Fresh Faves: Batch 404

Artists at a glance

AL MITCHELL & THE NEW BORN SINNERS
BETHANY FERRIE
CLIMBING TREES
DEAN OWENS
JODIE SMITH
LUKE MOORE
REZZONATOR
ROSIE FRATER-TAYLOR
THE CRAYON SET
ZKELETONZ

These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s Steve Harris this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.

AL MITCHELL & THE NEW BORN SINNERS – Payment To The Shaman

The intriguing lyrics on Payment To The Shaman beg the question: what is this about? If I tried to describe it, I’d probably get about as far as saying that a parcel arrives, becomes a shrine, and er, um… Fortunately, Al Mitchell & The New Born Sinners provide their own explanation, the gist of which is that the track explores “the surreal inner world of an artist” who is isolated, lost their routine due to the pandemic, starts reimagining everyday objects and reevaluating the world around them. Lockdown, the musical.

Al Mitchell is from Hastings (as in the battle), and supported by BBC Introducing in The South, and while I can’t tell you anything about The New Born Sinners, it seems they exist in one realm or another. This woozy, psychedelic, magic mushroom of a track was the most popular on our Listening Post last weekend, and proves that, like any fun trip, it doesn’t need to make complete sense to be enjoyable. Payment To The Shaman is available to buy on Bandcamp, and stream in all the usual places.

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BETHANY FERRIE – Bones

Bones is a sentimental indie pop ballad with soaring vocals worthy of the full iPhone (previously lighters) swaying in the air treatment, and is the first track to be taken from Bethany Ferrie’s upcoming debut EP. From Glasgow, the 23-year old has support from Jim Gellatly and has previously been shortlisted for the BBC Radio Scotland Singer / Songwriter Award. Bones is available to stream now in all the usual places, and there’s a great video on YouTube too.

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CLIMBING TREES – Troubling Times

Pontypridd band Climbing Trees return to our Fresh Faves with Troubling Times, which effortlessly blends guitars, strings, piano and crisp vocals in a way that is big-sounding, but still concise and seductive. Climbing Trees is Matthew Frederick, Colenso Jones and Martin Webb, who started out in 2013 and got two acclaimed albums under their belt by 2017, then took a break to work on solo and side projects, but are now back with Troubling Times, immediately making it onto BBC Radio Wales’s A-List. Let’s hope there’s more where this came from. You can buy this track now on Bandcamp.

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DEAN OWENS – Land Of The Hummingbird (Ft Gaby Moreno)

“In the land of the hummingbird, she was a raven”… it struck me that, if a picture paints a thousand words, those words alone could paint quite a few pictures, and here we have the soundtrack to match. Acclaimed Scottish singer-songwriter Dean Owens is joined by Guatemalan singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno in this bilingual Spanish and English track, recorded last year at Tuscon, AZ with musicians from Calexico. Land Of The Hummingbird is taken from The Desert Trilogy EPs Vol 2 (Sand And Blood), available now on Bandcamp. These EPs are a prelude to the upcoming album, Sinner’s Shrine.

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JODIE SMITH – Warriors

Jodie Smith is a Welsh singer-songwriter and producer living in Lincoln, who’s made music for most of her life, but only last year “plucked up the courage” to submit her music to BBC Introducing, and just last month did an acoustic session for BBC Introducing in Lincolnshire, featuring this track and a few unreleased others. With lyrics that pack a punch and are worth a close listen, Warriors is Jodie’s response to the anger, sadness and frustration she feels at sexism, misogyny, and violence against women.

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LUKE MOORE – Sojourn

Composer, cellist and producer Luke Moore’s Sojourn really caught my ear this week. It’s a stunning piece of work; filmic, at times epic-sounding, yet so light in its touch that you can’t help but be captivated. Many FOTN regulars will be familiar with Luke’s work as artistic director of the Liverpool-based collaborative project, Operation Lightfoot.

