Artists at a glance
DUKE HUGH & BRYONY JARMAN-PINTO
FUTURE SELF & JAMIE JAMAL
PROJECT BLACKBIRD & LYNVAL GOLDING
CHERRY DRAGON – Starlight
We kick off with one of the most distinctive voices on this week’s Listening Post, Cherry Dragon, a Nigerian-Irish singer songwriter based in London who released her debut single Altar in February this year, racking up over 75K plays on Spotify. Cherry has been singing, writing and playing the piano from the age of 13, drawing influence from her Irish and Nigerian backgrounds “…blessed to come from two rich cultures” .
Starlight definitely caught my ear this week, opening with simple piano, light percussion, and Cherry’s deep, soulful voice, which is an absolute joy to the senses, guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Starlight takes you on a journey, completely dominated by Cherry’s vocals. I’m no expert in these things but I believe we’re going to be hearing a lot more of Cherry Dragon.
DC DE ANGELO, DAN JOSIAH – Glory
I write these reviews today with a certain amount of sadness following last night’s disgusting abuse directed at three young footballers. If you can listen to Glory and not share the anger, frustration and defiance of collaborators DC De Angelo and Dan Josiah, then you seriously need to take a good hard look at yourself. Glory documents racial injustice, discrimination and the horrors throughout the ages and through their own eyes, both using the words of Dr Martin Luther King as a reference point “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. Listening to Glory for the first time this week was for me quite emotional, and although I’ve never been the victim of racism, as a 45 year old from a particular background in Northern Ireland, I do understand their pain, and this track is most definitely my pick of the week.
DC De Angelo hails from Edmonton North London, a multi-talented artist, songwriter, producer and sound engineer, heavily influenced by Rakim, Slick Rick, and LL Cool J to name just 3, draws on his love of not just Hip-Hop but RnB, Garage, Grime and Pop to create his own style. De Angelo released his first album entitled June 6th in 2018.
Dan Josiah, rapper, producer and sound engineer, also from London, describes himself as a 90s child, combining his love of Jay Z and Kanye West with Bill Withers and Stevie Wonder, to create his own brand. Dan released his first album, Josiah LP, in 2020.
DON’T PROBLEM – King Kong
OK, so I’ve zero qualifications to review a jazz record, but I’m going to try and do my best here, so bear with me! King Kong is an absolute monster, and I’m not talking about the fictional giant simian, but the gargantuan battle between the drums, brass, bass and guitar of Don’t Problem, a South London based 8-piece. It’s almost like these guys really don’t have any love for another and have just decided to sort out their differences by pitching in some giant sonic battle royale! Genuinely don’t know who wins here, but I do know the track is a tribute to drummer Oberon King, written by trumpet player Sam who described King as “…a real force of nature when he was on the drums”, a fitting tribute I’m sure you’ll agree.
Don’t Problem describe themselves as an eight man brass and drums monster, creating original music from a range of influences. I agree with them in that I’ve never heard anything like them before, and no, I’ll never be calling them a brass band. King Kong is the third single from their debut album Liminality, due for release in September.
DUKE HUGH & BRYONY JARMAN-PINTO – Say No More
Our second collaboration this week is from producer Duke Hugh and singer Bryony Jarman-Pinto, and all I want to say about this is MORE COWBELL! Of course I am going to say much more about this charming little track, an electro, jazz, broken beat fusion that highlights Bryony’s soulful, harmonic vocal that rises and falls effortlessly. This is a gem of a song that inexplicably passed me by on the big list, oops, but I’m so glad it made it to the LP.
Duke Hugh is a dutch producer hailing from Groningen, making music for most of life ranging from classical, hip-hop and reggae. His productions “tread the fine line between broken beat with dreamy electronic hues through to some jazzy shades of hip-hop”.
Cumbria-raised, London-based singer-songwriter Bryony Jarman-Pinto was brought up around music by her musician parents, there is a jazz core at the heart of her music.
FUTURE SELF FEAT. JAMIE JAMAL – The One
Yup, I’m in my happy place now, this is a banger! Sweeping synths, pulsating beats, rolling bass and snappy snares provide what fellow mod Tobi describes as a “…synth-sonic funk-o-motive ride of ambient disco voicings, adrift in the blazing flow of electro-modulation, sifting textures of riser and shimmer of drone: the production rising like a deep space shockwave”. Jamie Jamal provides a simply gorgeous vocal performance on what will be eagerly received with open arms in the clubs, when they open again. For all you fellow house heads out there, please do also check out the Waifs & Strays remix, another level!
