Artists at a glance
THE CRAYON SET
Hey everyone, thanks for submitting! It’s 4am, the cuppa’s ready… what have we got this week?
Well… follow me and I will show you.
BALLADESTE – Sai Ram
This has a gorgeous Celtic feel, violin leading the way, and it just whisks you away across windswept greenery… It’s a gorgeous melody that just made me close my eyes and dream…
It reminds me of something I’d hear as a romantic theme in a film, introducing the heroine with attitude, the leader, the heart of the group. It’s funny how these pieces give you that imagery, and this does it really well. I love a good instrumental, and the arrangements are bang on.
So, who are Balladeste? Well they’re a duo comprised of Preetha Narayanan (violin) and Tara Franks (cello). They describe themselves as indo-baroque meets alt folk minimalism. They’ve been played on BBC Radio 3 and discussed on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour, and are supported using Arts Council England funding, as well as the PRS Open Fund and Women Make Music. Having had a look at their website they’ve got some great videos on there too, my favourite being Dina Dukhio.
They can play stringed instruments beautifully.
But then you hear them sing.
– NO SPOILERS! But do go check them out.
BIG SOFTY – Supercomputer
I like the old school tape start up at the beginning of this – snare and tom hit cue straight into an indie rock stomper! The vocals are harmonised in fifths in the verse, and the song goes up and down in vibe, loud and raucous in the chorus and quiet in the verse… It’s the kind of song you could imagine being remixed for the dance floor… nice 80s vibe to it too! Being an 80s kid this suits me down to the ground.
Watching the video, I spy a Prophet…
Okay. Synth heads.
I like this. Oh and the video is brill! A mix of animation and bright colours definitely something to wake you up for sure!
Big Softy are Leeds-based duo Aidan Razzall and Tom Orrell. They have worked alongside each other on different projects over the years in various capacities, but once they started to make demos together they quickly racked up hundreds of ideas, loops and sketches which eventually formed the songs for Big Softy.
COUPDEKAT – Lost In Translation
This was a fun listen! I like the use of different vocal samples at the beginning, and the lyric “I get my words off the menu, I wanna go a la carte, did I say something to offend you, come round and be my Bonaparte” made me sit up and listen…
It’s a song that’s barbed throwing in French references, as well as references to Camilla? (“She’s there when we go on a date”), and…
Having looked at her other songs, it’s not a one off, Little Tesco is another good one!
This is a dance beat that goes through different stages, at the beginning it starts off low key and then drops into a bit of a pitch down slowed stage before kicking it up into a drum n bass flavour to close it out…
Coupdekat is Katherine Reilly. Born just outside of London, she started writing songs at the age of 15, drawing influences from the 80s including icon Debbie Harry. She’s also received kudos from grammy award winning Philip Lawrence, Alfie Templeman, Clout Magazine and more.
Oh. And Coupedekat is my one to watch.
HANNYA WHITE – I Call You
The thing I like about Hannya White among many other things is that you never know what to expect when it comes to her music. She uses a combination of musical elements – found sounds, musical notes, all put through a bit of a mental twist, and we have the result… Don’t try and put her in a box. That’s my warning to you. She will break out of it easily. There are some vocals here that are wistful, electric piano played by single notes, it all sounds very surreal, and almost like a film soundtrack… There are drums in there — a crash cymbal and kick drum, that come in and out.
Hanna doesn’t disappoint when you know she’s going to surprise you.
She sure did with me.
Hannya is a London-based musician, she’s had a cracker of a year, releasing her first solo EP, having done a session for BBC 6 Music’s Freak Zone, playing our Neil’s Vanishing Point gig, and she’s also an artist… is there any end to this person’s talent?
HILANG CHILD – Harmony (With Ninda Felina and Prabumi)
This starts off with the sounds of kids playing, and sounds like skipping rope being played with… Double Dutch maybe?
Then the percussion starts. For those of you who have followed me for a while you know I love a good drum solo. Like… REALLY.
The thing I like about this is that it’s got so many different things that grab your ear: harp sounds, acoustic guitar, violins, it doesn’t stay in one place and it makes you want to go back and listen again.
“The greatest thing about being a musician is experiencing it with other people. It’s a totally elevated experience when you’re not alone.” These are the words of Ed Riman, from Brighton AKA Hilang Child. This is from his five track EP Seimbang/Balance, a collaboration with Indonesian DJ and artist in her own right, Ninda Felina, and Prabumi.
