Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Little Indie Roundtable Review - w/e March 17 2017

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: Luke Hinton, director of live promotion team, Juicebox Indie; Amar Chadha Patel from dance/electronic band, Strong Asian Mothers; music writer and live promoter, Gavin Watson.

New single released last week (March 10) from the Bristol four-piece, recorded at the legendary Konk Studios in north London and produced by Dan Swift. This time offering melodic guitars juxtaposed with caustic lyrics to create a raw, yet. exuberant, sound bite.

Luke Hinton: A band I've seen live a few times and always felt had a touch of The View and The Libertines about them. This has elements of that sound, but with a darker grungier edge along the same lines as The Wytches. 4/5

Amar Chadha Patel: A nice slushy guitar riff straight off the bat! It's got one of those timeless, yet steeped in nostalgia sounds some-how. Love the dreamy psych-rock guitar melody, it reminds me of the best bits of noughties Brit rock and the lad has a real unique voice. It's like The Cooper Temple Clause and The Coral had a baby. 4/5

Gavin Watson: Instant recall of The Jesus and Mary Chain and probably just as polarising - “awful” in the YouTube comments box is exactly what someone said to me about TJ&MC on Friday. Steady, insistent bass, fuzzy guitar and a vocal that for me really had most appeal in the higher range. Liked it a lot. 4.5/5

Total score: 12.5/15

Scottish four-piece The Phantoms return with this latest single - out on April 21 - of sweeping, anthemic indie-rock, with catchy hooks, driving beats and plenty of reverb.

LH: There seems to be a new wave of Scottish guitar bands coming through at the moment and this single sounds like a band aiming to go from playing grassroots venues to arenas. Very reminiscent of pre-Britpop indie along with influences from the likes of Kasabian. 3/5

ACP: Some solid driving rhythm section malarkey here. Also got some great guitar work and all. It's a little bit over produced for my tastes when it comes to the reverb but it feels like it was written to be played to 100,000 people and I respect that vision. Doesn't sink my Titanic, but it's got a catchy chorus vocal hook. 3/5

GW: Bit of an 80s feel to this, but I’m thinking more Julian Cope and The Teardrop Explodes rather than George Michael and Wham. Soaring vocals over an very danceable "indie disco" beat places The Phantoms well to fill the place The Sunshine Underground have just vacated. Solid. 3.5/5

Total score: 9.5/15

The Stevenage band have announced their second album 'Divide' will be released on April 7 through London-based punk label La Vida Es Un Mus. This track keeps their relentless punk-influenced sound, with squealing guitars work and razor-sharp politically incisive lyrics.

LH: I've been following these guys for a while and they've delivered another song that you know will have the crowd moshing and bouncing around. It's fast paced and doesn't give a chance to breathe! 3/5

ACP: FIRE IN THE HOLE! A song that does everything it needs to in less than two minutes is the dream! Love the trashy drums and messy guitars changing to the tom driven madness. Reminds me of the best most furious parts of QOTSA and Metz in a melting pot with the discordant chaos of The 80's Matchbox B-Line Disaster. It's music that makes me want to see live instantly. 4/5

GW: A punchy little number that for me slightly lost its way, a bit oddly given its sub-two-minute running time. Almost more metal than punk, with an echo of the late Lemmy in the vocal. Will look out for more from this lot. 3/5

Total score: 10/15

Swedish dark-pop outfit True Moon release their self-titled debut album on April 28 via Lövely Records. The Malmö quartet’s debut features frontwoman Karolina Engdahl’s commanding vocals, poured over the dark wave/post-punk track which she explains is "all about when you lose yourself and reality to the invisible magnetic fields between yourself and others."

LH: This song has elements of a post-punk bass line and drum beat, along with the pop vocals that are reminiscent of Florence & The Machine. 2/5

ACP: Great, instantly grabbing vocals. The relentless drums and guitar intro reminds me of early Interpol and it made me wish I was watching the opening credits to a weird noir 80's cult film by John Hughes. An awesome subtle guitar sound kicks in around the 1:00 minute mark, beautiful production there! 4/5

GW: Nice build up in the track that vocally and music wise really explodes at the halfway point ahead of an outro that suggests these would be a pulsating act to see live. 4/5

Total score: 10/15

Bath's Karma Club release debut EP ‘Smile, It’s Good For You’ on March 31 via Funnel Music. Produced by Bruno Ellingham (Massive Attack), the quartet lead with this first single which filters chiming guitars, interspersed with funky basslines with a jazz influences.

LH: This has the indie-pop style of bands like The 1975. A fun pop song that reminds me of The Cure and Foals. Definitely something that might appeal to the younger gig-going audience. 3/5

ACP: The tune is driven by a great syncopated bass-guitar and drum rhythm section. The opposing guitar melodies peppered over the track synch in solidly. There's some Bombay Bicycle-esque grooves at play here for sure and I felt myself nodding along nicely. But the lyrical content was lacking just a bit for me and I'm not a huge fan of this vocal style. With indie guitar music, we've been exposed to SO much over the last ten years that it has to be really unique in its intentions or it won't stick me. 2/5

GW: Slickly produced pop groove with an appealing vocal, but what really elevates this track is the breakdown - all jangly guitar ahead of the drums kicking in and a visceral scream. Very promising. 4/5

Total score: 9/15

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