Artists at a glance
MATT EDIBLE & THE OBTUSE ANGELS
THE CRYSTAL TEARDROP
Hey everyone! Fresh Faves 501! Imagine that! We’ve cleared the 500 mark. Hat tip to Tom and the team for keeping this vital resource going!
As always if you want airplay on my show on Islington Radio you’re more than welcome to email me an audio file with a bio — all genres welcome but keep it radio friendly!
To the reviews.
Well, I’m currently on the Piccadilly line and I have a bottle of water so no cuppa to go. I’ll live.
Four lit and in the green.
AYMEE WEIR – Billboards
This song for me is like a jumble of thoughts like the post-weekend blues on a Sunday – it gets referenced in the lyrics about what happened the night before. It’s an observational song too, and I like that. My favourite thing about this song is the vocal arrangement – the harmonies aren’t overbearing. The harmonies drift in and out. It just serves the song.
The second thing is also the overall arrangement of the song, I get the feeling that Aymee has been having fun with this one live because of the way it dips in and out dynamically. What a tune! I like the drums as well especially, you have to listen carefully but they tend to glitch and fade in and out – nice bit of production technique there.
Aymee Weir is a Worcestershire-raised London-based artist who honed her skills busking on the streets of London, and from what I can see this is her first appearance on the Faves. Congratulations!
CATMILK – Hailstones, Clocktower, Hummingbird
There are many things I like about this one, one being that it starts off with a little poem at the beginning, then fades up to the music coming in. You would be forgiven for thinking it was just that, but it all fits together nicely. An acoustic guitar driven number, this song gives me autumn feels, maybe it’s because when I first listened to this I was contemplating the turning of the year.
The mixing on this is spot on, again with the fades providing the soundscape – one piece of advice I would offer to artists is pay attention to your mix and mastering, it can make or break a song for a listener. You want the goosebump moments? Don’t let your mix and mastering let you down. I was definitely nodding my head in appreciation.
All in all a very well put together song from beginning to end.
Track of the week?
Catmilk describe themselves as fever dream driven indie folk from Nottingham.
DIRTY NICE – SHARK!
To an upbeat guitar driven track we go with this one, a bit rowdy! And fair warning – the “again and again and again” bit will get stuck in your head. It’s quite the catchy refrain! What I really like though is that the song references the title with its punctuation mark to make its point. Is that a pun on both our parts? Maybe. I don’t know. Also the way it switches from a punk rock track to a little tinkle on the old Joanna then a DJ scratch back into the main rock part…
I love the fact they also use a radio tuner noise to signify the changes.
Dirty Nice is Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared composer Charlie Pelling’s musical project, with Lisbon-based musician Mark Thompson. Pelling is fast becoming the go-to composer in the UK comedy scene, working with the likes of 2022 Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Sam Campbell and BAFTA winner Jamie Demetriou (Stath Lets Flats, Fleabag).
They’ve also got some nifty merch on their site.
FOUR FACES – Better Option
“I’ll see what I can do yeah” starts off this one with a pitch bent note and a “WHOOP!” to begin it. It then launches into a big indie rock track which passes through filters – it’s all big riffs, but again this is a strong track with a belter of a chorus. The chord changes also had me playing around on my keyboard. Love the chromatic key changes — something we deploy a lot in my choir. There’s a nice little bass run around 1:32 that, for me, worked so well. Never underestimate the power of a bass run! Of course I need to offer a chef’s kiss for the ahhhs in the background vocals. Little touches like that impress me.
Four Faces are from Dublin, they’re actually celebrating this release with a gig in their hometown on the 13th October at The Workmans Club.
GOLD SPECTACLES – PseudoFriends
This track is so groovy, from the melodic bass line to the drums doing little funky things in the intro. It’s a great track! It will have you singing that bass line for days, and it’s a good sign. Loving the guitar work too, overall it reminds me a bit of Cory Wong of Vulfpeck. My favourite part of the song comes in at 2:37 for the second chorus where the background vocals sing oohs… nice little drop out at 3:31 where the oohs become ooooh weeee ooohhhs — nice touch!
Gold Spectacles describe themselves as being a baroque pop duo, sharing the songwriting and production duties. This is not their first time on the Faves and I’ve reviewed them before and when I did, they were my one to watch. I still have my eye on them!
JOELY JUNE – Time & Space
This next one has a lovely drum pattern that had me tapping it out on the table as I listened. I like the touch of an afrobeat groove at around 0:49, it adds a different spice to the track. In fact, that’s what makes this song for me. It’s the drums.
Again strong vocal work here. Don’t ever scrimp on that!
Joely June is an artist from Oxford. She describes herself as folkpop for the soul.
JONO WRIGHT – Gone Fishin
The guitar work on this instrumental is gorgeous! It has a bit of Americana in there, and it’s just jaunty, a real feel good tune, aided by the fact that it’s in A Major. I could imagine this going down a treat with a really sweet vocal group especially with the melody at around 0:42 to 1:22, it also gives off Paul McCartney “Junk” vibes… this would also make a great theme tune for an Apple TV+ show too, get pitching Jono!
Jono Wright is my one to watch this week.
So who is he? Well he’s a gym going guitar playing dad of two from the Midlands. He’s also been featured on the BBC Introducing Mixtape by our Tom, he’s a headteacher too.
MATT EDIBLE & THE OBTUSE ANGELS – Mirror Shoes
This next one has lots of fuzz on the guitars – this is made up for with big vocals! Unison in the verse and harmonies very much in the 70s rock vein in the chorus.
Cowbell? Of course there’s a cowbell. The toms are big as well on this, I wonder if the drums were influenced by the late great Keith Moon?
The guitar isn’t just for show on this, there’s a really tasty solo at around 2:18 — it just slides in, does the job and gets out of town. On reflection this song wouldn’t be out of place on a 70s compilation and no one would know it was a 21st century song. Such a Marc Bolan vibe, I wonder what Tony Visconti would make of this? I may have to ask him.
Matt Edible And The Obtuse Angels are a band from Hull, with quite a pedigree, Tom likes them and so do I.
ONIKA VENUS – Turn It Up
Ahhh a bit of reggae! Again, with that 70s vibe the latter part of the Faves has such a retro feel, and as we squeeze out the last dregs of the summer we might as well have some sunshine in the tunes to give it a lift.
The intro challenges us to turn it up, I certainly did and I’m happy I did. The vocals are well rounded, against a backdrop of bass, drums, percussion and a horn section. Is that a sleigh bell?
Onika Venus is a singer and songwriter from South Manchester in Jamaica, now based in the Forest of Dean.
A seasoned performer, Onika has worked with the likes of Seanie B from BBC1 Xtra, Tubby T and Miss Dynamite (under the stage name Lady Posh), and fronted the band Slyde, who were nominated best new act at The Breakbeat Awards.
THE CRYSTAL TEARDROP – By The River
Sitars? Of course. This has a bit of the Eastern touch melody-wise combined with a bit of indie pop, and it works really well. The vocals are so clear, and the guitars are put through their paces with phasing, a bit of reverse and tremolo. Great work production wise. This is quite a soundscape especially with the harmonies and ahhhs. This week’s Faves have really tickled my ears with different sounds and I like it!
The Crystal Teardrop are Alexandra Rose (vocals, guitar, mandola), Leon Jones (lead guitar), Stuart Gray (organ), Caitlin Hare (bass, vocals), Connor Wells (drums).
They are from Stoke On Trent and have a mutual love for a bit of 60s psychedelic rock.
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.