SMALL MUSIC SCENE: ISSUE #3 | Abandon Hope

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WE SET SIGNALSABANDON HOPE

***OUT NOW***

At the start of the year, Brisbane post-hardcore quintet brought us an EP titled Abandon Ship, which helped to cement them as one of Australia’s hottest up and coming metal acts. Now they’re back with the second part of a two-piece package – Abandon Hope – and it may just be even better.

They burst out and quickly forge a high standard with Desolation, packing an insurmountable energy driven by a wild melody. Miles And Miles has some fantastic lyrics on display, and they continue to maintain a sturdy pace with the fast-tempo Shadows, topped off by an exciting chorus.

Tidal Waves is catchy as hell, more good writing is delivered in Legends Die Hard, and they ramp it up once more for the blow-away closing track, You’re Killing Me Smalls, jammed with fierce riffs and led by fiery harmonies.

A supreme follow-up to an already sterling predecessor, Abandon Hope is easily one of the most blood-rushing metal records of 2018, with every track satisfying and leaving the listener out of breath, before they naturally smash the replay button and experience it again and again.


CONSUMED

CONSUMEDA DECADE OF NO

***AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 13TH JULY***

Nottingham rock outfit Consumed enjoyed tonnes of success over the 90’s and early 2000’s with a range of records to their name and, most conspicuously, being featured as part of the legendary Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 soundtrack alongside heavyweights such as Rage Against The Machine, Papa Roach and Bad Religion.

However, they would eventually split in 2003, but would rejoin together again in 2015, and now they are getting set for a major comeback with a brand new EP – A Decade Of No.

They start off in smashing fashion with Wake Up Warning, which cranks up the energy immediately with a rousing rhythm and a great chorus. Devil’s Chords only ups the ante further, pushing the tempo to another degree. Obscene Like Beverly Dean is by far the most memorable writing-wise, explicitly detailing experiences with the eponymous council estate beauty queen.

Whopping drums and crunchy bass chords are the highlights of And Anyone Else Who Knows Me, while What Would Cliff Burton Do is a bit more simple but is seriously catchy, and they charge to the finish with the thrilling Cut Me Down.

Well, it’s pretty obvious age means absolutely nothing here. A Decade Of No is a superb record that has proven Consumed to be on the same form as they were in their hay day. Twenty minutes of unadulterated punky goodness from a group of lads with the know-how to get the job done.


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CENTURY THIRTEENCENTURY THIRTEEN

***AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 13TH JULY***

Glasgow pop punk quartet Century Thirteen have been on the go for a number of years now, having released a pair of EPs in the past and playing a plethora of shows, supporting notable acts such as Fenix TX, Altered Sky and The Bottom Line, among others. But now comes by far their biggest test to date – their self-titled debut full length album.

Get Off affixes the energy from the offset, while the similarly bouncy Is It Just Me sports good lyrics. Blow Up The Open World is joyfully speedy, the rhythm of From This Hell is infectious and Not My Place gives us fine riffs.

Ours is pretty damn heavy by the band’s standards, but very welcome, and that established aggression flows into the stringent The LastA Million Times and What Went Wrong are both solid, but they properly get going again with the catchy Dark Descent.

The orchestral reprise of Get Off makes for something completely different, but it does sound great, and they wrap up with the dynamically rocking Break.

Century Thirteen have upped their game big time, for this record is an excellent one that has truly fleshed out the group’s potential previously not realised. The album’s biggest strength lies within it’s variety; the diverse and constantly evolving sound allows for songs to better stand out from one another. A must-listen, this one is.


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AVANTEDIVERGENCE

***OUT NOW***

Glasgow rockers Avante are a band that crop up in my radar now and again, although not doing anything particularly significant. That is until recently, when they released their debut album – Divergence.

Glory Hounds kicks it off in jubilant fashion, setting the bar high pretty early; maintained with the avid You Are Off, topped off by a blend of passionate harmonies. The guitars are in full motion in the massive True Colours, while Clocks is a solid piece with a cool drum-happy finish.

Crux has a very smooth rhythm at it’s core, and Raptures starts quietly before breaking out into a fun and catchy number. Following the decent The Others, the energy is elevated with Spaces, featuring strong riffs and hardy beats.

Running is packing a large, memorable chorus that is tailor made for audience participation at gigs, and Islands serves as a hell of a finale, going at a medium pace to begin, taking it down a notch, and finally bringing it up for a rip-roaring finish.

From out of nowhere, Avante have delivered one of the biggest sleeper hits of the year so far. A cracking compilation with a tight production quality to match the standard of the material on show.


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NO PROBLEMLET GOD SORT EM OUT

***OUT NOW***

Hailing from Edmonton, No Problem have emerged as an essential act in Canada’s underground hardcore scene over the better part of the last decade, and their latest offering – Let God Sort Em Out – perfectly sums up the status of this quintet.

