To celebrate LDOI’s two-year anniversary, here’s a little deep dive into the best releases featured so far.
Black Honey – Black Honey
After years of anticipation, the Brighton quartet released their captivating debut record in September 2018.
Lead single, ‘Midnight’ brings the groove of disco to the indie rock world, whilst ‘Bad Friends’ is the band’s shift in genre yet, edging further into pop territory. Old favourite ‘Hello Today’ also appears alongside ‘Dig’ – a quick throwback to the vivid colours of the band’s indie rock beginnings.
Featuring Royal Blood’s Mike Kerr, ‘Into the Nightmare’ is eerie in style, meanwhile ‘Crowded City’ is anthemic pop jam. Album closer, ‘Wasting Time’, is melancholic, yet equally cinematic in style, with vocal harmonies that blend flawlessly into the background, a final ribbon of dream-pop heaven.
Get Better – Bad Sounds
The debut album from the Bristol band is packed with funk-infused indie pop bangers.
Catchy lyricism, groove-filled harmonies, and a sprinkling of brass instruments – ‘Get Better’ is vibrantly anthemic, doused in feel-good melodies and witty humour. From ‘Milk It’, to ‘Honestly’, cool synths waltz around vivid guitar hooks, layered with effortlessly suave vocals.
The lyrics hop around relationships, mental health struggles, and self-care, listing that we should “Eat Right. Think Right. Get Better. Love Life. You Time. Get Better” – instructions that we should probably all listen to once in a while…
Hypersonic Missiles – Sam Fender
The hard-hitting debut from the Geordie singer tackles tough topics of politics, homelessness, and suicide, whilst retaining a warm cosy feel – with moments of euphoria and optimism juxtaposing the dark lyricism.
Kicking off with the title track, ‘Hypersonic Missiles’, the record is explosive from start to finish, packed with blazing riffs, broad vocals and some sweet saxophone solos. Fender’s string of singles released across the past year make up the majority of the album, whilst little room is left for newer tracks such ‘Call Me Lover’ and ‘You’re Not The Only One’.
Much of Hypersonic Missiles was debuted live – ‘The Borders’ became a fan favourite long before a studio version came out. With Fender’s brutally honest lyrics, along with lengthy guitar solos and the addition of a saxophone, the track is one of the heaviest on the album.
The quieter tones of ‘Two People’ and ‘Use’ compliment the earlier released ‘Leave Fast’ – whilst the anthemic feel of ‘Saturday’ feeds into Fender’s presence on the live stage.
Hypersonic Missiles has everything a debut record needs – and with Sam Fender set to embark on an arena tour later this year, he’s only just getting started.
This Time Next Year – The Trust Fund Kids
Drifting between elements of rock and pop, and almost verging into psychedelia, ‘This Time Next Year’ takes you on a journey through different genres – Connor is unafraid to experiment with both his production and writing.
From the bright, fuzzy melody of ‘Hello My Friend’, to the heavier, murkiness of ‘Orlando Gloom’, the unstoppable energy of each track is towering.
‘Growing Up’ is the perfect end to the album. Subdued guitar notes building up into something seemingly euphoric, yet equally matched in melancholy. A lengthy eight minutes long, yet it’s impossible to skip a single second. With lyrics surrounding the pain of growing older, and the feeling of longing to be a kid again – it’s easily the highlight of the album.
Future Dust – The Amazons
Moving on from their chart-hitting debut, the sophomore record from the Reading four-piece takes their music from radio-friendly festival anthems, to arena filling rock and roll.
A 40 second drum intro forces its way into the opening track ‘Mother’, meanwhile the racing heartbeat of ‘Fuzzy Tree’ takes you on an adventure of blood-pumping riffs, distorting and fading before erupting into a final 7-second guitar lick, leaving you with a yearning for more.
Subtly led in by interlude track ‘The Mire’, ‘Doubt It’ surrounds every corner of the room, tearing the walls apart and propelling through the roof. Exceeding the boundaries of headphones and stereos, it’s destined to be played live.
