Fresh Faves: Batch 418

Still Corners

Artists at a glance

AMAPOLA
BROKEN BEAR
FACELIFT
LUCKY IRIS
OLIVER SAY
RUINZ ASON
SAM REDMORE
SŌMUCH
STILL CORNERS
THE JOJO MAN BAND

These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s Del Osei-Owusu this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.

First of all, apologies for the puns, and pop culture references… the Listening Post was so good this weekend so it put me on a bit of a high when reviewing these tracks. Grab yourself something to drink, put on your dancing shoes and turn it up to 11!

AMAPOLA – Regardless (Ft. Tilly Valentine)

This track is so smooth! Rhodes piano that’s got a touch of vibrato, jazzy guitar and drums that groove on so sweetly, then the vocals from Tilly. It’s one of my favourites this week, for many reasons. The MVP here is Fin O’Hara on drums, but overall it’s beautifully produced, gives me the feeling of Brand New Heavies but with a 21st century twist — jazz chords with sweet harmonies. Tilly Valentine is a bit of a superstar, having played Ronnie Scott’s, collaborated with another Fresh On The Net regular, EDBL, and our Tom has played her on the BBC Introducing Mixtape. As far as I can see this is Amapola‘s debut on Fresh On The Net and I’m happy to award them my track of the week.

So, who are Amapola? They are a three-piece band from London, who specialise in Neo-Soul drawing influences from Jordan Rakei, King Krule, Hiatus Kaiyote, and fruit and nut chocolate. Well my weapon of choice is whole nut, so I totally get where they’re coming from on that one.

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BROKEN BEAR – Gonna Let It Burn

This song is moody. I like moody. Downtempo, low-range vocal. Guitar line doing all the work. The bassline growls as if it’s been distorted — I suspect a synth bass is involved there too…

“Wake me up when it’s all over…” That’s the line that’s in my head. I like this line.

Instrumentally they keep it simple: there’s a synth lead that comes and goes in the chorus, the vocals are fluid, and it’s one of my many favourite things about this song. The guitar goes for a wonder towards the end…

Lots to think about on that one.

So who are Broken Bear?

They’re a two piece, Laura on vocals, guitars and drums, and Paul on bass, synth and drums, they’re about to release their new EP, out on 1st October, and it shares the same name as this track, but they’ve shortened it to “GLIB”.

I’m looking forward to it.

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FACELIFT – Mummy

This is gutsy. Theatrical. A bit of opera. A bass doing some great things. Saxophone wailing away before the vocals come in. I’d love to see this band live, there are so many twists and turns on this I want to see how it plays out!

Some of the lyrics that stick out for me are:

“To be without love is to be without money… when you first told me that I thought it was funny…”

I don’t know why, but it just leapt out at me and I wrote it down.

The music just brings up so much for me, loving the sounds — the sax isn’t just there for a whim, it helps the track along.

Brilliant.

Facelift are a surrealist four-piece formed in South East London, they marry madness and disillusionment with a tongue-in-cheek sensibility.

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LUCKY IRIS – Coffee Shop

This is a great dance pop track, one of the things that gets me is that it’s got a catchy lalala bit that sticks in your head for a while… I have no cure for that. It’s catchy and when you hear it you’re going to love it too.

The track is brilliantly produced, it’s not a dance record per se, but it’s got all the decent credentials to make it so. I love the arpeggiated bells that pass through the track, and there’s a really nice chord that ends the chorus into the verse.

“I just want to sit in the window of my favourite coffee shop and watch the world go by drinking coffee shot by shot…”

Well hot chocolate is more my thing, but yeah I can totally relate!

A quote from Maeve, lead singer (I love your voice Maeve!):

“Coffee Shop was really just created from our desire to get out into the world during lockdown. Although we were desperate to travel again, we found ourselves really wanting just to sit in our favourite local coffee shop and feel that little sense of normality that comes with being out and about running errands and stressing about running errands. The little things which seemed suddenly so big when they got taken away from us!”

I couldn’t agree more.

Lucky Iris are a duo from Leeds, Maeve and Jasper, and they make music that you can both dance to or just lie on your bed with your headphones on to just vibe to…

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OLIVER SAY – Cherishing

“Everything is not always as it seems.”

Indeed. The way this starts you’d think it was a jazz instrumental, which is entirely possible, as the drums are off-beat, the bassline sits in the pocket not deviating from its path until it gets to the oohs. Honestly, this track is something else. It draws you in.

Towards the end there’s a long instrumental passage that I love, lots of drums giving me that jazzy vibe again. It’s a pretty solid jam!

I need to listen to it again!

Oliver Say is from the Midlands, and describes himself as marginally balding, searching for the right chords.

Meh. It happens dude.

He recruited British-Nigerian producer Tony Njoku on this, and together they’ve put together a finely crafted track. What a tune to end the summer on!

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RUINZ ASON – Ready For Love

This is Ruinz Ason in full lyrical introspective mode, talking about being ready for love. The thing I like about Ruinz is that his lyrics are fully thought out — he doesn’t throw words around just for the sake of making it sound good, like trigger words or the trends of the day, he’s not that kind of an artist — and his sound will pleasantly surprise you. This track is from a fast-growing genre called amapiano that incorporates the sound of South Africa with dance beats, making them pop and sound exotic. Then you have the South London twist. Both Ruinz and his brother JFlames have turned me on to this new sound, and I’m absolutely loving it.

JFlames is the reason I became involved in Fresh On The Net, and I don’t think I have thanked him enough!

Rumour has it Ruinz has plenty of material ready to go, including an album that will explore love… I’m here for it.

