Artists at a glance
CASSAVA GROOVE TEMPLE
THE JOJO MAN BAND
THIS ELEGANT GULL
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net moderator Christopher McBride of The Metaphorical Boat this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
ALEX CARROLL – Still Asleep
It’s safe to say that at this point that London singer/songwriter Alex Carroll is a firm favourite with the voters at the Listening Post. She’s already made our Faves on two occasions before now, and this week was the joint most popular song – not bad for an artist that hasn’t even turned 16 yet. Still Asleep demonstrates exactly what we love about her music, for it is a delicate acoustic folk song that tugs at the heartstrings, calling to mind artists like Laura Marling and Soak. It’s taken from her upcoming EP Birthday Cake, which I hope helps her to find a whole plethora of new fans.
ALFIE INDRA – All My Friends Are Depressed
Ipswich born and currently based in lovely Norwich, Alfie Indra has already picked up some impressive streaming numbers on Spotify and YouTube. His latest single, All My Friends Are Depressed, is a great example of what I like to call “grown-up pop” – that is music that is likely to appeal as wide an audience as possible, whilst dealing with more mature or difficult subjects. All My Friends… deals with the feeling of isolation that Generation Z finds itself in, summed up in the lyric that “this world’s not made for us”. Whilst he lists Blossoms & Parcels among his inspirations, this song is more in line with the sound of Circles by Post Malone.
CASSAVA GROOVE TEMPLE – FluteCake
In the past few years. I’ve been getting interested in Library Music, which is production music which is recorded with the intention of it being licensed to be used in films and television programmes (and in more recent years, for online videos). Whilst many of these songs are intended to be used in multiple productions, some of them have gone on to be synonymous with one programme in particular – the theme tunes to Grandstand, Mastermind and Grange Hill started off as songs written for the KPM Music Library, for example.
Which brings us on to Cassava Groove Temple, a musical collective made up of members from the UK, Sweden, Uganda and Ukraine. Although I don’t know whether they record as part of a music library, their song FluteCake does have such a great, easy-going sound to it which I could easily imagine being licenced to being used as background music to any number of productions. Possibly being used in a modestly budgeted British heist drama, as the mastermind explains exactly how the team are going to break into the tightly guarded vault? Perhaps accompanying the Hairy Bikers as they show us how they are going to make the ultimate Cherry Bakewell? The possibilities are endless with this earworm-ish tune.
DEAD ANYWAY – 110% (#1)
110% (#1) by Dead Anyway is for my money the oddest song to make our faves this week. Described as a ”A heavy, neck-snapping cyberfunk, breakbeatified, industrialified blend of edgy chaos”, the song follows stream-of consciousness lyrics that seem to be a distillation of clichés of the banalities of modern-day life, which gets it message across in less than two minutes without overstaying its welcome. It’s the sort of song that could find its way to becoming a surprise hit in the same way that dance superstars The Chainsmokers kicked their career off with #Selfie.
MOIRA SMILEY – Days Of War (Feat. Sam Amidon)
Days of War is a collaboration between composer/singer Moira Smiley, Irish-American musician Seamus Egan and Vermont folkster Sam Amidon. For such a politically driven song, an attack on Trump-y hatred emanating from the United States, it’s a surprisingly tender folk track, about letting love triumph over hate, anger and fear. It’s a special little song that one imagines will have an added resonance over the next few weeks.
ROSEHIP TEAHOUSE – A Million Times
If there’s one sound I love coming back to time and time again, it’s the sound of sumptuous indie-pop of the Alvvays/Camera Obscura variety. Which is why Cardiff 5-piece Rosehip Teahouse are very much up my metaphorical street. A mediation on changing oneself in order to fit in with others, the song is a dreamy fuzzy delight, topped off with lovely vocals from lead singer Faye Rodgers. The song is taken from their upcoming EP Fine, which is out on December 9th.
SIGNAL COMMITTEE – Shadow
Bury based 4-piece Signal Committee have had quite a productive 2020. Having already released a debut album in 2020, they’ve already used lockdown as an excuse to record its follow-up, which is to be themed around time & space. Shadow is the first of these tracks to be released, and is a subtle, slow burning indietronica song that slowly burrows deeper and deeper as the song goes on. It calls to mind like a more electronic version of Foals or Wild Beasts, or Kid A-era Radiohead with more of a structure.
SIIGA – Gemini Rising
I cannot say that I’m fully familiar with what the music scene is like in the Isle of Skye – the only other musician I’m familiar with from that neck of the woods is dance musician Mylo, but off the back of Gemini Rising, I can safely say that Richard Macintyre, who records under the name Siiga (meaning “the soul”) and has toured with Nathaniel Rateliff, is definitely within my top two artists from there. It’s quite an atmospheric track, one that has many of the hallmarks of shoegaze whilst having a much more earthy vibe, I’m a big fan of its multi-layered vocals.
THE JOJO MAN BAND – Trippy
The biography of the project of one Nick Woodgate, The Jojo Man Band contains a lot of claims that one would suspect are not completely sincere, like that he was a leading light in 1920s Camden Town watering holes, and is influenced by what one suspects are non-existent artists like Enid Sludge and the Twizzly Sisters. Regardless of its honesty, such an entertaining bio does make one want to get into his music (after all, an entertaining lie is sometimes better than a boring truth). As its title would suggest, Trippy is a rather psychedelic sounding track, mixing vocoded vocals, computer game noises and organ sounds to make something rathe unique and, ahem, trippy.
THIS ELEGANT GULL – Dressed Up In Their Finery
There are quite a few similarities between the artists that top and tail this week’s Fresh Faves. Both were jointly the most popular song this week, both artists have been Favourites before, and both are musicians that making music that belies their youth. However, musically their sound couldn’t be any further apart. Dressed Up In Their Finery by This Elegant Gull is a piece of finely produced, atmospherically dark alternative-pop, which calls to mind the work of acts like CHVRCHES. DD has been a favourite on the BBC Introducing Mixtape for over a year, and she is continuing to develop into quite an exciting musical prospect, and will no doubt be dominating the airwaves in the years to come.
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.