These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s Steve Harris this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
A vote for artists on the Listening Post is a vote for new music! There will be no talk of hardworking families, long-term economic plans, nor any need to go into a darkened room and barter away your principles.
We are resolutely anti-austerity; our Fresh Faves will lavish you with an abundance of fine tunes, questionable metaphors and dubious puns. Furthermore, we promise nothing less than a decisive outcome: ten fine tracks, chosen by you.
CHARLIE BARNES – Macbeth, Macbeth, Macbeth
Let’s hope mention of The Scottish Play doesn’t upset any thespians reading, but at least Macbeth has proven to be no curse for Charlie Barnes. While the lyrics may allude to the lead character’s plight, this isn’t Jag Panzer’s Thane to the Throne (one for the metal fans), as it’s the delivery taking centre stage here. How to describe that? Dramatic! Howled vocals, guitars to eleven, crashing cymbals and a mute Matthew Bellamy from Muse asking for his larynx back.
Charlie Barnes is a four-piece band named after singer, songwriter and alleged larynx thief, Charlie Barnes. Macbeth, Macbeth, Macbeth is taken from their upcoming debut album, More Stately Mansions, which can be pre-ordered on Bandcamp now.
JAKE HOULSBY – Yannina
Could there be anything more beautiful than African-style vocal harmonies? To my ears, no, and Listening Post voters must agree, placing Yannina as one of the two most popular tracks this week. Stated destination, Yannina, possibly refers to Ioannina in Greece, although Jake Houlsby resides in Newcastle. No matter. You may not recognise Jake’s name, but he previously performed as Suntrapp, whose work appeared in Faves 72, 109 and on Tom’s BBC Introducing Mixtape. According to his blog, Jake now feels it would be inauthentic for him to release music under any name other than his own.
Yannina is the title track of an EP to be released on June 8, and Jake will be performing a series of live shows dedicated to its release.
JAMES HOLT – The Lost Boy No More
The talent that graces our weekly Listening Post is often staggering to behold, and James Holt is a fine example of this. Still only 21 or thereabouts, James is a singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and recent music graduate from University of Salford, now studying for a MA in Music Composition. The Lost Boy No More paints, in bold strokes, a poetic tale of self-discovery, and is a brand new song with no release information as yet.
James last appeared in Fresh Faves 112 and on Tom’s BBC Introducing Mixtape in 2014, and has received support from BBC Introducing in Manchester and Lancashire. Even Brian Eno chose one of James’s songs when he curated for the NOISE Festival 2014. James’s In The Face of It All EP was released in March and is available on Bandcamp now (but does not include this track).
JOHN JOSEPH BRILL – Pieces
Here is a man with a baritone so warm it could melt you like butter, singing about being torn to pieces by his love interest over a brooding bassline, haunted by eerie guitars. Liverpool-based John Joseph Brill appeared in Faves 139 and Tom’s Introducing Mixtape back in February, was recently played by Steve Lamacq on BBC Radio 6 Music, appeared at both Live at Leeds and Communion last weekend, and was due to support BC Camplight before that tour was cancelled due to visa issues.
Pieces is taken from the EP of the same name, and was released in February. John Joseph Brill will be headlining shows at the Sebright Arms in London on May 11 and Studio 2 in Liverpool on May 13.
PADRE FT JOVA – Chasing Mirrors
Chasing Arrows by Padre Ft Jova, is a delicate piece of breakbeat electronica with a sweet vocal, provided by Macedonian singer, Jova Radevska. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you anything about Padre, but I can tell you that Chasing Mirrors is inspired by a Semyon Bychkov (Soviet-born conductor) monologue as interpreted by the singer, and has been released by Derelicht as part of an EP that includes other remixes of this track, plus an accompanying video to the Christian Loffler version that, if you will, “showcases an art installation which symbolically attempts to unravel the constraints and unseen pressures originally conveyed in the vocal, expressed through the ancient art of Kinbaku” — basically Japanese bondage, all ropes and stuff, but done in an arty way.
