Artists at a glance
GEORGIA & THE VINTAGE YOUTH
THE CHOCO LA'S
THOSE FUCKING SNOWFLAKES
These final Fresh Faves of 2020 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. Our inbox will reopen for submissions on Monday, 11th January 2021.
“Get out my pub!” 2020 in summary courtesy of the recently passed Babs Windsor. I had a HUGE list of thank fucks. I also wanted to rant about social injustice. Then I realized… nah Chris. So I won’t give you my top tens for the year. I won’t carve up the events past. Instead I wish you all the power to raise your vibe higher. Look around and be grateful for what you have gained not that which is lost. I am a firm believer in positive thinking. This community of artists and moderators, managed by Tom and Steve has been a bastion of goodness in the weirdness. I’d be lost without it. Well done all those who made top 25’s or top 10’s and the alternative list.
New music and art is born of and from adversity and our weeks top 10 shines on some brilliant stuff. Banger central here. Sit down and let me be your guide…
EMILY BREEZE – Confessions Of An Ageing Party Girl
My instinctive first thoughts were that this tune sounded like Atomic, originally by Blondie, and covered by Sleeper in the Trainspotting soundtrack. Add an element of the creepy soundtrack from David Lynch show Twin Peaks and you can smell the essence of this song. It seems an apt comparison when breezing through her hefty status on the Bristol scene and previous comparisons to Lou Reed. Lou Reed, of course, was a good pal of Iggy Pop, who lived by massive fan Irvine Welsh, and was in turn hugely into his post punk, anger-laden, quality lyric-written, sleaze-driven chaos. Working with producer Stew Jackson who can show Massive Attack, Nick Cave and Patti Smith on his CV kind of lets you know where we are here on a solo album titled Rituals due out no doubt once things become clearer.
Emily Breeze has cast iron pedigree for sure so I would absolutely love to see her shows when they are allowed again. Til then, check her on…
GEORGIA & THE VINTAGE YOUTH – Lovin’ You
Now here is a band I had my fingers crossed for. Already aware of their music, thanks in no small part to my colleague Neil March and his show on Exile FM. Georgia & The Vintage Youth are a sound bunch, and it just so happens their music is lovely too. This feels like the kind of song Amy WInehouse would have sung and produced IF she hadn’t went through what she did. It is a hip swinging, partner hugging, dance around, fist pump to the air, feel good wee beastie. Echoing cool jazz, r’n’b influences, safe production, and sung so beautifully I wanted to hear it again and then again, then wanted you to hear it too. If you are reading this and listening then I am no doubt you agree too!
I want to play them. I want you to download their stuff. Share the goodness.
HANYA – Monochrome
Very pleasing to see another fabulous female musician smash into the top 10. Very popular amongst the moderators and our discerning Listening Post voters. Hanya simply bosses and owns the genre dream-pop when she sings in lullaby tones “When your mind feels like a whip, of honeycomb. Listen out for nicer things, that you don’t know”. Her voice is candyfloss in its seeming fragility. Carried over the bumpy truths of life by a skiffle drum and waving electric guitar, it made me imagine clambering up a tree in Autumn and watching golden leaves flutter. It made me feel a part of everything and nothing. Pathos encapsulated finely when she sings “when you’ve fallen through the earth to monochrome”. I feel enveloped in the moment our minds elope before sleep secure and loved, whilst the rain taps the windows. Just lovely.
JAMES NUMBERE – Rise Up
I don’t often comment on people’s artwork or images when crafting my reviews, BUT… please find this beautiful being on Soundcloud, then I dare you not to smile, to not feel happy, to not wish good things upon this wonderful man. James Numbere’s song simply carries influences of gospel (might be the choir 😄) it may also be the empowerment felt from the message “We are God’s people”. For me reminiscent of an artist I love called Ben Harper, and he can hit those high notes! Rise Up is certainly an anthem for the times. With themes of equality, love, beauty and nothing but pure power, I felt this tune to my core. “We shall return to dust”, a reminder that it isn’t what you made, it is what you gave. I urge you all to jump onto this and give James some love online. You will feel it back.
