SMALL RECORD REVIEWS | #1 | Northern Sun Sessions



The Virginmarys – Macclesfield duo of Ally and Danny – have established themselves as essential ones-to-watch in the British music underground over the near decade of their existence.

With a pair of albums to their name already, they have been spending the majority of 2018 in the studio to compile what they hope to be their greatest creation to date – Northern Sun Sessions – and a great creation, it certainly is.

It doesn’t take long for them to dish out some insanely infectious hooks that latch on quickly and make a mark, particularly during many of the exciting choruses this record has on offer.

Variety is a definitive factor here, with some tracks lbeing on the lighter, catchier side, whilst others are driving, full-frontal rock anthems packing tonnes of energy. The writing is also a quality that is on top form throughout.

Ally performs double duty and delivers some fiercely powerful vocals and flashy riffs, and Danny backs him up perfectly with hefty drum beats that make up the intense rhythms.

There’s not the slightest doubt that Northern Sun Sessions is a sensational album, being a wild blast non-stop from start to finish, elevated by two fantastic performances and a massive sound. How in the blue hell are these guys not bigger by now? 


SOS4UNI, Look Out For My Brother, Blind For The Blind, Step Up, Flags, All Fall Down




Leo Bargery surely has to be among the most prolific artists in the local Scottish scene, having churned out such an array of great records under Mt Doubt since forming the project a few years ago.

And now, in collaboration with his good friend James, we all have the pleasure of being treated to yet another one – This Must Mean Something Awful.

The EP has this different essence compared to his previous work that’s hard to specifically narrow down, but the sound certainly feels darker and a touch grittier, as reflected by the instrumentation used, particularly the dim electronics.

Leo’s harmonies have a strong emotional undercurrent, and the writing has a clasping quality which keeps the listener drawn in and hanging by every word.

As expected, the latest Mt Doubt record is another accomplishment that is utterly entrancing and perhaps his most mature material to date.


Angel-Headed, Blemishes, Pleasure Beach




While perhaps a little overlooked compared to other genres around here, the Scottish country scene is stocked with a variety of excellent acts, and one of the leaders of said scene is Bishopbriggs artist Katee Kross, who is fresh off releasing her latest album – Body & Soul.

She takes lead and maintains control with her elegant vocals that display handfuls of emotion; a sense of fervor in the positive songs, while warmer and gentler in the softer numbers; but always thriving in being passionate with every lyric that she sings.

On that note, the writing is really great and succeeds in remaining absorbing from beginning to end, never getting tiresome at all, and the musical performances from Katee and the Amberjax crew are good throughout.

Yet another terrific effort from an outstanding artist who only grows better and better with each passing year.


Shadow Falls, Bluebird, Count To Ten, Working On A Dream, Troubled Mind, Over You




In the latest case of “how on earth did we overlook this act?” – Sisteray.

There’s no denying that the quartet have been making serious waves in their time together, and they are only going to get better, especially if judging by their latest release – Sisteray Said.

Fusing punk and indie rock, the songs are driven by absolutely intoxicating melodies that get glued in the conscious, as well as smashing performances from all four guys.

The lyrics are for sure the highlight of this record, as they tackle subject matters relating to modern society with writing that is candid and clever.

This is a supremely superb EP that is damn near flawless from top to bottom. It’s insanely good, and perfectly solidifies Sisteray’s reputation as one of London’s best underground acts.


Wannabe, Rumour Mill, Algorithm Prison




Having originally performed under the moniker of Panic Anchor, Andy McBride has established himself over time as one Glasgow’s finest artists, and that is made no clearer than with his long-awaited debut album – Shipyard Soul.

The greatest strength of Andy is that he has his ability to suck in the listener and keep them fixated without fail, never letting go of that grip until the record is over and done with.

Andy is a great vocalist and there is so much conviction behind his voice that you cannot turn away, plus he is an excellent guitarist, and the harmonicas add an extra juicy layer.

The writing is incredible; no matter if an upbeat ditty with a catchy melody, or a more gentle and sentimental number that just exudes emotion, the lyrics are just astounding and make a serious impression.

