Fresh Faves: Batch 365

Akin Soul

Artists at a glance

AKIN SOUL
CHINWE
EMILY KEENER
FAULTRESS
FERGUS
KAMAU KURU
LØE
SAMUEL JACK
THE SILVER FIELD
TINFOILS

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

AKIN SOUL – I Want You

I’m not imagining too many other 18 year olds would cite Marvin Gaye, Ella Fitzgerald, Kim Burrell, Lalah Hathaway and her father, Donny, Stevie Wonder, Omar, Sarah Vaughn, Quincy Jones and Corinne Bailey Rae as influences, but just one listen to Akin Soul’s I Want You shows he’s not simply name dropping to try and impress. Young David has paid attention and effortlessly fuses Soul, Hip Hop and R&B together to produce something thoroughly modern and yet timelessly classic. The level of maturity in his vocal turn here is hugely impressive, as is the punchy confidence of the material. I am certainly hearing elements of Stevie & Marvin in the funkiness, which intensifies as the song progresses, with the wonderful Soul Jazz saxophone dancing around the smoky vocal. This is a remarkably polished piece of music, and I’m certainly looking forward to hearing more.

Akin Soul is an 18 year old jazz-soul multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter who plays trombone, keys and guitar. He founded the 12-piece band – Akin Soul & The Soul Tribe in which he sings, plays guitar and keyboards, performing at venues such as All Point’s East Festival, Off The cuff, The Garage, Nambucca, BBC Music Day at Pop Brixton. Find out more from his website.

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CHINWE – Sin

Sin is a lovely piece of chilled downbeat soul, melodic and slightly melancholic – just the way I like it served! A Lo-Fi and slightly claustrophobic soundscape allows Chinwe’s highly stylised and distinct voice to be the focus of attention here. I’m reminded of Eartha Kitt, Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington by her slightly clipped and protracted delivery, and that’s certainly no bad comparison! The track clocks in at just over 2 minutes, but Chinwe does not waste any time in showing us what she can do vocally. I love the subtle use of the Marimba and the deep, ghostly sounding synth to add emotional layers.

Chinwe explains that the track is “about how one mistake can lead to everything falling apart in a relationship. You both want it to work and would do anything for each another, but no matter how hard you try you still can’t make it right.”

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EMILY KEENER – Do You Love Me Lately

“Do you love me lately?” pleads Emily Keener on this achingly gorgeous slice of atmospheric, countrified, folk-pop. And on the back of this track, I have to answer “Yes!”

In fact, you would have to have the emotional range of a teaspoon to not be moved by the plaintive melancholic beauty of this track. This is the kind of song to put on repeat, stare out of the window and happily lose yourself for a few hours.

There’s a gentle analogue warmth to the sound, possibly a result of Emily discovering the joys that vinyl recordings can offer after being given a record player for her 16th birthday. You also get an idea of what records were spun on that turntable. A love of 70s singer-songwriters is evident here, nods of respect to Paul Simon in the structure and to Joni in the story telling and imagery.

Emily was writing and performing music professionally by the age of 12, often playing at wineries and bars under her mother’s guidance. She has opened for numerous established artists including Jessica Lea Mayfield and Leigh Nash and released her debut album in 2013. This followed with the East of the Sun EP in 2015, recorded with the regional Ohio band, The Womacks. Her latest album, Breakfast, earned her No Depression’s 2017 Singer/Songwriter Award. Her latest album I Do Not Have To Be Good is out this month.

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FAULTRESS – Hood&wolf

We’ve had the pleasure of the presence of Faultress in the Fresh Fave list before, and this welcome return sees another leap forward in her stylish crafting of a song. Beautifully restrained and understated in terms of its delivery, her sense of timing is incredible, allowing the silent spaces to say as much as the music itself. Faultress cites her prime influence as Kate Bush and that is evident in her awareness and control of both her expressive vocal range and the structure of the song itself. Heart wrenchingly poignant and brooding in content, Hood&wolf is the perfect vehicle to carry her soaring, distinctive voice.