I agree with his words. Nothing better than to play something for or with someone and seeing and feeling that emotion together.
LIZZIE ESAU – Bitter Weather
I cannot say this enough.
I LOVE THIS SONG.
Everything. EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS SONG.
I could just imagine just putting my something stinks in the room face on while watching Lizzie Esau sing this live – You know the one – the one where the music contorts your face so much as a reaction to what you’re hearing.
It’s a real thing. Trust me on this.
Lizzie, that’s high praise by the way.
The song goes through so many changes, starts off with vocals, guitar, drums – there’s a stop then dun dun duuuun – straight into the chorus. Lizzie part-sings part-raps this, and boy does she… Oh and the beautiful BEAUTIFUL harmonies… Wow…
There’s nothing wrong at all with this song. Perfect pop song…
This is why she has been awarded my track of the week.
Lizzie Esau is London born, Newcastle raised within a very artistic family (artist mother, musician father) her demos have caught the ear of BBC Introducing and local radio in the North East, and shortlisted for BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge. She also likes to collaborate… hmmm.
PUFFI – Love Is The Way (With Hodges, Japanese Version)
“They’re building stars up there just for you, I know they sometimes fade away, but that’s just vapour and cloudy days…”
No. I don’t speak Japanese. I had you fooled though right?
I went looking for the English version as this made me curious. It’s such a gorgeous melody, great production on it too, lush vocal work and just when you think it couldn’t get any more gorgeous…
They throw in some strings. It sounds very 70s in its production and I like this, you’d think that it would have been something recorded in Abbey Road when the Beatles downed tools and Puffi and Hodges went back in time after hours to take up where they left off…
It’s just such a sweet lullaby and I like it.
Puffi are from the North West of England. Describing themselves as DANCI ROCKI INDI POPPY LOVI they feature the vocal talents of Ben Gladwin, Alice Ray, and Hodges who takes the lead on this one.
SAM WRAY – Rollo
The thing I like about this song is the way the bass grooves. It sits well above the four on the floor beat, and gets your feet tapping… Sam Wray’s got a voice with some nice soulful touches, and this is a great song to show it off.
I really enjoyed listening to this, it’s made me want to check out his other tracks and that’s a good sign!
According to his bio, Sam Wray is a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist born in Kent and raised in Milton Keynes; a city he describes as “what people in the seventies thought the year 3000 would look like”. He started his musical life competing internationally as a street dancer, but fell in love with making music when he started playing guitar aged 12. Now based in South London, Sam has enjoyed national airplay across BBC radio and worked with numerous MK and London-based artists. 2020 signifies the flourishing of this talent with a string of upcoming single releases that blend elements of folk, pop, indie and jazz into his own unique sound. Sam writes, records and produces.
THE CRAYON SET – Boring
This is downtempo, low vocal, and chilled. I like the choice of synth lead melding with the guitar here too. Very atmospheric to the ear, and I like that. This is from The Crayon Set’s album Downer Disco, I like the way this is so chilled – nice to relate to the cold months that we are in right now…
The song wonders about someone that the writer has lost contact with, it’s possible that when they wrote this it was at a time that when covid hit, and you start thinking about those you have lost touch with and wonder how they’re doing in such a weird new world.
Something I can relate to.
The Crayon Set are described by the Irish Times as being catchy as a virus (I really don’t know what to say to that!). They are Dublin-based band that specialise in catchy, alternative pop. Their third album Downer Disco was released in September. They describe it as their strongest album to date, filled with their trademark expertly-crafted pop songs and dual girl/boy vocal interplay – this time with added synthpop and electronic goodness.
TINY DYNO – Still
I like the production on this, the musicianship complements the vocals really well, and the chorus is so catchy… really good song to close out the Fresh Faves with. It’s set me up with a good start to my day.
My favourite part of this song is the catchy harmonies in the chorus — it stays with you! Definitely worth a few listens this could work as a live unplugged number…
Yeah. I’m going to say it.
Tiny Dyno is my one to watch.
Tiny Dyno are a two piece pop band from Bristol. Gardiner and Kuras came together through the Bristol music scene, finding connection through a love of the infectious tones of pop.
They’ve definitely got infectious tones right on the nose with this one!
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.