Artists at a glance
BATTERY OPERATED ORCHESTRA
THE HAPPY SOMETHINGS & SLOVENLY BOY
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s Steve Harris this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
ADERYN – Arizona
“Has anyone ever told you, you look like a demon?” is such a good opening line.
Aderyn topped our Fresh Faves this week with Arizona, which is about “falling hard for someone with self destructive tendencies” and was written after what she calls a “cataclysmic first meeting”.
With its death march percussion, unsettling lyrics and haunting slide guitars, Arizona has a very different feel for the Welsh artist whose other recent tracks have tilted far more towards “fun guitar pop” than “about to get murdered”, and what’s great is that all those tracks have gone down a storm with our listeners, proving that Aderyn can pull off quite a stylistic range.
Arizona is the final track to be released from her debut EP, Sea Glass, and appropriately enough got its first play on US radio WTSQ (Charleston, West Virginia independent radio — how do they come up with those initials?!). It is apparently a special one when played live, and you can stream it or get it as part of the Sea Glass EP, available now on Bandcamp.
ANNIKA JAYNE – Un Livre Et Un Café (Acoustic Version)
My French is terrible, but even I can manage to translate Un Livre Et Un Café to “a book and a coffee”, which is pretty much what this song is about — sitting in the garden, sun shining, a book and a coffee being all you need to transport you somewhere else, far, far away (so not vodka and painkillers then — I’ve been doing it wrong!).
Sung in a mixture of French and English, I can’t help but feel the French really elevates things here — what could sound mundane in English now becomes delicate, inviting, sublime. Annika Jayne explains that “the original idea for the song came to me in French, I spontaneously mixed English and French while writing the lyrics of the verses. Since most of the books I am reading are either in English or French, it makes perfect sense, though!” Thing is, it sounds unmistakably French too, before you’ve even heard a word. I imagine if you’re a polyglot like Annika, then all these things riff off each other.
Annika Jayne is based in Heidelberg, Germany (been there, gorgeous place), and writes and performs “heartfelt, authentic songs” in three languages — German, French and English. She sums up her work in a few perfectly pitched sentences: “Stories taken from real life with a touch of romance. Quiet sounds that make waves. Melodies that touch your heart.”
You can stream or buy this track along with the rest of Annika’s music on Bandcamp now.
BATTERY OPERATED ORCHESTRA – Always On
I was immediately drawn to Battery Operated Orchestra’s Always On when I first heard it last week. It dizzyingly portrays the constant, hectic immediacy of life on social media, while exploring the motives that drive people to it. The lyrics are completely brilliant and spot on, and it’s all delivered in a glass of effervescent electro-pop perfection.
Battery Operated Orchestra is Brigitte Rose and Chris Black, who say they were magnetically drawn across the globe from Tasmania and Scotland to unite in London, and subsequently migrated to Newhaven on the East Sussex coast, where they now reside.
Always On is taken from BOO’s fifth (!) album, Compulsory Games, released last Friday. And that makes me think, if you sound this fresh, vital and relevant on your fifth album, you’re doing really, really well.
You can stream this track now, or buy the track or the whole album on Bandcamp.
DORSTEN – To The River
Dorsten is a “brother and sister band” of siblings Sophie and Alex Dorsten from near Phoenix, Arizona, and To The River is a dark, seductive song that they tell us is, surprisingly perhaps, about “deception, and how the internet changes our view of everyone and everything. It’s a song about coming together to drown out that deceiving noise.”
Slide guitar and low, ominous strings set the scene, with Sophie’s powerful vocals topping things out, but just when you think you’ve got the measure of this song, everything briefly picks up pace until it reaches a crescendo, something that repeats more intensely and powerfully the second time, and then very brilliantly brings the track to a close at the end. At first, I found that a little jarring, but quickly began craving those parts — they not only raise the tempo but the tone, and give the track a distinct structure.
Sophie and Alex have a very interesting bio you can read in full on their website, one particular highlight being that Sophie has been a part of Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock teen centre for the past several years giving vocal lessons, and performed back up vocals with Alice Cooper at a press release party there.
To The River is available to stream or buy on Bandcamp now.
