Artists at a glance
DAKAR AUDIO CLUB
RUSSELL JEANES/EMILY ZORNADO
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend. They’re reviewed below by Fresh On The Net’s Tom Robinson You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
BEACH FATIGUE – Drunken Grrrls
Who needs the late lamented Cramps when Beach Fatigue are here in 2015, ready to meet all your female-fronted high energy retro surf guitar music needs. Great energy, good fun, and an excellent discovery. If their faces in this photo – and Amy Zachariah’s vocal sound – seem nigglingly familiar, that might be because up until last month this Swansea outfit were known by the name of Heavy Petting Zoo. Under which they made five appearances on the BBC Introducing Mixtape and one on our Fresh Faves. Good to see that quality earns its own rewards, regardless of the name on the tin. Steve Lamacq has aslready picked this track for his 6 Music Recommends show, and no wonder.
BECKYBECKY – House Of The Black Madonna
BeckyBecky‘s selfstyled “Dirty Electro-Synth-Pop” already comes with rave endorsement from our very own Chris Bye, while no less a tipster than Andy Von Pip nominated them for this week’s listening Post. This is the band’s current single which comes with four different mixes plus one alternative version. Although this isn’t really my thing, it’s very clearly yours – and readers voted for it in droves over the weekednd. We wish them well.
COLLOCUTOR – Gozo
Our second retro track of the week kicks off with a stunning authentic Latin groove, but then turns the stun gun up to 11 by regaling us with a staggeringly authentic vintage brass arrangement in the style of Gil Evans. If you liked Miles Davis circa Kinda Blue/Sketches Of Spain you’re going to adore Tamar Osborn’s Collocutor. Those are the kind of playing and arranging chops it’s impossible to fake. In general, retreads of music from past decades tend to leave me cold. But Gozo is irresistible.
DAKAR AUDIO CLUB – Travelling Soon
Fresh On The Net isn’t well known outside the UK and we get so little authentic African music submitted here that we jumped at the chance to feature a band making music in this style – especially one called Dakar Audio Club. The name’s a little disingenuous however since the band formed in Exmouth in early 2011, and comprise singer/songwriter partnership Nick and Fatou, guitarist Paul , bassist Tim, drummer Ben and djembe player Lee. Still, the Rolling Stones started out copping their influences directly off Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry and Howlin Wolf – so why shouldn’t DAC raid the songbooka – and toolkits – of musicians such as Salif Keita and Ali Farka Toure.
HOLY THURSDAY – Morning
A song of surprises. Have to admit to not knowing what to make of these reverby falsetto vocals and wispy organ noodlings until the Big Reveal at 1.15 when the insistent drums, tambourine and guitar riff suddenly dropped. Every tune so far this week has been mint quality in terms of execution, but with the sole exception of BeckyBecky, each of them has also sounded like an immaculate out-take from the 20th Century. Holy Thursday vividly evoke the music of my youth, specifically late period Doors, but then suddenly tear up the script at 4.12 on this track when the vocal enters and the song finally sounds like nothing but itself.
LA SHARK – Fiji (I’m In Heaven)
Hahaha – La Shark have always had the ability to put a big silly grin all over my face right from bar one – and Fiji (I’m in Heaven) is no exception. There’s a looseness, a loucheness and a playfulness about their writing and performance that means there’s no script to rip up. The whole joy of a new La Shark song is that from moment to moment you have no idea what’s going to happen next. Yet that sense that anything could happen is balanced by the reassuringly deft touch that tells us we’re in the hands of masters. It’d be ridiculous to rate this song out of ten – La Shark plough an extravagant left-field furrow that’s entirely their own. Long may they flourish.
PALACE WINTER – Menton
Nothing groundbreaking stylistically but yet somehow irresistible. A standard indie guitar groove, immaculately executed, is overlaid with dark atmospheric vocals like chocolate. Expert production that crackles with life, and songwriting that speaks heart to heart. Palace Winter sound like they mean it and Paul Lester from The Guardian agrees.
ROPE STORE – That’s Not Good Enough
Oh blimey, you readers really were keen on doing the timewarp again this week. Rope Store hammer on the C7#9 chord so beloved of Steely Dan and Jimi Hendrix then swirl into a chord sequence that make this sound like some great lost outtake from Blood Sweat & Tears. Still, don’t mind me. The whole thing’s done with tremndous energy and verve, not to mention detailed production and mixing. Best of all, it doesn’t outstay its welcome – at just 2.06 it gets in there, makes its point and gets out again pronto, leaving us all reaching for the replay button.
RUSSELL JEANES – Smiles With Her Eyes
Arranged and performed by EMILY ZORNADO
A poised female vocal, sparse uke-like fingerpicking, and the sound of doves cooing in the background – what’s not to like? We all first fell in love with the work of Russell Jeanes early last year, with the introduction of his song Simple Jayne. Written by a Yorkshireman and sung by French vocalist Catherine Hershey in her garden, the accompaniment in that case was the morning song of a blackbird. The latest of Russell’s “simple songs about the magic in nature” is a transatlantic collaboration with US singer Emily Zornado – aka EmilyGrace – from Danielson, CT.
SHALLOWS – AM
Already big favourites with Team Freshnet member Dervswerve and Paul “The Devil’s Tuna” Kerr, Winchester trio Shallows should not be confused with our old friends Tom Skelton and Michael Rendall and their outfit THE Shallows who’ve featured many a time here at Fresh On The Net in the past. Luckily the two bands’ musical styles are quite distinct, and the epic chillwave of AM has earned a place all its own in our readers’ hearts this weekend.
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.