Artists at a glance
GECKO SEX SATELLITE
HUW AND THE GREATER GOOD
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s Poppy Bristow this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
ADERYN – I Wish I Had A Dog
It’s a sparkling start to this week’s Fresh Faves as London-based singer-songwriter Aderyn kicks things off with a perky rush of power pop. The breezy vocals and upbeat rhythm of I Wish I Had A Dog sugar the pill of the contemporary urban malaise depicted in its vividly disaffected lyrics, but the message is as strong as can be.
According to Bandcamp, Aderyn left her home on a sheep farm in the Brecon Beacons at 16 to become a drummer in a grunge band, and this sense of adventure is evident through how confidently she welds personal and social concerns to create a perfect picture of the present in Britain. Could I Wish I Had A Dog be an anthem for our times? You bet.
CHIMER – Closer
Chimer’s Soundcloud biography state that the band are ‘bringing back simplicity, power and storytelling with their new sound, capturing audiences in the South East’. Indeed, simple though their power-trio setup might be, Closer is more complex than that description applies.
Although the drums that underpin the track move from a sleepy shuffle to a flurry of cymbal-bashing and back again, and the brightly spiky guitar scribbles between the lines with unpredictable panache, this adds up to an offering as surprisingly radio-friendly as it is formula-defying. With a yearning vocal providing an emotional grounding for this knot of instrumentation, we’ve got a song that chimes as plangently as the band’s name suggests.
DUB TROPICO – One Time
Rio De Janeiro’s Dub Tropico describe One Time as a ‘summery, upbeat and catchy reggae track with conscious lyrics’. Brazil may be seeing the winter solstice now, but as we in the northern hemisphere enjoy the longest, lightest day of the year, there couldn’t be a better soundtrack for it.
Built over the sort of bassline that gets in your bones, the cavernous production hits all the marks for a classic piece of dub while vocalist Madha’s sleek, positive delivery lends it a brightness which communicates the empowering sentiment of the lyrics in style. As powerfully soulful as it is impeccably glossy, you can imagine sound systems playing this one for years to come.
DUTCH MUSTARD – Feel Everything
Sarah-Jayne Riedel’s London-based project Dutch Mustard are here to capture the feeling of the long, drowsy days with this shoegazey offering. The thick layers of guitar which Feel Everything is built from swell into waves of soothing sound that wash over you with a refreshingly light touch, accompanied by synth accents bubbling up to add aquatic colour.
Just as Sarah-Jayne’s ethereal vocals soar over the backing, the simple lyrics give a bird’s-eye view of experience, suggesting a zoom-out from the opening image of a solo traveller to something much wider. Dutch Mustard cite influences from Jeff Buckley, Talking Heads, Ride, and My Bloody Valentine to Wolf Alice, Tame Impala, Pond, and St. Vincent, and Feel Everything does a masterful job of combining these into something endlessly listenable.
GECKO SEX SATELLITE – Moussaka Mountain
Many an American children’s song tells of fantastic places such as the Big Rock Candy Mountain and the Good Ship Lollipop, but what about those of us whose palates prefer the savoury? Enter Gecko Sex Satellite with their playful, dubby Moussaka Mountain.
The relaxed bob of the music is whimsical without sacrificing elegance for silliness, providing a delicious bed for lyrics which speak of turmeric sunshine and bay-leaf canopies. Just as you’re tucking in the song takes an unpredictable turn at its close, becoming a burst of startling free jazz to wonderfully lively effect. Every ingredient adds up to a remarkably moreish feast for the ears.
HUW AND THE GREATER GOOD – Life’s Caving In
If all the heat is getting to you, Leeds band Huw and the Greater Good are here to provide a sonic splash of cold water. Life’s Caving In is a rough-edged and peppy slice of indie rock, but the band avoid the clichés of the genre admirably by making this song full of surprises.
The lead singer’s Bryan Ferry-esque purr polishes their boundlessly bouncy energy before the track grows more and more frantic, until eventually the guitars drop back to a lazy stroll and we hear the best lyric about a cucumber I’ve ever come across. Balancing humour, panic, style, and wry commentary, Life’s Caving In may sound ramshackle, but all its elements work together to create a gem of a song.
LIZ IKAMBA – Ba Yeba
With its arresting mix of beatbox and captivatingly hypnotic sung vocals, Ba Yeba grabs your attention from the start. Brighton’s Liz Ikamba describes the song as being about the feeling of being displaced and far from home, saying, ‘It’s a message to family members across the globe, reminding them that they are welcome when they are with me’.
In keeping with its communicative soul, Liz sings in both English and Lingala, with the song’s refrain translating to ‘they know, may they know’. It’s hard to think it can get any better from such an evocative beginning, but when bass, drums, and shimmering guitar enter the picture, Ba Yeba really takes flight.
OBI – Swear Down
East London rapper Obi wrote Swear Down on the same day as he got fired from his job, and both the lyrics and music suggest a creative mind able to meet his setbacks with a casually resilient optimism as catchy as the song itself. With its relaxed acoustic strumming, electronic beats, and sunny trumpet and guitar melodies, it’s an ideal mood-lifter, a lucky dip of buoyantly hopeful lines and hooks.
Add to that Obi’s effortless flow and mellifluous singing voice, and it’s clear that fulfilling his grand ambitions shouldn’t be too far away. ‘Please don’t you ever doubt me,’ he sings good-naturedly, ‘or I’ll bang you in your face’ – possibly the politest threat in music since Hot Chip’s The Warning. No need to fear, as going by this track, Obi gives us nothing but cause for faith in him.
OTABEK SALAMOV – Bahor
Well, here’s something to get you moving! Bahor, which translates to ‘spring’, is a piece of ear-catching disco in Otabek Salamov’s native Uzbek language. Built around instantly winning guitar licks and motoring forwards with unflagging drive and groove, by the time the jazz flute solo kicks in you may well find it near-impossible to sit still. It’s a culture-blending delight, bursting into life in the audio equivalent of full technicolour.
Otabek also makes music with his band Needshes. They’ve been compared to the Neighbourhood, the Killers, Jack White, and Coldplay, but Bahor’s fizzy fusion of funk and folk is something quite different. Whatever he chooses to do next, it’s bound to be exciting.
SNEAKPEEK – Green Light
Los Angeles band SNEAKPEEK round off this week’s Faves on a subtle note with Green Light. Its subdued, faraway vocal holds a sense of longing which is all the stronger for being so low-key, and the production marries this to a melodic electronic bassline.
As SNEAKPEEK leave room for a bright little synth solo to dance over the top, we end up with a small, beautiful synth-pop artefact which allows the listener to unwrap its abundant charms. Its yearning tunefulness draws obvious comparisons to the chart hits of the 1980s, but its sense of restraint, rather than simply minimalism, lends it a wonder all of its own.
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.