Artists at a glance
THE WILD THINGS
FREYA LILY – Octaves
It is amazing how one instrument can paint so many colors and stir so many emotions during the course of one composition. London based Freya Lily has achieved this with her haunting yet touching piano instrumental Octaves. Named as such, I imagine, because it is an exercise in just that. The track floats along like a ticking clock across space and time. Approaching the end, subtle effects in the production give the feeling that we’re slipping from time itself, perhaps reality.
The chord progressions are reminiscent of Ludovico Einaudi and have a similar mood that he might create. No mistaking, though, this has Lily’s heart and soul poured all over it.
No upcoming live performances but she has been championed by BBC Radio Devon and BBC Introducing already with her debut EP Dreams being released last year.
IRINA – Take A Chance
Having already featured on the BBC Introducing Mixtape, Irina returns to our shores on a Bossa Nova wave with the wonderfully fun Take A Chance. Irina Barzykina’s voice is perfectly suited to this style; sultry and captivating. The classic rhythm shuffles its feet along, poignantly pared with accomplished classical guitar playing and a little ditty of a solo. Irina has a self-described ‘strong appreciation of jazz’, it’s fair to say that the way she handles her vocals, this appreciation is evident, no more so towards this tracks closing when she playfully sings with vocalisations. ‘Simply meant to be’ indeed.
It’s a travesty that this talented musician doesn’t have more followers. Talent is oozing and overflowing here, and she’s drowning us all with her genius.
JACK MAC — Need a Break (feat. Skunkadelic)
This is actually Jack Mac’s band; the Jack Mac Funk Pack. Funk with a hefty set of swagger trousers. Husky vocalist Skunkadelic sounds like he’s just waking up but soon begins to spit bars over the groove; his hooks are effortless as he reminds us that taking down time is important for our health (‘we all need a break sometimes’). Jack Mac finally makes his standout appearance with a solo that can only be described as dirty. Maybe even dirrtay.
Need A Break is taken from Mac’s upcoming album Swagger Mac! The launch party is happening at Porter’s in Cardiff on October 18 Skunkadelic is due to perform alongside a full band. More info here.
LEESUN – Dry Your Tears
World-wise LeeSun tells a pain-filled journey through womanhood with the deceptively confessional song Dry Your Tears. Life is a battle, it’s tough but there’s light at the end of the tunnel according to the advice given to her by supporting figures in her life; ‘Find your freedom, find your peace. Grace is better than a life of ease’. I wonder if LeeSun believes this isn’t always the case.
Eventually, she passes on the wisdom she owns onto her child, eclipsing her mother’s words from the beginning but instead giving all her strength rather than the promise it will end.
This is such beautiful narrative and LeeSun tells it so elegantly with a rich and sensual voice over a moody country attitude. Imagine a backroom of a smoke-filled night club in low-level lightening. I think we have our setting.
Her new album Singing You This Song will be released on October 29, 2018. Watch the fantastic accompanying video here.
LUNA NEPTUNE – Next Automated Wave
My first thoughts are that this sounds a bit like Jane Weaver on acid – it’s a glorious folk-psych escapade from Luna Neptune. The music’s mood reflects every harshly sung passage or emotion that Luna breathes. It’s reactive and becomes crazier and more volatile as the seconds pass. Eventually, everything ends. Suddenly.
You’re left with a sense that a lot of time, effort and meticulousness have gone into the production of this cut. Haunting doesn’t come close to it, it’s terrifying and unlike anything that this reviewer has heard in a long time, breath-taking.
She plays the Underbelly, Hoxton Square on 10th October 2018.
NAOMI BANKS – Hourglass
I remember hearing this track amongst our near 250 track submissions this week and thinking ‘Wow’. Sometimes, due to the high volume of artists we listen, it can be difficult to retain everything (anything some weeks), but I couldn’t forget Hourglass. This is a honeyed mixture of pop and electronica by Neo Soul artist Naomi Banks who sings the old tale of you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
Lush production sets a background that’s really a platform to display Bank’s impressive vocal ability and song writing that draws from modern soul.
That voice has been refined but sounds so natural. After a scholarship to The Purcell School of Music (where she studied singing, saxophone and piano) Banks earned a scholarship to Trinity Conservatoire, specialising in Jazz voice.
We are captivated, enchanted. We are listening.
PAIGE TEMPERLEY – Voices And Scores
It’s not often that you come across ‘sophisticated’ in a description of a performer, particularly one in their mid-twenties. For North East-based artist Paige Temperley, though, it really fits the bill. The subject matter of Voices And Scores is a delicate and difficult subject to decipher; being aware of the inner strength that we all try to draw upon in testing times. But Temperley and her ethereal vocals capture our attention as she eloquently explains what it means to feel these emotions over a delicate piano backing.
It is an outstanding piece, grounded in her opaque imagery and unique voice. A precocious talent.
THE SECS – Delinquent Lullaby
Somerset-based ‘Grunge comedy’ act The Secs confidently stomp onto the Fresh Faves this week with Delinquent Lullaby. Original drum loops (by Rik Harrington) backup a flickering and concise rapping Rachel Pereira. It’s a refreshing choice by our listeners this week as The Secs standout from the crowd with this intelligent stream of consciousness. The low-fi production gives this cut a certain weight it requires to make it an engaging listen.
Not much to say of an online presence other than they’re ‘currently seeking a new band’. Get involved. There are some excellent DIY videos on YouTube, if you want a sense of their live act.
THE WILD THINGS – You’re Really Something
Alt-rockers The Wild Things (I can’t believe this name hasn’t been taken) land a fantastic slice of pop perfection with You’re Really Something. Sydney Rae White sings about love and all of its ups, downs, beauty and ugliness. It’s catchy and has some sort of slightly forlorn substance.
It’s taken from their upcoming debut album of the same name, due to be released on 23 November via AWAL. The band has featured in Kerrang! Magazine’s ‘Ones to Watch’ and appeared on BBC Introducing/Radio 1.
Can’t help but feel they’re destined for BIG things.
VALERIO LYSANDER – Little People
Apparently inspired by the 1st movement of Mozart’s Sonata in F major, K. 332, Valerio Lysander has created something that is truly magnificent. Full of operatic harmonies and luxurious string accompaniment – this truly feels like a piece of musical theatre. Baroque Pop is probably a fair bet. There are influences from Regina Spektor to Jeff Buckley nestled away here, buried under obvious talent. Little People feels like Lysander pondering about remembering one’s purpose whilst striving for success (‘where is the happiness you were looking for?’). The lyrics really keep this stirring piece firmly grounded.
A pure joy of a song that made me smile.
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.