Fresh Faves: Batch 335 (Part One)

Aleighcia Scott

Artists at a glance

ALEIGHCIA SCOTT
ARXX
CAOILFHIONN ROSE
EGOISM
FAODAIL
FREYA WARD
JAMIE JOHNSON
JOHNNY GREYSTOKE
KATIE KITTERMASTER
LUVIA

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

We received so many great tracks last week that we decided to double the number we selected and split the batch into two. The next Listening Post will open on Friday, 13th September, and our Inbox will remain closed until Monday, 16th September.

ALEIGHCIA SCOTT – Conscious Queen

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not terribly familiar with Reggae, but one need only listen to Aleighcia Scott’s powerful and commanding voice to understand why she was the winner of “Wales Has Got Talent 2008”, “Radio Cardiff’s Best Local Artist 2009” and “Reggae Star Factor Runner Up 2015”. The brass in this track is strong point for me, the main hook is so catchy that I’ve been whistling it about the office all day.

Self-described as “Wales and Jamaica had a reggae/soul baby…”, Conscious Queen is the most recent instalment from who seems to be a very well-received and valued star in the UK Reggae scene, blending a mix of reggae, soul, R&B and gospel to create something timeless yet fresh and relevant.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

ARXX – Iron Lung

Off the bat, Iron Lung wastes no time in getting in your face and wrapping its hands around the throat of your attention. Ferocious vocals, aggressive drumming and a strong lyrical presence – there is no mistake that this band has serious prowess. For the entire three minutes and one second of this song, ARXX are relentless in their pace and power, injecting a serious dose of heavy towards the end which gears up the intensity and puts on display the vocal ability of singer Hannah.

Agitated and heartfelt, the Brighton based “garage rock gal pal duo” are a searing burst of angular energy, saturated with attitude and intent. Having just hit half a million streams, this song is a sure-fire winner.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

CAOILFHIONN ROSE – Being Human

Caoilfhionn (pronounced Keelin, by the way) Rose is a singer, songwriter and producer whose debut album Awaken was released last October through Gondwana Records. It’s difficult not to be absolutely enthralled by her beautiful melodic sensibilities, layered vocal textures and the serene and refreshingly positive vibe that she exudes. Being Human is a picturesque space that Caoilfhionn’s voice inhabits and explores, and to the listener it provides a comforting and blissfully unperturbed atmosphere to sink deep into. I could listen to this on repeat.

Caoilfhionn Rose doesn’t seem to have any shows coming up, which is unfortunate, but I will definitely be taking a gander at her other tracks on Spotify and keeping an eye on future activities from the Mancunian gem.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

EGOISM – What Are We Doing?

Opening with a tight guitar sound that makes me think of the American alternative rock of the early 00’s, I instantly know this is going to be up my street. The drums are so forthright and in the pocket that the track moves with a confidence that stands in beautiful contradiction to the capacious and achingly vulnerable vocals (plural) that, on occasion, flip up into a gorgeous airy head voice. I’m getting some Jimmy Eat World in here and I’m absolutely fine with that. What Are We Doing? is over entirely too soon, I would have loved to have heard this song go somewhere different melodically before the final chorus, but I thoroughly enjoyed it none the less.

EGOISM have submitted music all the way from Sydney, which is a great testament to Fresh On The Net’s ability to showcase fantastic music from all over the world. Keep ‘em coming!

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

FAODAIL – Nostos (Returning)

The delicate and pensive soundscapes that introduce this track had me thinking I was about to listen to a sparse neo-classical piano piece, which would have been fine, but I was very happy to hear Nostos (Returning) swiftly and confidently transition into an undeniable and utterly bittersweet dance track. Tourist and Four Tet come to mind as Faodail creates music that is emotive, haunting yet still has great movement. Faodail brilliantly showcases his ability to produce a very strong beat that doesn’t once overbear the delicate melancholy created by this track’s ambience.

This is a great track from the Scottish producer, also known at Callan Marchetti. Glancing back at his history of releases on Spotify, I’m looking forward to having a dive back and see what’s going on there.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

FREYA WARD – Lull Yourself to Sleep

I really enjoyed the intricate acoustic guitar playing throughout Lull Yourself To Sleep, but it’s Freya’s rich tone and exceptional vocal control that has me hooked; it’s no wonder that she has sung with London Contemporary Voices, Imogen Heap & Sam Smith, to name a few. The Devon based multi-instrumentalist has a talent for penning a brilliant song and weaving it together with the sort of Folk-inspired lyrical content that is an absolute pleasure to listen to. Employing dynamic control across the whole song to keep the listener intrigued and transfixed, Lull Yourself To Sleep utilises extremely atmospheric percussion and piano parts, as well as perfectly balanced vocal harmonies to great effect.

