Fresh Faves: Batch 351

Pompadour

Artists at a glance

ADAM & ELVIS
AJIMAL
ALEX CARROLL
CHILÈ
HAILEY BEAVIS
MOUTH OF GHOSTS
NUALA HONAN
PIZZA DELIVERY GUYS
POMPADOUR
THE BLOOMFIELD FAMILY BAND

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

ADAM & ELVIS – The Artiste

I don’t know whether it’s Adam or Elvis that’s riding the tailcoats of the Leonard Cohen does Gothic Nightmare convention, but either way it matters not. Names carry little weight when you have distorted contempt writhing around in your brain?

If you like your black jet, landscape dystopian and attitude louche, The Artiste will feel like home. It’s a bit Iggy Pop, a touch Siouxie, and a lot black Neo punk in a kind of a Stranglers on a come down from Golden Brown sort of way. All unadorned distorted lines, moody toms and attitude. Lots of ATTITUDE.

Cold Church organ keys, uptight razor-sharp rizzle, and some low hanging bass provide Mister Artiste with just the right amount of restrained condescension to complete the picture of sullen swagger.

Adam & Elvis are six in their publicity shot but appear to only have four named members, namely brothers Pat and Tom (Malone – did you get your Irish passports yet?), and non-siblings Steven and Dan. The other two personages remain nameless.

Big load of gigs coming up including Liverpool, Glasgow, Bournemouth and several in London. Not for hippies or people of a nervous disposition.

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

AJIMAL – Animals

Ajimal… a man from Newcastle with an Irish name now based in London. He took on the Ajimal moniker as a result of living through the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti.

Fran O’Hanlon aka Ajimal has shared a stage with none less than Lucy Rose and James Vincent Mc Morrow (if you haven’t, you need to) and a studio with legendary Beatles engineer / producer Guy Massey, with whom he worked on his upcoming second album.

Ajimal’s current single Animal is a brooding emotive offering, in which he shares his thoughts against a backdrop of pensive piano notes and soulful strings, intermittent bass lines and ethereal backing vocals. Working its way from broad empty plains to a full jungle landscape of orchestral manoeuvres and melodrama, Animal is a potent and fierce composition built on imagination and sincerity.

Ajimal has quite a hypnotic vocal with a rich, dark tone. He wields his tool well, singing with a raw, unabashed sincerity that resonates. You can hear it live and see him in the flesh on 13th Feb when he headlines London’s Folklore. By the slightly hazy looks of things, the release of Ajimal’s next album is imminent.

Before I go, check out the stunning artwork for Animals by Berlin based illustrator & artist Drømsjel!

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

ALEX CARROLL – Paint Me In Colours

Alex Carroll enunciates the lyrics of Paint Me In Colours in conversational hushed tones. With a childlike honesty, she takes us by the hand, leading us through a carefully woven landscape of love and innocence.

I wrote those words before I hit click on Alex’s Soundcloud page and found the face of a 15-year-old girl staring back at me!

Alex Carroll has a soft, plump vocal and the artless air of an ingenue, both of which she underplays. No affectation, forlorn lamenting, or world-weariness here, just a simple yet lovely ode to love delivered with subtle nuance in understated tones.

Fans of finger-picked acoustic ballads will go weak at the knees when they hear this small slice of loveliness. I’d go so far as to say that the angelic-voiced Alex would soften the hardest of metalhead hearts, our own Paul’n’Steff included.

Alas, little info is forthcoming about this young musician other than she trades under the CarboardGirl handle, writes sad songs, and has already released an EP entitled Muddy Boots And Messy Hair (sounds like me on an average day).

Little Miss Alex, would you please do yourself and the rest of us a favour by getting up and running on socials, starting with penning a short About / Bio on your Soundcloud page! Grazie.

Soundcloud | Twitter | YouTube

CHILÈ – Au Petit Déjeuner

What did you eat for breakfast? That’s what Joulie Fox of Polish-French-Czech pop ensemble wants to know right now!

In a first for Fresh On The Net, we present a French lyric dance bop about breakfast. I used to be fluent in French, but that was then and this is now and tbh with you, I can’t understand another word so we’ll leave the lyrical analysis there.

Electro-pop lite lifted straight from the late 80s / early 90s era of club / dance.

With a vibrating beat at its heart, it follows the classic dance pop formula of jangle solos, hypnotic loops, catchy hooks and coy vocals. Light of voice and fleet of foot, it gets the party started without being too OTT on the bass thud.

