Fresh Faves: Batch 334


Artists at a glance


Welcome to our final Fresh Faves before our summer break. Our inbox will reopen on Monday, 2nd September, and the next Listening Post will be Friday, 6th September.

These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s Johnno Casson this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.

CASUAL DRAG – Bleach Head

Casual Drag are from Edinburgh and they make dirty garage punk music. Their guitars buzz and fizz and glide in all the right places and they sing with dedication and careless abandon, what’s not to like? That intro would sound great on an episode of a Breaking Bad / Fargo type of show.

There’s only three of them but they make a bloody big sound, the trio are made up of Christian Werner – Drums, Dominic MacInnes – Bass and Richard Clarke – Guitar/Vox.

I’m not sure what Richard is singing about but it seems highly plausible it’s about dirty sex on the sly, with lots of different people, possibly a number of them have bleached hair and for the chorus they all get in a scrum and shout like banshees YOU! YOU! and YOU! whilst they are, ahem, going for it.

If that has burned an image into the back of your eyes that you cannot remove I recommend you go and listen to a Sheena Easton song that will cleanse your chakra and unblock your differential ‘n stuff ‘n thing.

A newly formed band this year, I love it that they found their drummer on Gumtree. You loved the very bones of them on the Listening Post and I can see just why. This is music to remind you that you are alive.

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter

DAVID SHURR – Black Magic

I love this song. It has a really killer groove with extra added background sounds that add to the vibe of the piece, bet it sounds great on the radiogram too. There’s lot of his music on his Bandcamp page that I think is well worth a look and a listen, his song The Thread Connecting Us sounds like a fine tune.

David Shurr was born in Lancashire and raised in South East Asia, which is nice.

I think that now I’ve found him I will be listening to his music a lot, this feels like music to aid peaceful and enjoyable plane, train or automobile journeys. According to the infamous ‘The Basic Rule Book of Music Listening’ (2018 edition) I am legally allowed to enjoy David’s music when I get my license through the post (within the next 14 days). I confess I got lucky as on the application form I declared in the ‘other artists you have listened to’ section – Josh Rouse and Mac Demarco – phew!

Here are the reasons why I picked this out as one of my faves:

  1. The itchy groove soothed my pop music soul and allowed me to pretend I like the blues without getting my hands dirty.
  2. There are cars bibbing their hooters in the background (an underused effect) and I’m very fond of bibbing hooters.
  3. The song sounded like the love child of Bill Withers and a cleaned up Tom Waits, I’m not sure how they could actually have a lovechild together but you’ll have to just trust me on this occasion.
  4. Musicianship is high and vocal prowess is most delightful.
  5. The song is obviously about an older gentleman who knows the secret of the Black Magic box and we don’t get enough songs about boxes of chocolate (or older gentleman).
  6. I am now David’s Number 1 fan, all other holders of that title should cease and desist as of 7pm this evening, take your ratty clothes and disturbingly worn posters and get the hell out, there is a new Daddy bitch in town!
  7. This song inspires me to go and write a song of my own.
  8. I’ve listened to it 8 times and 8 is my favourite number.

Good luck on the journey David.

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

ÉLAN VITAL – We Got The Jacks Back

This was the song I picked to go through to the Listening Post so I’m delighted it made it to the Faves. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I’m a sucker for a sampladelic sound collage with a killer funky hip hop break and bass, add to that a lovely vintage sounding lo-fi keyboard, (possibly a Casiotone but I’m guessing Yamaha) and add to the top line a lovely little spoken story of a couple of American kids losing and then getting back their jacks – life really can be that simple!

I wanted to find out more to I sent myself to Manchester (ok, all stage-managed via an internet connection).

Élan Vital is a beat battle winner and thought I knew what that was but dug a little deeper and found this – “The STBB is a weekly beat battle, where anywhere from 50 to 100+ participants from all over the world, are provided a sample to flip/chop/edit/screw, and make a beat out of it within just a few days. All the participants then cast out a vote, and the winner picks the samples for the next round. We provide a weekly report and an interview with the battle winner.”

