Artists at a glance
ISLE OF YOU
MUDDY SUMMERS AND THE DFWS
BAND WITH NO IMAGE – Frozen
I hope the writer Frank Foy doesn’t mind me saying, but Band With No Image, initially turned out to be a mysterious band with no info.
The band are a collaboration of friends and session singers, based near the picturesque Halesowen in the West Mids. Frozen is taken from a new album of Jazz club music. The recordings capture the feel and effect of Frank’s live piano, guitar and bass with some impressive drumming. The vocal has been performed like a chopped up DJ’s loop, which gives the track its form and structure, floating ethereally, and bringing to mind the late Blossom Dearie.
Frank is heavily influenced by Ella Fitzgerald, Les Paul and music from the Songbook movies. He uses his knowledge of analogue recording to give his sound authenticity, and mixes this with digital recording techniques to create something new.
BECKY GREEN – Autumn Colours
One of my ‘go to’ words is ‘wonderful’. I’ve just used my thesaurus to find alternatives, without success. There are 50 words for snow, there should be 50 words for ‘wonderful’, one of them would better help me describe my feeling towards this song.
I am a big fan of Becky Green’s songwriting, her lyrics and wordplay are always evocative (…yes, I still have my thesaurus open).
One of my fellow moderators, Oldie Rob, sent me a link to the Forest Child Sessions, I’m glad he did. The sessions remind of how amazing Becky’s songs sound, minus the clothes of production. Only very good songwriting can handle such treatment.
Autumn Colours is a polished piece of writing. It was the most popular song in the vote this week, and I voted for it.
Although titled Autumn Colours, the song is about wanting openness and honesty in a relationship. The overall sound reminds me of 90’s band Frazier Chorus (Bilbo Baggins brother Tim Freeman). The David Evans production is accomplished and rich. I personally feel the song becomes a little lost in the finery of its clothes, but production is subjective. Listening Post voters clearly love the sound.
Becky’s 2017 album Golden Rising is available on all platforms now! If you’d like to hear her songs in their birthday suits, hunt down the Forest Child Sessions.
FISHCLAW – Swift Reprise
Much can be expressed in a band’s name. People and bands often fit their names perfectly – such is the case with Fishclaw.
Tom Robinson eloquently described the band as ‘Folk Music With Teeth’, and wrote a superb piece to accompany his mixtape in 2015.
Fishclaw are an instrumental group based in Colchester. Their sound reworks traditional Celtic and Eastern European music, fusing it with folk, up-tempo beats, and ambient electronica. There is something primitive and Wicker Man about what they do.
The opening chords of Swift Reprise are dark, black and desolate. From the depths of the mountain comes a drummer with hypnotic breakbeats and bass, and up jumps a violinist, as Wildlings run through the heather. The piece conjures up all sorts of cinematic imagery in my head. It would be a beautiful backdrop for action cinema.
The track has an equally interesting video, created by Phantom Limb. It’s made up of heavily edited ‘tales from the unexpected’ erotica, mixed with religious, Hammer Horror imagery. The visuals are dark, fast-paced and intriguing, and a match for the music (although perhaps missing a few wildlings running through heather 🙂
ISLE OF YOU – Skintight
I am writing this review following a weekend of Eurovision. I know there are differing views about the contest. People have strong views about europop. I don’t think it’s fair to say which side of the fence my views sit.
I feel this track would have had a really a great chance of winning Eurovision. Skintight has all the right ingredients to be a big hit, it is a really well-crafted piece of pop, a definite ‘ear worm’ and is infectiously upbeat.
The song is about losing yourself in the rush of falling in love, even though you know you are likely to have your heart broken at the end of it.
I have watched Isle Of You‘s Ida Johansson and Elina Danielsson on their social media channels, they seem really personable, media friendly, and are doing incredibly well on Spotify.
I have watched the acoustic version of Skintight and they nailed it live, with great harmonies which would work great on any unplugged program.
The singers describe their personal interests as ‘music, boys & heartache’, and they say they have been influenced by Paramore, Taylor Swift, Weezer, Depeche Mode, and Veronica Maggio.
The single came out on April 20th and is available from all the main outlets.
LIPS – Apartment
LIPS are a 4 piece Indie / Dream Pop band from Falmouth, Cornwall. They combine dreamy synths and guitars with sharp, rhythms. Creating a unique blend of indie, new wave and dream pop.
The band is newly formed and consists of Rachel Anstis (singer), Alex Smith, Theo Dorian and Christian Wright.
They describe their sound as simple, sad songwriting. The music will appeal to fans of Alvvays, My Bloody Valentine, Real Estate, and Beach House. LIPS have already received a lot of interest from BBC Introducing in Devon/Cornwall.
The new single, Apartment, is dripping in melancholy. The atmosphere is delivered through Rachel’s soaring vocal, which brings to mind the aforementioned bands with a hint of Cocteau.
Apartment has a nostalgic video crafted from grainy family films from the 60’s.