The titular intro gets the moody juices flowing, before the pairing of Get The Feeling Back and Isolation get the record properly going in energetic fashion. Circling The Drains rides off an insane pace and a wave of screeching guitars, and No Justice No Peace is a major focal point with poignant writing, maybe the best of the entire album.

The tracks continue to get better, with catchy rhythms and aggressive vocals in My Only Escape and especially Say GoodbyeEyes Of A Killer is a potent number with more stand out lyrics, and it’s just a constant stream of manic ferocity with the trio of WarpaintLife and Straight Line.

Patriots Of Jesus Christ is another key highlight that unfortunately ends way too soon, just as it begins to hit a real groove, but the riffs are off the wall in VX Gas and they finish off decently with the twosome of Let It Bleed Part II and Next To Die.

Let God Sort Em Out is a hell of a rush, one that is consistently tight over it’s half hour plus duration. Damn good stuff.


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GOODBYE BLUE MONDAYMISERY-PUNK RUINED MY LIFE

***OUT NOW***

And now in a similar vein, we turn attention to Edinburgh for a group who have been gaining attention as of late – Goodbye Blue Monday, who are fresh off releasing their new EP, Misery-Punk Ruined My Life.

The title track runs off a bloody good rhythm, plus the collective vocals and chorus are great. Worst In The Mornings is rocking that same energy, with memorable lyrics to boot.

Love Is A Noose For Two cranks the tempo even further upwards, as the guys throw out a mix of nice riffs and bass lines. Add the fact it’s catchy as all hell, and you have yourself a superb finale.

While regrettably short, this sweet trio of tunes is worth the change.


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INKFIELDSTHE GREAT BASIN

***OUT NOW***

I got my first taste of Edinburgh musician Samuel James-Griffiths, aka Inkfields, when he released his debut full length album Beneath The Waves not too long ago, and it was a very nice piece of work. Now he’s back to boost his already bustling discography with yet another EP – The Great Basin.

Take Me Down is utterly sleek, with a fluid yet catchy beat accentuated by the riffs and electronics. Samuel’s harmonies are a key element in Fire In My Heart, and the song as a whole has such a stunning, other worldly sound to it.

Dust Bowl is calm and enthralling, plus the harmonicas are a neat bonus, and finally Petrichor draws with it’s captivating rhythm, hooking lyrics and polished guitar work.

There’s no doubt about it, The Great Basin is the finest Inkfields record yet, with every song hitting the mark in one way or another and perfectly demonstrating the talents of a very proficient, and underrated, artist.


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TAILBLOCK – THINK OR BE

***AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 13TH JULY***

Kent hardcore trio Tailblock have been on the go for a couple of years now, and already have some recognition to their name thanks to a successful EP in the form of Burn Your Bridges. Now they seek to take it to the next level with their upcoming follow-up – Think Or Be.

The title track kicks it off immensely well, being very dynamic and sporting a hell of a strong chorus. They retain that momentum progressing into Heavy Arms, which runs off a rigid rhythm. The riffs are tight and the vocals forcible in Rockets, and they blaze through the short but heavy Blisters.

They take occasional breaks over the course of Listen, giving time for the solid writing to sink in, and they eventually go in a more stripped down direction for closing song 100, with a more lyrical focus on show.

The guys have done it again, giving us all a cracking record that has a palpable energy to it and can be easily be relished by any fan of rock.


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GLANVILLEFIRST BLOOD

***OUT NOW***

A band that took over a year to get off the ground with the right people for the job, German rockers Glanville are finally ready to break through with their debut EP – First Blood – and what a debut it is.

They get the ball rolling with the bloody amazing God Is Dead. From a wild rhythm, to a blow-away chorus, to the phenomenal vocals, this is easily one of the best opening tracks of 2018.

Once finished, they dive straight into Dancing On Fire, and although not as insane, it’s still a pretty catchy number, but Durga The Great kicks the pace right back up, while the guys throw out some rollicking riffs.

This remains a constant in Demons, and the writing is not too shabby either, and lastly Time To Go makes for a great climax, and the addition of flutes of all things surprisingly help make it all the more epic.

First Blood is a seriously impressive first effort that is minimal in flaws, being consistently action-packed all the way through and leaving listeners dying for more.


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THE CARLOWAYSTHE CARLOWAYS

***OUT NOW***

Scotland is home to an assortment of excellent Americana acts, and Perthshire group The Carloways are no different, proven by their self-titled debut EP.

Crawlin’ Back is a very nice way to start, as it sticks in the head, not to mention the added harmonicas are fantastic. One More Night has plenty of energy in the verses, while bringing it down for a milder chorus.

