Artists at a glance
DEATH OF THE HIGH STREET
Welcome to another sunny Monday morning! I’ve had a bacon sarnie and a tropicana orange juice. Switching it up.
So here we go with ten bangers! If any of you are interested in getting your music considered for my show on Islington Radio drop me an email with your bio and MP3 to email@example.com.
Headphones charged? Oui.
Juice glass filled? Si.
Keys in the ignition? Hai.
Four lit and in the green.
ACANTHA LANG – Beautiful Dreams
Clean guitar licks!
Bass line in the pocket?
Hammond organ playing dark chords?
Drums bringing it all together?
Then a pro vocal coming in to give it that pro finesse?
Oh yeah there’s a cowbell.
Christopher Walken would be proud.
This track’s got stops and starts that could only have been born out of a solid jam session, if not wait till this song is played live! The chorus catchy — but that’s not the best part about this song by a long shot, it’s Acantha’s vocal performance at 4:03 is where she really excels because that’s the middle-eight and her vocal range at that point takes us to church.
The positive vibes on this song is infectious.
The big man Craig Charles loves her.
Of course he does. This is funk and soul, and she brings both in prodigious amounts on this track. New Orleans-born (now London-based) rising Soul artist Acantha Lang released her anticipated debut album Beautiful Dreams on her own record label, Magnolia Blue Records, distributed by Kartel Music Group on 30th June.
ALIEN ALARMS – No Rwanda
This is a protest song. But this is not a rock song. Nor is there an acoustic guitar in sight. What we have hear is a dance track with audio clips of people chanting “No Rwanda”, plus a keynote speaker letting the assembled know facts and figures behind the current policy on shipping refugees coming into the UK to Rwanda.
The break beat that drops reinforces the message, and whereas traditional instruments would make that point we have here DJ wheelups, the build ups, the reverb warping — it is so effective. Hip hop has always told the story of the streets, and the plight and triumph of people, and here spoken word is turned on its head over a beat to bring a message, an important one at that — human beings always have human rights.
Alien Alarms is part of a big musical community on Twitter, and I’ve been a fan for some time, he always brings interesting sounds…
Alien Alarms combines poetry, prose, philosophy and found sounds with live, improvised generative rhythms, beat chopping and custom software to make music about love, loss, technology and society for the head, the feet and the heart.
Check out his album Android Dreams on Bandcamp.
BAGGE – Green Leaves (ft. Ywnlkasnb)
Well this is a first for me – reviewing a track about God’s green cabbage! That’s a phrase I stole from the Zach Braff and Donald Faison podcast, Fake Doctors Real Friends – it’s funny as hell!
I’ve been a fan of BaggE since her manager Kwame Kwaten dropped her music in my spirit – the first track I heard was Rain, which is just a gorgeous track on its own. This is something else, it’s got a vibe that tells you it was written with summer in mind, going to the studio with your lyrics, your hook ideas, and your box of weed – I’m by no means a partaker, but it’s inspired artists for years, so who am I to judge?
The instrumental is great, I love the way the guitar sounds on this, especially with a hint of tremolo, the drums are jazzy and have a little swing to it, and it works!
The slide on the bass in the second verse doesn’t go unnoticed by the way! Ywnlkasnb’s vocals by the way – wow. She brings a combination of soul and rap, in such a unique way I like her vocals so low pitched. She’s from Long Island, and if you want to know how to pronounce her name it’s Yawn Like A Snob. I kid you not, it says so on her Twitter profile!
Since launching in 2019, BaggE’s contemporary neo-soul sound has been a much admired voice on the circuit, maintaining a solid presence through a constant flow of releases, self-management and independent production.
Bagge’s Green Leaves is my track of the week.
DEATH OF THE HIGH STREET – Take It To The Streets
Well! DOTHS are a band I’m familiar with, I reviewed them last year, liked their sound then and I like it now. This sounds like a rowdy night out, put over a bassline that’s catchy as hell. The beat is off-kilter, and I bet that with a little remix from Alien Alarms then this could be an absolute belter of a track! This is their MO though, they’ve got a punk vibe and they bring the rowdiness for sure! I can’t wait to see how this translates live.
The shouty “Let’s take it to the streets” is harmonised… oh that’s good… that’s going to get people jumping in festival season!
Death Of The High Street (D.O.T.H.S) are a four piece punk/indie band from the Midlands. Formed in 2020 during the UK lockdown, their unique brand of bass driven, lyrically intriguing rock boasts catchy riffs and powerful drum beats making for an energetic and powerful live show.
Also, inexplicably I want some proper chip shop chips.
I think I need to get some on the way home from work tonight.
FAR CASPIAN – Pet Architect
I like the way this starts out, the drums are a slowed down version of Song 2 by Blur, this is the intro and if you’re expecting the big “WOOHOO!” This takes a wild turn to the left and is more chilled, but keeps that drum beat. This is a walk in Hyde Park on a summer’s day, and it’s very much up my street.
One thing that’s fascinated me about multi-instrumentalists is the fact that it could go one of two ways — you could keep it straight ahead and simple, or you could play the parts of all the different musicians involved in a band and make them different characters musically – this falls very much into the latter for me.
