Artists at a glance
FOX IN OIL
LONGY & THE GOSPEL TRASH
THE POP GUNS
ALEX HIGHTON – Benny Is A Heartbreaker
“Alex Highton’s eminently playful second album teems with ideas, all of them good…..it’s a work that defies categorisation, but Highton’s vision is refreshingly assured throughout… Nobody Knows Anything thrives by thinking outside the box – 4 Stars” – (Mojo Magazine Feb 2015 UK).
There are many other glowing reviews on Alex’s website and justifiably so. The track which was my gateway onto his work was named above led me to think of acts like Talking Heads and Hot Chip. Funky electro beats, slick grooves and a mix of some traditional instruments added depth to a tidy tune. Already cracking industry necks globally and soon likely to be cashing deserved cheques, Highton’s a class act with fine artistic pedigree.
DOUBLE DENIM – Drowsy Maggie
A blend between a drinking folk ballad and a guitar driven indie tune I am pleased to see this tune made it onto the top 10! Every week us Mods listen to 150-200+ tracks, with loads of differing tastes and opinions so it’s always great to see something you rooted for fight its way to the front. A tune Shane McGowan would bend his back to whilst lashing Guinness over the pubs dancefloor. Double Denim are from Plymouth and have already been picked up by BBC Introducing, so watch this space for more.
FOX IN OIL – Sham
Hailing from St Petersburg in Russia it’s always exciting to hear what is coming out of scenes from beyond these shores. Snow Falls in Sahara is Fox In Oil’s new EP and this is the standout track. With a good solid two years of performance and studio work their standout moment seems to hinge on unearthing 15 year old Daria. As witnessed on this song her voice is exceptional and the early comparisons to Annie Lennox and Beyonce are not lost on this listener. I’d expect the hype to build once they build a tour and I’d love to see them live.
ILLUMININE (FEAT WILL SAMPSON) – Atlas, Eyes
Here is something special, something not very easy to put into words. I despise pigeon-holing art but in order to give you, the reader an idea, Angus and Julia Stone and Matthew and The Atlas are two very talented acts who build brilliant harmonies and melodies. This song stands amongst such goodness. Featuring Will Sampson I’d say that’s a recipe to be continued. If you wish to hunt Illuminine down for gig’s they are currently situated in that bastion of good vibes, Liverpool. I shall hazard a guess they will be strongly featuring on many good events there in 2018. Get out and support them.
JERRY WILLIAMS – Grab Life
This is a perfectly formed 2 mins 36 seconds of indie pop. Smashing jangly guitar, life-giving drums, slick licks and smart lyrics: “Lucy, sat by the river, eating chips, wishing she was thinner” was my standout line, but that’s only because I made myself listen to this multiple times to choose a snippet. In fact it’s all just ace. I found a lot of associated videos and strong promotion behind Jerry Williams online so expect to hear plenty more soon and I can’t wait.
LONGY & THE GOSPEL TRASH – Primark Hospital Blues
Again, I’m chuffed to find another artist I hung a peg on make it here. I admit I was lured in by their fantastic moniker and the track title is quite neat too. It isn’t a mistake, the writing’s really good. “Don’t waste your life not being your dreams” is a thoroughly resonant statement for these times. With inspiration drawn from Bukowski, Springsteen and Simone and having smashed 500 live shows in a year, here is an artist who has learned their craft. He’s had reviews from VH1, XFM and the Telegraph so I feel I should do my bit here and tell you all to catch Longy & The Gospel Trash asap. He’s bound to be gigging again soon.
LOW ISLAND – I Know You
There was a moment where I thought of Zero-7 and then it jumped to Steve Mason’s track, Fire. I’d say both artists would be a good comparison particularly the former Beta Band frontman’s solo work. I again really loved this song by Low Island and although it wasn’t on my shortlist it’s clearly strong enough to have got the public vote. I am glad for it and my bad feelings all shifted away with the outro. Radiohead’s Philip Selway has played them on BBC 6 Music and they are at Liverpool’s Soundcity Festival next year, two very solid gold recommends for me. Get onto this Oxford band’s social media and give them some love.
THE FRANKLYS – Weasel
An alt-Indie pop four piece made up of two women from Sweden and two women from England, this gritty, dirty track is destined to be bobbed around to in clubs, festivals and venues across the land. Already being championed by NME who praised them with comparisons to the Hives, which is just a perfect way to get a handle on their sound. When the Hives broke early 2000s they were everywhere and brilliant. The Franky’s are also killing it with punchy short, hooks, snappy, crackling, poppy word play and a look that just screams cool. The Franklys’ gritty garage sound will surely see them feature heavily in 2018 on the festival circuit.
THE POPGUNS – We Don’t Go Round There Anymore
Well, well, well. I loved this track and it was certainly worthy of the votes but it wasn’t til I’d given it some more time and research that I discovered The Popgun’s pedigree. Originally formed in the 80’s and having gained success with a top 20 hit on the Indie chart and making John Peel’s top 50 tracks for 1989 they continued in that vein til the mid 90’s. A 15 year hiatus proves that the talent never went away with this track and my immediate reaction was to side it with Bjork. Lovely vocals, soundscapes of depth, meaning and creativity that hints at their past and beckons a promising re-emergence.
UNA QUINN – Inside Out
This is excellent and was a fine way to round off another spectacular week of new music. Una Quinn’s delicately poised voice sits majestically atop her blending of resonating piano, guitars, plinky-plonkys and rattle-tattles to sit with her creeping orchestra. Hailing from Armagh and Liverpool I gather she is another great artist based in that fine music heritage city. I’d recommend her soundcloud page for further listening as older tracks such as Up Shore and L’Octopus are very fine examples of her work too.
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.