Hold Me Up has a warm, acoustic-driven first half, but gradually the band ease into an enticing and catchier second half, before going all out for No Sympathy, loaded with staggering pianos and exhilarating guitars.

A really fun record with enough variety between the tunes to keep it spicy and warrant multiple listens.


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STOLEN WINGSALL ROADS LEAD HERE

***OUT NOW***

Stolen Wings is the brainchild of Scottish musician Mark Fraser, who has been involved in a number of endeavours over the years, most notably as frontman of False Hopes, but after a long time of deliberation and plucking up the courage, he’s decided to go solo and give us an EP titled All Roads Lead Here.

Shallow Heart is a welcoming starter, being quick to show off some very fine writing; even more so with In Our Youth, where the distorted riffs add an extra layer and fit well with the tone of the song.

End Of You may just be the highlight, as Mark exhibits such sheer powerful emotion through his vocals, and all those elements are forged and displayed in the last number Infinite Regress.

I’m thoroughly impressed with Mark’s work here. All Roads Lead Here is a fiercely engaging EP that just has you hooked from beginning to end with it’s candid sincerity. Mark has proven he can do it on it’s own, and I think he’s capable of even more.


EDITED BY JASON SMALL

PRODUCED IN ASSOCIATION WITH UMLAUT RECORDS, SAN PR and VIRAL PROPAGANDA

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SMALL MUSIC SCENE: ISSUE #2 | Television / Sweet

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HOLY ESQUETELEVISION / SWEET

OUT NOW!

Holy Esque have made a name for themselves as one of Glasgow’s most promising bands, and that sentiment is ever more justified with their brand new album that just hit the shelves – Televison / Sweet.

They fire out the blocks with the magnificent Image Of Man, which drives at a blood-pumping pace. A palatial sound is established and continues to be exercised in I Am The TruthHouse Of Hounds gives us an excellent chorus, and Give Me Your Stillness just revels in its gripping atmosphere; likewise with Belly Full Of Dread, dotted with some cool synth drum shots.

Modern Tones is massive in size, He, Special Electra is very catchy and the captivating harmonies and stunning tones are the highlighting factors of Anxiety. The soft and superlative To The Cage You Go is utterly consuming, Filth Or Passion has a great beat and has more empathetic electronics on display, and they send us off with the stylish title number.

Absolutely amazing. Holy Esque’s latest record is truly something to behold that is more or less flawless in execution and never lacking whatsoever, blowing away their previous efforts out the water with ease.

It’s a breathtaking experience that astounds on the first listen, and the second, and the third, and so on. A serious contender for Scottish album of the year, if not best album of the year period.


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GRUMBLE BEEEVERYTHING BETWEEN

OUT NOW!

In 2016, Jack Bennett – aka Grumble Bee – caught the attention of many, including myself, with his debut EP, Disconnect, and since then, he has put everybody on notice and continued to emerge as one of the UK’s most prosperous artists. His biggest test to date comes in the form of his highly anticipated sophomore record – Everything Between.

The opening track Red is bloody immense. From Jack’s pitch-perfect vocal performance, to the utterly massive chorus, to the energy it expels, this is nothing short of phenomenal. But it doesn’t stop there, for Heron provides a strong melody and magnetic writing.

Bravest Soul tows with an infectiously hooking rhythm, which is mainly attributed to the slick riffs and forceful drums, and last but not certainly least, Luna Blue excels with emotional harmonies and a gripping beat.

Jack has delivered beyond expectations here with a quartet of songs that are engrossing and astonishing on all fronts. It’s pretty much perfect, and that’s only HALF of the product, for we are also treated to acoustic renditions of Soft Filter, Black And White Picture and Bravest Soul, as well as stripped back piano versions of Francium and Heron, all of which are smashing too.

Jack is a special talent, and it’s about time he gets the mainstream recognition that he has truly earned.


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THE SLYDEAWAKENING

OUT NOW!

It’s pretty obvious by this point that Canada has produced a range of cracking metal acts, and the latest to come into the radar is The Slyde from Toronto, veterans of the game for nearly a decade who are fresh off releasing their biggest album yet – Awakening.

Following a short intro, they get going with Walk With Me, structurally simple enough but really energetic, topped off by a thrilling solo. In Silence is led by passionate vocals throughout, the writing really shines in the thoroughly engaging These Wars and Awakening itself packs a sizable punch.

So Blind is an essential headbanger with its fast and frenzied pace, and Fading delves in a similar fashion with unreal riffs as a bonus. Join The Parade features a very memorable chorus, in addition to nice flashes of bass work.

Divide returns to a more elementary style, but oh man is it catchy, and the ensemble harmonies work so well, and eventually Back Again finishes off the record nicely.

