Artists at a glance
ROXANNE DE BASTION
It’s bank holiday Monday, it’s cloudy and grey in South East London, and it’s my turn to post my musings about the Fresh Faves. Brilliant Listening Post this weekend, and varied in terms of genre. I like that. I have my cuppa, I suggest you grab something too…
I’m going in. Cover me.
BRONX SLANG – Happens a Lot
Ahhh this is siiiiiiiiickkkkkk! Where do I begin? The bars name check Star Wars, specifically Anakin Skywalker, if you drop a bar about Anakin, you’re winning with me and that deserves a fist bump. Did someone tell you that we at FOTN are Jedi-level music lovers? Was that a Jedi mind trick? I love the beat, it’s cartoonish — snare drum, hi hats, kick, and horn stabs, this is classic hip hop at its best. The bars are delivered at breakneck speed, referencing pop culture, as aforementioned Star Wars, Barney Rubble, Suicide Squad… I like this… this has a lot of flavour. I love old skool hip hop and this definitely gives me that vibe. It’s one song I won’t get tired of listening to. Well done gents.
Bronx Slang are from New York (one day… one day… I will visit!), they released their debut LP in 2019, and have already been championed by hip hop heavyweight DJ Premier as well as BBC Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, and already causing a ruckus with DJ Magazine.
My favourite part of this is the chorus, “Started from the bottom straight to the top / Back down to the bottom sure happens a lot…” it’s a reality check and I like it.
I think I may need to go check out their album. Be right back.
PS: Dear Jimmy Fallon. Can we get them on the show?
CONCHUR WHITE – Dreamers
Dreamers by Conchur White starts off as a sweet acoustic number. It’s actually not. Turn down the volume for the chorus! This song’s great, because it starts off quietly then kicks it up a notch in volume in the chorus, and drops back down for the verses. Nice contrast. This is from his EP of the same name which will be released on 16th June.
The lyrics are frank:
“Part of me it loves part of you, but it ain’t that beautiful, it’s just something to do…”
I like that. No coating it. Like I said it’s not a sweet acoustic number. But there’s attitude to it, and I like the attitude to it.
Also, nice use of the warped synth bass at the end to close it out!
Conchur (pronounced Conor) is from Northern Ireland, he’s got an EP coming and a tour coming in October. Looks like he’s got a lot of good things happening for him.
DEAD ANYWAY – Doll Head
There is a different pace with this one — distorted guitars over a breakbeat and synths, great use of chopped-in samples, it messes with your head but in a good way! Spoken word – I love Kate Arnold’s voice by the way, I like her accent! Very well spoken. It works well with this.
“No Moses here to part your Red Sea”. I have many questions about this lyric. The breakbeat works so well by the way, you could just imagine this being mixed in with the Prodigy Firestarter cued up for the next track.
How do I know? I tried it. And it worked. If you’re going to playlist it try it! I have.
Dead Anyway are Kate Arnold (lyrics and vocals) and Marc Symonds, they’ve known each other since the 90s and 2000s, and started working together after a chance meeting at a gig in 2019. They’ve been releasing EPs quietly, recorded during lockdowns, and using one take vocals recorded into a mobile phone. This is cool as the vocals are very clear. You’d be very surprised with what you can do with mobile phone microphones now.
ELBROOK COURT – Since
Arpeggiated synths over 808 drums, and soundscape buzzing in and out… then add to that a deep growl of a voice… “Tick tock tick tock the world is a strange place…” is how we are introduced to this track, it’s got a mishmash of sounds like a lullaby sound playing through. It’s essentially spoken word for the most part, interspersed with singing in the lower register. I love it for its weirdness! I hope he doesn’t mind me saying that… it’s not a conventional song, I don’t think the Elf was going for conventional anyway, and I congratulate him for that.
The Elf of Elbrook Court is from the Forest Moon of En- wait a minute… second Star Wars reference??? I kid you not, it says on his Twitter profile that he’s from the forest moon of Scotland… he describes himself as an ancient and modern spirit who wonders the universe looking for the best hooks and killer basslines.
LITTLE MAJORETTE – Les Chasseurs Et Les Cueilleurs (Hunters And Gatherers
Les Chasseurs Et Les Cueilleurs – translated this means “Hunters and Gatherers”, don’t think me too smart, Google Translate is a wonderful thing. “I feel too much emotion when you go away…” I like the way the synths are giving Little Majorette’s voice space to manoeuvre, it provides a lovely soundscape for her. I especially like what the drums are doing — they’re not strictly EDM, so this song can’t be categorised as that, but it gives it a great beat. I really enjoyed listening to it. Thank you for submitting it.
Little Majorette is the project of British singer songwriter Zoë Durrant, they released their first album a decade ago – it was a collaboration between Amy, and Swedish musicians Petter Winnberg and Nils Tornqvist. They’ve attracted a loyal following, and their music has been featured on shows like GIRLS, Suburgatory and more. There will be an EP in June, featuring a collaboration with Peter Agren from the Amplifetes.
