Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Little Indie Roundtable Review w/e January 6 2017

In our new feature for 2017, each week we will take five new tracks, and ask our three guest reviewers to give them a few spins and then air their opinions as to whether they deserve a big walloping Yes, or just a big fat No from them.

This week's panel: Linn Branson - Editor, Little Indie; Matt Errington - Director at The School of Music Business; Andy Bell, guitarist with emerging Newcastle band VITO.

New track - which came out over Christmas - from Cambridge indie four-piece, all aged 19. Still at university, they are currently working on their second EP.

Linn Branson: I really love this! It's got a great guitar opening, and John Chisham's vocals are a little bit street that deliver the wry lyrics well and make it interesting. A catchy grower. Definitely like to hear more from this band. 4.5/5

Matt Errington: I’m not a good judge of this genre of music, it just doesn’t appeal - so the Kermode gang shouldn’t be be even slightly disheartened. The lyrical idea is at least somewhat different and they’re all young, at university and having the time of their lives - they don’t give a damn what I think, and nor should they. And I can’t stand George Clooney. 2/5

Andy Bell: I like this, even if it took a few listens for the synth sounds to grow on me. Good groove – will check out more! 3.5/5

Total score: 10/15

From the just released 'Past Lives' debut album by the Sacramento electronic/psych-pop five-piece.
Singer-songwriter Kris Anaya and producer/multi-instrumentalist Joseph Davancens' aim is "to chart new psychic territory in music."

LB: Nice melodic flow here. The vocals are dreamlike and hard to decipher, but the song slips through the ears pleasantly enough as an album cut. 3/5

ME: Ethereal, dreamlike and just slightly unsettling - like an incredibly handsome mugger. I know nothing about them, but having heard this track, I listened to everything they’d released and fell in love. 'Salt' fits in a rather beautiful space between Temper Trap’s ’Sweet Disposition' and Kate Bush’s ‘The Ninth Wave’. I hope they achieve great things, but in an age of Honey G, a chart flunk could be the highest accolade the industry could bestow upon them. 4.5/5

AB:  I like the vibe but that’s because I’ve heard it a million times before with other artists like Tycho, Four Tet etc. I don’t have a clue what the lyrics are, but the production is really good, especially the drums, which save it for me. This would probably be cool to work to. 3/5

Total score: 10.5/15

New single from London alt-rock four-piece, impacting January 27.
Consisting of sister-brother team Sydney and Cameron (who also produced this) White, Rob Kendrick and Pete Wheeler. Rob and Sydney are also both actors: Sydney appearing in BBC4’s Till Death Us Do Part; Rob in Sky 1's After Hours and BBC's The Syndicate.

LB: I suppose if Pete Townshend rates them, then they must be okay. Am trying to like this, but it doesn't really move me greatly, I'm afraid, possibly due to to the heavy drum sound.  3/5

ME: Again, not my taste in terms of genre but there’s certainly a lot to credit The Wild Things for. The vocals are rather good - they recall Mary Lou Lord in ‘Some Jingle Jangle Morning (When I’m Straight)’, but the band are distracting. I find it all a little bombastic and chunky… a tad heavy handed. There’s little in the way of subtlety here, and the strongest quality, her voice, gets lost. She sings adamantly “I am more than just a voice”, and yet sadly, that may be the problem. 3/5

AB: I’d heard of these before but never checked them out so it’s cool I got to listen now. Pretty good song, I like the vocal lines - reminds me of Minor Victories. 4/5

Total score: 10/15

New Zealand Editors are a London-based house act who made their debut with 'Someone Who Does It Better' - a 90s groovy house track - earlier this year. This is their December follow up.

LB: I don't know anything about these - am sure there is probably a story to their name - are they Kiwis? - only that they go in for a lot of sampling in a 90s style groove. The soulful edge to this is quite delish. 3.5/5

ME: Trippy and sample heavy - I’m guessing upwards of 25 samples on here alone! This particular musical collage, whilst rather beautiful, is a bit much. The quick cut samples and complexity threaten to bring on a stroke. If you can keep a transient ischaemic attack at bay, then you’ll probably be able to enjoy this. In all seriousness, they’re clearly a very talented group of creatives - though no-one seems to know who they are, or where they are - how wonderful. 3.5/5

AB: An interesting track. Not sure if it’s a collage or just a mashup, so it’s quite hard to follow, but it’s definitely something you can groove to. 3.5/5

Total score: 10.5/15

London-based duo - Scottish producer/guitarist Jamie and Bucks singer-songwriter Marcus - featured by Little Indie in November with 'Real'. They combine lush electronica production with textured beats and suggestive vocals.

LB: Bit of a 'friends with benefits' song, eh? Oh, Marcus, with that sultry, come hither voice - how can anyone resist! Floats my boat. 4/5

ME: Someone singing ‘fuck’ in a song always makes me cringe a little; not because I’m a prude, just because I think it can sound a bit cliched - unless you’re Prince. Anyway, it sounds perfectly plausible here. 'Friends' has a beautiful, soft handed production and is coupled with a stunningly fragile, raspy vocal - it just works. There’s clearly a colossal talent brewing with Marcus and Jamie - and the industry should take notice. 4/5

AB: Decent track. Really like the percussion and how it subtly builds. Need to listen to more of this kind of stuff. 4/5

Total score: 12/15

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