There’s no beating around the bush here, Shipyard Soul is one of the most brilliant solo albums to have come out of Scotland this year, and people should dare not gloss over this talented gentleman.


The Bottle, Hearts In A Hurricane, Codeine Wine And Patsy Cline, Glory Glory, Prosser’s Glasgow




Since putting out their debut EP last year, Guildford four-piece Seasonal have been slowly but surely emerging as one of the country’s most promising pop-rock acts, and they have only validated that status with their new release – Weathered.

Straight off the bat, they pull in listeners with such an electric energy, and it remains entertaining all the way. This is owed to the quartet giving us vibrant melodies headed by bold, fervent harmonies, bouncy beats and great guitars, and the heartfelt writing is equally magnetic.

Weathered is simply excellent, certainly topping their first EP in style. Seasonal may just have the tools to grown into something really special down the line, and reaching #6 in the iTunes rock chart isn’t a half-bad start.


Strangers, Honestly, High & Dry




Coast To Coast have grown into one of Birmingham’s brightest prospects over the last couple of years, and they are only getting better as evident by their upcoming third EP – The World Doesn’t Work.

The boys go in with hardy, bustling tracks carried by intense bass chords and good drumming, further raised by kinetic guitars and a potent vocal performance.

As the title suggests, the record covers themes in relation to the cause and effect of negative experiences that people have to endure, and the top-notch writing they give us is just absorbing in how genuine and relevant it is.

Undeniably excellent work here from a band who are not only capable, but also have no fear in bringing their personal struggles to light.


Boxing, Good & Grim, Cold Buzz




Hailing from Melbourne in Australia, pop-punk quartet Just About Done have been committed to their craft since their formation back in school. With 2 EPs already to their name, the group get set to put out their most personal, and perhaps strongest, record to date – I Am Getting By.

It is comprised of a trio of tracks that are defined by magnetic writing, with lyrics that are drawing and implanted in the head quite quickly; brought to life perfectly by Samantha who takes charge with a fiery, legitimate vocal performance.

Daniel and Joe give it their all with energetic riffs and basslines, and Michael ramps up the power with drum beats that pack a punch.

With the only flaw, if you can even call it that, being that it is unfortunately short, this is another superb effort from four talented and clearly dedicated musicians who are sure to go far.


Strain, Peacemaker




A musician for the better part of his life, Warren McIntyre has found great success with his band Starry Skies.

With one album already to their name, they have only gotten bigger and better with time, and have earned themselves a lot of radio airplay across the country. Now they are back with a new record – Be Kind – and it is obvious that they have stepped up their game.

A primary quality is the diversity that Warren and co have to offer sound-wise, with tracks that blend together a mixture of pop, garage rock and country, and effectively so.

The collective harmonies have plenty of spirit behind them, the instrumentations are really nice, the melodies thoroughly enticing, and the writing very good.

Be Kind is an enjoyable effort that puts a smile on the face, courtesy of an accomplished fella and a group of equally skilled performers.


Bombs Betty, Be Kind, Starry Skies, High Girls, Guns & Gold


belle plaine


Growing up in the remotest of Canadian towns, Belle Plaine has spent the past number of years slowly working her way up as one of the most noteworthy Americana musicians to emerge in the country, and her abilities are put on full display in her upcoming third album – Malice, Mercy, Grief & Wrath.

She shines with a stunning voice and an exquisite performance on the guitar, and these are only bettered by some nice writing that give each of the songs an identity as they convey interesting stories with strong themes that are sure to keep the listener invested.

Belle is helped in bringing her art to life with the assistance of a fantastic backing band that deliver well in their roles and contribute to creating the variety of great sounds featured. At times, notably during the more low-key numbers, the group even manage to evoke a sense of atmosphere that is quite alluring.

This is a simply splendid record that cements Belle’s talents and confirms that she is a capable artist who deserves more attention from those who enjoy their fair share of Americana sweetness.


For All Those Who I Love,  Is It Cheating,  Laila Sady Johnson,  Are We Good,  Radio Dreams




In no time at all, punk quintet Darker Days have quickly emerged as one of the best new acts to come from Massachusetts, with their combined prior experience in music helping in that regard. After putting out 2 fantastic singles, they are now preparing to prove what they are really made of with their self-titled debut EP.

