP due out later this year.

A simple song beautifully delivered. This is plaintive, delicate stuff; you loved it and so do we. You can download ‘Strong’ for free over at the band’s Soundcloud page, which can only be a good thing.

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THE AUGUST LIST – Forty Rod Of Lightening

Ah months, months, months…Where would band names be without them? Well alongside your Decemberists and your November Coming Fires, we have this delightful two-piece, The August List who describe their music as ‘backwards country / porch folk’ with a startling rock ‘n’ roll attitude’. That sounds about right to me when listening to the cracking ‘Forty Rod of Lightning’.

As well as producing this ballsy, yet somehow endearingly cute track, the pair have taken the time to make a nice profile that indicates a rich and dry sense of humour, one that really comes across in their music. Titbits include the fact that they are married. Not, they stress, brother and sister or ‘two random people who happen to have the same last name’. The Willard Grant Conspiracy also, we are told, gave them the nod to name themselves after one of their songs.

Incidentally with regards to fact one, there is something of a gap in the market for incestuous married couples at the present time. They might have missed a trick there. But I digress, The August List’s debut EP, ‘Handsome Skin’, is out now on Ubiquity Project Records.

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THE SHALLOWS – Guessing Games

Hello again to The Shallows, a band who last appeared in our Fresh Faves – AND Tom’s Introducing Mixtape – only last month.

Describing themselves rather aptly as a ‘straight up indie band’ this London four-piece first popped onto the FOTN’s radar with the splendid track, ’Fairly True’ which swiftly led to play on the BBC Introducing. That was followed up with the song, ‘Honestly’ voted into our Fresh Faves and now they are back with another winner. Drawing inspiration from acts like The Strokes and Two Door Cinema Club, the band have clearly impressed you with the hook-laden, ‘Guessing Game’.

“Built over a decade” say the boys, “this is an expression of our survival, preserved in art. It’s our vanity. Our inspiration. Our fears and hopes”. And as long as they keep churning out gems like this, then why the devil not. .

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THE VOLTAIRES – I Hate Saturday Nights

This is absolutely bloody marvellous, it’s poppy, it’s punky, and as catchy as the pox but almost certainly a great deal better for you. The Voltaires have actually been around for quite some time, racking up a string of singles and EP releases since 2004. Hiding away from the summer of sport, they spent 2012 recording and emerged fully equipped with their debut, self-titled album. Armed and ready, the Voltaires are set to make some serious, pysch-tinged waves in the murky ocean of pop music and I for one am very glad that they exist. Great stuff and I’m ashamed I’ve yet to hear them live, a situation I must rectify with all due haste.

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You turn up some interesting things writing for Fresh on the Net. Before today I have to confess that I wasn’t aware the term ‘uke’ stems from the Japanese verb ‘ukeru’ (receive) and is used in anime/manga to refer to for the “bottom” or “submissive” in a yaoi/shounen-ai (male/male) relationship. What is even more curious is that this is the second reference to the more risqué side of Japanese cartoons in this batch. Is this mere coincidence?

I have absolutely no idea whether or not Dave Cheetham’s nom de plume is an intentional reference to the above. Given however the fascinating electronica he creates I certainly doubt that it is a nod to the abbreviation of the word ‘ukulele’. But enough of such inane ponderings, what matters is that this man creates damn fine music and that Manchester is all the better for having him. A drummer by trade Uke confesses that this his first real foray into both solo work and the electronic genre – “It’s a bit of a departure for me not having a background in electronic music” says Dave, “but I’m loving the journey”. Well Uke, do keep at it please, because I’m here to tell you that we are loving it too.

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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…

Chris Bye

Chris Bye is Head of Artist Development at Pirate Studios UK. You can follow Chris on Twitter at @ChrisnBye


  1. Great music,great write ups Chris 🙂

  2. Great choice this week. I think we’ll all be hearing from these wxcellent bands again!

  3. Doh! …sorry, my comment should read ‘excellent…’

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