The calmer notes of ‘All Over Town’ and ‘End Of Wonder’ are a welcome lull in the storm – before the winds pick up once again into the tornado of ‘Dark Visions’. A barrage of thundering riffs, pelted with roaring drums and resounding vocals, it’s a reminder of just how far The Amazon’s have advanced since their debut.
In a world of formulaic riffs and lyrics, ‘Future Dust’ is a breath of fresh air. The Amazon’s have proved ‘second-album syndrome’ clearly didn’t affect them.
Walking Like We Do – Big Moon
The Big Moon’s debut centred around guitar-heavy instrumentation and eclectic lyricism, dancing through vibrant melodies lit with sparkling humour. Their sophomore album, ‘Walking Like We Do’, takes a more subtle approach – edging into slower, quieter territories, whilst remaining unmistakably Big Moon-esque.
“I’m so bored of being capable / I need somewhere to be vulnerable,” sings Juliette Jackson, in the opening lines of ‘It’s Easy Then’. That vulnerability strikes deeper on this record than it did the last – witty metaphors become words doused in deeper emotion, anthemic hooks turn into authentic stories.
Each track becomes its own detailed construction, crafting layer upon layer of rippling synths, golden riffs and dreamy backing vocals. Elements of pop and rock are blended with ease, sometimes side-stepping into disco beats, at other points slipping into soft ballads.
Formed in 2014, The Big Moon burst onto the scene with a plethora of guitar-fuelled tunes, taking their energy-led live shows across the UK, whilst shredding away claims of rock music’s demise. The guitar-heavy grittiness of their former work may have subdued, but peaks of intensity are sustained in tracks such as ‘Don’t Think’, culminating in fuzzy riffs and assertive lyrics, brimming with the unrelenting spirit of their debut.
Sweeping harmonies and melancholic lyricism drift across the icier ‘Waves’; meanwhile, the brighter tones of ‘Barcelona’ bring bursts of colour to the record, wallowing in catchy hooks and groove-filled instrumentation.
Flickering with soft piano keys, ‘Dog Eat Dog’ humours concepts of dogs barking in Morse code and pigeons eating fried chicken, whilst lacing hints of biased thinking and selfish actions amongst drowsy synths and lingering drum beats.
The record shines brightest in the standout single, ‘Your Light’; kaleidoscopic arrays of jazzy guitar riffs, bubbling vocals and everlasting hooks build into a feel-good anthem filled with a dazzling sense of optimism.
‘ADHD’ is the glittering finish ‘Walking Like We Do’ deserves. Almost choral in style, the final minutes of the record are dominated by high-flying brass sections and sun-filled harmonies, ensuing in one, last, incandescent bow to a fantastic record.
Lucid – Raveena
From the soft twinkling piano of ‘Hypnosis’, straight into the honey-like soul of ‘Nectar’. Raveena’s debut album stands out as one of the best records released this year.
The collaboration with Hope Tala on ‘Floating’ brings in delicate harmonies, backed by sailing instrumentals and gentle beats. Meanwhile, the pensive notes of ‘Still Dreaming’ rise into longing vocals and sparkling keys, cementing itself as a standout track on the LP.
The production on the album deserves a mention too – the perfect layering of sounds transcends into a gorgeously sunny soundscape, destined to be played by the poolside.
Characterised by soulful vocals and cosy instrumentals, Raveena’s debut record places her two steps ahead of other emerging R+B artists – and sets her up to be one to watch in the next few years.
‘Dear Los Angeles’ – golda
‘Jungle Man’ – Fever
‘Something’s Happening’ – Borth
‘Beautiful Faces’ – Declan McKenna
‘george’ – Arlo Parks
‘Strange’ – Celeste
‘3 Years’ – The New Consistent
‘Hello Can You Go’ – WOOZE
‘Movies’ – Circa Waves
‘Ever Changing Light’ – Van Houten
Listen to the ‘LDOI – 2 YEARS’ playlist here: