Fresh Faves: Batch 441

Moa Moa

Artists at a glance

AMY FITZ DOYLEY
CAITLYN SCARLETT
EMMA JOHNSON'S GRAVY BOAT
HOLLIE COOK
HOLY REPTILE
JUNKYARD OF SILENCED POETS
LOOSE ARTICLES
MOA MOA
SILENT-K
THE PHAT CONTROLLERS

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

AMY FITZ DOYLEY – Eye Of The Needle

The collaboration with Massive Attack producer Stew Jackson is clearly evident here, bringing icy sparseness and long tailed soundscapes to BRIT School graduate Amy Fitz Doyley’s visceral lyric, which she tells us “plays on the light and the darkness of our universe”. There’s much more of the latter than the former on display here, with bleak violence reminiscent of The Creatures’ Avenging Angel. The titular eye and needle turn out to be an idiom reversal, “a needle through my eye just to clear the skies”. “There’s no light and no love,” Doyley insists. “No end.”

Chilling stuff, and as someone who appreciates a good slice of unsettling darkness that is very much meant as a recommendation. There is a nicely satisfying guitar rock-out in the final stanza that maybe ends too quickly, but it leaves me interested to see what the artist will sequence this with on an album, EP or live set.

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CAITLYN SCARLETT – Forgive Yourself

As if on cue, here’s some light and love with an expansive string accompaniment to make Bjork jealous. If the last track is music for when you want the world to burn, this is the pick-me-up you turn to afterwards.

Caitlyn Scarlett is a repeat visitor to the Fresh Faves, here making her fourth appearance after first gracing our pages back in 2017. Since then she’s had success as a BMG-signed songwriter and independent artist, had Track of the Week and Big Weekend appearances on Radio 1, collaborated with Rudimental and notched up TV theme credits to boot.
“Forgive yourself for being young / forgive yourself for moving on”, Caitlyn urges with passion, authority and melodic affirmation. Anthemic.

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EMMA JOHNSON’S GRAVY BOAT – Worry Not

The title tune from Emma Johnson’s Gravy Boat’s debut album has the vibes of the classic ECM likes of Keith Jarrett and Pat Metheny; Fergal Vickers’ searing climactic guitar solo takes Metheny’s style and phrasing and runs with it, there is tight symbiosis on display between the leader’s lyrical tenor sax and Richard Jones’ piano and the whole thing is shaped and supported by the accomplished rhythm section of Angus Milne and Steve Hanley, on bass and drums respectively.

This is the quintet’s second appearance on the Fresh Faves, following last year’s arrival and subsequent interview with FOTN’s Del. This particular rendition of Worry Not was recorded live (on video as well – check it out on Youtube) at Leeds’ Northern Monk Refectory for Good Boy Live Sessions, who did a fine job of capturing the acoustics and nuances of the band’s sound.

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HOLLIE COOK – Full Moon Baby

Hollie Cook has some serious pedigree. Her father is Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook, her mother Jenni worked with Culture Club and Boy George is her godfather. She cut her teeth touring as a member of Ari Up’s 2006 reformation of The Slits. Since then she’s taken her brand of “Tropical Pop” around the world, with appearances on Later With Jools Holland and an impressive list of high profile support slots and collaborations.

Full Moon Baby is a sweet, hazy reggae jam with intersecting keyboard lines sweeping around a cracking drum performance, dub echoes and sassy vocals. “I feel so deep, so serene / I won’t let you go, my full moon baby”.

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HOLY REPTILE – Spiralling

Bristolian trio Holy Reptile originally formed in Kent as the Love Reptiles, in 2018. The move west took their psychedelic garage rock sound into darker, sparser territory as much at home in Death Valley as the Severn Estuary – I’m hearing shades of the Jesus and Mary Chain, Bauhaus, early Cure… sounds of the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Mind you, previous song titles like “I Set Fire To A Cross” suggest that their Kentish hippie pretensions were never to be taken at face value.

Spiralling chugs along around a haunting delayed guitar riff counterpointed by some neatly deployed bass work and carefully deployed keyboard pads. The vocal is cold and understated, letting the music tell the story as much as the lyric.

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JUNKYARD OF SILENCED POETS – Parasite Lost

The mysterious Junkyard of Silenced Poets last landed on my FOTN review pile back in Batch 395, taking me down a rabbit hole of macabre art, underground press and philosophical waxings. Their guitarist (sorry, “guitar strangler”) Leo Slayer is a friend of the site and regular commenter on our Listening Post. Apparently at some point they got thrown off of TikTok, frustrating any viral dance-off ambitions they might have harboured. So, back to the music we go.

