Fresh Faves: Batch 490

Bar Pandora

Artists at a glance


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

Here we go with another set of fab Faves! First up please join me in wishing our Tom a happy birthday for last Thursday, Tom you are a national treasure God bless you.

Second, as always my emails are always open for submissions for tracks – if you’d like me to feature you on my show at Islington Radio send me a track with an MP3 and a bio and I’ll consider it for the show – that’s open to everyone by the way!


What’s the third?

Oh yeah. I have hot chocolate! Not much left. But we are closer to Christmas than we were at the beginning of the year and that’s what’s keeping me positive about how I can get some more.


Headphones charged? Our.
Cup filled? Si.
Keys in the ignition? Oh aye.
Four lit and in the green.

Let’s go.

BAR PANDORA – Ultramess

I love the synth bass on this track, as well as those snare rolls. Very 80s with the synths and I’m here for it!

The vocals come in at 0:31 rich and low, I bet this could go down a storm live. I’ve just noticed the spooky synth lead that comes over Charlie Tophill’s voice, and it reminds me of the video clips that have been floating around on instagram – Gregg Phillinganes and Anthony Marinelli playing with vintage analogue synths showing how they created the sounds for Michael Jackson’s Thriller using the ARP 2600. It just goes to show how much fun you can have with just playing with weird noises to get the desired sound you want – sometimes by accident sometimes intentional.

This really did well on the Listening Post coming away with the majority of the votes and rightly so, it’s inventive and a job well done!

Bar Pandora is the stage name of UK alt-pop artist Charlie Tophill, named for a literary cafe in La Latina, Madrid, where in 2017 Tophill used to hang out with her friends talking literature.

I like the sound of this place, do they do nice hot chocolates there?

Asking for a friend.

Official | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp


Ahhh one of my favourite discoveries on FOTN are back! I actually reviewed the album from which this song comes from a year ago! Their sound is upbeat, bouncy, and works so well with this glorious sunshine we are experiencing this weekend.

Everyone in the band stands out, I love Fi’s voice, and always have done. She is a ray of sunshine riding in on glorious horn arrangements and percussion played skilfully, this song takes you to a happy place, it’s in Ab an uplifting key, and all I can say is that it’s made me happy to see that Cable Street Collective are back. Check out our interview here!

One cool fact is that the bass player Aaron is the son of Gregg Kofi Brown, Gregg has co written songs with Sting (“Lullaby To An Anxious Child”) – the man has an impressive CV.

The Force is strong in this family.

I have compared Aaron’s bass playing to my favourite bass player of all time Abe Laboriel – if you don’t know about Abe Laboriel just go check out his live videos on YouTube, especially his playing for Ron Kenoly – I’m saying nothing more other than that no one – NO ONE plays with that much energy.

This song is my track of the week.

Official | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

CATTLE & CANE – Rough Mercy

This song’s lyrics come with a bittersweetness you feel from the first line:

“You see through me
I’m wet laundry you’ve just hung out to dry”.

Throughout the song you hear the contrast, where you take the good with the bad, and it works so well.

Arrangement wise I like the way it begins, vocals, synth and a synth clap with percussion hitting on on two and four. The piano that comes in over the chorus has some really nice portions to play, and I’m happy for its presence on this track.

I can definitely listen to Helen’s voice all day! She’s got a rawness to it that is endearing.

Looking at their site there’s a lot to say – when I googled them, the first thing that came up was that Elton John said:

Are you ready for this?

“God I love that.”


So, who are Cattle And Cane? Well they’re a sibling duo – the aforementioned Helen and Joe Hammill, and they’re hitting impressive numbers on Spotify right now! Well, then again – if you have a fan in rock n roll royalty I mean you can retire on that right there. They’ve received airplay from Dermott O’Leary, our Tom, and also got played on tv: Sunday Brunch, Made In Chelsea, The Only Way Is Essex and Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing.

I’m impressed.

Thanks for gracing us with this track.

Official | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp


Time to break out the jangly guitars, and go indie pop with this next one, I like the melodic work on the bass on this, it breaks up the track nicely especially in the intro. I like the transition into a quieter portion of the song at around the 1:58 mark, it’s an inventive arrangement and for a song that clocks in at over 6 minutes it keeps things interesting – almost prog rock too with some of the rhythmic choices! But that also carries on in the lyrics:

“I feel air from another city drifting to me
It brings me memories so sweet I’d sooner they were gone
They just stand as indictments of me here in this place
Scenes so clear – turn my head away
I’d rather never see.”

I like the poetry in this.

So who are First Tiger?

First Tiger are from Glasgow, Scotland

Shorts – vocals and guitar
Stevie – guitars and vocals
Slim – bass and vocals
Paddy – drums

I want to know why Shorts is called Shorts?

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp


This is the third time Izzie Yardley has been on the Faves and congratulations to her, this song comes to us courtesy of a beat that Dr Steve Gadd would be proud of (Think “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” and you’ll get my reference). Plus a gorgeous double bass which gives this song a jazz leaning because the time signature changes through this from 3/4 to 4/4 and it’s quite dizzying.

I love it!

At the base of this all, you can’t put Izzie into a box genre-wise as this combines a bit of folk with the jazz tendencies and the lyrics are gorgeous – this is what you need for a summer’s day. We are about to hit six days straight of nice weather so I’m not complaining!

