Artists at a glance
BORED AT MY GRANDMAS HOUSE
BOUDICCA'S BASS SERVICE
CIRCUS OF BONES
POST COAL PROM QUEEN
THIS ELEGANT GULL
ADERYN – Silver Screen
Silver Screen was one of those tracks that I loved from the first five seconds. Its quirky vocals and a strong guitar riff are right up my street. According to Bandcamp it is a “sweeping grunge pop anthem about wasting your youth drinking in front of the TV and falling sideways in love.”
As a teenager Aderyn apparently started writing songs as a distraction from the excitement of life on a sheep farm in the Brecon Beacons, and left home at 16 to become a drummer in a grunge band. She is one of nine acts aged between 16-25 in Wales to be selected as part of the Forte Project 2021. The project is a great artist development scheme set up to give the acts professional industry support designed to progress their early careers, during a six-month mentorship programme.
By the way, whilst doing the research for this review I learnt Aderyn is pronounced “a-DEH-rin” and is translated from Welsh as “bird”. According to www.britishbabynames.com, Aderyn was first used as a first name for a girl born in 1900 and was one of several several Welsh word-names coined at the end of the 19th century in an effort to assert Welsh heritage and culture. So there you go.
BORED AT MY GRANDMAS HOUSE – Sometimes I Forget You’re Human Too
Now you could be forgiven upon first hearing for thinking that Bored At My Grandmas House are a new Lo-Fi / Shoegaze / Indie Pop band. It sounds like a five-piece with those interweaving guitar riffs, which together sound far more than the individual parts, and is that a harmonising duo or just one person on vocals? I have been known to struggle with Lo-Fi / Shoegaze, as often for me it starts well and then never really gets anywhere. Not here though, there is a lot going on, and I adore the multi layering. As to thinking it’s a five-piece, you would be / I was so wrong.
This is a solo production from Leeds based 19-year-old Amber Strawbridge. Amber, who is from a musical family, taught herself guitar, piano and drums and eventually set about self-recording/releasing her bedroom produced tracks, which soon got her noticed by the likes of BBC Introducing.
Now a musical student in Leeds, Amber had some live drums and final mixing added to her home recorded tracks and has released her first EP. Amber says “Sometimes I forget you’re human too is the realisation that everyone is the same. In the sense that we are all human, everyone has issues and problems to face, everyone makes mistakes and has success. I used to compare myself to others a lot and think ‘wow they have their life together’ or ‘how are they so happy all of the time’, but that’s not the case, it’s just what you can see on the outside”. It’s a really good point in my eyes.
As to the name, Bored at my Grandmas House, Amber started writing tracks when she was bored at her grandma’s house, it’s as simple as that.
BOUDICCA’S BASS SERVICE – Egypt’s Over There
Boudicaa’s Bass Service is the act name of 19-year old unsigned musician called ??????, from South West England who is a multi-instrumentalist / producer. Egypt’s Over There is an electro drum and bass track with nice quirky and sultry vocals, and appears to be her sixth track. It was an extremely popular track with our listeners this week. Not a lot else I can say as this information detective has been foiled by a fairly clean internet footprint for BBS.
CIRCUS OF BONES – Una And The Lion
Circus Of Bones have a couple of bios online, and this is the one that I feel best describes them. They “are a 3-piece British / New Zealand punk band based in London. Their sound stinks of the blues, tastes like rock, feels like punk and is garnished with a generous dolloping of Cave-esk preaching.” They are the type of act you find randomly playing to a happy dancing crowd bunched around a fire in the outer fields of a festival at 2am. Now this is a tricky one for me to describe. Una And The Lion is a poetic, spoken word-over-music style of a track, and the story is of a drunk Una in the back of a cab with the lion on her lap. Got that? It also has one hell of a hypnotic Bass groove and a great synth section. Give it a listen and you will see what I mean. It is the first single from debut EP Bread N Butter Boy, which has just been released.
DAVE DEXTER – Relics
This is a bit easier for me to write about.
Relics is a fauxbourdon for string quartet. There you go, as I said a bit easier to write about. Job done.
It is 4 minutes and 9 seconds of very soothing classical music, the four string instruments are each complimenting the others to give a very rich sound. It is so relaxing for me that the 4 minutes flash by.