Taken from his Departures EP, available now on Bandcamp, Luke says Sojourn “is framed around the idea of a short stay allowing for a pause and reflection”, and adds “there is a short section of bare fifths near the end that evokes the sound of an orchestra tuning – this is my nod to something I’ve missed hearing at concerts during the last year when performances have been unable to go ahead.” I love that!

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REZZONATOR – Inversion

Rezzonator have been sending us tracks for a couple of years now, a few of which have made the Listening Post, with this the first to reach our Fresh Faves. Rezzonator is Duncan Rose from Nottingham, and Inversion is a muscular, textured and hooky progressive track that could get any dancefloor moving, or if you cannot remember what one of those is, would just as easily power up your workout. Here in its radio edit form it really does leave you wanting more, but fortunately this track is available on Bandcamp as a full 7+ minute version, along with this radio edit, a surprisingly swirly “no beats” version, and two versions of the track Flow State, as part of whatever the equivalent is of a double A-side 12-inch these days.

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ROSIE FRATER-TAYLOR – Just My Type

Rosie Frater-Taylor’s Just My Type is an almost restless, groovy, jazzy but undeniably poppy number that effortlessly blends a lot of familiar sounds into something truly fresh and vibrant. The 21-year old London-based singer and guitarist can boast fans as luminous as Gilles Peterson, Jordon Rakei, and Rosie Lowe, and her first album, released a few years ago, found support from Abbie McCarthy at BBC Introducing, and Our Very Own Tom Robinson, amongst many others, so it’s fair to say her musical career has already enjoyed a very strong start, and if this track is any indication, then the only way is up. Just My Type is taken from Rosie’s new album Bloom, which will be released on June 4th.

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THE CRAYON SET – Don’t Step Back Too Far

Dublin band The Crayon Set had the misfortune to be reviewed by Yours Truly at the start of the year with their track Moment, a deceptively upbeat-sounding indie number about anxiety and depression. To some extent the theme continues here, but this is perhaps a more hopeful track, and dare I say it, timely, as it’s all about getting out into the world — “you’re not a red squirrel, you can’t hibernate.” Don’t Step Back Too Far is also taken from their forthcoming album Disco Downer, which was recorded in 2019, but is set to be released in September, having been put back because of the pandemic. In the meantime, you can buy this track now on Bandcamp.

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ZKELETONZ – Not Your Fault

Wrapping up our Fresh Faves in grand style this week is London / Coventry group Zkeletonz, and the infectiously groovy Not Your Fault, which sounds like disco never died, but rather flew away on a spaceship, and has now returned to take over the world. Clearly no fans of subtlety or understatement, Not Your Fault is part of the band’s brilliantly-named Apocalypse Wow EP, available to stream now.

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Zkeletonz

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.

Steve Harris

Steve Harris is an independent app developer living in Swansea, Wales. A passionate music lover, his hobbies include not working and pretending to understand science. Find him on Twitter: @steveharris. Read more about Steve.

6 Comments

  1. Great reviews Steve. Incisive and well researched. The words ’21 year old London-based …’ in relation to Rosie Frater-Taylor are a gobsmacking reminder of how young she is and already so incredibly accomplished. What a song and artist. She impresses every time. Lovely to see my good friend Luke Moore in the faves as a solo artist this time. One of the hardest working and most supportive people in grassroots music. And congratulations to everyone who made the faves. A great top ten as always. Thanks for these lovely reviews of them Steve. 🙂

  2. Nice write ups Steve!

  3. Blimey, Al’s carrying a Yamaha PSS-170 in his pic? That’s a serious part of my history…. Great reviews Steve and well done everyone for making the Faves!

  4. Well done, Steve. Enjoyed reading these reviews and pleased to see 3 of my personal picks in there too.

  5. Mark Toal

    Great reviews Steve, and thanks for the heads up on that Rezzonator extended mix!

  6. Steve Harris

    Thanks all!

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