Izzie is a London based singer songwriter and session musician, she started releasing singles during the 2020 lockdown, with music influenced by the 60s / 70s songwriting scene.

She has done session vocalist work for Sir Tom Jones (Hey! I’ve met him!).

Now that’s cool.

Official | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp


There has been a whole surge with afrobeat, Amapiano and rhythms of Africa – this takes us right back to the roots, calling upon the spirits of Osibisa, Fela Kuti, CK Mann and so many African rhythms… the percussion is solid and so is the call and the response, this song was written to get the party started!

The bassline is brilliant as is the guitar being played in and just makes you want to get down.

Don’t fight it.


This song is an homage to the city that these artists call home – Kinshasa- which explains why there’s the warm welcome at the beginning.

Having played with Congolese artists in the past let me tell you.

They know how to PLAY!

So according to the trusty Spotify bio:

Mulele Matondo is an accomplished guitarist, bassist, composer and arranger, heavily influenced by the rich sounds and rhythms of his homeland. He grew up on a foundation of some of the greatest artists ever to come out of Africa, (including legendary Franco and Dr Nico).

Jupiter Bukondji is a musician from Kinshasa, his grandmother got him started playing percussion at ceremonies and funerals. I feel this deeply I tell you! His Wikipedia entry is fascinating.

Official | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

PROJECT TWO – In Real Life

Ahhh some electronica! I love the pulsing of the arpeggiated synth on this, combined with a drum beat that’s so simple but you can hear the sum of its parts – it’s given me some ideas about how to get creative with my own drum parts. The one word monotone sets it off nicely – Project Two describes it as the 24/7 predictability of 21st Century Living – set to a catchy beat.


Yeah… that sounds really familiar!

I can’t seem to find any info on Project Two… very mysterious.

ROLEPLAY – Come Close

This is so upbeat! Again with groovy basslines, the drums are slightly off kilter but it adds charm to an already outstanding track. The bass has a cheeky little slide in there!

For me the stand out part is the melody, this is the stuff catchy dream pop is made of, especially in the chorus. Combined with the chords, it just sits comfortably together – my first thought hearing it was there’s got to be a four on the floor beat, but tapping along on the pads to this it just doesn’t work. The groove just does the job as it is.

Keeping with the dreaminess of the the track it talks about finally seeing the light from a dark place, what happened before and how the protagonist is on the edge of giving up control and surrendering to the light.

Swedish born, UK based artist and producer Roleplay (Anna Haara Kristoferson) is a multi-instrumentalist who spent her childhood in choir academies. Roleplay is Haara Kristoferson’s first solo project outside of her ventures as lead vocalist in Yassassin.

Official | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

STAY LUNAR – Before You Go

Back to the guitars we go with this one, and this is a band who quote Neil March fully with their chest in their Spotify bio.

The production work testifies to Neil’s declaration: “This is pop music of heroic proportions, riding fearlessly into a dramatic sunset and carrying all in its wake.”

Where do I start? Well, the low atmospheric intro that kicks things off makes you think it’s a moody ballad but it’s not – that illusion is shattered by everything coming in at around the :12 second mark, rhythmic bass and guitar playing the same thing an octave above each other. The guitar production and arrangement is well thought out and that’s what caught my ear. Everything here is well thought out, and having listened to it a fair few times now, it’s catchy and definitely worthy of your time!

Stay Lunar are a band from Bristol, and they describe their sound as sad music on small stages.

I predict that to change to sad music on large stages in due course.

Oh and they are my ones to watch.

Official | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp


Oh! Latin grooves to close out the Faves! Here the drums, bass and guitars lay down the grooves for the vocals to come in with some glorious harmonies. This song is an ear worm of the best kind. The vocals are so strong, and that’s the thing that got me, you just want to sing along even if it’s out of tune and out of character for you, and that’s the bench mark for me…

My favourite part of this song comes in at 3:16 when it’s just the vocals and drums –

Lord that bit KILLS.

Hence why The Daydream Club deserve my chef’s kiss.

The Daydream Club are a multi-genre Leicester music duo formed in 2010 by the now husband and wife pairing, Adam and Paula Pickering. Independently produced and self-released, they have amassed over 100 Million career streams to date, with a catalogue as wide-ranging as it is distinctive.


Most impressive.

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The Daydream Club

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.

Bar Pandora photo by Sinéad Patching Photography

Del Osei-Owusu

Del is a songwriter, producer, keyboard player arranger and musical nerd from South London, Del comes from a gospel music background but listens to anything, everything and nothing. Read More


  1. Louise Toal

    Great work as always, Del! Well done everyone 😊

  2. Great fresh faves, great reviews, well done Del.

  3. Ah great reviews as always Del. I had no idea I was quoted on Stay Lunar’s Spotify page. What an honour but they are a great band and serial fresh faves for a reason. Delighted to see my good friend and another serial fave Mulele Matondo (who many of you will know for his amazing band Kongo Dia Ntotila) in there. Del’s combination of vast musical knowledge (great to see Steve Gadd get a mention!), good humour and thorough research makes this a joy to read. Well done to all the artists. 🙂

  4. Hi Neil thanks for that! Yeah Steve Gadd is definitely up there in my top drummers so when I heard it it snapped into place for me.

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