Artists at a glance
GOOD HEALTH GOOD WEALTH
THE ORANGE TREES
Welcome to the Fresh Faves 474, my first of the year. No dad jokes, I save those for Christmas. Occasionally.
We have ten great tunes for you, all voted for by the team and in turn by our regulars. Also, an open invitation to all artists who submit tracks you’re more than welcome to send me a tune with a bio for consideration for my radio show on Islington Radio – my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, make sure you support the cause in helping BBC Introducing stay on air.
So, let’s get started.
Headphones charged? Si.
Four lit and in the green.
ART SCHOOL GIRLFRIEND – A Place To Lie
The intro is what draws you in on this one, it’s very big, synth-wise, promises epic things, and boy does it it deliver…
I love the vocals on this, as well as the drums, they are fluid and really stand out amongst the overall track. When I first heard this I knew it would be a bit of a hit on the Listening Post, and I was right. Coming away with the most votes, this one really is a good listen.
My favourite part of this song is at 2:28 where it all changes to a nice little chord progression that I rewound a couple of times.
Art School Girlfriend is Polly Mackey, a singer, producer, and multi instrumentalist from London, she’s also taken part in her own solo tours she’s toured Europe alongside Marika Hackman, the UK alongside Orlando Weeks and the US alongside The Japanese House. Outside of her own artist project, Mackey also lent vocals to Ghostpoet’s album I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep, and runs a monthly ambient / electronic show for Peckham-based female-led radio station, Foundation FM.
BLOSSOM CALDARONE – I Still Love Him
There are so many things that I like about this song. First of all it’s in 3/4 time — that will always be welcome around here.
Secondly, the pizzicato strings, you don’t usually hear that in music nowadays unless it’s arpeggiated a la Rodney Jerkins 90s productions, so it’s good to hear that.
Thirdly, Blossom Caldarone’s voice is pleasant to listen to, she delivers her notes with no stress to her voice, she’s got a kind of sweetness that I really like. The harmonies that weave in and out make it easy for me to listen to her as well.
Instrument-wise, I love the way the drums are played, there’s a cymbal choke that comes in as punctuation. The drums are not playing a strict waltz, it’s got an offbeat jazz feel to it, and the double bass is tasty too.
This song is stunning!
With the classical time signature there’s a modern element in the lyrics…
“07909 something 02
Was the number I rang when I was down and feeling
Mmmm said he was grown up ready to start
I love the reference to modern mobile tech in the lyrics…
Beautiful work Blossom.
This is what she had to say about the song:
“I actually wrote this when I was 16. It was originally slow and sad, and written about a fictional situation. I used to write like that all the time. Now, it actually mirrors an experience I’ve had; I feel as if I wrote it for myself. It’s weirdly specific, and it’s almost like I knew the person I was going to experience this confusing love with. I also predicted Michael Jackson’s death, so this would make sense.”
Blossom is from London, and this song is from her EP Maybe In Love (Maybe Not), which came out on 18th January. She’s got gigs coming up this year, I’d really love to hear how this song translates live.
Blossom Calderone’s I Still Love Him is my track of the week.
FERAL FIVE – Truth Is The New Gold
I like the synths on this one, especially the arpeggiated intro and crunchy lead. The vocals are spoken / sung, the main vocals go up and down on the scale. I like the way it switches from a major to minor key by singing one semitone down on one note.
This is definitely worth a few listens, because the more you listen the more there is to pick up.
I love the darkness of this song.
This is the second track from their forthcoming album, and before reviewing this I checked out the tracks already available of which there are two others, and given how strong this one is the other two are just as good. Especially Silver Sky. Check them out. Album release date is 10th February.
Looking at their bio, I’ve just realised who they are! Kat Five did a remix of a track I played on my second show for Islington Radio.
Feral Five are Kat Five and Drew Five from London and Kent. With Kat majoring on vocals and guitar, and Drew on bass and beats, they also play synths and percussion, and regularly swap instruments as well as finding new ones to play — everything from algorithms to crystals. Both produce, write and mix at Feral HQ, and their music features in acclaimed drag queens movie Dressed As A Girl.
GOOD HEALTH GOOD WEALTH – Snatch
Since I’ve never seen Snatch a lot of the references here are probably going over my head. However, this was one of the tracks that caught my ear in the full inbox. I love the way that the vocals are delivered in a Danny Dyer style, although I think you need to be sucking on a bee before you can get really guttural and into character…
The little nod to My Girl by Madness hasn’t gone unnoticed. This is a well put together song – I love the way it’s arranged. This could go down a treat at a dance festival, it is pure genius!
And it’s an ear worm for sure!
They list N.E.R.D. as one of their influences and I can hear that in this, especially in that clean production for sure, and I’m here for it.
Good Health Good Wealth (GHGW) are an Alternative / Indie London-based duo consisting of vocalist, songwriter and producer Bruce Breakey, and guitarist, producer and model Simon Kuzmickas.
