SMALL MUSIC NETWORK: ISSUE #1 – Are You Dreaming?

IN MEMORY OF CHUCK MOSLEY (1959-2017)


RECORDS


anavae

ANAVAE – ARE YOU DREAMING?

It feels like eons since Anavae put out their last full record, Dimensions, but after 4 long years and much anticipation, they are finally back with a new EP named Are You Dreaming?

They crash out the gates with All Or Nothing, instantly grabbing the listener with a huge chorus and electric melody. Forever Dancing seizes with stunning vocals from Becca, sweet guitar work and utterly contagious writing.

The momentum strives with the fantastic chief single Are We Alone, backed by a effective rhythmic beat, and the lyrics are again a notable facet in Stay. The perpetual surge at last settles as they kick off the gripping climatic song Lose Your Love, which generates a ravishing, synth-based ambience.

We can say without the tiniest hint of doubt that the wait has paid off, as Anavae deliver one of the most incredible EPs in all of 2017. Now here’s hoping we don’t need to wait another 4 years for the next one…


Harboursharks

HARBOUR SHARKS – A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

One of the brightest prospects in the UK’s hardcore scene in recent memory undoubtedly have to be Harbour Sharks. The Kingston trio, who we were previously familiar with from Amberline, went all in with this new project, resulting in their debut album A History Of Violence, which has blown the minds of people left, right and centre; ourselves included.

Where do we even start with this one? The weighty opener False Flags has a wild, pulsing chorus, we’ve got a frantic lead single in the form of The Killer Inside Me, there’s the catchy It’s Not Working Out, a blend of strong riffs and drumming in Swing Away Merill, and the anti-political Burn Down London is a groovy banger.

But the highlight has to be the title track, in which the writing is overflowing with emotion and tonnes of resentment, and the vocals from Jack are insanely red-hot.

A combination of combustible elements contribute to what is from top to bottom a tight record that thrills and inspires mutliple times over the course of half an hour.


lifetight

LIFETIGHT – SELF-TIGHTLED

Another relatively new band with oodles of hype behind them featuring familiar faces, Lifetight have been quick to make an impact with their cheesily named, chart-climbing Self-Tightled EP.

We get a selection of heavy-duty tracks loaded with drops and a constant eruptive force that blast the ear drums, with the amazingly furious Energy being the stand out.

Leading man Thomas excels with tenacious, in your face vocal performances, and the writing is very good throughout. In short, a bloody brilliant record.


mt doubt

MT DOUBT – MOON LANDINGS

My, my, haven’t we been spoiled this year? Not one, but two EPs this year from Mt Doubt (make that three if you count their Scottish Fiction split with Foreignfox). Following on from The Loneliness Of The TV Watchers a few months ago, Leo and gang are back with Moon Landings.

We get composed harmonies and a nifty, underlying sound carrying through Teeming, and Conduits is etched by charming, cordial tenor. Mouthwash picks up the pace to provide an upbeat number, likewise with the equally peppy Shy Distance, before they tone it down again for the celestial title number which gradually grows in size before unleashing into a burst of power.

With a few listens already under our belt, this is a really solid effort that is a much welcome addition to Mt Doubt’s continuously flourishing library.


ANNIE

ANNIE BOOTH – AN UNFORGIVING LIGHT

And while on the subject of Mt Doubt, Leo’s fellow bandmate Annie Booth just recently put out her debut album An Unforgiving Light, and wow, this is something else.

The opening number Demons is one that just builds and builds, with passion ever-growing along the way. The likes of Little LiesChasm and especially Over My have such profoundly addictive melodies, but there is also a fair share of infatuating slower pieces including Post GoodbyesSolitude and Never Go To Church; the latter is particularly intriguing in its exploration of faith.

Topped off with a delightful voice, splendid acoustics and a high quality production throughout, this has surpassed our expectations and left us thoroughly impressed. One of the year’s most satisfying solo efforts which hasn’t got nearly enough attention as it should.


rosie

ROSIE BANS – IDENTIFY YOURSELF

Another Scottish artist with a success story to boost as of late. Rosie Bans‘ campaign to fund her first full-length record was a triumph, smashing the target twofold and then some. Still warm off the press, Identify Yourself is evidently worth every patron’s penny.

