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Indie review January 2024: The best songs and albums

Our six favourite indie albums and our seven favourite indie songs released in January 2024 - featuring SPRINTS, The Vaccines and more!

Welcome to the first edition of a new blog which takes a look at the best new indie music released from the month that’s just been.

And what a month to start us on! Usually, January has us looking forward to the year ahead with a long lens. This time around, we haven’t had to look too far forward with all the new sounds coming our way.

Without further ado, here are our picks for the best of the albums and songs of the month.



SPRINTS – Letter to Self

I heard SPRINTS towards the end of last year with ‘Up and Comer’ a blistering song that left me both dazed with its ferocity and wanting more. The question is surely they couldn’t maintain not just the level of intensity but also the quality throughout an album. With Letter To Self the answer is an absolutely resounding yes.

Call them punk, garage, grunge. Or you could call the Karla Chubb fronted band asone of the most promising acts around. ‘Can’t Get Enough Of It’ is the stand out track on an album that’ll feature on many people's ‘Best Of’ list at the end of the year. (Words by Neil Renton)


Bill Ryder-Jones - Lechyd Da

This is an album that caught me by surprise. I’d been a fan of The Coral for many years but the work of their ex-guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones had always escaped me – that is until the recent hype over his newest album forced us to get involved!

Lechyd Da – which is a Welsh toast for good health – has vulnerability at its core, the Wirral singer-songwriter’s lyrics covering themes as heavy as mental health issues and romantic loss. While there are a couple I wasn’t feeling around the middle section, the music in general really pulls you in, particularly when Ryder-Jones' voice is at its rawest.

Emotional indie-folk accompanied by strings, organs and there’s even several appearances from a children’s choir who lighten the mood on the darker subject matters. Jones shows his skill as a songwriter in his ability to move songs from one direction to another while still maintaining their grip.

Favourite tracks are the warm opener ‘I Know That Its Like This (Baby)’, the earwormy ‘If Tomorrow Starts Without Me’, psychedelic Flaming Lips-inspired ‘This Can’t Go On’, and the depression heartstring-puller ‘Nothing To Be Done’. (Words by Matthew McLister)


The Vaccines - Pick-Up Full of Pink Carnations

The Vaccines had a lot to live up to after their cinematic-focused last album Back In Love City, an album I couldn’t get enough of back in 2021. But they deliver, to a certain point at least. Pick-Up Full of Pink Carnations has nostalgia and melancholy at its heart, with The Vaccines accompanying these woes with an energetic and hopeful sound. Big tunes like ‘Heartbreak Kid’, ‘Another Nightmare’ and ‘Sometimes I Swear’ have a bucket load of familiar charm, while it was the slow burner ‘Sun Kissed’ which left the biggest lasting impression.

The elephant in the room, of course, is that this is a fairly predictable listen at points and certain tracks lose interest the more you listen. As much fun as we have, it rarely engages on the same level as Back In Love City nor does it create the same excitement as their debut, for example. 

I guess we’ll need to wait and see the long-term value of The Vaccines new one, but in the meantime, there’s a lot to enjoy across this concise, 31-minute album. Especially for those already a fan of the band. The tunes are hooky, the chorus soar and the charm throughout the record is palpable. Certainly enough for this long-term fan to be won over sixth time around! (Words by Matthew McLister)


NewDad – Madra

Irish shoegaze fourpiece NewDad have been a band I’ve had my eye on for the last four years and finally they dropped their debut this month. As expected, they deliver on this anticipation and some. Madra - which translates as “dog” in Irish - combines dreamy soundscapes with an undercurrent of poignancy. It’s inspired – without the influences ever becoming too telling - by bands at the forefront of the member’s formative years: the Pixies, Slowdive and The Cure, in particular.

According to the band, Madra has the Galway band on a “journey of self-exploration, self-sabotage and reflection” and the end result is a vulnerable debut which – for the most part - hooks us right in until the bitter end. A collection of breathtaking dream-pop tunes to further cement NewDad’s position as Ireland’s most exciting young band.