OBEY ROBOTS – Let It Snow
Let It Snow is the debut single by Obey Robots – a bold new project from Rat (Ned’s Atomic Dustbin) and Laura Kidd (Penfriend / She Makes War). Connected by mutual friend Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff), the pair pool their disparate influences to break new ground. I shall never fail to be blown away by how much absolute quality we get here. I confess readers, to an ex-girlfriend of mine turning me on to Ned’s Atomic Dustbin 20 years ago and She Makes War, I’ve come across a few times. Artists of calibre and with proven track records whom it is an honour to welcome here. This track blends their finest takes on krautrock, anthemic sounds and the refrain “Let it Snow”. A plead to the old gods to come and save us from the storms of modern living. I for one am there, all day long.
PUFFI – Wonder
Hands up if you feel The Flaming Lips? Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots? I know from previous weeks that Puffi is popular on here. I must confess, til this most recent Sabbath, I had not lit a candle. I was dead and now am reborn. This track has ALL the elements. Earth: “you got a heart, so i’m holding onto you”. Fire: “You got a light so am keeping my better times for you”. Wind in the echoes and spine-tingling synth spangles, which am a huge fan of. Water: “you are my life my love my bones, your sunshine melts my tears”. This. Is. Brilliant. Puffi. Where have you been all my life? I demand a slot at next years Greenman for you.
SOPHIE MORGAN – Unwinnable War
My home-made research team a.k.a Claire Corry a.k.a my wonderful girlfriend suggested that this lush song by Sophie Morgan sounded like an early Laura Marling number. Comparable to her ballads with Johnny Flynn. Subtle folk tones guided by fiddle, sombre bluesy guitar riffs and drums with perhaps a dash of mando or banjo. A lovely acoustic orchestral arrangement so seemingly simple and wise. A humble and brilliant example of very good song writing which I really admire. The music video is just a perfect accompaniment, and I can’t recommend you watch it enough.
THE CHOCO LA’S – Everything I Know Keeps Changing
Well, there is no surprises here to discover this talented trio on the final top 10 of 2020! Tom Robinson loves them, the team loves them, the Listening Post crew love them. A tidy ensemble of three part harmony and great beats, hip-hop, grooves and crucially, hooks which stick to the wall of the mind. Forgive me, but having been watching loads of films with my wee Arlo I was drawn to compare this to the dead smart ending rap type rock song at the end of the Lego movie. LOL. But if you forgive me that then a comparison to Beck, Robyn and The Lonely Island isn’t a bad viewing point. Clever, engaging and relevant. The Choco La’s are on point and their E.P. due out in 2021 is one to keep an eye out for.
THE GENTS – How Would You Like
What a smooth song. Like a well layered and constructed cocktail. Attractive, alluring, tasty, intoxicating. “How would you like to come home with me tonight?”.
“There is nothing like a moment like when two people connect, in a moment that surpasses intellect”. Read those lyrics and immerse yourself into a stylish word driven world full of intelligent music and words that flow like wine. Pour yourself a glass, raise a toast and become charmed under the influence of The Gents. Not much can be found on Soundcloud, but a wee search reveals some ace stripped-back live videos on Facebook. Classy act this.
THOSE FUCKING SNOWFLAKES – Due Some Terrible End
Pleased to finish with Those Fucking Snowflakes. I did vote for them on the Listening Post. Lots to admire here. Fisher Price and calculator Hard Core Noise. Politically infused, do it yourself punk attitude, and still gripping the listener by the shirt lapels. I felt shaken and pushed to admire their middle digit attitude to singing and writing about actual issues. With a name like this, I am pleased to report they live up to the billing! A finer ending to this year of reviews I could not have chosen. This needs played loud, like loud as fuck, whilst driving out of 2020 and watching it fade into your rear view mirror. In fact, I’d handbrake turn, press repeat and run over 2020 just to make sure it was dead. Thanks folks.
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.
The Choco La’s photo by Byron Chambers