Paradise Lost is a kooky rock dub reggae jam like the soundtrack to a suspense scene in a 70s cop show (“deliciously playful spy theme atmospherics”, noted Poppy in the Listening Post comments). It’s a bit disappointing to hear it fade out at the 1:57 mark, just as we were having fun together – but the kind of band that they are it can only mean that JOSP are leading to something. I wonder what it could be?

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LOOSE ARTICLES – Chaos

Manchester all-girl quartet Loose Articles describe themselves as “Feminine & Threatening, Working & Class”, delivering political punk fury in the vein of Idles. Chaos takes on the topic of impending climate disaster – “politicians will drown under the rising of seas / before they take this threat to existence seriously” – over a mixed tempo arrangement packing quite the epic experience into the 3:51 run time. Apparently it was inspired by a “feeling of helplessness” on a warm afternoon supping pints. “Whilst politicians fly their private jets to climate change conferences only to sit around scratching their collective heads as to why it’s so warm in February,” they note, “all that’s left to do is head to the nearest beer garden and watch the world burn.”

Chaos is the title track from the band’s second EP, to be released on Alcopop! Records.

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MOA MOA – I Do, Florence

James Ratcliffe’s London quintet Moa Moa last made the Fresh Faves in Batch 354 with their debut single Yellow Jacket, which our ed Steve Harris noted “got off to a rather good start” with immediate attention across BBC radio. A year later finds them close to selling out Peckham Audio for a 7th April headline appearance, having acquired a respectable media footprint in the meantime.

I Do, Florence invokes the New Wave likes of Simple Minds and Howard Jones, with tightly creative instrumental performances riding expansive synth orchestrations with gusto, the vocal issuing laconic authority at the centre of it all. This is a proper band performance, a real sell for their live experience. Peckham Audio are in for a treat.

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SILENT-K – Doorstep

“Wonk-Funk-Cartoon-Pop”, promises the Soundcloud description for this track. Yeah, that sounds about right. Think Talking Heads, Beck, John Cale… groovy wrongness channelled into an assured, laid back jam that defies you to break the buzz.

Liverpool’s Silent-K (the titular silent K comes from their home town of Knowsley) are built around the partnership of “The Pineapple King” Chris Taylor and former Zutons frontman Dave McCabe (now playing bass under the moniker Vincent Valentine). Forming in 2018, the band have played support slots with High Flying Birds and Cast, released two singles before this one and are about to release their Ross Orton produced debut album.

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THE PHAT CONTROLLERS – No Other

South Devon industrialists The Phat Controllers have been putting out music since 2019 and make their first visit to the Fresh Faves with an atmospheric jam reminiscent of acts like Front 242 and Juno Reactor. “A textured, joyous, bubbling rush of euphoric techno that avoids cliché,” said Poppy in the Listening Post comments. Well said, Poppy.

The track builds around a hynpnotic FM synth riff, pounding groove and expanding gallery of lead breaks leading to the chorus drop around the 1:30 mark. The entire composition is beautifully assembled with nary a dull moment across the 4:30 runtime, without ever sacrificing the barefaced groove. Put this on loop, forget the clock, lie back and enjoy the ride.

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Loose Articles

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.

Kerry JK

“Musician Misfit” Kerry JK lives to make strange music for interesting and interested people and to help others do likewise. His third album Tales of Addictive Games and Exotic Pets is out now.

3 Comments

  1. Nice work Kerry. Congratulations to all the artists that made it onto the Faves.

  2. Excellent reviews Kerry!!!

    Massively pleased to be included with these amazing artists – much thanks & appreciation to all!

    A great week of celebration for the ten year anniversary of FOTN too: bonus FOTN selections by The Happy Somethings AND Deb Grant as Guest Curator for Signal Committee’s Eclectics!!! Incredible music in the Listening Post & the Inbox — Congrats to ALL!!!

    Leo Slayer (loathsome guitar strangler for Junkyard of Silenced Poets)

  3. Poppy

    Thank you so much for your great reviews, Kerry, and for quoting my opinions too! It’s an honour and I’m really pleased to have my thoughts included.

    And, of course, thank you to all the brilliant artists who submitted! I always enjoy listening and there are some absolute gems in this batch.

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