Every song makes a mark in one way or another, but the aspect that is consistently strong throughout is the lyrical work, being really powerful and gripping; in fact, some of the best of 2018, speaking truthfully here.

Mason’s harmonies put forth plenty of emotion, the twin guitars are brisk and the rhythm section brings a lot of frenzied energy to each of the high-tempo tracks.

Captivating from the first note to the last, Darker Days have delivered an excellent EP that is thoroughly engaging and also real addictive, as proven by our multiple listens thus far. This band are sure to go places.


Searchlight, Pressed Petals, Frost




Don’t let their glitzy get-up make the impression that these guys are to be taken lightly; they are serious about what they do.

Since forming in 2012, Hamburg glam-pop trio Access Icarus have been making waves in their home country for a number of years now, but now they face their biggest test with the forthcoming release of their debut full-length album – Monuments.

The record’s most distinct feature is an awesome, staggering sound that immerses the listener in no time flat and keeps them hooked.

The songs are both melodic and highly energetic, hitting a high point during the hair-raising choruses. The harmonies are great, and the tight, rousing rhythms are formed from cool riffs, large beats and pulsating synths.

Access Icarus have given us a real treat with Monuments, which is grand in size and featuring a line-up of tunes which never fail to entertain and hold interest for the entire run.

No doubt that these three are one of the most promising acts to come out of Germany lately, and we can only hope that their talents are exposed to the rest of Europe and beyond.


Empires, Orange, Titans March, Golden Threads, Sunshine, Awake, Monument




Over the last few years, IDKID have been quietly growing as one of Edinburgh’s finest indie-rock acts, and they are now set to (physically) launch their debut album – I Eat Cars Like You For Breakfast And There Is Nothing You Can Do About It – now that’s a mouthful.

Crashing out the gates with a mighty intro, they retain a swift pace all the way and crank out a batch of snappy tracks that are made up from combinations of great riffs, solid bass lines, sweet drumming and the catchiest of choruses, plus the lyrics are awfully good and the vocals stay on regular form.

On the whole, this is an infectious, action-packed record that is a dynamic listen all around.


I Like To Twerk,  Changed Or Be Changed,  The Good The Bad And The Illusion Of Motion, 12341234, Time




Once in a while, a band will come along and immediately stand out as something different in a scene which, while often loaded with talent, does have a constant sense of familiarity. Enter alternative Bristol trio Siblings Of Us, who are buckling up to release their brand new EP – Gargantua.

The group hammer out a quartet of high-octane, catchy as hell numbers that run off a wild, blitzing energy. Fonzy provides some neat riffs and fires out with sharp, stirring harmonies alongside Zack, and the two in conjunction deliver awesome synths. They are completed by Ellie, who rattles out some real hooking beats from behind the kit.

Gargantua is an utterly fun record that quickly grabs the listener and takes them on a thrilling ride that is fresh and separates Siblings Of Us from the rest of the pack.


Chicago Glass Twins, Breed & Company, A Gang Called Wonder


Artwork Front


This past July, we had the privilege of coming across alternative rock trio The Sunny Devils when they supported Megalomatic at the Cathouse. We had heard rumblings of how good they were beforehand, and those stood true by the end of the night.

For those uninformed about these guys, you will have the chance to experience something similar with their forthcoming self-titled EP.

We get some damn potent tunes that are composed of cool riffs, booming bass and emphatic blasts from the drumkit. The harmonies are swell too, and the choruses are where the songs really shine.

If there was one issue, it would be that the mixing is a little off and awkward in places, where some elements are clearly too loud and somewhat drown out other elements.

Minor problems like that aside though, this is an entertaining rock record from an underrated act who should be getting more focus.


No More Surprises, Find A Hole, My Undoing


Small Single Spotlight – Issue #3


Edinburgh musician Leo Bargery is preparing to add yet another EP to his continuously growing discography – This Must Mean Something Awful, available 13th October – and we get our first preview courtesy of this lead single.

This is undeniably one of his most mature tracks to date. Leo’s mellow vocals are filled with emotion, the acoustics are subtle and there is a real atmosphere that forms in the air as it progresses.

