Artists at a glance
INDER PAUL SANDHU
NAOMI IN BLUE
PIRI AND TOMMY VILLIERS
TEST CARD GIRL
ANRIMEAL – Could Flower (Demo)
“Conjuror. Clodhopper. Cherub.” Just some of the words Ana Rita de Melo Alves has picked to describe herself on her website. The Porto born, now based in South London, singer-songwriter, producer and poet, is currently making music by way of recording project anrimeal. Working in compellingly understated hues of oblique sound design, protracted spasms of six-string acoustic arpeggio, and absent-minded vocal; delivered, as though adrift; lyrical breaths floating across the stereo-field, word-clouds carried upon the breeze to wander wherever the shifting currents of atmosphere might take them. Exquisitely delicate to the point of being so brittle, you fear you might shatter its imperfect, perfect fragile form simply by listening; Could Flower exists as a specific moment and experience in time, where you, the listener, bear witness to its fleeting majesty; and lose yourself in the obscure wonder of it all.
INDER PAUL SANDHU – Letter To Self
East London-based songwriter, vocalist, rapper and fashion designer Inder Paul Sandhu drops his 2019 release, Letter To Self into the FOTN inbox. Having already been playlisted by the BBC and featured on Pharrell Williams x Adidas Holi Mixtape, Inder Paul Sandhu has successfully established himself as an artist of credibility and integrity; Letter To Self reflects this in its tastefully worked and maturely judged arrangement and production, a rich vein of musicality running through the track; a pairing of expansive and expressive lick and riff play the length of the neck, and play off each other left to right; opening up and forever shifting the width of the stereo image. The groove kept tight down the middle by bass line dab, deep kick, and crisp snare and hat. Vocals laze, only to strut; swallow, only to soar; talk, only to open up in glorious soulful melody; the entire composition moving as one. Glorious work, savour it.
JIM PEARSON – Plastic People
“People have said that Jim plays guitar like a drummer. He is.”, so Jim Pearson introduces himself to the world via his Soundcloud profile. The former drummer of near-legendary Geordie club band Foxy (with which he toured extensively in the 80s from the Far East to the North East), Jim shares his latest song, Plastic People with the FOTN inbox. Fiercely percussive from kick to vocal, Plastic People moves in short, tight, stabs and struts; six-string electrics flick and spank in crunchy fuzz and overdrive, the bass moving in cheeky bobs and weaves; while the drums work on carefully worked tiptoes, tickling and teasing the beat. Jim walks his vocals in compact, understated, rhythmic stanzas that open up in the chorus to tightly tumble like lyrical drum fills; wordplay interspersed with meandering aside and question. Plastic People quietly works its way into your ear and before you know it, you’re singing along.
MINAS – Payday
“My parents were punks”, reads the description of the Minas Soundcloud page; wilfully stark and unapologetically direct, an apt bio for the music-making project of Cardiff-based producer James Minas. Along with co-creators drummer Greg Davies and bassist Bob Williams, James Minas delivers brutal honesty in aggressively distorted stanza and phonetically spat verse against a dystopian backdrop of noisy unrefined beat, grunting primal bassline, and deep, hulking soundscape; as though the production was hewn in harsh, unforgiving heat of the blast furnace, the acrid smelt and the dank pit of the Iron Industry that so dominated the landscape and lives of South Wales. “People use many different tools as a release or to escape, this is mine”, James Minas explains. Engaging and genuinely different in its presentation, Payday is out now on all platforms.
NAOMI IN BLUE – Colour Of Blue
Post-Country singer-songwriter Naomi in Blue shares Colour Of Blue with the FOTN inbox. Taken from her debut EP, An Experiment, and recorded at the famous Abbey Road studios, Colour Of Blue stalks its four minute eight second runtime like a mythical spirit animal of the great American plains. Presented in modulated hues that shimmer like the vista haze, the production creeps and uncoils, as jackal and rattlesnake, rusty six-strings crank and crunch in chorus and ‘verb; drums tripping and rushing in tightly worked pattern, intuitively stopping and starting in Ringo-esque counter to the vocal; a carnival of souls funeral organ draws out in neverending drone, only to suddenly burst outwards in great surge of drunken warble; and Taratino surf-rock explodes in fuzzy, fused ripples of spitting electrical charge. Naomi’s vocals moving just off the beat, deliberate in footstep, and demanding the attention of the listener; her lyrics trading in vivid imagery, sun-worn polaroids tumbling out across the smartly worked and George Martin inspired stereo-field. Quality music-making to its core.