Faultress is the moniker of Rosi Croom, who had success with her former project Autumnmusic on which she even collaborated with Madonna’s producers and won three Awards at The UK Songwriting Contest. She’s also part of the Rattle collective, a collective of artists, producers, startups and people in music. They share music studios and multi-use workspaces at Tobacco Dock in East London and in Downtown Los Angeles.

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FERGUS – All You’re Not

All You’re Not starts with a delicately-picked guitar refrain that captures that Nick Drake reflective Sunday morning sound, before Fergus’s vulnerable vocal quivers and then suddenly soars as the drumbeat kicks in with an almost Flamenco style staccato rhythm. In fact, the whole song has a decidedly Latin feel to it in its structure. There is a Thom Yorke fragility to Fergus’s voice. It builds as the layers of instruments increase and embolden Fergus’s resolve, as he throws off the emotional weight that he’s been struggling under and the song swells to its climax of emotional freedom.

When asked about the meaning of the song, Fergus said All You’re Not is a retaliation to being branded by someone as lacking in so many ways. A veil has been lifted and you finally see the situation for what it was, and what this person was doing to you… wearing you down and eventually eroding your self-esteem completely. You realise all these faults are not, actually, part of your character at all, but a reflection of theirs. So, you start to remember your worth, stop feeling sorry for yourself and become free to heal. All You’re Not is riotous and viciously defensive – because it’s high time you claimed back your wounded self.

Although he hails from Cambridge, Fergus is currently based in London. He spent his formative years singing and touring professionally with choirs, and playing cello with orchestras until he found himself burnt out and without a sense of identity. He decided to concentrate on doing what he does best – making his own music.

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KAMAU KURU – Bandit Country

Bandit Country is introduced by a wobbly old newsreel telling of the woes caused by a tribe of unruly bandits in India, before the track deftly slides sideways into an atmospheric trip-hop track of looped beats, complete with subtle exotic hints of classic Bollywood samples. It’s a great juxtaposition, the clipped accent of the newsreader seems even more preposterously out of date when laid over the top the of the mellow modern beats.

Kamau Kuru is a Hip Hop producer from Camden Town, and Bandit Country is his first single. Unfortunately, information about him is seemingly as elusive as those Bandits mentioned in his intro, but you can find him on Facebook.

(Artists, it’s been said many times before on the Fresh On The Net site – it really helps to have some information on your site to help us to help you.)

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LØE – Their Finest Hour

Starting with the unmistakable words of Churchill, Their Finest Hour is a dramatic instrumental interpretation of that most important of moments in WWII when the strength and resolve of the nation united in purpose. Similar in style to what PSB have been doing the last few years with their soundscapes inspired by historical footage, LØE inject a heavier rock element into their battle. There’s a palpable sense of tension as guitars chatter like heavy machine guns and you can really visualise the aerial dogfights taking place above. LØE say of Their Finest Hour:

“This track aims to capture that British spirit that we so strongly need right now. In unprecedented territory as a nation, music is crucial to keeping us united. It’s times like this that we need to be reminded that we can face adversity and we can overcome it. Winston Churchill rallied this country with his infamous speech and empowered our grandparents & great grandparents to triumph over foes. This could truly be our finest hour. Stay safe – Peace, Health & Love”

LØE released their debut single, People Have The Power, on December 8th paying homage to John Lennon and his work for peace. Having embarked on their first UK tour the band have shared stages with international touring acts such as, Trupa Trupa, Bonnacons Of Doom, The Cosmic Dead and Once And Future. They have already featured before in the Fresh Faves and have received airplay on BBC Radio 6 Music, BBC Introducing and Radio X.

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SAMUEL JACK – My People

Samuel Jack seems to specialise in these huge ‘hands-in the-air’ anthems that you know will get the whole crowd singing in unison at the outdoor festival (Is it too soon? Can I mention outdoor festivals yet?) and the thing is, he’s REALLY good at knowing exactly what constitutes such an anthem. My People is his biggest so far with an enormous uplifting chorus. Samuel has a rich and rootsy voice, not dissimilar to that of Rag-n-Bone Man that’s steeped in Blues and Soul. Combine these elements with an almost Gospel-like quality to the song, a genuine honesty to his powerful vocals and he practically commands you to join in. Yes, you at the back. Yes. You. We know you don’t usually like singing along with everyone else, but you’re going to with My People!

