Artists at a glance
THE ROCKING HORSE CLUB
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s Johnno Casson AKA Snippet Cuts, this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
ALBERT MAN – Diamond In The Rough
Albert Man is good people!
I have reviewed a song or two of Albert’s in the past and have kept up to speed with his comings and goings and I have to say he seems to be a really nice fella, his wife is really nice too (lovely family also); its so much easier when people are good and decent in this mental music making game I think. Hard working people trying to get on and make a good career at this music making game need to be saluted, the market has never been so over saturated and its ridiculously hard to get by and rise above the parapet – so a big tip of the hat to Albert (and Manoja).
And so to the song, you loved it, it was on a par votes wise with Cloud’s track and its the sign of artists on the rise that when they release a song that isn’t perhaps the ‘single’ and it still attracts great support. Albert has a fine voice, echoes of Neil Hannon in tone here and I like that.
I see why you loved it and voted for it but I have to be honest and say for me personally (with the best intentions), Albert has much better songs in his arsenal.
Why say such things Johnno? Well I lived through many Billy Joel album tracks and predictable Americanised MOR that could bring a man out in (cheesey) hives and I just can’t do it again. I’m sorry, I will try (and if for anyone, I’ll try it for you Albert) but only if you promise to not talk 100% in American lingo.
A lot of you will be outraged at my stance, especially those who didn’t live through those deeply troubling times (ok, there were the odd good MOR moments) and who haven’t the slightest idea what I am on about or the ones who long for a piano led MOR revival – yes, you in the corner in the oversized suit with shoulder pads, I see you!
I know that part of that style is what Albert does very well and he’s rightly creating a nice niche with it, its just when the Americanisms come into play and the chords follow a certain familiar pattern, I am just not in love like Peter Kay. Otherwise I really like what Albert does, he is a talented fella and I support his work and want him to be the best he can.
And here’s the thing about writing something as a blogger that I honestly feel at that moment in time, I will spend a week or so beating myself up about it and regret it and feel bad if I’m not 100% positive. Tbh its just impossible to completely love every song we hear every week.
I think Albert has the wide shoulders (no pads involved) and will use it as fuel to start the fire.
I’m told Albert is a treat to see live, check out his upcoming shows.
CLOUD — Foliage
We come to be washed of our sins, we come to have our souls cleansed, we come to have our emotions caressed, we come because we want to, because we need to and because a higher force is beckoning us ever forward, we come because we want to feel love is in purest form, sweet, uncomplicated and blissful love. Foliage delivers!
It promised you absolutely nothing but offers so much of itself, it invades your senses like a glorious dreamcatcher and it washes your insides with love – sweet, gentle, slow burning love – tell me you felt the same didn’t you? Like all those songs that stick with you for years, this one improves when you repeatedly press play.
I have absolutely no clue what this song is about and also have only two clues about Cloud – they are from Bristol and ‘they’ may just be someone called Claudia Crosse.
It reminds me of tunes I used to listen to at 4am in smoke filled chilled out post club clubs, all little fluffy clouds and smelling of yesterday’s promise. It also makes me want to have a wee, bloody waterfalls!
[FYI Cloud – your links from Soundcloud are all dead and need updating! Ed.]
DIDI – Back Off
Young, feisty, boisterous punky art pop that has a touch of the Victoria Wood and Razorlights about it and it’s rather delightful.
DIDI is the solo project of the very talented Lauren Deakin Davies, a musician, singer and producer, she keeps herself busy with all sorts of exciting projects and is making a name for herself with hard work and no little talent.
Back Off is released as a single on 28th August and proves that the three minute pop song is a alive and kicking with its most excellent guitar playing (Franz Ferdinand would be proud).
Lovely shouty backing vocals and sweet drummy drum-ness and the joy is DIDI works a really great dynamic range and varies the ebb and flow of the song throughout.
You dear friends of Fresh On The Net loved as it was voted joint top track this week and its one hell of a grower, I can report that endless plays have produced only positive responses in my home, the cat and indeed the dog seem to have warmed to it greatly and appear smitten with my new listening pleasure. I feel ready to order a DIDI badge, T Shirt and tea cosy as we speak.
Continued luck on the journey Lauren, it’s reaching!
HOT COLLARS — No Money No Problem
I was attracted to this instantly as it reminded me of the highly underrated The Voluntary Butler Scheme
Songs don’t always need to woo you, caress your good intentions and call you Marjorie, sometimes they can just be about a hedonistic spirit and a wicked groove. Just like the Rocksteady Crew, this will check out your b boy credentials and fleece your long term intentions.
At first it feels like a quick street sex transaction behind a one stop shop but hang around and you will come to see there is pop gold hidden within, anyone who can mention Dalston, Hackney, Otis Reading and Marvin Gaye in one song has my heart.
Something is going on below the surface here though, and some pop mastermind is surely behind this but sadly my investigatory skills are as jaded and shit as Colombo’s raincoat (as are my up to the minute cultural reference points).
They say – Hot Collars will sleep with any decade to get the sounds they want and make the good times happen.
I say – this is the shit.
JOYYA – Red Tune
Dry ice, early morning, the docks, massive sleeping buildings, cobblestone, a distant figure in oversized wool mix coat and enormous scarf comes into view screen right, who is he? Where is he heading? why is heading there? He seems faintly disinterested, fey even, and then he starts to sing and everything comes into focus:
“Do you ever get the feeling that the devil’s in the same room?”
This is electronic pop music to make sense of your rainy Monday afternoons, catchy, a bit lovely, a lot easy going, semi skimmed and frothed up ready for swaying in the aisles.
JOYYA do electronic pop with very English vocals, tasty keyboard action and fine production.
