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: Lee Meldrum, one half of Brighton duo SONS; Will Wolstenholme, regional A&R for Scruff Of The Neck; Little Indie contributor, Richard Cobb.
L-SPACE - BACKUP BABY
Released May 25 via Last Night from Glasgow label, upbeat synth-driven song with catchy vocals, fuzzy bass and bitcrushed beats by Scottish "noisy electro dreampop" four-piece. Inspired by the idea that cloning could one day make the world a better place.
Will Wolstenholme: Initially this track jolts and shudders with a digital shift and edge able to draw in any listener. However, it doesn’t unfold into the same shadowing character that it first suggests, instead swaying with capaciousness, albeit satisfyingly. 3.5/5
Lee Meldrum: I don’t know a lot about synth pop, if I’m honest, but I do like this. The singer Lily Higham has a good voice and melody. I preferred the dirtier sound of the first verse to the lighter second and felt it finished a bit early, but liked it overall. 4/5
Richard Cobb: After mistaking the intro for a small seizure, I really liked this. How I imagine a John Lewis Christmas advert would sound in space. Got a bit of the latest National record about this. 4/5.
Total score: 11.5/15
TONGUES. - NOT LIKE THE REAL THING
New from the Glasgow synth-alt-rockers, released last week, and taken from their debut EP 'Fight', due next month. Little Indie first featured Tim Kwant back in 2015, then as a solo project; now, keeping the textures and darkness, just grown in band members.
WW: This song is hardwired; constructed for sharp twinging and twitch. Manifested in awkward manoeuvres of rhythm, its structural unpredictability hinges on instrumental syncopations which become fascinating to track, but lacking in destination. 3.5/5
LM: Again, I’m not well versed in synth pop, and I’m not sure about this one. To me it’s just a bit disjointed musically and I found it hard to get into. Saying that, the singer has a great voice and the band are obviously great musicians. 3.5/5
RC: Definitely weekend music. Not the easiest listen in the world but catchy and interesting. More than enough to warrant a second listen. 3/5
Total score: 10/15
MARGOT - DESENSITISED
Released last week, the atmospheric dreampop debut single from South London five-piece, about "the commute to office blocks, and how its oppressive nature, from the geography to the lonely crowds, can infiltrate, misdirect and dowse appetite and ambition.”
WW: Difficult to pin down. While Margot succeed in shaping a track commodious and contemplative, its moderate tempo and insubstantial gear changes mean this song can’t quite access those cathartic nuances that make acts like The War On Drugs so special. 3/5
LM: This is a nice song. I hear a lot of The Smiths in the music. The singer is almost like Thom Yorke singing Morrissey vocal lines. I’m not sure about the ending though, I don’t feel it was needed. 3.5/5
RC: Sounds like Morrissey fronting DIIV or Sunflower Bean. Really like it, but could maybe do with chopping 45 seconds off the end to throw a life jacket at casual listeners. 4/5
Total score: 10.5/15
FRIENDS OF OUR YOUTH - SUMMER
Official debut single released in April from Manchester four-piece. Formed late 2016, they have spent time before dropping this first track, set to appear on their debut album currently working on with Olly Betts (of the Duke Spirit).
WW: Woozed up and throaty, this track is one to smile at, succinctly capturing the air-thick energy of summer stroll-abouts and saunters, lately lurching into choruses from slackened-out verse. 3.5/5
LM: Accomplished musicians, but I don’t really feel the song. I'm sure they are perfect for their target audience, it’s just not really my cup of tea, as I’m sure my music probably wouldn’t be theirs! 3/5
RC: Bit like Gengahr. Difficult to dislike, but I’m on the fence with this one as it’s not anything I’ve not heard before and it doesn’t feel as though they’re confident enough taking the stabilisers off to really go for it here. 2.5/5
Total score: 9/15
BAD NERVES - CAN'T BE MINE
Following last year's 'Dreaming' and ‘Radio Punk’, third break-neck speed single of chugging guitars and hooky riffs for the East London garage-rock outfit, out via National Anthem. Catch live on May 11 at The Shacklewell Arms, London.
WW: Bad Nerves tread the line between indie-cast romantic angst and punk-headed anger blasts with gorgeous ease here, as they engage an aggressive instrumental physicality with acidic lyrical rhetoric, to burst this track at the seams. 4/5
LM: I like this a lot! Straight to the point with a lot of energy. It reminds me of some early Supergrass which is always a good thing! I think people into BlackWaters at the moment will be well into this. Definitely something I’ll be listening to from now on 4.5/5
RC: I think leather jackets and ripped jeans desperately need a year off. I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve seen them live though. 2/5
Total score: 10.5/15
THE FAMILY CHAIN - CATHOLIC
Produced by Theo Verney, the new single from the Brighton quartet, that was inspired by "overhearing a girl say to her friend '...I don't want to be a catholic anymore...' the next day, the song was born; written from the imagined perspective of that girl walking by on The Level. What it might be like to be wanting to escape a faith she has grown up with." Catch live on May 8 at London's Windmill Brixton, and at the Alternative Great Escape on May 18.
WW: Structurally juxtaposing the internal debate of ‘upbringing versus instinct’ in solemnly swaying verses and chorus of bite and vigour, The Family Chain strike and strum their way through a song that captures a question immanent to many adolescent hearts. 4/5
LM: This song does a lot for me! It’s like a southern Glasvegas. 2 listens and it’s in my head. Right up my street. Again another song I will be listening to again. 4.5/5
RC: I like a song with a strong back story. Similar raw and unpolished honesty that made Glasvegas so popular back in the day. Can’t see this not getting a mixed reception in Glasgow though. 3.5/5
Total score: 12/15