Artists at a glance
KATH & THE KICKS
SCHOOL OF THOUGHT
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by BBC Introducing in London’s Andy Backhouse this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
BENJAMIN FINNEY – Warmth Within These Walls
In true Fresh Faves style, I’m coming to each of these tracks completely, erm, fresh on first listen at least, but digging to see if there’s any context on the track. We know nothing about Benjamin Finney, but on first reaction to this: it’s completely instrumental, all acoustic, and has a sunrise Nick Drake vibe.
BLACK MIRROR – This Warm Place
Benjamin Finney’s track paves the way for this very well. It’s tough digging online for any information surrounding Black Mirror – a Google search brings up endless reviews of the dysptopian Netflix series. The vocal harmonies are great – whispering and husky, it sits somewhere between Air’s All I Need and Nouvelle Vague.
CRUSHED BEAKS – Sky Burial
Now then. If you’re reading Fresh Faves, you’re probably well versed in Crushed Beaks – but just in case, to get you up to speed: they released their first record, Scatter, back in 2015. Fast forward to this year, with new singles Honesty Box and this track, Sky Burial. And somehow it still sounds amazing!? You can take your time, lads. “The songs are a lot more streamlined, but they’re a lot more complex as well,” Matt Poile recently told M Magazine. For me, they’re on fine form. All roads lead to their album The Other Place next month, and it makes sense to enlist the services of producer Matt Heel, garage-rock producer du jour for their Leeds peers Menace Beach and Eagulls. He encouraged the band to record live, and you can really hear that band-in-the-room sound.
KATH & THE KICKS – Let It Out
Next up – staying in Leeds – we have Kath & The Kicks. They’re a three piece, and they call on artists like PJ Harvey, Soundgarden, Rage Against The Machine, Siouxsie and The Banshees and Deap Vally as their musical preferences. They say they mine personal experiences and emotions for their tracks – love, anger and rage. It swings from this to laidback, almost nonchalant, as the vocalist drawls “what happened to human nature”.
LLOVERS – Coming Loose
I should probably declare I went to sixth form with David Macnab from Llovers. Queen Elizabeth in Darlington represent. This has all been voted for diplomatically by the Fresh Faves team before the top selections reached me, so I can say this is without bias. It’s been great to see the members go from strength to strength in real time, and as Llovers, they’re writing their most accomplished tracks to date. This summer they showed their live chops on the BBC Music Introducing stage at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Middlesbrough, representing their local show in Tees. These days their Soundcloud is overflowing with singles. The latest is Coming Loose – straight from the songwriting school of The Killers circa Hot Fuss, but with a more wistful and tender feel. It’s very impressive, and might just be my favourite out out of these Fresh Faves. And I’m not just saying that because I’ll probably bump into them at my train station.
MARIGOLDS – Chamomile
Is this track inspired by chamomile tea? I hope so. Its herbal health benefits have barely been exploited by rock stars and songwriters, I feel. Marigolds are championed by the BBC Music Introducing show in Norwich. This, with their last single Nerves, already sounding promising.
NIGHT LANTERN – Southern Necropolis
Very little is known about Night Lantern, we only have this track to go on, but from this track Southern Necropolis, it’s him and his guitar. I hope Night Lantern doesn’t mind me comparing him to Ivor Cutler, because that’s absolutely a compliment.
POPCORN SEQUEL – Ever Garden (Bardot)
The track opens with the radio presenter, describing the meeting between the Queen and Princess Margaret and Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot. If you didn’t know, she’s a French animal rights activist, actress and singer, and now an influence on Popcorn Sequel.
SCHOOL OF THOUGHT – Looking Glass
Another instrumental throughout from School of Thought – it’s all on piano, it’s short, but sounds great. As far as the opening’s concerned, the obvious comparison for me – probably purely because he makes up a large chunk of what I listen to – would be Chilly Gonzales and his Solo Piano album.
SŒUR – Do What I Want
Do What I Want is taken from Sœur’s five track No Show EP. There is a stomping strutting confidence to this track – there’s obvious calls to Paramore, but more than anything, it sounds a lot like early Miley Cyrus, pre the Sad Bangers Mark Ronson era.
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.