Artists at a glance
THE ROYSTON CLUB
By pot luck and the good fortune of choosing Nov 23rd to do the reviews, I find myself rewarded with this week’s Fresh Faves. It has taken me around 10 hours to explore, examine and seek out all the artists have to offer and I can do no more now than to suggest you do the same, why? Because what a talented group of artists they are, bought to together in a playlist from Batch 386 and linked only by the votes of the public who took the time to make their ears count at the Listening Post.
BARRY LOCKE – Red Rivers
Barry Locke is a singer songwriter from Bangor Northern Ireland. The past two years have been cathartic for him as he worked to complete his debut album ‘O N E’, an autobiographical concept album. Barry is currently based in London and signed to Rooftop Records. This track, released 12th November 2020, is full of turmoil and foreboding of agonies yet to come — you know this from the moment the beat darkens your door, we find ourselves carried along on a watercourse of uncertainty. Barry tells us “I live in a constant state of flux”, and Red Rivers, without hesitation, taps into that instability. Is he only just managing to survive through the disarray that surrounds him? It certainly seems that way as the track is tense, thoroughly addictive and full of trepidation. If you like your music live then skip along to the YouTube version.
CATHY JAIN – Green Screen
Cathy Jain is a UK singer/songwriter, based in Stoke. Her website tells us that, although at an early stage of her career, she has already impressed with her performances at gigs and festivals and with radio plays on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio Stoke Introducing. Released 16th November 2020, Cathy describes the track as bedroom pop, because that’s where she wrote it and recorded the vocals. “It’s about trying to feel things authentically in a virtual world.” Green Screen captures the monotony that’s currently entrenched in all our lives, if living virtually brings out such passion and tenderness, then 2020 should be remembered at least for the emotions it has roused. A multilayered delight of harmonies, captivatingly sensitive vocals, and with such skilled songwriting, Cathy has much to look forward to. Pop along to Cathy’s Twitter profile where some achingly beautiful live clips await your appreciation.
DENNEY – Who We Are
Denney is a singer-songwriter originally from Hampshire, UK who is currently making music of the soft and mellow variety, and she achieves that in oodles with this submission to Fresh On The Net. Since the age of 11, Denney has been writing songs and lyrics in diaries and notebooks. Finding herself on the wrong side of 30 (her words, not mine) she began to share her music. Who We Are, released November 6th 2020, is her first song written from the heart, although you only have to hear it to immediately know that. It’s tragically beautiful and so sad to learn that lovers, apparently made for one another, after all was said and done, weren’t made for one another. You find yourself wanting this song to be the melancholy bit in the middle of a Rom Com that you know, definitely, has a happy ending. Is there a small chance you can you give us that Denney? A happy ending…
FLORIE NAMIR – Mornings
Florie Namir is a Tel Aviv born jazz-pop singer-songwriter currently based in London. She has travelled the world as a classical composer, and completed a PhD in Composition and Theory in Boston, MA. Her songs are a modern twist on 1930s vocal jazz and Beatlesque melodies. Mornings, released February 13th 2019, is evocative of a time gone by when Helen O’Connell asked “How D’Ya Like Your Eggs in The Morning”. Florie wakes us up with a smile so bright you just can’t ignore it, I suddenly feel the need to shuffle off to the kitchen in my fluffy slippers to make a loaf of bread, whilst gently swaying my skirt to and fro as eggs sizzle in the pan. You cannot fail to be enchanted by this track, and just when you think it’s over, it starts up again. I’d like more Florie please, you made me smile.
FLVZ – Pangaea
FLVZ is Zimbabwean born music producer and rapper currently based in Leeds UK, and his style advocates an experimental approach. Pangaea, released 4th September 2020, also features: Juskarma, a producer/songwriter with influences in soul music, reggae, hip hop and grime; Kenzola, a London-based guitarist who focuses on reading the energy and capturing the moment; Brett Sinclair, a Singer/Songwriter from Nottingham; Kudi Israel, a London-based R&B artist infusing old school RnB with Neo-Soul; Kay Corominas, a Spanish Singer/Songwriter born in Cadiz; Rukus, a UK recording artist, DJ and producer; Moak, a writer, poet and lyricist based in London, and Jasmin Issaka, who’s influenced by jazz, folk, pop and soul. Wow! The line-up has used most of the review space, but I had to mention them all as this track benefits tremendously from the collaboration. Pangaea carries you along on a pulsating passionate beat of the past, present and future but above all, the true belief that music can rise above everything, bringing hope and much needed togetherness. It hooks you in, spins you around and tosses you back out a much more hopeful human being.