Chilè is Joulie Fox, Damien Ricaud and Miro Haldina. Based in London, they’ve been actively gigging although there’s nothing on the cards for the foreseeable. If you like what you hear, keep an eye on socials for more releases and gig news.

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

HAILEY BEAVIS – Stranger Inside

Well, there’s a bit of the Dolly’s going on here on the vocal isn’t there? That light pitched tremolo vocal with more than a hint of a tint of Americana on the fringes.

Hailey Beavis is based in Edinburgh, but that doesn’t tell me where she is actually from and I don’t have time for trawling through timelines.

Fresh from the release of her Whatever You Feel I Do Too EP launch (three days ago), Hailey is on a roll with glowing reviews in The Skinny and airplay from our cousins at BBC Radio Scotland.

Stranger Inside sees Beavis ponder life and love in true country style… “is this giving up or letting go”. It’s the kind of song Parton would sing, with the same restrained feeling and soft, warm vocal that only the Americans and Scots have ever truly mastered.

Hayley Beavis is relatable, likeable, and normal. Her story is everywoman’s and her delivery everyday. This is not to disrespect. This is to highlight how unpretentious and unassuming her own brand of Americana is, and how easy it is to fall in with.

Lovers of country, alt-indie and easy listening will like this one a lot. Lovers of music, radio and life will find themselves humming along to its easy tune and honeyed tones. Stranger Inside has the likability factor, as I suspect does Hailey Beavis.

No gigs listed for 2020 thus far, but fans can stay tuned via socials.

Official | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

MOUTH OF GHOSTS – Fool Me

Weird and wonderful are two words that spring to mind here. Unconventional, quasi-operatic melodrama are others.

Mouth Of Ghosts featured on our faves back in November 2016 with the exceptional Sudden Lights. Today they return with the explosive Fool Me.

Like Kate Bush or Sarah Brightman in a mosh pit, this is a deliciously dark piece of rock-driven musical theatre. One could almost imagine this fiery number appearing in a West End production – all black night, mystery and romantic mayhem. It’s a bit like Wuthering Heights or Phantom of the Opera 2020 style – operatic opining and anthemic goth rock.

There are so many tones and textures to this track that it’s hard to pin down. Slices of prog rock, alt rock and pseudo science cut through a shimmering and pristine vocal that both haunts and enthrals. There’s so much imagination and innovation to what MoG do. A band of three – Simon, Yannis and Phil – they work with various vocalists (mainly sopranos & mezzo sopranos) to bring new dimensions and silhouettes to their sounds.

Fool Me is their latest wonderkind, and will release on 7th February via Bandcamp. Keep an eye on socials for upcoming lives – you don’t want to miss them!

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

NUALA HONAN – Slow Down

Sick of the mainstream same old? Then Slow Down by Nuala Honan is the genre fluid thing for you.

Australian-born, Bristol-based Honan took whatever recipe she was following, tore it up and went wild side, ad hoc, free flow with this genre-defying little medley. Hauling a catch replete with 60s style psych groove, acid folk, and experimental alt-rock, Nuala Honan offers up a medley of some of music’s greatest sounds, and what a tasty dish it is.

Don’t be fooled by the nigh simplistic start of Slow Down, a misnomer of a title if I ever saw one.

Coasting nonchalantly above a rolling trainesque backbeat, Honan’s light and airy vocal deftly avoids the lure of being grounded by an ever-growing circle of instrumentation. Like a journey up a winding mountain, Slow Down builds to an emotional crescendo, moving up in gears and increasing pace – the irony of which isn’t lost on the listener – climaxing with a guitar driven melee that brings the track to a close.

Honan styles herself as a Folk / Blues / Country artist but there’s a lot more going on here than that label could ever convey. Fizzing with raw nervous energy, the Aussie expat comes across as an artist with a hunger for sonic exploration, musical mining, and innovative composition, all of which has resulted in this joyride of a track.

An interesting addition to this week’s playlist, Slow Down is the debut single from Nuala Honan’s second album. Radio play is happening and gigs are already scheduled. For more details tune into socials.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

PIZZA DELIVERY GUYS – Alexa

In a serious case of deep pan deja vu Alexa arrives at my door, brought to me by Fun-Boy-three meets Banarama in a comedy shack. This is music for the idiosyncratic, for lovers of outré and fans of modern day musical slapstick, a bit like Vic and Bob’s Afternoon Delights in sonic form.