I kinda liked the added intrigue of thinking for the first three plays that the chorus was
“Am I supposed to know what’s right? for Russian lovers”
There I was contemplating all kinds of espionage and intrigue before I had to smack myself on the forehead as I get to read the actual lyrics (handily posted below the song) and they actually read:
“Am I supposed to know what’s right? For us young lovers”
instantly my wife comes into the room, sits me in a chair, gently puts my hair into place, kisses me on the cheek, covers me with a check blanket and wheels me into the garden to feed the birds.
JOYYA are based in London, they originally hail from the small village of Wylam in Northumberland, their members Dancer and Pullen sound like they’re a production team from the early noughties knocking out garage bangers.
Foundations laid and much to build upon: good luck fellas.
It’s (still) Monday afternoon, I’m sitting here in shorts and a shirt with cranes on (the bird, not the mechical machine thingy), I’m eating banana’s with lots of stringy bits, I don’t eat the stringy bits (do you?) though I am thinking of writing to Sainsbury’s about the increasing issue of lots of stringy bits in their bananas, I think with a bit of work I could probably get #Sainsburys #Stringybitsinbananas trending on Twitter and really create a right old stir but then I pause and think – after all that work what am I going to get? A small bunch of pristine banana’s? A £2.50 gift voucher for fruit only/no dry goods? People following me down the street with inflatable bananas shouting fruit based obscenities? Stringy bits through the post attached to badly written death threats? Sometimes being a crusader for good is bloody hard work I think and so I shelve the idea (for now) and I get back to writing the reviews for this weeks Fresh Faves.
MELLOR – Fire on Fire
Well what a bit of luck, along come Mellor to kick my arse of my chair and hit me with a bit of Pop Smack (their term).
Tasty indie guitar music abound!
Splash of Kooks, dash of Glenn Tilbrook, plenty of energy, lots of Reading swagger and a belly full of singalong wonderfulness from Gary, Sam, Kris and Josh.
In and out within 3 minutes, old school pop style, this would sound great in a field full of revellers, a house full of party people or hot tub in your mates garden.
I could see a video with older people taking the place of the band and rocking out dressed in the bands garb, I think every band should have at least one video with older people in, basically it should be the law.
This is refreshing indie music to remind you that you are alive and the future does hold plenty of promise.
Stringy banana bit anyone?
OLA SZMIDT – Wrapped
Oh this is gorgeous!
We are very lucky to have some amazingly talented moderators on our team and Ola Szmidt is one of those – we always come with an impartial mind and with music this good you can’t help but be woo’ed.
Sung in her native Polish, this is achingly beautiful. I love the way it wins my heart with melody, beauty and atmosphere and that I haven’t a clue what she is singing about and that doesn’t matter one little bit, the purity of tone and melodic delivery really need to be saluted.
A unique offering that reminds the happy side of my heart of a younger Bjork or a grown up Pascal Pinon and then stripped back to the barest of bones.
Obviously as joint most voted for track it resonated with you too – big time, my word you have great taste.
Ola plays the PRSF/The Steve Reid InNovation Showcase, on 12th of September and this promises to be a special night of music. Go and check Ola out, her music is food for the soul
OLIVE B – For You
This is lovely, just a great summertime tune. Really gentle, no rushing, softly sung beautiful vocal, sparse production, this could soothe a weary spirit and console a broken heart.
Nicole Olivia Balsom is a very talented lady; apparently she is based in Toronto, though this also sounds very London, very current – of course global music isn’t confined by geography.
A track like this is a useful lesson in how to keep it simple and be effective, the joy is in the space as much as on the notes used, of course Olive B has a massive head start with her voice so there’s that, I don’t have loads to say – go and listen to the song and find out what’s she’s up to.
A track to rest to or to travel with or just simply share with those who love that stripped soulful sound.
QUIET LIONS – Stronger Than Before
I tell you what, its a strong week to see us into our summer break (our dropbox is closed now and reopens on Monday 4th September).
This tune passed me by a little on first listen; I didn’t have lots of time to listen again when selecting tracks from our dropbox, and with 170 tracks to listen to this week I know you won’t hold it against me.
This track is a real grower, I confess I have somewhat lost my taste for indie rock tunes in recent years but there are plenty lovers of it on our team. However, Stronger Than Before is a really good one and it has worked a bit of magic on me, a number of artists this week have been taking their time and letting their tunes grow and build, here’s another and wearing its rock anthem on its sleeve it does it with aplomb.
They’ve a nice painty video for the track – I wonder whether they’ve got sponsorship from Dulux? Maybe it was Crown as the paint doesn’t seem to last very long? [These opinions are Johnno’s, don’t sue us! Ed.]
Quiet Lions are Michael Williams, Luke Holmes, Richard Thorp, Oli Austen and they tick all the necessary boxes: great rock vocal – tick , brooding atmosphere – tick , really well played guitar, bass and drums – tick , slow builder – tick , stadium wide sound – tick , frantic and longing rush towards climax (in a song sense ya filthy buggers) – tick.
Good luck guys.
THE ROCKING HORSE CLUB – Straight White Man
At first I thought The Rocking Horse Club were celebrating their whiteness and I completely died inside, thinking, how am I going to write this one up, luckily…..
Ed, Adam, Vickie and Chilles are from Brighton and they are noisey buggers, jumping up on our screens with their tight licks and punk rock intentions, the song takes a dig at sexual and racial imbalance and flips on its head the usual stereotypical behaviour that happens every day, and its kicking up one hell of a storm online.
They are a super tight rock n’ roll band and I love their guitarist, he looks like he’s been transported from a 1970’s American TV show about how accountants and video game programmers kick back on their days off in sunny California.
The song is probably best appreciated via its video, which strangely (for me) features a main character who really reminds me (in look) of a younger version of my local MP Will Quince.
In your face punky rock for the left and right to fight over.
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.