PIRI AND TOMMY VILLIERS – Soft Spot
“Disco Time”, 21 year old solo artist Piri introduces herself thus via her Soundcloud profile; the Manchester-based chemistry graduate describes her music as “serving the dreamy and girly side of dance music.” Latest single Soft Spot skips and bites on a shuffled, stuttered beat that draws the ear in a series of funky coughs and snaps. Heavily filtered pads pulse deep in the ambient, sunken deep into reverb, providing harmonic resonance throughout. A vox sample erupting into dub-style delay, scattered feedback cranks into the production; the bass line shifting and working the grind, holding a heavy dancehall groove. Piri’s voice dances in compelling vocal stack; echoes cascading left/right, creating depth and ear candy; the pop-sweet topline teasing and contrasting against the weight of the production. Soft Spot dares you not to dance. It’s disco time.
SOPHIE DORSTEN – Until June
Born and raised in Arizona, indie-pop singer-songwriter Sophie Dorsten delivers a delightful dose of dulcet downbeat Americana to the FOTN inbox, latest single Until June. Until June is the young artist’s third solo release, and third collaboration with her brother, Alex; with Alex taking the reins for production, orchestration, and instruments while Sophie wrote the song and sang. Swaying in gracefully percussive layers of acoustic six-strings; the track moving pendulum-like around the heavy beat of a kick drum bedded deep, giving the composition a wondrous earthy feel; backing harmonies calling out across the soundscape, haunting and melancholic. Sophie’s vocals float tall in rich, toneful expanses of glorious melody, intoxicating the ear; her performance conveying the weary longing of the lyrics with great and compelling success; her voice lingering in the depth and shifting wide left/right in ambient echo, evocative of Mazzy Star in its vocal treatment. Until June avoids the gimmick and novelty of many modern productions, instead relying on a firm musical base, expressed by way of highly creditable musicality.
STAY LUNAR – Immediately
“Bedroom Pop Magnified”; so states the Twitter profile of Bristol-based dream-pop five-piece, Stay Lunar. Formed in 2019 and having already earned supporting spots for the likes of Larkins, Little Comets, and SPINN, and the attention of Spotify curators, blogs, and BBC Introducing in the West’s Track Of The Week, Stay Lunar have quickly established themselves as a band very much on the rise. Latest single Immediately is delivered in a rush of chorused electric, intoxicating wash of reverb, and the shimmering feedback of delay; vocals reverberate deep, cocooned in the hazy warmth of saturated ambient. The quietly striking spatial relationship between voice and production, simultaneously warm, yet dislocated; resulting in a strangely compelling listening sensation. Bedroom dream-pop for introverts who build entire worlds within their own imaginings.
TEST CARD GIRL – We’ll Always Be There (Acoustic)
“A song written for my Dad”, having been forced to delay her much anticipated debut EP “due to a change in team and studio”, Manchester singer-songwriter Catherine (Caffs) Burgis aka Test Card Girl made the decision to release an acoustic version of We’ll Always Be There despite her anxiety at the thought of people hearing her voice “…not layered up hundreds of vocals and hidden behind a load of production.” The result is a bittersweet composition painted in hesitant arpeggio, sunken bass line quietly forming the groove from the back; warm keys fall left/right, saturated bronze, long protracted melodies extend out into the production; sound design creeps and ripples, metallic and ill-at-ease. Catherine’s vocal lifts and falls in absent run, often lost in the shadows of nostalgia; free of the listener-friendly sheen of modern production, Catherine’s performance (along with the guitar, record on the day the song was written) captivates with its unassuming honesty and inescapable sense of intimacy.
WITH SUN – Night And Day
South East London-based singer-songwriter Alice Hale – With Sun – shares her latest release with the FOTN inbox. The daughter of songwriter Keith Hale (Toyah, Hawkwind, Ginger Baker’s Nutters), Alice has been writing songs for over twenty years. After a period of introspection, she decided to present her songs in a more open, contemporary sound; Night And Day reflects this intention, as the production makes economic and tasteful use of subtle layers of instrumentation that provide depth and width, while allowing for a relaxed sense of space throughout the soundscape; the interwoven acoustics so well-judged they feel almost as one. Alice’s voice resonants brightly with a compelling note of sadness quietly resting at its heart; the vocal melody unfolding in carefully crafted and contrasting phrases, evocative of the classic songs of the legendary songwriters of yesteryear. Every aspect of Night And Day is done to the highest standard, with the greatest attention, and considerable success.
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.
Stay Lunar photo by Belinda Enthoven