Last week our moderators listened to 180 tracks in our inbox and chose our favourite 25 for our Listening Post. Our readers then picked their own favourites from that shortlist over the weekend.
The Fresh Faves on this page were the most popular tracks of the week. Making his reviewing debut please welcome our latest recruit to the Fresh On The Net moderation team, Rob Ball. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
Going by this week’s Fresh Fave selections, it seems like our listeners were in a very relaxed and chilled out mood over the weekend…
CARL FOULKES JONES – Boneslum Band
Right from the start of Boneslum Band I was thinking of Seasick Steve. This is classic old-school blues complete with the mandatory slightly gravelly vocals and harmonica. I had this strong image of a group of guys sitting on a veranda somewhere in rural America having some fun. In fact my mental image was wrong: Carl Foulkes Jones plays all the instruments himself, nearly all at the same time and his bass pedals are a sight to behold (see below). It looks as if Carl doesn’t do many gigs – which is a shame.
Come on you promoters and venue owners: give this man a break – look at what you’re missing…
HANNAH THE BAND – Fallout
What happened to the “and”? Is it that Hannah is the band – or is it a case of saving characters on their Twitter name? In fact I think it’s to make things easier for those of us trying to find out about them on Google and the band is simply called Hannah. Anyway enough of this madness. Hannah The Band are a five-piece hailing from Manchester who state that they are a “Lo-fi dream-pop quartet”. Fallout actually has quite a pop/folk feel with lovely vocals from lead singer Hayley Faye accompanied by chilled guitars before a rousing fuzzy chorus and finishing with a bit of a jam at the end. They have a self-produced album out on Bandcamp.
HEAVY HEART – What Became Of Laura R?
I don’t know – you wait for ages for a five-piece band with a female lead singer and then two come along at once. This one’s from London. Heavy Heart are a dreamy, guitar-led indie band who have played CMJ in New York and had support from the likes of BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio. It easy to see why they have been gaining fans and our listeners were no exception. What Became Of Laura R is a very personal song about lead singer Anna Vincent as a 15 year – and features lines like “I decided I was so bored of my enemies”. The song is the second instalment of a project that will see a new song revealed each month of 2016. You can catch them live in London at The Borderline on April 21st – and hopefully at a few festivals over the summer.
JIM PEARSON – This Is How We Have Fun
Jim Pearson is a singer-songwriter from Liverpool who is making no less than his fourth appearance on our Fresh Faves. This Is How We Have Fun is taken from his latest album Work Anxiety Syndrome and features a strong repeated riff, giving the track its own heartbeat. Jim is quite prolific with several albums on his Bandcamp page and has even penned a rock opera. It appears that he mainly plays gigs on the local circuit and collaborates a lot with others. Hopefully the love he’s continued to receive from our listeners over the past 15 months will encourage him to play more shows further afield.
KETO – Waiting On Dreams
Waiting On Dark starts with some lovely melodic acoustic guitar and then pure, rich emotional vocals come in from singer Leah Sanderson – accompanied by a haunting violin which makes you lean in closer to your speakers. Keto is very much Leah’s own work, but with a band joining her to expand her “atmospheric soundscapes”. They perform as a three-piece and – by the looks of it – occasionally as a four-piece, producing lo-fi hypnotic folk music. They’ve had a pretty good weekend: not only were they a favourite with our Listening Post audience, but they were also selected for the the Glastonbury Emerging Talent longlist. We wish them every success.
LUCY CLAIRE ft YURI KONNO – Kawaita Tsuki
It isn’t often that we see an artist uploading their music to our Listening Post as a composer, but that’s how Lucy Claire is described in much of the available information. She is an accomplished piano player and Kawaita Tsuki (The Barren Moon) is one of her many collaborations – this time with Japanese singer Yuri Kono. The vocals are delicate, pure and almost choral. This is the kind of track that a good set of headphones and a comfy chair were invented for. Try it – you’ll be transported into a sea of calmness. Lucy’s EP Collaborations No 2 comes out this Friday March 11th on This Is It Forever. Lucy is performing a special Piano Day event on March 28th at One Good Deed Today in London where she will be joined by Yuri Konno, plus Alev Lenz and Marie Schreeer.
NUNQUAM – Faith In Myths
Nunquam is one of those artists we reviewers hate. One track on Soundcloud, no Twitter, nothing on the internet. But just a minute – those ears on the shadowy Soundcloud photograph?? Was this an initiation for new boy Oldierob? After my initial frustration trying to research Nunquam, I realised it was the pseudonym of Fresh On The Net moderator, Bedlam Six frontman and Debt Records founder Louis Barabbas – uploading undercover to ensure no nepotism. Well he may have fooled me but the musical quality of Faith in Myths didn’t fool our listeners.
My listening notes mention the image of a smoky 1960s Parisian club – with acoustic guitar, double bass, occasional brass and Louis telling us a story in song. I have to admit it had, for me, the best lyric of the week: “I talked to myself all my life, but myself never once replied”. Louis’s new solo album Gentle Songs Of Ceaseless Horror is out this Friday and you can catch him on tour in the UK and Europe over the next three months both solo and with The Bedlam Six. His album launch party for GSOCH is this Friday (March 11th) at First Chop Brewing Arm in Salford.
SHOEBOX ORCHESTRA – Ordinary World
It’s late, I’m on a beach, by a fire, with lovely company and all is good in the world. I had a feeling of West Coast America when listening to Ordinary World – with its strong harmonies, tambourine and chilled sound. Shoebox Orchestra are yet another lo-fi act – this time a four-piece from Cardiff masterminded by composer, sound artist and engineer Sam Barnes. They too have been championed by BBC Introducing and have an EP, called The Colour Of Two, available on Bandcamp. It’s a shame that they only have a single gig on their date sheet – Cardiff’s one-day DimSwn mini-festival on April 9th. Here’s hoping Ordinary World will gain them some more bookings – a Facebook page might help, but sadly there doesn’t appear to be one.
YIPIOK – Gutterbug
Our final act in this week’s Fresh Faves is an electropop duo from London. YipiOK are big favourites with Fresh On The Net’s Steve Harris – who first reviewed them in our Fresh Faves back in February 2015. Their music’s been described as garage pop or bubblegum pop. Gutterbug transported me back to the 80s New Wave era. Its poppy keyboards remind me of Soft Cell, but the semi-spoken vocals here are more reminiscent of Joy Division than of my old school classmate Marc Almond. YipiOK’s new EP Swords will be out on April 1st.
PS from TR: if you’d like your tunes considered for the BBC Introducing Mixtape on BBC Radio 6 Music, don’t forget to upload them to BBC Introducing in the first place, via this link. Among the 150-200 tunes that arrive our inbox each week, we hear at least half a dozen great tunes by UK artists that haven”t been uploaded there, and like it says in our guidelines: NO UPLOAD = NO AIRPLAY
If we do feature you in the Fresh Faves or BBC Introducing Mixtape please do us a favour and wait three months before sending another track, so we can help other deserving artists in the meantime… More info here.