Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Little Indie Roundtable Review - w/e January 13 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: Jess Sharrock, Litte Indie contributor; record producer Gavin Monaghan; Bradley Lennard, vocalist with the Hartlepool band Plaza.

North London alt-goth rocksters Desperate Journalist follow up November's 'Hollow' with this jangly pop-rock single of big guitar-driven power chords, and the standout vocals of Jo Bevan, taken from 'Grow Up', their second album out March 24 via Fierce Panda.

Jess Sharrock: It took a few listens, but it's not too bad. It's not really the kind of thing I would usually listen to, but it's pretty catchy. 3.5/5

Gavin Monaghan: I thoroughly enjoyed this. A bit of an 80s feel with the arrangement and the singer sounds like Kate Bush; not ghost whisperer Kate, more like end of 'Running Up That Hill' Kate. Or the bit in the middle of 'Hounds of Love' Kate. I almost worked with them last year and listening to this, I wish I had, as in my humble opinion I reckon I would have smashed it. 4/5

Bradley Lennard: The vocal melodies in the track are really great, they fit perfectly with the pop-punk vibe. This genre of music wouldn’t be one that I normally listen to, but I’m glad I have came across this band. 3/5

Total score: 10.5/15

Taken from the debut EP 'Hi!' (which was released late last year), the Byron Bay, Australia, beach/garage-punk two-piece, Fi Fi Bleach and Mickey Bleach, belt out distorted, wailing guitar riffs, hard-hitting drums, wailing guitar, and ferocious vocals.

JS: Again, not really something I would listen too, but it's fun and full of energy. 3/5

GM: I'm very partial to a bit of surfy garage and spring reverb. This is pretty good, but some of the stylised yelpy vocals become a bit annoying after a while. I'd definitely watch out for more from them though as they sound good and I think they might be capable of better. The song did inexplicably make me want a barbecue. 3/5

BL: A fast-paced track which had me grabbed from the start! I love how both members in the duo are contributing to the vocals, the contrast works very well. 4/5

Total score: 10/15

Gearing up for the release of their second album ‘For A Moment, I Was Lost' on February 10, Amber Run reveal the record's lead single. Says frontman Joe Keogh: “'Fickle Game' is about self-reflection in the music industry - how being in a band can, if you let it, stop being spontaneous and easy and instead become overly political and eventually exhausting.”

JS: I'm a pretty big fan of this band, and this song doesn't disappoint. I'm excited to hear their second album. 4/5

GM: This dude has a case of the "famous voice": he sounds like a bunch of really famous people all at once, but not any of them specifically. Bit of Athlete, bit of Coldplay, bit of Starsailor. Certainly not a criticism. Nice song too, very earnest, I could have handled a bit more energy though. 3.5/5

BL: I have been an Amber Run fan for a long time: this new track completely does it for me. A very strong single, with Joe’s vocals leading the track alongside a very solid build up before dropping back out, ending the track with the emotional hook ‘fickle game’. The dynamics of this track are amazing. 5/5

Total score: 12.5/15

Released just before Christmas, Brisbane musician Dan Smith shares his new single. Edging on into stadium rock with catchy hooks and beats that augment lyrics speaking of personal demons: “The starting lyrics ‘My demons, are chasing me, it takes all my will to keep my feet’ always felt like a metaphor for life. Everyone has something that bothers them and it takes effort not to lose your way. The more I remember both the good and the bad, the more I can be grateful for the moment.”

JS: I'd never really heard much about Youngsmith, but I really like this. The song has got a great vibe, it reminds me a little of Kings of Leon. I will definitely be checking out more from him. 4.5/5

GM: I really like this, too. Interpol vibe fronted by what sounds like the singer from the New Radicals with a bit of Lee Mavers thrown in . Came in a little long for a song of this type, and watch out for using too much melodyne - it's like superglue, one drop holds a ton, but spill it and you'll never get your bastard hands apart. 4/5

BL: I agree with Jess that this does have a kind of old KOL style. I really enjoyed  it, the hooks are very catchy and the lyrics have a deep meaning. 4/5

Total score: 12.5/15

New from the Philadelphia four-piece after their 2015 debut, 'Easy Easy East'. Lead single from their Spring album, 'Big Day' (released on April 7 through Father/Daughter Records/Lame-O Records), it kicks a noise-rock line of jagged guitars and muddy vocals.

JS: I quite like the sound, but some of the vocals are a little too 'shouty' for my liking! 3/5

GM: I'm a fan of Shellac, Slint, Fugazi, Pavement and Sebadoh - and by the sound of it, this lot are too, or they might be too young to have heard any of it, in which case well done! I like the voice on the choruses when it opens up, proper racket! If I had one criticism, it would be that I would have liked louder feedback, but less of it. 3.5/5

BL: I really enjoyed this track. The heavy/grungey chorus fits perfectly with the slower verses. The song has great dynamics and I’m looking forward to see what else this band have to offer. 4/5

Total score: 10.5/15

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