Artists at a glance
KATY ROSE BENNETT
THE MAGIC LANTERN
ANNSOFIE SALOMON – Ocean Shell
This is a big mood. On Ocean Shell, Danish songwriter Annsofie Salomon manages to capture a wide breadth of emotion and compact it into three and a half minutes. The result is entrancing, blissful and makes the hairs on your skin stand-up. Salomon’s use of keyboard/synth is clever and allows her to build an atmosphere and space where her shaky and solitary voice can occupy and grow. Starting with haunting piano, then building with simple, stuttering percussion sets the stage for climatic swarms of synth that emote a sadness that you can’t help but feel.
Given the subject matter, it’s no surprise this emotion is present throughout, Salomon comments:
“Ocean Shell is about someone dear to me. Throughout my life, I’ve found it impossible to grasp how her illness affects her—if it makes her unhappy, or if it simply makes her her. It is something that defines her deeply; gives her a sense of fragility that is present in everything.”
Ocean Shell is taken from her brand-new EP Only Space And Time Can Tell How To Breath In An Ocean Shell, which is available to buy from her Bandcamp (link below).
EGGBOY – Norway (Fjord Remix) [ft. Better Than TV]
Here’s a tune quite like no other. Eggboy remix their Cambridge counterparts, Better Than TV’s 2018 track Norway, giving the jazz outfit’s cut a 90s dance flip. The bass line becomes the forefront on this version (the disjointed piano on the original takes a backseat). Throw in some well-developed drum tracks and we’re onto a winner with the aptly named Fjord Mix.
Eggboy are Ed and John, a duo from Cambridge who have been making music together since 1994. This mix is taken from their excellent album, Post Hate, which was released in March earlier this year.
FEEO – Memento Mori
“Do I leave an imprint?” ponders Feeo (Theodora Laird) on Memento Mori. A song that spends its time considering one’s time and mortality. It’s not as narcissistic as it may sound, though, as Feeo’s lyrics are focussed on telling a story, rather than being inwardly focussed. The parallels between Feeo and James Blake are apparent from the start, not just with the strong lyrical ability but with the knowledge of how to use the piano and how it forms the foundation of their work.
The London-via-Oxford artist is challenging genres and pushing those boundaries and this track is just the tip of the iceberg. Memento Mori is taken from her low vibe EP feels like we’re getting older doesn’t it, a mature and expansive cut that displays Feeo’s precociousness from the outset.
“They’ll never say I was a genius”. I beg to differ.
KATY ROSE BENNETT – Sleep
An ode to sleep, something which Katy Rose Bennett is struggling to find. Sleep begins with the rattling noises, in the form of looped vocalisations (very reminiscent of Mic Check by Imogen Heap), that represent those little noises that you can hear when you’re lying there (“When I hear the clock…”), to a final lament that feels choral and almost an acceptance of something that will never come.
This song is a true insight into Bennett’s psyche, which is an interesting turn for an artist; to have complete transparency. If you visit her website, it is comprehensively filled with information about Bennett’s health issues (being diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder or FND). Having been dubbed a folk artist in the past, listening to Sleep I find it difficult to put Bennett in that rather broad box. Having one’s career derailed in terrible circumstances and at such a young age is liable to change oneself and direction. Though, to me, Bennett is just now reaching her prime and long may it continue.
Actual live dates, be sure to check out her tour here, bracing Sidmouth, Birmingham and London in September.
KIZZY CRAWFORD – Enquanto Há Vida, Há Esperança
Congratulations to Kizzy Crawford for bringing to Fresh On The Net a first; a Portuguese/Welsh song! Crawford, a Bajan-Welsh artist, who describes herself as an “autistic soul-jazz artist” has commented that both languages have given her hope over the years. The translation of ‘Enquanto Há Vida, Há Esperanca’ means ‘While there is life, there is hope’.
Crawford comments: “This song talks about the fact that there will always be hope while you live, as long as you listen to you heart and the music it sings to guide you, this song, for me is like a meditation, hence the long chorus’ and breaks, I wrote and produced it this way on purpose as a way to mimic a meditation of sorts.”
