This week our three guest reviewers take on another five new tracks and give them a spin through the headphones before they then air their opinion on each.
This week's panel: London-based producer/singer-songwriter Jay Brown, better known as Amaroun (with debut single 'Bed Bugs' out now); Nancy Lu of New York-based boutique music public relations company, Fancy PR; Little Indie contributor Sam Geary.
THE ACADEMIC - WHY CAN'T WE BE FRIENDS?
Produced by Tim Pagnotta (Dreamcar, Wilde Belle, Saint Motel) and released November 16, the funk-infused groove with addictive chorus, taken from the Irish band’s debut album ‘Tales From The Backseat’, due for release on January 12 2018.
“Having a love-hate relationship with someone can sometimes create kind of an innate insecurity that ultimately keeps you holding on,” says frontman Craig Fitzgerald. “The song is kind of about that dynamic, putting up with all the imperfections you see in someone for maybe one thing that is so undeniable that it keeps you together.”
Amaroun: Uplifting indie band anthem. I like the cheeky driving bass line. First impression is of a dirty raw version of Scouting For Girls. 2/5
Nancy Lu: This one's got some soft dick rock elements to it - and I mean that in the best way possible! Reminds me a bit of late 90s alt-rock. Really enjoyed the wailing guitar lines here. 4/5
Sam Geary: I personally preferred their last single, 'Bear Claws'. This has a great chorus though. 3.5/5
Total score: 9.5/15
THE TATES - WATER
Released December 1 through Libertino Records, the forthcoming single from Carmarthen indie pop five-piece The Tates, following debut release ‘Electric Girl’ during the summer.
A: Eighties, eat your heart out. It kinda reminds me of this band called Blushes I'm into at the moment. Catchy and nonchalant. I'm into this. 3/5
NL: Nice bright shimmery synths in the opening. Very summery feeling. Lost a little bit of interest at the chorus, which felt a bit underwhelming after such a strong beginning. 3/5
SG: Rather an American style to this. It does have a catchy, singalong appeal in the chorus line. 3.5/5
Total score: 9.5/15
HAARM - LOVE IN A DIFFERENT WAY
New single from the Liverpool alt-pop four-piece, released November 10. Written about “those relationships you just can’t understand”, it oozes a neo-soul vibe, though something of a change to their previous material.
A: Instant love. Just like when you see someone for the first time after a long period apart. That ‘ohhhhhh’ chorus is hitting the right spot. I lose it a bit in the bridges, but then it grabs me back with the additional clever arrangement elements that just keep building. Definitely adding this to my playlist! 4/5
NL: This one's real fuzzy. I'm imagining this track playing out in a Wes Anderson film. 4/5
SG: Finding it very hard to get the same feel as Amaroun about this have to say! It's pleasant, but too lightweight for my taste. I really liked their last single 'Valentine', so a bit disappointed with this. 3/5
Total score: 11/15
THE NIGHT CAFÉ - TURN
The second melancholic jangly pop cut (after 'Felicity') to come from the Liverpool quartet's second EP, due early 2018 via Kobalt. Sean Martin's vocals give a nice direction to the lush hooks and melodic tone.
A: This one makes me feel good. Sixpence None The Richer go into a bar and fall for The Courteeners. Yep, I like this. 3/5
NL: 'Turn' is definitely vibey, but the vocals are a little too muddled for me. 2/5
SG: Another good outing for these guys. A grower, this. 4/5
Total score: 9/15
SAN SCOUT - HOLD FIRE
Hot on the heels of previous Little Indie Track Of The Day ‘You Instead’ last month, London duo San Scout are back with new ambient electro-pop of sharp production and distinctive glitch-pop.
A: YES! YES! YES! First instinct: definitely Imogen Heap-esque vocals. It's a head-bopping soul experience. Love the bass - you wait for the drops and they happen in all the right places. Nice. 4/5
NL: The beginning of this track reminds me of Imogen Heap too. Has a nice R&B meets pop sound, very chill. 4/5
SG: Very atmospheric, slightly dark; bit of a spine tingler. Best of the five. 4/5
Total score: 12/15