Artists at a glance
CHARLIE AND THE OSCILLATOR
S.K.A.L.A FT. CONSCIOUS ROUTE
Good morning to you all from a fine and sunny Belfast. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who found the time to drop by the Listening Post this weekend to lend us some fresh ears. It really does help us and the artists a great deal. So now that I’ve handed the gold stars out, I shall crack on with our penultimate Fresh Faves before a well-earned Easter break.
ARBORIST – Matisse
Arborist are a Belfast-based (inserts proud face) Alt/Folk band and product of the musical misadventures of Mark McCambridge, surrounded by a cast of well-travelled musicians. Matisse is a really well accomplished and confident track with a sound that reminds me a bit of Fleet Foxes, but with added wonk. The vocals are understated and effortlessly cool. Arborist have gained support from Cerys Matthews, Cillian Murphy, Steve Lamacq and Gideon Coe on BBC Radio 6 Music.
If you happen to be in the Belfast area on April 29th they have a gig in Rosemary Street First Presbyterian Church as part of Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival to celebrate the life of Thomas McCabe, a fierce opposer of a Belfast slave ship company,
BLUE LUPIN – Sleep On It
Blue Lupin is the alter-ego of songwriter Joanna Wolfe. Joanna is influenced by the likes of Big Thief, My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins, but I’m definitely feeling the Warpaint vibe, and as a huge Warpaint fan this pleases me greatly. There’s a gorgeous shoe gazey style to Sleep On It, and Joanna’s vocal is hauntingly pretty. Wonderful stuff!
Joanna’s debut single Soak was released in September last year, and her debut EP Satellite People is out now.
CHARLIE AND THE OSCILLATOR – Juggling Chickens
Where to start with this one, eh! First of all, I can confirm that my 11 year old daughter is off to school singing it and is quite obsessed with the bonkers YouTube video.
Charlie And The Oscillator are a London-based act who formed in 2018. Sample heavy, dancefloor-friendly electronica with twisting and bending sounds that make them distinctive. The lyrics of Juggling Chickens has given me some fine Monday morning chuckles, with all the nipple flashing and twerking and it isn’t even 9.30am! I’m loving the sampling and scratching on this track. There is a lot to dissect here and I suspect it will be played a LOT in this house in the coming days.
Catch them live on May 3rd at Strongroom Bar in London. Honestly if i was in the vicinity I’d be there with bells on. I imagine it’ll be a fun gig.
FRANCESCA LOUISE – The Sea
Francesca Louise is a Liverpool-based indie/folk singer-songwriter who draws influences from the likes of Laura Marling and Joni Mitchell. The Sea is soulful, melancholic and quite simply beautiful. It’s another one of those organic sounding songs that doesn’t need to shout to be heard. Sublime stuff!
Francesca Louise has made a name for herself from supporting the likes of Echobelly and Starsailor’s frontman James Walsh. She has also gained support from Jo Whiley on BBC Radio 2. I suspect we will be hearing a lot more from her in the future.
FURRY HUG – Circadian Rhythm
Furry Hug is otherwise known as Jack Mee. The Liverpool-based artist takes his name from an ancient mythical man-eating beast, although the bio suggests that Jack prefers to write songs and make beats rather than the beastly cannibal alternative.
Circadian Rhythm was my favourite track from the inbox this week, so I’m delighted it made it to the final ten. It has such an infectious and clever little beat that isn’t too far removed from the quirkiness of Talking Heads. I was kitchen dancing to this one whilst making the school lunches. It’s flipping marvellous and moreish!
LIFE COACH – Monday Morning Revelations
Now it’s time to question my existence, and life in general. A nice reminder of how we can get caught up in the commercialism and general rat race of these times. We really can be easily led and I’m often reminding myself that on the grand scale of the universe, we are but specks of dust, and sometimes too full of our own self-importance. Maybe I’m reading too deeply into it, but hey ho. A thought-provoking track is meant to do exactly that.
Life Coach is also known as Jamie Cameron who hails from the rural Scottish borders via Glasgow. A solo project combining spoken word, sample loops, synths, acoustic guitars and drum machines. Jamie’s debut album is due for release in September this year and I am looking forward to hearing more!
PECQ – Left Behind
Formed in 2020, Pecq is the artistic moniker of multi-instrumentalist Niko O’Brien and Hannah Jacobs.
Left Behind was written in the aftermath of a close friend’s suicide. It explores the multiple detached realities of grief, the way time perception becomes jumbled and non-linear, and the ability to process life moving on with the huge gap of missing that person. I’m sure every one of us will relate to this track in so many ways. I certainly do.
Left Behind is the first single from the band’s third EP, Amnesia Ritual, and as the second act on this Fresh Faves batch to give me the Warpaint vibes I will be sure to investigate more. Pecq have gained support from BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Radio 1 to name a few.
POPUP – The Promise
Popup are four school friends from Glasgow who formed in 2004. After a few years hiatus they began writing and recording again in 2017 and teamed up with Glasgow label Last Night.
The Promise is the heart-warmer of the bunch. A cute wee love song that will win many hearts, especially with the dulcet tones of that gorgeous Scottish accent. There’s a little of the ‘James Yorkston’ about it too with its unornamented purity.
Popup’s new album Promise is due for release on March 31st, so we don’t have long to wait!
S.K.A.L.A FT. CONSCIOUS ROUTE – A Woman’s Voice Is A Revolution
s.k.a.l.a is an Australian based artist who has teamed up on this track with Edinburgh rapper Conscious Route.
A brilliant collaboration brought to us by both the male and female perspective of the world’s perception of women and how still, much work needs to be done for equality and respect for us women. I love how Conscious Route defiantly celebrates what women can and have done through examples from history. Let’s keep fighting the power!
SIOBHAN WILSON – Unst Boat Song
Hailing from Elgin, North Scotland, Siobhan Wilson is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. On her Spotify bio she has written that her friend Danny says she’s dead good and needs a bio. I agree with Danny, bios are your friend.
Unst Boat Song is Scotland’s oldest surviving sea prayer sung in Norn and Shetlandic dialect, so it’s a proper folk track that haunts the soul. The strings along with the vocals are truly stunning. It’s easy to see why Siobhan has had support from the likes of BBC Radio 6 Music and Rolling Stone. You can catch her live on May 12th at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh.
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.