Artists at a glance
THE HAPPY SOMETHINGS
THE MIGHTY ORCHID KING
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s Chris Ingram this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
Woah there horsey slow down!!! The watering holes are all closed, the venues are all binned, even pubs are shut, but we still roll into a new week with another amazing top ten. We had some excellent contributions, and artists such as Ennio The Little Brother and Dizraeli missed out — just! Social distancing, isolation, army on the streets of every other nation, but I can promise you Neil March (Dr no less) will always be first in with his picks, Steve will always be watching the votes, and Guru Nanak Tom will cherry-pick some bangers for his shows every week from our inbox.
Happy Mondays folks and as the mighty Bez once said “ ain’t no paaaaarty like an S-Club party”. (Bez totally didn’t say this).
BLAIR CORON – Ode To The Cimmerian
Coming in order of alphabetical supremacy we have an artist new to my ears, but not those on the panel at HQ. “Dynamically functioning walls of sounds and nice little folk songs” it says on Blair Coren’s Facebook page. I am also pleased to note he has arranged his touring schedule to kick off in August this year.
This track then is almost everything I love. Poetry, storytelling, fine instrumentation, exciting, uplifting and cerebral. I wanted more. You will too. His cup runneth over at the moment so whilst you have time go and listen to the album On The Nature Of Things.
BRYDE – The Trouble Is
Welsh Music Prize 2018 nominee and an artist I first saw at Focus Wales, Bryde has made a welcome and victorious return to our Fresh Faves. She reminds me a lot of Juliette and the Licks, Gwenno, Cerys Matthews, and in other words is a kick-ass amazing female vocalist. Another act I would make an obvious comparison to would be PJ Harvey and I have no doubt, judging from the airplay, accolades and goodness surrounding her, Sarah Howell is on a very similar trajectory. Let’s hope we can get her on a bill in the future.
FREYA ROY – Fantasies feat. Maya Law
How I wish I could crank this tune up on my van’s stereo and roll the windows down. I’d allow Freya Roy’s voice to charm the public and her delicate ornate palate to absorb itself into your pores. As it is, I settled for my stereo at home, with a window open and allowed the rich tapestry of production to weave magic around my bedroom. There is something for everyone here: electronica, dub, soul, R & B, indie and much more. A real seductress of a song.
GIZMO VARILLAS – Love Over Everything
Two things grab you about this Gizmo Varillas track. The first is the pulsating vibrancy of the bassline. Got me hooked like a prize rubber ducky on a carnival stall. It takes the prize of a bright big purple bear and lobs it at your head, enveloping you in its neon eclectic hug. The second is the sheer awesomeness of his name. SO cool. Part Matt Dillon in Drugstore Cowboy, part Keifer Sutherland in Lost Boys. Radiating a blend of dangerous liasons, bad choices and good sex. You would smoke a cigarette together in bed afterwards. Of course.
KETO – What’s This?
Now on the other end of the spectrum, and all the better to calm me down, we find Keto. A candle-lit sojourn beneath the willow tree at midnight. I imagine fireflies and treehouses conjured by the wonderful dissonance of vocals and music. The dark swirling acoustic guitar underlying the opening pulled me underwater, joined by the ebbing flow of the slightly spooky piano “He follows me around, it’s unsettling”.
Having already featured at Glastonbury and Green Man Festival I already see the path Nottingham based artist Leah Sanderson is successfully carving, more power to her, and am sure I will hear more very soon.
MOLLY WILLS – Bed Head
Self-styling as “depresso bop maker and sad booty shaker”, I’m touching on the idea that Molly Willis has experienced some love lows and is drawing on those experiences to smash out the quintessential acoustic pop ditty.
Too sad to be labelled bubble gum pop, the melancholy edge sets the teeth onto snarl mode too much, makes the growl appear. But from the bitterness emerges a real tale of warmth. Uplifting and rebuilding from the ashes of mental issues set to her take on Americana-tinged folk.
NADIA SHEIKH – Are You On?
It still blows my mind at the variation of acts we hit across our Listening Post. This top ten is a great reflection of that. Seriously, take a gander at the acts on here, if you have time (I know you do!), sift through our top 25 and sniff around some back catalogues, gigs, airplays, you will turf up some genuine gold. Sitting atop this pile of fabulous treasure, like a golden amulet in Smaug’s cache is Nadia Sheikh. She has already played several sold-out arena shows supporting The Stereophonics, has built her reputation on live gigs, performance and releasing killer singles. Are You On? would have, back in the day, been on 7-inch, cassette or CD, available in all good music stores with another accomplished B-side, quite easily. As it is, follow links below (kindly inserted by Steve) and pick up something very accomplished.
SICKY – You Give Me Love
Right, it can’t just be me who hears this bassline and gets the Blues Brothers subliminal tune, The Peter Gunn Theme by Peter Howard? Much like the film this song features a shades-wearing multi-talented beast-man. That man is Sicky aka Mick Butler from Wolverhampton. Uber talented multi-instrumentalist who weaves and twists dark synth sounds with phatt (yep I went there) basslines and quirky vocals and smart lyrics. He compares himself to Goldfrapp meets Nine Inch Nails and if this track is anything to go by, the album will be a fabulous love child.
THE HAPPY SOMETHINGS – Stand Alone Song
Much like our previous track, Jimmy Blues Brothers up there, the bassline in this reminds me of, has shades of, there are echoes of Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer or Love’s track Your Mind and We Belong Together. No bad thing, in fact a huge compliment! Hailing from Nottingham/Derby (there does seem to be a good Midland’s contribution this week) The Happy Somethings find themselves here by dint of this hugely catchy indie-flavoured, guitar jangle fest. I absolutely see this going down well on a late slot in a live venue, or festival show with a packed audience bopping along and joining in the filthy hook laden chorus. Fingers crossed we see these on tour by year’s end!
THE MIGHTY ORCHID KING – Lungs
Starting off with drums, sounding like they are emerging from a misty, urban American alleyway with laser-esque synths I felt transported into the soundtrack of Mad Max beyond the Thunderdome. But, just before I started combing out my mullet I was snatched up by apocalyptic themes stretching through the ages until right now. This very minute we need not look further than our own timelines or windows. TMOK — The Mighty Orchid King — capture this perfectly, and in abbreviated form remind me of the ninja turtles with Splinter on bass and taking inspiration from King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. A psych-rock smash up with thoughtful lyrics and a decent grasp on socio-demographic politics. In other words, a switched on, savvy and talented band. Get into this.
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.