Based in London, Samuel has just released his debut album Empty Pockets, Crowded Heart Vol1 You can find out more information on his website.

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THE SILVER FIELD – Salt Light

Elemental and enigmatic, Salt Light feels almost tactile and organic, built of cyclical throbbing Tape loops, keyboards and harmonies that rise and fall like a gently ebbing tide illuminated by silver moonlight. Strings are gently introduced to delicate effect here to steer the song to its conclusion until all that’s left once more is the rhythmic looping pulse that introduces the song. There’s a mystical air to the track, introvert and reflective and yet full of new hope and confidence. The Silver Field are definitely doing things their own way. There’s a unique approach to the very sound of the track and the way the thoughts and feelings are conveyed that set it apart from everything else on the playlist this week.

The Silver Field founder Coral Rose says of the track “I wrote this lyric and melody walking home from my studio while living back in the small Derbyshire town where I grew up. The recordings on this album span a good five years, but that’s the place where it really came together. My walk home took me past my old school, out through the fields, and up a big hill. Since I knew this area so well, I found that I could easily walk at night with no light, and it felt really magical and restorative – ‘taking in fear, laying down love, as I walk.’”

The Silver Field is comprised of Coral Rose and friends The second album Sing High! Sing Low! is due to be released 12th June 2020 on Crossness Records, a new record label based in Thamesmead, South East London.

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TINFOILS – Spitting

My personal faved track this week, primarily because Tinfoils sound like they’re not just spitting, but also foaming rather excessively at the mouth. A Manchester based 3 piece, Tinfoils describe themselves as playing Mardy northern bastard Garage Punk, but that gloriously dirty Bass that drives Spitting is firmly rooted in the Factory rather than the garage. Frenzied, energetic and more importantly, FUN, Tinfoils push everything to the limit amidst their sonic squall but admirably manage to hold it all together. In fact If I may borrow a phrase from Mr Ritchie, they’re tighter than a duck’s bum!

This is one of those bands that should definitely be on your list to see live when that becomes a possibility. Yes, there will be pointless comparisons to Idles, Cabbage and The Fall (although I don’t think any of the aforementioned have lyrics about Golden Showers), but boisterously brash Tinfoils are doing things their way, with a big cheeky grin on their spittle-flecked faces. Another track for my ‘Bounce off the walls’ playlist – perfect for getting rid of some excess Lockdown energy! A great way to end a highly diverse and enjoyable selection of songs.

Despite only taking to the stage in early 2018, the band have headlined a number of sell-out hometown shows, as well as a string of gigs and festivals across the North of England and Scotland. Highlights include supporting bands such as The Blinders, SHEAFS, and The Mysterines, playing some of Manchester’s most prestigious live music venues on the way. Hopefully you’ll be able to experience one of their high octane shows at some point later this year. Catch up with them on your friendly local streaming service in the meantime, and antagonise them at a safe social distance (out of spitting range) on their Facebook page.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Tinfoils

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.

Andy Page

A repressed DJ from birth, my earliest childhood memories are of stacking up 7" singles on a beat-up old Dansette which is probably responsible for the two greatest passions in my life - Music & Hi Fi. Read More about Andy.

8 Comments

  1. Great reviews Andy. I agree about Akin Soul. What a talent and he has the drive to form a 12-piece band at 18! Strong list from a strong week and your well-researched reviews were a nice reminder of that too. :)

  2. Thank you so much for your commendation! I really appreciate the support! Can’t wait to put more tunes out XD..

  3. A fabulous set of faves and great reviews by Andy!

  4. Louise Toal

    Brilliant Andy! X

  5. Thank you so much Fresh On The Net team for the support. We never expected our music to reach this far. Truly honoured. Special thanks to Andy for such wonderfully kind words. Hope all are keeping safe & sane during the madness 💕

  6. Mark Toal

    Brilliant reviews Andy, you’re gonna have some very pleased artists reading these, and well deserved to all 10.

  7. Sue

    Loved the reviews Andy.

  8. Faultress

    Thank you so much for reviewing my work and to all of the lovely people who voted me into the Fresh Faves this week. The song was a real labour of love so it means so much to me that people connected with it xx Rosi xx

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