Fresh Faves: Batch 403

Amahla

Artists at a glance

AMAHLA
AMELIA COBURN
DENNY LLOYD
LOHRD SNOHW
MILLIE SMALL
THE ALLERGIES & DYNAMITE MC
THE CHOCO LA'S
THE EARLY MORNINGS
THE HAPPY SOMETHINGS
UMBRELLABIRDS

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

What a lucky girl am I this wet bank holiday Monday, A superb batch of tuneage this week, both here and across the entire inbox. It almost feels like the optimism is rife among us all! Here we go…

AMAHLA – Commandments

Soul singer/songwriter Amahla has been writing since the age of eight. Commandments is a polished and wonderfully produced piece of work. It’s the perfect track to begin with on a rainy Belfast morning, whilst I hug my coffee cup. 
A soulful track, delivered with emotion and eloquence — throw in an impressive vocal range and you really do have the finished article.

Amahla has performed in several iconic venues including: London Jazz Cafe, The Royal Albert Hall, and The Roundhouse, supporting the likes of Beverly Knight and JMSN. She has written songs that reflect her passion on many ongoing social issues, one of which being the BLM campaign. May I suggest you hop along to Bandcamp and hear for yourselves just why she has gained so much critical acclaim.

Official | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

AMELIA COBURN – The Cheese Song

Middlesbrough artist Amelia Coburn claims influence from a range of genres, from folk to jazz to new wave classic rock and pop. She has been a nominee for BBC Radio 2’s Young Folk Award. Amelia has also supported the likes of Steve Harley and The Wedding Present, as well as selling out her own shows. I see she has a list of gigs on her website for later in the year — unfortunately for me, none this side of the pond but I shall be keeping an eye out for that!

The Cheese Song was a big hit, not only on the LP but in the Toal house this week. It is uplifting, fun and infectious. Instantly hooked on the first bar, if it doesn’t get you smiling and dancing simultaneously I will eat my cheese-filled hat. This track is as addictive as cheese itself!

Please go check Amelia’s website for tour dates, and have a look at her cute, trusty ukulele. I want one.

Official | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

DENNY LLOYD – In The Rain

Based in Windsor, singer/songwriter and guitar teacher Denny Lloyd is a passionate advocate of the very grassroots of music. He is a strong advocate of the organic side of the music industry, rather than the manufactured end. Denny, you are in great company here.

In The Rain is another fitting soundtrack to my morning — it’s raining buckets here, yet Denny is helping my problems wash away. So much so that I’m tempted to step out later and take this song with me. Both quirky, perky and downright catchy, with the added bonus of some cheery whistling in the mix. Yes, you will find me whistling along for the foreseeable.

Denny is also one half of the duo Intrinsik featuring Denny Lloyd and John Hardman. You know what to do people, get investigating! I’m off to whistle and dance in the rain.

Official | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

LOHRD SNOHW – Meet Me

Cazzie Winterton AKA Lohrd Snohw hails from the East Midlands. She is both a singer/songwriter and producer. Whilst snooping around Cazzie’s socials I’m thrilled to discover that Meet Me takes inspiration from artists such as Kelly Owens and Sylvan Esso with a sprinkle of some Caroline Polacheck energy. Okay, I’m IN! A girl after my own heart.

I was first drawn in by the effortless vocal; it builds up gradually by layering over some ambient and delicate electronica sounds. I seem to find something new on every listen. What initially sounds simple in fact has so much more depth on every listen. It really is a flawless piece, and I’m left not only wanting to keep exploring the track itself, but wanting to hear much more, and it seems there is plenty for me to discover. I love this job!

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

MILLIE SMALL – Beautiful Day

An artist that I’m sure needs no introduction, and was quite a surprise to see popping up on the FOTN inbox last week. Beautiful Day was written by Millie Small in the 1990s and was recorded in October 2017 before her death on the encouragement of her daughter Jaelee. Jaelee Small, a recording artist in her own right, nudged her mum to record it for her 70th birthday.

The track itself is about going home on the 1st of May. A nostalgic sunny, ska trip home. It was released on 30th April and her daughter says “the timing is perfect and it marks one year since she passed away, so this seemed like a fitting tribute to mark the occasion. I don’t want people to forget her legacy, her heart and song will continue to live on.” How could we ever forget. Thanks for bringing it Jaelee X

Official | Instagram | YouTube | Bandcamp

THE ALLERGIES & DYNAMITE MC – Lean On You

Bristol-based duo DJ Moneyshot and Rackabeat have been bringing us the funky noise since 2012. Energy in absolute abundance, we can’t get enough of them in this house, and I know fellow mod Andy Page is a big fan too (Happy birthday Andy).


