Artists at a glance
LAST LIVING CANNIBAL
Did I mention I love numbers that are divisible by 7, no? Batch 469 delivers on so many levels, how could I know that when I picked this week to review, I’d be lucky enough to fall in love with every single one of this week’s Fresh Faves.
BENJI TRANTER – Satellite
Benji Tranter is a singer/songwriter from the Welsh Marches, and Satellite is from the debut album Songs to Make You Happy, released 25th November 2022 via Pear O’ Legs Records.
Benji’s lead vocals are certainly engaging, he also plays guitar and bass, with Ben Howarth on drums. The track is Engineered by Ru Lemer at Temple Music Studio and Produced by Jovis Lane, Mastered by Ed Woods with Artwork by Bella Driessen.
Benji has been songwriting for a number of years, and released EPs in 2014 and 2016, although more recently focussing on his power-pop group Ski Lift (who co-incidentally I reviewed in Fresh Faves Batch 400).
Satellite doesn’t disappoint on the happy scale, it’s enchanting and will leave you, if not turning on your love radar detection, then at least thinking about it. If Benji has written this about anyone in particular then they are very lucky to have this ‘long-distance’ invitation to make a connection. Why do I suddenly find myself thinking about calling an old friend I may have been neglecting…
FEZ – Best Friend
Best Friend was released 30th November 2022 on Roadkill Records.
London-based FEZ, Rollo Ellison on vocals and rhythm guitar, Mischa Dhar on bass, Zak de la Bedoyere Drums, and Ed Wing on keyboards, were formed in January 2019.
The core of the band met whilst studying in Bristol and in their own words, “drafted in the remaining members by tempting them outside gigs with cigarettes”, although also admits, “that may not be exactly how it happened.”
FEZ “play a blend of psychedelia and progressive rock that doesn’t simply embrace nostalgia for a bygone era of music, but reinterprets their essence through a modern lens” — their words not mine, although I have to agree that this track does that in bucket loads and it sent our listeners into orbit with so many giving them not only bestie love but more importantly their votes.
From the moment it starts, you’re floating around in your own head space wondering if FEZ would like you to be their best friend. Probably not, but hey, no harm in dreaming.
GRICE – Legend
I’m still in dreamy mode as Legend drifts into my ears, it’s gorgeous, the mid-section instrumentation for some reason reminds me of The Crusaders. It’s tinged with sadness as though the singer wishes for legend status but knows, from experience, it isn’t gonna be easy. There can be no better way to make your way in the world than with the help of this track.
Grice Peters, a self-professed electro acoustic glitch Art Rock hipster and producer, was born in Wimbledon and studied at Croydon Art College in London. Starting a musical journey as drummer in a number of post punk bands in South London, GRICE has already released four studio albums on his label Hungersleep Records.
This multi-instrumentalist, singer songwriter’s latest release brings us right up to date with the album Polarchoral, released 4th November 2022. Legend sits beautifully at track 8 on that album.
GRICE has already captured the attention of Tom and BBC 6 Music and has achieved many accolades — it’s no wonder as there’s so much to love here.
LAST LIVING CANNIBAL – Forever Changing Summers
Last Living Cannibal is the solo project of Allister Kellaway, who hails from Hastings.
Forever Changing Summers is from the EP On A Perfect Earth. Released 25th November 2022 on Nothing Fancy Records.
With its sweet simplicity and monotone vocal, you become mesmerised, compelled to listen, haunted by the beat, haunted by the visions, the impending doom of change. Oh dear, where are we going with this… I love it! The end of all we know to be true seems in danger in this foreboding track, and I hate to say, it gently voices our inner fears. Listen, take it all in then if you can, find someone to give you a big hug and a shoulder to cry on.
Kellaway says: “The six-track On A Perfect Earth provides a gleaming window into the fascinating psyche of the songwriter and the way in which his brain processes the daily humdrum of modern life.”
LO-FI JONES – Slag Heap
Forged in slate and small-town angst in the foothills of Eryri, Lo-Fi Jones is bearded brothers Siôn and Liam Rickard, who in their own words: “Brew up a heady mix of alt-folk, tragi-comic pop, and Indi-Cymraeg, with lyrics in both English and Welsh and weaving tales of love and loss.”
The gloriously named Slag Heap is from the EP Llanast yn y Llofft, released 22nd November 2022. Composed and produced by Siôn who also does vocals and synths, Liam is on guitar and bass, with Frankie Archer on violin.
The images painted in Slag Heap are stark, sharp, scarring and reveal the blood, sweat and loss that made the ravaged landscape we see so clearly today. It’s a wonderfully graphic folk song, you have no choice but to absorb yourself in a tale of suffering. I’m at a loss as to describe this song as well as the lyrics do, so I’ll quote a verse and leave you with the vision they convey.
