Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Little Indie Roundtable Review - w/e April 7 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: Jim Gellatly, Amazing Radio presenter and columnist with Scottish Sun; Paul McCallum, chief of independent music PR company, A Badge Of Friendship; Owen Richards, synths player with Cardiff's rising indie pop band Monico Blonde.

Latest 'spacegaze' track from the Leeds three-piece we first heard last summer with 'Grey Glass Hat'. The music was created entirely by guitar and synth noises, with the vocals recalling some long lost collaboration between The Doors, Karen O and Suicide.

Jim Gellatly: I think there's something decent trying to escape, but it's all just a bit lo-fi for me. Mind you, that's exactly what originally drew me to early Jesus And Mary Chain. Certainly one to keep an eye on. 3/5

Paul McCallum: Pulsating guitar flanked by incessant synths placing the track somewhere between krautrock greats like Neu! and some of the contemporary shoegaze bands currently doing the rounds. ‘Eater’ is really lo-fi and to the point, which is a bold move considering some bands perhaps try to overcomplicate things. It’s an uncompromising effort and I personally like when a band steps out of the shadow cast by their peers. 4/5

Owen Richards: Big riff and a drawled vocal, this track is oozing swagger. Comes and goes in a flash at 2 minutes, might've been nice to see where they could take it. 3/5

Total score: 10/15

From the Los Angeles-based trio's debut EP (produced by John Agnello, who has worked with Kurt Vile, Dinosaur Jr.) 'Crush' released on April 14. Mellow reverbed guitars mix expertly with Alaska Reid's defining gauzey textured vocals leading to an explosive ending.

JG: It's pretty dreamy, and I do like the attitude in Alaska's voice. Laid back, but with a bit of bite. 3/5

PMC: There’s a real summer feel to this track: dreamy vocals accented quite nicely by the Pavement-esque era guitar solo and an energetic outro. I genuinely don’t mind this. However, I would describe the song as ‘nice’, which isn’t the most inspiring adjective to use. I just feel the dream-rock sound is perhaps a little oversaturated at the moment. 3/5

OR: The sun was shining as we drove in the van listening to this, and it was perfect for the mood. Love the guitars peppering the vocals on this track. Great uplifting summer song. 4/5

Total score: 10/15

New melodic alt-rock single - out April 14 via RIP Records - from the Glaswegian three-piece, the follow-up to last year's fuzzy debut 'All In Too' single. The reverb-drenched beginning and chunky bass work through hazy hooks and drum fills to a glorious close.

JG: I'm familiar with the band, having played them previously on the radio. They are still a bit of a mystery to me though, despite the Scottish connection. I'm getting a really good vibe from the track and love how it builds. 4/5

PMC: Guitar soundscapes dripping in reverb, flanked wonderfully by a tight rhythm section and an almost dismissive lead female vocal. That isn’t a slight on the vocals at all. In fact, they work beautifully here. The closing thirty seconds simply confirm a band who are not following a stagnant formula. I like this. Oh, and they are Glaswegian! 4/5

OR: Yeaaaah, it's like Justine Freischmann never left Damon and guested on Blur's 13. The melodic groove of the verse gives way to a big washy chorus. What's the point in having a 5 if you're not going to use it? 5/5

Total score: 13/15

The Brighton rock 'n' rollers step out with the lead track from their forthcoming EP. An infectious, foot-tapping rocker of four minutes, with vocalist Jack Fletcher delivering the archetypal genre swagger.

JG: Liking this a lot. A tune that really sticks in your head, and ripe for a good old-fashioned singalong. 3/5

PMC: Unfortunately, this isn’t really the type of sound that resonates with me. I respect the classic rock and roll feeling to the track but I find this to be a well worn, fairly formulaic path tread by a plethora of bands past and present. It’s all a little too straightforward for me: from the time signature to the effected vocals and the stabbing, repetitive guitar pieces. It reminds me a bit of The Black Keys and I’m sure lots of people will really like this track. It’s just not the kind of music I would listen to on a personal level. 2.5/5

OR: This track definitely has strong hints of Black Keys, like Paul said - and Miles Kane. Maybe not quite different enough for our tastes, but it's got a definite cool atmosphere. 3/5

Total score: 8.5/15

The Canadian trio from Edmonton, Alberta, pop out lush waves of guitar surf-pop that serves as an intro to the band's debut LP 'Slow Wave', due May 12 via Fierce Panda (Canada). "The song's theme comes from slow wave sleep, the deepest stage of sleep you enter in the evening. A sort of glazed feel, with a lot of experimentation in the recording process,” say the band.

JG: A track that twists and turns, creating a pretty epic soundscape. A bit of a Spector-esque wall of sound going on, which is no bad thing. 4/5

PMC: If Lana Del Rey and Beach House conducted some kind of Frankenstein-style musical experiment, The Velveteins would rise triumphantly from the operating table. There is a real throwback sound here, almost as if it was recorded in an entirely different era but modernised by the mesmerising synth sounds and samples pouring out from the stereo. I reckon this is the kind of song that would grow on you the more you listen to it. 3.5/5

OR: Feels like it's 2am, you're at a festival and you've just found your friends. That chorus is just epic - first listen and you're hooked. It's Foxygen and MGMT, in the best way. 4/5

Total score: 11.5/15

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