Fresh Sounds Podcast, Playlist & 11 Global Indie Song Reviews

FreshSounds Podcast
6 min readAug 4, 2022


Episode 94: July 29, 2022

Welcome to the Fresh Sounds newsletter!

Welcome to episode 94 of the newsletter! Mark and Brendan have a hot new batch of tunes, even if we haven’t had time to absorb RENAISSANCE in full yet. Hey, it’s more than an hour long! ;)

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“Miss The Days” (single)
Released on July 25, 2022
Ruff & Ready/AWAL Recordings Ltd
Cambridgeshire, England, UK

We start in Cambridgeshire and Aaron Jerome, who is better known as SBTRKT. He’s one of my favorite British musicians and producers, and remixer extraordinaire, working with the likes of M.I.A., Radiohead, Modeselektor, Basement Jaxx, Mark Ronson and Underworld. He’s back after a lengthy hiatus, eight years to be exact, and he hits a lot of the right chords with his latest single. He’s famous for wearing a wooden mask when on stage, I saw him DJ and mix at the Bay Area music festival known as Treasure Island over a decade ago. -MB


Kathryn Williams
Night Drives
Released on July 15, 2022
One Little Independent Records
Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, UK

It might be easy to miss the UK folk scene these days, living as we do in the USA, but that would be a pity in this case. One of the most vivid folk records of this year came out two weeks ago, and I have liked all that I have heard from it over the last two weeks. This one is not the single, but it gives you a good sense of this artist, Kathryn Williams, and what she excels at, which is a nocturnal, dusky, slightly spooky sort of folk with excellent arrangements and wonderful, clear vocals. -BH


Jessie Ware
“Free Yourself” (single)
Released on July 19, 2022
Universal Music Operations Limited
London, England, UK

It’s time to head back to London, and perhaps Fresh Sounds favorite songstress: she’s Jessie Ware. While her latest isn’t wholly different from her most recent work, it’s also no less good. To put it another way, Jessie Ware does nothing, but put out quality work. I love the way she balances straight piano with a more than usual echoey voice box, and the arrangements are both truly musical, moving and customized for the dance floor. It’s by no means traditional pop, Jessie brings a sophistication to her sound and excellent sonic production. Here’s Jessie Ware’s latest gem, and it may just be one of the best songs of this summer. -MB

George Riley
“Time” (single)
Released on July 13, 2022
PLZ Make It Ruins Records
West London, England, UK

Up next, how about some fresh soul music with breakbeats from West London? That’s right. Our singer here is George Riley, and that is a female just so we stay on the same page. This tune is on Vegyn’s personal imprint, and if you don’t know him, he is the producer Joe Thornalley, son of Phil Thornalley. The production skills run in the family! This song is 100% maximum soul music with ’90s breakbeats and some fuzz guitar in there too. It’s a touch late to declare it the song of the summer, but it’d get my vote. -BH

The Archive Track

Released on June 11, 2007
Ed Banger Records/Because Music
Paris, France

For this week’s archive track, we turn the clock back a mere 15 years. Lately, I’ve been diving into the archive of the early 90’s, and I’m reminded by Brendan, this isn’t a golden oldies show. We take you back to the year 2007 to Paris, and the wonderful French band Justice, the electronic duo with a great mix of upbeat, electronic dance beats and a good bit of homage to rock. I’m struck by how well Justice’s sound holds up over the test of time. This sounds pretty damn fresh, even 15 years after its release. It’s time to “D.A.N.C.E” from France’s Justice. -MB

Panda Bear, Sonic Boom
“Go On” (single)
Released on July 13, 2022
Domino Recording Co. Ltd.
Lisbon, Portugal and Sintra, Portugal

Up next, an intriguing new project from Animal Collective’s Panda Bear, who happened to be stuck at home like the rest of us over the past couple years. That put him close, as a resident of Lisbon, to another musical heavy: Pete Kember, known as Sonic Boom since his Spaceman 3 days in the 1980s. Both have known to dabble in psychedelic sounds, but Panda Bear adds his Beach Boys vocals here. It’s hard to explain any more, so just give it a spin. -BH

“This Shit”
No Past No Future
Released on July 22, 2022
Wax Nine Records
San Francisco, California

We’re going to keep it local and Bay Area native and Maryam Qudus, who is better known as Spacemoth. She describes herself as “psychedelic, space pop artist” and she’s just released her latest album with the uplifting title “No Past No Future.” The synthesizers are the star here, and her vocals and pretty great, too. It’s a little weird, but it’s also pretty cool. -MB

Runkus, Toddla T
“Still Alive : Carry Through”
Released on July 22, 2022
Delicious Vinyl Island Records
Portmore, Jamaica and London, England, UK

Let’s head over to London for a new dancehall tune featuring vocals from Runkus, the Jamaican rising star, and production from the club dude Toddla T. This is really an excellent album of collaboration from the two. And if you like dancehall as a genre, and the singjay styles, I think this will put a smile on your face. Play this stuff loud! -BH

The Polyphonic Spree
“Get Down to the Soul” (single)
Released on July 20, 2022
Good Records Recordings
Dallas, Texas

Time keeps moving, and somehow The Polyphonic Spree still sounds like a weird mix of The Flaming Lips and Spoon. The band is the brainchild of Tim DeLaughter and they’ve been kicking around since 2000. The trademark of Tim’s band is a large vocal choir, and plenty of flutes, trumpets, french horns, trombones, violins, viola, cello, percussion, piano, guitars, bass, drums and electronic keyboards. When they tour, they’re essentially like a traveling orchestra and choir. But for now, it’s just a new single and it’s like meeting back up with a familiar friend. -MB

“Afar” (single)
Released on July 14, 2022
PC Music Records
London, England, UK

Hyd, who last appeared as the vocalist on records released under the name of QT, is back with a new tune produced by Caroline Polachek, under the banner of PC Music Records. An intriguing blend of downtempo and ballad vocals with all sorts of electronic weirdness in the mix. (Has a deeply atmospheric video too.) And groovy, it is. -BH

Released on July 27, 2022
King Underground/Fat Beats
London, England, UK

Back to London, and another slice of the modern chill guitar jazz of Robohands. He’s out with a new album entitled “Violet,” and this guy isn’t good, he’s really great. His jazz guitar is extraordinary, and I love the arrangements, including the horns on the album’s first track “Nightshade.” If London is the epicenter of a global chill jazz movement, then Robohands is at the vanguard of that movement. Here’s a tremendous talent that the world needs to listen to, Robohands is special. -MB


If you are on Spotify, we have put all eleven of these songs in a handy playlist. Hit the big Playlist button above to be taken straight to the tunes!

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FreshSounds Podcast

Mark Berniker & Brendan Hasenstab go around the world in 5 songs. Weekly reviews & samples. Subscribe & follow Spotify playlists. We encourage feedback here!