Artists at a glance
TEN HANDS HIGH
I’m running out of orange hot chocolate. This is not good. I need to find something else to drink while doing the reviews.
First of all I’d like to thank those of you who have sent tracks since January, what a high standard! If you want to send a track for my show on Islington Radio drop me a bio and an MP3 to email@example.com I’ve also resurrected my Tales From A Record Shop Podcast, so I’ll be featuring some tracks on there too.
So on we go!
Orange hot chocolate? Oui.
Headphones charged? Ja.
Keys in the ignition? Si.
Four lit and in the green.
AMILOST – Good Morning
What a gentle way to begin the Faves! I feel like I’m being gently hugged, this is so peaceful.
The vocals come at you powerfully and then fade away, this is epic production.
Could you imagine having this sing to you as you wake up?
The lyrics are lovely…
Good morning friend,
Silence the night let it end,
Fill the air ultraviolet,
Good morning friend.”
Amilost’s Spotify bio made me smile:
“A Norwegian, a Scotsman, and an Englishman walk into a bar. There is no punchline but there is our music.”
This is the second single from their upcoming EP.
Oh, the birdsong to close it out?
BROKEN BEAR – Follow My Leader
Well, well, well! Broken Bear are back in the Fresh Faves. I’ve reviewed them twice in the past, and they’ve always come with the goods when they send a track through.
This track isn’t…
In fact, it’s quite upbeat.
What happened? This requires further investigation!
Laura’s vocal comes in a cappella singing the first line:
“Mistake a mirror for a window
The world is dying before our eyes.”
Okay, there’s a bit of darkness in the lyrics.
But it’s the tempo that’s picked up. My favourite part of this is the bassline doing some serious runs, not to mention Laura’s vocals, multi-layered with harmonies, especially in the chorus, it’s gorgeous!
Broken Bear are a two piece from Epsom: Laura on vocals, guitars and drums, and Paul on bass, synth and drums. Check them out for moody tunes!
ECHO MACHINE – Immediacy
Sound effects seem to be a running theme in this week’s Faves, this opens with what I think is an escalator!
Anyway this is Echo Machine. The vocals are very distinctive on this, and it sits comfortably within this wall of sound; the drums are right in your face, and compete with great synth lead and guitars. It runs at quite a pace too, but that fits, along with the theme of the lyrics:
I don’t know why I’m laughing,
It’s like I’m being chased…”
That feeling of a big rush is evident in this track, and that’s what I think they’re angling for in the end result, as the little blurb behind it says it’s “a song about overstimulation and the effect it has on our wee monkey brains.”
*Looks at half drunk mug of orange hot chocolate and weeps because there isn’t much left until M&S brings out their seasonal range in December*
I get it.
This was released on 29th March and comes from Echo Machine’s ALMOST completed album (they applied the caps not me).
There’s a lot of information about them online (excellent), even their own Wikipedia page: they are a synth pop band from Dundee, Scotland.
Gary Moore – Vocals
Michael “John” McFarlane – Guitars/Synths
Lewis Bage – Synths
Hannah McKay – Drums
Heather McKay Bass
They have some nifty merch on their Bandcamp, as well as tour dates coming up. This will go down a treat, I reckon!
GEORGIAN – Soleil
This is a change in pace, 6/8 time and slow, this is the second track from Georgian’s EP While You’re Keeping Me Waiting, released on 3rd March this year.
What really caught my attention was the chord progression in the opening verse, the Eb D C A, it just caught me off guard and I like that!
The lyrics are poetic, Soleil if my secondary school level French is correct means sun:
The light in my soul,
I need you my sol,
Please don’t fade away
I need you need you sol.”
This portion of the song is haunting, and that chord progression is back over the second portion of the verse…
Nice use of the brushes on the drums by the way!
Georgian is from Manchester, and has been studying music for the last three years, there’s a really cute reaction video to being played on the radio on Instagram too.
I’m going to have a listen to the EP in a bit.
JONNY FALLOUT – Monolithic
Let there be synths!
This starts off with an arpeggiated synth, plus samples… Someone saying “Everything I told you was a lie.” This all comes in over a synth pad that phases in and out of the space time continuum. This is a treat to the ears, especially using elements of dialogue being edited in.
This reminds me of 90s dance music, but with a more updated sound, more rounded, and the chords played just give it more oomph. Dance music isn’t my immediate go to if I’m wanting to listen to something, but this definitely has me more invested in what Johnny Fallout is capable of.
Jonny Fallout is an electronic artist / producer of synthwave, retrowave and synthpop with cyberpunk flavour. When he’s not abusing the upper limits of his machine’s RAM, he’s obsessively sampling cool noises, constructing new sounds, or remixing tracks.