RICHARD NAVARRO – Roundabout
Jointly topping our weekly poll, and deservedly so, is Richard Navarro’s Roundabout, which sounds like the tale of a memorable chance encounter set to layers of lush strings, compelling vocal harmonies and handclaps for percussion. Written by singer and multi-instrumentalist Richard Navarro and double bassist Nicholas Thurston, Roundabout is part of the album Let Go Light. Richard Navarro last appeared on Fresh Faves 128, with a very different track taken from the same album called Seabirds, which our James Robins said “combines elements of folk and jazz with a sprinkling of magic to create an off-kilter mix of gorgeous weirdness.”
Let Go Light is available for purchase from Richard’s website, and he’ll be appearing in various locations around the UK this summer.
SINNOBER – Bernadette, So You Know
Someone has the look of wanderlust in her eye, and in Bernadette, So You Know, singer Sebastian Brice wants to tell her just how much she means to him. The opening line “There’s a fog on the dawn, and they’ve gone and they’ve grounded the planes” almost suggests she wouldn’t still be around otherwise. I love this charming, blues-tinged pop song; it somehow places you there, it’s so very relatable.
Sinnober is a Danish / British trio from Bath comprising Sebastian Brice on vocals and guitar, Natalie Brice on vocals and bass and Mike Griffiths on drums. Their eponymous debut album is available on Bandcamp now, and they’ll be gigging around Bath and the South West over the next few months.
STORM THE PALACE – Popular Science
It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve needlessly told off an artist for dodgy science metaphors (“Fly me to the moon in a rusty canoe” — AS IF!!!), but hmm, I can’t find anything wrong here. How about I pick on the Soundcloud tag for this track instead: “Cox Rock”. It sounds nothing like D:Ream! Oh OK, I’d better do this properly.
Some of us look up at the infinite blackness and feel small and insignificant, while others see nothing but stories and possibilities. Storm the Palace clearly fall into the latter category, and Popular Science presents an experiment in how life can relate to what we understand of the cosmos itself… according to people like the aforementioned handsome physicist on TV, anyway. Musically, it’s beautiful and twinkles like the stars themselves (*when viewed through an atmosphere. I’ve really dug a hole for myself here, haven’t I).
Storm the Palace is Edinburgh-based quintet Sophie Dodds, Reuben Taylor, Gordon Webster, Pippa Murdie and Sam Wilkinson. Popular Science is taken from their debut EP, In Ruins, out on May 15, and they’ll be performing around London and in Coventry over the next few months.
TUSKS – For You
At first I didn’t know what to think. For You takes a good 1 minute and 20 seconds for the vox to kick in, but then it’s a single repeated line layered with ethereal voices that builds and builds until settling back down again. It’s probably unfair to say that the first third of this track is a mere intro, but rather that the vocals are another texture, and by the end, stand alone. This is a sparse and intriguing track that somehow conjures vastness, but one where nothing has been overdone.
Tusks is London-based producer and artist, Emily Underhill, and For You is released as part of the Beyond The Confines compilation by Fent Plate Records.
XY&O – Low Tide
These reviews are published on a bank holiday Monday at the start of May, so if you are reading then and not working, I hope you got to spend it in the sunshine, perhaps with a stroll along the bay, walk in the park or a glorious mountain hike. However, if the weather or life isn’t cooperating, you could instantly brighten your day by listening to XY&O’s Low Tide. There’s nothing complicated about it — gorgeous vocals, sparkling synths, a few maritime metaphors and a grooving bassline — but we all know that simplicity is anything but in execution, and this track’s ability to summon sunshine is undeniable.
Based in Cardiff, but sounding like their heads are on a beach somewhere on the Med, XY&O are Alexandersson, Tudor and Kelzo. No release dates yet, but according to their SoundCloud page, their Shimmer & Shade EP is “coming soon”.
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.