The first pair of tracks Instincts and No Apologies are defined by hip rhythms with fabulous bass lines and neat guitars. Rosie is adept at the helm of the keyboard as always and her harmonies are on slick form. There is some enjoyable writing present in the awfully nice Home and Kindess, whilst the low-key Loneliness Or Love is gripping.

Bloodline is a notable highlight with its interesting basis and a striking use of instruments involved here. London, No Danger and It’s Been Nice have top notch melodies and torrents of energy thrown in that take the breath away, and the compilation finishes off nicely with the inspiring Doing It For The Love.

The charismatic redhead initially hooked us in as fans 2 years ago with her Process EP, and we are so proud of what she has accomplished since then, especially this album, which is a simply terrific product.


saltlake

SALTLAKE – MEDICATE ME

From down south, we have alternative rock trio Saltlake who have made a hell of a first impression on us with their latest EP, Medicate Me.

Every song on this record is an unadulterated rush with a massive, staggering velocity driving them. We also have fervid harmonies which potently hit all notes to a pitch-perfect tee and rhythms producing thrilling, infectious grooves.

The definition of short but sweet, this record is insanely awesome, and the mere thought of it leaves us gushing and wanting more.


pure grief

PURE GRIEF – GOSSAMER / GET IT? GOT IT. GOOD.

Thurso’s finest trio Pure Grief are back with another double A-side, and as expected, it is cracking stuff.

First is Gossamer, a high-octane track with forceful guitars in the limelight, deep bass tones and an intense chorus. With a moment to catch your breath, they then dive into Get It? Got It. Good, an equally primal headbanger.

Another staunch offering from the SAMA nominees, and we can’t wait to see them in action alongside Donnie Willow next month.


SINGLES


SHREDD

SHREDD – FLIGHT OF STAIRS

Has any band in Scotland had a better rookie year in 2017 than Shredd? The trio were quick to make an impact upon their debut, and since then have put out a cracking EP, headlined sell-out shows and nabbed the SAMA Best Newcomer award.

Now the gravy train plows on with their new single Flight Of Stairs, which is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from the lads at this point. It has a snappy tempo, grungy riffs, tasty bass chords and husky drumming. The final minute is so good, as they ramp up the speed, then unexpectedly cut off before restarting and wrapping up stylishly.


declan

DECLAN WELSH & THE DECADENT WEST – NAZI BOYS

Fresh off the announcement that he has been granted funding from Creative Scotland to produce his debut album, East Kilbride native Declan Welsh launched his new single Nazi Boys.

Riding on a cool beat, the song is blunt, candid and holds nothing back, exposing those of the supposed “alt-right” for what they truly are. A select few may have had their jimmies rustled.


thevant

THE VAN T’s – BITTERSWEET

One of Glasgow’s hottest commodities The Van T’s shine again with BittersweetA bracing, bouncy melody, a fun chorus and an upward swell to a thrilling finale make this yet another worthwhile inclusion to their resume.


atlas e

ATLAS : EMPIRE – DIMINISHING RETURNS

Built on the foundations of a kinetic, thrumming sound, Atlas Empire‘s latest single Diminishing Returns details one person’s struggle to cope with their monotonous day to day life and how much it takes a toll on them; perfectly reflected in the accompanying video directed by Shootback Productions.


ASBOC

A SUDDEN BURST OF COLOUR – I AM THE STORM

I Am The Storm is a vibrant and vivid instrumental tune with some proficient guitars on display, and is hands down the finest thing that Motherwell quartet A Sudden Burst Of Colour have done to date.


edits

EDITS – DON’T SPEAK

One of the UK’s most underappreciated duos, Edits from Manchester are back with Don’t Speak and it is just sublime.

Attractive writing, a divine melodic atmosphere, Liv’s elegent voice and Chris’ cool, well-mixed chords…remind us why these two haven’t been given more attention? People are seriously missing out here.


RAJ

RACHEL ALICE JOHNSON – COMING DOWN SLOW

Coming Down Slow is a smooth, handily constructed tune exploring an old relationship, overthinking and dwelling on those small moments that would never normally be given a second thought in the heat of the moment.