Running through that vein
The blood that made is whole
On this hillside their machines grow cold
But I still feel the ghost of the men who work below
And I wonder how far is left to go
To reach that promised land
Of which they spoke…
LYVES – Blindfold
Lyves is the alias of Francesca Bergami, and Blindfold is from the EP Change, released November 2022.
Sometimes I’m in awe at how naturally things come together, this Fresh Faves playlist is listed alphabetically but you couldn’t have put it together better if you’d handpicked each track.
In Lyves’s own words “Blindfold was written with my good friend Drew Wynen. To me, it’s about not wanting to see what’s in front of you. It’s about uncovering denial and the role of hope in sometimes keeping us stuck in situations or relationships that aren’t right for us.”
Blindfold is too short! I’m left hanging needing more, that voice, the music, the story, it’s sublime! Where does it go Francesca! What happens out there in the dark, we need a follow up where you tell us it’s okay, don’t worry about me, I’m fine.
Lyves captured the attention of Tom’s now famous Mixtape back in May 2014 AND also the multi-talented Johnno Casson in February 2015’s Fresh Faves where he said “Full of promise, Lyves will continue to grow and conquer your senses. Swoon”. Well, Johnno, Lyves has done all that and more.
PARISA FOULADI – Lleuad Du
Parisa Fouladi, based in Caerdydd, weaves her way into our mind and souls with Lleuad Du, co-written with Charlie Piercey and Produced by Krissie Jenikins. This is Parisa’s first visit to Fresh Faves and based on this track there’s no doubt there will be many many more.
Rhys Mwyn, BBC Radio Cymru said: “music and songs exude Soul, Capital ‘S’. Gorgeous laidback soulful vocal over cool minimal beats. This is Urban Wales”.
Oh my, I am truly blessed this week with absolutely exquisite tracks, and now the awesome just keeps on coming with this sweet sweet soul sung in Welsh, I already love the language and the place so much I’m thinking of moving there, if they’d have me. Parisa Fouladi makes me want to move sooner. Lleuad Du absorbs you, mind, body and soul.
SCOTT LAVENE – Prettiest Peach
You just knew that this playlist vibe had to change at some point and Prettiest Peach does that, dragging you back to a reality you’re compelled to hear. The storytelling is enthralling and if we don’t all know at least one relative that fits the bill in a scene so explicitly told on this track, I’d be astonished. With his riveting words that roll superbly off the tongue I could listen to Scott on repeat, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.
Scott Lavene is based in England and tells us he does Odd Pop and Twisted Ballads, and he surely doesn’t disappoint with Prettiest Peach which was released by Nothing Fancy Records (they’re having a good week) on 9th November 2022.
- The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes, UK on February 18th 2023
- The Engine Room, North Shields, UK Mar 23rd 2023
STEPHEN DURKAN – The Acid Commune
Stephen Durkan is a spoken word artist and musician from Glasgow who creates socially (un)conscious brutalist poetry set to dystopian beats. The Acid Commune is from the debut EP The Stories We Tell Ourselves About Ourselves and was released 18th February 2022. Recorded, mixed and produced by Upcycled Sounds and Distributed by Upcycled Sounds Records, with music composition, drums, bass, guitar, synth and sound design all by Nicholas O’Brien.
From this Fresh Faves playlist that just keeps giving we move from one great spoken word track to another great spoken word track, both harsh, both painful.
The Acid Commune isn’t comfortable, it’s deliberately uncomfortable. Just stop for a moment and listen to ALL the lyrics. The chaos of the music and relentless, persistent honesty, wrenches me by the scruff of the neck, opened mouthed backwards, then jolts me forwards again. The stark reality that this is really it, that there isn’t anymore. What can I say a raucously riveting track.
THE KINTNERS – Hostage
The Kintners — Kelly and Keri Kintner — are Texas-based Indie-Folk Americana songwriters telling stories of people and places they have encountered on their journey. Hostage was released 28th November 2022.
After the brutality of the previous track don’t be fooled into believing that Hostage is anything other than just as hard hitting. Music becomes great music when it tells a truth, shares a feeling, tells us something about the person, a songwriter that delves into the mist of their minds, lets us bear witness to vulnerability and pain. Well, that’s when you come up with songs like this one. The harshness of an expectation that life doesn’t necessarily turn out how we expect.
Kelly Kintner says Hostage was “written about a crisis I went through in 2010. It was when I was first diagnosed Bipolar. I was driving around the country, looking for meth and old girlfriends before I wound up at a hospital near my father’s in New York. This is that song for me…”.
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.