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: Linn Branson, Little Indie editor; Ben Connor, vocalist/guitarist with Darlington's Lhymes; Little Indie contributor, Steve Willcox.
SAM LEOH - OUTSIDE IN
Self-released alt-pop single from the Bolton-based singer-songwriter, recorded with production duo Sugar House at Catalyst Studios. Supported by BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio, the multi-instrumentalist works with guitars, keyboards, synths, and drum loops.
Linn Branson: Sam's voice has a nice quality to it, and I love how it suddenly picks up. 3.5/5
Ben Connor: This track moves along really nicely, with a great driving beat, giving a sense of moving forward (in keeping with the lyrics). Could have done with a lead guitar riff that contradicts the vocal melody a bit more perhaps and maybe a middle 8 instead of just a stripped back section. Really nice vocals though, a lovely voice. 3/5
Steve Willcox: At the opening sounds I dreaded it was going to be a dullfest of a single. But it soon got its skates on and turned into a joy of an indie pop song, catchy and uplifting. Summer is on its way. 4/5
Total score: 10.5/15
THE PALE WHITE - PEACE OF MIND
Released April 20 on Illegal Cinema Records, Newcastle indie-rock trio's storming new single hits you with full force of fierce guitars from the get go. Speaking about it, lead vocalist/guitarist Adam says:"Our second offering this year. Let it rip through the bone-structured cage, which cradles the unpredictable and often misunderstood muscle that is the human brain. We are vultures circling our own demise, until we choose to regain consciousness."
LB: One of Little Indie's ones to watch this year, though I personally preferred their recent 'Loveless'. This has a rather retro feel in the vocal, I think. 3.5/5
BC: Aside from the fact the recording quality and mix is incredible, the song itself is a testimony to what The Pale White can offer. Everywhere they take this tune just entices you in for more and then they give you an unexpected drop that takes the song to another level. Harmonies are spot on and great lyrics to match. Definitely one for the Spotify playlist. 5/5
SW: Launching straight into the drums brings a sense of urgency to this single, with clear vocals and a great guitar hook soon gets the song going. Not sure if I’d buy it but it’s made me wonder what it’s like played live. 3/5
Total score: 11.5/15
DAME JEAN - JOKE’S ON YOU
Released last week, the follow-up to debut track ‘Wasted Love’ brings more gasoline powered garage-punk from this emerging Bath-based unit who eschew social media. Frontman Sammy Crocker describes it as, "a frenzied surf ditty about the fearless confidence that comes after being broken and using that to drive you in spite of anything or anyone. It’s also an excuse to make a lot of very loud noises and scream about swamp monsters between sickly pop hooks."
LB: Like with The Pale White, I also prefer the Dame's ‘Wasted Love’ to this second track. That said, however, I find this bunch very intriguing and with bags of potential. Can't wait to see live. 4/5
BC: First of all, the video is really nice, very artistic. Definitely check it out. The song itself is great: I like it. It's upbeat, nicely put together and it's got a great bassline being driven throughout. I love a good harmony myself, but the song sounds perfect with the doubled up vocals. Nicely done! 4/5
SW: From the moment the guitar reverb started , my ears pricked up as the sound was circling round my headphones. It soon got into a catchy guitar riff, along with Sam's slightly non-binary vocals give this song a refreshing feel. Loved the way it ended the same as the beginning, too. 4/5
Total score: 12/15
ZOID LAND - WALMART
Prolific 20-year-old, cult electronic dance/trap artist, DJ/producer Ramzoid from Prince Edward Island, Canada. Julien Lopez produces infectious beats of brief duration - this ditty, written for Mason Ramsey, the 11-year-old Walmart yodelling boy -
doesn't even make 90 seconds. (This was originally uploaded on Soundcloud earlier this month by the artist and just removed. So make the most of it here.)
LB: Going against my fellow panellists here - who I think miss the point, and what Ramzoid is about. The beats are sick and it's got such a catchy, cute vibe. 4/5
BC: Literally wasn't expecting it! Not necessarily something you'd find me listening to personally but, you can't deny the hook. And the fact there's two very different styles of music that have been put together and it strangely works. There's potential for a cracking song version of this viral Walmart video, however, it could be a bit longer and definitely needs taking in a few different directions in terms of build ups and drop downs. 2/5
SW: I don’t often find myself unable to speak, but my jaw literally dropped with this. It’s one of those WTF moments. Couldn’t understand the gibberish lyrics and the only good thing about it was the synth bass and beat. 1/5
Total score: 7/15
PLAZA - IN THE KNOW
Released this week on Clue Records, a return for the Hartlepool band. Produced by Forever Cult bassist Alex Greaves at The Nave in Leeds, “When you feel like the world is watching you, and that you know too much – it’s all going to turn out okay in the end” is the message behind the cut, the latest in a series of fierce, glacial post-indie snarlers.
LB: Rather subdued opening before bursting into life, then dips and dives throughout. The guitars are wicked. Nicely produced too. 4/5
BC: Starting with a wonderfully soft guitar and vocal line really lulls the listener into a false sense of relaxed security, before slowly building and adding in the subtle, yet effective, synth line and then bursting out with an extremely powerful chorus line. The song is incredibly well put together and the recording quality is unreal. Another undoubtedly great tune from Plaza. 5/5
SW: Very similar to the Brighton group Method Actress's style, the song has a laid-back guitar sound and floaty vocals but it changes tempo with some great guitar work and catchy chorus. Interesting. 3/5
Total score: 12/15
SHRINE - BLUE WEEKEND
Released last Friday, the twinkling, clipped beat follow up to March's debut 'You're A Stranger', from new Salford RnB electro-pop duo, Jack Richards (ex-Affairs bassist) and Ingrid Lisman.
LB: Very smooth and unhurried, with a nice flow that doesn't over-extend the electro elements. 3.5/5
BC: The first thing I'm going to say about this song, is the vocals are really nice, the harmonies are spot on. And I like the panning at 1.53 - a nice little touch. Personally, I think they could have maybe taken the song somewhere at some point, just to add a different dynamic, but it's not necessarily a bad thing that they didn't as it's a nice easy listening song. 3/5
SW: In my ears this has an 80s vibe. I like the dual vocals alongside the high pitched guitars, but the bass for me is everything and drives it through. Engaging and I’ve already bought it I liked it so much! 5/5
Total score: 11.5/15