How cool is that?

You can read the interview here, I’ve yet to read it but will do tomorrow

He’s got some tidy cuts on his Soundcloud page too.

I wasn’t sure that this would make it to the Faves because there was so many good songs on offer but I’m chuffed that it did and I’m pleased for Élan because it’s excellent.

Look forward to hearing more soon.

Soundcloud | Facebook


Lovely voice – tick 
Gentle tickling of the ivories in all in the right places – tick 
Nice emotive song – tick
Debut single – blimey! 3 ticks

With echoes of Birdy and London Grammar, it’s no surprise that this song has featured on Love Island, it’s very commercial and does its job really well. 

I always say that good emerging artists are just three minutes away from a next big step, perhaps Emilia Tarrant’s moment has arrived already?

Hailing from Winchester, Emilia is only 17 and is obviously very talented and has already played The Great Escape and this song was produced by renowned producer Danton Supple (what a great name).

Recently signed to Summer Freckle Records and Big Hug Management, I’ve no doubt they will put her in front of the right people and help her grow.

TBH I’m not the right audience for this song but my opinion is this is a song to help you through rough times, self analysis and the bitter pain of longing, it’s also rather beautiful indeed.

…After 3 plays Emilia has won me over, it’s funny how a song/voice can do that, not exactly wearing me down but rather gently winning me over and she has done that with aplomb. 

Now the hook to If You Want Love is going to be stuck in my head for days, no doubt I’ll be singing it under my breath at the Lidl self-service checkout and the lady working there will say, “Are you alright dear?” “Only you’ve been here for 20 minutes humming a tune and you haven’t scanned anything you see”, “I don’t mean to rush you but there is a big queue of people waiting”, “Have you scanned that carrier bag?”

And I’ll go home and I’ll hum the song to my little dog and he will patiently sit and listen and then I’ll pick him up and rest him in my lap and I’ll stroke him gently as I hum and together we’ll know – things are going to be alright.

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter


Brighton four-piece Foundlings (namely Amber, Bry, Matty and Ol) make big, boisterous guitar music with a splash of delightful twang, all massive chords, 80’s stadium love and 21st century savvy.

They like elephants and sun bleached red t shirts.

It’s like garage rock but on a zip-wire, they’ve devised their own wall of sound, with big hasty guitars and punky girl group vocals, they have turned it up to 12 and they’ve come to eat your Echo And The Bunnymen records.  

They have been known at times to be jangly and jaunty, but on Busan they have gone all rock renegade, edgy as flip and dangerous as a box chock full of last weeks nail clippings.

They delighted you dear listeners and you hear just why, whisper it but they have a dash of Blondie and with a fair wind and a bit of luck they could be…  etc… perhaps… and so forth.

They remind me of the bands I used to see in rehearsal rooms in Stepney, where the door had to be clamped closed for fear of upsetting the residents of the estate two roads down, and every four hours the band would spill out of the room, wet through from head to foot and with glazed stares and dedicated mouth movements that would (over a Mars bar and a Tizer) gently melt into some of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.

After a tour and lots of radio love they have been signed to the world’s first crowd funded not-for-profit record label Last Night From Glasgow.

They did a session in December for BBC Introducing in The South and Busan comes from their recently released self-titled EP. Our own Tom Robinson has selected them previously for his 6 Music BBC Introducing show too. And extra double Wow! They have just played my favourite festival (that I’ve yet to attend) Indietracks.

I bet they sound great on a radiogram too (might this track also be one for Steve Lamacq on 6 Music?). They come with a great sound, rocky and melodic and they are planning to loosen fillings you’ve forgotten you had and pique once melancholy hearts.

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp


Rockin’ up a right noise is Jon Samsworth with Jack. Only one word is spoken in Jack, a determined ‘Right’ in the style of The Fast Show’s Jesse Jesse as the tune kicks in, followed by a mental groove of sweet guitar and bass riff and off the chart spaced out piano and keyboards.

