Artists at a glance
DEATH OF THE HIGH STREET
PARTY ON MACHINE PLANET ZERO
THE SHACKLETON TRIO
Thanks to all of you who have submitted tracks so far this year! I just want to say we appreciate you!
Laptop plugged in?
Keys in the ignition?
AL’TARBA – Hush Little Bay
This is a summery track, nice reggae feel to it with a little basis in Hip Hop. Bianca’s voice hits the spot with this. I like the fact that they’ve taken a risk and put a high pass filter and not made the bassline as prominent on this track — it’s the vocals, quite a risk to take! The kick provides the low notes though, so that’s cool This was was always going to be a bit of a hit on the Listening Post! Great melody, something to dance to under the stars on the beach.
Straight out of the box this is my one to watch. The video is very inventive, animated and grainy, like it’s been edited on old tape, really effective! A great collaboration with Pia Vidal and Felix Pommier, who directed it and illustrated and animated it respectively.
Al’Tarba is a French beatmaker, he’s got an album coming on 6th May, has quite an eye-watering following on Spotify, and his site is very well kept! Kudos. His collaboration on this song is with Bianca Casady, an artist who is by no means one to sit in the shadows. She’s part of a duo called CocoRosie who, according to their Wikipedia page, are described as folktronica, freak folk and New Weird America.
What does that even mean?
I’d really love to know.
Something to ponder.
BROKEN BEAR – The Void
I reviewed Broken Bear back in Fresh Faves 418, and I remember pointing out that they were moody.
Like I said back then…
I like moody.
The vocals have gained more reverb — I like the way it’s produced — and they’re keeping it simple. It works for them and it works for me too, I love the way the guitars chug through this, and the way the vocals build up, and when it ends, the vocals still linger with that reverb.
This is from their EP The Void, which they describe as having orange-flavoured guitars – I’m guessing this is not a reference to synesthasia (being able to see sound), but the brand of amp – but what if you could smell sound???
That would be cool…
I can sniff out an 808 so, maybe….
They’re a two piece from Epsom: Laura on vocals, guitars and drums, and Paul on bass, synth and drums. Check them out for moody tunes.
DARK TROPICS – Helen’s Bay
This starts out as a piano-led song, with strings making you think it’s a ballad – the intro makes me think of Pink Floyd’s Great Gig In The Sky, but there are no operatic vocals on this.
At 1:19 everything comes in making it all gel together. This song has quite a power to it, and the way it’s got waves crashing in the background makes me think that a lot of thought went into the production.
Dark Tropics are Belfast duo Rio McGuinness-McCay on vocals and multi instrumentalist Gerard Sands. They share a love for Radiohead, Aretha Franklin and The Velvet Underground, they have a love for retro gear and analogue instruments.
Works for me.
DEATH OF THE HIGH STREET – Synergy
The way this song starts off is quite a mashup that shows multiple influences, and I love it. The drums start off this track laying down a rapid fire reggae beat – kick, rim shot and hi hat, with the kick playing on all four beats, and the rim shot doing an off-beat thing. The bass comes in playing a riff that’s stuck in your head on top of it. It’s such a great track in the end.
Death On The High Street have been on my radar for a while. Having come to my attention via Sally and Erin through The Songbird HQ, they are signed to Alan McGee’s label It’s Creation Baby, they’re a quartet from the Midlands, featuring Scott Baxter on vocals and guitar, Andy Purves on guitar and backing vocals, Ash Simpson on bass and Joe Hodges on drums.
Ash and Joe met while they were still at school and they met Scott in 2015 when they were all involved in other projects. D.O.T.H.S was formed in December 2020 with Andy being the newest band member to recently join the line up.
FAST TRAINS – Can You Take A Bullet For Me
“Mr Postman, can you take a bullet for me?”
This is how we are introduced to this song, over a track that builds – guitars, synth, hi hats, then everything comes in with some nice chord changes.
I went hunting for the lyrics, and helpfully on the band’s website there’s a lyric video!
“So I’ve taken my aim and there it goes, a message to the one that I most care about…”
It’s not a song about sending someone you love a bullet, because that would be weird.
No, this song is about sending a letter to someone with a message that could make or break things. There’s also a hidden whispering that I can’t seem to decipher, but I like the idea of that – hidden messages within the song. No pun intended.
So who is Fast Trains?
Well, Fast Trains is Tom Wells from Portsmouth, Fast Trains is his boundary-pushing solo project which started out in 2019. He has since received support from BBC Introducing, Amazing Radio and BBC 6 Music, and funding and support from the Featured Artists Coalition, AIM, The Ivors Academy and Help Musicians. He’s also collaborated with visual artists which have led to award winning videos screened at film festivals around the world.