HERR KASCHKE – Lucid Dreaming
Herr Kaschle says the smooth, chilled-out Lucid Dreaming is about dreams in which you know you are dreaming, are aware the events are not real, but the dream feels alive, and can be influenced like a video game.
From Germany, Herr Kaschke says he creates lo-fi soundtracks and trailer music for the indie gaming community such as Indie Arena Booth (the Biggest Booth at Gamescom, apparently) and MAG (Manga, Anime & Videogamefair). He also has a cat called Fräulein Smilla Gespür von Schnee and a dog called BillyRubin. “They are not involved in the music creation process, but they keep me happy,” he clarifies.
Lucid Dreaming is available to stream or buy now.
HOLLIE CARMEN – Anything Bad For Me
Anything Bad For Me is a deceptively sweet, calypso-tinged pop song that actually seems to be about having a thrill-seeking personality with addictive tendencies, and the consequences of that, particularly when falling in love.
Sadly, I can’t tell you much at all about Hollie Carmen, but she’s supported by BBC Introducing in London, and Anything Bad For Me is available to stream now.
KITTY PERRIN – First Love
Kitty Perrin returns to our Fresh Faves with First Love, which she says she wrote over three years ago “after a phone call with an ex that made me realise how much had changed since we were together. The fact that you can go from knowing so much about someone’s life and then suddenly know so little is something I find really hard to accept, but this song was me trying to do that.”
That’s so honest and heartfelt, isn’t it? Of course, statements like this could mean absolutely nothing if you can’t hear it in the music, but from Kitty’s opening line, which gets straight to the point — “I decided to start grieving, even though you are still alive” — she then goes through things that have changed or moved on since, and it’s impossible not to be touched by it.
From Norwich, Kitty herself presented BBC Introducing in Norfolk until recently, but has been making music since the age of 11. If recent life changes mean she can now spend a bit more time on her own music and gigs, then that would be a good thing, and I hope we hear more from her soon.
RAELLE – Falling
Falling by Raelle really impressed me this week. I am a big fan of producer Inflo (Michael Kiwanuka, Little Simz, SAULT, Cleo Sol, etc) and this, to my ears, has similar qualities, with that lush, adventurous orchestration, big, expansive sound and transcendent vocals, crucially all underpinned by a real groove. But more than that, a sense of never really standing still, heading off in unexpected directions that feel right, straddling the line between classic and modern and… look, I could go on and on. I just think this is pretty special.
Raelle is from South London, and says of Falling that it “reflects the gravity of the emotions being passed on through generational trauma within her Jamaican family. It is the ultimate story of betrayal and manipulation.” Jamz Supernova is a fan, along with DJ Target, and of course BBC Introducing, and Raelle made the Glastonbury Emerging Artists’ Longlist in 2022. Falling is available to stream now.
THALIUM BROS – Non Secreter
I quite like Non Secreter — the name’s a good play on words, and it’s three minutes of Bonobo-esque beats, synths and tropical sounds, worthy of inclusion on a Cafe Del Mar compilation.
However, apart from “Derby”, I can’t really tell you anything useful about Thalium Bros, except that, almost invisible in black text on the dark brown background of their Bandcamp page are the words “The Thalium Bros are here to frighten and excite your ears.”
Non Secreter is available on Bandcamp now.
THE HAPPY SOMETHINGS & SLOVENLY BOY – I Don’t Smoke Dope
Our ever-reliable friends The Happy Somethings (Joy is one of our moderators) tell us they met up with Slovenly Boy in Liverpool and I Don’t Smoke Dope is the result. This feels a bit different from a Happys-only track, while remaining comfortingly familiar, with its whip-smart lyrics, sense of fun and irony intact, and of course, a catchy tune.
Unforch, I actually can’t tell you anything about Slovenly Boy, no info on any of the track’s pages, nothing I can find on the wider internet either, but The Happys’ familiarity makes me almost afraid to admit that, just in case everyone else does know.
“Slovenly Boy. Yeeeeeeeessss, you know!… Of course you do… come on… Slovenly Boy!”
Sorry, it’s been a long day.
This, like all The Happy Something’s music, is available to stream and download on Bandcamp now.
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.