KEYSIDE – Paris To Marseille
My friend Rich would be laughing at me right now as I’d be saying to him “Hmmm… This would be in the same key as the last track, perfect segue in on a mixtape!”
They’re from Liverpool. Yes, that land that people drink from the Mersey and suddenly come up with bloody annoyingly good songs, and leave us mere mortals in the dust…
Yes I’m looking at you Beatles.
Anyway, I have had these guys on the radar for quite a while because Carl from The Farm (another Liverpool band) dropped me an email to check them out, and I’m glad I did. I’ve kept my eye on them for a while, and it’s good to see them doing big tracks like this. It’s got a strong arrangement, giving the vocals space to be able to harmonise.
The rhythm of the track is bouncy, and I love the tone of the guitars too, I’m not a guitarist by any means, but I can appreciate when I hear a good tone — it’s not overpowering at all.
This is my track of the week for many reasons, and having connections in Liverpool right now I know that there’s a hell of a lot of talent up there, and the Mersey’s power is not drying up anytime soon.
Keyside are currently causing quite a stir on the Liverpool scene, this is their second single, and having followed them since their first release I can say that this band is boss.
That’s high praise for you non scousers out there!
NADIA SHEIKH – Quiet
This song is an interesting one from the outset. Contrary to the title, there’s nothing quiet about it.
Nadia Sheikh goes after those that might reject her because of her heritage and her gender, and would consider her opinion and thoughts irrelevant — this is something we still struggle with today.
The chorus speaks strongly as she sings the advice of her mother:
Just keep it quiet,
Don’t break your silence,
Don’t speak your mind.”
But then towards the end it gets flipped…
Don’t keep it quiet
Just break your silence,
And speak your mind.”
How things have changed.
Championed by Chris Hawkins of 6 Music and BBC Introducing, Nadia Sheikh describes herself as Spanglish, an independent indie/pop rock artist based in London. Having a look at her website there’s much keeping her busy. For instance, she’s got a podcast called Background Noises, where she talks to the unheard voices of the music industry. I love the sound of this! We’re talking promoters, charities, bands, sound engineers…
Nadia is my one to watch.
ROISIN QUINN – Don’t Look Down
What I like about this song is the fact the drum sounds are not your conventional sound. The rattly percussive sound makes it a toe tapper. I think I need to break into a junkyard and get recording!
Roisin Quinn’s vocals come in low, rhythmic, and in a rap style, but I like this, especially in her higher range, and how her London accent becomes more pronounced.
I love that guitar line too, the whole track is well produced as a whole. Everything hits the spot on this, and as a result earns my chef’s kiss for a well thought-out track…
Oh it’s an Essex accent not a London accent.
I stand corrected.
Roisin is a UK independent artist who’s been featured on BBC 6 Music, and BBC Introducing not to mention the fact that her song Leave Us Hidden has been featured on an Emmy nominated documentary called The Nightcrawlers.
Add Del’s Chef’s Kiss to that please.
TEN HANDS HIGH – Kitchen Table
This is such a bright and bouncy song, a danceable indie pop track in its full element, but everything is shining here! I like the guitars especially, but there are little hidden Easter eggs in there like tape stops, a little bit of a wah… the bass runs..
I like the references to Lionel Richie, 90k at Coldplay, bicycles in Bombay, Matty eating raw steak. I had to Google what the Matty reference was and it garnered enough attention to feature in a tabloid. I still don’t get it but…
Hey, whatever gets you through the night baby.
Great track nonetheless!
Ten Hands High are based in London and made in Leeds, they claim to be the world’s second greatest band (who’s the first then?!?), they’re unsigned, unmanaged, and uncool.
Scratch that last one.
They’re talking rubbish.
TOM HOUSTON – The Next Available Agent
The mind-numbing emptiness of being put on hold is captured right here…
This track is strangely hypnotic. It’s either that or I’ve spent way too much time on hold that I am used to it. After a while the words run into each other!
It starts off with a Scottish drawl, bored, you can just imagine this being the inner voice.
I can identify with this and will explain this believe me stick with this the pay off will be worth it.
The music is suitably Muzak, just a throwaway instrumental, and the voiceover is on a loop but chopped up. You can tell that Tom is being lulled into a false sense of hope because he’s hearing it differently as it goes…
Now what’s the pay off?
Do you ever hear an inner voice? I do. I made an admission a little while ago that my inner voice that convinces me some things are a great idea and some are not becomes very Scottish when I’m tired. It’s funny as hell. So I totally identify with this track.
We started off with a track that woke me up gently and now we close out with a track that’s lulled me to sleep, and that’s a really lovely way to close the faves for Easter.
Tom Houston is from Tilicountry, Scotland and says that he’s got a more “conventional” singer songwriter album out in October. He then retracted this statement by saying “Did I say conventional? Wash my mouth out with salt and vinegar.”
See you all in two weeks!
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.