Artists at a glance
JOHN JOSEPH BRILL
LUCAS & KING
ORA THE MOLECULE
TOM MOUSE SMITH
CAFÉ SPICE – Lauren
If this song was a food it would be silky, viscous and rich golden honey poured over melted butter, probably from Waitrose.
Lauren is not just an ode to Georgia Gage’s (one-third of Café Spice) sister but an ode to home and past friendships. Each vocal line is endearing and you can’t help but be drawn in by the loveliness that pours out from this song. I’m struggling to find anything that isn’t positive about this cut, perhaps only that it ends too soon. Clocking in at just over two minutes, the beauty feels short-lived – just as momentum builds, it suddenly stops and the end has been reached. The only thing to do is press play, again.
As well as Georgia, the trio is made up of Eleanor Lang and Niamh Feeney. They’re based in Manchester and this is their flipping debut. More beauty and sweet songs are sure to come.
Check out their unplugged video for Lauren here. They play Jimmy’s in Manchester on 6 February 2019.
EVIL EDNA – Isle Of Dogs
London-based gypsy punk rockers Evil Edna bring raw energy and a potent sound. Complete with amplified harmonica solo in there as well. What more could you want? Isle of Dogs tells of a torrid time passing through ‘the island’ in London and an unfortunate romp “past council houses” and hiding from gangs of hoodlums. The tension of the story is apparent in the music and brings an edgy dynamic to the song that fuels it’s over all nervous energy. It’s exhilarating.
Anyway, please now join me a chorus of “All teenagers, born of Satan!”
INDIGOS – Rebirth
Bristol duo, INDIGOs smash through Fresh Net’s front window with Rebirth. It’s a bit grunge, it’s a bit shoegaze, and it’s a bit flipping overwhelming with huge guitars skimming over Jack Croft and Sophia Barnes’ dreamy harmonies and cymbal-heavy drums. The direction isn’t just one of aggressive bashing energy; it’s tempered well with hazy breakdowns and a touch of the psychedelic. Definite fan of these kids, they have that special something.
JELLYSKIN – Mountain
Leeds’ jellyskin are a hard act to pin down. On one hand, they’re a duo of dark electronica. On the other, they’re some kind of neo-pop masters. Mountain is attractive and charming, sweeping us off our feet from the get go with a pumping drum machine and slightly distorted vocals. The male/female vocal partnership of Zia Larty-Healy and Will Ainsley in the melodies is a perfect layer over the idiosyncratic electronic backing and various noises. A nearly five minute running time suggests jellyskin are masters of their own destiny, unwilling to be led by others or modern pop-culture. Such great potential, relishing what the future holds for them – a forthcoming album in the spring will tell us more.
I actually had the surprise pleasure of catching jellyskin live over the weekend, supporting Boy Azooga at The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge. I highly recommend catching them live, they were strangely captivating. No more live shows schedule at the moment though. Boo.
JOHN JOSEPH BRILL – Oil In The Water
I’ll be honest; this one knocked me for six. I wasn’t prepared. I’ll advise to listen with caution. You will feel.
The pain in John Joseph Brill’s voice is the dark foundation of this song. You can feel his emotion pouring out over every moment his vocals nearly crack. His lyrics are nuanced and heady, touching on the connection between love and loss. It’s such an open and accessible piece that one almost forgets themselves listening.
This man is a true poet.
A new EP is set to be released in 2019.
LUCAS & KING – Dancing To No Music
You remember the talented ones. You remember that one with the voice. I remember hearing this on the listening post last week and simply thinking ‘Ooooooh’. That Peggy Lee influenced sultry voice (Bo Lucas). Those complimentary electric guitar licks (Hayleigh King). Dancing To No Music is taken from their self-titled debut album released early this year. Plenty of Americana and gentle folk combine to make quite lovely music.
Lucas & King already boast several high profile support slots including Ray Davies and they took part in the Glastonbury Emerging Talent 2017 competition reaching the finals.
ORA THE MOLECULE – Sugar
“I want sugar all the time” singer Nora exclaims in the chorus of Sugar. This cut appears to be about our obsession with consumerism and tackling the human desire to always be wanting more. There are so many good lines in this and the narrative is perfectly balanced with the alt-pop feel. And who doesn’t a bit of playful saxophone. Bonus points there. We’re left wanting more by the end, ironic really, considering the subject material – Ora the Molecule have succeeded in becoming the consumerism material. I want more. Now.
Comparisons will no doubt be held to Bat for Lashes, though not as dark and weird. No details of upcoming performances sadly. Give it time; it will be worth the wait.
RAZORRAWKS – In Gutters On Guitars
Unmistakably Northern Razorrawks spits his anger and frustration into driving new single In Gutters On Guitars. The punk rapper confronts the ideals of the music industry (“the overblown industry types”) and how there are many out there who simply seek the fame and fortune. Yet, he also accepts that you need to be in the game to get anywhere. That it’s down to oneself to assume responsibility for your path to the top (“taking back control”). The beats are sick, the production is slick and the regional dialect at the forefront.
A new album is forthcoming, still in production in his native Preston.
SASHA – Ouch!
When you’re in a situation and something catches you off guard. You weren’t ready to feel the emotion of that moment. It can affect you or “hurt more than it should”. London-based Sasha’s new single Ouch! encapsulates this feeling impeccably. This is contemporary electro-pop at its finest and would sit in the charts comfortably alongside today’s pop queens. The production feels simple yet effective when balanced with Sasha’s honest and delicate voice. And the poignant lyricism gives it that edge to perch just above the crowd. Brilliant.
TOM MOUSE SMITH – Dragonfly
He may be Mouse by name, certainly not by nature as he possesses a rip-roaring voice at the age of 14. Here on Dragonfly he contemplates the age-old dream of teenage escapism (“I wish I could fly away”). It’s a great slice of pop-rock, upbeat in tempo but layered with melancholic acoustic guitars and keyboards which add tension to the subject matter – Tom Mouse Smith is desperate to get away but even if it’s only temporarily like so many teenage dreams.
I caught TMS live this summer at Cotton Clouds Festival and his energy and raw vocal power are not hindered or lost in the live performance, which can sometimes be a hurdle performing live. His set was made up of a mixture of originals but mainly covers so it’s great to hear him releasing more original material. He should stick at it because he’s getting better and better.
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.