Artists at a glance
THE FOO BIRDS
It’s my turn to put some pen to paper and review our Fresh Faves. Before I begin, I’d like to thank Paul F Cook and Jamie Jamal for climbing aboard the mod bus last week. Your fresh ears have been greatly appreciated!
BENJAMIN BM$ – Ethiopia
DIY musician, Benjamin BM$, or Ben Savery is a multi-instrumentalist, unsigned producer, composer and songwriter. First off I have to shout Ben out for making himself available on every platform known to mankind. Genius!
It’s no surprise for me to learn that Ben hails from Bristol, a city that is very much renowned for its cool music scene. Ethiopia lures us in with a simple beat that then dives into some wonderful, laid back dubby electronica. I absolutely love the vibe! Ben’s FOTN submissions regularly tickle my earbuds, but this track in particular. It shall no doubt making its way into some future Toal towers playlists.
Ben’s had radio play from BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio. He is definitely one to keep an ear on!
BLEDIG – Misericorde
Bledig are a Brighton-based trio that showcase a real mixture of genres in their unique sound. I hear contemporary jazz fused with Trip Hop and an added sprinkle of progressive rock — ‘proghop’ they call it. Makes sense!
Misericorde is a song about leaders, political, hierarchal or patriarchal, who deem themselves above the rules they made for the rest of us. It’s clever songwriting that vocalises all of our recent frustrations. Music really is a form of therapy. As I listen to Misericorde I’m hearing shades of Lady Blackbird and Portishead. It has exactly the right amount of attitude and swagger I need in my life. With each listen I get more and more out of it. Powerful work from Bledig! I look forward to the release on 11th February.
CHASING SHADOWS – Light Up The Sky
Chasing Shadows are: Sam Roberts, Ben Etchells-Rimmer, Russ Pearson and Chris Leonard, an Indie/Rock outfit from North Wales. Since forming in 2015 they have built themselves an excellent reputation in their local area. They’ve enjoyed success in the live music scene as well as lots of worldwide radio play and support from BBC Wales.
Light Up The Sky has a lovely traditional indie feel, loud guitars, fierce drums and an infectious melody. It’s catchy as hell and I’ve a feeling I’ll be singing it for the foreseeable. These lads are grafters and are determined to keep building on the momentum and the success they have built so far. They will be back in the studio in March and hoping to gig as much as possible. Watch this space!
FERGUS – Flatline
Fergus is a London-based singer/songwriter. Released via Goldun Egg Records on 22nd January, Flatline is my melancholy friend this morning. A heartbreaking and distinctive vocal. What strikes me most is the vocal range, a voice that truly is an instrument in itself. Fergus spent his formative years singing and touring professionally with choirs and playing the cello, so it’s little wonder that he sounds so accomplished. He seems to have landed into his comfort zone and found his musical place in the world.
You can catch Fergus live in Wax and Beans – Bury 11th Feb, Camden Chapel – London 10th March and The Bedford – 7th April.
FOUR-LEGGED FRUIT – General Cogs
Bath-based Four-Legged Fruit started out as an experimental project in 2017. Old school buddies Elise Elston and Rosa de Korte would sneak into the music rooms at lunchtime to compose. They officially became a band in 2019 and now have a more recent band member, Ruben Angress, who adds to the percussion and texture.
General Cogs is the more theatrical of our Fresh Faves. My daughter described it the other day as having “high level Disney villain energy.” It 100% does too. The track immediately lured me in when I heard it in the initial inbox and I’m chuffed it’s made the cut.
Think Tori Amos with added drama. Marvellous stuff indeed.
HANNAH ASHCROFT – Amoeba
Born in the North West of the UK, Hannah Ashcroft is a singer/songwriter and a big part of the Manchester Indie Music scene. She has collaborated with Beth Orton as part of Brighter Sounds gender equality initiative Both Sides Now. Hannah has also gained support from The gaffer, Dr Tom Robinson (yes, he’s a doctor now!) and Maryanne Hobbs so high praise indeed.
An amoeba is a single-celled animal that catches food and moves about by extending fingerlike projections of protoplasm. A clever cookie as well as a very musical one it seems. There’s a real confidence to Hannah’s delivery. Not the average singer/songwriter by any means, I think I’ll have to go and explore more of her stuff, once I stop playing air guitar to this track. Hannah for world domination!
HAPPY SCIENCE – The Last Goodbye
Happy Science’s bio reads “Happiness is a Science, a disconnect from reality… all signs lead to nowhere” so no doubt I’ll be pondering on this thought for a while to come.
Self-described as A North London collective rather than a band in the traditional sense. They are a mix of Producers, mix engineers and multi-instrumentalist songwriters. They certainly have a lot to give, and give they do! The Last Goodbye immediately caught my ears in the main inbox, love at first listen you could say. It’s a gritty, muddy, rough around the edges and deliciously noisy track that gets straight to business.
Happy Science have a diverse range of influences, from political change to art, culture, protest, film noir amongst others. At 2 mins 23 seconds long, The Last Goodbye is a joy that doesn’t outstay its welcome. Fast, intelligent and to the point Poppy Punk. Yes please! Catch them live in London on 30th March at New Cross Inn. Wish I could.
JOSEPH LAWRENSON – Largo
Prepare to be heartbroken with this one. A song arrangement of Bach’s concerto for two violins in D minor BWV 1043, Largo was written in memory of Joseph Lawrenson’s dear dad who passed away in January. It’s an incredibly emotional and personal song, proper heart on sleeve stuff. Joseph has done a wonderful thing here, like a sonic picture book of amazing memories.
The Leeds based songwriter, composer and producer learnt his craft whilst on the road with his band Dancing Years and played hundreds of shows supporting the likes of Richard Hawley and George Ezra. Largo is available to buy as a ‘pay what you like’ download with all the proceeds going to St Gemma’s Hospice. I bought my own just last night via Bandcamp. You know what to do people!
QUEEN CULT – Woman That I Know
Queen Cult are a femme queer fronted four-piece from Macclesfield. The quartet love to big up women’s’ rights. Yasssssss please! They are Maisie Johnson, Leila Jacklin, Brodie Carson and Piers Jarvis and their sound is as sassy as one would expect.
Woman That I Know showcases Maisie’s voice, which more than holds its own against the fierce guitars and drums. There’s a raw, rocky energy to the track that appears to reflect the personality of the band. I’d certainly like them fighting my corner, they sure pack a punch! Their EP of the same name is available now via Indie label Mother City, and you can catch them live at Yellow Arch Studios in Sheffield on 12th Feb and Shacklewell Arms London on 6th May.
THE FOO BIRDS – Write You
The Foo Birds proved a bit more difficult bio wise for me today, but what I could find out was that they are a jazzy soul/pop 5-piece based in London.
Write You was a big hit with our Del when he heard it in the inbox last week. I can hear why. It’s an endearing number showcasing lots of styles and instruments, but overall the Jazz wins through. The horns are class and the vocal expertly delivered with poise — a nice vintage style for your laid back listening pleasure. It would tuck quite nicely into your Springtime playlists. The Foo Birds are taking their sound on the road and starting in London on May 21st.
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.
Hannah Ashcroft photo by Emily Dennison
The Foo Birds photo by @victoria.rose.evans