RGM Recommends – The Singles

Palava – Under the Waves

80’s tinged indie 4-piece Palava are inconsistent on their new single ‘Under the Waves’. There are most certainly promising moments throughout, namely the crescendo in the confidence of the vocals, but I feel as though there could have been more imagination in structure and content. I wish I was left with an ‘I didn’t see that coming’ moment in all honesty; something that caught me off guard. Predictability in this realm of indie can be a catch-22 – yes, you want to create something catchy and offbeat, but also make people stop and pay attention. I’m not sure Palava have hit that nail on the head with ‘Under the Waves’.

Darla Jade – Overcrowded

With her wonderfully and honestly crafted release, Darla Jade is someone who I’ll be keeping in my headphones for a while longer. Aurora and Robyn both spring to mind immediately, and combined with the delicate swelling strings and muted piano, her voice sits perfectly in the track. The introduction of another higher piano line and timpani affected a really successful and dramatic close to a real success of a single, and with that came subtle changes to her vocal melody creating a more conversational and personal expression. This is great.

Highpoint – Moving Forward

If you came here looking for a band that sounded like the lovechild of Black Stone Cherry and Clarence Clemons then welcome to the party, my friend, it’s a pleasure to have you join us. I’m really stumped by this one if I’m honest, like, really stumped. On the one hand, this is grooving and punching rock ‘n’ roll track, and then on the other, there’s a saxophonist from 1975 in a DIY band in 2020. I don’t quite think the final result is a success, but it’s certainly by no means a failure either. It’s unique. One of a kind. So go listen. Now. 

Skinner’s Lane – Every Time

Skinner’s Lane have smashed it out of the park with this one. If it’s a rolling, grooving, bluesy and well-produced psych-tinged slice of Alt-Rock that you’re after, then these guys are your band. The ever-presence (almost) of the same guitar and bass lines could, you’d think, end up dragging or making the listener want something to change. Yet with Skinner’s Lane it’s exactly what the song needs. It’s incessant holds the track together as a cohesive piece, and with slightly distorted punk-tinged vocals, interesting (and not overused) guitar effects, and reverberating drums, Skinner’s Lane are a band I’m now well-and-truly keeping my eye on. 

Ben Sierra – Passing Through Shadows

Two bands sprung to mind on my first listen of this one: Pond & Wuzi. The former, one of the biggest psychedelic bands out of Australia, the other, a psych/grunge 4-piece from Leeds. Ben Sierra, on his lonesome I might add, has found that niche where glistening and dazzling psychedelia has a more direct and upfront attitude. Is it Grungy or Punky? No. But is it worth a listen? Yes! Ben Sierra has crafted quite a wholesome DIY energy on this track that makes it obvious to the listener that this is a one-man project on a budget, and yet still maintains professionalism in both song-writing and production that should be applauded and commended. 

Desenser – Curtains 

HO-LY-FU-CK. This is brutal from Desenser, and with this upcoming single ‘Curtains’ the closing track of their new EP, you can really expect an assault on the senses when that drops. It’s almost as if this track could slot in anywhere on any Gallows or Frank Carter album, and then bands like Lotus Eater and The Devil Wears Prada also jump to mind. The sheer wall of noise you’re attacked by throughout genuinely feels like it weighs a tonne, but frankly, if I’ve gotta carry that on my shoulders for the full 3 and a half minutes it’ll be my pleasure. Top production, a closing breakdown that doesn’t feel in any way out of place, blistering pace, etc, etc, etc. IT’S GOT THE LOT.