Add to that some strong writing, and you have yourself a very fine number from a talented, constantly evolving chap.


They may not have been around too long and have only got a couple of tunes to their name so far, but this Edinburgh electronic act have quickly made an impression, and their upcoming third single continues to perfectly showcase their talents.

Naturally, this is a catchy song that fires the listener up with sharp harmonies, a large sound and magnetic beat, with a blistering chorus being the sweet cherry on top.




The Surrey pop rockers further fuel the excitement for their next EP with another great track that is driven by a rhythm with a non-stop, highly spirited energy.

Other highlights of the single include a fiery vocal performance, and some stand out, emotionally pulling lyrics that many will easily connect with.


Manchester hard rock quartet got a tonne of folk excited when they revealed they had a new EP on the horizon, and they’ve given us a first taste of it with the titular lead single.

They go all in with a menacing-sounding track led by Kitty’s enjoyably scowling vocals, and the backing harmonies lend an extra hand stylishly. In addition, the writing is a lot of fun, the guitars are great and the rhythm section is damn good.


Emerging from out of nowhere to charge his way up the iTunes RnB chart, the self-proclaimed future-soul artist from Huddersfield delivers one of the most stellar debut singles of 2018, firing out with brilliant harmonies, presenting gripping lyrics and giving us a sound that is just engrossing.

A superb number that only gets better with every hit of the play button, from a fella who has quickly shown off huge potential.


This Salford post-punk group have been heralded as ones to watch from various sources, and it’s understandable, judging by their latest offering.

Opening with a grabbing intro and led by a tight bass-packed rhythm, the track exhibits firm harmonies, cool guitar work, a heck of a drum beat and a memorable chorus punctuated by hooking lyrics.


The title number of the Milan new wave/shoegaze act’s latest album is a doozy, with a trippy sound accentuated by the kaleidoscopic guitars and carried by sleek vocals and a good beat, but it suddenly takes a turn in the chorus and goes in a heavier direction, cranking up the riffs in the process, and it’s pulled off surprisingly well.


Originally hailing from New York and currently based in London, indie rock band Tiger Mimic are quickly becoming one of the best newcomers to emerge from the city, and they are fresh off releasing their new single, the title track of their upcoming Elephant Skeleton EP.

Smooth verses spotlighted by neat bass chords eventually push into sweet choruses. The dual harmonies click together well, the guitars are great and the drumming provides a catchy beat.

Predicting that these guys will become ones to watch quite quickly.


The Glaswegian pop-punk newbies have been creating a lot of buzz in a short space of time, and it’s easy to see why based on their most recent single.

The verses are calm and feature soft vocals, but they suddenly drop into energetic choruses that are highlighted by fervent singing, solid writing and great riffs aplenty.


Without a doubt one of the hardest working artists in Glasgow as of late, Petra recently presented us with this single, a delightful little ditty with very elegant vocals and nice writing, not to mention a very bluesy tone that is only made more abundantly obvious with the sharp and sweet harmonicas added in.

Vodun – Ascend | SMALL MUSIC SCENE


We are all spoiled by the amount of great records that are released over the course of a year, but once in a while, something extra special comes along and makes a lasting impact.

Case in point: London afro-metal trio Vodun, who recently put out their second full-length album – Ascend.

It becomes quickly clear that all the tunes are tied together under numerous themes of a similar nature, such as the pride of and link to family heritage, overcoming adversity, and fighting back suffering at the hands of other powers that force you and/or your loved ones into a repulsive situation.

It is all very poignant, hard-hitting stuff, and ranks among the best and most significant writing in recent memory, and even through the negative subjects, they are ultimately able to promote positivity; often through the tribal messages that bridge many of the songs.

Performance-wise, the three musicians are incredible. The vocals are utterly powerful and pack a tonne of power and spirit, the riffs are blinding, and the drumming is vividly intense. With these qualities unified, the group deliver tracks that are just massive, energetic and usually featuring insanely good choruses.

From both a musical and lyrical standpoint, Ascend is simply phenomenal, and will go down as one of 2018’s pivotal albums.