Awakening is a hell of a wild ride, one that never gets tiring. Definitely one of the most exciting metal albums I’ve come across this year, which has me questioning why in the blue hell are these four not at a bigger stage by this point?


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MAYPINEBEND / BREAK

AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 6th JULY!

Hailing from the music-rich city of Brighton, Maypine are looking to start afresh with a new sound and rockier direction, with the key to that being their upcoming EP – Bend / Break.

The chief single Give opens the record in great fashion, thanks to a notable chorus and hooking lyrics on show. They kick it to a higher gear with Kodokushi, which sports a faster pace.

The writing returns to the forefront in Weather, portrayed well through Jase’s capable vocal performance, and finally Together Alone makes for a forceful finish.

Maypine’s hard work and labouring has resulted in what is an engaging EP. There is clearly a tonne of untapped of potential that this quintet are harbouring, and if realised, then this group will be due a lot of success, but only time will tell…


NEWHORIZONS

NEW HORIZONSGRIEF

OUT NOW!

It was just over 3 years ago that Glasgow pop rock quintet New Horizons had formed, and were quick to make their mark. But after a string of silence following a few successful singles, they’ve decided to call it a day.

But there is one silver lining, in that they have left us with a parting gift – an EP titled Grief; naturally all 5 songs featured covering different stages.

Denial starts off gentle, with Emjay’s stunning harmonies becoming more prominent as it goes, and in time they unleash into an impassioned chorus. Emotions continues to pour through in Anger, with gripping writing also being showcased here.

Bargaining has a perfect blend of acoustics in the verses and punchy riffs as the song hits its peak, the catchy Despair has an arduous power behind it, and lastly Acceptance brings us some more energy and great lyrics to wrap up the record well.

It’s really gutting to see New Horizons call it a day, for they had a tonne of potential which could not have been made any more obvious here. A superb EP, and I wish all the best to the band on their (hopefully music-based) future endeavours.


BREAKY BOXES

BREAKY BOXESFROM THE SHELTER

OUT NOW!

In the space of 4 years, indie trio Breaky Boxes have been making waves in their home country of France, with their latest of multiple achievements being crowned the winners of the Sziget Festival. But do they actually live up to all the established hype? Their most recent EP – From The Shelter – says yes.

Land Of Brothers makes for a superb opener; the chorus is memorable, especially with the combined guitars, and it does a lot to promote positivity and fervor. Million Brave Heroes is another grand number loaded with fine harmonies and pulling the listeners with great writing.

I Feel Good goes in a somewhat bluesy direction, with this owed to sweet chords and a catchy rhythm, while Come Back Home is certainly more folk-oriented in its sound. They unwind for the more Down’s Up, before wrapping up with the highly emotional climatic track, Farewell.

A stunning effort that undisputably justifies Breaky Boxes’ success. Mature, gripping and varied, From The Shelter is a wonderful record through and through.


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SOFT SCIENCEMAPS

OUT NOW via TEST PATTERN RECORDS!

It’s always a joyous feeling coming across a band you have never heard of before and instantly being made a fan. The most recent case of this – Sacramento dream pop band Soft Science, whose new album Maps has been gaining some attention, and deservedly so.

Undone is an excellent way to start, as we get the first showing of Katie’s eloquent voice. Breaking is a catchy piece, especially with its dashing electronic melody, and the bass lines are utterly lush in Diverging.

The guitars prove to be sweet in both There and Apart, the chorus stands out in Sooner, and Know is carried by a toe-tapping drum beat. Still is really upbeat, Enough is nothing short of enchanting and they close out with the awfully nice Slip.

Maps is one of the most enthralling, well compiled dream pop records to come out as of late; a worthwhile product from a worthwhile discovery.


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CRAIG-RUSSELL HORNEROBOTZ & MACHINEZ

OUT NOW!

Formerly achieving success as part of The 21st State, Craig-Russell Horne has taken a new path as an electronic artist, culminating in the release of his debut EP – Robotz & Machinez.

It kicks off with Isn’t Love Important, where the bass-studded verses are pretty neat, and the track as a whole is packing a fair amount of energy. In a short time frame, Control provides a bouncy ride, and the catchy lead single Us features an outstanding, large-scale chorus.

What Are We Doing Here is a decent piece, although not on the same level as the previous numbers, but the emotions do pierce through in the lyrically sound Sick, and he finishes finely with the ambient Hold On.

Robotz & Machinez is a very good first effort. While the second half lacks the same punch as the first, I would still happily recommend this EP. Craig-Russell Horne is one of the most promising newcomers to the Scottish electronic scene, and I’m curious to see what else he has in store.


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NUCLEAR CLUBPOP PSYCH

OUT NOW!