Far Caspian is multi-instrumentalist and producer Joel Johnston. Living in the rural area of Fermanagh, he keeps a DIY approach, recording, playing and mixing everything himself.
GEORGIA SHACKLETON – What Will Become Of England / Yarmouth Hornpipe / Harry’s Seagull
Time for some traditional folk music! The strings over Georgia’s voice complement the arrangement – the violin sounds really lovely, playing the second part of the song Yarmouth Hornpipe I’m not really familiar with this style of music, but I’m assuming this is kind of meant to be a bit of a jig. It’s a short song, and before you know it, it’s over! I like Georgia’s voice and while this sounds centuries old it speaks of problems today – unemployment, child poverty, the difference between classes…
This shows how very eclectic the Listening Post and the Fresh On The Net inbox in general can be. Everyone is welcome.
Georgia Shackleton is a folk musician and tutor from Norwich who’s already got love from Mark Radcliffe, she’s also got live dates coming up. She’s got support from Art Council England, works with fiddle, drone, tenor guitar…. so many interesting things about her on her site – a possible interviewee for the future!
INDIGOS – Mass Media Therapy
This song is a play on words – the “wired” west instead of “wild” west is what catches my ear. The vocal arrangement catches my ear the most though. The way the duo switch between swapping words and harmonising — it’s quite a pleasant thing to listen to. This track is pure indie rock, slow rhythms, melded with synth lead parts sitting comfortably with distorted bass and guitars… this is brilliant.
Indigos are no strangers to FOTN, having been reviewed in the distant past by Bobby Colcombe in Fresh Faves 307, and he was definitely a fan of these kids from Bristol. I am inclined to agree with him.
REBEL CONTROL – Worldwide Ceasefire
Well, this is a protest song if ever there was one! Sunshine reggae groove laid down in dub style with reverb, which is the main ingredient of a dub track… Lord knows we need this song right now. This is about wars going on around the world. It may not be on our doorsteps in the UK right now, but with in-fighting in the UK government and across the dispatch box to the opposition, there isn’t much difference.
Just for future reference there’s a war in Ukraine, France is currently going through protests against police brutality, and it looks like things could spill.
This song is – ironically – a war cry calling for a ceasefire, the chorus challenges us to stop fighting each other. And it’s catchy.
From the top, the roll on the toms tells you where this is going, on top of the drum groove that’s straight out of the door hypnotic reggae grooves… the organ, the piano it’s all there.
I can’t end this without quoting some of the lyrics…
What I want is a
Ceasfire ceasfire outernational ceasfire
Too much suffering gotta stop ceasfire
Finger off the trigger worldwide ceasfire
This is brilliant.
Rebel Control are Andy Baron (vocals), Richie Concrete (guitar, keys), Vic Bynoe (additional vocals), Richie Stevens (drums), Jeff Scantlebury (tambourine), and Matt Pharaoh (congas).
Since their debut album Jammin At Rebel HQ, Rebel Control have been carving out a reputation as a serious live act playing festivals and club dates in the UK and Europe as well as supporting and touring with a myriad of acts including reggae heavyweights Luciano, Mad Professor, Easy All Stars and chart acts including Tinie Tempah and Roots Manuva.
ROOSTER RED – Devil’s In The Detail
This one comes straight out of the launch bay with an explosive jazz drum solo – it comes in hot and fast with a loud “Heeeey!” into an enthusiastic count off, then the bass and guitars come in! Man this song is full of energy!
It’s based around two chords, and it sounds like Red Rooster are having a blast playing this it’s just a fun song to listen to and I can imagine this being the kind of song you’d hear at 50s revival dances.
The lyric that catches my ear is “The devil’s in the detail, and the devil had his way.”
Oh wait. There’s a key change….
Oh wait there are TWO key changes!
“Get your hands up or the devil’s gonna have his way…”
The outro brings everything to a halt, and you can imagine that if this was part of a Black Mirror soundtrack then this is the point where there’s a nuclear explosion and the whole world’s gone to hell!
The irony is that while the devil’s in the detail, Rooster Red don’t seem to have any details online! Get your bio up or Del’s going to have his way is all I can say.
They’re also my one to watch.
TANTRUM ZENTRUM – Don’t Be A Fascist
What a note to close the Faves out on! Tantrum Zentrum come forward and state: don’t be a fascist.
The message is very simple. I really wish fascists didn’t exist, it’s simple really, just don’t be full of hate! This song is fierce vocals-wise, dipping up and down, and having a hint of distortion on it too, but I think that’s deliberate to sound like a rallying cry. What a way to bracket the Faves — two songs by two artists that have also graced the stage for our Neil March.
Oh yeah I like a spatial audio mix! Available on Apple Music! Parts of the lyrics are sung in Czech I’m guessing, as that’s what Google Translate is coming up with, but this song tells it as it is!
Don’t be a fascist.
Tantrum Zentrum is a British / North American post-punk band from London. Inspired by both early 70s German rock and late 70s New York no-wave bands, they deliver sonic dissonance and poppy hooks with great energy and style – like Killing Joke but on happy pills.
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.