Friday, March 02, 2018

Little Indie Roundtable - March 2 2018

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: Record producer Gavin Monaghan (currently working on The Blinders' debut album); music photographer, Rhona Murphy; Little Indie assistant editor, Ellie Ward.


New single, released February 23, from the Leeds trio - named after the street in Leeds where much of their inspiration derives from. The follow up to 'Waterfront' and their 'Garageland' EP, this new track sees a slight change of style, combining previous energy with rhythms to create a melodic patchwork of swirling sounds.

Gavin Monaghan: Very baggy vibe here. Really like the bassline, and the laconic Northern voice. I felt the song was a bit long, but the clever lyrics helped to pass the time. Some Cop Show congas would have been great. 3.5/5

Rhona Murphy: There's a dreamy, retro vibe to this track with a strong chorus that stayed in my head for ages and had me singing along by the end of the song. Love the video too! 4/5

Ellie Ward: Bouncy kick off and nice guitar, real foot-tapper. Delves into a psych-meets-jazz territory. Lost me a little halfway through, though. 3/5

Total score: 10.5/15


Second single already this year from dreamy Edinburgh duo, Fern Morris and Brian Pokora, after January's 'Tessellate'. Once again they effectively utilise experimental electronica with the haunting, ethereal vocals of Fern.

GM: This sounds like it could be a Warp Records track. Nice voice and a dreamy, glitchy feel, straight out of a Netflix soundtrack. 4/5

RM: I thought I'd mistakenly clicked on an Alt-J track to begin with. Thankfully, I hadn't and the vocals kicked in. Great voice but the song lost my attention and was a bit 'meh' for me. 2.5/5

EW: This is gripping. The way it starts off leaves you unsure where it's going, and although it ends up no going anywhere really, it doesn't matter as this girl's voice is heaven-sent. 4.5/5

Total score: 11/15


Another second 2018 release, this time the second single for this Cardiff-based three-piece. After their 'Kookly Rose' debut comes a slightly more restrained follow up, which had a digital release on February 23. Sharp guitars and resounding drums are helmed by a raw-edged vocal - described by Adam Walton of BBC Radio Wales as 'beautifully unhinged'.

GM: Slightly strange marriage of garage rock and psychedelia here. Very 13th Floor Elevators/ King Gizzard in places. I loved all the different voices, but a few too many ideas, tempo changes and guitar solos for me; promising though. Watch this space(cake). 3/5

RM: Indie/punk raw sound to this track. Like the guitar riff a lot. Lots of twists and turns showing the versatility of the singer. Instrumentals were too long which lost my attention, and the screechy bits near the end hurt my ears! 3/5

EW: This rawks; it's a bit weird and experimental though - in a good way! But I have to agree with Rhona on the instrumental parts. 4/5

Total score: 10/15


The second psych-washed single from the self-produced forthcoming EP by the Dorking-based four-piece. After putting out ‘Aquarelle’ in 2015 - while still in full-time education - they re-emerged with last year's self-produced 'German Wings', and the psych-fizzing 'Cherry' single released last month.

GM: Nice late 80s indie feel to this, reminds me of The Cure, and Echo and The Bunnymen -then it goes all Tame Impala at the end! Enjoyed it. 4/5

RM: Indie guitar band which makes me feel positive about the future of music. I can visualise this being played on the summer festival stages with the sun shining and happy people everywhere. Good tune.

EW: While I personally prefer 'Cherry', this band have such an infectious sound, and much to offer I think, and for their overall appeal I'll make it a third 4/5

Total score: 12/15


Dark, edgy and different, this new cut comes from their debut LP, 'Willow' (out today, March 2) by the fluctuating 8-to-11-piece music project led by Brooklyn-based Haley Dahl, with an ever-evolving line-up of players, friends, and collaborators.

GM: Full marks for this, I’d give it 10 if I could! Like a cross between the goddess Patti Smith and my mate Kat Bjelland. If they're ever in England, I would love to work with them - look me up! 5/5

RM: This gripped me with the Siouxsie Sioux-esque vocals but the slightly disturbing X-rated moaning turned me off the song! 2.5/5

EW: You can't ignore the vocals on this, can you! It's interesting, but not sure how often I would want to listen to it. 3/5

Total score: 10.5/15


Released today as a single on Defcon 2 Records, and taken from the Little Indie One To Watch 2018 Bedford quartet's self-titled debut album, also out today. The hotly-tipped band fill three and a half minutes with wiry energy, and an infectious beat over grungy guitars and a meaty bassline.

GM: I’ve heard this band before and I think they have got better material. I totally respect what they’re doing but this one lost me a bit. I think they will do really well, but follow your hearts, gentlemen. 3/5

RM: The Wholls write clever songs and this is another epic tune from their debut album. Hugely aided by one of the best guitarists in the business, Santino Cocchiarella. It's rock then it's dance and it's raw and then polished. But it's the sublime vocals that win me over. It's also one of best videos around so worth checking out.

EW: Are The Wholls 'going down'? On the basis of this, unlikely: up is the way. That said, it's not really my kind of thing, but it's a good, well produced song. 3.5/5

Total score: 11.5/15

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