Fresh Faves: Batch 498

Symbol Soup

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.

Hey everyone, this is the final review before our summer break, we’re going into hibernation for six weeks now!

You’re more than welcome to send me a track for inclusion on my Islington Radio show, I’ve now expanded it to two hours, so just drop me an MP3 and a bio telling me about yourself, all genres welcome but please – make it radio friendly! Thanks folks.

Also please don’t give up the fight on the cuts to BBC Introducing, it’s important that we have this great resource, contact your local MP, and add your voice to it!

PS: Thanks to Tom and Steve for their tireless work on this site, we get up to 200 songs a week, and it’s a joy just being able to listen to the tracks that come through, have that well-earned rest!

To the reviews!

Tea? Oui.
Headphones charged? Si.
Keys in the ignition? Ja.

Four lit and in the green.

Let’s go.


Straight off the bat, we have a band here called Cheerless, from Hackney. A four-piece who make shoegaze music. I never understood that phrase, but… here we go. The track is called 003, which I thought may have been an oddity because Soundcloud does do strange things when you upload tracks, and doesn’t give songs proper titles, but it turns out this is the actual title.

This track is moody, and the guitar tone at the beginning reminds me a little of The Smiths’ How Soon Is Now? only just a little bit slower – I’m no guitarist by any stretch of the imagination, but I reckon there may be a little bit of a Johnny Marr influence here. Not a bad thing!

This song takes me back a little to the late 80s early 90s in its style – pre-Blur, pre-Oasis – that weird in-between period before the advent of indie rock as we know it now.

I like this a lot!

Having seen the video for it, it reminds me of what we used to see on The Chart Show back then. Who remembers The Chart Show?

Very psychedelic, and definitely a song I’d listen to again!

Having looked at their socials I don’t think I’m that far off on their influences. They mentioned in an interview for Far Out Magazine that one of their favourite albums is by The Fall – Live At The Witch Trials, Talk Talk – Laughing Stock… it’s all there!

So like I said this is a band from Hackney, a quartet….


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This is Chima Anya’s third appearance on the Faves, and my second time reviewing him, and I’m so happy that he’s made an appearance again. This track starts off with some nifty guitar work, which really caught my ear first, as well as the R&B vibe – the beat laid down reminds me of what you could possibly hear coming from someone’s open window when you’re walking down the road and… This track just gave me the summer vibes even on a day filled with torrential rain!

Johnny Voltik namechecks one of my favourite Motown songs of all time in his verse “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing” and that’s when I was invested in this song even further.

For me this song is pure fire, and I was really excited to see it make it onto the faves. Well done Chima!

DOCTOR – Yes that’s right I said it- DOCTOR – Chima Anya is a professional in the medical field, and has achieved a lot. He’s shared stages with Robert Glasper, Jay Electronica, KRS-1, Dead Prez, Big Daddy Kane, Asher Roth, Brother Ali and more.

Johnny Voltik is a songwriter and producer from New York award winning, listed on IMDB, works with the Urban Arts Partnership teaching music production and performance amongst other things. He’s got a very impressive CV!

This is my track of the week.

You can add that too.

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FRANCES MISTRY – Subtle Compliments

Another artist that’s appeared on the Faves multiple times! Frances Mistry is here again with this song that’s also got some stunning guitar work on… The drums shuffle along nicely too, which is a good way to catch my attention. I really like Frances’s harmonies on this track, especially on the line “As the sun sets…” I had to rewind it just to catch that, what a nice warm feeling! The change at 1:06 is a nice touch, and adding the call and response bit as well… bang on! This song came out on top with the most votes and it’s obvious why, well done to her for this.

Frances Mistry is an indie musician//producer & part time Nintendo enthusiast from Brighton aka The Land Of Over-Confident Seagulls, according to her Spotify profile, and “makes galaxy dream pop 4 ur playlists”.

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GEMMA ROGERS – New World Order

This has dub vibes on it! I like dub vibes. Gemma’s voice flies in low on the verses, and when you think she’s sounding bored and disinterested and just singing about mundane life? Then she turns it all the way up on the chorus bringing in some really cool harmonies over the chorus. This has the added elements of analogue synths in there, with cool weird noises… Yeah I like that a lot! This song namechecks Eastenders in its lyrics, which made me laugh as I’m an unapologetic Eastenders fan – it’s my only guilty pleasure to watch on TV.

The detuned piano – I like that, I guess that’s just as a side effect of the dub effects, because it adds a different level to the song, and it works really well.

So… “New World Order?” We currently live in a world on the brink of a world war, the arts as we know it are being redefined by the arrival and very rapid rise of AI, so this song is well timed for it.

Talking of which the video for this is created in AI, and is very well done, great job!

Gemma Rogers is a London-based artist, and according to her website has a very busy few months ahead, with live dates from August through to December.

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Breaking out the ukulele for this one and with complex vocal arrangements, Hannah makes this all about the song. It’s just so simple, there’s a bass playing quaver notes holding down the rhythm, while the ukulele keeps the rhythm and chords in check. But the one thing that keeps drawing me back is Hannah’s vocal arrangement — just exquisite. The song is in the key of A Major which is an uplifting key as it is, but a high one to sing in, so how she’s managing this I don’t know. But I’m not complaining at all — it’s just whisking me off.

One thing I cottoned to listening to this is that it reminds me of the wolf howl. If we look at the grand scheme of nature, everything around us has a melody, or the ability to make a rhythm, so this fits in so well.

