Artists at a glance
Happy new year to you all! Congratulations to all who made the Listening Post and ultimately the Fresh Faves, great work all. I have upgraded from a customary cup of tea to a hot chocolate. It’s Sunday evening and I’m going in!
*Pops in earphones, hits play*
COURTEOUS THIEF – Ar Y Mor
This song is sung entirely in Welsh and having Googled the translation of the title, it means “On The Sea”. (I’m hoping that’s correct!) Courteous Thief is accompanied solely by the guitar on this, and it’s a warm sound, I really welcome this… The other thing is that he makes use of his vocals really well here by harmonising, plus we get treated to a whistle solo too!
Lots of talent to be found in Wales for sure.
Courteous Thief is the son of a fisherman (Ahhhh! A possible connection maybe???) from North Wales, he’s a blogger, and lover of cider, he’s been played on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Introducing, and even added to the British Airways playlist worldwide.
GEMINI AALIYAH – Moonrise
One thing I noticed about the Listening Post is that there were some strong vocals coming through, Gemini Aaliyah is no different, and sings with a passion that highlights the lyrics really well…
“Oh wait, you thought you knew me?
But I don’t even know myself again,
See right through it,
I guess you’re seeing through me, as the walls close in, in again”.
It’s a strong song, powerfully delivered, and still got me tapping my toe to it…
She makes me want to see what else she can do.
Having done some research into Gemini Aaliyah, she’s known as the Ghetto Goth Girl. Based out of Leeds, she’s the underworld queen, the fairy tale princess from a dark and gloomy wood. Gemini creates all her music with her partner Finn who has produced and cowritten all of her songs to date, combining their musical and artistic minds they have created a dark and mystical world for all that wish to enter.
LEG PUPPY – Sync Deal (Your Song Has Not Been Selected)
Ahhh the brutality of the rejection email from companies you submit your music to, be it for playlists, airplay, tv shows, ads, etc.
Us musicians have been there plenty of times, and it becomes a part of life! Leg Puppy have put their cynical twist on this track and made me chuckle, I love the way they poke fun at what happens in the world of music, be it independent or major. This was evidenced in a track I reviewed before, Your Profile Is Dope, where you get Instagram bots posting how “dope” your profile is. It can get tiresome but Leg Puppy let us know we’re in the same boat with this stuff… The recording is making use of either Siri or Alexa (I can’t decide – maybe they can shed light on this) reading out the email, and it’s based around a dance track, 808 kick throwing down the beat, that bassline is pretty cool by the way. If I was to overanalyse this, I’d say that the idea behind this is that some of these emails are automated, so this being read out in a robotic voice kind of gives it that idea. Something to ponder.
Leg Puppy are no strangers to FOTN, this will be the third time I have reviewed them, Neil’s also had them at his Vanishing Point gigs, and by all accounts – they can put on a jolly good show!
SHAYNE DALVA – Is This Real Or Just A Dream?
The last time Shayne Dalva submitted a track to Fresh On The Net, it was a more jazzy affair. Now she’s called upon her classical opera training for this one, and using her soprano voice to great effect here, as well as showing off the use of her new set up, which she was excited to share with me about. I like the reverb-drenched piano on this, it provides a nice backdrop to Shayne’s voice, pushing it forward, and the string sound as a counterpoint to her vocals work really well.
I interviewed Shayne last year, and she has quite a history: lives in L.A., a classically trained opera singer, daughter of a Motown arranger, who had Sly Stone living with her… I mean, what a story. Check out our interview here.
SHELTER CALM – Pylon Dolphin
This is an instrumental featuring lots of analogue synth bits. I particularly like the synth leads that are being used, the processing keeps them interesting. For me it’s the drum sounds that keep it moving, altogether given some more atmospheric sounds, fireworks and a post apocalyptic landscape like the London Docklands in 1988 I’d think I’d be listening to Jean-Michel Jarre with Gary Numan dropping in for a visit.
Based in Nottingham, UK, Shelter Calm is the electronic side project of Stewart Cuthew, frontman for the band Time in Antarctica. inspired by years of listening to electronic music, but early Warp and Orbital particularly.
