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: George Johnson, lead singer with Birmingham's Ivory Wave; Lewis Lloyd-Kinnings, publicist with Supercat PR; Krystal Garcia, of Texas-based artist management company, Distorted Heartbeat.
SAHARA - NEVER GET THE TIME
The Dundee quartet return with their first new melodic, guitar pop material since their debut EP in 2016, released March 23. The song is "about your head being all over the place and having your expectations of things disproven," say the band. Catch live at Beat Generator, Dundee w/ Neon Waltz on May 10.
George Johnson: A really great chorus in this. I can imagine a mass of sweaty bodies singing it at a festival. Reminds me of Catfish and The Bottlemen with a slightly more rocky and raw sound. great track. 3/5
Lewis Lloyd-Kinnings: This is nice! Sounds like a bit of a festival anthem, can imagine standing in a field with a beer bopping along to this. The airy guitar tones and gritty base give it loose B-town influences, calling to mind Swim Deep or Peace. 3/5
Krystal Garcia: I love songs like this that immediately hook you from the beginning. The guitar riff is repetitive but it gives the song a sense of urgency which is lacking in many songs. This is something that you hear and immediately think, “I got to hear this live!” I love the break around 2:47. You think the song is going to end but it picks right back up. The vocals are the only thing that are somewhat mediocre. 4/5
Total score: 10/15
THE ASSIST - ALL THAT I NEED
On Little Indie's radar since 2015 when we first heard 'Love', the Walsall Britrockers release this first single from their forthcoming EP 'Lost', out at the end of May. Recorded with noted West Midlands producer Ryan Pinson, it's infectious energetic pop with siren guitar synths wailing and growling bass.
GJ: Aaaah, our Madlands brothers! I watched them play this from the side of the stage when we toured with The Twang together last year, and since then I knew it was a great track. I love the way the start fades out to just the bass line. I also, love the way Mikey ad libs in the second verse. Great chorus. A no-nonsense pop song. 5/5
LLK: This is really 90s, Brit-pop inspired stuff to my ears. A little bit of Madchester in there too. Ballsy falsetto around the hook which pays off. The groovy bass-line is sweet, but a little less wah around the guitar would be cool. The way the psych aspect washes over you is really nice too. 3/5
KG: Great anthem song. Vocals are very strong. There’s a vague similarity to an 80s band, but can’t quite pinpoint it. I love the pulsing bass lines. 4/5
Total score: 12/15
VIOLET - JADED
Released March 23 via HolyHowl, the fuzzy, guitar-pop follow up (also produced by the prolific Ryan Pinson) to last year's debut ‘Feel’ from the Birmingham/Lichfield five-piece who combine infuences that draw from 90s grunge to Britpop. Catch live on April 11 at Hoxton Square Bar, London.
GJ: Another one of the Madlands lads - and another great track. I think this really shows the prowess Violet have in terms of songwriting, bridges, pre-choruses and variations in the verses. They have a really unique way of looking at a song in terms of structure and rewriting the rule book. Arran, the bassist, sent me this about 6 months ago and we've been playing it in the van ever since. great song. Absolutely monumental chorus. 5/5
LLK: A slice of shoegazey goodness from here - really enjoy the guitar tones, and the vocals are understated but appealing. Manages to keep a lackadaisical vibe throughout, and the chorus is killer. 4/5
KG: This song reminds me of all the bad parts of 90s Britpop that I would prefer to forget. Vocals aren’t that great. Lyrics are a bit silly. On the plus side, I can see Britpop aficionados really enjoying this - particularly those who are fans of Blur and Pulp. 2/5
Total score: 11/15
TRAMPOLENE - HARD TIMES FOR DREAMERS
Premiered by Phil Taggart on Radio One, the Swansea rockers return with their new rock 'n' roll riffed single, out via Mi7 Records on April 27. Written by frontman Jack Jones and recorded at Ray Davies’ Konk Studios in London’s Muswell Hill and produced and mixed by Josh Green.
GJ: I saw these support Liam Gallagher and I was a bit gutted for them because the crowd booed them. I couldn't understand it because I think they're a great band. A little bit of rock and roll. I love the riff in this and the chorus is really sing along. Some great lyrics as well. 4/5
LLK: Excellent scuzzy guitar work in this tune - love the bridge, not as much in the chorus as I'd hoped for in the build-up, but a lot of good work throughout that'll have me listening to this again. 3/5
KG: Right off, I can hear this song being sung in pubs. “It’s not a revolution, it’s a revelation” - brilliant lyric! There’s a bit of humility and honesty in it. And that guitar solo - absolutely drool-worthy! 4/5
Total score: 11/15
SECOND STILL - AUTOMATA
Second single by the Los Angeles post-punks, from their upcoming EP 'Equals', out April 20 on Weyrd Son Records. Utilising the trio's signature sound of delay-heavy guitar, hypnotic bass grooves, heavyweight drum machine beats, and haunting vocal melodies, along with a couple of analog synths.
GJ: A pleasant surprise. Love the sound of the track, reminds me of A Flock of Seagulls a little, with hints of Lusts. 3/5
LLK: Awesome, dark, doomy post-punk sounds here - one to listen to with the lights off. The relentless beat really is hypnotic. 4/5
KG: I imagine this is what Sisters of Mercy would sound like if they decided to have Terri Nunn do guest vocals. There’s also a bit of Mephisto Waltz in this one. Old school death rockers will be all over this one. This is a nice change from the usual male dominated vocals in this genre. 5/5
Total score: 12/15
SNAIL MAIL - PRISTINE
From the debut album 'Lush' out June 8 on Matador Records by 18-year-old Baltimore singer, songwriter and guitar prodigy Lindsey Jordan. An adolescent anthem of lush guitar riffs and arching vocals, culminating in the longing line: "Don't you like me for me?/Is there any feeling better than coming clean?”
GJ: Great guitar tonem I really like the music video as well. However, not really my cup of tea, but I can see why Snail Mail would have a great fanbase. 3/5
LLK: With the track record they have, there's no surprise that Matador's latest signing absolutely nails it. Really infectious track here, with warm genuine emotion throughout. Excellent precursor to an album that'll hopefully continue the streak of great female indie records we've had this year and last. 4.5/5
KG: Vocals remind me of Edie Brickell. Based on the lyrics, I imagine this song would appeal to teenage girls who haven’t had their hearts broken enough to not give a damn. 2/5
Total score: 9.5/15