Donnie Willow – Inhale, Exhale
For over a year now, we have been big fans of Glasgow trio Donnie Willow – in fact, becoming one of our favourite acts in all of Scotland. They first caught our attention with what was an unforgettable debut EP consisting of 4 spectacular tracks.
Naturally, when they announced they were working on a new mini-album entitled Inhale, Exhale, we got excited, but after all this wait, could they actually top themselves with this one?
They kick things off nice and slow with Inhale, picking up as it goes before launching into lead single Jagged Teeth, a catchy as hell, riff-jammed rock anthem that only gets better with each consecutive listen; I Eat Flies producing a similar effect.
As the record progresses, the tunes become not only longer but also feature more complex rhythms and more mature writing – very evident with the emotional Little Brother, as well as Fairytale. Soon, they wrap up in their standard, rip-roaring fashion with the dynamic Exhale.
The lads had quite the tough act to follow with their previous release, but they did just that, providing us with one of the most entertaining Scottish records of the year so far, while also showcasing their constant evolution and growing capabilities as a band.
We Came From Wolves – Ruiner
Last year, 2015 SAMA best rock act We Came From Wolves blew us away with what was an incredible debut full-length album – in fact, so good, we nominated it for Scottish Record Of The Year.
One of the highlights of said album is a track by the name of Ruiner, and as per usual, we get a vehement tune with very strong writing to boot, in addition to sensational riffs and slick bass lines that truly shine through in the latter half.
Recently, the band released a music video for it. Directed by Connor Strachan of Wavvy Productions, it perfectly brings the tragic story of the song to life.
The Maddigans – No Place Like Here
Four long years it has been in the making, but finally we are excited to see the much anticipated release of The Maddigans’ new record – No Place Like Here.
Just as predicted, it is a great collection of bubbly, rambunctious tunes with the most exuberant melodies, but in particular there are two of them which stand out.
First off is 42 Days, an impassioned and sentimental acoustic number which really struck a chord with us in a way we cannot explain; we would certainly love to see the group do more stripped material like this because they prove to be really talented at it.
The other is closing track A Little Bit Of Distance which also has an emotional edge and left stuck in our head afterwards.
Another excellent product from Canada’s premiere pop punk act.
Small Pond Big Fish – Close My Eyes
As of recent, we discovered London band Small Pond Big Fish and were very quick to jump on the bandwagon after being hooked onto their latest release – Close My Eyes.
Each number brings a much welcomed heavier element to the traditional pop punk genre; a huge sound which is just bursting through our headphones. On top of that, the energy levels are absolutely off the charts and they leave us breathless by the end of the adrenaline rush.
One minor nitpick is that half of the record consists of interludes, which unfortunately makes for a constant pace-breaker that cuts down the momentum somewhat.
But again, it is only a minimal aspect that does little to take away from what is ultimately a breathtaking, exhilarating EP.
Ko_Plune – Auditory Atlas
A good band is one who are able to show a lot of potential with their very first record. Ko_Plune from Southampton match that category to a tee with their debut EP – Auditory Atlas.
What the quartet deliver is a unique sound that beautifully blends a concoction of several genres, most notably jazz and progressive dance. At times, the tracks stride at a smooth, delicate pace, while at other occasions bouncing along to lively, toe-tapping rhythms.
Stand out qualities include graceful harmonies, fiercely funky bass work and utterly addictive drum beats; aspects most prominent in the likes of Rare Error, Panda and especially the rousing closing number Machiatto.
We implore you all to check out this band now, because Auditory Atlas is absolutely pleasing to the ears. Here’s hoping they live up to their promise and go very far.
Ghost Writer – Outskirts Vol. 1
Falkirk newcomers Ghost Writer are looking to make a good first impression, and indeed they do just that with a solid debut EP that brings us indie pop with the subtlest hint of country for good measure.
For Hire is a catchy number with such infectious guitar work on display, whilst Not Forgotten entertains with a captivating melody.
They follow up with the warm and pleasant Stranger To Me Now, before finishing in a serene manner with Way I’m Wired.
Van Halst – World Of Make Believe
Ontario’s latest metal offering comes in the form of the relatively new Van Halst, who have just churned out their debut album – World Of Make Believe – and let’s just say, it is quite the belter.
This is a tremendous record from start to finish. Of course, you have your tasty selection of catchy headbangers such as The End, Monster and the thunderous title track.
But there are also an assortment of tunes that feature some incredibly vexing lyrics; in particular, Questions is a very strong piece that narrates an uncomfortably distressing story, which is brought to life so well through frontman Kami’s gripping, passionate performance.
Other numbers where the aforementioned qualities also shine through include the likes of Denying Eyes and Put Them Down.
World Of Make Believe on the whole is a phenomenal first album, courtesy of a group who can easily rise to become one of the central advocates of Canadian metal.
Penny Was Right – We Were Kids
Our first ever look into France’s music scene has led us to discover Penny Was Right and their latest EP – We Were Kids.
This is, simply put, an immensely fun and energetic record, with each track featuring invigorating, bass-driven melodies, striking lyrics and catchy choruses; Your Ex Is A D*ck and Crash Down At Sunlight standing at the cream of the crop.
A seriously addicting 20 minutes that we are happy to leave on repeat for hours on end.