So who is Ruinz Ason? He’s a rapper / singer / songwriter / producer from South London, who draws influences from all over the place. He’s spent time in Europe, has been on BBC Introducing before, and is no stranger to FOTN. My personal favourite project of his is “SPACE: The Journey Home, According To Mr. Nobody”. This is an epic album and worth listening to just for the genre-bending experience and finely crafted tunes.

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SAM REDMORE – On The One (Ft. Mr Auden Allen & Renegade Brass Band)

I love a good brass band! And combined with an MC spitting bars, yeah I’m sold.

So this kicks off with a funky drum beat, and the horns come in – lots of stops and starts, nicely arranged. This could get the party started, and easily feature on something like Tinydesk. The offbeat groove has got me tapping my foot, and that’s not a bad thing. The horns are KILLING me. The rap is delivered by Mr Auden Allen, and he does his job as the MC right getting everyone hyped up! I really enjoyed this one.

This is Sam Redmore’s debut single and he’s recruited the 12-piece Renegade Brass Band, who have played Glastonbury, supported De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, Grandmaster Flash, Public Enemy… I’m jaw dropping reading this, but they’re brilliant so it’s all well deserved.

Sam has had support from Gilles Petersen, Nightmares On Wax, Lauren Laverne and Craig Charles. He’s known for remixing classics and lesser known material. He’s now signed to Jalapeño Records. This track is also available on vinyl via Bandcamp.

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SŌMUCH – Studio 54

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… Well, not too long ago — it was New Year’s Eve 1977, and it was New York City. There was a club. The club was called Studio 54. This club was the birthplace of disco. It was the place where the famous and notorious used to hang out. A young Nile Rodgers and his musical partner Bernard Edwards rocked up to this club, and they were turned away at the door, because their names weren’t down. That was immortalised in the song Le Freak. The original lyrics aren’t printable on a family friendly blog hahahaha… But it’s stories like this and the original Chic sound that make me wish I could jump into my time machine Marty McFly-style and hang out at this mythical place!

Why? Well this song tells it how it is. The guitar is playing all night (the guitar riff isn’t just a reference to Nile Rodgers and his hitmaker, and I’ll tell you why in a second), the drums are grooving away like a monster, the Rhodes, the horns, the bassline… This could have set the dance floor on fire in 1977. You could say it could cause a disco inferno. It was a good year, a certain sci-fi film was a huge hit too — I reference it at the beginning of this review.

Guess it right and I’ll buy you a glass of blue milk.

Honestly? I’m impressed. I’m really not dancing around my house… No no no no. Definitely not me.

Now. Where are my platforms and afro comb?

SöMuch are an Italian band who officially formed just before lockdown in 2020, and are mentored and produced by none other than the keeper of the beat for Chic Organisation (Yes – THAT Chic Organisation) Ralph Rolle. He became involved in the project when Roby, one of the singers in the band, took the drummer Francesco to Manchester to attend one of Ralph’s workshops as a Christmas present. Ralph was very impressed and took Francesco under his wing as a tutor and mentor, the rest is history. This will not be the last you will hear of them…

They are my one to watch.

Check out my interview with Roby here.

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STILL CORNERS – Heavy Days

If there’s one way to my heart, give me sweet harmonies in a song. This is where Still Corners really shines with Heavy Days, it’s really boppy. Classy production too, Tessa’s voice shines through on this.

The lyrics are so descriptive:

“Your eyes shimmer in silver ways, your eyes are telling me to stay”. What a lovely way to describe non verbally expressed feelings.

Instrumental-wise this passes through so many things; there’s the presence of a guitar solo, and some synth elements, all in all making this song a fab listen.

Thank you Still Corners for submitting!

Still Corners are Tessa Murray and Greg Hughes, they met in 2009 at a London train stop. Hey! So did Mick Jagger and Keith Richard! Is this a rock’n’roll thing? I think so! They’ve been releasing music since then, and they’re going back on the road with dates planned for Europe and USA in 2022.

Official | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

THE JOJO MAN BAND – Kindness

Whenever I see The Jojo Man Band aka Nick Woodgate pop up in the inbox, even before I hit play I know that it’s going to be good. And he doesn’t disappoint. Here is Kindness, a bossa nova groove, with some sweet-sounding drums and a crisp guitar solo.

The chorus says “All I want from you is kindness”…. It’s a simple message. We live in a world where we need to do more to be kind, and I think this is a nice note (no pun intended) to close the Fresh Faves on.

So who’s Nick Woodgate? Well, he’s a London born and bred singer songwriter, the musical force is strong in his family, coming from a merry band of musicians, including his brother Woody Woodgate, drummer of Madness – Nick’s actually written some ace tunes for them too.

Nick has plenty of albums on Bandcamp and other platforms, and It Will Be, my track of the week from earlier this year is still riding high in my most played songs on Apple Music. He’s currently recording videos of his stripped back songs for his YouTube channel, and it’s a joy to listen to as always.

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Lucky Iris

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.

Del Osei-Owusu

Del is a songwriter, producer, keyboard player arranger and musical nerd from South London, Del comes from a gospel music background but listens to anything, everything and nothing. Read More

7 Comments

  1. Characteristically loving and well-researched reviews Del. A really enjoyable read as ever. 🙂

  2. Lovely reviews Del. Your a class act mate and your knowledge shines through here. The bands are great and as always the top 25 was great. I am back from holiday and gigging in Liverpool so am back in the hunt for new tunes! Let’s go x

  3. Louise Toal

    Nice job as always Del the dude x

  4. Well that makes for an entertaining read (the songs are a great listen too).

  5. Ahhh thanks everyone! One of my favourite listening posts this weekend so it was really a joy to do!

  6. Good, informative read, with a splash of Del style to make you smile : )

  7. Sue

    Just love the reviews Del 🙂

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