Artists at a glance
ME FOR QUEEN
AUSTIEJA – 1.TAS
I was immediately struck in the first few seconds by the catchy violin (I am a sucker for an attention grabbing opening – more on that later), and I knew I wanted to listen to more. The violin quickly moves into a very nice euro-poppy type sound. Lovely rich understated vocals, and I was thinking that this wouldn’t be bad on Eurovision. A great song with a catchy tune and not blasted out at volume level 10+. I can’t tell you much about the vocals as, like most Brits, I have appalling language skills and Austieja is a singer-songwriter from Lithuania. Not much more that I could find, except an extensive YouTube back catalogue, and proof that she is also a talented horse rider.
BAWLAH STIXX – .look
Now much as it may surprise/shock many readers, not all the moderators are superbly knowledgeable about multiple genres of music, and can beautifully describe any of the wide range we not only get uploaded, but also selected as Fresh Faves. Many are, but I am not one of them, and I must admit to being completely stuck here. Yes, it’s dance-based with a really good beat, but it seemed a little bit of an experimental mash. Turns out that I was right. It is an experimental track produced by Bawlah Stixx. He had this idea just after Glass Animals’ most recent album came out, and wanted to emulate their wavy/whispery vocals to see how it would sound framed within pumping techno. In addition there was some input from his dad, who helped get him into the idea of putting melodic vocals and dance music together by playing him Pet Shop Boys. Well, it is a successful experiment, best played LOUD.
How do I know all this? As there was so little backstory available I sent an email, and Gaz aka Bawlah Stixx wrote back explaining everything. Bawlah Stixx is one of his three projects, and he intentionally wants the music to be a huge mess of miss-matched genres. He has graduated from University and currently juggles a full time job working late in a bar with working on music, trying his hardest to get it heard, and to collaborate. More like .look and I am sure more will pick up on it.
FAODAIL – Fairweather
“All change please!” This week’s playlist chops and changes a lot, which is exactly what we want from the Listening Post. Fairweather is an immersive ambient soundtrack starting with delicate piano before dropping into synth-based mellowness. Halfway through we get a reprieve from the piano again before dropping back into the mellowness. This is one that is superb to listen to with your cans on in a comfy chair — beautifully relaxing. I had it on repeat for 20 mins or so, and got up really refreshed (sorry Ed, I know you thought I was working fully on the reviews).
Foadail is a Scottish composer and producer whom I can’t find out much about. It’s also the name of a Gastro Pub, which according to Trip Advisor is the No 1 of 4 in Kincaldine, and does an interesting Haggis Pakora apparently. It’s up to every artist how much they put out on social media, however if they want a bit of publicity from the likes of Listening Post then it certainly helps – jus sayin like.
LEGPUPPY – Meds And Beer
I did warn you about attention grabbing openings. What’s that? Is that an alarm clock beeping away? Is that my phone? Those were my immediate thoughts when my playlist moved onto Meds and Beer. Actually it is part of the track and sets the scene well on a commentary on what assume is someone reluctantly heading into what they consider a mundane office environment, where everyone speaks management bollocks. However, they have a coping strategy of “There’s no need to fear when I’ve got meds and beer…”
This is beautifully formed one chord driven satirical punk, and at 2 minutes 7 seconds is exactly the right length. LegPuppy are South London-based electro post punk band who make strong satirical attacks on the modern world. They are not great fans of people’s addictions to selfies, so be warned if you head off to a gig of theirs. They have a set of gigs lined up over the summer, including one tomorrow (June 15) in The Windmill Brixton, where they are appearing with Black Midi. If you like your gigs lively then this is a must.
ME FOR QUEEN – Loose End
This is a lovely folk/acoustic track, and the title track on a soon to be released album. It appears that Me for Queen has a secret wish for contact from someone she knows, especially when chorus line “should you find yourself at a loose end call me” changes into “I hope you find yourself at a loose end and call me” just the once, and then reverts back.
