Artists at a glance
DUCK — Low
At first there are clues from the tempo and guitars that suggest something bigger is on its way, but you cannot anticipate the wall of noise that follows — that intro could just as easily have turned into something more indie-pop, but I much prefer this! It’s like a cross between My Bloody Valentine at their best and a gigantic robot, and will undoubtedly clear out the cobwebs live.
The only downside is (and it’s not often you’ll find me making this complaint) it’s all over rather too quickly. Still, far better to leave people wanting than outstay your welcome, and it certainly is an enjoyable 2 minutes and 12 seconds.
So, who are Duck? Well, apparently they are Sarah, Chris and Ange, a “wonky / punky / synthy noisepop band from Sheffield / Leeds”. They released their first EP SlackGob in 2016, and will be releasing their debut LP FaceAche in September 2017. With tunes like this and record names like that, consider me smitten.
FALSE ADVERTISING – Honest
We last heard from False Advertising here on Fresh on the Net almost a year ago with the far more jagged (as our writer Louis put it) track Scars. This one, Honest, sits at the other end of the grunge spectrum; it’s more melodic and sports the poppiest of pop hooks for a chorus. Again, I expect this would be riotous fun live, but still works very well in recorded form. To succeed, bands always require a combination of great songwriting and performance skills that False Advertising demonstrate so ably here — and best of all, they make it sound so effortless.
From Manchester, the trio released Not My Fault in March, to acclaim from the likes of Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1, John Kennedy on Radio X and Lammo on 6 Music. I have no details about Honest’s release schedule, but I expect it’ll go the same way. They’ve got a few festival dates lined up over summer and a gig at The Old Blue Last in London in late September.
HANNAH SCOTT – Weight Of Your Words
Sometimes when writing these reviews, the first thing that comes into your head can speak volumes, and my first thought about this was that Hannah Scott has a great voice — it’s strong and assured, without being showy, and it’s sincere. And as it happens, this track has the topic of sincerity at its core, so it’s a perfect fit.
We reviewed Hannah’s last release, Hurricanes, back in Fresh Faves 153, and following the release of that track Hannah was invited to record a live session on Dermot O’Leary’s BBC Radio 2 show, as well as getting played by Bob Harris, and BBC Introducing making that their Track of the Week. She’s also received acclaim from MOJO, The Guardian and others besides. Weight Of Your Words is out now on iTunes. Hannah has a string of UK festival appearances lined up for the summer, and she’s playing a couple of gigs in Germany in February 2018.
HONEYMILK – Trip
You’ve got to love a track that gets right into it — and if you’re a band starting out, it’s a good idea too, because when trawling through 150 to 200 tracks each week (as we do here, and doubtless some do every single day), you’re looking for the ones that grab your attention and hold it. And so this is a masterclass on that from Honeymilk, the Stockholm-based duo of Marcus Admund and Nikki Nyberg (with the help of friends), because it sounds great too, and quite summery. I’m not sure what Trip is about, and it’s not exactly breaking new ground sonically, but does it really matter? I say not, because you either like a track or you don’t, and I did enjoy this.
KOIYA – Brood
First, let me be clear: I like this track from Koiya, it makes all the right noises, the singer has a gorgeous voice, the production is crisp without being sterile, and I appreciate how the beat sits front and centre, rather than lurking at the back, but to my ears it sounds like a remix, or a B-side of itself. That’s more harsh than this track or band deserves, but I feel there is enough substance in Brood’s 4 minutes and 35 seconds that it would benefit from fewer / shorter glitchy breakdowns, which currently comprise around half the track’s duration. Losing half or even a whole minute of what basically sounds like messing around wouldn’t hurt its chances of airplay either.
Who asked me for production advice, right? Hey, if I didn’t like this track then I’d be serving up lukewarm platitudes to pad out the space, but I do, and the Listening Post public jury voted for it, so it hardly matters what I think.
Koiya are Dhruva Grant, Kumar Grant and Emma Wilson, and their debut track, Tripped, was featured on BBC Introducing in London recently. I like that track very much too, so I hope we hear more from Koiya soon.
LONG COMETS – Stile
As is tradition, Oxford duo Long Comets cite a number of influences in their bio, and of them Wild Beasts and Yeasayer ring particularly true on this track. Although there is no falsetto, and the vocals are very much a British affair, we do find the same level of creativity and a similar sensibility. Normally I’d leave that stuff to one side, but Stile makes me think Long Comets could end up listed alongside those acts one day, if they keep going like this.
Impressive for a band that got its first radio play a month ago, thanks to BBC Introducing Oxford. In the interview posted on their Soundcloud page, we learn that both members have previous in separate bands, but have been working together for a couple of years, releasing two EPs and now an album, Hiatus, which can be heard in full on their Bandcamp page.
PETE BEAT – A Life Lived Ordinary
Just so we know what we’re dealing with here, Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s Pete Beat “is an adventurer in the space of all possible sounds, seeking out sweet harmonies and funky beats wherever they may be found, regardless of danger to his person.” It is thanks to people like Pete that the rest of us can sleep at night, safe in the knowledge he’s out there, writing songs like A Life Lived Ordinary.
What his bio doesn’t tell you is that Pete is a songwriting genius. This is a proper tale, delivered in the finest Geordie, filled with anecdotes and unexpected insight, such as the part where he links the Easter Bunny with the normalisation of state surveillance (it makes perfect sense). And then there’s the music, sweeping strings one minute, funky breakdown the next . To say this takes you places you really don’t expect, both lyrically and sonically, would be an understatement. It’s an absolute delight.
REMARK – ?Everything
There are lots of ways you can have your hip hop, but to my mind it’s a genre that lends itself especially well to protest and social commentary. Remark packs a lot into ?Everything with a massive wall of sound that immediately sets the scene, and leaves you in no doubt about the message, which comes at you fast in this hard-hitting track.
Remark, aka Remark (The Remarkable 1), is a Brighton-based vocalist, MC, producer, DJ and video maker, who for 20 years has co-created with various producers, with Hamburg’s Merlin producing this track, which is available now on Remark’s Bandcamp page.
SASHA – Picking Flowers
We often follow a band or musician’s progress here on Fresh On The Net, but it takes a special talent for their first track to immediately reach the Faves, only to repeat that with their second track, and then score a hat trick.
Sasha first came to our attention just over a year ago, with her debut single Fall On My Feet, which appeared in our Fresh Faves 200 and Tom’s BBC Introducing Mixtape. In March, we heard Gracious, which also made the Faves, and now Picking Flowers has made the Faves again this week. BBC Introducing in the South are fans too, having got Sasha in for an interview and session recently.
According to Sasha, Picking Flowers is a metaphor for adultery, the idea being that someone can pick up and drop lovers without issue or care. This track seems more conventional than the previous two, far more verse-chorus and lacking some of the more experimental elements, but subject matter aside it remains pretty dreamy and ambient.
SOOSKI – East London
Wrapping up our Faves this week is Sooski and East London, a song about someone desperately trying to fit in, but failing to convince, written by (as Sooski herself points out) a North Londoner. This track certainly convinces — menacing, but slinky — and it was long-listed for Glastonbury 2017’s Emerging Talent Competition, thanks to a nod from Clash Magazine. I’ve checked out a few more tracks on Sooski’s Soundcloud page, and there’s a ton of talent there, so I really hope we’ll be hearing a lot more about her in the near future.
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.