WHAT DO WE LOOK FOR?
Every week Signal Committee present an Eclectic Picks playlist. All tracks are selected from the full inbox of 200 tracks that are submitted each week to Fresh On The Net. This week, however, all the credit goes to our guest curator, PAUL F COOK.
Our playlists are orientated to the alternative music fan. Lyrics are not essential, abstract ideas are embraced and the fusing of different genres is encouraged. If you used to write band names on your pencil case at school, you’ll probably like our playlists.
INTRODUCING PAUL F COOK
Paul F Cook first came on to our radar over a year ago when we stumbled across his mighty fine track, Osculation – warm, fuzzy, rich, electronic trip-hop! More recently, Paul made the Eclectic Picks with a more electronic focused piece, OMG-LOL, but it turned out to be Blues Man that caught the attention of the moderators here on FOTN – making it’s way on to the Listening Post, Fresh Faves and Tom’s Mixtape.
Beyond his solo work, Paul is a member of the bands Skylon and Fenco. If that isn’t enough to show that he’s well bedded into the fabric of the music community, he’s also a writer for Joyzine. This week Paul has kept it lean and mean with 8 carefully selected tracks, so there’s no excuse to put aside 30 minutes and give it a blast!
A FEW WORDS FROM PAUL F COOK
It’s been my great pleasure to sit in the Eclectic Chair this week and pick out some of the tracks that didn’t make it from this week’s FreshOnTheNet long list of submissions to the Listening Post and the all-important public vote. As a musician, and writer about music for Joyzine.org, I either have music in my thoughts or in my ears and I like to think my taste is, well, eclectic. For me, it’s all about that moment when you hear an artist for the first time who makes you pause and get excited. Sometimes it can be challenging but worth sticking with, at others the delight in the weird, and sometimes it’s just pure dopamine from the start. But my subjective judgement aside, we should celebrate the people that are willing to spend their time making music and putting it out into the world. Life is all about minor course corrections that hopefully get you to your ideal destination but enjoy the journey and know that one listen in the right could start a series of changes that change your life. All of the artists below caught my ear and I hope you enjoy listening to them as well.
Ally Vine – Day One
Ally Vine is a rapper from Mount Vernon, New York and the track ‘Day One’ closes her current album ‘American Winter’. She starts by saying “Sorry y’all, I’m not Kardi B or whoever else you came to see” and that’s fine by me as Ally owns her own voice like a boss. There’s a laid-back music box quality to the track which talks about how you can go from day one with no fans to a million streams and you start paying your bills. Ally Vine pulls out some magnificent rhymes like” being hardcore’s a daunting chore. I know I upset the rap Martians wearing these Crocs and Doc Martens”. Day One’ was a great introduction for me to Vine’s work and I ended up buying American Winter.
Panda – I’ll be here now
Nottingham’s Panda bring us a track that is part laconic big-beat and part Lalo Schifrin spy-theme, ‘I’ll be here now’ is initially a bold two-chord swagger of booming synth brass and timpani swimming in eddying currents of reverb. It only breaks cover at the mid-point to punch through the clouds and deliver an optimistic sun-kissed chorus exalting the song’s title. Panda’s Bandcamp page says that they “aim to bring something new whilst referencing the past”.
LANGUAGE LAB – DDHR
‘DDHR’ starts as slightly menacing swell of synths, a gentle motorik beat, a voice describing loading a floppy disk and running a program and a subsequent ‘Speak and Spell’ response. But halfway through we lift off into a beautifully pastoral passage that brings in acoustic guitar as a lovely analog counterpoint to the digital whole. The band say the track is “a homage to DIY Recording ethics and techniques, and classic electronica” and describe themselves as “Edinburgh’s electro drone senile delinquents. Pop, techno…whatever”.
The Fades – Time Is Right
This is a battering ghost train roller coaster of power chords and shredding guitar riffs with some sweet backing vocals and it packs so, so much into a track that doesn’t even make it to 2 minutes. It’s like someone fired a surf-punk into the sun at warp speed while a heavenly choir rejoices in the shredding with their beatific “aaaaahs”. Could also have been used as a terrifying wake up blast for George McFly in Back to The Future. It’s also worth noting that they have a great design aesthetic as well, and this should never be underestimated when people encounter your music for the first time.
Crab Clan – Have You Ever Been Snuffed Out?
