Los Campesinos! - 5 Flucloxacillin
It's actually proving quite slippery so far to get a reading on what Sick Scenes, out 24th February, will exactly be like. After the typical charge of I Broke Up In Amarante comes something that almost touches West Coast classic rock, apart from the lyrics about depression, medication and the generation gap.
Mutes - Vanishing
You know when you find out about a new band, resolve to write only the bare minimum of facts so as to promote the music and only then discover they share a member (and producer) with one of the bands you drone on about most of all? In truth I don't know if Junior off JoFo is on this track or just their live drummer, though those rapid fills sound familiar, but putting that to one side (having drawn attention specifically to it, I know) the track itself is a sprawling, thrusting piece of growing intensity that throws surf harmonies into a cascading pit of post-punk guitars that dips into an ambient phase and re-emerges on the charge for the white light at the end of a noise-pop tunnel.
Gallops - Darkjewel
They used to be called "Wrexham's answer to Battles", a sentence nobody ever thought they could surely envisage, but we always admired their propulsive instrumental charges. Now after three years away they've got back together, delved deeper into the noises that their instruments used to work around and seem like they want to destroy on a base level, matching pummelling sub-bass with huge drums and warped electronics to sound like the battle hymn of the demon army. Album Bronze Mystic is out April 21st.
H.Hawkline - Last Thing On Your Mind
As with many of his Welsh odd-indie contemporaries - one of which, Cate Le Bon, contributes here - Huw Evans takes a roundabout approach to faintly straightforward stylings, in this case easygoing pop synth-driven melodic pop decorated with an abtruse guitar part. No word on a new album to follow 2015's tremendous In The Pink Of Condition, but he is supporting Devendra Banhart for most of the next two months across America.
Magana - Pages
Put out for free download ahead of some solo dates in New York and California, Jeni Magana's heartaching DIY guitar-pop is straightened out slightly, especially in the way it broadens out into a middle eight solo, but the haunted but resilient inner strength key to her earlier releases remains.
Bearcubs - Underwaterfall
London producer Jack Ritchie, who's been around for three years or so already, may seem at first like James Blake's ambient glitchscape plus Jamie XX's steel drums patch, but as it develops the air turns foggy and full of paranoid nocturnal disquiet, seemingly varispeeding itself through warped effects, stuttering surges and pitched down soulful vocals.
Froth - Passing Thing
Wichita Recordings' great hopes for 2017 dial up the Kraut-noise-pop on the latest track from new album Outside (briefly), out 20th February, guitar squalls punctuating the kind of languid indie-pop you didn't think bands did any more before a lengthy instrumental patch goes all psych-pop on the basic theme.