Each week Little Indie takes three guest reviewers and six new tracks, and after giving them a spin through the headphones, they then give their opinion on each.
This week's panel: Kieran Lee, presenter on Bolton FM's Unsigned Show; Little Indie contributor Sam Geary; George Moran, vocalist with Sheffield garage-rockers Wulfman Fury.
BLOXX - NOVOCAIN
The West London foursome - who made an impact last year with the grungey 'Coke’ and debut AA-side single ‘You'/'Your Boyfriend’ - start 2018 with the shimmering riffs and big stomping pop chorus of this new track.
Kieran Lee: Good 80s influences here. Very well produced. Blossoms meets The Kooks. 4/5
Sam Geary: Love the opening here, and the vocals are addictive. This is a band going places. 4.5/5
George Moran: First thing that hit me was the amazing drum sound. Really like the verses but the chorus grated on me a tad. A bit too simple and cliche. The song itself is good but didn’t make me want to listen to it again. I found the vocals a bit overbearing. 3/5
Total score: 11.5/15
MELLOW GANG - TEMPS
Out March 16 from the psych-pop London four-piece, following their ‘Play’ EP debut last year. Psychedelic, 60s influenced, melancholy palette, helmed by Harriet Joseph’s dulcet vocal ambience.
KL: Atmospheric. The more I listened to this, the more I liked. Great vocals too. 3/5
SG: Good band name as this is definitely mellow. There's a DIY feel to it, though I don't know if it is. 3/5
GM: Love the intro. Nice little Beach Boys sounding organ. I gave the track three straight listens. The production is great. Vocal is very strong, similar to Lana Del Ray, but still unique; it’s interesting. Nice to hear a female singing in her natural voice and not putting some daft twang on. Over all I like the track. Gonna check these guys out more 4/5
Total score: 10/15
SLEEPOVERS - GROUP THERAPY
London’s lo-fi five-piece released this new cut last week, taken from the forthcoming 'Heartbreak High' EP out March 9. Catchy, shoegaze-Britpop-esque feel to lyrics frontman Alfie Smith says came from "self-medicating a broken heart and head which ultimately led to turning to others for help.’’
KL: Heavily Manchester inspired. Good guitar riff throughout, though perhaps a little predictable. 3/5
SG: Agree with Kieran, on the Manc side. This band are picking up a bit of interest, and you can see why here. Really like it. 4/5
GM: Sounds very now and very London. It’s not a bad track but just sounds like everything else coming out of London right now. The production is not bad, but after two listens I was done. 2.5/5
Total score: 9.5/15
DRAWSTRING - IN BETWEEN
Tunbridge Wells emo trio - expanded from the 18 year old duo of Sam Shepherd (guitars, bass, vocals) and Ben Schulze (drums, vocals) we first heard a few years ago - are set to release new EP ‘Four (Heaven, Hell and a Small House In Between)’ on March 2, from which this comes. Peppy guitars and a vocal that translates the lyrical feelings perfectly.
KL: Really liked the start of this one, though the great use of dynamics gets a little repetitive towards the end. 3/5
SG: Really emo this! I'm a bit in two minds, even after several plays; could be a grower, certainly in the last minute. 3.5/5
GM: Emo isn’t really my thing. I’m flying out to Thailand today and this isn’t getting me in the holiday mood. It has got a catchy chorus, but his vocals have that put on emo American twang. 2/5
Total score: 8.5/15
FREEDA - PLUG IT IN
Debut single from the Manchester indie-rock five-piece. Working with the production duo Sugar House (Glass Caves, Viola Beach), ‘Plug It In’ dropped on February 9 and precedes their first EP due later in year.
KL: Hadn't come across these local lads before. Loads of energy in their music, well written well produced. This is the standout track of the six for me. 4/5
SG: Thumps along at a pace, and some nice guitar, but nothing really to single it out. 3/5
GM: First impression is it’s very indie sounding - which isn’t a bad thing. And it doesn’t sound Oasis/Stone Roses, which is a plus for a Manchester band. He’s got a real strong vocal. For a debut single it’s a good effort, though I struggled to get locked into the lyrics and work out the subject matter. Will be interesting to see where they go on their next track. 3/5
Total score: 10/15
FINE CREATURES - SETTLE DOWN
Brighton four-piece released this new single via XVII Music last week. Produced by Dan Austin (Doves, SLØTFACE), it’s a psych-Britpop reverbed number "about anxiety, paranoia and depression, but knowing that the euphoria of being anxious can be something to embrace and through that coming out the other end not feeling scared anymore," says frontman James Hall.
KL: Great production. Had me bopping my head along to this as playing. 4/5
SG: How many more bands can Brighton turn out!: is there a factory there? Good vocal and the beat is infectious. 3/5
GM: Firstly, I’m a fan of the producer Dan Austin from Cherry Ghost, Doves etc., and you can tell he’s had his hand on this. Lyrically it is a great track with a strong chorus. Vocally it reminds me of the band 13 Senses. Will defo be checking out more from these. 4/5
Total score: 11/15