JIM – Don’t Make Me Wait Too Long
Who is Jim? I don’t know to be honest; I can tell you this though, he spends far too long waiting to be served, it really seems lucky for Jim that he doesn’t currently have to suffer this trauma due to… well you already know why. Hailing from Nottingham, UK #theartistpresentlyknownasjim previously had a track, We’re Not Friends, on the BBC Music Introducing Mixtape 10th May 2020. Don’t Make Me Wait Too Long was released July 2020, its theme is waiting and what might happen to Jim if he stands at the bar for much longer. You feel his pain, we’ve all been through it and many times I’ve given up waiting and left the room, ignored repeatedly, was it because I was too short for anyone to see me, even on tippytoes. Jim is a clever, relatable songwriter, it would be good to know more.
MAJA LENA – Avalanche
This debut single by Maja Lena, out now on Chiverin Records, has Marianne Parrish, aka Maja Lena, on Vocal and Nylon Guitar with Rob Pemberton providing Piano, Synthesizers, Electric Guitar and Percussion, and Emma Gatrill on Clarinet. The video that accompanies Avalanche, released November 2020, is superb, watching and listening carries you away, with Maja taking you by the hand on a trek up the Old Man of Coniston in B&W classiness. I could make comparisons with other artists but I’m not going to as Maja has a style of her own, with swirling vocals reminiscent of a mountain breeze. Avalanche reminds me of every climb I never made, but also of lots that I did. An impressive piece of work both in composition and performance. Although Maja tells you she never made it to the top, she most certainly does with this track tucked safely in her backpack for company.
THE ROYSTON CLUB – Mrs Narcissistic
The Royston Club are a four-piece indie band from Wrexham, North Wales, formed in 2017 initially with Tom Faithfull (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Ben Matthias (lead guitar and lead song writer), Dave Tute (bass) with Sam Jones (drums) joining them in 2019 to complete the sound. They’ve already had success with previously released tracks receiving 100,000s of streams. Mrs Narcissistic, mastered by Robin Schmidt (Blossoms, Sports Teams, Vaccines) was released 13th November 2020. The energy of this track is palpable, driving, persistent and I love it. With live music short on the ground why not take a look at a quirky live version of the track on YouTube. They have a UK tour coming up in 2021 with dates available.
VELDHANS – Oneohone
VeldHans is a duo made up of Jonathan Brown, a Texan singer-songwriter and Stuart Cullen, a composer, songwriter and producer from the West of England. Working together remotely during this pandemic they say, VeldHans “spans genres and circles the globe incorporating skipping vinyl, flying saucers, East Asian pipes and hummable ethereal waltzes.”
Oneohone is an overwhelmingly soothing instrumental, except for one word “Sorry”, however there’s nothing here to be sorry about. After a day of listening to the world’s woes, my advice would be to switch everything else off and submerge yourself entirely in this track, it will calm, caress and embrace you, wrap itself around you like your old favourite warm winter cardigan. Released October 16th 2020, this track is from the album The Becalming, you can listen to the album on Bandcamp.
WASUREMONO – Big Big Smiles
Wasuremono is a musical project driven by William Southward from his shed studio in Bradford-On-Avon, UK. The band is made up of William, Madelaine Ryan and siblings Isaac and Phoebe Phillips. Wasuremono have become firm favourites with BBC Radio 6 Music, with regular spins and a session at Maida Vale Studios. Last year they supported both The Flaming Lips and Phosphorescent on tour, playing at iconic venues such as Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Upcoming gigs include Hit The North Festival 2021 in Newcastle. Big Big Smiles was released November 10th 2020 on The Wilderness Records label. This is a very catchy tune with a happy-go-lucky sound, although if you delve a little deeper, you could find that the smiles are not as big as the song initially suggests — nonetheless you will still find yourself merrily singing along.
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.