Me for Queen, aka Mary Erskine, has a lovely soft and rich voice, and the extra backing of drums and guitar really adds to the depth here. Mary has support from BBC Radio 6 Music, BBC Scotland and also BBC Wales and has recently toured Europe. She is playing live at Camden Assembly on 30th July in support of Tusks. Looks like that will be a good ’un.
MEL BOWEN – On The Wrong Side
Ah those track starts, here we go a folk song with a nice guitar intro. No, it’s not at all, 10 seconds in and a lovely trumpet comes in. On The Wrong Side is a Nutella of a jazz track, smooth and rich. Yet whilst the track moves effortlessly along there is a strong social message hidden in here talking about the unfairness of being “on the wrong side”. What I like is it’s not a forced shouted protest message. Mel Bowen’s soft vocals are delivered in the same way as those people you want to listen to, because they state their facts and views in a calm and considered way.
Mel Bowen is a proud Liverpudlian with a strong social consciousness and a keen observation on what is going on around him. On The Wrong Side is part of his first solo recording, 6 track EP Everyday’s A Holiday, which in his words is “infused with jazz-folk flavours and a huge touch of all things Merseyside.”
MONAD – Turning Wheels
A really nice repeated snare drum run starts this track. I was hooked in 5 seconds hoping above all hope that this was going to be a good one. For me I was not disappointed. It was my favorite track of the week. Indie with a jazz influence, multiple layers of guitar, chord-based keyboard and a slightly haunting vocal. There are twists and turns and then a long outro that sounds like the band were having a bit of a jam session. Might not be for all, but it was for me. Monad are a 5-piece band from Israel — not much more I can say I am afraid.
SHYER – Compliments
Nothing complicated here, and I mean that in a really good way. Compliments is a perfectly formed Indie Rock track. 10 seconds of guitar then drums and base and finally powerful but not pushed vocals. At a tad over 3 minutes it’s the perfect length for a radio show (other acts please take note for radio edits). This track moves along at a good lick and kept my foot tapping along and my head nodding.
Shyer are a 4-piece female-fronted Indie band based in Cambridge / Northants. I came across an interview where vocalist Mazz explained that their usual style is to write a track as an instrumental first and then she adds the vocals. “When I first heard the instrumental version of Compliments, it was the jarring, infectious, quirky guitar riff that bridges the verse and chorus that pulled me in. That, combined with the strong rhythm section gave me an immediate ‘no-bullshit’ vibe, so I decided to write a somewhat ambiguous narrative around that to deliver a ‘nice try, but I’m not falling for it’ message.”
Shyer have a couple of festivals lined up for the summer, and if they keep writing tracks like this are likely to have a busy festival summer in 2019
SICLY – Redy
Well what can I say here? It’s a quirky, experimental and an unusual track, with 2 minutes 23 seconds of distorted synths, and vocals shared by a high-pitched female and a male sounding a bit like Jonathon from Everything Everything. Redy proved very popular in the vote this weekend, and epitomises the very ethos of Listening Post — providing an opportunity for new acts to get exposure to new audiences, and providing those that want to listen to an eclectic and diverse range of new music with quality tracks. If you wanted tracks that sound just like all your favourite acts then you would entrust your listening to an algorithm. Thankfully you have entrusted it to us.
There isn’t much info about Sicly, however after a bit of rummaging around tinternetty I found out that it is the new project for Glasgow based Forever, whom it turns out weren’t forever.
YUN SEN – One Day
Another great start to a track, and another that pricked my ears within 10 seconds. Lovely laid-back electronica with R&B style vocals with a great tone and range. However, this isn’t a straightforward track of verse, chorus, verse, etc — it is another track with twists and turns. A bit of trumpet here, a change of pace, marching drums then a change of beat. This is very well put together, and whilst there are many parts that maybe shouldn’t work together, here they just do.
Yun Sen are another pretty mysterious act. They are a duo from North London, they introduce themselves as “J-hama, song rider & Wako, cooking beats”. It appears this is a fairly new project, and I for one am looking forward to announcements of future music and hopefully some gigs.
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.