Artists at a glance
THE FALSE MEMORIES
THE GOLDEN AGE OF TV
ELL IVY – Did You Love Me?
We begin our Fresh Faves this week with Ell Ivy’s Did You Love Me? This sad love song has vocals so light they could defy gravity. Born in Grimsby, but now in London, singer-songwriter has already been BBC Introducing in Humberside’s Track Of The Week at the end of January. That’s an impressive start, as it appears this is only her second original track (although there a number of covers on her Soundcloud page).
GLASSMASTERER – Up Sleeves (feat. Archipelago)
Glassmasterer (loving the double “-er”) is essentially Edinburgh-based, Oban-born Lewis Bigham, who often seems to collaborate with other musicians — in this case Newcastle-based jazz band Archipelago. Up Sleeves is a beautiful piece of understated modern jazz that glistens, chimes, and soothes, topped off with an especially lovely vocal outro. Extensive support from BBC Scotland’s Vic Galloway, and Amazing Radio’s Jim Gellatly confirms the prodigious talent of all involved.
HIVEMIND – Crying All The Time
Turning the volume up to eleven now is Sunderland band Hivemind, and Crying All The Time. It’s great to hear a blisteringly energetic track like this tackling feelings of frustration and inadequacy, particularly as you can almost imagine people singing along while moshing. So, both a great way to vent some internal anger, AND lose a tooth in the process.
Hivemind is Georgia on vocals, Steve on guitar, James on bass and Jack on drums. Catch them in Newcastle playing their own gig at Head Of Steam at the end of this month, and then as part of the Afterlight Festival at The Cluny at the end of March.
KATIE KITTERMASTER – Disaster
The Listening Post for this batch went out on Valentine’s Day. Were you expecting love songs? Well, here is a devastating critique of a former lover, as delivered by Katie Kittermaster. Katie’s bio includes some delightful background info about how she sang for Ricky Martin, Maxwell and 50Cent when she was 12, has more recently opened for Jools Holland, Olly Murs, Louisa Johnson and Ronan Keating, and toured with Boyzlife and Lucy Spraggan at the end of last year. She was the Under 18s winner of the UK Songwriting Contest in 2019 too. With all that in mind, I predict Katie’s name will be tripping up tired radio presenters for many years to come.
MARIGOLDS – Spinning
Norwich-based Marigolds is Joe (vocals and guitar), Davey (vocals and guitar), Poppy (vocals and keys), Tom (bass) and James (drums) whose bio says they create “colourful waves of sound”, which does a rather good job of summing up Spinning, with its vocal harmonies, crashing cymbals and gentle, lilting melody. Catch them at Focus Wales in Wrexham over the Early May Bank Holiday weekend.
MOA MOA – Yellow Jacket
Yellow Jacket is the debut single from Moa Moa, who’ve got off to a rather good start with radio love from BBC Radio 6 Music’s Mark Radcliffe and Amy Lamé, along with a clutch of complimentary write-ups. A thumping kick drum and dark, rumbling synths underly this tale of jealousy and desire, until eventually things start to lighten up a little. I expect we’ll be hearing more from James Ratcliffe (and friends?) in the near future. Catch Moa Moa at Paper Dress Vintage in Hackney on March 18.
OLA SZMIDT – Rooted
Former Fresh On The Net moderator, Ola Szmidt, has had the misfortune of having me review her music a number of times over the last few years. This is a problem for both of us, because her music really defies description or explanation. Those aren’t lyrics, they’re layers of feelings and emotions, and any attempt to pick them apart and make sense of them them will fall spectacularly flat. Instead, just listen.
Rooted was our Listening Post voters’ most popular track this week. Ola is a flautist, a winner of the Steve Reid Innovation Award, who’s been mentored by Four Tet, supported by the PRS Foundation, and you can next catch her performing in Liverpool on March 13.
STARK – Trumpets (feat. Kestra)
There’s something very filmic about Trumpets by Stark, with that big Ronson-esque sound. and the magnificent, soaring vocals from Kestra. Sadly I can’t tell you very much about either artist, except that producer Stark is based in East London and used to trade as Boston Building, and given the popularity of Trumpets, the two clearly make a winning combination.
THE FALSE MEMORIES – Sugar Bowl
You barely have to swirl the musical glass under your nose and you’re getting Nashville, some weathered old dudes perched on stools, the whiff of bourbon, and the creak of old leather. Well, guess what, this slice of perfect Americana comes to you from folk duo The False Memories, who hail from *checks track notes twice* Liverpool, Ingerland. The False Memories is Lee Morgan and his unnamed accomplice, although some images on Facebook depict additional characters, so they may not be working alone. Despite repeated listens, I have no idea what Sugar Bowl is actually about, but I’m not sure that’s necessary.
THE GOLDEN AGE OF TV – Me, You And A Dog
Leeds band, The Golden Age of TV, round off this week’s batch with Me, You And A Dog, which is a strong contender for not just my favourite track of the week, but perhaps that I’ve ever had to review for these Fresh Faves, because it is a superb example of how to do it right.
That vocal intro grabs you from the get go, a perfect invitation to a track that’s bursting with enthusiasm, and so sweet, funny, yet still heartfelt. We last reviewed this band in Fresh Faves 343 with the track Caught In Doors, and that was similarly excellent. This band is so tight that if it was a pair of jeans, they’d be sprayed on.
With support from our sometimes contributor Emily Pilbeam at BBC Introducing in West Yorkshire, Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1, Amazing Radio, and our very own Mr Tom Robinson, I fully expect The Golden Age of TV to go far and do well. Catch them in York, Leeds and London between now and the end of March.
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.