I don’t know if this was a prophecy, but the first verse says:

“Today the rain has finally come,
Oh it’s been too damn long I forgot the feeling…”

The torrential rain that came down earlier, I nearly got caught in it, so maybe…..

So who is Hannah Paloma?

Well she was born in Cardiff, but spent her early years in Spain hence the name Paloma. Very handy with the ukulele and piano too!

This is from her EP from 2021, To The Moon available at the usual places.

Hannah Paloma is my one to watch.

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LINES OF FLIGHT – Breaking The Line

To the synths! 808 snares laying down rapid fire under some nice twinkling leads, and this is how we get introduced to Leeds-based Lines Of Flight. One thing I like about this duo is that the vocals aren’t just left to one person, they’re both sharing the duties — Matt going for the lower register and Helen going for the higher register in the verse. When they hit the chorus they invert and harmonise, and for me this is the best part of the song. Oh, and also they switch from analogue synths to more acoustic sounding instruments – piano drenched in reverb. But then it comes back in the outro, so it breaks up the song really well. All in all, a fabulous arrangement.

I actually interviewed Lines Of Flight back in May 2021, originally collaborating during lockdown, and as a result they’ve found themselves a way that works for them in terms of writing.

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Another hip hop track this time from Retropxssy — this deploys the use of an eastern stringed instrument sample, which is going to get stuck in your head for ages. Talking of which:

Cut it cut it,
Time running, running
F your money,
You’re hunted

I can imagine this dropping at a live gig and everyone doing the call and response on it.

This is a track with attitude, bringing all the punk sensibilities (is this a thing? Help me Tom, you know this better than I do!) and marrying it with hip hop and making it something pretty special!

Retropxssy I’m very familiar with as I have featured her on my show in the past! An active figure in the London punk rap scene, retropxssy explores womanhood in the middle of the moshpit.

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SYMBOL SOUP – Dark Horse

Symbol Soup are a band that have been on my radar for a little while now, one of the benefits on mailing lists for PR companies they tend to send you tracks that you may or may not like – I listen to anything, everything and nothing, and Dark Horse was one of the tracks I got sent for my show.

What do I like about this track?

Well, if you stick an organ and electric piano in there then I’m happy!

This has a great psychedelic feel to it, almost 60s but with a 21sr century twist. The lyrics reflect this:

“I’m a drunk jockey,
In my second hand jersey,
With drugs still in the pockets,
All in shambles
Back at your door asking you
To take the gamble.”

For me this would fit really well as part of a film or TV soundtrack, because of the lyrical content as well as the instrumentation it’s not intrusive…

Get pitching guys!

The track is taken from Symbol Soup’s debut album Slow Puncture which came out on 21st July digitally and on vinyl.

This is a band from south London, who describe the vibe of their gigs as slightly more emo however the style of their music as being UK cow-fi.

Yeah I have no idea what that means either but whatever it is?

I like it.

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Wait a minute – am I back in 1977?? This came exploding out of my headphones at a 100 miles per hour, it’s energetic, it’s frantic and it’s pure punk. The screaming vocals just make you want to jump around and play air guitar, cranking it right up. I felt like I was listening to music on an old Top Of The Pops episode. The Red Stains lead singer had my attention from the get go on this track, her lyrics spitting pure venom about about out of body experiences – I think I know what this is about but I don’t want to make any assumptions.

But the chorus for me is brilliant, another call and response element for the masses:

“The body never felt like home
(What even are you?)”

And then there’s a banshee scream that will terrify the hell out of you.


This song clocks in at 2:06 and it definitely left its mark for sure.

The Red Stains describe themselves as being cyborg-housewife-glitch-kitsch-supermarketcore – Hey HMV you may need to add this to your genre list now you’ve resurrected! A quartet from Manchester:

Natalie on vocals
Sterling on gritty throbbing bass
New addition Robyn on drums
Grace on guitar.

Oh they’re good. They’re very good!

They’ve got live dates coming too so it would be good to hear how this goes down lIve.

Do you know what? I’m going to give them my chef’s kiss.

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TYCHO JONES – Missing In Action

First of all, kudos on the name, Tycho is the name of a character that I love in the Star Wars expanded universe so that caught my attention straight away.

This starts off with a rhythmic synth part over a hi hat keeping time and we launch into a great indie pop track featuring guitars, and fast paced drums, the dynamics are there where it dips low in volume in the verse and goes up in the chorus. This track really does deliver high energy and from what I can see on Tycho Jones’s Instagram they’re pretty good at delivering high points at gigs – imagine seeing someone levitating above you.


By the way I like the way that “hyper social chondriac” has been squeezed into the lyrics!

This track is the closer on a three track EP called Negative Space released on 20th July.

Tycho Jones is a London artist who’s part of the DIY artist scene, and has some very interesting videos I loved the one for Don’t Be Afraid — make sure you check it out!

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Tycho Jones

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.

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. Great eviews with lots of love and detail as always Del. I can confirm, having put Retropxssy on at two gigs with a third planned in October, that you are not only right about her live but she is one of the most energetic performers I have ever seen. Great set of faves for us to sign off for the summer with. Well done to all the artists and have a great summer everyone. 🙂

  2. Thank you so much Del for the lovely words about Wolf Melody! It all means a lot.
    Lots of brilliant tracks, I’m so glad to be a part of them 🙂

  3. Louise Toal

    Well done, Del and all the artists. Lovely reviews and batch to finish us off for the summer. See you all on the other side!
    L x

  4. Another great Fresh Faves playlist wonderfully reviewed, well done Del.

  5. A goodly selection of songs with the added bonus of Del’s considered wordsmithery to embellish them. Happy summer break!

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