I actually interviewed Shelter Calm back in July 2021, he’s very active at the Electric Music Open Mic event, so keep an eye out for that!
SHLUG – The Scent Of Roy Keane
Hold on. This is about to get ROWDY! I am not ashamed to admit I had to Google who Roy Keane is. As a non football fan I’m still none the wiser! I do however like the way this song goes into one really punky, and balls out punk, it just goes to show that punk rock isn’t dead. My mum reminds me from time to time that when she came to England in the 70s that this was the music that ruled, multi coloured Mohawks and all. This song references Sky Sports and goes through different changes at breakneck speed. Before you know it it’s over! Clocking in at 2:16 it’s a rock fest good and loud…
Well done lads!
From what I can find on Shlug, they are a trio, three peas in a pod currently exploding.
Their mothers approve. Does mine?
She probably would.
SKYLU – Foreign Concept
The thing that attracted me to this song was the vocals — it took a few listens but Skylu’s vocals are what drew me in… I couldn’t place my finger on it, but from the outset I liked it.
The pulsing synth at the beginning acts like a metronome for the track and gives it an upbeat feel; it’s ear candy because when you hear it it grabs you.
Being a keyboard player myself it’s little things like this that grab my attention. The synth bass is nice too!
The drums made me fish out my old air drum kit and give it a bash, what a solid beat! I really like the kit choices here, especially the use of the big toms to flesh out the track, it makes me think of gospel music drummers like Big Mike Clemons in terms of the way it sounds. Big build ups, this one could be a blast for drummers to play live. You could even drop a drum n bass remix on this.
That voice is killing me by the way.
All in all a fab track.
Skylu is a south Londoner (South London crew stand up!). She has been finding solace in storytelling since she was tiny. Hopping along pavements to avoid the lines, humming melodies and scrawling lyrics, immersed in her dreamworld.
Skylu I’m happy to say, is awarded my badge for track of the week.
STARRATS – Living In A Meadow
On first listen you’d get a dub kind of vibe on this, with the echos going on the drums and spacey sounds all over the show…
It’s very psychedelic in vibe, I like the fact there’s a random seagull noise in there in the intro! Is it a seagull? Help me out here…
The noises coming through my headphones are very space age, someone’s having fun with some funky synths there, and I’m liking it. I like the vocals on it, it keeps with the whole atmosphere of the track… Nice outro to send you off to a galaxy far far away…
I couldn’t find anything on Starrats to report back as to who they are – which leads me on to a big bugbear. If you have music online please at least create a bio on your profile, whether it’s on Spotify, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. It makes it easy for people to find you!
End of PSA.
STAY LUNAR – Keeping Me Up All Night
This is so bouncy! I like the way it passes through filters in the beginning and through the pre chorus to mark transitions, it gives it a real feel of where the song’s going. I like the use of synth bells melded with the guitar, to keep everything together. Nice work Stay Lunar. It gives me the vibes of upbeat indie bands that you used to catch on tv in the early mid 2000s, and it’s refreshing!
Stay Lunar are a five-piece band from Bristol, they describe their sound as bedroom pop magnified, as bedroom pop has become the norm for the last year, this will surely explode out of the boundaries of the bedroom and out into the world.
WASUREMONO – Fill Your Lungs
I like the way this starts off with the synth pad and the guitar playing a lovely line that’s accompanied by a synth lead, then a hint of the way the vocals are going to go, especially with the ahhhs sung in unison. This is done throughout, no harmonies but for this song works. It was a big hit with our Listening Post visitors this weekend and Wasuremono should be proud of this. There’s a nice little acapella section around 3:09 as well, spine tingle moment for me.
Great song to finish the Listening Post on.
Wasuremono is the brain child of multi-instrumentalist William Southward and his love to write, record and meticulously arrange atmospheric pop songs in his shed studio in Bradford-On-Avon, UK. They recently announced a double album Let’s Talk, split into two parts — part 1 is out now. The band is made up of William, Madelaine Ryan and siblings Isaac and Phoebe Phillips, and they have become firm favourites with BBC 6 Music, with regular spins on various shows at the station and a session at the legendary Maida Vale Studios in 2018.
Wasuremono are my one to watch.
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.