Artists at a glance
MARIACHI LAS ADELITAS UK
PIMLICAN FT JOSIE
The quality of selections on the Listening Post was so good this week, that I honestly wasn’t too worried about struggling with the reviews, they all deserved praise. But only 10 get to be Fresh Faves, and these have been a joy for me to spend all day listening to.
CABLE STREET COLLECTIVE – Speaking In Tongues
I dare you to not move when you play Speaking In Tongues, I double dare you! Thumping rhythmic drums and bass, soukous guitars, and joyous vocals are signatures of Cable Street Collective, and they have polished this one off by the inclusion of Osibisa’s Gregg Kofi Brown as guest on guitar and vocals. Despite its uplifting nature, the track itself details the consequences of the breakdown of trust and relationship, in all matters of life, but they’re definitely commenting on how we’ve been (mis)led by the government in recent times. However, close your eyes, take a deep breath, wait a second, and you’re dancing at the Carnival.
Cable Street Collective are a seven-piece outfit based in London, taking their name from the famous Battle of Cable Street, where anti-fascists gathered in 1936 to prevent Oswald Mosley from marching. They are heavily influenced by Congolese Soukous and South African Kwela, drawing inspiration from Primal Scream, Beta Band, Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and others, creating an Afro-Carribean pop fusion that they like to call Carnival Pop. They have earned praise in the past from our very own Tom Robinson, 6 Music’s Amy Lamé, and John Kennedy of Radio X, and have made appearances at Glastonbury, Boomtown, Bestival, Shambala, Isle of Wight, and the Lake of Stars festival in Malawi.
COURTING – Popshop
I’ll confess, I LOVE Courting, in fact, I am actually wearing a tee with their logo emblazoned on the front. Yeah, yeah, I know I’m probably supposed to be impartial, but these guys have real talent and they’re doing it the right way, whatever that is. Their last single, David Bryne’s Badside, was a former hit on this site, Fresh Faves 366, and subsequently made the 6 Music playlist, being championed heavily by Steve Lamacq. Before I played this one, I did wonder for a second could this one emulate the previous. I didn’t have to worry, Popshop! is a triumph — they’ve brought their bouncy, cheeky irreverence to the party, along with a few beers I hope!
Previously four, Courting are now a five-piece from Liverpool signed to Nice Swan Records, describing themselves on Bandcamp as a Take That cover band. They’ve just announced an EP, Grand National, to be released in April. Like all music artists this year, they’ve suffered a severe lack of exposure due to covid restrictions, missing out on Glastonbury, but I feel once these guys get back on the road again they’ll be an unstoppable force.
EGOISM – Happy
Our second indie-pop track is this dreamy little number from Aussie duo Egoism. There’s a shoegaze quality to Happy that I really love, and in my research I stumbled across a stripped back version on YouTube, embedded in an intimate video which, and I hope they don’t mind me saying, I actually prefer. Happy got quite a good chunk of the votes at the weekend, and it’s not hard to see why.
Scout Eastman and Olive Rush are Egoism, a charming dream pop duo hailing from Sydney, their new EP On Our Minds is available now and I’d urge you to have a listen. I’d love to be able to say more about them, but their bios are a little sparse, come on guys, tell me more please!
EMERGER – State Of Mind
I’m going to direct quote Emerger’s own bio here, “Dreamy, synth-driven melodies, cinematic progressions, powerful pop vocals, and punchy beats”. Why is that Mark, I hear you ask, because my dears, that is exactly how I personally would describe State Of Mind, a highly representative mission statement from Emma de Goede and Gerry Matthee, an Alt-pop duo hailing from Cape Town. We’ve heard quite a few Covid related songs over the past year here at Freshnet HQ, and I would argue this is one of the finest to attract our ears, indeed topping the poll this week. The music is dreamy yet sophisticated, and the lyrics are both sad and uplifting; in fact the one line in the song I keep going back to “And it’s the bitter pill that holds us high, quarantine dreams come alive” has had me thinking all morning, stirring stuff.
State Of Mind is the first single from Emerger’s upcoming album, they’ve been featured twice previously on BBC Introducing Mixtape, and their debut single Break & Fall is a past winner of the Avid and Abbey Road Studios International Song Contest, described by judge John Feldman as “…great cinematic landscape…and are a good example of what modern music can be.”
