Fresh Faves: Batch 322

FØNX

Artists at a glance

BLU:M
FIREWOODISLAND
FONX
GU-RU
HARRY PERRY
MURIEL & BLAZQUEZ
NEEDSHES
OPERATION LIGHTFOOT
PYX
WEIRD MILK

These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s Steve Harris this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.

BLU:M – Tiny Break Of Light

Tiny Break Of Light is a very well put together track. At first I couldn’t quite work out why something that starts out so unassumingly leaves you feeling like someone’s just given you a good talking to.

A few listens reveal a very clever use of key changes — first, insistently up for the final verse, which is fairly noticeable, but then determinedly down for the final chorus, which is quite subtle. Pointing this out feels a bit like explaining a magic trick, because as I said, by the time this track is done, you are left in no doubt of the singer’s conviction.

Blu:m is the London-based trio of Rebecca Meyer, Franco Lacan and Jordan Bate. Having just played in Paris, they’ll be appearing at the New Cross In and Finsbury Pub in London next month. Tiny Break of Light is taken from their debut EP No Matter The Darkness, which is out now.

Soundcloud | Facebook | YouTube

FIREWOODISLAND – Storm

If your Scandi senses are tingling listening to Storm, you’d be half right. Firewoodisland was originally Stian Vedøy, who moved to Cardiff from Norway to study for a masters in music production, and Abi Eleri, the illustrator and songwriter he met there, and the band’s name is actually the English translation of Stian’s surname, Vedøy.

Now Bristol-based, they have been joined by drummer Stephen Allen, and multi-instrumentalist Dylan Jones, and together have won praise from the likes of Q Magazine, Mark Radcliffe of BBC Radio 6 Music, BBC Wales, Amazing Radio, and BBC Introducing, which was seen them play the BBC introducing stage at Latitude, and Norway’s Vikedal Roots Music Festival.

Storm is out now as the lead track from the band’s eponymous second album, due later this year.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

FØNX – Without You Girl

There’s an undeniably funky groove to this, which shines through just as brightly in a stripped-back version performed on a rooftop. Surely a test of any great pop song is whether it sounds good when you take away all the bells and whistles, just as it is for a musician to hold their own with only a guitar and mic. And yes, I would say this is pop in the best possible sense — an uncomplicated love song with some great lines, that is catchy as hell, easy to dance to, and something you could imagine topping the charts at any time.

Brit-school graduate FØNX has received well-deserved support from Shell Zenner at Amazing Radio, BBC Introducing in the South, Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1, and our own Tom Robinson on 6 Music, of course. Without You Girl is out now in all the usual places.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

GU-RU – Cosmic Rain

Leicester trio GU-RU return to our Fresh Faves with Cosmic Rain, the second track to be taken from their debut album, Tales From The Ashram, which itself was released a couple of weeks ago. This instrumental fuses psychedelic prog and jazz into a very happy sounding trip, which at just over four minutes long doesn’t fall into the prog trap of outstaying its welcome.

Catch them live across the country over the next few months: they’ve got gigs lined up in Leicester, Dumfries, York, Manchester, London, Harrogate and Stonehenge, no less. Cosmic indeed!

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

HARRY PERRY – You Think This Is Easy Realism?

Harry Perry, also known as rryrry, is well known to us here at Fresh On The Net, having contributed tracks that have appeared in our Fresh Faves and on Tom’s BBC Introducing Mixtape many times over the last few years, such that by now we know to expect the unexpected.

In You Think This Is Easy Realism? a cappella choirboys are eventually joined by a glitchy, burbling electronic bassline that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. It draws to a close fairly quickly, and you’re left none the wiser, but definitely moved.

Reading his FB page, it sounds like Harry Perry has been busy working on music for other people lately. Let’s hope we hear more music from him soon.

Soundcloud | Facebook | YouTube

MURIEL & BLAZQUEZ – Moonbeam

Moonbeam is the latest single from Muriel & Blazquez, a Leeds-based duo comprised of Lily Moharrer (vocals) and Lizzy Joyce (vocals, piano and flute). The track begins with delicate a capalla vocals that lead to spoken word poetry over piano, which in turn builds into something quite beautiful with flute and vocal harmonies, but never even remotely to the point of being overdone.

I can’t see that this is part of an upcoming album release, and nor can I see any upcoming dates for the duo, but you can hear all their music online now, and they do occasionally perform gigs at places like the Brudenel in Leeds, so keep an eye out for them in future.

