Fresh Faves – Batch 100

Bridie Jackson And The Arbour

Artists at a glance


These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend as usual and are reviewed by Team Freshnet’s very own Andy Von Pip – better known to BBC 6 Music listeners and the world of music blogging as proprietor of Liverpool’s legendary Von Pip Musical Express… You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.


It’s good to know that the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition has added some rigour to its quality control department since the quite baffling inclusion of Scouting for Girls a number of years ago. Things have certainly improved since that particular howler and last year’s Emerging Talent winner Bridie Jackson & The Arbour are a fine example of cream rising to the top. ‘We Talked Again’ is the band’s first single to be released from their forthcoming album New Skin and it was a clear favourite on this week’s listening post. It also demonstrates why this Newcastle based four-piece are way ahead of the field in the overcrowded ‘Folk marketplace.’ Lush instrumentation, intelligent poetic lyrics, and a haunting vocal that seems to have arrived via the Elizabeth Fraser school of celestial beauty prove Birdie Jackson and The Arbour are something rather special indeed.

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I’d actually written about this young lady last week over at the VPME after being blown away by her talent and the maturity of her lyrics. At just 15 years old, she already seems to have a talent so big you can probably see it from space and it’ll be interesting to see how her music develops over the next few years… ‘Generics’ as mentioned amongst last week’s Fresh On the Net comments does have some Ellie Goulding stylings, and is undoubtedly as catchy as the flu in call centre (but obviously with a far nicer outcome) but perhaps doesn’t reflect the range of GraceSarah‘s formidable talents. If you visit her Soundcloud page, for example you’ll find that she embraces a number of styles from upbeat synth pop, to sparse reflective ballads. Definitely a young lady to keep an eye and ear on this year.

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JOE LA POP – Hold You Near

Joe La Pop‘s Soundcloud page says he’s from Blackpool, yet his Facebook page says London. So rather than getting involved in a musical version of ‘Where’s Wally’ we’ll just add this particular tune sounds like it would be right at home in warmer environs, i.e./ Ibiza. It’s a summery slice of Housey electronica, which also appears to be on nodding terms with Aussie sampladelic innovators The Avalanches.

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MUMMY SHORT ARMS – Face Full Of Sand

A band from Glasgow with a singer called James Allen? That sounds familiar! However, rest assured this is a different James and Mummy Short Arms are a different musical beast in comparison to Glasvegas’ stadium-sized misery-juggernaut. ‘Face Full Of Sand’ is rifftastic explosion of energy and attitude, fusing the primal roar of the Pixies with the indie guitar pop sensibility of Orange Juice. This single is the first release since the bands somewhat disturbingly titled, but critically lauded début album ‘Old Jack’s Windowless Playhouse.’

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PAUL HEGLEY BAND – Smoke And Liquor

If filthy whiskey soaked blues-rock ‘ n roll is your bag then The Paul Hegley Band may well be right up your musical street. Paul has been playing guitar since he was ten years old and is the nephew of performance poet, comedian, musician, and songwriter John Hegley. ‘Smoke and Liquor’ is from the band’s latest EP ‘Shelter’ and is proper old school blues rock which showcases some immense guitar work.

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SILENCES – Vancouver Arches

Silences’ began life as the solo musical project of 23-year-old Singer/Songwriter Conchúr White from Co. Armagh. It has since expanded to fully functional five piece and ‘Vancouver Arches’ is from their latest EP Entitles ‘Never Names.’ They’ve been compared to Jeff Buckley and Death Cab For Cutie, and their music does evoke an aching sense of yearning but whilst it’s undoubtedly infused with a wistful melancholia, it is in no way devoid of hope. Quite the opposite in fact.

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SNIPPET – Run For Your Life

Snippet is without doubt a musical shape shifter of some talent and it matters not a jot under which guise he releases his work, because he’s guaranteed to pull some musical rabbits out the hat. ‘Run For Your Life’ is synthy soulful slice of “Snip hop” which does have a bit of an 80’s vibe. And what’s this? Do I detect a cheeky Mike Skinner style rap in there and a even dash of Green Gartside? And no, for the avoidance of doubt I’m certainly not referencing the latter in order to crowbar in a fist-biting pun such as Snippy Pollitti (groan) 😉

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Let’s get the acronym out of the way first – TWATr (chortle), The Witch and The Robot are from the Lake District and write songs about Ayn Rand and Atomic Bombs. And there’s something just little bit demented about this lot. We do of course mean this in a good way; take for example their video for ‘Burn Your Eyes Out’. Now, after watching said video, a song which initially could be perceived as an ear pleasing explosion of blissful melody appears as something rather more sinister, a little more nuanced and very interesting indeed. In fact they seem to be giving what is loosely termed as ‘folk’ which let’s face it has been in a pretty unambitious and almost somnambulistic state of late, a huge rocket up the arse!

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PS from TR: If you’ve submitted a track that hasn’t made the Listening Post you’re welcome to re-submit it another week. If your music has appeared on the Listening Post but not in our Fresh Faves, feel free to send us an even stronger track another week.

But if we’ve recently featured you in our Fresh Faves – or on my BBC Introducing Mixtape – please wait three months before sending us another track, so we have space to help to other new artists… For more info see Robinson Has A Good Old Moan.


In his first flush of youth a cherubic fresh-faced young Andy fell in love with something his parents described as a ‘god awful cacophony of talentless, directionless anger’. Yes he had fallen hook line and safety pin for the musical enema that was Punk, a savage incendiary explosion that effectively flushed away the egotistical histrionics of becaped hippies obsessed with Arthurian legends, who regularly produced spirit crushing self indulgent wankathons known somewhat grandly as ‘rock operas.’ Although too young to experience the first wave of punk it inspired young Andy to form a band, dye his hair various shades of red, blue and yellow and wear a safety pin through his ear. This made his parents VERY proud. His band the little heard, barely talented Distant Echos was built primarily around Andy’s distinctive songwriting style which could be described as “a mesmerising folly of epic proportions”. In 2007 his music blog the Von Pip Musical Express (VPME) was born under the slogan "asking dogs how they feel about lampposts so that you don't have to". Since its inception Andy’s humble musical organ has been voted in the BT Digital Music awards top ten music blogs and nominated in the Record of the Day Journalism and PR music awards, being named as runner up in 2009. Andy was also a member of ‘The BBC’s Sound Of 2010 taste-makers panel’ and has had press accreditation for numerous gigs and festivals including Liverpool Sound City , The Great Escape And Glastonbury. He is also a some time promoter in his home town of Liverpool putting on gigs featuring some of the most exciting up and coming bands about these here parts and beyond. The challenge still remains, to try and give great new bands a platform and to loosen Cowell’s cankerous grip on popular culture. It’s a tall order, but somebody has to try for f**ks sake. Who’s in ?


  1. Thanks very much to everyone who voted Snippet into the 100th Fresh Faves and to Andy Von Pip for the most excellent reviews 🙂

  2. Thanks to all involved for including us once again in yer Fresh Faves. Some other fine tunes this week.
    TWATr x

  3. Enjoyable and entertaining read Mr Von Pip and some fine tracks folks
    Debs x

  4. Thanks to all that shared some love for us in the listening post, we really enjoyed listening to the other tracks, and to Von Pip for his words. Have a great week!

    Paul Hegley Band

  5. Love that Generics track loads, Cpl top indie dance classics in the makin on the post recently, keep it up guys

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