Artists at a glance
WAY DOWN THE RAINBOW
Hey everyone! Another set of fantastic Faves to review! To quote The Zombies, it’s the time of the season, so I have hot chocolate – no orange as yet, but I have my eye out for it! As always, you can send me a track to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want me to be on my show on Islington Radio, two hours of all bangers and no fillers!
To the reviews we go.
Keys in the ignition?
Four lit and in the green.
AHMED & THE ROMANS – News & Media
This starts off with that real live room rehearsal feel, like you’re sat in Pirate Studios and privy to a band’s inner sanctum… I like that idea! Sometimes the mix doesn’t need to be clean to capture the energy of the track. It’s big, it’s loud, and combines all the elements – Italo-Egyptian-Garage-Punk. Love it. My favourite part is where the guitars are playing together, from around the 1:50 mark, the guitar playing the rhythmic part is put through a wah, while the lead is playing all kinds of noodling even going a bit Samba at one point! Wow these guys take their work to the next level….
Quite an epic listen!
Considered one to watch by Louder Than War, Ahmed and The Romans are a post punk garage band and I reckon there are big things for them coming up!
BARBARA – Master Narrative
Well! This is a stonker of a track from Barbara. Electric piano put through a slight phaser for the intro, it comes at you with the feel of a musical theatre song, you can just imagine the gaudy colours and big gestures. Just to add to that the big vocals with harmonies panned left and right a la Bohemian Rhapsody, plus big string and brass arrangements! I love the way the drums are playing a march at the beginning – it could be a march – I reckon it could be a free form jazz part that falls into the groove heading into the pre-chorus. This reminds me a little bit of The Feeling, but also that refreshing 80s vibe.
All in all?
Barbara are brothers Henry and John Tydeman from Hove, and they list 70s US AM radio, English music hall, the effortless catchiness of a Broadway musical, a sprinkling of sequinned power pop, luscious Disney strings, and glorious golden harmonies as part of their DNA.
Also, incorporating Chattanooga Choo Choo by Glenn Miller Band? Loved it.
They also earn my chef’s kiss.
KATHERINE PRIDDY – First House On The Left
What I like about folk music is that as you listen you can close your eyes and see the story unfollowed as it’s sung, it’s essentially a way to pass down family and local lore through the generations – Molly Malone, Eleanor Rigby, and so many more.
This song is no different. Katherine sings of an old house on a hill, lost in time – the reference to a pendulum swing which is the title of her new album out in February next year. There are sound effects too, the clock ticking and the crown being wound – it’s part of the song and I like this because it adds to the rhythm… what a delight! Love that.
Birmingham singer-songwriter Katherine Priddy has a new album coming out, like I mentioned, and she’s got quite a lot else to her name — a number one single on the official UK folk charts, selling out a headline tour, Folk Radio artist of the month, and much more.
MAE KARTHAUSER – Accordion Song
Another folk song. A waltz! Something for double bass, vocals, cello, flute and piano. It’s gorgeous, the only thing that surprised me was the lack of an accordion! You can just hear it. This is listed as alternative folk, but it has a little bit of a jazzy flair in the arrangement. You can just imagine this being performed somewhere in an ancient cobbled street somewhere in Europe under a starlit sky with people dancing. The cello solo is nice and warm, my favourite part of the song!
Mae Karthauser has been singing since the age of five when she performed as a policeman on the village half stage. Now this is where it becomes a little bit surreal… she has performed with “The Midnight Fairground” and in collaboration with European circus companies, she’s played whilst harnessed on the edge of BBC Television studios, whilst dangling off an old engine, and whilst flying over the French alps in a paraglider, as well as multiple solo tours in France.
I have so many questions.
MONTAO (FEAT. SLUG OF ATMOSPHERE, KONCEPT & LANE SHULER) – What In The World?
Time to go to Liverpool for this one! Montao is someone I’m familiar in his capacity as a PR person. Not only is he fantastic at that he’s also a very good producer – I’ve actually featured him on my show a few times, and I’m proud of the fact he’s made his debut on the Fresh Faves. But he brings talent more talent with him too! But we will get into that..
First up he’s also a ridiculous piano player, — grade 8 no less — and he shows this here making it the basis of the track, with a heavy drum beat for Slug, Koncept and Lane to drop their bars on, and boy do they!
They’re individuals that can hold their own, bringing their own brand of lyricism, speaking about the state of the world and what could happen – the role of the rapper, the MC telling it as it is… it’s a dark world and they are highlighting it.
This is my track of the week.
After decades of experience as a multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, music publicist, artist manager, and everything else in between, these aspects have fused together and spawned a new musical landscape in the world of Montao.
Montao is from Liverpool and I’ve had dealings with him in the past in his capacity as a music publicist. He’s obviously been drinking from the water of the Mersey because that in my mind is the source of talent there.
