Artists at a glance
FIELD TRIP TO THE MOON
SUPER BEST FRIENDS CLUB
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and are reviewed here by Angry Baby this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
BELLY OF PARIS – Aristide’s Entry Into Paris
First up is Belly of Paris. This may be the ultimate international collective. Based in Bahrain and bringing together musicians from India, Argentina, Palestine,Hungary, UK and Bahrain of course, the band takes its name from a book by French novelist Emile Zola, so I guess the reference to Aristide is from Zola’s La Curee.
Aristide’s Entry Into Paris makes the most of the band’s global influences. Could it be a Tango? Paso? Jazz? Whatever takes your fancy, if you like a bit of drama in your music, Daniel Cochran’s rich and slightly sinister vocals deliver. Changes of tempo, elusive fragments of story-telling and accomplished musicianship create a compelling composition -arrogant yet accessible. Scratch the surface and I’m pretty sure they’re having fun too.
Belly of Paris are releasing their debut album Peste on 7 November, but to catch them live requires a trip to Dubai, Qatar, Beirut or Bahrain. Daniel Cochran hints at some solo UK dates soon after, so keep an eye on their Facebook page for more info.
FEDERICA – Human
Continuing our international theme, meet Federica – originally from Malta, now based in London where she is writing, performing and producing ambient electro-pop.
Combining a deliciously laid-back vibe with vocals that trip from ballad to edge-of-rap, Human explores the tension between humanity and technology. There is a challenge in there – “What’s the point in seeing if we never see the sunrise, rather see the highlights on a timeline” but the delivery is gentle, so we don’t have to feel too chastised for our digital addictions.
As an accomplished debut single, Human shows promise. The description on her Soundcloud page reads “Unsigned/No Manager”, which may indicate a fiercely independent streak, or suggest that she is aiming to pull a team around her. Either way, Federica has already followed this up with She’s a Dreamer, provided vocals for Chris Birdd’s Ride Out and released her latest single Mama, so it looks as though she has plenty more to offer.
No sign of any live gigs in the offing, so it’s over to iTunes to download her music…
FIELD TRIP TO THE MOON – You
This makes me smile. Not just a little twitch, but a big, full-on grin. Possibly from the audacity of the band’s name (who wouldn’t want THAT field trip?) definitely from the post-punk alt-rock kick of music, and most certainly from the quirky girl-vocal – is she channelling X-Ray Spex? Aside from a guitar-led intro, You is delivered with a relentlessly driving beat. What it misses in melody is more than made up in energy.
Field Trip To The Moon is Angela Christofilou and Dan Cross, ex of The Perfect Disaster whose credits include support for The Pixies. Dan is a relatively recent addition to the project, following on from another Dan – Daniel G Jones – and numerous collaborations along the way.
Debut album Something Owed is out now. From the teaser trailers on the band’s YouTube channel and a quick browse through their back catalogue, it may well serve up a variety of styles, so be prepared for something different if you choose to jump in. Their website gives a tantalising suggestion that gigs are to be announced soon.
GALLERY CIRCUS – Club House Killer
It’s a small world, isn’t it? Having found two Dans in Daniel G Jones and Dan Cross, plus a link with The Pixies for Field Trip To The Moon, Gallery Circus brings us identical twins Graham and (you guessed it) Daniel Ross, produced by Dan Austin who has also worked with The Pixies. You couldn’t make it up, could you?
Club House Killer is relentless rock, pacey and made to be played loud. And live. Gallery Circus are serving a solid apprenticeship by gigging relentlessly, and it shows. If you took in the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury, you may already have seen them. If you haven’t come across them already, the chances are you will soon.
The biggest surprise is that there are just two of them making all this sound. They admit it’s challenging to arrange songs so it sounds like they are playing with a full band, but they seem to have made it happen. There’s no sign of an album yet, but with a selection of singles to download, and, no doubt, more touring to come, there’s plenty to keep their audience entertained.
LUK – Movement
Enigmatic doesn’t get near it. Is Luk one person or two? Facebook tells me that Luk is Lukas Beynon and Manon Lewis, but by the time I get to Tumblr, there’s just one Luk. The description is “your not so typical valleys born duo”, so I guess we’re back to two again. Valleys? I’m thinking Southern California…wrong again, it’s South Wales. I like South Wales, so that’s promising.
And the music is super-smooth. Rhythmic with an almost Caribbean flavour, Movement is electro taking a holiday in Jamaica. It may be Autumn outside but there’s a promise of late Summer evenings in this tune.
Want to know more? Despite scouring around the internet, there’s not much more to say about Luk. One more track on Soundcloud, no gig list, no YouTube, a few extra bits and pieces on Tumblr, a few broken links, a smattering of posts and tweets to say that Movement is out now. That’s all.