You loved it, I did too, my leg is doing involuntary Wilko Johnson movements, causing the rest of my body to start to do the same and BANG! I’m off – a makeshift dance floor makes itself available for me, a zero hours glitter ball shines and fades for 2 minutes 23, I throw some air bass moves, head nod to the thumping beat of death and splash some spaced out freestyle maniacal shapes right here on my actual living room floor.
Jon is an independent, alternative composer based in Aylesbury and this is a live recording delivered by Jon on Bass guitar, Chloe Tennant (AKA Cholly) on Analog Synth and cowbell (watch her, she has seen galaxies far far away), Malcolm Smith on Grand piano and swanee whistle, Joel Urner on Guitar and Viktor Volaric-Horvat on Drumkit.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

MEMES – Happy Shopper

What a lick! 
What a fine punk rock tune!
What gorgeous rock’n’roll!
What a filthy wonderful noise!
What a laugh!

The whole song bursts and bristles with punky energy from a band very much on form, and damn to that killer bassline!

Rolling Stones, Happy Mondays, Sleaford Mods, Memes – all top quality rock music. 2 minutes 36 seconds of delightful Glaswegian post punk – this is a very strong track landing at just the right time.

This roared through the Listening Post like a lion on a mission after their last appearance on the Fresh Faves on 3rd March with Blah Blah Blah, I definitely think they are improving too.

Memes have been playing gigs all over the place and have been getting radio support from Amazing Radio’s Rianne Thompson, BBC Scotland’s Jim Gellatly, Billy Sloan and Vic Galloway they were included in Steve Lamacq ‘s Best of 2019. You get the feeling that they have the ability to shape their own future to be anything they want it to be.

I am now also a happy shopper, the best trip to the shop I’ve had in an age.

Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

NIC EVENNETT – Letters from the Whale (Crystal & Crime)

Drifts in on a wave and gently wraps itself around you like a wholesome love blanket. Oh bless your cotton socks Nic, this is a gorgeous track.

Nic Evennett is from Kent and is a brilliant independent singer songwriter who last appeared on Fresh Faves in March this year. You may know this already but it’s a really big achievement to get to the top 10 on the Listening Post to make our Fresh Faves. Think about it, you have to battle against around 200+ other songs to make it to the 25 songs picked by the team for the Listening Post and then you have to rely on the public voting for your song with no safety net, no social media campaign or even posts telling your fans to vote for you (because that would get you banned). As it says on the details of the LP – The point of it is to try out your music on strangers without telling your friends, family fans etc. And then the public take the time to listen to all of the songs and vote you into the Fresh Faves, now that is something to celebrate, strangers saying your music is excellent! Gold.

Letters from the Whale appears on the recently released For the Money EP. I highly recommend you purchase the EP and just put it on the stereogram, sit back and let it bathe you in deliciously gentle and relaxing soundscapes, plus – double prizes – 50% of the proceeds go to mental health charities.

I should also mention that FL Souto is responsible for the beats on the EP and very fine they are too.

Soundcloud | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp


Oh bugger, I accidentally left the amp on and hit play and that gave me a jolt of lightning. It’s gone 1am and that might have woken neighbours four doors down. It’s not that I don’t like it, I just saw the name Paint Nothing and I thought they might be a gentle folk band singing jaunty songs of the sea and songs of shipwrecks and unpredictable tide surges… or something. How wrong was I?

Paint Nothing are a four-piece punk band from Cambridge, namely Mills (bass), David (drums), Jack (shouting) and Rich (guitar) and a good number of you got behind them and voted them into the Faves. They have a new album out (vinyl too) called Influencer so I assume this must be from the album. They make an alternative rock sound with a punky overtone – that’ll be Jack’s shouting.

They’ve been gigging a fair bit, bet they kick up a right royal noise in their home town of Cambridge and beyond.

