Fresh Faves: Batch 155

Calan Mai

These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net moderator and musician Steff Lane, aka Jupiter Falls, this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.

We’re already into the sixth month of 2015 and the quality of submissions shows no sign of abating, as this week’s Fresh Faves prove! Christmas only comes once every year, like birthdays do. Well, we all know it’s not Christmas, but I suppose there’s somebody out there celebrating a birthday. If there is, here is this week’s icing on the cake — have a lovely day.

CALAN MAI – Black Box

Calan Mai (aka Jordan Lawrence) is a 24-year-old Australian singer-songwriter who recently moved to Manchester. Jordan’s primary focus lies within the lyrics of his songs, and he won the Australasian Children’s Songwriting competition back in 2006. His only other single, We’ve Got Love, released over a year ago, has had nearly 80,000 Soundcloud plays — quite an achievement. Black Box opens with a soothing guitar which builds up to a truly mesmeric song. Ticks all the right boxes for me and quenched my thirst at the watering hole.

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Rock’n’Roll anthems are alive and well and they don’t get much “Stronger” than this tune by Denim Snakes, who are Russell Toomey (lead vox and guitar), Tom Hall on drums and backing vox, Jake Ellis-Scott (guitar) and Mattise Clarke (bass). The band is from Barry, South Wales and their live shows are played in a frenzied fever, displaying the classic rock spirit. Their debut single, 21, was released in late 2013 and went on to be named in Wales Online’s 51 Greatest Welsh Pop Songs of 2013. With songs such as Stronger, I can envisage 2015 being a very busy year for them.

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I’ve just found out that I reviewed Disraeli Gears as recently as March 23rd, so maybe they should have waited a tad longer before submitting Cuckoo to this week’s Listening Post, which would have given some other deserving fledgling a voice rather than being thrown out of the nest (see the note at the bottom of this post from TR about this). Having said that, I like their bird song and London based Teia, Tom, Sam and Alex certainly proved popular with this week’s voters.

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Singer-songwriter Hayley Cannon has just released her debut 9-track album featuring this title track, “Who Are You?”, on 28th May. Hayley’s first single, Catherine — a song about her great grandmother of the same name — was released earlier this year and is included on her album. Hayley began playing piano and violin at an early age when growing up in Luton. She later studied at Oxford University before moving to London, where she is now based, and is inspired by Kate Bush — an inspiration that’s rubbed off well when you listen to her songs!

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JOHNNO CASSON – A Marvellous Life

A gentleman of gentlemen! I’ve had the pleasure of listening to Johnno Casson‘s music over the years under many guises. A Snippet of the Old Tramp reveals his true self at last! The thing that strikes me about Johnno is his undiminished love for what he does and the mannerism in which he carries it out. Leftfield maybe, but Johnno’s music connects with you like a bullet in a straight line. The depth and honesty in his vocals begs to be listened to — no false messages, straight from the heart. I’m loving it. Ain’t It A Wonderful Life was mixed by the talented Wim Oudijk. Johnno also hosts the Warm And Toasty Club in Colchester, where he is based. Top man, top tunes!

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JOLTA – One Apple Tree

If this is the fruit of Jolta‘s labour, then I want Jolta to build me an orchard! Isaac Newton would have changed the law of gravity after hearing this tune — hard-hitting to say the least. Jolta are Oliver Tooze, Joe Tighe, Will Adams and Jimmy Ward. Not much info, but their music makes up for that.

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SPINES – Hollows

I wasn’t really sure what to make of this song at first, then after 30 seconds the vocals kicked in and sent a shiver down my spine. Songs evoke many different emotions and Hollows belongs at the strangely dark end of the spectrum. Beautifully performed with a minimal approach of epic proportion. Spines is 20-year-old Taylay Swaby from Kent/London, who says that she likes to write and sing. Well, Taylay, we certainly enjoyed listening!

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TAMU MASSIF – A Fate Much Worse

A Fate Much Worse will be Tamu Massif‘s second single on his forthcoming Alba EP, due for release June 2015. Sweet vocals, beautifully crafted song! Tamu (aka Dave Dixon) will be performing live at the Louisiana in Bristol on 19th June and at The Waiting Room in London on 22nd June. Try and catch him at either venue if you can.

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VIENNA DITTO – Long Way Down

Vienna Ditto is a 3-piece band from Oxford and London. Their latest offering, Long Way Down, proved to be very popular with this week’s listening public. Listening to Hatty Taylor’s vocal within a quirky chaos of rockabilly, it’s easy to work out why. Described by Radio 1’s Huw Stephens as “Like Portishead doing a Tarantino soundtrack… this is great!” Vienna Ditto will be releasing their debut album Circles on June 12th, which you can pre-order via their Soundcloud page.

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VOES – In Your Eyes

Voes write songs in the same vein as other contemporaries, but still manage to retain their own unique sound. The 3-piece, who hail from South Wales, are currently working on their second EP and have been named as artist of the week on BBC Radio Wales back in April 2015. Their song, Giants (featured on their 1st EP, Let Me Stay, which also includes In Your Eyes) received airplay on the BBC Radio 6 Music Introducing Mixtape earlier this year. In my eyes, Voes are heading in the right direction.

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WARRILOW – Rope Bridge

We close this week’s Fresh Faves in the relaxing company of Tyneside-based folk artist Warrilow (aka Rhys Bethell). “Ghost folk” might explain why I find Rope Bridge so haunting. I’m now at peace with myself. Warrilow has recently released his EP, Chief, on May 24th.

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Vienna Ditto

PS from TR: If you’ve submitted a track that hasn’t made the Listening Post you’re welcome to re-submit it another week. If your music has appeared on the Listening Post but not in our Fresh Faves, feel free to send us an even stronger track another week.

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.


When not creating structures out of individual stone, I spend my time constructing songs out of individual notes. As an added bonus, I was invited by Tom Robinson to be a small cog in the giant wheel that's Fresh On The Net. Welsh is my 1st language and I'm often asked if I think in Welsh and then translate to English - well I have no answer to that - it's just a natural process which is hard to define - like writing a song I suppose! Follow me on Twitter @SteffLane


  1. Some top tunes and words. Great reviews Steff.

  2. Yes, nice reviews. Good work!

  3. Thanks for the lovely words Steff & everyone for the support

  4. Linda

    Good choice of tunes and interesting reviews Steff – 🙂

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