Nuclear Club are a Glasgow act that have regularly cropped up in my sights. I dabbled in their first EP a number of times, and I did get the chance to see them live supporting Halflives at Bloc last year. This past month, they release their debut full-length album – Pop Psych – and with previous experiences of them being positive, it was worth the gander.

Among the grab-bag of songs, a number definitely stand out from the pack. Rapture/Ready is highlighted by a straightforward yet entertaining rhythm, Who Goes There dons a cool drum beat and certainly rocks more of an energy. The warm sound of Constant Sleep is perfectly fitting, and they ramp up the excitement in the seriously fun and bustling Blood Oath.

Closer To Mine shines through lyrically, Rhinoceros is catchy like nothing else, especially in the middle section, and the pairing of One If By Land, Two If By Sea and Longest Moment Yet make for an engaging duo of tracks to cap off with.

As debut album goes, this one ain’t half-bad, littered with an ensemble of enticing songs that can be easily be revisited and enjoyed again and again. The record’s main flaw is that it’s a little on the long side, usually dragging when the material isn’t up to scratch. A trimming of fat would have been ideal here, but as is, it still warrants at least one listen.


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CUTTY’S GYMZANTE

OUT NOW!

Glasgow quartet Cutty’s Gym have been making some noise around the scene lately, hot off the heels of releasing their debut EP – Zante.

They kick off with the loud and brash Can I Eat, where the lyrics hit the mark in no time. They go full-frontal with the volatile Dance Stance, and Batboy has some solid bass and more good writing. Anfanger starts off fine but gradually escalates into a vigorous second half, before they culminate with the thunderous Cix, with the assertive vocals reaching their peak here.

A hard-hitting first try from these guys. Admittedly, a couple of tracks can somewhat drag in parts, but otherwise this gets the seal of approval from this chump, yours truly.


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YIKESYIA MAS

OUT NOW!

Well, it sure took them a while, but alas, Boston math rockers Yikes! are back in the spotlight with their latest release, Yia Mas.

Woodstock is a really smooth starter for ten with a nice, casual pace to it, and the guitars are in fine shape. They take it up a notch with Composure, which is seriously infectious, courtesy of a catchy rhythm, and finally Boots And Cats wraps it up in solid fashion, with great riffs and bass lines topping it off.

A wait well more than worth it. Yia Mas is a cracking trio of songs with plenty of replayability to them, so while unfortunately short, we still get good value for money here.


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BETWEEN THE LINES – TO THE WIND

AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 6th JULY!

Need even more high quality British pop punk to chew down on in 2018? Well look no further, because here’s another act worth checking out – Bedfordshire quintet Between The Lines, who are set to release their mini EP, To The Wind, in a couple of weeks time.

The titular track rides off a perky pace and wild melody heightened by gutsy vocals and hard-hitting drum beats. Anywhere But Here plays similarly, being another catchy banger with a good display of riffs and bass.

An impressive pair of tunes that are fun, packing an abundance of energy and just begging to be played again and again.


EDITED BY JASON SMALL

PRODUCED IN ASSOCIATION WITH INCEPTION PRESS, DISTROLUTION and SAN PR

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SMALL MUSIC SCENE: ISSUE #1 | All My Dreams Are Dull

RECORDS


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DECLAN WELSH & THE DECADENT WESTALL MY DREAMS ARE DULL

OUT NOW!

I’ve been following fellow Kilby man Declan Welsh for a good 8 years now, and it’s indisputable that he’s really come into his own as one of the country’s most outspoken artists. He has a new EP out now by the name of All My Dreams Are Dull, and it truly showcases Declan at his very best.

Good Person, Bad Things gets the ball rolling with a ballistic energy and engaging hook, with no rest for the wicked as the pace is further boosted in Lull, where we get a great candid vocal performance; a trademark of Declan’s.

A notable chorus and outstanding writing are the focal points of Shiny Toys, while No Pasaran is aggressive and forthright in its lyrics, delivered superbly by Declan, plus the insane riffs and drums towards the end are a perfect fit. Do What You Want is a gripping final track as it tackles the subject of non-conformity and individuality.

All My Dreams Are Dull is hands down one of the best EPs to come out in Scotland this year. Between the themes explored and the sound itself, it’s easy to get invested and sucked into this collection of whopping, hard-hitting songs. Declan is a hell of a talent, and if this record doesn’t convince you, nothing else will quite frankly.


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YOU KNOW THE DRILLSELFHOOD

AVAILABLE on 22th JUNE 2018 via SCYLLA RECORDS

The British pop punk scene has been on fire this year so far, and it’s only set to get better as Birmingham quartet You Know The Drill prepare to throw their hat into the ring with their forthcoming EP – Selfhood.

