Fresh Faves: Batch 157

Johnny Sands

Welcome to Fresh Faves Batch 157. Our moderators listened to all tracks submitted to our inbox last week, and Listening Post readers voted for their top five favourites over the weekend.

The result is these Fresh Faves – reviewed this week by Fresh On The Net’s Johnno Casson. – known to the world of music as Snippet – and an inseparable friend of the mysterious Old Tramp. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.

CRAFT WORK – Car Crash #1

Its like someone has smashed a mirror and carefully put it back together shard by shard,piece by piece to form a different vision by Craft Work. Clips, splices, snippets, chunks of love = a melodic overture for the age. African style tribal voices (which could have originated in Croydon for all I know) clash with big beat drums. They produce a shouty love child of David Byrne in an American accent (but I’m guessing via Belfast) who sings random lines of verse about cd’s and crushed cars. I very like much the intent and vibe of this song: it’s different and should be applauded. Seven years’ good luck!

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If all you needed was a drum machine, a different Alt-J type voice and a ‘play’ button, we’d all be millionaires and basking in the glory of festival season as we headline stages across the world. Johnny Sands manages to make something new and interesting out of these core elements and does it with aplomb. This is gorgeous and I think this man may be very special indeed – plus he’s from Liverpool – double prizes! Johnny’s biog is a great lesson is how to talk about what you do.

Raised by distant relatives who fed him on Records, typewriters and Film Noir. Son of a Parisian jazz musician and his muse, a psychologist who pioneered talking to animals. Johnny grew up immersed in music and art & traveled extensively until he beheld the great city of Liverpool. Johnny became a pioneer of the latest Sound and embedded himself in the Liverpool music scene. He is acknowledged as a creator of hugely successful music and art events. His first band Vandal in Berlin was a collaborative affair with Swiss born producer Dave Berger (Outfit). Together, the two titans led the underground scene with analogue synths and samplers becoming widely tipped for great things until as last men standing they put down their synths and retreated before sadly disbanding.”

This track is one of my faves of the week. I don’t know if this is the start or the middle for Johnny – it certainly feels like a sweet beginning to me. I know only too well how it feels having people chanting “Johnny! Johnny! Johnny!” as you walk down the street. It’s a burden as well as a responsibility, but he will get have to get used to it. Johnny Sands is special.

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JOY ATLAS – Dismount

Joy Atlas make “neon-lit future-pop” apparently and who am I to disagree. This song is most agreeable – it’s jaunty, and you don’t get that many jaunty songs these days. It’s built for summer, it’s built for doing dodgy 80s dances to (or really good 90s ones): on shiny lino floors in kitchens, hallways, dancefloors and diners… Yes, this would sound epic in diners – with milkshakes and jellybeans. I like the timbre of Beccy Owen’s voice and her northern pronunciation being almost Unthankslike. (The ‘Northern’ geographical positioning is theirs not mine – I have no idea where they’re from. Geography is overrated: people are from everywhere and I likes all people). I also like Joy Atlas. They are very good at what they do and will do very well in this music game – despite my playful banter. Much luck, guys (and girl)!

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LATE HALA – Dark Clouds

Late Hala are cousins Dan and Alexi from London town – joined by Tobias from New York (via The Lake District) – and Cem from Istanbul (via Mauritius): worldwide business going on. With echoes of classic British songwriting – aligned to a 21st century pop sensibility – they have produced a very fine song. With a good hook, well delivered & produced, with fine varied instrumentation and harmony lines, this is a very nice way to while away a sunny Sunday afternoon. I Iike the breakdown/mood change at 2.18. Haunting rather than scary. Charming rather than charmless. Bravo rather than boo.

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LUCY HODSON – Freefalling

It’s Sunday afternoon, there’ s a gentle breeze blowing outside my window and something organically special is stirring in my headspace. I can see a stream, some lambs are running around a field, and birds are singing sweet songs that beckon my weary heart closer. I leave the house and move closer, a little unsure what might await me. I’m calm – surprisingly calm – and I feel tingly. A gently picked guitar begins a cyclical refrain and is quickly joined by the sweetest angelic voice you can imagine. I realise within 5 seconds that I am either inside a song or a song is inside me. It’s that enchanting, I just can’t tell or – to be frank – I just don’t care. I’m lost, I’m smitten, I’m conquered, I’m still tingly. Thank you Lucy Hodson, I’d pay good money for that sensation again. Wonderful song.

