Artists at a glance
THE STATIC HANDS
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net moderator and Alternative Friday’s Jim Craigen this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
31HOURS – Clumsy On Foot
Formed in 2012 by Jo Griffin & Jake Kavanagh, 31hours are a quartet from Oxford that mix numerous eclectic sounds, not dissimilar at times to their local neighbours Radiohead. Clumsy On Foot then takes this psych-infused art rock element and adds wind and brass instruments to offer an impressive yet quirky twist to their sound, which I imagine would be excellent to see live.
With a few EPs behind them they are now looking forward to the release of their debut album Tell Me What You See on November 17th. If art-prog-rock wasn’t an official genre, it is now.
COLOUR – Minus
From Liverpool, COLOUR describe themselves as a “Micro Prog Band”, although the track Minus is equally as reminiscent as a 1980’s new wave or art-pop tune, full of toe tapping beats and a quirky vocal style. It’s also highly polished, due in part no doubt, to the fact it was mastered at London’s famous Abbey Road studios, and they are set to release their brand-new EP The Famous Boy Making Things very soon. If I did puns I’d say Minus adds up to more than the sum of its parts.
DRANG – Still Got Appeal
South London duo Drang describe their sound as “amplified pop music”, but to me, Still Got Appeal has a booming sound and tempo which makes it an energy burning, bass heavy, raucous punk-pop track. They additionally describe themselves as, “if Norma Desmond fronted Devo it might sound like Drang”, but it could also be – if Siouxsie fronted Royal Blood…
Over to you to take a listen and decide who’s more accurate?
FORCED RANDOM – Discipline (When You Collapse)
Londoner Oliver Girdler is the man behind the musical project Forced Random. He returns ahead of the release of an album, currently being recorded “between Berlin and London” – which I calculate means Holland – and is due next year. He has revealed two disparate tracks from it so far, the upbeat and melodic rock Get On, while he uploaded to us the more ethereal song Discipline (When You Collapse). This is three minutes of distinctive vocals with an understated melody which, with the added guitar and percussion, creates a wonderfully hypnotic and haunting melody.
GAVIN MARTIN (FEAT VITO) – I Want To Tell You Something
This is a very well created mash-up, starting with the poetic brilliance of Gavin Martin, who’s originally from Belfast but is now based in London. He takes us back to his memories of punk music from his formative years in the late 70’s, and recalls old haunts, music magazines, and friends. And if the reminiscent lyrics weren’t enough to draw you in, the soundtrack to them comes from Masquerade, a wonderfully catchy 2016 song by Newcastle’s indie guitar rockers Vito, which compliments the lyrics perfectly. Additionally, the way Gavin’s vocals step aside during the powerful chorus sections of Masquerade just adds to the strength of the track. Oh for the days of the Record Mirror, Melody Maker, and Sounds…
KANVUS – Tell You
Kanvus consists of songwriter Matt Cook and producer Andrew Hockey. Between them they’ve created a dynamic and catchy fusion of psychedelic electronica with an indie dance vibe, that a veteran like Danger Mouse would surely be proud to have created. With just a guitar and keyboards, Tell You is an infectious and melodic indie synth gem that surely can’t fail to fill the dance floor.
MALMØ – You
You is the debut UK release by Malmø, a 6-piece band from Aarhus in Denmark, led by the delicate harmonies of Maria Malmø. The track itself was apparently written with the Himalayas as the backdrop, while on a trip to Northern India, and is a wonderfully mellow mix of Maria Malmø’s gentle, almost effortless vocals, and the intoxicating chamber folk of the band, with the laid back percussion providing the heartbeat of the song.
Their debut album We Come From The Stars, is due for release in April 2018. Let’s hope they come to the UK, however in the meantime they are playing a few dates in Denmark in early November.
ROBBIE THOMPSON – As The Moonlight Falls On The Old Canal
Sheffield singer-songwriter Robbie Thompson says he writes quiet, reflective, lyric driven folk from the post-industrial North of England, and this track perfectly sums up that description. Think Leonard Cohen meets Richard Hawley, with intricate guitar work and soothing vocals, and imagine seeing it performed late at night in a cosy venue. Turn the lights down.
ROBOT//ALIEN – Careerer
RoBoTaLiEn started as the alter ego of Manchester songwriter Rob Allen, who has multiple bands on his CV, but is now a two-piece, although how it took only two people to make this madcap and fuzzy three and a half minutes astounds me. Careerer takes an alt-rock base, and then throws in new-wave, art punk, quirky pop, and more, to create a lively musical rollercoaster of a ride. Think Talking Heads mixed with a bit of King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, then throw in a dash of The The and you’re close, but still not quite there. Turn it Up!
THE STATIC HAND – Lemsip Days
Gary Charles is the man behind The Static Hand, and also part of the Sonic Art Research Unit at Oxford Brookes University, so Lemsip Days, despite its playful title, really is a work of sonic art. Starting out as an instrumental piece of pulsating dark electronica, the post-punk vocals eventually kick in as it heads to the finale, giving it even greater depth and atmosphere. A gothic dance treat.
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.