Artists at a glance
LORIS & THE LION
ROE FEAT CIARAN LAVERY
BANDICOOT – Life Death and Other Things
A song about writing a song or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Write A Song. This dilemma faced by Bandicoot feels distinctly meta and insular. The result is far from it. Life Death And Other Things is a journey of the trouble an artist faces each time they broach creativity – how do you condense “life” onto a canvas or into three and thirty-seven seconds? It’s an interesting predicament for young musicians these days; what does one talk about? (“Scrambling ‘round for the same old things to say”)
The lyrical frustration and impatience are manifested by prickly guitar licks and consistent prodding piano. Singer Rhys Underdown’s vocals are what really draws me in. His delivery is sublime, the right kind of crooning that sits on top of a chaotic backing, it all works and we’re here for the ride. I’ll spare the comparisons to The Beatles and Scott Walker as Bandicoot are very much on their own wavelength.
DEKKER – Do It All Again
Acoustic vibes, floating vocals and contemplation from Dekker. Do It All Again finds Dekker looking back and taking stock. “Nostalgia, the weirdness of memory and time.” He writes on his Facebook page, which is littered with #DekkerDances gifs and him appearing to resemble some sort of hipster scarecrow who is camera shy. Though we never see his face, we do get a glimpse into his reflective side (“Wasted, oh, so many chances. All I had I squandered, I didn’t understand.”).
A bit of Spotify research leads me to discover that Dekker has over 350k monthly listeners and at least three songs that have clocked over ten MILLION steams. What’s he doing here then? He deserves to be. Plain and simple. Our European friends can catch him live on tour next May.
LORIS & THE LION – Mockingbird
While researching Loris & The Lion, I came across a grainy video from 2019 of this very song, Mockingbird. Two figures, squeezed into a small space, delicately and quietly play. Comparing this performance to the record, it’s difficult to decipher much difference. Loris & The Lion released EP Jorinde and Joringel, where Mockingbird is featured, so, I deduce that they have been waiting for the right moment to release this, frankly, stunning song.
Loris & The Lion are Georgia Harris and Rich Bond, who both studied music and met at the University of Liverpool. Harris’s haunting shaky and delicate vocals remind me of Alessi’s Ark, though much more grounded. Mockingbird spends most of its time simmering, only momentarily rising and it almost feels like it would be pushed over the edge, only to snap back to Harris and her piano captivating us. This is contemporary folk at its best.
MULELE MATONDO – Gaillard Zero
Okay, the most important thing about this track that you need to know is this… it pops. From the word go, the energy that Mulele Matondo produces is incredible, it’s impossible not to feel and feed from this energy. The killer ingredient is the driving soukous rhythm, led by Mulele’s impressive guitar playing, that feels like it could go on for days.
Mulele facts: he started music at an early age before he established himself in Zambia and Zimbabwe as a bassist, guitarist and arranger with a flair for his home-grown Congolese style. As ‘Ponpon Matondo’, he enjoyed success early in his career working with Chris Chali and Amayenge, Real Sounds of Africa, Lubumbashi Stars and New Stars Musica V.S.L.V. (which he co-founded).
NAVE – Damage Control
I’m instantly reminded of Hot Chip on first listen, only darker, murkier. I’m here all day for this type of alternative electronica and after checking out the rest of NAVE’s back catalogue, there’s so much consistency. Damage Control is compulsively listenable, and the more you listen, the more comforting it becomes.
Clocking in at just over two minutes, Damage Control ends before I had time to let my brew cool down. It feels like it could have had another two minutes, please.
NAVE aka Nathan Evans is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer who has worked on TV and Film scores, as well as writing for other artists.
RETRO KID – The Room
Funkiest Track this week goes to Retro Kid aka Jake Juba, with The Room. Combining slick synths and breakbeats the UK-born producer has produced his own brand of ‘melancholic funk.’ The male lead vocals are silky smooth, and the sample that pops over the chorus is perfectly balanced. Another track this week, that you just can’t help but groove to. Go on, try not to bob your head to this one.
Jake currently resides in Copenhagen, Denmark but also frequents the Finnish capital, Helsinki, for its infamous techno scene.
ROE FEAT. CIARAN LAVERY – Destroyer
A blast from the past for me, ROE was included in the first Fresh Faves I reviewed back in 2016. Back then, I described then-17-year-old ROE as having “too much talent.” Well, she’s proved me wrong at least. On Destroyer, ROE has matured to lyrically and musically, with help from Tommy McLaughlin (Villagers) on production duties and fellow Northern Irish song writing prodigy, Ciaran Lavery, who holds a co-songwriting credit on this one.
Destroyer is somewhere between dark indie and folk, with dirty guitar and pleading vocals, particularly on lines like “the damage is all that you came here for”, ROE sounds like a Northern Irish Mitski.
This cut was released as one half of a new double A-side single, the follow-up single Too Much For Anyone lands on 12th November.
RUTH LYON – Motormouth
“I’d never eaten Thai food before I met you” — come on, Ruth. One of many regrettable moments that Ruth Lyon shares with us on Motormouth, a song about opening one’s trap too eagerly only for it end up “with a foot in my mouth”. This cut rumbles with a menace and is perfect for sashaying down the street to.
Ruth, according to her Twitter bio, is a composer, fashion graduate, disability activist and wheelchair cruiser.
Highlights from this track – the pizzicato string counter melody and how about that bass? It slaps, figuratively, not physically. Fucking slaps.
SLANT – Eat The Moon
Acerbic pop punks, SLANT, return with their third single Eat The Moon. As with 2020’s releases La Danse and Haircut this track is twitchy and frenzied.
The Brighton quintet offer us less than three minutes pure escapism, with the story taking a sinister turn regarding her friends – “I’m tired and bored of listening to them whine”.
Let’s all soak in the self-pity, in our own heads. Sounds glorious.
South coasters can catch SLANT live at the Green Door Store, Brighton on 24 November. Bring your helicopters.
STOCK MANAGER – Reading Minds
For the time it took my shitty PC to save this document, Reading Minds had already finished. One minute thirty-one seconds, guys?!
This track was originally released, according to Stock Manager’s Spotify, in 2020. This latest version sounds fuller, fatter and just better… though thirty seconds shorter.
It’s so 90s – grungy guitars and vocals that Kurt and Dave would be proud of.
Stock Manager are Jack Alexander and Cathie Balmer hail from Glasgow. They’ve featured on BBC Introducing Scotland and recently played a sold-out show at the famous King Tuts in Glasgow. You can catch them at Stag & Dagger Festival in Glasgow on 13th November.
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.
Bandicoot photo by Beth Miller