Introduced to me a few years ago by the one and only Mr Craig ‘Funky’ Charles on 6 Music. Craig says “The Allergies music is big, bouncy and fat, just how I like my funk.”
 They have previously been Album Of The Day on 6 Music with their debut, As We do Our Thing.

Lean On You is a straight in, no kissing, funky hip hop joy. Dynamite MC is definitely putting his back into the punchy vocal. Love his charismatic voice!


I just love them and will need to invest in more of their funky vinyl. If you are late to the party, please go check them out. They are top of my live list.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

THE CHOCO LA’S – Old Magic

UK-based indie trio The Choco La’s say they “sing about life in a three part harmony”, and oh boy they surely do! Band members Bryony Dunn, Jake Andrews and Luke Andrews have enjoyed support from our very own Tom Robinson on 6 Music, our own Neil March for Trust The Doc, along with BBC Introducing, and John Kennedy on Radio X.

Old Magic is a beautiful wee love song, starting with a simple, flawless vocal that builds with some fine, heartfelt harmonies. It has an indie/folk feel that expresses emotion really well.

I see they have had some recent live streams on their social media pages, so I imagine they will be itching to get back to the real thing ASAP so keep an eye out.

Official | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

THE EARLY MORNINGS – Blank Sky

Manchester based 3-piece, formed in 2018, The Early Mornings bring us drums, bass and guitar, alternating between melodic and angular to create jagged, poetic songs. Initially recording some home demos, they then spent much of 2019 gigging and released their debut single in 2020.

I really love this track, it’s simplistic yet punchy. It brings me back to a lot of the stuff I was listening to in the 90s, Indie with a splash of punk. It brings a sort of attitude and swagger that seems to come naturally to the band. Almost like they were born to do this, it is that effortless in its sound.

I see they have a few upcoming live dates, one of which is sold out so keep your ears to the ground for more. It feels so lovely to plan gigs again doesn’t it?

Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Bandcamp

THE HAPPY SOMETHINGS – Beach Cleaners

Hello again Happys! Happy, Jolly and Joy are no strangers to the Fresh Faves. Based in the Derbyshire/Nottingham border, the trio describe their music as ‘unintentionally retro’ and ask not to be taken too seriously. Perhaps not, but some of the subject matter they tackle is indeed important, though brought to our ears in a kind and breezy way which is rather fitting for them.

Beach Cleaners is a light hearted track which is giving a polite reminder to us all to be more mindful of pollution and plastic and the effect it is having. Only The Happy Somethings could deliver a message in this benevolent way.

They’ve had previous 6 Music play on Tom’s Introducing Mixtape along with great support from various independent stations including Exile FM. Probably the kindest, most and most eccentric people in wonky pop today! We should all be more ‘happy something’ and perhaps the world would be a better place.

Official | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

UMBRELLABIRDS – Sobriquet

London/Chicago based Umbrellabirds are the musical project of Sam Blickhan, Lewis Daly and Alex Hunt. Beginning as a long distance project when Sam and Lewis began exchanging demos in 2013, Alex signed up to produce but was soon to be recruited as a full band member. They have also enjoyed having BBC Introducing Mixtape airtime.

Sobriquet opens with some beautiful piano that gently guides in the understated vocal. You have to stop everything and listen, it lures you in and boom, captured, hook line and sinker! Classical and soulful and beautifully elegant in its delivery.


I’m familiar with Umbrellabirds and they never fail to impress. Please do check them out, I promise you will not be disappointed, there is a wealth of music to immerse yourself in.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

Umbrellabirds

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.

Louise Toal

Louise was a cellist in a previous life before reality got in the way! Her unwavering passion for all things music means she listens constantly whether at home or work, attending as many gigs as babysitters allow. Read More. Find Louise on Twitter @louise_toal.

5 Comments

  1. Ah, wonderful reviews Louise; brimming with genuine love for the music across such a wide spectrum and well-informed and researched too. I will personally dine out on being given higher billing than John Kennedy in your review of The Choco-Las!! Lol! A great read and ten top tunes for people to enjoy too. 🙂

  2. Nice work Louise! Congratulations to all artists who made it to the Fresh Faves this week!

  3. Great top ten. A rich top 25. Lovely reviews by Louise 😍.

  4. Great tracks & great artists – congrats all!
    Great reviews – & top writing, with many* ace descriptions!
    *e.g.: “…alternating between melodic and angular to create jagged, poetic songs.”

  5. Wow! what a wonderful set of Fresh Faves and wonderfully reviewed to, well done Louise!

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