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

NEEDSHES – Sometimes I Can Fly

Sometimes I Can Fly belongs in a stage musical. There’s that narrative quality about the lyrics, the staccato elements in the second verse, those dazzling synths, and at one point I swear I could actually hear a dry ice machine kicking in. This isn’t to do the track down at all, because even its own tracknotes remark that it’s a “theatrical tune”. Sometimes artists make claims about their music that really don’t stand up to scrutiny, but in this case: yeah, totally!

Needshes was founded in 2011 by singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Otabek “Beck” Salamov from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, later joined by Ivan Petukhov (guitar) and Alexey Manakhov (drums). This track is taken from Needshes forthcoming album, Truth Power, which will be out this coming Friday, May 3rd.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

OPERATION LIGHTFOOT – Sharks Feat. Jo Bywater

Operation Lightfoot was founded in 2013 by Chester musician Luke Moore, as “a continuing series of collaborations with a diverse array of guest singer-songwriters and musicians”.

Sharks is a very impressive and interesting piece that features Jo Bywater, an artist who’s appeared many times on Fresh On The Net and the BBC Introducing Mixtape over the years, and as a track takes so many twists and turns it could be the soundtrack to its own movie.

Once again, this seems to be a track that stands on its own for now, but you can hear plenty more from Operation Lightfoot on their Soundcloud page, and they do seem to put gigs on fairly frequently, particularly in and around Liverpool, so keep an eye out.

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

PYX – Play On

We couldn’t help but notice that Play On by PYX proved very popular with other musicians voting on our Listening Post this week. When Tom Robinson put out a tweet asking people we’d helped in the past to maybe take a listen to this week’s batch, this track got so many votes so quickly we initially thought there was some kind of funny business going on.

Thankfully that was not the case (well, unless PYX has some serious kompromat on their fellow artists). Perhaps its popularity with people who know a thing or two about putting a track together is because Play On is just so interesting, and never seems to stand still.

Play On can be streamed now in all the usual places, and while I can’t tell you much about PYX, beyond the band being mainly comprised of Wesley Triffitt and Matt Goody on drums, they’ve already got support from Abbie McCathy at BBC Introducing in Kent, so I expect we’ll be hearing more from them in the near future.

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

WEIRD MILK – Anything You Want

Wrapping up our Fresh Faves this week is Anything You Want, which swaggers in as a retro-ish, perfectly 7-inch single length three and a half minute indie pop song, that may not dazzle with surprises, but certainly achieves what it sets out to do with aplomb. These guys sound like they’ve been playing together for decades.

Originally from the “English countryside”, the now London-based Weird Milk are Charlie Vaughan, Zach Campbell, Alex Griffiths and Joe ‘Blue’ Moyle, who look every inch like they belong on the cover of the NME, if being on the cover of the NME was still a thing.

Anything You Want is out now, and you can catch them at gigs in London, Brighton, and The Great Escape over the next month.

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter

Weird Milk

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.

Steve Harris

Steve Harris is an independent app developer living in Swansea, Wales. A passionate music lover, his hobbies include not working and pretending to understand science. Find him on Twitter: @steveharris. Read more about Steve.

7 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for featuring our song! We’re glad to be here 😉

  2. Great reviews Steve. Informative, incisive and really good to read. What a great set of tracks too.

  3. Derv

    Kompromat? …. Picks up Oxford English 🙂
    Easy eloquence is your trademark Stevie …
    As always your succinct, on-point reviews are the perfect accompaniment for some tasty musical morsels – perfect for sharing!

  4. Yel

    Thank you Steve,

    I bet on 5 ones https://freshonthe.net/2019/04/batch322/
    and 4 of them featured here.
    Very objective in my opinion , thank you again

    Best regards
    Yel

  5. Thanks so much for the write-up of Sharks – always nice when someone really gets what we’re going for! Great to have one of our collaborations featured alongside a wonderful array of other acts – thanks again!

  6. L-D

    Great reviews, tracks are great too, ‘ang on Neil’s already said that, mind you ‘e says that every other week or similar, erm, I need to be more original, um, ‘ow about,

    I think the reviews might be better than some of the tracks this week, only saying though, I could be wrong given the exeptionally high standard this particular week, I think you’d be ‘ard pressed to better this fabulous batch of magnum opuses & spiffing reviews, very well done everyone, let’s all give ourselves a nice big pat on the back for all doin’ our bit eh…

  7. Harry

    Hiya!

    I’d just like to add my thanks to Steve, the Fresh On The Net team and everyone who gave my track a little spin. I’ve been out of the game for a bit so it’s been heartening to find that my weird little tunes still strike a chord. Now I just need those cash monies to free up my time so I can write some more…

    to be continued.

    Harry / rryrry

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