Artists at a glance
RUN LOGAN RUN
THE GOLDEN AGE OF TV
AFGHAN SAND GANG – Fast Talk
Manchester (OK, Mossley) drone-heads, Afghan Sand Gang, make a worthy entry this week with their synthy-sadcore track Fast Talk. Paddy, Matthew and Will have created a track that manages to sound straight out of both the 80s and 00s at the same time; a clever feat from the exceptionally self-proclaimed ‘purgatory lo-fi’ lads. Apparently, signed to Cabbage’s own record label, Brassicka Records, it feels like a match made in Manchester shoegaze heaven. Small touches such as the falsetto backing vox in the chorus and the glockenspiel counter-melody lift this song from the back row to the front collection.
Although Afghan Sand Gang only have a digital footprint of a couple of years, they already sound like a band who have honed their sound and know where they want to be heading. All signs point to the right direction with this cut.
In 2020 they will support PINS on a UK tour, tickets available now.
BLACK MIRROR – The Song of Crickets (ESM Final Mix)
Fresh Net favourites, Black Mirror, make the cut again with the haunting and tender A Song of Crickets. This track reminds me of early Ben Christophers – Black Mirror manage to capture the same delicate power that is often hard to create from a simple acoustic line-up. The build-up of layered guitars and introduction of the bass provide another level emotional balance with Inés Bonet’s vocals. Simple, yet effective harmonies are present, as we’ve come to expect from Black Mirror. With yet another well-crafted song, Black Mirror continue to set the bar high.
No planned activity at the moment 🙁
CAFOLLA – Cowboys & Africans
Winner of most intriguing song title goes to Cafolla in this round of Fresh Faves. Hailing from Scotland (the Californian coast of Scotland by the sounds of it), Cafolla confidently stomped his way into the top ten of the public vote. Cowboys And Africans is well-produced, slick and BIG. Big brass, big guitars, big drums… you name it, it’s big. The length is also, if you like, big; clocking in at nearly five minutes it’s a purposeful epic, and it’s really difficult not to sing along to that riff over the course of that time.
Reading Cafolla’s bio, it’s easy to see how he has developed his sound. For the last ten years he has fronted Federation Of The Disco Pimp, collaborated and shared the stage with a number of high profile artists. He certainly has a platform with which to launch a solo career, it’s interesting to see where it will go.
CARRIE BAXTER – Lady
Phew, this track is so smooth you could bottle it up and call it Nutella. The production is second to none in this lovingly crafted slice of… I’m going for Neo Soul from London’s Carrie Baxter. Lady, a stunning debut, has casual swagger (those drums) but also sexy demeanour (accomplished guitar solo). Baxter’s impressive range compliments the wonderful backing as she sings an ode to love and relationships. It’ll be interesting to see the whole potential of Baxter in future songs.
Sitting somewhere between Corrine Bailey Rae (fine, Jorja Smith) and Amy Winehouse, Carrie Baxter certainly has the vibes to appeal to the masses, fingers crossed for this one. Can I use brackets more please (?).
ELLIE DIXON – Pressure
We always appreciate a good groove here at team Fresh Net, Cambridge’s Ellie Dixon provides all the vibes with new single Pressure. Personally, I always appreciate a good *sigh* and the one that introduces Dixon’s vocals on this track really cuts through, and you can feel all the frustration, anxiety and energy that’s about to bless your ears. The stop/start nature is evident throughout and builds and breaks down the timbre, I guessing loop pedal Ice Cream Sunday. Eventually, Dixon flips the narrative on its head by stating the ‘weight of the pressure’ is in fact what drives her to be ‘bigger and better’. This positive spin is a welcome refrain from descending into a woe-is-me mantra.
A millennial anthem of the pressures of modern-day society, hopefully to be ironically played in hipster cafés and vegan restaurants soon. However, if you don’t want to wait for that, Dixon has a few gigs lined up in Cambridge this month and then a date in Bethnal Green in December. Get down for the loop pedalling action.