Official | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

THE LOFT SIDECHAIN – Think It’s Coming

This pricked up my ears, slightly dirty, slightly edgy, brooding little guitar mantra, what’s not to like? Add in a vocal reminiscent of Iron and Wine and I’ve bought my ticket, my t-shirt and I’m standing in the mosh pit, feeling full of beans with a mildly menacing undertone (hey, good and bad days sometimes arrive together). 

This was a track I picked out when moderating and I really really like it. It’s like an unplugged grunge classic, I’d like to hear more of this style. It gets into your membrane, in a good way, knocking at your noggin and tapping at your inner sanctum. 

The Loft Sidechain is an engineer and songwriter but I can’t find loads of info on him online.

Perhaps that’s his real name – Mr Sidechain! Lofty Sidechain at your service! Can I create some aural magic for you?

Perhaps Lofty has aspirations to have a family, perhaps a quiet little dream of his is to have a little Mini van with Lofty Sidechain & Sons written on the side. Perhaps together they could drive around in the van offering special aural pleasure in customers’ lofts? “Lofty Sidechain & Sons – Delivering pleasure throughout South East London!” It’s got a nice ring to it.

I’d invite them over, I recognise I may have to pay a premium as I no longer live in London but think of the positives, I’d be like a new man, cleansed of mind, body and soul.

Funny thing is, if you listen to the 2nd track on their Soundcloud it’s absolutely completely rocking different and may cause them to have to re-think the mini van idea, the starting a family idea, the delivering pleasure through South East London idea. I’d probably ask for my money back – so think on Lofty, think on!

Soundcloud | YouTube | Bandcamp

Casual Drag

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.

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. I don’t think any of my fellow moderators will object to my saying there is no-one on the team with quite Johnno’s ability to be entertaining, funny, profound and informative all at once. These reviews prove that once again.

    I know Nic Evennett is going to be very moved when she reads the words ‘Drifts in on a wave and gently wraps itself around you like a wholesome love blanket. Oh bless your cotton socks Nic, this is a gorgeous track’. Just as I laughed out loud at the Casual Drags review and reference to Sheena Easton!

    BTW, regarding Foundlings and the Last Night From Glasgow label there is also this article that I may have had something to do with which appears on a certain Fresh on the Net. 🙂

    Anyway thanks Johnno. What a high to sign off for the rest of summer on. 🙂

  2. Great reviews Johnno – and you’re right about Cholly – she’s definitely channeling some deep space cosmology.

  3. Nic

    Thank you SO much, Johnno. Things like this turn difficult days into magical ones in a heartbeat. You did just that. It is hugely appreciated.

    Thank you to everybody who listened, voted, took time to comment, and for all the support, hard work, time, energy all the team give to us folk. It’s a tough road out there for all of us. It’s really very tough when we can’t get our music out there through gigging and touring because of health stuff. We only have online platforms to shout on, and we’re not always good at shouting. You give me, and musicians like me, hope. Right now, it doesn’t matter that I’m a big lolloping mess of pain and codeine and craziness. And for others who are also lolloping about, I hope they think ‘I could do that too.’ This is gold. What you all do is gold. Don’t forget it.

    Have a lovely summer, all. You’ve earned it. BIG love. <3

  4. Thanks for the kind words Neil, Jon and Nic.
    Neil you are so supportive of new music artists and the care you have and the and passion you show is – I know – greatly appreciated.

    Jon and Nic – keep doing what you are doing – it’s reaching!
    And I can greatly empathise with the health stuff Nic.

    There is much talent on show here so a big thanks to all the artists who submitted music and inspire us reviewers to write the words we do.

    Plus, music is such a great connector isn’t it, with people and emotions?
    In a deep troubled world and scary times, it’s so so good to know that music has the ability to take us out of the here and now and transport us into a feeling of calm/happiness/excitement/reflection/euphoria, the list is endless, as is the possibilities offered by music makers and music shakers.


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