Now for the few of you that don’t know, a fauxbourdon is a form of medieval choral harmonisation, and literally translated as False Base or False Drone depending which definition you read. It is a three-voice harmonisation. According to Dave “The upper voice establishes melody, the middle voice follows in parallel 4ths, and the lower voice harmonises the upper voice in 6ths”. Simple really, and to be honest I should have been able to tell you that without relying on Dave to explain. Now the quick ones will have done their sums and worked out that 3 parts does not equate to a quartet. There is an explanation written in the notes to the lovely video showing Leos Strings playing Relics, in a socially distanced way. “There is an added cello to add beef”.
Dave Dexter is a composer, orchestrator and multi-instrumentalist, specialising in classical, choral and orchestral writing for live players.
JESS MCALLISTER – The Bushiest Of Beards
This is what I call a romp of a song. It’s right in your face from the very start (I talk about the starts of songs a lot, but for me it often makes or breaks a track. I don’t want be waiting 30 seconds into a 3 minute song before I really hear something, especially if the 30 seconds is the same 10 second phrase repeated — rant over). We get driving piano that seems to be getting faster and faster accompanied by great direct vocals from Jess, and then after a bit of a breather we are off again. This is a revenge song to a man who bullied her, and the middle eight has Jess gently explaining how she had bought the aforementioned man a straw hat to then drop in the line “I should have hit you with a baseball bat.” It then reverts back to a high-octane positive vibe finale. This is a song that would have a packed crowd clapping and dancing along in gay abandon. It is a song that is uplifting and brings you energy. Go have a look at the fun video.
Jess McAllister is from Devon, plays piano guitar and banjo and released her first album last year.
LILY ISON – Free Falling
This is a pop / R&B track with a great groove to it. I have had this on repeat quite a few times and I love it. Starting gently with spot-on rich soulful vocals, the bass groove drops in and I am off and away dancing around the kitchen. It’s not a pretty sight I promise you, but I can’t help it, I am like a moth drawn to a lamp. To top it all off there is a great solo sax in the middle eight which I think is played by her brother.
There doesn’t seem to be much about Lily Ison I can tell you except that she is from Cambridgeshire, is a music composition and production graduate from Leeds College of Music and is one I for sure will be following to see what comes next.
POST COAL PROM QUEEN – Wait, Wait! Dig!
Ah a nice harp sound and angelic vocals, how soothing… err just a minute… bang, what happened there?? I was lulled into a false sense of security. It’s back to more kitchen dancing… Electro pop and a great synth-driven dance beat that would go down a storm in a crowded club. There would be arms waving all over the place to this one. Rest assured, there are still the angelic multiple harmonies beautifully overlaying that pulsating beat.
Post Coal Prom Queen are Scottish duo Lily and Gordon who were the “prolific song writing force behind L-space”.
THIS ELEGANT GULL – No Weakness Just Fame
Let me allow DD Shine to introduce herself. “I am DD, I write, I sing, I play the flute and I draw. I am This Elegant Gull”. This is another pulsating track from TEG. It’s full-on EDM with Prodigy influences. DD combines spoken word with some soft effortless harmonies adding backing, whilst in the background it’s a full on synthathon. Then it just stops abruptly. I will be honest, I wanted more. TEG is a rarity, a daughter and father duo that have been dropping some storming tracks over the last 18 months. This is DD’s fifth Fresh Fave (is that a record Ed? Dunno, but it’s up there! – Ed). DD writes the lyrics and the melodies, dad does the arrangement and production. Trust me, you will be hearing a whole lot more from this talented songwriter.
VERITY STANDEN – Where Do You Hide?
Verity Standen tells us on her Soundcloud page that she is a composer, director, performer and choir leader. Her work focusses on the human voice, and Where Do You Hide is a beautifully sung and performed full choir accapella with Verity to the front, her controlled vocals soaring above the beautifully mellow choir. I love the way that the track slowly builds up to a crescendo, additional voices coming in bit by bit to add to the texture and volume. What strikes me is nothing here sounds forced, powerful yes, forced no. It’s very moving and after such a huge crescendo we are gently brought back down to earth before the end. Utterly lovely.
“Verity runs a choir ‘Utterance’, and regularly collaborates with a range of artists and companies Verity also teaches to a broad range of singers and runs a number of projects with inter-generational arts charity Magic Me.”
What a great week we have had again. Thanks to all the artists who bravely upload their tracks for review and judgement by a bunch of absolute strangers. I take my hat off to you all.
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.