Overcast is a strong opener with a fresh energy and stand out lyrics that are instantly ingrained in the listener’s head. They power forth with Homesick, carried by the mix of driving drums and a punchy bassline.

The tempo only escalates moving into Suspect, where the writing is once again the prominent facet. Blossoms goes the acoustic route and it is pretty engaging, especially with great vocals taking charge at the forefront.

They cap off with lead single Snake Eyes, the very song that has been getting many hooked on the band recently, and for good reason. It’s a heavy, fast and furious flux that closes out the record on the highest of notes.

Selfhood is one of the tightest releases to come from the genre as of late, and it surely won’t be long before You Know The Drill emerge as key players in UK pop punk.


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SICK N BEAUTIFUL – ELEMENT OF SEX

AVAILABLE on 29th JUNE 2018

Sick N Beautiful have been gaining notoriety as one of the most wonderfully bizarre acts in the whole of Europe; something that I can certainly vouch for, having seen their insane live show in action.

But the question is – is there more to this band that their intergalactic gimmick? Is this a case of style over substance? Well, the answer can be found in their upcoming sophomore album – Element Of Sex.

The rugged Fire True is a forcible opener that pulls with gritty bass and Herma’s intense vocals. Megalomanical is bloody amazing, being so catchy and packing a walloping, in your face chorus, all topped off with a supreme guitar solo and hefty drum beats. There are more tracks of a similar nature such as All Wanna Go To Heaven, C*mmunion and especially Cryptid.

Slam and New Witch 666 have solid rhythms, and Hellawake sticks out with drawing lyrics. Meanwhile, the writing is particularly notable in HeXXX, and it has a hell of a hook to boot, and Heart December is glistened with pretty stunning synths.

So to answer the earlier question – yes. Underneath all the mind-blowing theatrics, there is actually a quality to the music. Element Of Sex is a very strong metal record that is rich in content, shining with fierce, incomparable personality and the songs on offer are really memorable. Granted, some are definitely better than others, but as a whole it is a tight, versatile compilation that never gets old even after several listens.

Sick N Beautiful are an entertaining marvel on the surface, but it is their music that ultimately cements them as a must-see act.


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DANCING ON TABLESSPACE RACE

OUT NOW!

My introduction to Dancing On Tables came last November when I saw them live supporting 100 Fables at the ABC2, and I was awfully impressed. Fast forward to now, the guys are fresh off releasing their new EP – Space Race – and it’s a good ‘un.

Missing is a nice opener with an easygoing melody to it, and the chorus isn’t too shabby. Body boots up the energy levels, and there’s some spiffing bass chords thrown in for good measure.

Twenty has an engaging beat, the familiar Oh manages to be both warm in its tone as well as catchy, and Symmetrical is a chilled out number to finish on.

Space Race is an excellent follow-up to their previous effort Don’t Stop, more or less topping it in every way. Is it any wonder why Dancing On Tables are getting more popular by the day, both here and across the pond? Definitely ones to keep an eye on.


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TONGUESFIGHT

OUT NOW!

Well then, it’s been a while since we all last heard from Glasgow quartet Tongues, but much to my delight, they are back with a brand new EP titled Fight.

The superbly titular intro piece sets the mood in no time, eventually transitioning into Not Like The Real Thing, where the electronics are very tantalising. They quieten it down briefly for Figment, before moving into old favourite Religion, which is just as awesome and catchy as ever, only getting better as it builds to a grand scale. You Never Knew Me At All has a lively melody, and The Joy Of The Journey brings us some solid writing to close out the record.

Tongues are back and in firmer form than ever before, courtesy of a highly entertaining and stimulating EP. More of this, please.


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CS BUCHANCS BUCHAN & FRIENDS

OUT NOW via FITLIKE RECORDS!

Over the past few months, Charley S Buchan has been working hard and collaborating with a variety of musicians across the country, and the final result – the nicely titled CS Buchan & Friends – is one that cannot afford to be missed.

The opener Like It’s 1979 has a simple yet fiercely infectious rhythm. Lizabett Russo’s harmonies in Cynthia Says are so warm and dazzling, and the song as a whole is just beautiful.

Mystery may just be the highlight of the batch, thanks to an unforgettable chorus that is just oh so catchy, plus the combined vocals of Michael Chang and Katie Buchan (of Best Girl Athlete fame) just mesh impeccably.

Sandwiched between the decent Everybody Knows and the fine All Used Up is Ambulance, which is glazed by an engaging atmosphere. Light The Beacons is a good instrumental piece that grows in sizes as it progresses.

Katie Buchan reemerges to lend her gracious voice once again to I See You, You See Me, while Home From The Sea shines with smooth guitar chords and great lyrics, delivered excellently by Alexander Ironside at the mic.