Now, me and the Pizza Deliver Guys have form. We’ve been here before! Yep, God love them, the last time the Pizzas submitted a song to FOTN I was the reviewer on duty – see here. They still sound Broen-esque.

The musical sum of the parts here conjures up images of a circus being squashed into a recording studio with a gaggle of stand up comedians and literally just going for it full pelt. The result, Alexa. A raggle taggle of slacker electro and even slacker beats where the chorus line takes centre stage. The initial reaction is to think gimmick, but in reality there’s no gimmickry here.

Listening to Alexa reminds me of my teenage school days when our royal blue horde used to takeover the back of the bus and sing (uses term loosely) TOTP anthems probably much to the annoyance of our fellow passengers. This is music for young ’uns … musical playdough if you will. Alexa is a song for silly singalongs and mirthful mucking about.

The Pizza boys’n’gals pick trends to extract the Michael out of and they do it well, and with much love, and a lot of harmony. Still know nothing about them. Don’t really care any more.

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

POMPADOUR – Veronica

Fans of Chrissie Hynde will lurve this Pretenders-esque rocker.

Doyens of the late ’70s, early ’80s UK music industry will know only too well the deep imprint Hynde, Honeyman-Scott and co cut into the rock scene at that time. Music fans were gripped by the American’s smoky molasses vocals and HS’s innovative trenchant guitar riffs.

Pompadour’s sound recalls the urgency, electricity and sass of those heady rock cocktails. This track Veronica is fully charged and then some. One can almost feel the knowing gaze on lead singer Tamsin Sayers’ face as she lets loose on this pulsating, high voltage rock number. Infectious, upbeat, and gloriously feisty, Veronica is the kind of track that ignites from the ground up.

Sayers never stops for breath as she shreds the vocals with a kick-ass kind of nonchalance whilst guitars clang, clamour and chime in the background, driving the song at high speed.

Formed in 2018, Pompadour is Tamsin Sayers – Vocals / Bass, Kearney Day – Guitar, and Toby Holbrook on Drums. They’re set to play This Feeling, Bristol on 7th Feb and Broadstone Festival on 5th June. For more info hop onto their socials.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter

THE BLOOMFIELD FAMILY BAND – Good Morning

There are songs that are inherently ‘feel good’; think Lighthouse Family or those phones on torch / arm-wavers by Coldplay.

The Bloomfield Band’s Good Morning is one such song, a track that auto brings the listener to their happy place, even if there’s a stubborn reluctance to ‘go with the flow’.

The Bloomfield Band is a side project of the bespectacled lead singer with Outlya but as neither BB nor Outlya care to share their credentials that’s as far as I can take the bio cum background check. Other than to say Good Morning was composed by Anon Outlya and his Dad.

Good Morning has all the feels. Birdsong, piano waterfalls, dawn magic, sonic sunrise, vibrant guitar driven sun salutation out in the meadows… the works. Nature in a song, Good Morning is delivered with as warm and inviting a vocal as you’ll find this side of horizon. It’s an homage to life, to the day, to nature… heralding the new morn with the boundless joy of those who can still see the wonder of this world.

The song builds on a sparse piano and drum combo backfilled with delicious harmonies and recorded sounds before bursting into a colourful firework of thrashing cymbals and triumphant melodies. The piano work and vocals are beyond impressive on this track, which is a celebration more than it is a song.

YouTube

Chilé

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.

Derval

Devotee of Music, Books, Art, Fashion & all things cultural. Keen interest in IT/Social media. Currently trying to plug musical gaps. With a special fondess for Nordic music, Derv has written for The Monitors, Ja Ja Ja and The 405, and blogs at DervSwerve.

4 Comments

  1. Nice reviews as always Derv! I loved the top 10 this week and always chuffed to see a fee I picked getting in. Well done all.

  2. Steve Harris

    “Like Kate Bush or Sarah Brightman in a mosh pit” – would love to see that! Great reviews Derv.

  3. Great reviews Derv – as always but getting even stronger – how is that actually possible?

    Fine selection of music too

  4. Hello Tom,

    Many, many thanks for playing my song, ‘Can’t Stay Mad’, on The BBC Music Introducing Mixtape on BBC Radio 6 Music, on Monday 27th January 2020, and especially for the kind words.

    Very much appreciated.

    All the best,
    Martin

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