The track definitely fits the eclectic vibe as it sounds like the clacking mechanism of a Heath Robinson machine working. There is jittery lack of resolution as the track ploughs on like a runaway train with pops of sped up and slowed down voices swirling around the main disembodied voice periodically quoting the song’s title. There’s not much I could find out about Crab Clan (other than a reference in Warhammer to Defenders of the Empire who spend their lives upon the Carpenter Wall) and the enigmatic statement on their SoundCloud page proclaiming ‘Musical Collective’. If you like art/music act The Residents then you will love this.
NAVE – Sunrise in Baghdad
I reviewed NAVE’s previous release, ‘This Is Hell’ for Joyzine.org and I enjoy how NAVE manages to weave his woozy trip-hop to utilise optimism and melancholy in his work. The sound of ‘Sunrise in Baghdad’ is evocative of the shimmer you get as the sun comes up and NAVE (AKA Nathan) says the track was “written with the vision of a family going about their day enjoying the beauty of Baghdad as opposed to the rest of the world’s view that this is an area of war, forgetting that it is a beautiful area full of parks, lakes and families enjoying the sunrise together”.
The Great Schizm – Wounded Earth
Eclectic picks? Well ‘Wounded Earth’ by The Great Schizm (sic) has that going on in spades. I can’t think of many artists who reach for a didgeridoo sound that often, but I say do do that didgeridoo that you do so well, as it works beautifully on this atmospheric track. It has the feel of a drone shot over a mountainous landscape at sunrise as the clouds get burned away by the sun. The Great Schizm say on their Bandcamp page that they “create deep and organic ambient music, encompassing a range of concepts including space, nature, history, and the depths of the intricate mind.” Well, they’re not wrong. The track is available on a compilation called ‘Weird Harvest – A Weird Garden Collection’, released Feb 2020, but the track seems to date back to their 2014 album ‘Singles’.
evon b – Did It For You
My final pick is from Birmingham’s evon b and ‘Did It For You’ which is a wonderfully sparse reggae track that hangs off the syncopated piano part with some added rhythm from finger clicks, minimal drums and some sit-up-straight bursts of timbale. All of this allows the voice to float over the top supported by some great backing vocals. This track is ripe for a remixer to come along and make it epic but the lack of details about evon b on her SoundCloud page and this leads me on to my final point.
A Note To All Artists:
It’s in your best interest to put as much relevant information as possible on your SoundCloud page. A short bio is great but if you have a Bandcamp page, social accounts such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, an artist email address (it’s advisable not to use a personal account) or a website include the links on your SoundCloud page. If someone connects with your music and wants to get in touch but has no way to do it then you could miss out on a gig, a sale, a review or your music being promoted to a wider audience by someone with great connections. Treat yourself like a professional and others will to. Music-Medium-Message.
You can listen to this weeks playlist using the player below, or click here to open the Soundcloud playlist in a new window. For the best listening experience… crank up the volume and immerse yourself in the music!
ARTISTS SELECTED THIS WEEK
- ALLY VYNE – Day One Prod by Curtiss King
- PANDA – I’ll Be Here Now
- LANGUAGE LAB (Sco) – DDHR
- THE FADES – Time Is Right
- CRAB CLAN – Have You Ever Been Snuffed Out?
- NAVE – Sunrise In Baghdad
- THE GREAT SCHIZM – Wounded Earth
- EVON B – Did It For You
We all have ambitions to get on national radio, but in the meantime there are loads of great, independent radio stations that are always looking for new music of the alternative variety. They offer no promises, but the following hosts tell me they that, if you made this list, they’d like you to get in touch to be considered for their show:
- Chris Watts, presenter of “In The Moog” online on NCCR (UK) (Twitter: @chriswatts1965. Electronic/synth-based tracks (mp3 &/or WAV) to firstname.lastname@example.org, together with artwork &/or band pic and your Twitter handle).
- Lucas Gil, presenter of Supernova on Glitterbeam Radio (Twitter @lucasgil, apply by his website here)
- Joe Figueira of North Manchester FM (Twitter @moretonguy, apply with MP3, short bio & twitter handle by e-mail to email@example.com)
POLITE REQUEST TO ALL ARTISTS
If you’re on Twitter, IG etc make sure you put a link to your social media pages on your soundcloud profile. It’ll save curators, moderators, radio folk etc lots of time letting you know you made the cut. On the other hand, maintaining anonymity might lead to a cult following in a remote location that you don’t find out about until someone from Svalbard FM hunts you down 20 years later to do a Searching For Sugar Man-esque documentary.