PLYA – Ocean
I’m sensing the sadness in this one. Melancholy is apparent all over this cut from PLYA (after the Spanish for “beach”), with Julia Sykes’ melody making one feel like they’re standing on the edge of a cliff. I don’t mean as though you’re about to jump, more the suspense and thrilling / terrifying feeling – a cliff hanger. Lyrically, there’s a teetering sense of a teenager talking about the feeling of listening to their favourite boy / girl band. Of course, Ocean is deeper than that (all the puns). From the production, which is fucking sublime, to the well thought-out backing vocals slashed and scrambled through FX.
PLYA have their online game down (although update your FB ‘about’ page guys), with over 6000 followers on Facebook and official videos. No live dates in the diary but they can’t be too far away. ‘A proper band, like’ as the missus would say.
RUN LOGAN RUN – 33 Hours
This week’s token jazz entry for the
Mercury Music Prize Fresh Faves smacks us with a curled, tight sax fist, backed with a raw percussive haymaker to the face.
Genuinely, this cut leaves you with dizzying concussion – I’m struggling to remember the final section of this six minute behemoth. Like a solid back-four this song is well structured, organised, powerful and completely in sync. The talent in Run Logan Run is evident and well-balanced between some masterful playing by Andrew Hayes (Sax) and Matt Brown (Drums), peaking with what can only be described as a musical argument in the final moments. Much like after a real argument, this track leaves my brain fried and needing a stiff drink, but at least I’ll not forget it in a hurry.
A handful of live dates in store including a couple of dates at Ronnie Scott’s in London.
TALKBOY – Hollow Spheres
“What is it that makes you go to a darker place that I can never reach?”
Leeds sextet Talkboy pose a scenario over three and a half minutes, which suggests that dark times won’t last and that you have to reach rock bottom to ‘see some light again’. Hollow Spheres, taken from their Over And Under EP (released 1st November), feels personal. As a listener you feel as though you’re intruding on a conversation you shouldn’t be hearing. You just can’t help yourself, you have to keep listening. I’m lost for a moment, and the extended coda section feels like I’m listening to Arcade Fire, such is the grandiose of the performance.
With the weight of West Yorkshire on their shoulders, Talkboy have trudged, battled, kicked and screamed through the mountains of hype to reach other side. What a glorious future lies in waiting for them – so much glistening potential as this writer’s ever heard.
They’re currently on a support tour with The Howl and the Hum and play a headline date at Hi Fi in Leeds on Nov 14th.
THE GOLDEN AGE OF TV – Caught in Doors
Looking at their promo shots, The Golden Age of TV don’t look like a band, more like fashion models advertising a Teaching Assistants clothing line. Oh, but looks can be deceiving, because WHAT A FUCKING band they are. Caught In Doors, only one of three singles released so far by the Leeds band (yes, another Leeds band!), is an absolute belter. Full of Lo-Fi magic guitars and energetic magnetism flowing from the lungs of singer Bea Fletcher make you feel like you’ve been hit by a train.
Already gaining traction in the radio universe with praise and plays on 6music and Radio X, not to mention being on the hype radar. The Golden Age of TV are perfectly poised for their next steps, but where will they go? Keep listening.
V98 – Conversation Killer
Dublin’s V98 stomp the dirt from their boots on your face and leave you scarred. This cut is taken from their EP PRESSGANG, unsurprisingly produced by Dan Doherty of Darklands Audio (Fontaines D.C.) as all the voracity of Fontaines D.C. shines through the raw guitars and vocals.
The opening monologue, shouted off mic, feels like a stream of consciousness anxiety trip; like an internal argument blurted out in public, with the energy of a roaring lion let out of its cage. Young, energetic and ready to take on the fucking world, V98 have a story to tell, whether you like it or not, it needs to be heard.
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.
The Golden Age of TV photo by Andrew Benge