ROLEPLAY – Music Is The Drug
I actually made this the track of the day for my blog! I’m so glad that a lot of people picked it up over the weekend and deservedly so.
A nice slice of EDM here, but it’s more than just that. There are some lush strings on this, and I love the house piano riff on this. This track puts you in a good mood soon as it starts, and it’s the harmonies in the chorus that whisk you off.
What’s the song about?
Well it’s the age old story of how music lifts you up. The first verse is about how little things that we are used to just doesn’t cut it – so we surrender to the rhythm…
The chorus lifts it up and it becomes an anthem, where you suddenly feel alive with the sounds around you the music taking you to another place…
This track has a 90s vibe, and I reckon if those strings aren’t live then they should be, they’re heavenly!
What a tune.
Swedish-born, UK-based artist and producer Roleplay (Anna Haara Kristoferson) is a multi-instrumentalist who spent her childhood in choir academies. Roleplay is Haara Kristoferson’s first solo project outside of her ventures as lead vocalist in Yassassin.
SKI LIFT – Living The Dream
Is this a song told from the perspective of a turtle?
Possibly, given the first line of the song!
“I can feel my head sliding back inside my shell…” and the picture of one of the front cover.
Or, it could be a contemplative song of what the writer could be doing instead of their situation now.
Either way, this is a great number, great production too, at the beginning the guitars play their opening chords and are panned left and right before sitting split left and right as the song goes on. The mix on this is just awesome! There are also hidden gems in here, there’s a siren in there hidden deep in there, and also when there’s a reference to a clock there’s the tick tock of time being played on the guitars…
The melodies and harmonies are very dreamlike, you could just imagine the video to this where everyone’s flying, it’s just one of those songs that you could imagine on the chart show from the 90s if it was still around today…
Remember the chart show? What a throwback.
Ski Lift are your friendly neighbourhood power-pop trio. Fronted by Welsh songwriter Benji Tranter, and joined by friends Lizzy and Adam, together they act out their teenage indie-rock dreams, battering their way through secret hits and would-be singalongs. The simple three chord rock and roll that your heart desires.
They are my one to watch.
STAY LUNAR – I Only Love You When The Sun Sets
I just had a sense of deja vu because going back through the FOTN archives Roleplay and Stay Lunar have been reviewed by me at the same time back in Faves 490 – is that deja vu or meta?
I’m not sure.
Whatever it is, Stay Lunar are back with a track that tells the story of a messy breakup and possibly pondering getting back together, because lyrically it shows they are in two minds as to whether they will as they only love the person when the sun sets… It’s a bitter song about sacrifices, and a good ’un at that. I like the drums on this, it’s just kick and snare playing under the guitars, but then it switches up in the chorus adding a tom. Good production and arrangement choices here!
Stay Lunar are a band from Bristol, and they describe their sound as sad music on small stages.
Has my prediction changed yet?
VULPINE – ExSay
The intro of reversed sounds and then the drop into an unconventional beat is dizzying but in a good way! There are some really lovely harmonies on this as well, and the chord changes are just gorgeous… it just melds together really well. Are they using pig Latin in their lyrics? That made me chuckle… love the sound of the vintage organ on this too. I’ve been watching a phenomenon on YouTube that my friend Ian sent me. Radiohead have a song called Videotape that they find a challenge to play live, because of the syncopated rhythm that needs to be played, to the ears it seems really simple but then add the fact the rest of the band are having to follow different timing it really messes with the head… This song reminds me of that because the down beat isn’t where you think it is, and the accent of the rhythm…. Wow. Very powerful stuff! It’s taught me to listen for what’s not there, and making me re examine how I listen and review stuff. As Nile Rodgers says, there’s a deep hidden meaning to everything.
Vulpine are a band from Manchester, a quartet no less with just one person singing…
How are they doing those harmonies?
They’re my one to watch.
WAY DOWN THE RAINBOW – Pool Party
Big and loud to close out the Faves!
This is a big wave of sound in terms of the guitars, that’s the first thing that comes at you when you play it through, then the drummer hits the snare with gusto, bringing everything in. This song is designed for the moshpit.
And guess what?
That’s a cowbell.
You could just imagine people jumping in unison to this — there’s a feel good factor. My favourite lyric is:
“I’m always on the groove
Cuz well I’m moving and moving and moving and painting these figures in my mind…”
It’s about the freedom that you feel doing what you love…
What a feeling!
Big epic finish too!
Way Down The Rainbow are an Alternative Rock band from Kongsberg, Norway that has arrived to bless the world with love and energy. Creating music together since 2016, the band has come to their unique sound, mixing the rumbling fury of Rage Against the Machine, the art-rock theatrics of a young Bloc Party and the garage-rock explosiveness of Royal Blood into a fiery and roaring concoction.
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.