Future Islands - People Who Aren't There Anymore

Baltimore synth-pop band Future Islands' new one was a late January release and has received heavy critical acclaim thus far. Karl Blakesley reviewed the album for Clash Magazine and concluded the following:

"Whilst ‘People Who Aren’t There Anymore’ ultimately isn’t an album that breaks the Future Islands mould, it’s hard to hold that against them. This is their sound, and they prove here they can still do it better than any of their peers. And whilst the sonic evolution from their previous work may only be subtle shifts, the biggest change comes with the band leaning on personal stories this time around rather than more observational lyricism. Most importantly though Future Islands’ fans will find plenty to love with this album, with some of the songs here already instant favourites and others feeling like some of the best, most fully realised of their career thus far."

You can read his full review on the Clash Magazine website.


The Smile - Wall Of Eyes


Radiohead's Johnny Greenwood and Thom Yorke (plus drummer Tom Skinner) returned with album number two from their side-project The Smile in January and it was another fantastic effort. Friend of the blog Chris Connor in his five-star review brilliantly summarised Wall of Eyes:

"At eight tracks this is perhaps a more slight offering than fans might like, but the range of musical influences continues to impress. As with their debut, The Smile prove they are far more than simply Radiohead 2.0. There are plenty of intriguing musical detours as they play with our expectations and never stick to a script, solidifying their rolling rep as some of the UK’s most ambitious musicians."




The Vaccines – 'Sunkissed'

The sixth track on The Vaccines latest record is a slower-burner, nostalgic Californian love song which slowly reveals itself with each listen. Justin Young reminisces back to a brief fling and a time when he was growing his “beard to look like Dennis Wilson” of Beach Boys fame.  Easily the one I’ve been returning to the most on Pick-Up Full of Pink Carnations. (Words by Matthew McLister)


Declan McKenna – 'Mulholland’s Dinner and Wine'

Declan McKenna is no stranger to mixing things up. And the preview singles for third album What Happened To the Beach? suggest he’s gone for a new sound altogether from his chaotic, Bowie-inspired last. New single ‘Mulholland’s Dinner and Wine’ is a wonderful slice of psychedelic indie-pop inspired by the likes of Tame Impala and Empire In The Sun for a delightful tale of sunkissed LA hedonism. (Words by Matthew McLister)


Brogeal - 'Girl From NYC'

This five-piece from Falkirk ended last year supporting the likes of The Lathums and Spector and building up a worthy reputation as one of the bands to look out for. For a group of young guys, they demonstrate a maturity beyond their tender years. It’s a simple tale of being saved by the mundane when you fall in love. Pretty soon everyone is going to be head over heels for Brogeal and this is why. This is certain to be one of the highlights at their upcming headline show at Glasgow's infamous King Tuts venue. (Words by Neil Renton)


IDLES - 'Gift Horse'

Big things are expected with IDLES new album Tangk, especially with their latest single 'Gift Horse'. Following on from the LCD Soundsystem-featuring ‘Dancer’ and the restrained menace of ‘Grace’, they’ve delivered an early contender for one of the songs of the year with this. It’s closer to the bands DNA than their other recent releases with singer Joe Talbot stripping the paint of the walls with vitriol-filled vocals. With a massive tour on the horizon you can imagine the ending of this song bringing down the house. Also a tune that could soundtrack an angry gym sessions if you’re still in the get fit January zone. (Words by Neil Renton)



Sprints – 'Cathedral'

Like fellow writer Neil Renton, I’ve been more than a little obsessed with SPRINTS debut album Letter To Self this month. The highlight on the album, and the one I’ve revisited the most, is the anti-Catholic church ‘Cathedral’. A tense and haunting sound very reminiscent of early IDLES (in particular, ‘Mother’ from the Bristol band’s debut Brutalism). (Words by Matthew McLister)


Bob Vylan – 'Hunger Games'

Grime Punk duo Bob Vylan recently featured on our most anticipated albums of 2024 preview and friend of the blog Karl Blakesley highlighted new single ‘Hunger Games’ as one which is “economic crisis tackling / self-worth affirming”. An in-your-face and explosive rock banger we couldn’t get enough of in January! (Words by Matthew McLister)


Yard Act – 'We Make Hits'

Yard Act’s latest single ‘We Make Hits’ is another fun-filled slice of indie-pop goodness with a delicious bassline and typically irony-filled lyricism. "It's really an ode to friendship and the unfiltered joy you feel when you're making music with the people you hold dear," described singer James Smith. A sophomore record is on its way soon, as well as their biggest UK tour to date: the Leeds band are bound to make their mark on 2024.


For the best tunes of each month, listen to our Best indie songs of the month 2024 playlist below.


1 Comment

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