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This track is dirty sex, very dirty in fact – in an alley, probably – with a crowd watching. It’s black, it’s leathery, it’s Motorheady, it’s loud, it’s angry and it scares me. You know when people repeatedly tell you to not look at the sun and you just can’t help yourself – yeah that! I looked, I listened and now I am in a daze. I can’t un-see see it or un-hear it: I feel energised and slightly trippy at the same time – is this normal? My ears are bleeding, but I think that’s the point – right? Is that what this rock music stuff does to you? Will I be able to return from this dark side? Will I have to do, like… things… in alleys and stuff? Also – bloody great drums! I can’t find much info about Mourning Birds online but they could be three dudes who play amazingly well for fun (and possibly Satan).

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Gnarling, spitting, edgy – the revolution will be televised! Deep nasty bass, shuffling loops from the dark side, guitars from the belly of Satan and muted trumpets from The World Of Jazz. Two minutes and 23 seconds of first class spitting – what’s not to like? You, dear listeners, loved this crisp observational burst of energy. It garnered the most votes on our Listening Post and I can see/hear why. Official Burnt Toast is the UK-based Canadian alt/hiphop artist Adrian Lawrence with Abrar Hafiz & Patrick Luke. Sonskrif is the label they work under – and it’s refreshing to see a rap tune resonating with the Fresh On The Net audience – salute!

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The Lancashire Hustlers come across like the bastards sons of Carole King and Steely Dan – this is lowkey pop soul. It sounds great on a sunny afternoon: catchy as fuck. The less is more flavouring is very deceptive – it creeps up on you like a great big mechanical fishing vessel whilst you are having a cheeky little paddle in what you thought were quiet waters. The duo of Brent Thorley (vocals, guitar, keyboards) and Ian Pakes (drums, backing vocals, various other instruments) got my vote: I very like them much. I like songs about problem children turning into problem adults. It makes me feel better about myself. I also like it when they have names like Nigel or Reginald but – hey – you can’t have everything in life. Otherwise I would have turned out to be a Master Crispmaker or a Minister Of Icecream And Sundry Desserts – or some such. No fish were hurt during the production of this review. We only deal in imaginary hook & line on Fresh On The Net, innit.

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WREKIT88 – Vegas

You can sing Madonna’s Vogue over the intro to this song, which is nice. Mind you having said that I don’t like Madonna, she’s too far up her own. You shouldn’t argue with someone with over 300 million record sales but I would (argue). Of course I wouldn’t win because she’s a real dirty fighter and wouldn’t hesitate to use her pointy bra to spike me. Anyway, I digress.

WREKIT88‘s Vegas is a very well produced and played tune – they know their way around a groove – and this offers some interesting changes and dynamics. The quality must have shone through as you readers liked it up big time. Props to the team behind this – as instrumentals don’t always win as much praise. I like it, though (being a vocal lover) I think it would be more of a corker with a great vocal over the top. I can’t add much biographical info other than they are a music writing project but I doff my cap in their direction and wish them well on their journey.


ZURICH – Alone

Epic stadium-filling rock with a twist is back in vogue isn’t it? It is now. This song makes me wanna stand atop a mountain with the wind rushing through my gorgeous long locks, whilst I stand bolt upright, noble, statesmanlike and challenge the world to take me on. Cameras in fast-moving helicopters are filming my every (manly yet sensual) move: c’mon you fuckers, I’ll have ya!!!! Or is that just me?

People who don’t already will love this Oxford based trio consisting of Adrian Banks (bass & vocals), Chris Gillett (guitar & vocals) and Leigh Taylor (drums & damples). Imagine that Simple Minds ate Echo And The Bunnyman and Big Country for breakfast and you’re halfway there. Bet they’re great live and turn many a head when they play. It’s a fine song and I mostly/muchly like it – especially the understated backing “ahh’s”. Zurich will go far.

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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.

Johnno Casson

Johnno Casson is a London-born/Colchester-based singer, musician, songwriter and show-off. He also compiles and releases compilations and is a serial supporter of new music. Johnno releases his own music as Snippet ,Old Tramp and also under his own name Johnno Casson.. As far as we know he was the most-played artist ever on Tom's legendary late night Fresh On The Net radio shows on 6 Music - having been featured no less than 18 times and appearing as an interview guest. You can also find Johnno on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube...


  1. Chris

    OMG:) I can’t believe that we made the Fresh Faves…..woo hoo! We are going to take your advice and will get some vocals laid on this asap (although we won’t ask Madonna) Wow what an honour, thanks to everyone.


  2. Steve Harris

    Johnno, Johnno, Johnno!

    Great reviews (Mourning Birds especially), and top tunes (all of them, obvs).

  3. Well what an absolute treat on a Monday! Blinding reviews Mr C which had me giggling like a child!
    Hats off to all artists who made it through too….fine tracks folks
    Debs x

  4. Cheers Chris,Steve and Debs,I love you up a bit a lot

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