LEXIE CARROLL – Violet
First of all, I’d like to say I’m very proud of Lexie Caroll, she’s achieved a WHOLE lot over the last year – one of which is getting her music featured on Love Island.
This is her newest single and, as usual, it’s stunning.
The lyrics draw you in immediately.
“I don’t know what happened between
Playing in your mother’s kitchen,
Now everyone’s asking where you are,
And heaven knows I hate the ghosts that wore you down
And took you on your promise it won’t feel like this for long.”
“I know it’s difficult to talk about it.”
This song shows Lexie’s refusal to write about her truths, and for an artist of a young age, she’s really expressing herself here.
Then again, her earliest memory of music is writing the chorus of a song with her friend at the age of six, so it doesn’t surprise me that she’s doing this now. Her lyrics are thoughtful and that’s one of my favourite things about her.
She’s also got a video to accompany this!
Lexie is an 18 year old singer songwriter from London. I interviewed her in 2021, check it out!
Lexie is my one to watch.
LOCKS – Nola
A bit of bluesy country in the playlist! I’m not sure whether I want to line dance or do the dosie doh, but it’s a bit of a jolly tune, and I love the fiddle playing. The double bass is up there keeping time too, and it sounds like they’re having a jolly old time with this.
The lyrics are genius:
“I found a house in New Orleans
Stripped it down and bled it clean
I took the bones buried them outside.
In the garden round the back,
Please grab the axe from the Cadillac
Dig a ditch by the lilies in the yard.”
Chris Hawkins calls them dark angels of graveyard blues, and that lyric says it all. Tom’s a fan too.
I love the fact they added some congas in there, the Americana purists might not like that.
But I do.
Locks are from London, they describe themselves as a junkyard Folk & Skeletal Blues group carving their way through music’s underbelly with a rusty pitchfork.
PRIMA HERA – Sidecar
I have heard this song so many times now, I think it’s part of my soundtrack of 2023. It’s such a simple song, Prima Hera’s vocals are gorgeous on this. She has a touch of reverb on her vocals, and she’s able to harmonise comfortably going from a major to minor harmony with the other single background vocal.
Instrument-wise there is no bass line, it’s just a synth playing a bell-like sound, and the string chords that come in really fit in nicely. I like the drum sound choices on this — the kick has a great thud to it, as well as the rim shot having a pitched down tone. Nice snare!
Prima Hera is the solo project of singer-songwriter Stef Williamson. Now based in Sheffield, her previous work with band Twin Kidd in Nottingham gained recognition from BBC Introducing East Midlands, BBC 6 Music and Radio X. After a five-year hiatus she returns to releasing music after being inspired by becoming a mother.
SKINNYBOY TUNES – A Day Out With Memorial Device
I like it when songs reference other acts in their titles or lyrics. SkinnyBoy Tunes becomes a foley artist with this one, using the sounds of a train station and even recruits a Scot Rail announcer to speak over the top of some lovely chords and a drum beat that grooves nicely. I love the electric piano solo on this as well.
This track is gorgeous, very put together! This was written in gratitude to the band Memorial Device (“The best band you’ve never heard of”) as a thank you for making SkinnyBoy Tunes a “Memorial Device Alternative National Treasure”).
The track is free to download but Piers does request you make a donation to your local food bank.
Piers is part of a community on Twitter that supports new music, especially via Neil March’s Trust The Doc show on a Saturday night 5-7pm, and Ming and Jon’s Monday Night Ride Out 9-11pm, which is how I came to know him.
He describes himself as a genre-hopping music producer from Norwich, who occasionally bothers BBC Introducing and 6 Music.
SPIN KLASS – I Just Want You To Love Me
I reviewed Spin Klass back in Fresh Faves 407, and if memory serves that was their first track they put up on Fresh On The Net, possibly also their first release? Well, their sound has changed a lot from that quirky synth-laden track Boom Boom (check it out!) to this indie rock anthem, and yes it’s an anthem — I turned my air guitar up to 11 for this one, the chorus is worthy of a singalong and they bring their raw energy to it.
There is a synth lead in the background, so they haven’t got rid of it completely, the drums are hard hitting, the vocals are strong as evidenced at 1:25.
Great job lads.
Spin Klass are a trio from Manchester, they’ve got some great stuff ahead having secured a support slot for Space on 4th March at the Bread Shed in Manchester. There’s also a reimagined version of this track on their instagram that I really like too!
THE ORANGE TREES – To Dream Of Another Land
A slow-paced track to close out the Faves this week, This is a gentle one, another that proved popular with our regulars. I like the way that this song matches its instrumentation to words — it’s very dreamlike. I like the constant synth pad and that the vocals are delivered in such a gorgeous way. I can’t forget about the guitar here. It’s very understated, but it’s giving the rhythmic background in absence of a bass, and it’s very effective.
The Orange Trees are a duo formed in Edinburgh, Scotland early 2022. The band consists of vocalist Rue Marie and guitarist, keyboardist Michael Steele.
They have a debut album in the works!
I’m looking forward to that.
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.