Started From, Spirits Past, New Doom, Elusive Freedom, Rituals, Time Honoured


Kitfai – The Things You Left Us | SMALL MUSIC SCENE


For the better part of the last 5 years, Oslo alternative pop-rockers Kitfai have been working hard to make something of themselves, and after a while on the grind, they are getting set to release their debut full-length album – The Things You Left Us.

Leading the charge is Bodil on vocals, whose harmonies are consistently fluent and vibrant throughout the record, and she gets the emotions across pretty well.

The tunes are generally catchy and have a good beat to them, thanks to the solid dual riffs and energetic rhythms the guys dish out, although there is also a fair share of numbers of a softer tone which are just as magnetic.

Completed by some fine writing, this is a worthy effort from a quintet who may very well become a notable mainstay in northern Europe down the line.


Better, The Mountain, Something Real, Fall, Carefree



Millie Manders & The Shut Up – Shutup | SMALL MUSIC SCENE


Being musically-involved most of her life, London artist Millie Manders has been making a significant name for herself in the British scene over the last 5 years; particularly after getting a band of merry performers together in 2015 to form The Shut Up.

Describing themselves as cross-genre punk, the group has been tearing it between their music and at live shows, and they are getting prepped to release their next EP – Shutup.

From the offset, Millie impresses with a heck of a strong voice, flourishing with power, a wide range and plenty of conviction as she puts forth the writing, which is very poignant and features striking commentary that many people will surely make an immediate connection to.

The rest of the troupe contribute in outstanding fashion, helping to create a sound that is certainly varied – with ska the most obvious influence – being wild, energetic and immensely bouncy, with this owed to a combination of solid riffs, sturdy rhythms and an awesome, blaring brass section.

Shutup is nothing short of a berserk ride with some added substance to make for a sweet listen that never gets old.


Brave, Right To Life, One That Got Away



Bell Lungs – Phosphodendrophobia | SMALL MUSIC SCENE


It goes without saying that Scotland offers a diverse music scene, with acts of essentially all kinds, and here we have a case of something that is very different.

Ceylan Hay is a composer who performs under the guise of Bell Lungs, and she is preparing to release her new EP titled Phosphodendrophobia.

The self-created name of the record deprives from an ancient myth based around sleep paralysis, and you do get that sense from the general sound, not just in the title number but throughout.

Ceylan uses a multitude of instruments – ranging from your traditional violins and electric guitars, to other intriguing items like an omnichord and a shruti box – to produce said sound that has a fiercely binding ambience that is atmospheric and transcendental.

She also implements her own voice; whether chanting or seemingly speaking directly to the listener, it’s hypnotic, and you lynch on to every word and every note.

Phosphodendrophobia is on the whole a captivating and even meditative experience that certainly stands out from the pack, and while it’s not going to be for everyone due to its offbeat nature, there is an audience out there that will love to indulge in this alluring trip.


What Has Hardened (Will Never Win), Wonders Will Never Cease, Lysteria Hysteria


The Twistettes – A Strange Play | SMALL MUSIC SCENE


Having already gotten people talking in their first few years together, The Twistettes cemented their status as Glasgow’s resident riot grrl duo with their first full-length album, Jilt The Jive, back in 2016 and have only grown their fanbase since then.

Two years on, they are back to bring something bigger to the fray with their long-awaited follow-up – A Strange Play.

The tracks offered here are packing domineering rhythms, driven by the buzz of fuzzy, distorted bass lines and the pelting of hard-hitting drum beats. Jo is very strident in her harmonies, and when Nicky enters the mix, their dual vocals are properly loud and brash.

A majority of the numbers also feature some insanely good and catchy hooks that are difficult to resist bopping along to, with some notable examples including Hate Hate, Juliette and Selling Skin.

But not every song is your standard adrenaline rush, with particular ones like On The Table and State Of Affairs being on the low-key side and putting more emphasis on the lyrics. On that note, the writing as expected is entertainingly blunt throughout.

After much anticipation, The Twistettes have delivered another cracking record with an addictive raw sound, plenty of attitude and a stronger variety than ever before, perfectly showcasing their evolution as a top-notch act.


Hate Hate, On The Table, State Of Affairs, Selling Skin, Juliette, Weird Me