This week our three guest reviewers take on another five new tracks and give them a spin through the headphones before they then air their opinion on each.
This week's panel: Izzy B - Little Indie contributor; Amazing Radio presenter and DJ Charlie Ashcroft; vocalist and guitarist with Southend indie band Asylums, Luke Branch.
REYKJAVIK KIDS - GLOWING RED
Self-released new single out 10th March digitally by the Newcastle garage rock duo - Paul Tissington (guitar, synths) and Scott Munro (vocals, guitar) - who blend elements of indie, dance and punk with looping synth lines, crunchy bass and cutting guitars.
Izzy B: The vocals grab me first on this, kind of dark against the lighter synth sound. Sounds retro too. 3/5
Charlie Ashcroft: It's a biting, brooding track with some great production and plenty of dizzying industrial-style flourishes. It reminded me of seeing Nine Inch Nails live when I was in my teens, gradually dragged under the music's spell over the course of every song. The only real missing ingredient for me here would be the vocals, which feel a little bit raw. 3/5
Luke Branch: Like Charlie, this reminds me of 'Pretty Hate Machine' era Nine Inch Nails in the drums and production, but it has a lush 80s dreampop vibe. Guitars evoke stadium U2 , and vocally a bit of Depeche Mode/Placebo androgyny. 3/5
Total score: 9/15
NEW CARNIVAL - RUN FOR COVER
Bristol-based four-piece follow their 2016 debut single ‘Where Do You Wanna Go’ with this new infectious, blues-edged track.
IB: There's a nice easy intro and I like the blues feel and the smoky touch. 3.5/5
CA: This sounds like one of those "phone torches in the air" moments at a festival while everyone's catching their breath for a couple of minutes. It also happens to be ridiculously catchy, despite its relatively slow pace. So yes, very impressed overall. A big song from a band on their way to playing some big venues. 4/5
LB: Big group vocal hooks with a crisp production. Singer reminds me of a young Richard Ashcroft fronting a more youthful sounding Elbow. This would probably sound awesome during a headline slot at Glastonbury. 3/5
Total score: 10.5/15
FEWS - LAGUARDIA
The London-based American-Swedish quartet who specialise in propulsive, motorik noise-pop opt for sound over lyrics on this new sub-four minute excursion of just ten words: “I understand that resistance is something good / I accept this”.
IB: Lyrical minimalists! I like this a lot. Who needs a raft of words when the sound is this good. 4.5/5
CA: I love this. It feels like a breakneck-speed trip back in time to a dystopian post-punk-fuelled universe. There are some records which have a natural intensity to them, and FEWS' album 'Means' is an undoubted example. So it's exciting to have some new material from them - they're a great band, who I've also had the pleasure of seeing live and would heartily recommend. 5/5
LB: This has a nice angular rhythm - which I could imagine Ian Curtis dancing too - and the band have a really cool chemistry. I do like a long instrumental to get lost in and this held my interest for the most part. I was hoping for a bit more when the vocals entered but they only stuck around briefly. 3/5
Total score: 12.5/15
VAGABON - MINNEAPOLIS
Lætitia Tamko – aka Vagabon – Cameroon-born, New York-based singer-songwriter with latest single from her forthcoming debut album, 'Infinite Worlds', released February 24 via Father/Daughter Records. Soaring vocal over drums and a rumbling bassline that makes the wait for the outro even more enjoyable.
IB: Had not heard of Lætitia before, but she has a way around a song. This has appeal, rhythm and very much in the Alison Crutchfield mode. 4/5
CA: This is one of those songs where you feel like Britpop's being channelled through US garage rock. Which is no bad thing at all. Tamko's a good storyteller and her thick riffs are a suitable fit for a great label like Father/Daughter Records. I think 'Minneapolis' loses its way just after halfway through the song (please pardon my attention span) as the pace and structure gradually build up again, but I'm certainly intrigued to investigate more. 3/5
LB: Love this loose and innocent sounding performance, the singer sounds like a grungey lo-fi Nina Persson from the Cardigans. Didn't expect the tom tom tangent and heavy outro. My favourite riff here is only played briefly at the end as the song fades out. 4/5
Total score: 11/15
DEAD PRETTIES - SOCIAL EXPERIMENT
Debut single, released February 10 on Nice Swan Records, from the grunge-addled London three-piece. Raucous rock 'n' roll of jagged guitars and Jacob Slater leading the way with a snappy snarl.
IB: Vocalist sounds American - in fact, the whole song sounds like it could have romped outta NYC. It's raw and grungey, but aside from the vocal which stands out, I didn't really get with the rest. 3/5
CA: This gritty, deadpan take on young people's inability to think for themselves leaves a big impression. There are shades of Talking Heads and Velvet Underground in the verses' vocals, which, paired with a series of vital, grunge-soaked choruses, make for a very exciting mix. Definitely a band to keep an eye on. 4/5
LB: This reminds me of the heavier end of the Britpop era - Longpigs, Marion. I think the singer has a lot of personality and delivers a wicked vocal. The band are the perfect mix of loose and tight at the same time. Bet this lot are fun live. 4/5
Total score: 11/15