The Round-Up (28/07/23)

Whilst the last week has been festivals galore (need I mention Truck, Noztock etc.), this past week’s fresh releases have by no means been sidelined by the spotlight placed on soggy fields and cowboy boots.

TRACK OF THE WEEK: Balancing Act – Cheshire Smile

Following an exquisite performance at Brixton’s Close Encounter Club, the imprint made on me by Balancing Act is comparable to one made by a permanent marker. ‘I never wanted anybody else but you’ is repeated by vocalist Kai Roberts over a backing track of pop-rock and addictive riffs, instantly absorbing the listener into a sultry wonderland filled with shadow-cast spaces. [ND]

Also new this week…

Nieve Ella – Your Room
A beautiful indie-pop tune from the West-Midlands-born rising star. TikTok has been a big stepping stone for many upcoming musicians, and Nieve Ella is one of the talents to take the app by the horns. Now signed to AWAL (Little Simz, JPEGMAFIA), she’s had slots at Glastonbury and TRNSMT festivals – so she’s certainly in for a shining future ahead! [LW]

Kipp Boucher – Joy of Life
A match made in heaven for hard-core crooners and fans of Harry Nilsson, Kipp Boucher brings something new to classic orchestral soft-rock lamenting instead of the mundane and the ever-worsening state of society. A perfect Americana jukebox tune, worth every single one of those coins jingling melodically in the bottom of your pocket. Now all you need is a leather jacket and a Coke float. [ND]

The Bug Club – Short and Round
“Three groovy peas in a far-out pound”. The Bug Club is back with yet another riff-filled banger soundtracking life’s everyday occurrences in that typical indie manner. Whilst Sam Willmett’s guitar screams George Harrison’s gently weeping serenade and long-hair era, the track focus instead on a rather marvellous ‘short and round’ trim. [ND]

Sundara Karma – Baby Blue
This thumping, guitar-riffing lament on love and heartbreak will play on a loop in your head thanks to a catchy chorus and an even catchier bridge. The indie rock band who found fame with their debut album Youth Is Only Fun In Retrospect in 2017, follow gracefully in their footsteps with this guttural single destined to be screamed at festivals. For fans of Two Door Cinema Clubs and Sam Fender, this one’s for you. [SS]

Vacations – Terms and Conditions
With their most vulnerable track yet, tenderness flows through Vacations’s new track ‘Terms and Conditions’ – a moment of tranquil peace for the band before the limelight and rush of supporting The Strokes. Delicate vocals are paired with dream-like instrumental sections, featuring fades of human voices and intimate conversations watched over by the mild summer sun. [ND]

SPARKLING – hey hey hey
SPARKLING, in this case, is both the band name and a completely accurate descriptor for a song. “Hey Hey Hey” is the perfect blend of bright, danceable indie pop, cutting-edge post-punk and tight electronic production that results in an irresistibly fun song. We dare you not to dance. [VG]

Brad Stank – Flicker On!
I understand what’s being aimed for here; that Ariel Pink/Mac DeMarco goof-sensuality that hides its horns under a veil of romance. The suggestiveness here however is oversold by a vocal sang so close to the mic it made me feel icky. It’s about as seductive a song as you’d expect from an artist called Brad Stank. [SL]

Naked Lungs – River (down)
Huge, noisy guitars, relentless drumming and sharp, punk vocals – what more can you ask for? ‘River (Down)’ has a frantic noise-rock energy that falls away towards the end to reveal a more vulnerable moment of reflection, before launching you right back into the chaos. It’s messy, it’s noisy, and it’s wonderful. [VG]

The Coral – That’s Where She Belongs

The Coral inch closer to their double album release in early September with their new single ‘That’s Where She Belongs,’ a return to upbeat and summery sounds. Peppered with easygoing riffs and heavenly harmonies, it’s the perfect understated track for the late summer. [VG]

Contributor Key:
[ND] Neve Dawson, [VG] Vicky Greer, [SL] Sam Lasley, [SS] Sophia Stanford, [LW] Lydia Webb

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