Future Self aka Jan Warner, a Swedish house producer now based in Bristol, has been making music under various monikers since 1988, achieving acclaim as Materia with his 2013 album Atlas. After taking a break from music Jan is now rebooting his career as Future Self.
JON FAZAL – Broken Streetlight
Broken Streetlight is a charming indie-folk number that’s more pop than folk, but that’s definitely not a criticism. Jon Fazal looks back on his upbringing with fondness, but also little doubt “I reflected on my time, I wonder are these memories really mine”, mirroring a vulnerability to Jon’s vocals which is quite endearing.
Jon Fazal is singer songwriter based in Plymouth, Devon; he combines indie-pop and folk to create his own sound, and has in the past been compared to Ray Davies and Bob Dylan. Jon has been praised by Sarah Gosling of BBC Introducing Southwest, who describes his music as “exquistely melancholic and full of poetic perceptions”.
MAYA YENN – Tiptoe
Well, this is a bit different, and there’s a lot going on in the background behind Maya Yenn’s Tiptoe. I’m recommending a decent headphone set to pick up all the little nuances, the tick tock clock, the blowing out of the candle, the haunted whispered harmonies, the sighs, it’s all delightfully menacing: “Don’t be afraid, you’re safe until the lights go out”. Maya wrote the song from the perspective of anxiety itself taking the listener to “…a surreal place… playing a high-stakes game of hide and seek with the personification of all their fears and anxieties”. I’d urge you all to check out the video on YouTube, directed by Maya herself, it definitely gives the song another dimension.
Based in London, raised in Staffordshire, Maya Yenn is an alt-pop artist and producer well known on TikTok, creating beats using samples from everyday sounds and objects. Her lyrics are quite often dark, featuring themes such as nightmares and anxiety.
PEAKES – An Infinite Divide
Ah, we all need a bit of electro-pop in our lives, don’t we? An Infinite Divide provides that dreamscape for you to just disappear into those synth waves, forgetting your woes and letting those sounds just envelope and comfort, chasing all your demons away, blissful!
Peakes are Molly, Max and Pete, who discovered each other whilst studying at Leeds Conservatoire in 2017, they’ve crafted their own sound with their love of Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, New Order, Haroumi Hosono, and Grauzone, and been inspired by female led heroes such as Portishead, Goldfrapp and Moloko.
PROJECT BLACKBIRD (FEAT. LYNVAL GOLDING) – Shake These Trees
No strangers to the Freshnet team (see Fresh Faves 400), Project Blackbird have teamed up with legend Lynval Golding and trombonist Tim Smart of The Specials for their third release from their second album If This The End. Again, this is another highly charged lyrical song to make this week’s Fresh Faves, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that the words “Got my hands up, I can’t breathe” relate to the killing of George Floyd, but founder member and trumpet player Jon Read has confirmed that they actually wrote the lyric before that tragic event, they considered changing the lyric and even discussed not releasing it at all. It was during a conversation about Black Lives Matter with Lynval where they discussed the track to which he stated his desire to sing on it — well you don’t really turn down a request like that, do you? Shake These Trees is a beautiful lament on the issue of police brutality and injustice, Ming Nagel’s vocals combining in perfect harmony with Lynval’s mournful pleas.
UK-based Project Blackbird are the aforementioned vocalist Ming Nagel and multi-instrumentalist Jon Read, exquisite shoe wearer and bassist Jamie Varley, Alan Roberts on guitars. Drums on this track and the album provided by Dave Tidmarsh.
VELVET SHAKES – Can You Do The Right Thing
Velvet Shakes are Josh, Scott, Louie and Ant, four lads from Manchester who have somehow managed to blend electronic disco, and indie pop with a dash of psychedelia to create their own distinctive sound, and despite only being together three years they already sound quite accomplished. The band themselves put this down to their relentless gigging around Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle, and you really can’t fault their work ethic, they’re not expecting success to be handed to them on a silver platter. Bravo fellas!
Can You Do The Right Thing is the first single from their upcoming EP, Mellowdrama, it’s a bit of departure from their previous releases, being much more relaxed and sounding more mature. I really like it and they more than deserve their place in this week’s Fresh Faves. Gonna be watching these guys in the future.
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.