Artists at a glance
POST COAL PROM QUEEN
RAZ & AFLA
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s Del Osei-Owusu this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
Thank you to everyone who submitted this week! Top quality tunes all around in the wider inbox, and the Listening Post too. You’re all more than welcome to send me a track for consideration for my show on Islington Radio just drop me an email with a bio and an MP3 and we will take it from there!
I’m dealing with a bad cough right now, so no tea. It’s Lemsip. BLEUGH.
So, keys are in the ignition.
Lemsip piping hot.
Four lit and in the green.
98 POLY – 360
This is a banging bit of electro pop, subby 808 bass giving it that edge, as well as electronic drums making it stand out! But it’s the layer of vocals some sung, some pitched down, some spoken that make this song what it is. It’s trippy though because the lyrics reference Alice not being in Wonderland but in the land of Oz… What if there was a crossover in cinema years later and these two heroines actually meet…? 98 Poly if you pitch that idea to Disney let me know. That would be quite a trip!
This is quite a big departure from the fact that 98 Poly is classically trained in vocals and piano, but she’s also self taught in production. She’s London based, and her bio from what I can find was…
BAGGE – Rain
I actually played BaggE’s track on my show last month, and this tune is an absolute banger. I also made it track of the day on The Songbird HQ’s music blog on release as well as writing a review for it.
The first thing that kicks this off is a glissando down a piano, transporting you back in time with some retro funky flavours… It’s like I ran down a giant piano to be plonked into to the late 1970s.
First off this sounds a bit like EWF without the horns, very much a nod to “Fantasy”. The elements that are there are the bass, which is playing off octaves with the guitar that’s played muted, and I swear I hear an electric piano under that octaved riff…
BaggE comes in with a spoken word intro:
“Here we go again,
The rain trickling down my cold cheek
And the clouds gathering and getting darker
Can sometimes turn into something so sweet,
So enticing and almost warm with some good music…”
The sizzling soul on this track is incredible!
The groove is beautiful, as noted there’s an EWF feel to this, the electric piano – I’m going to say is a Rhodes, it’s not intrusive but you hear it there.
BaggE’s vocals are just gorgeous, there’s a reverb on the background vocals which are singing three simple chromatic notes, and it’s stuck in my head. Perfection!
The chord structure is trippy, but it’s in keeping with the flavour of the whole track, and it is pleasing to the ear for sure.
This track is co written and co produced by Kwame Kwaten. Kwame is a bit of a legend (A LOT of a legend), a badass keyboard player and a very kind soul. When he sends you music – you listen! That will never get old. Also cowritten by BaggE herself and Pete Lyons.
Since launching in 2019, BaggE’s contemporary neo-soul sound has been a much admired voice on the circuit, maintaining a solid presence through a constant flow of releases, self-management and independent production.
22 Year old BaggE grew up surrounded by music, particularly influenced by her Congolese heritage and musical family. Inspired by Etta James, Ella Fitzgereld, Jill Scott, Kayne West and Erykah Badu, BaggE is a voice heard across multiple emerging act live sessions and is a name to get familiar with for 2022.
This song is my track of the week.
BRAVE JAMES – Spaceship
This track really got me going! Very retro in the chord progression, the detuned piano sound is fantastic, it’s got to be processed in a certain way, as a keyboard player myself I’m really appreciating it.
The lyrics are out of this world. No pun intended.
“You make me wanna build a spaceship now,
Let’s pack our bags and leave the whole damn world behind
I’ll find a new place in the stars for us,
Walk on the moon and leave the whole world behind”…
I wonder what Pharrell would make of the production on this. What’s really sold it for me is the vocals — it’s those harmonies and the punctuation of the “HEY!” as well as the ooooh’s on background vocals.
You can hear so many influences on this, the Pharrell-style production, 70s sounds, the neo disco vibe.
I need to shout about the drums on this too, the detail on this is just so punchy, lots of fantastic fills!
Oh and my lord there’s a tasty key change up by a semitone at 2:14 from the root note of Eb to E, and you don’t expect it to come in at that point but it does and it just LANDS so well!
What a track…
London-based electronic artist, Brave James, combines otherworldly beats and soundscapes with intricate vocal harmonies and classic songwriting to form a sound that is uniquely his own. Produced from his studio space under the spectre of London’s BT communications tower, Brave James’s music is at once something new, and yet strangely familiar.
Brave James is my one to watch.
CHALK – Velodrome
This starts off with a four on the floor beat that’s relentless, it’s literally a wall of sound. There’s a guitar sound that starts off low in octave halfway through the intro and then pitches up an octave to accompany the vocals in the verse. The vocals start off quietly then build up to a big shouty bit, the lyrics are dark matching the track itself.
“This failing fold
That we called home,
Between all love
That’s ever grown,
Show me the mirror you promised to hold
The colours are fading,
The feelings are cold.”
What an image.
I love the fact that there’s a variation in the amen break in there to show the transitions.