This track feels like an ode to this positive sentiment with an upbeat soul drive and Latino-style guitars.
Crawford is already cemented as an up-and-coming star in Wales, being backed by BBC Introducing, and having played at festivals such as Green Man, you wonder what heights she can reach next. Daliwch i ddringo!
NOVA SOON – Telling The Bees
What starts out as a jovial tale about some city girl called Holly, soon descends into a mysterious and dark tale about a traditional pilgrimage (“a country tradition older than memory”) that may or may not have gone south (“God knows who you might meet”). You see, the wonderful about suggestion is that if makes one more curious. Is Holly allergic to bees? Did she meet some chaperone killer in the prairie? Was she just hungry for honey and decided to eat a beehive? I guess we’ll never know but we’ll remember the story for sure.
Nova Soon aka Noah de Grunwald certainly spins a wonderful tale but let’s not forget the music too. This spritely folky acoustic song has more than meets the ear with foreboding howling vocals to stomping trombone. These little touches set Telling The Bees aside from your regular folk yarn.
RUN RIOT – These Streets (Feat. IAMKING And Benji Webbe)
Suffolk electronic producer RuN RiOT has already made tsunamis in the industry, one quick look at his social bios reveals this, not to mention over half a million followers on Soundcloud.
We don’t always get ‘big hitters’ here on the Fresh Faves but when we do, they are usually fully deserved to have made it through the voting and These Streets is no exception, featuring IAMKING and Benji Webbe (Skindred). Quite simply, you could hear this being on a playlist on Radio 1.
THE JACKDAW – Tales Of A Blonde Wig
A fresh slice of British post-punk from Brighton’s The Jackdaw with Tales Of A Blonde Wig. The Jackdaw are full of energy and, lyrically, display a strong game which is reminiscent of early Alex Turner. Tales Of A Blonde Wig has the narrative of Sunday morning catch-up with your mates, reminiscing about what happened the night before (“her looks were good, but her chat was better”).
This cut really has everything that would have made them huge in the early noughties; a shouty chorus, genius lyrics and a nice-looking bunch of lads. What does the future hold for them in 2021? With established bands like Blossoms and new kids The Lathums making waves, I reckon The Jackdaw are in for a shout.
THE MAGIC LANTERN – Bound For Glory
It’s often difficult to navigate the path of life as it can sometimes appear dark and dim. The Magic Lantern (Jamie Doe) lights the way on his own journey to find what gives life meaning on Bound For Glory.
All the elements in this song are a musical reflection of what Doe encounters. The odd time signature creates an uncertainty about what lies ahead. The gentle and sweet brass/woodwind arrangements soothe anxiety like a Radox bath.
In the end, it seems that The Magic Lantern finds that it’s the little things from that love that truly give us purpose “We’re heading home…to glory, find a place of our home”.
Though its not all rosy, with existential worries that what if there is no meaning and the barriers that appear – “The heart’s a drum that’s losing time”. Soul searching stuff.
YOUNG PILGRIMS – Rufio
Brass revolution now! Blowing their way into the Fresh Faves are exciting and ‘young’ brass-ends Young Pilgrims. A few members hailing from Scotland but now the band are based in Birmingham, a vibrant city which welcomes their party vibes and stomping tunes.
On Rufio, taken from their new album We’re Young Pilgrims (buy it here) every player in the 8-piece outfit gets a shot at taking the lead. We’ve got Richard Foote and Kieran McLeod on trombones, Aaron Diaz, Sean Gibbs and Sam Wooster on trumpets, Michael Owers beefing a sousaphone (of course), Chris Maddock on the sax (just one guys?) and keeping the energy at the back is Jonathan Silk on drums.
Young Pilgrims sound like they could surprise you with a flash mob on the streets of Brum, or ‘reclaiming an old bandstand somewhere in the UK’ – this apparently their plan for their next tour.
It sounds exhausting and chaotic, clocking in at three and half minutes still feels as though the band’s lungs have taken a massive hit… wait, it’s a radio edit!?
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.