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: Sean Crossey, founder and head of High Violet PR Plugging; Little Indie contributor Richard Cobb; Andy Power - guitarist with rising Liverpool band SPINN.
BABY STRANGE - YOUNG TEAM
The newest track by Glasgow rockers Baby Strange, taken from their 'Extended Play' EP released July 14 via Public Records. Fast, upbeat with an aural punch alongside its teenage Glaswegian gang culture theme.
Sean Crossey: It's not really my bag, reminds me too much of Hard Fi, who I wasn't a fan of. Great production and catchy chorus so I could see it getting decent radio play though. 2/5
Richard Cobb: Baby Strange can do no wrong in my eyes and I can't stress enough their importance to the Scottish music scene. The chorus is an unexpected delight, like finding a lost tenner in a jacket pocket. 5/5
Andy Power: This track definitely has a cool vibe, although it sounds like something I've heard many times before in the choruses. The verses have definite Clash references, with the offbeat guitars giving an ever so slight reggae vibe. 2.5/5
Total score: 9.5/15
Total score: 9.5/15
FEVER DREAM - YOUTH (IS WASTED ON THE OLD)
Following on from the release of their critically acclaimed 2015 debut ‘Moyamoya’, London-based Fever Dream drop their second full-length, ‘Squid’, on September 29 via Club AC30. New single ‘Youth (Is Wasted On The Old)’, taken from the album and out on July 21, makes dramatic use of both reverb and distortion which are drawn together into a sonic soundscape.
SC: Great build up and intro, not my usual thing but sounds good all the sam. Nice wall of sound thing going on, a bit like early Suede being early Manics. 3/5
RC: Quite Glasvegas-y at the start. Don't mind this, but the structure feels a bit scattered and the drums in the verse are running too fast for the rest of the song which reminds me of a nervous heartbeat after an absinthe. 3/5
AP: Really enjoyed this track, very shoegazy with the guitars, and the bass and chord progression reminds me of early Horrors 'Primary Colours' era. Love the almost goth-like energy and darkness to this track. 4.5/5
Total score: 10.5/15
BEACHES - VOID
Released on July 14, the first single from new double album 'Second Of Spring' by the Melbourne psych rock quintet, which is released on September 8. Blending dark, woozy psych rock with hypnotic post-punk, guitarist Ali McCann explains that it "is a conversation between two people, who discuss a prolonged absence, a temporary disappearance into a space of emptiness."
SC: Really like this. Love that repetitive riff throughout and the distorted vocals and use of pedals. Does exactly what is says on the tin, bit of a nod to early Spacemen 3 which is always a good thing. 4/5
RC: It takes a lot to un-mute Songs Of Praise, but this almost clinched it. Maybe it's because I've got my sad Sunday head on, but this one's not for me. 2/5
AP: Reminds me a lot of King Gizzard, starts out really cool and has some great unpredictable progressions every few bars. However, I feel as though it falls into that repetitive looped drum and bass thing so many psych bands were doing back in 2014. With a little more melody and change I think this track could really be a winner as the instruments and vocals all sound really cool. 3/5
Total score: 9/15
SOPHISTICATED DINGO - HEAD TALK
Back to Oz for this latest single from the Melbourne duo that was mastered by Joe Carra (King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard) with the gang-vocals of the choruses recorded in the kitchen and living room of producer Thomas Keyte's house, for a more DIY sound. Energetic guitar, powerful drum fills and those catchy choruses abound before the track hurtles towards the anthemic breakdown.
SC: This is a great slice of sleazy garage-pop/rock. I could imagine it going down well in student unions around the country. Top vocals and production, I would expect them to put on a good live show. 4/5
RC: Sounds a bit like a Dandy Warhols song from the early 2000s. Suffers a bit from a lack of originality. If I still skateboarded I'd probably love this song, though. 2.5/5
AP: Took me a few listens to get into this, but definitely reminds me of The Creases. Guitars sound huge, garagey and surfy, the backing vocals are nice, however, it's a bit too punky and angsty for my liking. 3/5
Total score: 9.5/15
SUNSET LINES - GLASS
San Francisco-based four-piece straddle psych-pop and new wave on this debut single lifted from new self-released debut EP, 'Slippery Slope'. Liz Brooks leads the retro, 80s-esque vocal and synth component.
SC: I like this, great vocals and they're obviously influenced by some 80s artists but they don't overdo it. Definitely be interested in hearing more; wouldn't sound out of place on the 'Less Than Zero' soundtrack. 4/5
RC: It's okay. Nothing too standout in this one, but it's a fairly chilled and laid back song that sounds like it could be a grower given the right mood and pair of headphones. 3/5
AP: The synth in this track is really cool, and so are the harmonies, however there are parts where the song goes from being really dark to poppy in a split second, and where I can appreciate the intent for unpredictability, it feels a bit jammed together in parts. Great vibe overall though, and those synth sounds are to die for. 4/5
Total score: 11/15