Fresh Faves: Batch 425

Dead Anyway

Artists at a glance

ALEX JAYNE
CHROME+
DARK TROPICS
DEAD ANYWAY
EMILY RICE
HOUSE OF DIRT
KATY ROSE BENNETT
LEXIE CARROLL
NADIA SHEIKH
REEBZ

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

ALEX JAYNE – The Blue

Alex Jayne was raised in Shropshire, now lives in London, and her latest single, The Blue, is big-sounding dream pop, replete with soaring vocals, synths and thundering drums that could easily have soundtracked a key moment or perhaps thrilling conclusion of an 80s movie.

With plentiful support from BBC Introducing (who added her to the BBC Introducing Reading & Leeds HotList), Chris Hawkins on 6 Music, The Guardian, CLASH, and The Line of Best Fit, it’s clear Alex is turning plenty of heads out there. The Blue is available to buy and stream now in all the usual places.

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CHROME+ – Popcorn

The flow on Popcorn is just insane, and I love how restless and funky it is. This would blow up any dance floor immediately, because who could resist! No stranger to our Fresh Faves, Chrome, who’s often credited as Chrome of Deftex (the hip hop collective), is Mike Walkeden, and the Chrome+ project features live instruments to replace the samples for creative flexibility and more interesting live shows, along with DJ Super JB on beats and cuts, Phil Critten for guitar and backing vocals, and Tom Hanna on bass guitar.

Popcorn is out now on 7” vinyl and digital download (including on Bandcamp, link below), and you can catch Chrome’s Funk & Soul show on Future Radio and Mixcloud.

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DARK TROPICS – The Drug

I wondered at first if The Drug by Dark Tropics was some kind of homage to Roxy Music’s Love Is The Drug, and the answer to that is probably not, or if it is, then it’s the flip side, because here love sounds like a very different kind of drug — more the kind where you end up in therapy as opposed to the, er, clinic for Bryan Ferry et al.

Describing themselves as a “Pop-Noir duo from Belfast”, both the doom-laden vocals and melancholic strings remind me a little of Lana Del Rey’s droll Video Games — certainly I’m getting the same energy, or lack thereof. The Drug is taken from Dark Tropics’ debut album, Ink, which is available now on Spotify and Apple Music.

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DEAD ANYWAY – Space Dust

The most popular track on the Listening Post this week is Dead Anyway’s Space Dust. Effortlessly painting the scene of the long school summer holidays, placed in time by the titular popping candy. I love its dry humour, edge of danger, and those driving jazzy beats. And, AND, it ends on a punchline! “You might marry Mickey Dolenz. Or Pete Duel. You’ve already got the hat.” Utterly brilliant, bonkers, 98 seconds of pure genius. Love it!

Dead Anyway is Kate Arnold and Marc Symonds from Gloucestershire — they have known each other from their other bands for quite a while, but only started working together in 2019. They’ve appeared plenty of times in our Fresh Faves now, as they just keep coming up with corkers like this. Space Dust is taken from their latest album Are We Doing This? which follows their Trip Switch Lips LP, and five other EPs, and none share any of the same tracks as far as I can see — they’re so astonishingly prolific! You can get all their work on Bandcamp right now.

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EMILY RICE – So You Think You’re A King

Composer Emily Rice apparently started her musical life as a cellist playing in orchestras and rock bands, and more recently has composed music for Netflix sci-fi thriller The I-Land, the film Miss Juneteenth amongst others, along with various other contributions to big name productions like Tomb Raider, Star Trek: Discovery, Fast & Furious 8, and plenty more… the bio on her website tells more of her story, and her IMDB page shows quite a list.

So You Think You’re A King is a short but captivating piece for cello and piano taken from Emily’s forthcoming album Maybe It’s Because I’m A Londonder (love that title!), which will be released November 19th, and if available for pre-order now. This track proved particularly popular with our musician readers this week, few of whom are particularly classical, but that’s just it, innit — good music breaks out of boxes and transcends boundaries.

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HOUSE OF DIRT – The London Revolt

House Of Dirt, a four-piece band from London, are here to blow up your speakers with The London Revolt. The band’s sound blends all your traditional rock elements of guitars, drums, and (shouty) vocals with electronica to create something that sounds familiar yet crisp and fresh.

The London Revolt is taken from their debut EP of the same name, which available to stream or buy now, including on Bandcamp, and you can catch them live on 24 November at the Signature Brew Haggerston, London E8.

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KATY ROSE BENNETT – Seventeen

We last heard from Katy Rose Bennett in Fresh Faves 409 with her track Sleep (where she couldn’t get no), and in an interview she did with our own Del. Seventeen is more about belonging, or not: “I was not born here, but do I belong here?” she asks. Well, you belong right here in our Fresh Faves, Katy, no doubt about that!

This acappella track with its syncopated backing is beautifully concise, coming in at a mere 1 minute 21 seconds. As with Dead Anyway, above, it goes to show you can do it all in under two minutes when you have talent like this. Seventeen is taken from Katy’s latest LP, Alone On A Hill, which is available to stream or buy now, including on Bandcamp.

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LEXIE CARROLL – We’re Not Lonely Anymore

Lexie Carroll’s vocals are as delicate as a snowflake, which works beautifully with We’re Not Lonely Anymore’s gently plucked guitars, intermittent piano, and its twinkly, shimmering soundscape. A 16 year old singer songwriter from London, Lexie played her first gig on September 12, then played a song at the Song Academy’s Young Songwriter Live Showcase a couple of weeks later, and this single was released last Wednesday, making her Fresh Faves debut today, which all sounds like very rapid and impressive progress, so I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from her soon. We’re Not Lonely Anymore is available to stream and buy now.

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NADIA SHEIKH – Love Is Undefined

Love Is Undefined builds from piano and vocals into a right stomper of a track that highlights both Nadia Sheikh’s impressive voice and songwriting ability. Nadia has received lots of support from John Kennedy on Radio X, Chris Hawkins on BBC Radio 6 Music, along with BBC Introducing and Radio 2, plus she has supported the Stereophonics on tour, and previously appeared in Fresh Faves 359 and on Tom’s BBC Introducing Mixtape. Love is Undefined is taken from her new EP, Undefined, which is out tomorrow, 16th November.

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REEBZ – Skin

Intense from the very first second, Skin by REEBZ is an epic-sounding electro track that would not feel out of place in a massive arena or soundtracking the trailer for one of those mega-scale dystopian future shows that seem to keep popping up the eighteen million streaming services I have somehow subscribed to. At the same time, there is restraint in its vocals and melody — it’s got that perfect balance of power and poise. REEBZ describes herself as “possibly Reptilian; definitely weird” and more conventionally as a “solo female Industrial/Electronic artist”. Skin, as far as I can tell, is currently only available to hear on Soundcloud.

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REEBZ

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.

Steve Harris

Steve Harris is an independent app developer living in Swansea, Wales. A passionate music lover, his hobbies include not working and pretending to understand science. Find him on Twitter: @steveharris. Read more about Steve.

5 Comments

  1. Great work Steve! Congratulations to everyone who made the Faves! And thanks for including my interview with Katy in there too!

  2. Great reviews, well researched, punchy and eloquent as ever Steve. I share your enthusiasm for Chrome+ & Popcorn but a great ten all round. Congrats to all who made the faves. x

  3. Excellent reviews, Steve. Great to see so many female artistes getting well deserved plaudits from FOTN followers here too.

  4. Andy Page

    Excellent reviews Steve, although slightly disappointed not to see any fast food references this week – I’m always looking out for new recipes…😁

  5. HW

    Nice choices and like Popcorn

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