The self-described ‘ham-fisted folk pop’ of Mr Ben & the Bens caught immediate attention with ‘The Bluest Blues’, which saw the band playing their first ever live performance on BBC Radio 6 Music and being named in Marc Riley’s best of 2017 list. Speaking of his music, Mr Ben said: ‘This project was born in a barn in northern Lancashire in 2012. I’m creating lo-fi experimental folk-pop with an emphasis on melody and lyricism. My work as an artist, designer and potter constantly influences into my songwriting.
‘I’ve written about everything from catching fish to imaginary nightclubs. It’s often surreal in theme, but I always place an emphasis on having a hooky pop sensibility. I’m not a great musician technically speaking. I play the guitar upside down and the keyboard with two fingers! But I guess being naive means you can write a different kind of music and approach it from an original perspective.’
Sun Drift is the project of Lancaster based songwriter and producer Zac Barfoot. It combines his love of layered production techniques with his meandering guitar playing and laid-back mind set. Sun Drift’s offerings on the split EP with Mr Ben & the Bens see Lancaster’s most productive DIY producer expand on the more brooding aspects of his dreamy sound, building up to a full LP due out later this year.
Speaking of the new music, Barfoot said: ‘It’s Okay is a song I felt didn’t really have a place on either my last EP or the album I am currently writing. When I started with Bingo Records it felt like the perfect excuse to share it. The other songs similarly felt like outsiders, and I thought they would be a nice addition to It’s Okay. As I see it, the EP as a whole segues between the dreamier releases I’ve done in the past and a darker, more honest side of my music that is going to feature on the debut album that I am currently working on.’
- Marc Riley, BBC Radio 6 Music DJ said (re: 'The Bluest Blues')...
"This is a great tune, I like it an awful lot. One of my tracks of the year."
- Barry from Piccadilly Records in Manchester (greatest record shop of all time) said...
"There are a great many superb things that came out of Lancaster. In joint first place are me, and Bingo Records. Whilst the former is no longer in Lancaster, the latter is flying the flag proudly, and releasing some fine music into the stratosphere whilst doing so.
"We kick things off with Mr Ben and The Bens, bringing jangling optimism and refreshing, lyrical themes. It's an intoxicating combination of excellently written melodies and perfectly fitting vocal strafes.
"The flipside sees Sun Drift taking things down slightly into a more minor-key melodic dream, with the sliding guitar trills and reverbed vocals carving a fuzzy line through the languid atmospheres and echoing bass wandering.
"This is a superb debut outing from Bingo Records, complete with surprisingly hilarious self-effacing 'Zine' inside..this genuinely is a very well put together package, the excellent music matched perfectly by the huge amount of care taken over it's presentation. Lovely stuff."
released November 24, 2017
Mr Ben music written and performed; sleeve artwork made by Ben Hall
Sun Drift music written, performed and produced by Zac Barfoot
Mr Ben produced by Theo Verney
Zine by Lloyd Bent