Fresh Faves: Batch 153


This week we received another stunning batch of tracks in our inbox, from which our moderators had the difficult job of picking just 25 tracks for our Listening Post last Friday. Our readers had the even harder job of picking just five each from that shortlist over the weekend.

Below are your 9 overall favourites – reviewed in alphabetical order by Fresh On The Net moderator Biff Roxby – musician, producer and cofounder of Manchester’s Debt Records. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.

ADNA – Beautiful Hell

Swedish artist Adna’s ‘Beautiful Hell’ is a well crafted song. The use of contrapuntal vocal melodies helps to build the song in its early stages. ‘Beautiful Hell’ feels like it is building to something in one long crescendo using pad/string sounds and a healthy dollop of reverb – sparing but effective – but when the peak of the crescendo is reached everything falls away leaving only the pervasive guitar and the vocal remaining. I was pleasantly surprised not to hear a big chorus at this point and was left instead wanting to listen again to this haunting track. Well controlled vocals and considered arrangement.

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ARCH BIRDS – Man Who Never Was

The Intro of ‘Man Who Never Was’ brings to mind the nightscapes of Sega’s 1986 title ‘Outrun’ – pixelated yet sparkling. The synth-driven style of London’s Arch Birds is meticulously put together. The side-chain compression on the big pad sound on the chorus helps to provide a wonky groove that I really enjoy. The vocals never overreach and consequently there is room for all the constituent parts of this song to sit nicely alongside each other without feeling like anything’s missing. Nicely done!

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An interesting contrast to the previous track, but with a similar target. There is more warmth in the synth tones employed here which brings with it a more relaxed feel – a ’you can dance if you like but feel free to sit back and chill’ kind of vibe.Double-tracking vocals can be temperamental at times – not everyone’s voice suits this approach – but in Cameo, the dual (and sometimes more) vocals sit beautifully together adding the cherry on the top of this tasty electro-pop pudding.

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HANNAH SCOTT – Hurricanes

In ‘Hurricanes’ Hannah Scott employs a strong and smooth vocal delivery, not relying on vibrato for intensity which is frankly a breath of fresh air. This is a neat pop production that doesn’t waiver. The arrangement is strong and suitably emotive, but perhaps it could benefit from a less metronomic performance – the song made me want to hear the push and pull of someone really getting into it. However this would only add to an already intense and emotional track. I can imagine this working well over the credits for a Hunger Games type film.

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The dual lead vocals of Linnéa Atieno and Joakim Buddee are an instant winner. It’s a sound that I’m fond of and when done well, as it is here, it’s a pleasure to listen to. Chuck in a well balanced and considered production and you have a top tune. I didn’t even mind thinking it was Christmas when the chimes and shakers cast a wintery hue on the proceedings. The percussive elements of this track are used both for rhythm and ‘dressing’ with great effect, each sound employed being considered and well placed. While present in the drum loop throughout, the lonely toms at the end of the track add a cheeky wink of a final flourish.

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The conversational and deadpan delivery of the first few lines of the vocals create a disquieting atmosphere that sets the scene for a brooding and beautifully performed piece. In particular the vocals and piano that compliment each other so well. Juicy key changes abound, particularly those in the second section of the song – which itself is a lovely change in direction from the first two minutes. There are lovely little touches to the production, such as the vocals that fade in toward the end panned hard left and right which creates a creepily intimate feeling when listening over headphones.

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INAD – Blue Nue

The candy-sweet vocals of Inad (or Dani in real life…see what she did there?) are wonderful over this dreamy electronic production. They also lend an extra element of weirdness to the repeated chorus of ‘Oh you said i was crazy’ which made me chuckle. From Inad’s record ’Thé EP’ named, I’m assuming, in reverence to her love of herbal beverages, the track ‘Blue Nue’ stands out as a more accomplished piece overall. It retains an organic feel despite the wealth of programmed beats and lush synth sounds which serve to provide balance with the occasional sitar riff and guitar and bass parts.

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SHORT SKIRTS – Far Side Of Mexico

Is wonkypunk-surfcore a genre? Probably. In any case Short Skirts embody just this kind of vibe. Far Side of Mexico is two and a half minutes of head-nodding action that doesn’t let up. I’d hazard a guess that these Norwegian surf-rockers would be intimidatingly energetic live. In their bio they cite Iggy & The Stooges and Ty Segall as influences, which you can really feel in this track. Touches of b-movie from the surf guitar and organ add a sense of unease to proceedings as if Bela Lugosi’s Dracula was leering over you about to end his bloodlust using only your neck and his fangs.

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SUZERAIN – What Happened

‘Bloody hell’ is a much underused phrase in songwriting, so any song that features said phrase has an immediate advantage. Tight production and fast paced vocals bring a manic quality to the track that almost makes the choruses relaxing in comparison. A lovely chunky guitar sound accompanies the opening vocal lines that sets the scene for the polished piece which follows. Every element of ‘What Happened’ is just where it should be – even the Killers-esque synth line at around two minutes in – and consequently focus is never drawn from the forward movement and power of this sub three minute rocker.

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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 other deserving artists…


Biff Roxby is a producer, musician, recording and live sound engineer, arranger, remixer and DJ. In 2009 he co-founded Manchester independent label Debt Records with Dan Watkins and Louis Barabbas. He is also co-director of WR Audio, a mobile studio company capable of recording live concerts in almost any location – from small acoustic outfits to entire orchestras. As a musician he performs and records with The Bedlam Six, Liz Green, The Scratters, Honeyfeet and The Hallelujah Whip. He can also be found contributing on record with acts such as B.C. Camplight, Danny Mahon, Elbow and Jamie Harrison. As a producer he has made records with Mika Doo, T. E. Yates, The Bedlam Six and Jamie Harrison as well as his own solo projects. As a remixer he has transformed compositions by Kirsty Almeida, Bridie Jackson & The Arbour, Alabaster dePlume and many more. A collection of Biff Roxby’s remixes will be on general release in 2014. He DJs under the name Roxby’s Wonky Disco and is resident technical supervisor for Fuel Cafe Bar in South Manchester.


  1. Great reviews. Really enjoyed reading this.

    It was obvious from the text that you’re a sound engineer–can you tell me what side-chain compression is? Is it the same as parallel compression?

    All the best,


  2. Adna – Absolutely beautiful!!

    Hannah Scott – Again, beautiful is the word. The intro reminds me of The Theory of Everything score actually and brings to mind things like evolution and struggle. Quite powerful.

    Martha Bean – Very nicely done. Awesome piano filled with emotion. Love your falsetto too, it’s a nice contrast to the fuller sounding parts of the track. From about 2 mins onwards the style really reminds me of Radiohead (the best band in the world, in case you’re wondering) meets Danny Elfman, with a little touch of Rufus Wainwright, which is awesome. So intense and melancholy. Brilliant work!!

    Robodani – Yes!! Very nice. Those vox are beaut. Reminds me a little of Spazzkid, who I’m really into at the moment.

    Great reviewing Mr Roxby!


  3. Thanks for featuring/reviewing “Hurricanes” – glad people enjoyed listening to it this week!

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