Welcome to a roundup of our Moderators’ Favourite Tracks of 2018, where Fresh On The Net moderators nominate their favourite submission of the year.
In 2018 we received 7,669 unique submissions — almost 1000 more than 2017, making the average weekly batch about 187 tracks we’d never heard before. The competition facing artists has never been stronger.
Each week, at least a dozen Fresh On The Net moderators volunteer their time to listen to all those tracks, pull out the ones that tickle their fancy, and rank them — collectively, we usually nominate at least 50% one way or another. Many weeks that could be over 100 tracks, and only the most highly ranked 25 will make the Listening Post.
Clearly, choosing an overall favourite track is a tall order, and not all the moderators have managed to do it. We let our mods choose ANY of the tracks that we received this year – they don’t need to have made our Fresh Faves, or even our Listening Post, we just think they’re really, really great.
Finally, we’d like to say thank you to everyone who’s contributed to Fresh On The Net over the last year — artists, readers, voters and social sharers alike. We will reopen our inbox for submissions on Monday, 7th January, and our next Listening Post will start on Friday, 11th January.
You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
AILBHE REDDY – Nothing To Doubt
Ailbhe Reddy crafts songs that are at once grounded in reality and deeply visceral. Hers are the words, feelings, and emotions of “every woman” set against the most stirring melodies, and delivered with the raw honesty and credible sincerity of someone who has “been there, done that”. She has a unique gift that’s bestowed on the very few. — Derval McCloat
FAULTRESS – Marilyn
I love it when a song tells a story, and when that story is a credible, authentic one. I love it when an artist gives themselves to their work, heart in their hand, naked, and vulnerable, yet at the same time with full power. In this piece, I found every one of those things. — Ludwig Janssen
BACKSPACE – Don’t Stunt Your Growth
This group of Leeds youngsters charmed with a loose garage rock sound and positive lyric on the pressures on young people to live up to unrealistic media stereotypes, then did themselves proud with their equally positive work ethic and engagement with fans and other musicians. They have grasped the value of getting people to root for you (an example many older bands could do well to learn from) while developing their musical complexity and are now well on the path to realising their long term potential. Seeing grassroots stories like this unfold are the reason we do this in a nutshell. — Kerry JK
CHLOE MARCH – Wild Cherries
Soulful, ethereal & inventive, gorgeous key changes & emotionally powerful air of melancholy & mystique — Neil March
DIESELLE MAY – Sweeter
This is a very straightforward track — polished and I think has real quality. It just stood out for me as being special. — Nick Walker
FROG – Something To Hide
Frog’s music is the perfect antidote to all the cold academic pop and rock doing the nuisance calls in our troubled world. This track has all the sizzling melancholic jouissance of the final birthday party of a man with nothing left to lose. I want to buy the band a drink every time I listen to it. — Louis Barabbas
GLASS HEART STRING CHOIR – Wildfires
Aching, poetic lyrics, coupled with wonderful strings and piano, accompanied by an exquisite and timeless vocal. This song quietly grabbed me, and at once I was transported to a ‘special clearing in the woods under star filled skies’. A beautiful song that deserves more exposure. — Russ Jeanes
LATE NIGHT PICTURE – Massif
Hooked me within 8 seconds and I instantly went to try and find more about the band, it was a bit of a mystery, there seemed to be very little about them. I couldn’t believe it. This was their first ever track (hence the lack of tinternetty stuff) and they had yet to play live. “Fusing ambient sounds and electronica with modern pop.” Stunning. — Rob Ball
LAURAN HIBBERD – Call Shotgun
I loved this track from the first moment I heard it – the ebullient fun of it, the rollicking roll and Lauran’s variation of tone make it not only an incredibly catchy pop song, but a simply and cleverly structured piece of music. Lauran very much had a new fan after this one – once I’d finished prancing around the room anyway. — Sarah Gosling
LUME – Tip of Your Thumb
LUME’s Tip of Your Thumb was the first track that came to mind when choosing my track of the year. That in itself speaks volumes. — Sharon Pearce
ROE – Wasted.Patient.Thinking
Simply stunning, great distinctive vocals powerful music. I often wonder if a multi instrumentalist can pull it off live, few can. I managed to see her earlier this year and can confirm she can, and whilst doing it silence a late night rowdy pub. — Curator’s Pick
RUBY FRANCIS – Drip Drop
I first heard Drip Drop on miserably dark and cold winter’s day, and it instantly brightened it. Sparkling production, gorgeous vocals, silver lining lyrics and a bass line that will have you bobbing your head in approval. Superb! — Steve Harris
THE HOWL AND THE HUM – Murder
I remember hearing and loving the track Portrait I by this York 4-piece back at the start of 2018. Then in May they uploaded Murder to our inbox, where after a few listen it was firmly stuck in my head and became my main moderating pick that week. Thankfully my thoughts weren’t isolated, as it went on to triumph in the voting. I’ve since seen them live a few times and can vouch they are superb. Never have bus stops, pyjamas, & Tesco Value lager had such an impact! Stunning. — Jim Craigen
THE SECS – Delinquent Lullaby
Somerset-based “Grunge comedy” act The Secs confidently stomped into my shortlist for Fresh Faves of the year 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. — Bobby Colcombe
THE WOODS – Armchair Expert
Fluttering between states of consciousness. Confessions of memory and desire grappling through repetition. Things are not as they seem. Yet listen and you will hear all the answers presented. A truly beautiful, prophetic, poetic epitaph of the human condition. — Debs McCoy
List compiled by Rob Ball. Introduction and artwork by Steve Harris. Photo by Decha Huayyai from Pexels.