Artists at a glance
EMMA JOHNSON'S GRAVY BOAT
THE JOJO MAN BAND
AOIFE CARTON – Not What I’m Into
This song embraces a bit of the blues, rock, and country, and as a result turns out a pretty sweet combination of a song – is that a banjo I hear in there? If so, that’s awesome! I love the cymbal swells from the drummer, it gives the song a nice build into the chorus. The second verse contains some really nice harmonies which I really enjoyed listening to. This song carries a really lovely charm that you can really imagine being stripped back to just the bare minimum, an acoustic guitar and vocals… I’m going to play it again.
Meanwhile… Aoife Carton is Dublin-born, London-based, she has been writing since the age of 15, she spent much of 2020 honing her craft, and she’s been picked up by radio stations like RTE Radio 1, Country Hits Radio, and others.
BUFFET LUNCH – Looking At Liz Talent’s Chair
There are so many things I like about this song, for one thing the time signature changes from 3/4 to 4/4, and it does it seamlessly. Much as Buffet Lunch describe it as being wonky, there’s some great musicianship here; they seem to experiment with their guitar riffs and everything builds around it, melding weird synth noises (good melding by the way) to the track and.… it holds. It holds really well. I love the effects on the vocals, by the way. They list Captain Beefheart and ABBA as their influences. Beefheart I hear, definitely. It’s made me go back to the archives for that. Bottom line: I like the experimental factor of this, it’s making me want to go and check them out some more.
Buffet Lunch are from Scotland:
Perry O’Bray (Vocals/keys/guitar)
Neil Robinson (Bass)
John Muir (Lead Guitar)
Luke Moran (Drums)
According to their Spotify they ricochet between Glasgow and Edinburgh, creating music that bristles with DIY spirit and upbeat wonkiness.
I like that.
CHIMA ANYA – Giants
From the beat to the lyrical flow on this, it’s pretty solid! The beat sounds like it could have been lifted directly from a 60s film then beefed up with a big kick and snare to make it groove… The lyrics are all about the unseen, which could apply to everything right now: coronavirus, the lack of security in the world, information being for free… Chima’s line about how giants have changed since the time of Goliath is a genius line to me, because the Goliath of old was one of the biggest threats that a nation faced. But then he was overcome. This is a collaboration with SoulChef, and it’s… beautiful.
DOCTOR – Yes that’s right I said it- DOCTOR – Chima Anya is a professional in the medical field, and has achieved a lot. He’s shared stages with Robert Glasper, Jay Electronica, KRS-1, Dead Prez, Big Daddy Kane, Asher Roth, Brother Ali and more. He’s made national headlines with his breakout video from 2017 “Do Less” getting kudos from Complex UK.
Chima, you are my track of the week. Congratulations.
CORAL PALMS – Drink Too Much
This goes at a fair pace! Wow! First let’s talk about the intro. It’s got me nodding my head, the drums are what’s giving this song so much life, because the beat changes at different points of the song, commanding where the song’s going. I like that idea. The guitars are really doing a good job too, this is such a summer tune, as I return to work this week it’s likely that this is going to be one of the tunes I’m going to use to wake me up first thing in the morning. They use everything in their audio arsenal to get this in your mind and once it’s there… it ain’t leaving. Believe me. I know. It takes you up and down and it does the job…. Love the middle section by the way guys. I’m talking about the section beginning at 2:22 and I thought it was ending…
No. No it’s not.
It’s taking you for a quiet lie down and the drummer’s giving you a build up on the toms…
Then it’s a return to where we were at he beginning! Nice come back!
Coral Palms are a four piece indie pop band conceived and created in Torquay, Devon, now based in London, Ollie and Will from the band confide: “A lot of the themes revolve around youthful disarray, angst and of course romance, but musically we really just wanted to make tunes that we know we’d bop to at festivals or at a party.”
Well you got my foot tapping, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be busting my best dad dance moves along with you at some point.
EMMA JOHNSON’S GRAVY BOAT – Hold Me Tight
There is something about the sax that is just beautiful… This is an instrumental piece from a group led by Leeds-based saxophonist and composer Emma Johnson. Everyone shines here, the drummer lays down a Latin-ish groove that allows everyone to shine, no showboating here, just giving of their talents. The guitar and sax play their parts here well, and keep it summery. The piano’s keeping it simple too, nothing overpowering same with the bass, which sounds like a double? If so…. NICE. Not enough of those around in music nowadays.
Emma Johnson’s Gravy Boat is described as a cinematic quintet, led by Emma Johnson — she’s a recipient of the Peter Whittingham Development Award, and thanks to the support of Help Musicians UK, the band are about to release their debut album, Worry Not on the 2nd July 2021.
Emma, I felt so chilled after listening to this… Thank you for blessing me with your saxophone playing and such a sweet track. For this reason, I give you my one to watch.
HYDROMAG – Sakura
This song starts off with an ethereal intro on synths, and then the bass and guitar come in with a vocal that’s low and quiet…
“You were told you were not enough, to break it off, but we’re looking out for you every day…”
The word sakura means cherry blossom, it’s the national flower of Japan, it also represents a time of renewal and optimism both of which comes through in the lyrics here. There’s a lovely animated video that accompanies this song created by Gina Tatt.
There’s so much I like about this song. The melody in the chorus, and the fact it is sung from two different perspectives – from the person reassuring to the person being reassured. It really gives you a nice warm feeling that there’s always hope when you have someone watching over you when no-one else would. Much to ponder there.
