Artists at a glance
CHERRY HEAD, CHERRY HEART
CREWDSON & CEVANNE
ORA THE MOLECULE
BEATS & PIECES BIG BAND – Time (Nick Walters Remix)
A very welcome return to the Fresh Faves for Beats & Pieces Big Band, the Manchester-based “band that’s big”, following their 10th anniversary of tearing up the hotbed Pennine jazz scene. Founder member and trumpeter Nick Walters remixed last year’s recording of the Finlay Panter composition with a dark funky soundtrack sound which would honour any gritty 70s cop thriller.
Who’s the Manc private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks?
CHEERBLEEDERZ – Cabin Fever
Fresh & Happy Accidents’ Kathryn Woods and Phoebe Cross teamed up with Finish Flag’s Sophie MacKenzie to form “Indie Pop Supergroup” Cheerbleederz, purveying no-nonsense guitar-bass DIY rock. Cabin Fever delivers everything you could ask for from the genre – driving bass and drums, kerranging guitar, ace duetting vocals and a high-impact runtime that arrives, leaves its mark and departs without any overcooking or messing about.
CHERRY HEAD, CHERRY HEART — It’s Complicated
Hailing from “somewhere west of convention” (Teeside) and declaring themselves “willing to be tarred and feathered again in their quest to be not what you expected”, electro-pop duo Cherry Head, Cherry Heart are back with the title track to their new album, which has already bagged Track of the Week on BBC Tees Introducing. Funky bass and quirky programming underpins a tasty salad of vocal overdubs around a nicely laconic lead.
“Instant greatness”, reckoned Terry Naylor in this week’s comments. I find it hard to disagree.
CREWDSON & CEVANNE – It’s So Easy
Continuing the Sesame Street-style run of the letter ‘C’ in this week’s Faves, Crewdson & Cevanne is collaboration of two acclaimed contemporary composers – harpist Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian and instrument builder and experimentalist Hugh “Crewdson” Jones. Together they have produced an hypnotic cyclical texture of folk timbres, immersive cross rhythms, inventive harmonies and withering social commentary that has found a home in the National Portrait Gallery, the Cambridge Folk Festival and a diverse list of other locations.
HO•FU – Passenger
A world-fusion smörgåsbord of looping tuned percussion, echoing saxophones and a decent pop song to boot with an economical use of just four lines of verse, Ho•Fu are the Leicester trio of percussionist and bass player Nile Barrow, saxophonist Will Todd and singer LION/S.
Beyond that I have found precious little information besides this being their second single (following on from last November’s I Understand) and an ongoing artwork collaboration with Jazz Wade, but this only adds to the mystique of what is a very evocative and intriguing project. I very much look forward to chapter 3.
JOE HOLTAWAY – Oak Tree
Custodian of the Peace Sounds label, Joe Holtaway has a long ongoing involvement with environmental, peace and community projects, including a 2016 residency in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village and work with the Quakers, Greenpeace and Amnesty International. Oak Tree is an uplifting piece of acoustic folk with a haunting Art Garfunkel-esque backup vocal beckoning the listener to the calming ancient presence of the titular woodland.
The patience of the old oak tree, may it come to me.
LAZYREVS – Inside Out
Irish duo Lazyrevs are Mixtape alumni whose brand of Indie Folk Mellow Pop stems from both of their acoustic guitar orientated songwriting. Inside Out brings an invigorating bassline and tight inventive drum programming to the table for a deeply satisfying pop number in the vein of Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac, the Cranberries and HAIM.
ORA THE MOLECULE – Samurai
Coming to us from the Andalusian Mountains and bringing together members from Norway, Germany and Slovakia, Ora the Molecule offer well produced evocative dreampop with a stylistic nod to the early 90s likes of Opus III and The Beloved. As told by the songwriters, this particular song was inspired by a New York Times article about the drawings made by an imprisoned Syrian woman which documented the changing characters and psychological tolls taken upon her fellow prisoners. But the song puts the focus squarely back on the woman herself and the submerged tension stemming from the time taken from her.
There is a particular haunting Norwegian refrain which Google Translate reveals as “She saw another way – I think she looked at you”. Beautifully chilling.
POCKET SUN – Plastic
Bristolians Pocket Sun name Little Dragon and Washed Out as primary influences, delivering lush, unashamedly electronic space pop. Fat bass riffs, sunny guitar licks, swirly synth textures and jaunty shuffles rhythms abound beneath sassy vocals like a postcard from an alien beach.
WOOZE – I’ll Have What She’s Having
Last up are South London’s Wooze, whose ultra-tight live performances have wowed audiences around Europe over the last year or so and even landed an appearance on TV’s Made In Chelsea. They describe their sound and mission statement as “Pansori for the 21st Century” (for those reaching for a Google tab, Pansori is Korean drum-accompanied folk opera) – this turns out to be a highly technical and impactful take on Devo & Tubeway Army style New Wave, with inventive vocal and guitar layers over dynamic synth and guitar riff unisons and acoustic drums.
I’ll Have What She’s Having has already been played on Radio 1, as well as making the playlist at Amazing Radio.
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.