Artists at a glance
ALDEN PATTERSON & DASHWOOD
GRIS DE LIN
THE RAMSDEN SQUARES
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by musician, BBC Radio 6 Music presenter and Fresh On The Net founder Tom Robinson this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
AILBHE REDDY – Nothing To Doubt
A trance-like mood runs through Nothing To Doubt from start to finish – from the dreamy production to the oblique, wistful lyrics – and the assured vocal performance from Ailbhe which slams right in from the get-go. No wonder our moderation team and readers fell under her spell in a big way this weekend. I can’t begin to imagine how you’d set about creating a sound this rich in the studio – it’s a consummately professional sounding record made by experts at the top of their game.
ALDEN PATTERSON & DASHWOOD – By The Night
Our next track By The Night is no less impressive because, by contrast, you can hear exactly how it’s done. The whole effect is achieved with just three distinct instruments and three human voices. The production is all in the performance: Alden, Patterson and Dashwood can achieve exactly this sound live by simply standing around a pair of microphones. While Christina Alden and Alex Patterson are a first rate guitar/fiddle folk duo in their own right, for me it’s the outstanding dobro playing of Noel Dashwood that locates this trio in the premier league. With 31 upcoming shows in their date sheet, it’s clear that a large number of promoters around the country wholeheartedly agree.
FUZZY SUN – Want Love
With its echoes of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s synth riff for Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, Want Love is the title track of a newly released debut EP from a new Stockport outfit called Fuzzy Sun. The authentically 80s production by Blossoms even manages to make Mitch Bancroft’s playing sound like a drum machine. The resulting record not only appealed to our readers in a big way over the weekend but has already resulted in radio love from Radcliffe and Maconie on BBC 6 Music and John Kennedy on Radio X.
GRIS-DE-LIN – Muhammad Ali
In Turkish folklore Gris-De-Lin is a mythical wise bird with the power of speech. Here at Fresh On The Net she’s known as an outstanding Bridport songwriter we first supported in 2015 – who’s finally releasing her debut album next week. From it, this unsettling song tells the unsettling true story of a patient who escaped from hospital and broke into Gris-De-Lin’s old flat overnight, leaving behind a pile of clothes and a nametag that read ‘Muhammad Ali’. It’s fresh, vigorous, unlike anything else in the pile this week – and makes me want rush out and buy her Sprung album as soon as it’s released on April 6th. I can only suggest you do the same.
JON SAMSWORTH – Echoes on Cambridge Street
One of my personal favourites this week was this pleasant soundscape from Aylesbury composer Jon Samsworth. Echoes on Cambridge Street features sparse piano figures and Penguin Café strings augmented by found sound and tiny sonic details. More ambient than Steve Reich, more conventionally musical than Brian Eno, the sound constantly mutates and changes its textures as Samsworth leads us the length of Cambridge Street, accompanied by everything from pizzicato flourishes to evocative Sunday churchbells along the way.
KING CASIO – Keeps Me In My House
King Casio is an Anglo-Swedish trio based in London with a nicely off-kilter approach to songwriting. I like the way Keeps Me In My House comes straight in with the vocal and bass hook – also the fact that said hook is an unconventional three bars long. Eleven seconds later the drums pile in with a lively Bow Wow Wow style Burundi beat, followed by a wispy, squidgy out of tune synth. Hell, nothing about this record is conventional. What’s it even about ? Who know – who cares – it’s well worth two and a half minutes of your time. Enjoy.
MAAIKE SIEGERIST – Keep It In The Dark
Born in Rotterdam, Maaike Siegerist moved to Bath in 2014 to study songwriting and clearly got rather good at it. We featured Yangtze River Blues on my BBC Introducing Mixtape last June and her free Christmas download Where Do Sparrows Go wowed readers in our final Fresh Faves of 2017. This is the closer on Maaike’s fine debut album Born Before The Wind, and if you buy it from Bandcamp rather than Apple or Amazon the money will go straight to the artist. Delicate vocal, poised production, gorgeous chord changes and an overwhelming favourite on last weekend’s Listening Post.
SKELLUMS – Mirrors
The controversial drug Valproate is prescribed as a ‘mood stabiliser’ for patients with bipolar disorder and Welsh/Liverpudlian outfit Skellums have just released an acoustic EP called Valproate In Retrograde: The Bipolar Chronicles, from which this track Mirrors is taken. I’m a sucker for two minute songs: even with no drums – or as frontman Cal Roberts puts it “without all the fluff” it crackles with attitude, energy and muted swearing. You can download the EP at no cost (or name a price – the choice is yours) from their Bandcamp page. You also get the excellent Bars (Clutter & Soul) as featured on my BBC Introducing Mixtape this weekend.
THE RAMSDEN SQUARES — I Think Our Loveseat Is Riddled With Woodworm
Dalton-In-Furness songwriter Steve Ralph is the latest arrival in a long and well-loved line of eccentric English songwriters penning quirky social commentaries on contemporary times. Eschewing the polish of a Viv Stanshall or Victoria Wood his project The Ramsden Squares is more in the deliberately naff DIY tradition of a Frank Sidebottom or John Shuttleworth – with his selfproclaimed “that’ll do” approach to quality control. This allows Steve to be phenomenally prolific and those who adored I Think Our Loveseat Is Riddled With Woodworm will find plenty more of the same on his Soundcloud page. I particularly recommend his Song For The Colonial Sons Of A Former Empire.
VIGILANTES – Yuck
From Boston, Linconshire Vigilantes sound keen to make a break for it. Don’t be misled by the glossy widescreen radiofriendly production – the moment Curly starts singing you know this is a band on a mission. “See where I’m from, sharks swim in tears – the people don’t know much except their fears” he tells us on their newly released single Yuck. The power and tightness of the playing – and the intensity of the vocal delivery – suggest that Vigilantes will blow your socks off live, and have far more interesting and adventurous work ahead of them. After all, as the band themselves put it: “We’ve come so far – let’s not stop now”
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.