Hydromag is the solo project of Josh Best-Shaw, a producer and multi instrumentalist, he’s driven by a love of old recording equipment (Josh, I think we need to talk…) and he takes great pride in capturing great sounds in the studio. According to his site, he’s already amassed 2 million plays and has just opened Small Hours Studio in Bristol.
Oh yeah. He’s not to be confused with the water magazine.
Well given the fluidity of his music I don’t think he’ll need to make any branches into comedy…
Don’t think about that Dad joke too much…
JAMES HOLT – Make My Day
I love the acoustic guitar intro to this, another summer number, with the potential to be a classic! The melody is gorgeous too, the progression is what captured my attention. This could easily be influenced by the Beatles (John Lennon in particular) which, upon further research seems to hit be no accident as James has a picture of Abbey Road hanging up behind him while he performs a live acoustic version of this song on Facebook. The greatest band of all time. Ever. Bar none.
While the melody lends itself to a summer vibe and happy days, the lyrics don’t. It’s about being in recovery in hospital – “As I lay on the ward, I I’ve never felt so safe and assured…” this could be about any number of things, I guess the romantic in me wants it to be about a nurse or a doctor.
In any case, it’s a gorgeous song!
James Holt is from Bolton, a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist. Brian Eno describes him as brisk, funny and exciting, feeling fresh and exciting to listen to. I agree with his assessment. He’s played at the Royal Albert Hall as well as sell out shows at the Deaf Institute in. Manchester and Hope and Anchor London.
KALA BOTI – Shining
This is a nice slice of R&B, guitars, bass and percussion — you could just imagine hearing this in the summer, sometime in the 70s… it’s so soulful. It’s a track that you could jam too, my hands involuntarily tapped away along to the rhythm.
To me that’s a good sign.
The song Is based around two chords, the drums are made up of a kick, tambourine and rim shot slightly quantised to swing a bit. There are some some strings to add to the melody, but for the majority of the song the bass and guitar doing the work – they do it so well.
Kala says of this song:
“This song is all about the uncertainty, that comes with being in the early stages of developing a crush on a close friend. It’s about going back and forth between being convinced you’re falling for each other, and questioning whether the relationship is at a ‘red light’ or a ‘green light’. Making you question ‘If the sun was shining, would they come back to me?’. It’s the weird in-between state of not knowing, but riding the wave to see where it goes. A mellow soul song for the summer feels.”
I feel you my brother. I feel you.
Kala Boti was born and raised in Amsterdam and recently moved to Lancaster. He became more and more heavily involved in the songwriting and production process of his music in the last two years. Like a lot of artists I have come across he began his musical journey in August 2020 with his debut single I’ll Be What You Want Babe. He has received a lot of radio love in particular from Shaun McGinty at BBC Radio Lancashire, as well as BBC Introducing Lancashire. He’s gearing up to release his new EP this summer.
ONIPA – Chicken No Dey Fly Ft. Franz Von
Ehhhhh Chale! Min krofo! (Translation: Hey friends! My people!)
This combines rhythms and melodies from Ghana, calling forth the spirit of Osibisa and a bit of Fela Kuti too (Cable Street Collective, you guys need to listen to this!), It takes the ancient tradition of telling stories over rhythms passed down through generations and brings it to the future – sound familiar? It’s hip hop, that’s where the tradition is birthed from. The horn section draws you in, the drums remind me of a guy I used to play with, Alex KB (rest in peace you legend), one time drummer for Osibisa incidentally. Oh also there’s a touch of Tony Allen in there too… There’s a meaty sax solo on this as well as a rap that brings it all together, this song is a commentary on the state of the world specifically on the greed of politicians, it is sung in pidgin English, I’m not fluent in it at all, but I’ve heard it spoken before and can pick out a few phrases. You can imagine this going down a storm at festivals and Ghanaian parties alike.
So.. who are Onipa? First of all, I need to shout out the fact that the name means human. Well they’re from Ghana and London, and are described by The Guardian as “Riotous beats and irresistible delirium”. They formed in 2018, had their debut at The Great Escape festival, played the Jazz Cafe, played 40 summer shows around the UK and Europe in 2019 including Glastonbury as well as sellout shows in Zanzibar and La Reunion Island…. Put it this way, it looks these guys can REALLY put on a show. With songs like Chicken No Fly Dey… well, they have the energy for it!
THE JOJO MAN BAND – Mary Mary
Nick Woodgate, aka The Jojo Man Band makes a welcome return to the Fresh Faves with a worthy successor to my track of the week, It Will Be.
It starts off with a processed guitar coming in over a driving rhythm from the drums… as I noted from my picks on the Listening Post, if I could ride a motorbike this would be my soundtrack riding across a desert road at full pelt. I can’t ride a motorbike and as the likelihood of me visiting a desert isn’t likely to happen for sometime I’m going to have to settle for sitting in the summer sun!
Whatever’s left of it…
I must say I like his artwork for this track, and the previous ones, always really imaginative, it’s the top half of a skull with flowers for where hair would be and then it’s got text on the “face”. There’s so much that could be said about artwork, but that’s for another day.
Nick’s no stranger to the Fresh On The Net, you can check out our interview here. He’s a singer songwriter producer, who comes from a family of accomplished musicians (a big understatement), and he’s got a great catalogue of tunes. It Will Be remains in my top ten most played songs on my Apple Music Replay playlist, and it gives me joy when I see when he’s got something out.
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.
Aoife Carton photo by Ruby Gaunt Photography