ROXANNE DE BASTION – Molecules
“You can shout at molecules and see them react, that might be God, they might have mislabelled that”. What I like about this song is the call and response, it’s catchy! To paraphrase fellow FOTN moderator Tobisonics, it’s a decent piece of songwriting, disarmingly simple. I’m inclined to agree with him, I love the production value on this because it’s got everything, ethereal synth opening, with muted guitars with the vocals coming in then crunchy guitars to welcome the second verse… all over a four on the floor kick drum and floor toms. I like the ooh’s and again the call and response… That’s going to be stuck in my head for days. For this reason, I’m labelling (see what I did there?) Roxanne de Bastion my one to watch.
Roxanne de Bastion is a singer songwriter from London who released her debut album in 2017, which was championed by our Tom Robinson, Gary Crawley, Janice Long and others. She’s toured extensively across the UK and US, and has played the legendary Glastonbury acoustic stage. Her new album is ready for pre-order and has worked on it with Bernard Butler.
SARAH MCQUAID – Rabbit Hills
I have so much to say about this song, but I’ll keep it brief. The first thing I’d like to say is that I like the way the piano is beautifully played and mixed. Nice amount of reverb on there, which I’m guessing is natural as this is a live recording from inside the beautiful St. Buryan church. Sarah’s vocals here remind me of Songbird by Fleetwood Mac, in so many ways, for one thing that song was recorded in an empty auditorium instead of in the studio where Rumours was recorded. Secondly, the vocals – I love Sarah’s voice, it’s deep and rich in tone and doesn’t need anything else to back it up… To me she’s channeling the energy of Christine McVie here, and I love it. I just closed my eyes and got lost in this song. I love the chord progression too, as a piano player it talks to me. Jazz chords, with nice inversions to compliment a simple but beautiful melody…
Recorded in St. Buryan, during lockdown there is a video to accompany it too, the church is beautiful by the way. Really atmospheric. As a piano player I think I need to visit the place just for research purposes of course…
Sarah McQuaid is a singer songwriter born in Madrid to a Spanish father and an American mother, raised in Chicago and living in Rural England. She was taught piano and guitar by her folk singing mother. From the age of twelve she was embarking on tours of the US and Canada with the Chicago Children’s Choir.
Her new project, The St. Buryan Sessions is her sixth from which this has come from, and was recorded in 2020 during lockdown as a live concert without an audience. There will be a full album with concert film to be released on CD and double LP in October 2021. I for one am looking forward to it.
Because of the feels this song gave me…
Naturally… I award Sarah my badge for track of the week.
SPIN KLASS – Boom Boom
This is quirky! I like the fact that Spin Klass have used analogue sounding drums for this, as well as a guitars and 80s synths… This could comfortably be something from the 80s, very catchy guitar solo too, the chord progression is what sold it to me, and the way the song is sung. Like I said at the beginning… It’s quirky. And guess what?
I like quirky.
Spin Klass are a Manchester trio, not much is available on them however it looks like they’re just starting out, so… I’m off to hit the follow and like buttons!
THREE UNDERNEATH – Tell Me It’s Okay
Nice choice of snare! Meaty. I like meaty. Great guitar work on there with just the right amount of delay too! The song is based around two chords, in the verse and two chords in the chorus, simplicity at its best, and for this reason they’ve created something gorgeous here. I like the words of the chorus, “Hey tell me it’s okay, we can fly away” this could apply to so many things especially in the world we live in now, you make of it what you will.
Three Underneath are from Dublin, their website has a quirky old school TV through which you have to TURN THE DIALS on to see some clips, I can’t even remember the last time I did that… I do remember those days. Pre-Netflix etc. Wow. This is their new single available on all platforms.
ZÖ – Origami
This is such a lovely song to end to, great atmospheric piano, with synths playing in the background… But this is not what gets me it’s the harmonised vocals in the chorus over the drums, I was in the garden yesterday when I was preparing to review this and I loved the way it’s so well put together. The second chorus is joined with a muted guitar line padding it out. The third chorus is where the harmonies come in again but more stronger and later a bassline. Leaving the bass until much later is unheard of on a song like this, but ZÖ has made some great choices already musically and I trust her. I don’t do this very often but I’m awarding my second badge of track of the week to ZÖ.
ZÖ is from Wellington New Zealand, she released her debut 3 track EP in 2019, she says of her work, “I forget that the songs I write have the potential to be listened to – writing about my experiences and struggles comes naturally to me, it’s something I don’t have to force.”
She’s 23 years old and she’s all set to release her new EP, Do You Mind, and describes it as more personal than ever.
This is gorgeous work. Be proud ZÖ.
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.