It’s no surprise then that Chalk are a trio from Belfast with a background in film, they met at film school, and for me this wouldn’t be out of place on a sequel to Trainspotting, or a film about the darker heavier side of dance music it would work a treat! Black and white, energetic as “Firestarter”, and just as hardcore.
GEORGE DAVID – Blackhorse Road
A slow down in pace now, this is a track from George David, and as a friend of mine Claire noted on hearing it, she likes songs that have a story, and this certainly does, referencing places like Walthamstow, Heathrow, and of course Blackhorse Road. This song seems very personal to the writer, and I’m glad George let us in on it.
The main thing I like about this is that you can hear the strum of the guitar as in the chord changes along the strings, to me I get the feeling that the guitar is close mic’d and has that really live feel. It’s really dreamy, great listen!
George David is a singer songwriter and interestingly enough has an EP called Three Months, a concept EP examining a relationship that he knows may come to an end when the girl in question leaves for Australia.
That level of storytelling works for me.
GILLIE – I Ti
It was a pleasant surprise to see Gillie listed on the inbox as she is someone I’ve known for quite a while, having worked together in our day jobs in the past until she moved back to Wales. We are both contributors to a charity project called “everyone+everything”, a virtual festival where we raised funds for mental health charities in the UK curated by our mutual friend Matt Strong. I was co-executive producer on that, and it’s great to see her getting the recognition that she deserves here. She is a real sweet soul with incredible amounts of talent too.
This song is typical of Gillie’s writing style, she can deliver beautiful melodies over interesting instrumental backdrops, the drums are what got me, nice little breakbeat, with a great progression for it. A fusion of drum n bass, with her electric guitar over the top and her vocals at their ethereal best, it just swirls around you, and I am just nodding my head in appreciation to this track.
She achieved the highest amounts of votes on the Listening Post, so I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that this is an incredible song.
It’s all sung in Welsh, and looking at google translate it means “For You”.
Chef’s kiss badge.
J. KAS – Royalty
I love the fusion of reggae with hip hop here — the drums are solid, especially that rim shot. It’s got an afro beat vibe but not quite, the guitar hints as a bit of a Spanish thing going on, the chorus is infectious and just makes you want to dance! I like the wandering sax solo that comes in on the second chorus, it makes me yearn for a hot summer while it rains again.
This song speaks about how we are royalty, and this is proclaimed loud and proud.
It’s a song of beauty.
J. Kas is from Sheffield, and according to his bio, grew up in a household that raised him on rare groove, reggae, soul house and hip hop, and this helped inform his sound. You can hear these influences here for sure!
POST COAL PROM QUEEN – Free Radio Phobos
There is some ridiculous violin playing on this, absolutely brilliant, it’s played against a backdrop of electronic synths, and that’s what caught my ear initially, as well as the unexpected tenor sax solo – this reminded me a bit of my friends Machina X I wonder what Annie and Cyrus would make of this?
The lyrics intrigued me:
“Really I find it kind of funny
The systems we live in
Are alien to me.”
That stood out to me.
The production on this is stunning and they did a great job.
Post Coal Prom Queen are electronic alt-pop musicians and composers / producers in Scotland. This is the first single from their new album Music For First Contact.
RAZ & AFLA – Kya Kye Kule
I did a quick Google search on the meaning of the phrase “Kye Kye Kule”, but couldn’t find a definitive translation. That said it is supposed to originate from Ghana, and there are various dialects from there so… I will need to ask Raz and Afla about that one!
This is a dance track that uses some African percussion as well as synths, it’s not the standard four on the floor because it has an Afro beat influence in there. I love the call and response that begins at 1:34, this could go down a treat at a festival in the summer or in a club at midnight on New Year’s Eve, it’s just got a nice bounce!
Raz & Afla are musicians who work from their Hackney based studio, and have some notable collaborations under their belt including Tony Allen and the almighty Osibisa… Afla is Ghanaian! Ultra cool.
SIOBHÁN WINIFRED – This House
To close out the Faves this is a ballad that really embraces the idea of sound design — there’s a guitar part and vocals, but in the background you can hear party noise. The artist is isolated within it, it’s like being in a cocoon, and it really interested me on first hearing it as to how and why Siobhan went down that route for the production. I like the transition at around 2:07 where the drums and synths come in still keeping with the background noise but at a minimum this time, the production standard on this is brilliant.
I like the chorus, the lyrics especially:
“This house ain’t big enough for the both of us,
In the rooms we talk with a hundred eyes on us,
This drink’s not strong enough to watch you fall in love…”
Yeah I like that. Great job!
According to her Spotify: With a strong Irish heritage, Siobhán Winifred is an emerging alt-pop artist who grew up in the Dorset countryside but now lives in London. From an early age Siobhán was inspired by the music of Rufus Wainwright, Leonard Cohen and Alex Turner, Siobhan’s vulnerable lyrics, combined with Brit-indie rock guitars and electronic beats aim for the sweet spot where you could cry and dance to it, all at the same time.
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.