Artists at a glance
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s James Robins this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
Monday usually gets a pretty bad rap; but not around here, because it means it’s time for a new batch of ‘Fresh Faves’. So shake off those new-week blues and check out our latest selection of tunes. As always, we’d like to send out massive thanks to all the artists who submitted tracks this week and all the Fresh On The Net listeners who dropped by to hear them.
AMONGST THE PIGEONS – If I Close My Eyes I Am Worried I Will Fall Asleep And Not Wake Up Again
First up, and clinching ‘song title of the week’ straight out of the gate, is the somewhat mysterious electronica artist, Amongst The Pigeons. Whoever, or whatever, it is they’ve been honing their sound, and a penchant for masks and avant-garde videos, since 2004. A look at their Bandcamp page reveals a healthy back catalogue to explore, featuring collaborations with the likes of Frank Turner and Chris T-T. This track bursts into life with a seemingly straightforward drumbeat, which acts as a base as subtle layers of embellishment are built up to create an intricate, looping puzzle of a tune. Listening to it is likes gazing intently at a painting, as shades of light, shimmers of colour and shapes of form gradually reveal themselves. This is the title track from Amongst The Pigeons’ new 6-track ‘Close My Eyes EP’, which is released via their website on 24 November.
ANTO DUST – Traitors Gate
Anto Dust have a tantalisingly enigmatic air about them, however the already impressive selection of reviews quoted on their Facebook bio shows that they’re certainly attracting the attention of plenty of people who are willing to eulogise on their behalf. It’s not hard to see why; the London band’s cocktail of Dream Pop and Shoegaze is arresting and immersive, with a slight, unsettling undercurrent that makes it impossible to look away. Their music is like staring at the world from behind a beautiful waterfall as the sound is bathed in a sumptuous wash of swaying reverb and swirling chorus, which gently twists and refracts until all is not quite what it seems.
CHRIS KEYS – You
Next up is feel-good Belfast Songsmith Chris Keys, who’s clearly not about to let the chilly weather put a dampener on things. Capturing those intoxicating and carefree early months of a relationship, this is heartfelt, honest pop at its best. Full of genuine and unashamed warmth and love, it’s like the cosy feeling you get from your favourite jumper on a brisk winter’s walk; and complete with a rather fine whistle solo too! ‘You’ is Chris’ latest single, following last year’s ‘View From a Satellite’ EP, and with a debt album reportedly in the pipeline, the future certainly looks bright for this upbeat artist.
GEORGE BOOMSMA – Through The Winter
If it were possible for Nick Drake and Thom Yorke to collaborate, it might sound something like this. George Boomsma’s voice has an endearing effortlessness about it, as he subtly draws on deep, soulful reservoirs of tone, dynamic and range to illustrate the emotion of the lyrics as they flow through him. His acoustic guitar is soft and sparing, allowing the song to breathe and giving it a timeless intimacy; if you shut your eyes you could almost be in the room with him. Like Nick Drake, George has the skill of making complex and clever song writing sound blissfully simple, with every line feeling like a fresh utterance from the ether, holding you frozen as you wait for the next sumptuous note. ‘Through the Winter’ is the title track from his latest EP, which is available via his Bandcamp page.
GIZMO VARILLAS – One And Only
Originally from Spain, Gizmo Varillas currently finds himself in London, having meandered via various routes along the way. This is certainly borne out in his music, as he cuts the figure of a romantic drifter, spinning tales of love and loss infused with Latin soul. ‘One and only’ is a wistful vignette, lamenting the passionate glow of some summer love that has long since succumbed to winter’s cold. What results is three minutes of a haunting pop perfection, which clearly won the hearts of our Fresh On The Net listeners, who fell for it in their droves.
JONNIE COMMON – Crumbs
On ‘Crumbs’, Jonnie Common deftly draws on elements of Hip Hop, Folk and Electronica, gluing the various musical fragments together seamlessly. The track opens with a crunchy, head-nod beat that could easily function as a Hip Hop instrumental on its own right. This soon opens out into a lush, airy song that keeps building with resonant synths and guitar flourishes, whilst all the time remaining locked into the solid swing of the beat. The musical melting pot extends to the vocals, with Jonnie operating somewhere between rapper, poet and troubadour as he explores the nostalgia of childhood memories to ruminate on the passage of time and the inevitability of death. This all makes for a thought provoking and intriguing tune, with a depth of musical invention that will repay many a rewind. ‘Crumbs’ is taken from Jonnie’s album ‘Trapped In Amber’, recently released on Song By Toad Records.
RICHARD NAVARRO – Seabirds
Richard Navarro’s ‘Seabirds’ combines elements of folk and jazz with a sprinkling of magic to create an off-kilter mix of gorgeous weirdness. The track is expertly put together, as Richard takes an infectious bass line and throws in dashes of pizzicato, tambourine, and a host of other shimmering curiosities until the song swells up into a lush, dramatic expanse which really makes you feel as if you could take flight and glide off into the sunset. It’s wondrously catchy too, so don’t be surprised if you soon find yourself skipping along the wintery streets singing the chorus; people will look at you strangely, but frankly you won’t care.
SHINERS – Just Got Paid
‘Just Got Paid’ is a cautionary tale of the dangerously short-lived euphoria of a payday spending spree, which has left many a good soul getting by on naught but instant noodles and corporation pop by the end of the month. Shiners’ play delightfully jaunty, angular indie, nodding respectfully to the likes of Blur and Dr Feelgood, but playing the game by their own rules. This provides the perfect soundtrack as they take a darkly humorous look at this all too common predicament, mischievously taunting us with the unavoidable truth that we’ll probably never learn. The London band are a bit of an unknown quantity at present; their Facebook bio simply reads, “Shiners are coming”. However, judging by the reaction of our Fresh On The Net listeners, there’ll be plenty of people waiting to hear more when they arrive.
THE INKHEARTS – Uptight
The Inkhearts are brimming with youthful optimism and create a joyous indie sound that even the most cynical heart would struggle to resist. ‘Uptight’ is a bright, brilliant song that ricochets along with uplifting abandon as hooky guitars chime over the undeniably danceable beat of the rhythm section. Above all this soar the beautifully crafted and compelling vocal lines of singer Lauren Shaw, who possesses the kind of unique and natural tone that can’t be taught. By all accounts ‘Uptight’ is generating the Skelmersdale four-piece a fair amount of interest, and radio play, and listening through their other tracks it’s clear there’s plenty more where that came from. No one knows what the future will bring, but it really feels like the beginning of a long and exciting road for this band.
WHITE ROYAL – Be Terrestrial
Finally we come to White Royal, whose woozy, electronic balladry provides a fitting close to proceedings as my cold fingers tap away at the keyboard in the small hours of Monday. Atmospheric and brooding, ‘Be Terrestrial’ is like drifting in soporific slipstream, with sub-bass rumbling in the depths below, as synth swells and ethereal vocals float high above. The Leeds band are attuned to a surreal, nocturnal pace, expertly crafting an array of shimmering sonic undulations for six minutes that feel both like a second and a lifetime. This is the kind of track you could put on repeat in the early morning light of a fading house party as conversations become abstract and reality starts to blur.
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 other deserving artists… For more info see Robinson Has A Good Old Moan.