ORCHID COLLECTIVE – Courage
Orchid Collective caught the attention of Listening Post aficionados this weekend. Courage opens with a western feel brought to life with a hoof-clicking percussion intro. But there’s no hint of a twang, so the country vibe is muted down, mellow and – not surprisingly – Irish in origin.
The band describes their music as “lovingly hand-made”. According to their Soundcloud page, they have made three tracks so far, including Courage, and all have that crowd-pleasing alt-folk-rock sound that fills friendly pub gigs and makes for a happy crowd. Mix with a few uplifting covers for an ideal evening of live music.
Dublin-based but touring incessantly, you can catch this four-piece – David O’Shea, Hugh O’Neill, Shea Tohill and Brian Rooney – with their self-confessed “orchestrated madness” from Derry to Kerry and all points in-between. If you can’t make it to a gig, their Facebook page is well stocked with videos from past performances, behind the scenes and general fun times. This is a band that likes to share.
RIDLEY WOOF – Kidd
Ridley Woof‘s North East roots aren’t far from the surface in this angry alt-pop offering. Telling interweaving stories of sailors and janitors, alienated and unseen, united by the love of their children, there is a rage in the lyrics. Yet it overlays a sense of injustice and confusion that things haven’t somehow turned out better.
Kidd could be the product of a mid-life crisis, so it’s surprising to read that the three-piece that is Ridley Woof has not yet navigated their “20-something wilderness”. Despite their youth, this band is already making its mark, having featured on BBC Tees Introducing and been picked out by Tom Robinson for Radio 6 Music.
Ridley Woof’s album Giggles was released last week and is available on Bandcamp.
RUTH THEODORE – You Can’t Help Who You Love
When a tune starts of with familiarity, then trips and slides through unexpected variations, it’s impossible not to listen. That’s what happens with You Can’t Help Who You Love. Just when you think Ruth Theodore has settled into a rhythm, she flips the sound into something new. Slightly unnerving, but fresh and engaging all the same.
The substance of the song has the same effect. “You Can’t Help Who You Love”? Sure – got that. Except I hadn’t. This song was not inspired by an unconventional attraction, it’s the story of a battle with cancer from the perspective of a carer. Now you just have to listen again.
Completing a triad of the unexpected, Ruth’s vocals are breathy, chirpy and soulful all at the same time. Her album, Cactacus, was released last week and, with no upcoming gigs scheduled, it’s going to be the best way to catch up with her work for a while.
SUPER BEST FRIENDS CLUB – Humans
I’m loving the upbeat sound and tongue-twisting lyrics that pop and swirl around Humans. I can’t improve on Super Best Friends Club‘s own introduction of themselves – “We wonder if it’s possible to transform this cutthroat universe to a loving frequency. And we wonder if it’s possible to do this through nudity and frantic dancing. I think it’s worth trying” – which says it all, really.
Humans is an accomplished piece of musicianship which bodes well as a taster of things to come. There’s an album, due in 2017, which is not all that far away now. I’ll be interested to find out whether the five piece (Jonah Brody, Max Hallett, Jordan Copeland, Jean De Talhouet and, Josh Green) can maintain the frantic pace that they have set for themselves.
With just one upcoming gig, at the Paper Dress in London on Thursday, you’ll have to get a shimmy on to get a ticket, but keep an eye on their Facebook page for more events. Just one piece of advice for the band – put some clothes on, it’s getting cold out there.
THE NOUVELLES – Deathstar
Coming alphabetically at the end of this week’s Fresh Faves, The Nouvelles wrap up the playlist with their superbly tight offering Deathstar, showing that they are progressing just as they should, after five years producing tracks that have attracted the attention of BBC Introducing, Fresh on the Net and Tom Robinson. If we’re to believe the buzz on their website, it’s just a matter of time before an enlightened label offers them a deal that appeals and they step up alongside Kasabian and Stone Roses. Those are big shoes to fill, but someones gotta do it.
The band that are vying to do so are Johnnie ‘Jacko’ Jackson – Vocals; Tom Kinton – Guitars; Rob Regan – Bass; and Steve Atkinson – Drums. I’m not altogether sure why they call themselves “4 soul sucking vampires” on their soundcloud page. Their sound doesn’t fit the Twilight scene and I can’t imagine Buffy fans are their target audience, so I must be missing something.
Deathstar is an easy listen. Everything is in its place and it’s comfortably settled in its space. If you like indie rock, you’ll like this. I prefer to hear something a bit more risky and fresh, but – hey – I’m not their target audience either and Deathstar certainly grabbed attention on the Listening Post, so I’ll wish them all the very best and fingers crossed for the breakthrough they’ve worked so hard to achieve.
PS from TR: If you’ve submitted a track that hasn’t been picked for the Listening Post, our team has definitely listened to it and there’s no need to send it again: feel free to send us an even stronger track another week. The same goes if you were picked for the Listening Post but didn’t feature in our Fresh Faves.
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.