Artists at a glance
MICHAEL BAKER MUSIC
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s Benji Tranter this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
ANNA PANCALDI – Brother
Let’s begin this week’s Fresh Faves with Anna Pancaldi‘s moving piano ballad Brother. Pancaldi uses simplicity to her advantage here. 1 vocal + 1 piano + 3 chords (- the bridge). What does that equal? I’m no mathetician, but I do know that it allows an emotive, powerful vocal performance to deservedly take centre stage. Check out the song for yourself, above.
Brother appears on Anna’s new EP Sweet Charity, which is to be released on March 20th, 2017 with her London launch at The Victoria in Dalston, followed by a UK tour.
CAJSA SIIK – Talk to Trees
Scandinavian singer/songwriter Cajsa Siik has been busy the last few years. 2014 saw the release of her last album Contra, and since then a steady stream of singles has flowed down our way from the Arctic circle.
This latest single, Talk to Trees, brings with it the fanfare of her next studio album DOMINO. The track has a sweet groove and a multitude of earworm hooks which mean that even if you don’t like it, you’ll be singing it after one listen.
Her first run of shows since 2015 is soon to be announced, according to her website.
GUS WHITE – Life Is But A Dream
Gus White’s unnerving lullaby is at once familiar and unfamiliar. I leaves me uneasy and suspicious; I feel on the edge of some horrible realisation. There is something in the recitation of nursery rhymes that puts me right back in my cot staring through the bars at the vast, incomprehensible world. What an evocative composition this is.
Gus studied Sonic Arts at Queen’s University, and it shows, with beautiful ‘acousmatic elements’ binding the song’s many fabrics together. Life Is But A Dream is taken from Gus’s debut EP, set for independent release this March.
Catch Gus live in London tonight, or in cities including Belfast and his native Winchester during March. More details here.
LOLA DUTRONIC – Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead: The Sequel
I thought this was a new act from the label PC Music when I first heard it. It has that addictive sugary robot Barbie doll feel to it, so cheesy, so plastic that it’s actually cool. But no, I was wrong.
Call us Re-Fresh On The Net, because this song is actually an update on Lola Dutronic’s 2012 recording by the same name. I love the concept. We’ve all been there; nobody says a darn thing about David Bowie for forever, and then suddenly everyone’s an expert. And LD’s fans made their voices heard because, as we all know, 2016 was an exceptional year – in so many ways – but particularly regarding high profile celebrities. And so it came to be, the sequel was born, to address the passings of, among others, Lemmy, Leonard Cohen, Prince, George Michael and David Bowie. Also, listen out for the added millennial whoops, a neat little touch 😉
Lola Dutronic is a Canadian electronica duo, made up of beat-man and producer Richard Citroen and vocalist Stephanie B.
LORNE – Bread Alone
According to Lorne, he is a “singer, songwriter, pianist based in London, who will be releasing his debut single Bread Alone in February 2017.”
And from what I can tell, Bread Alone is a signal of intent, a display of his aspirations. It’s a rousing turn – I could even go so far as to say inspiring. I look forward to hearing what the seeds of these aspirations sow.
The song features Yoed Nir on strings, and was recorded by Daniel Moyler and mixed by Eduardo de la Paz.
LUXLISBON – When You Need Somebody
This is a powerful piece of piano pop, with a great hook in its repeating “come find me when you need somebody” refrain. And while there is plenty of this stuff about, what really sets this apart for me is the blazing guitar and saxophone solos which enter around half way through the song. It’s undeniably brazen and euphoric from that point on.
The only thing is, this reviewer thinks the song takes a little long getting there, considering the fierce competition of the digital age; a radio edit might not do any harm. Then again, it just might happen that 11,000 facebook fans disagree with me…
According to their website LUXLISBON is a “100% DIY proposition, no label, manager, booking agent, publicist, or outside funding – absolutely everything is all handled by songwriter Stuart Rook, a laptop, and savings from the day job”.
They have short UK tour planned this April, see if they’re appearing near you, here.
MICHAEL BAKER MUSIC – Revolving Doors
Michael Baker has appeared on FOTN before when Sunny Stuart Winter described track Anywhere Anytime Soon as “gorgeous, soothing singer-songwriter folk that would give Ben Howard a run for his money”. [Although strangely this is attributed to Tom Robinson on Michael’s website…]
I can’t argue with that description though. This is all of the above, and goes one further when the epic factor comes into play later on with group vocals and echoing, pounding drums. Michael’s music proved popular with listeners this weekend. If you were one of those listeners, then check out the rest of his music below.
Michael Baker is from the from the south of England, and says he is now living in a Van.
PIP HALL – Turn Over
Turn Over is a slow burning, guitar driven pop song, topped with a delicious layered vocal. It is the second offering from Pip Hall. Her first, Devil You Don’t, made the BBC Radio 1 ‘Best of BBC Introducing’ Playlist. So, that’s not a bad start for a 16 year old.
She is all over the blogs too, so she really doesn’t need any more hyperbole from me. Check out her sound, and if you’re in the south of England, catch her live on the 15th at Sofar Sounds London or on the 28th at L’Escargot in Soho.
SHRINKING MINDS – Something Better
Boom. The power of standing out in your field simply by being different! Shrinking Minds are a punk rock band from Liverpool, consisting of Liam, Seb and Jay.
Something Better is just fun, and loud, and it doesn’t faf about. The vocalist sneers and leers and I can see him swaggering and lolloping around on stage already. I’d go and see them on the strength of this song alone.
Alas they don’t have any upcoming shows at present, but keep an eye out at the links below in the meantime.
VIDA SOPHIA – I Never Surf
This is a lovely piece of calypso infused, chilled out surf rock. It’s totally addictive, and a beautiful ending to our ten tracks this week. I particularly enjoy that the track plays with the possibility of ‘going big’ before each chorus, and simply drops into that same old coy little woodblock rhythm.
There are bags of confidence in what Vida Sophia does, and it shows in the song’s understated execution, as well as the artist’s 3000 odd facebook fans.
Despite the proclamation that she ‘lost her heart in San Francisco’, Vida Sophia actually hails from Copenhagen, Denmark, and is half Israeli. No upcoming shows at present. Keep an eye out below.
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.