Artists at a glance
THE LAST DINOSAUR
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Silent Radio and Fresh On The Net’s Bobby Colcombe this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
AISLINN LOGAN – So Loud
Elegantly opening this week is London-based-Irish-born Aislinn Logan with her bewitching track So Loud. This is her first release since debut EP Lost and Gone in 2016 and oh, it is a quietly thumping return.
We begin with the sound of train doors closing, and our journey begins. Over a gentle moving ambient backing and softly picked guitar, Logan conveys a faultless vocal which at times soars so high we have to clutch on not to be left standing. She ponders “How does it feel when you’re stoking the fire?” one of many suggestions of conflict in a relationship that is reflected throughout. The eerie harmonies towards the end are simply beautiful and draw to a close a track that leaves you tingling in your extremities.
There are hints of Alessi’s Ark circling around this song and with Logan’s vocals being so promising it’s hard not to see a future for her.
According to her website, Logan has summer tour of Ireland planned with an announcement coming soon. Meanwhile, check out her other single from this AA release Dance with Demons.
AUGUST – C H E M I C A L
AUGUST is the solo project of London-based artist Steve Hughes. Chemical is his latest release and it begins with an atmospheric guitar lick that The XX would be proud of. Hughes’ subtle vocals are the perfectly emotive, and for over a full minute we’re encapsulated in his world. When the drums and backing eventually come in, I’m taken a bit by surprise of the lo-fi sound. This is by no means a criticism; from the strength and forefront of Hughes’ voice you could be tempted to predict that the overall sound would be that of stadium rock with big sing-along chorus. Instead, the feel is that of a strong yet fragile mood as Hughes’ laments on a past relationship “We had something chemical”.
It would be interesting to see this played live. However, AUGUST has no live dates planned at the moment.
flies+flies – MEMO
There’s something great about a tune a grabs you and perks your ear’s interest from the beginning. Right from the get-go of this track flies+flies seek to control us; following an upbeat intro the band throw a curveball and slow things down. A steady vocal line is slowly shrouded in effects and the lyrics become less distinctive. That being said there is plenty else to focus on; the backing of electronic drums and awkward synths carry us along the bumpy ride. I have to be honest; I don’t know what MEMO is about but that doesn’t matter, it’s far from boring. The constant introduction of different textures throughout is so interesting – crawling guitars and unnerving noises send the tension through the roof. Another track I’d love to see replicated live.
The London trio recently enjoyed the launch of this single in London but at present have no live dates planned. You can check out this awesome video for previously released track Later On
H.Grimace – Lipsyncer
This track was a popular choice in the vote this week – a trudging slice of noise pop. It’s easy to hear The Pixies’ influence with H.Grimace, especially during the chorus where vocals soar above battering drums. The instrumental outro of shoegazy guitar punches are a just a pleasure on the ear drums. I can imagine that they will draw comparisons to Savages but they are a little way from there yet, though there are plenty of promising moments to suggest they’re on the way to something good.
H.Grimace are Hannah, Corin, Diogo and Marcus and are based in London. They managed to grace the USA with a tour back in 2015 but have been a little quiet on the gig front since then. Tracks like this, though, warrant a bigger live calendar. Lipsyncer is taken from debut album Self Architect which was released earlier this year.
The Hangmen – Heartbreaker
’60s influenced rock ‘n’ roll guitars and melodies aplenty on The Hangmen’s shimmery cut Heartbreaker. Looking at their photos online you might say they’d be more influenced by the ’90s, but the music speaks for itself. Whilst it may not be plumbing the depths of originality I actually really enjoy this track and the public vote has spoken. It’s fresh sounding, the melody flows gracefully with touches of contrapuntal guitar that lead into a catchy chorus where the band tells of “a cold heartbreaker”.
The band hail from Swansea and recently enjoyed a slot of Summer Vibes festival in Merthyr Tydfil.
Hydromag – Primrose Hill
This is one of those moments when you’ve found your track of the summer. This is an instant feel-good pop song. No, I can’t really hear what’s being sung a lot of the time through the shrouded hazy vocals but the hooks are in the jangly guitars and friendly bass line. It’s pretty dreamy, perfect for a bit of wind-riding-hand-waves from the car window.
Who are you then, Hydromag? The band turns out to be the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Josh Best-Shaw. He released his debut EP Sweet Obsession earlier this year which you can listen to in full on his Soundcloud. Primrose Hill is the perfect opener to this solid debut record.
The Last Dinosaur – All My Faith
All My Faith is taken from an album that was inspired by sorrow and tragedy. The Last Dinosaur’s singer Jamie Cameron lost his best friend in a car crash. Born from this terrible event is brutally honest and beautiful music. The instrumentation is rich and makes for a truly soul-bearing song, with predominantly whispered vocals that somehow manage to break through ethereal clatter and tug directly on our heartstrings.
Debut album The Nothing is due for release next month and I’ll be hoping for more of the same from these talented chaps.
MissinCat – Made of Stone
Berlin’s MissinCat’s PR states that she “performs balancing acts of beauty and bravery on a tightrope suspended between hope and despair.” For a change, this makes for quite an accurate description. From the outset, it’s clear that her voice is the driving force behind the mood. Singer Caterina Barbieri has a sweet and fragile voice that one finds difficulty in fathoming how it can be natural. Over a simple piano riff, though, the effect is spellbinding. Made of Stone briefly ascends the gentle tone towards the end as Barbieri reaches for the Feist-effect and loses herself in rippling vocal effects.
MissinCat recently finished a European tour, and unfortunately has nee more dates in the diary… yet! In the meantime check out the video for Made of Stone.
Partick Swayze – The Bell Rock
Well isn’t this just a Googling nightmare? At least I thought so initially, it turns out that Partick Swayze is the newest kid of the block with no website, social media and just two tracks on his/her/their soundcloud, The Bell Rock being one of them. Talking of which, it’s quite refreshing to see such a different kind of track make the Fresh Faves. The aforementioned is an exciting adventure in 8-bit soundtracking and is quite reminiscent of British composer Pixelh8. The tune does often lapse into sounding like an retro video game soundtrack, of course, but there is never a dull moment and clocking in at just 2m 40s it’s the perfect length before we all get irritated with memories of constantly failing that Kirby level on the Gameboy.
Perks – For You
We last heard from Perks aka Zoe Leonard, back when I wrote my first Fresh Faves and I’m so very happy to have the privilege to review her again. Leonard (who now goes under the moniker Perks) has been busy in the year or so since her outing on here with the mesmerizing Bluey Greenish. The production is still crisp, with this cut benefitting from live drums which give a new dynamic to the trip-hoppy feel. For You has flawless flow, is exceptionally pretty, and believably emotional. For a genre that’s very difficult to stand out from the crowd, Leonard has taken big steps towards being counted among the ones to watch for the future.
I highly recommend you check out her new album Flourish.
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.