FERAL FIVE – Get A Grip
Ah yes, another one of my own personal faves from the submissions last week, Get A Grip comes out punching drums, dirty guitars and synths, then the snarling vocals not messing around “Get a grip”. There’s a lot of layers to this track, I’m hearing possible influences from The Mission, Curve, NIN and maybe a little Prodigy thrown into the mix, creating a nasty, angry and sarcastic electro-punk rant, I love it!
Feral Five are a London based duo, Kat on vocals, guitar, percussion, and Drew on beats, bass and synths, writing, recording and producing themselves at “Feral HQ”. They’ve been played by both 6 Music and Radio X, appeared at new festival Cro Cro land, supported Black Grape, and chosen by Martin Ware to play his Picasso night at the National Portrait Gallery.
MARIACHI LAS ADELITAS UK – El Toro Relajo
OK, other than listening to the odd bit that Calexico utilise, and from watching Westerns with my dad when I was little, my knowledge of mariachi is zero, so I’m not even going to try to critique El Toro Relajo. Yes, I really do like it, it’s fun, the musicianship sounds perfect, and that voice is so, so pretty, but this is an area of music I really do need to educate myself in.
So instead, let us focus on Mariachi Las Adelitas, a core group of six, sometimes ten, ladies who, through Arts Council funding, have a mission to spread and promote traditional Mexican mariachi music. They take their name from the Adelitas, women who took up arms during the Mexican Revolution 1910-1920, who were named after a corrido, or ballad, inspired by a particular woman called Adelita. Comprising women from Mexico, Cuba, Colombia and England, Mariachi Las Adelitas travel the country playing festivals, cultural events, or any celebration really. They have a range of outfits to suit any occasion, and I do urge you to check out the gallery on their website. El Toro Relajo is their first single, and they plan to release more in the future, which I will use to educate myself further.
PHOENIX RISE – Castles
So, take the cynicism of Sleaford Mods, add the sarcasm of Billy Nomates, spoon in the wit of Scroobius Pip, crank up the anger just a little bit, let go, and you’re close to creating something similar to Castles. Phoenix Rise doesn’t hold back, certainly not on this which appears to be a critique of our current overlords. The arrangement and production is flawless, and the vocals are all the nouns I used in the first line. Louise is also a big fan of the track, declaring that this simply had to go through, and we’re both delighted it did.
Phoenix Rise is the alter-ego of Susannah Gale, a self declared punk wordsmith and firebrand, she has garnered praise and approval from Benjamin Zephaniah, Adam Walton and has featured on Tom Robinson’s BBC Introducing Mixtape.
PIMLICAN FT JOSIE – Temptation
Warning, this is a banger! Storming beats, infectious rhythm, and we’re only 16 seconds in, then at 0:31, that big soul voice comes swooping in to grab you by the scruff of the neck, you dancing yet? Pimlican is already a star in this house, and I was waiting eagerly for this electro house collaboration with Josie, who has past graced several notable tracks, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this good, easily my track of the week. Each compliment the other perfectly, and I really hope they can work together again, soon.
Pimlican is a collaborative artist/producer based in England, on Belgrave Road Records, and has featured previously on this site, Fresh Faves 374.
UMBRELLABIRDS – I Am All
And breathe. I Am All is simply beautiful, the intro entices you in with a synth hum, gentle guitar, then the sweeping vocal whisks you softly into an arrangement that’s multi textured and more complex than what first appears. It’s a stunning song, and the more I’ve listened, the more emotional I have become.
Umbrellabirds is the transatlantic musical project of Sam Blickhan and Lewis Daly, later joined by Alex Hunt. I Am All is taken from their 2nd album, Closing Ceremony, released last March, and I’d seriously urge you to check it out.
YUSUF AHMED – Senhora Vida
Senhora Vida was leading the vote count for most of the weekend, and it’s not hard to see why, it’s a totally chilled out composition with the percussion being the star of the show, and indeed the drums are played to perfection here by Yusuf, the layering and overlapping of the beats is quite inspired, Munir Hossn’s bass fights beautifully with his own vocal, with the guitar providing a rhythm of its own. It’s a complex piece of work, so let’s try not to dissect too much and just lie back, relax and enjoy.
Raised in London, with his roots in Italy and Pakistan, Yusaf Ahmed is a drummer producer who doesn’t tie himself to any particular style, preferring instead for his music to express itself. He keeps himself busy with several projects and collaborations.
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.