Iona Fyfe makes her mark in Who Are You Kidding, another focal point with bright piano keys and acoustics, in addition to a cheerfully bouncy beat. The album takes a bit of a different turn in the closing number Losing The Race, categorised by a distorted sound, but it still serves as a pleasing conclusion.

I went into this expecting something worthwhile, but what I did get was nothing short of fantastic. CS Buchan & Friends is a massively entertaining collection of tracks that are not only diverse, but contain many positive elements that has me – and I’m certain other listeners too – coming back for more.

Charley has helped to prove just how rich the Scottish music scene truly is, being chock full of terrific people that deserve plenty of credit for their capabilities and creativity, and at the end of the day, it is just so commendable to see these folk get together to create a product that is simply special.

I have a stronger faith than ever in what the local talents in this industry can offer, and we honestly need more things like this.


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EXCUSES EXCUSESCATCH ME IF YOU CAN

OUT NOW!

Toronto’s finest punk rock trio Excuses Excuses are back in the limelight with their second EP – Catch Me If You Can.

Pizza & Cigarettes gets it started in wild fashion, followed up by the brilliant, bass-driven title track which is immensely catchy and rocking a seriously good chorus, a trend that is recurrent in Face The Fear, which is prominent with its lyrics.

Jimmy Snow is solid and displays some fine riffs, similarly so in Stoned In The Sun, and eventually they charge to a blinding finish with the high-octane Rebel Without A Clue.

A stormer of an EP that easily trumps their debut record. This was two years in the making, and well worth the wait. I’ll certainly be keeping this one on repeat for the foreseeable future.


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VETOWHERE DOES IT GO?

OUT NOW!

While regularly playing shows here and there, Glasgow ensemble Veto have been really quiet on the record-making front for a few years. That is until recently, when they finally had a new EP for us, being Where Does It Go?

It starts off solidly with Break The Cycle, which has a fair amount of energy to it. Losing ramps it up a little, with more power in particular behind the guitars and drumming.

While short, Hate Breeds Hate is for sure the best on offer; a frantic rhythm, sublime bass and Lewis giving it his all as he busts out with fervid vocals. Pinky is decent, although admittedly it does go on a bit long, but they do recover with the adequate Golden.

Where Does It Go is, for the most part, a welcome return for Veto. While a little lacking in spots, it will no doubt please those who enjoy their fair share of emo.


iako

IAKOQUEEN OF BALANCE

OUT NOW via PLANKTON RECORDS!

Originally hailing from Venice and currently based in London, Jacopo Rossetto has naturally been looking to make a name for himself as a musician. Under the moniker of IAKO, he recently presented us with his debut EP – Queen Of Balance.

Coming off a nice intro, we get our first taste of Jacopo’s abilities in Paint. His voice is tender and the track itself is warm and welcoming. Bloodbath is perfectly constructed; the first half is gentle and gripping, and just as the listener is engrossed, it leaps into a grand and spirited second part.

The record’s namesake gives us an excellent showing of graceful pianos, and Vanishing Point is driven by an utterly infectious melody, boosted by the addition of cool guitar chords towards the ending. Finally, the staggering Stones makes for a fervent conclusion.

Queen Of Balance is simply wonderful on all accounts, establishing Jacopo as a tour de force; a more than capable artist whose aptitude deserves to be recognised. He may just be the most promising newcomer of 2018, and I’m thoroughly excited for what he comes up with next.


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TAKE TODAYRISE ABOVE

OUT NOW!

Glasgow rockers Take Today have had plenty of momentum rolling over the last few months, all coming to a head with the release of their latest record – Rise Above.

Wasting Time is for sure the best of the bunch, thanks to a memorable chorus, engaging rhythm and delightfully crunchy bass lines. Yes has a good pace to it and dishes out a fair share of sweet riffs, and they bring the energy once more with the great Faith.

While pretty straightforward, Rise Above is still a cool ride that earns a listen or two.


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BIZARRENECRO

OUT NOW via SEKSOUND!

From far over in Estonia, shoegaze group Bizarre recently flew into my radar with their brand new record – Necro.

Songs like Waters and Summer Rain endear with an rich ambience that raises the hairs on the back of the neck, whilst other tracks such as Any DayNever Ever and Barcode Warrior entertain with catchy beats. The dual harmonies of Rentboy are nice and help to add depth, and Laizy Sun has a very relaxed pace to it.

However, International Love Affair is almost a complete turnabout in style, being a bouncy electronic piece with a heck of a hook, and Super Latex Boy follows in the same vein.

Overall, this is a solid collection that will certainly be a welcome addition for any fans of shoegaze out there.


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THE TWISTETTESWEIRD ME/HATE HATE

OUT NOW via TRAFFIC CONE RECORDS!