The band will be announcing festival dates in the next few weeks, and promise another new single in the coming months.
MUDDY SUMMERS AND THE DFWS – Get Off My Tits
Muddy Summers and the Dirty Field Whores describe themselves as a female radical feistyfolkpunkpop band based in the Forest of Dean. They make Folky swing music. This is another song with a great video, which I will leave to the readers imagination.
Fun, intelligent lyrics, eloquently explain there are more important things to get offended by than breasts. I particularly like the line ‘Try being offended at war torn kids or the rich folk on the take’.
Gail Something-Else delivers each vocal line with aplomb, her delivery is like Lilly Allen with a Kathy Burke sense of humour.
The band will be making a donation to Coppafeel from proceeds of this single (Coppafeel are a brilliant breast cancer charity that teaches young women the habits of boobchecking for life!)
NIKKIE MCLEOD – Deep Cry
Nikkie McLeod’s song Deep Cry was one of the most popular tracks with voters and moderators this week.
Before reviewing I watched an interview titled ‘Gentle Lone Rider of The Masculine And The Feminine’ which tells the story of their childhood in Trinidad & Tobago and their move to Brooklyn, New York aged 18.
Nikkie McLeod is an inspiration, having grown up in a world that has been mostly unaccepting of their ‘beautifully singular androgyny’.
Nikkie is softly spoken and passionate, grew up a feet away from the Panosonic Connection Steel Band Orchestra, and spent nights listening from their bedroom to musicians playing steelpans. Following a move to the US, Nikkie learnt new instruments, and listened to R&B, Blues, Jazz, Rap/Hip-Hop.
Nikkie has distilled everything they have learned into their first album, which is dedicated to their late mother and brother.
Deep Cry is the album’s first single. The song takes us on a musical journey through Nikki’s life. Steelpan rhythms form the bones, and periodically new instruments accompany the arrangement, guitars, strings and beautiful harmonies. The resulting sound is unique to my ears and is a complete triumph.
Deep Cry, from the album Quarrel is out now.
POPPY WS – Someone Else
I am a bit of a YouTube addict, my favourite waste of time is watching dubstep dancers.
When I started researching Poppy Waterman-Smith, she somehow looked familiar. After reading a reference to the artist Seal I suddenly remembered a 2016 viral video of him busking with an unknown female artist, and it turns out this was Poppy WS.
In the video Seal made a point of saying that ‘theres all this talent out on the street that doesn’t get an opportunity, if only they had a chance’, and it really resonated with me.
Poppy is a singer songwriter, originally from Brighton, but now living and performing in Manchester. She performs a mix of reggae, with elements of jazz, blues, classical and alternative rock, often using live looping. It’s well worth tracking down a recent track of Poppy’s called Bella.
Someone Else has a simple rhythmic reggae guitar backing which allows room for her soulful voice. I see Hollie Cook is cited as an influence, and I hear hints of other vocalists. Poppy has her own unique confidence and style.
Seal recognised the potential when he stopped to sing with her. It would be great to see Poppy’s music get the exposure it deserves.
THE HIDEAWAYS – I Can See Pluto
The Hideaways are Danny Pugh (Vocals, Guitar), Tim Burden (Guitar, Synth), Sam Bendall-Weeks (Bass) and Jack Ford (Drums) and they hail from Bristol. They play Alt-Rock with driving percussion, and tight guitar riffs. The band list Foals, The National, and Biffy Clyro as their main influences.
I Can See Pluto is their new single, and was recorded with Tom Manning (Marmozets, Bullet For My Valentine) and Matt Glaseby (Editors, Future Of The Left).
The song starts with a delicate scene setter, which is the calm before the storm. Twenty seconds in and the wave breaks, the sound is big, loud and powerful. Driving drums weave crescendos of guitars. Twenty seconds later all is once again calm. This time we are joined by disconcerting poltergeist vocals. Each false dawn is greeted with the next rising crescendo of sound, until at 3.37 we can once again breathe.
This sound is heavy and experimental, if you like anthemic rock The Hideaways are definitely ones to watch.
TOM AUTON – Invisible Necessity
19 year old Tom Auton, is a self-taught guitarist and pianist from Cardiff South Wales. He’s been the worthy winner of various national open mic & songwriting competitions, including Fender’s 2017 undiscovered artist of the year. Tom is a skilled writer and producer, and is influenced by John Mayor, BB King and Royal Blood.
Invisible Necessity came to life after witnessing the unravelling of a relationship between two friends. The song has a lot of traditional pop elements with nods to The Kooks and The Chilli Peppers. The funky underlying bass line is delivered by the talented Max Findlay, and the song has lovely stop, start breaks to punctuate with pauses, slides and skips. Tom’s vocal drifts effortlessly between his top and chest voice, adding melody to the track.
Quoted by BBC Introducing in Wales as ‘one to watch’, Tom’s Spotify and online music audience continues to grow. Tom plans to release one song per month over the coming year, and I wish him every success.
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.