Make sure you catch Freya Ward at Green Note (Camden) on Tuesday 1st of October. I’ll see you there.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

JAMIE JOHNSON – Christopher

Certain a highlight of this week’s inbox for me, south-east London based Jamie Johnson presents an exquisite example of musical yearning. Unable to stop myself drawing comparisons to singer/songwriters such as Elliott Smith, Jose Gonzales and Lou Barlow, ‘Christopher’ has a classic feel to it that brings together the American emo music of the late 90’s / early 00’s and a refined and modern British sound that gives it life beyond its influences. The sparse instrumentation and minimal lo-fi production value let this song breath in a very natural manner, evoking a rawness and a heart-breaking nostalgia that’s entirely my vibe!

Having already received support from Phil Taggart (BBC Radio 1) and our very own Tom Robinson, I expect future releases from Jamie to reach some excellent heights.

Soundcloud | Facebook

JOHNNY GREYSTOKE – No Gain without Jane

Johnny Greystroke is a mysterious jazz/triphop figure whose visual representation of choice is a sheriff’s badge. Upon looking for more information, I’m left even more at odds with who this jungle obsessed smooth criminal is. No Gain Without Jane (Straight Sax With Jane) leverages some serious atmosphere by way of vivid sampling and intricate percussion parts. These samples, mostly animal based, compounded with the almost jarring nature of the keys are nicely tempered by the soporific saxophone playing and jazzy drum breaks on this track.

I feel like I’m meandering through the Amazon rainforest on some nondescript psychotropic substance; quite unsure of what is going on but pleasantly enjoying the ride.

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

KATIE KITTERMASTER – Sunday Afternoon

Sunday Afternoon is a catchy and heart-warming pop effort from this young British singer/songwriter. Katie presented a carefully honed and distinct voice, her unmistakable accent cutting through utterly undiluted, as well as bringing to the table a brilliantly produced piece of pop music that wouldn’t be out of place in the higher echelons of the charts. I must admit that the lyrical colloquialism is a little too on the nose for me, but Katie is clearly a very talented songwriter and having recently opening for Olly Murs and Ronan Keating, she has a great career ahead of her.

Katie Kittermaster is touring this month, make sure you catch her as she comes through an area near you!

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

LUVIA – Kiss

Brighton based Luvia presents a song so debonair and oozing with coolness that she could give Lana Del Rey a run for her money. Her vocal style is so perfectly seated in this cinematic, expansive and alternative pop track, that the lyrics go by almost unattended. I can’t shake the feeling that there is something dark about Luvia’s music, it feels like there is something devious and potentially dangerous sitting right below the surface of this one.

Kiss was released through BNDR Records only a month ago and has already picked up almost 40k streams on Spotify, a clear sign that Luvia is doing something right. This is bolstered by the clear success she has been having live, playing at the likes of The Great Escape, 2000trees, and Liverpool Sound City. I would be quite keen to see how this carries live.

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter

Luvia

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.

Will O'Brien

A&R assistant at Island Records. Songwriter and producer of bits and bobs. Read more about Will.

7 Comments

  1. Jamie Johnson

    Cheers Will for all the kind words!! For anyone who may be interested I’ve just put out a new video for the song that y’all can watch here –

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNi-Q5aTRZg&feature=youtu.be

  2. Thanks Will,
    What an interesting and diverse listing of nearly 300 songs to begin with and then trimming down to 25 (part one) and then down to 10 (part one) couple with really good informative reviews from your good self.

    Our team can’t thank you enough for my review and for further info here’s a link to the website:

    https://www.mousekeymusic.com/

  3. Great reviews Will, eloquently described.

    Incidentally this was Faodail’s 4th time as a Fresh Fave in the time I’ve been with the team which is pretty awesome and I think it was also Luvia’s third and at least the second time for Freya Ward, Caoilfhionn Rose and possibly others. So it’s great to see artists coming back to Fresh on the Net whenever they have new material out which, along with the record number of tracks that came in last week, underlines how cherished this resource is by bands and artists. Long may that continue. 🙂

  4. Enjoyed the reviews and the tracks.

  5. excellent reviews, a great read….thank you 🙂

  6. Congratulations, Will … and artists. 🙂

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