Fresh Faves: Batch 488

Artists at a glance


These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by BBC Introducing’s Kian Boyle this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.

AULD – I’m Exercising

In a weekend where I didn’t leave the house and gorged myself on trash TV, I felt like I needed a fresh restart before the new week began. Auld’s I’m Exercising gave me exactly what I was looking for. Beaming with youthful freedom and joy, Sere Trouble momentarily interrupts this with vocals that leave a lump in your throat. It’s a track of pure nostalgia that leaves you dazed by how quickly it brings up your own memories. 

Thom Pitts says this project was inspired by a contraption he built called The Wholesome Centre, a machine that lets you relive any memory you wish. This song is the first of many journeys Thom took into The Wholesome Centre, I will be sure to keep an eye out for more journeys that may come!

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Thank you to everyone who voted for this, my life has been lacking in summery indie bangers. The guitars are poppy and the lyrics are intoxicatingly catchy, I will no doubt have this on repeat in my head for the rest of the week. 

Hailing from Wigan, BARSTAFF released Hit U Up alongside their debut EP Show Don’t Tell off the back of their UK tour. I can already hear this on a festival stage so I am sure that I will catch them somewhere this summer! Gold stars are also due for such a brilliant band name. 

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Lovely stuff. The lyrics are impactful yet sparse and the drums remind me of if Massive Attack went to pursue pop (in a good way). Benjamin Yellowitz is quietly confident and it works really well on this track.

According to his web site, “Yellowitz is no stranger to the stage – singing with honesty upheld by his captivating stage presence and energetic guitar-percussion. Yellowitz somehow fuses folk with warm electronica to create a rich feeling that fills the room.” Well I guess we’ll all have to go and see him now won’t we?

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If the original Celtic queen had Cobra playing out before battle the Romans wouldn’t have stood a chance. The bass is haunting and the vocals well, they’re to die for. Takes all the best parts of BiigPiig and Sorry into a unique mash where you don’t really know where the song will take you.

Really intrigued to listen to more of Boudicca’s Bass Service. On a brief stalk of their instagram they’ve shared up an incredible cover of Black Sabbath’s Planet Caravan, so I’m sure there’s a lot more range that we can expect from Boudicca’s Bass Service! Also gold stars for the name obvs. 

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CATBEAR – I’ll Meet You At The End

Really fun synth-led alt pop. CATBEAR was formed by Zoe Konez and Sarah Smith from London, and they say they’re “best friends who started writing songs out of the conversations that best friends have. Transforming their deep life-chats into vibrant, upbeat songs as they process getting older.”

You can really hear the connection that they have, and it’s a joy to hear a duo that have such a connection both emotionally and sonically. They’ve just performed at The Great Escape, so I’m sure they’ve got a few more festivals up their sleeves for the summer (none that I can see right now so keep an eye out!).

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CRUUSH – Wishful Thinker

Shoegaze at its finest. Deep, raw vocals with shimmering guitars and drums that puncture at all the right points. This four-piece from Manchester really shines out of the crowd from all the rest of the shoegaze mumbo jumbo that’s about at the minute. 

Wishful Thinker is off Cruush’s debut EP of the same name out on Heist or Hit Records. I’ve added them to my to-see-live list, if you have too you can catch them at Manchester Psych Town Festival on the 2nd of September!

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Wow, I need to see this band live. Lauding from Flitwick, the two piece chuck everything they have at this track, and it is bursting in anger. There’s a burning disgust in their vocals that are just amplified by the scream of the instruments. You can often come across post-punk bands that feign this kind of emotion, but there is nothing fake about this sound. 

According to the band “Gaylips is a grenade chucked into the room- a last hoorah before music is finally sacrificed at the altar of an AI algorithm.” That grenade has eviscerated my eardrums and I couldn’t be happier. 

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SALT HOUSE LAVISH – Hands Up All Night

Pure magic. A groovy instrumental underlaying a lyrical flow that could out do some of the greats. One of those tracks that impulsively makes you move and nod your head. I’m not sure what else to say apart from Salt House Lavish know what they’re doing, and why aren’t you dancing yet? 

Hailing from Stockton on Tees, Salt House Lavish don’t have any gigs on at the moment, but make sure to keep an eye out. 

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SANSHA – Drink Water, Eat Biscuits, Keep Smiling

Really glad to see Sansha on the list this week. As a producer at BBC Introducing Beds, Herts and Bucks I go through over a couple hundred songs a week, this track has given me one of the worst cases of earworm in my life. The Kate Nash-esque vocals with a modern twist that creates a bubblegum pop song that is just SO moreish. 

Sansha says the song stems from a week when her brother had a baby, her sister got married and she broke up with her long-term boyfriend. Returning to her childhood home, the song is a homage to the tapestry of support at home that told her to “drink water, eat biscuits and keep smiling.” 

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THE ISLAS – Who’s Your Money On?

Finishing off the week with the upbeat indie banger Who’s Your Money On? THE ISLAS say they state their influences as The Smiths, Beautiful South and Sam Fender. Dare I add in Circa Waves to that list? Happy, carefree indie of this sort is difficult to get right but I think the Norfolk duo have had a solid shot at it. Who’s Your Money On is the first track off their debut LP, out later this year. 

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The Islas

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.

Kian Boyle

Kian Boyle is a producer at BBC Introducing in Beds, Herts and Bucks, and a photographer. Find Kian and his photos on Twitter and Instagram.


  1. Great, entertaining and nicely researched reviews Kian. Pleasure to have you as our guest reviewer. 🙂

  2. Nice work Kian! Congratulations to all the artists that made it through!

  3. That Gay Lips track is amazing.

  4. gaaah it’s one word not two

  5. Great tracks this week! And a good read too.

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