The Twistettes are without a doubt one of Glasgow’s most fun and engaging duos on the go, having initially made me a fan with their Jilt The Jive album, which I ultimately nominated as one of my top Scottish picks of 2016, and it gives me pleasure to say that they are back with a brand new AA.

Just as expected, the fast and frantic main single Weird Me is characterised by grungy riffs and jumping drum beat, and the twin vocals are loud and brash. Similarly, the short but sweet Hate Hate has a speedy tempo, the chorus is damn catchy and the lyrics are blunt.

A much welcome return for the pair, which I give the highest recommendation. Here’s hoping another album is on the horizon…


EDITED BY JASON SMALL

PRODUCED IN ASSOCIATION WITH RAGE PR, INCEPTION PRESS, LOST IN THE MANOR AND KOOL THINGS

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REVIEW | The Nickajack Men – Changed Ways/Different Languages

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For the better part of the past two years, Falkirk indie rockers The Nickajack Men have been consistently making waves and gaining a reputation for their talents, and they are getting set to stir the pot again with a new AA single courtesy of the lovely folk at Electric Honey.

Before diving in, I took the time to revisit their previous releases from last year – the Wasted Years EP and the single Can’t Take It Anymore – to refresh myself, and they both still hold up immensely well. With that in mind, do they meet that established standard again? Simply put, yes.

Changed Ways doesn’t waste a second in grabbing the listener, sparking an infectiously raving energy that never simmers. The riffs are off the charts, the keys add a nice extra layer and the drums are forcible, particularly in the latter half.

Although Different Languages doesn’t stand out as much compared to it’s companion piece sound wise, the boys make up for this with great writing, while also maintaining a dynamic rhythm.

It’s pretty safe to say that these tracks are smashing, and continue to prove The Nickajack Men as a must-see act in the Scottish Scene. But don’t take my word for it, buy it for yourselves as soon as it hits the digital shelves, and even feel free to purchase a limited vinyl once they become available.


“CHANGED WAYS/DIFFERENT LANGUAGES” IS AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 1st JUNE


 

REVIEW | The Lightness Of Being – Diversions

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Alternative rock quartet The Lightness of Being have been a part of the London music scene for eight years now, and appear to show not signs of slowing down. Case in point: the impending release of their third EP – Diversions – following on from their previous efforts, Directions and Movements.

A neat intro leads into Bottomfeeder, where solid verses give way to loud, rambunctious choruses that feature aggressive riffs and drums. We suddenly get a shift in mood with Cave, where the tempo is lowered, but eventually they build back up towards a jolting final quarter. They return to the manner in which they started with Refute, which is energetic and packing a bracing rhythm.

In a short space of time, The Lightness Of Being make another worthy impression with Diversions, which is ultimately a pretty good EP that is mostly straightforward in style, but nonetheless sure to draw in listeners with it’s rousing numbers, not to mention enough variety between said numbers to keep it fresh.


“DIVERSIONS” IS AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 1st JUNE


REVIEW | Wheel – The Divide

Wheel---TheDivide-Cover


If you consider yourself a keen fan of prog rock and are in the mood to discover something new, then I have just the band for you – Finnish quartet Wheel, who are set to release their latest EP, The Divide.

From literally the first second of Please, they catch the listener’s attention with a deep, sturdy bass line, and from there the piece perfectly builds and only gets better. The harmonies are crisp and durable, and the drums have a hefty, resounding force behind them.

Pyre escalates the energy, whilst beefing up the rhythm and delivering slick, intricate riffs. They tone it down for It’s Over Now, where the vocals are again great and the lyrics get to properly shine.

The Divide is a thoroughly staggering, damn near flawless record with a trio of numbers that not only diversify from each other and bring their own individual qualities, but are packed with so much depth and complexity.

Wheel deserve much more recognition for their obvious abilities that are on full display here, and I cannot recommend this EP enough.


“THE DIVIDE” IS AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 1st JUNE


 

REVIEW | Rascalton – C S C

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There’s no doubt that Rascalton are one of the most promising acts to emerge from Glasgow in the past couple of years, swiftly gaining a following with their talents and awesome live shows. Now comes their biggest test in the form of their new EP – the long-awaited C S C.

The very bouncy Told You So sets the pace with cool bass lines and a smashing chorus. From there, the ridiculously catchy Police potently ups the ante further, kicking up the tempo to another degree.

With Lonely Faces, the vocals are sharp and the wild riffs continue to dispense tonnes of manic energy. The closing track Lost Generation loses a little steam, but still provides a more than satisfying finish.

Dishing out four brief but jam-packed tracks in under ten minutes, C S C is a constant, perpetual stampede that is an insane amount of fun to listen to, and I’ll happily stick this one on repeat again and again.