Fresh Faves: Batch 156

Anna Pancaldi - photo ©Daniel Whiston

Welcome to Fresh Faves Batch 156. Our moderators listened to all 178 tracks submitted to our inbox last week, and Listening Post readers voted for their top five favourites over the weekend.

The result is these Fresh Faves – reviewed this week by Fresh On The Net moderator Christopher McBride of The Metaphorical Boat. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.

ANNA PANCALDI – Promise We’ll Never Grow Old

Anna Pancaldi already knows what it’s like performing in front in large throngs of people, having been part of a group who supported Rudimental, The Noisettes and Tinchy Styder. She’s now releasing music under her own name, And Promise We’ll Never Grow Old gives us a tantalising glimpse into just what she can do – it’s a wonderful, cinematic ballad which calls to mind a slightly folkier version of Ren Harvieu, all topped off by Anna’s stunning vocals.

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New Zealand based Astro Children are another band hoping to follow in the rock duo footsteps of The White Stripes, Royal Blood and The Black Keys before them. Play It As It Lays is built around a simple yet effective riff which becomes more and more powerful as the song progresses.

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Ezra Sound, who have nothing do with the lead singer of Vampire Weekend nor the Budapest-bothering troubadour, make rock music so ramshackle-y thrown together that if you prick it with a pin, it’ll come crashing out of your speakers (which I mean as a compliment, may I add). Fly Eye is a bizarre little punky track about how, in a rather unlikely turn of events, the protagonists’ eyes mutated into insects. Well, you can’t fault them for originality…

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FLASH BANG BAND – Spooky Action At A Distance

Brighton trio Flash Bang Band are by no means strangers to the Fresh Faves, having last appeared over 100 ‘Faves’ ago. They’ve definitely won the award for best song title of the week with Spooky Action at a Distance, which is a strange, odd little pop song which is a little like Franz Ferdinand with 20 tins of Red Bull and 57% more distortion.

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FORD – The Master (ft. Andrew Mott)

Like Steven Patrick Morrissey and that bloke out of the Ordinary Boys before him, York based producer/composer Tom Ford makes music using just his surname. The Master features a guest turn from Andrew Mott, and the song is a lovely slice of that sexy, sexy electro-house sound that has been shooting up the charts in the past twelve months, built around a keyboard riff that will get stuck in your head for hours after you first hear it.

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Illuminine are a contemporary classical project hailing from Belgium. Armour is a lovely little Sigur Ros-esque post-rock track, one which sounds like it would act as a wonderful soundtrack for the hypnagogic state in between being awake and being asleep.

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KOYO – What Is Mine

KOYO are a Leeds based duo who combine “introspective vocals, abstract guitars and organic electronics, creating a kaleidoscopic and multi coloured sound.” You can hear the fruits of their labour on What Is Mine, which starts out as a standard slowcore song until the halfway mark, where things suddenly take an odd alt-flamenco turn.

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ROBOCOBRA QUARTET – Flickering Blinds

Take two saxophonists, a bassist and a drummer-cum-singer and you’re left with Robocobra Quartet, one of the most interesting and innovative acts to come out of Northern Ireland for some time. Flicker is taken from their most recent E.P Bombers (a concept record of sorts based around a failed assassination attempt), and sees the band mixing jazz, hip-hop and spoken word into something that is both engaging and visceral at the same time.

If you happen to catch them live, I assure you that you won’t be disappointed – I had the great fortunate of seeing them support Melt Yourself Down last week, and was blown away by how great they were. Plus, I have great respect for anyone who can both drum and do vocals at the same time – I find it hard enough singing whilst tapping my fingers.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | Vimeo | Bandcamp | Songkick

SALWA AZAR – Floating In Milk

In terms of beverages that I would enjoy finding myself floating in, I cannot say that milk would be anywhere in my top 10 (although the slightly milky Bailey’s Irish Cream does make an appearance at #4), but the imagery does lend itself well to a song by ukulele and Shruthri-armed artist Salwa Azar. Floating In Milk is a lovely little folk track that takes you away to a different place entirely.

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Although the phrase gets bandied around a lot, Hold On by Isle of Mann group Scarlett Parade seems to have the hallmarks of a ‘radio friendly’ song. Smooth polished production? Check. Tried and tested chord sequence? Check? Aurally pleasing backing vocals? Check An anthemic chorus with a universal message at its core? Check. Constant repetition of the title so you won’t forget it? Indeed. It’s a great little song, one that seems like it will fit rather nicely on the ‘adult alternative’ band of FM radio.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | iTunes

Astro Children

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.


Christopher McBride is the Belfast-based captain of The Metaphorical Boat, a music blog & podcast dedicated to new music, brilliant music, and the glorious intersection between the two. He has also written for Drowned In Sound & Chordblossom, and has been on the judging panel of the Northern Ireland Music Prize from 2013-2020. Has a known penchant for Battenberg cake.

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