KOLOLO – Granted [feat. Rosie P]
Hey, I know this band! I interviewed them last year for my blog, good to see them on the Fresh Faves.
This song has a poppy soul vibe, which is characteristic of their sound — the synth violins, harps and the quantised beat to give it some swing really does the job. Rosie P sings up a storm with harmonies, plus Zeus and Danny adding flavours switching between rapping and singing. There’s a little bit of vocoder in there, they’re using everything in their power to tickle your ears a little bit, and I’m here for it!
So, who are KOLOLO? Well… They’re a band from Bristol with Josh on guitar, Zeus on keyboards and vocals, and Danny on beats/percussion plus vocals. They recruited Rosie P for this. The video is so funny by the way!
LAZY HABITS – Waves
It slaps harder than Will Smith.
Well it does! The brass and vocals are something else, really punchy, and the percussion under it give it a swagger that’s impossible to walk away from it just makes you want to bounce! WOW.
The rap is delivered spitfire mode.
Literally. Spitting. FIRE.
This song is so well produced, and for me I’d been telling anyone at work to check it out, I had to put them on my main speakers just to make sure if what I was hearing was correct.
LOVE this track. Probably one of my favourite submissions of the last two years!
And the drums.
No. Let me stop here.
Citing the mighty The Roots as an influence (all hail The Roots!), Lazy Habits are a live band based in London, and include two drummers.
There’s…. TWO DRUMMERS??????
That explains a WHOLE lot!
Yep. I stand by my original statement.
This song slaps harder than Will Smith.
Lazy Habits have quite a CV having collaborated with some industry heavyweights including DJ Premier, Reeps One, Dizrali, Baby Sol, Hackney Colliery Band and Joshua Whitehouse.
PARTY ON MACHINE PLANET ZERO – Set Condition Red
A great piece of EDM here, very trippy as it goes out of key with the main synth and passes through filters to make you feel disoriented… when the drop happens it’s epic. It’s an instrumental and it’s not too fast, but it’s a good tempo to dance to. The main thing I like is the drum choices and the bass line synth sound, it really is a well-produced track. EDM is not my speciality, but I know a good dance track when I hear it.
Accumulating the number of votes it got on the listening post this weekend, I’m not alone in thinking it’s a banger.
Party On Machine Planet Zero is described as an electronic musician and legacy biological lifeform from the grey and dreary mists of England’s medieval border-lands.
I really should have paid attention in History and Geography.
SKINNYBOY TUNES – Don’t Waste A Minute
This tune is full of funky jazzy goodness, love the drums on this, and the trumpet solo makes it even nicer. Love the vocals too. I’m a big fan of atmospheric jazz, it’s the only way I can describe it, it’s big in the mix, that bass gets you in the belly, and the harmonies aren’t just normal three-part harmonies, there’s a lot of chromatics in the bassline too, which adds to the whole piece; you also expect someone to rap over the top of this to give it more elements.
I like it.
SkinnyBoy Tunes is a Norwich-based producer who’s got a fair number of tunes on Bandcamp. He’s also no stranger to FOTN, having been picked by Signal Committee’s Eclectic Picks (Hey! That reminds me, make sure you check out The Signal Committee’s Eclectic Picks!) as well as being part of the Faves in the past!
He’s currently contemplating putting his next EP on 8-track, given the way the spacetime continuum is disrupted, it wouldn’t surprise me if this makes a comeback.
THE SHACKLETON TRIO – Eel Song
This is a folk song, and the thing I like about it is the vocal. Georgia’s voice makes me feel all warm and gooey inside, it’s got nothing to do with this hot chocolate I’m sipping, it really is something else. The instruments featured here are mandolin and acoustic guitar. I’m getting the feeling that the violin is also being plucked for pizzicato effect, because it provides the percussive vibe to get things going. Honestly it’s such a lovely tune to close out the Faves with, it’s nearly 8am on Monday morning, and the toasty feeling isn’t going away.
The Shackleton Trio are Georgia Shackleton (fiddle, vocals), Aaren Bennett (guitar) and Nic Zuppardi (mandolin and banjo). Collectively the band draw influence from British, American and Scandinavian folk traditions, whilst Georgia’s flair for sourcing largely unsung material from East Anglia keeps the band firmly rooted in their local tradition.
They’ve received love from BBC Radio 2 and 4 with performances at Cambridge Festival’s prestigious main stage, festivals that take them all over UK, Europe, and internationally. They cover much mileage in their Mondeo!
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.
Dark Tropics photo by Wrapped In Plastic Photography
The Shackleton Trio photo by Phillipe Barbe