The first half is quiet and still, before bounding into a contrasting latter half that is fiery and boisterous. A special composition that, in conjuction with the music video, attentively highlights the artistic talents of Rachel Alice Johnson.


til

TOMORROW IS LOST – INSANE

Tomorrow Is Lost illustrate how to make a proper debut here with Insane. The dual guitars are on point, the rocking rhythm is intoxicating; reaching an optimum during the smashing chorus; and Cass exhibits scintillating showmanship.

Safe to say, we are already excited for their album next year.


horizons

HORIZONS – PATHFINDER

Horizons‘ latest single Pathfinder is one that has been making the rounds all over our social media recently.

At its core, it is relative straightforward – you could even argue a little repetitive – but a convincing delivery via punchy vocals and a booming cadence make this worthwhile.


forg sons

FORGOTTEN SONS – LEAVE THE LIGHT ON

Musical talent is ripe across all of Scotland, and that includes the Shetland islands in the far north. Case in point – Forgotten Sons.

Their new number Leave The Light On is a briskly-paced one with plenty of horsepower behind it, memorable lyrics and a toe-tapping quality to it.


GIGS


seafoal

SEAFOAL – NICE N SLEAZY | 8th NOVEMBER 2017

Tour support Apollo (aka Nick) was first up, and essentially a one man electronic band. He produced a large sound with a mixture of overdubbing violins, synth drums and backing tracks, in addition to his warm harmony.

With a setlist including Kill Me Now, Oceans II and a cover of Wuthering Heights, he generated a nice atmosphere and more or less held the attention of the crowd despite a couple of minor setbacks. While probably not to everybody’s taste due to the experimental nature of it, we felt it was interesting overall.

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Secondly was Glasgow’s own Scarlett Randle, who was in the midst of gearing up for the release of her single Berlin later in the week, and she drew quite the ensemble of people for the night.

She brought such a sheer warmth and elegance, and entertained with a heck of a personality that was easy for everyone to feed off, especially with songs at her disposal like HerJust Right, the aforementioned Berlin and a mesmerising rendition of The Police’s Every Breath You Take.

We had never listened to her beforehand, but within half an hour, we were newly made fans, and we look forward to her forthcoming EP.

*

Leading in with intro track SubmergedSeafoal properly got going with the dark and ambient Fiends, before following suit with You’ll Be Sorry.

Zander’s performance was raw and organic, and the material sounded good live. However, the set was a little disjointed, with the middle section being fully acoustic which, despite a great version of Linkin Park’s Numb thrown in, was jarring and admittedly a pace breaker.

Regardless of that, the content itself as we said was satisfying and it was all in all really solid. Even with flaws, we were still glad to see Seafoal in the flesh and we can tick that off our bucket list.


junior

JUNIOR – THE ATTIC | 9th NOVEMBER 2017

Too Much Too Soon‘s first impression on us was a good one, as the Edinburgh quintet brought plenty of enthusiasm to the table and had a hold on the crowd’s attention.

A little off in the early goings, but they gradually got into a flow and ultimately they done their job as a warm-up act well.

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Remind Me Of Home, while not as energetic as their predecessors, played a range of enjoyable songs that had some fine melodies to them, not to mention there was some organic audience involvement which saw them clapping along on a few occasions.

However, we did feel that frontman Craig was holding back a little bit and was somewhat shaky on stage, and we think for the future he needs to loosen up more. A perfectly serviceable set overall, but certainly room for improvement in there.

*

We were now getting the opportunity to finally check out Miami Monroe in person, supposed copycats of Green Day according to one spitefully biased reviewer. We couldn’t see it, but anyway, the guys were cracking and gave us exactly what we expected from a pop punk gig.

They blitzed through at a charged pace, the dual harmonies were strong and there was loads of movement from all members on stage. They had us hooked all the way, with the highlights being Lost And Found, Nothing and Things Only Get Worsebefore they capped off with a sweet cover of Sum 41’s Fat Lip.

They were just great and lived up to all the promise; definitely worth our time and money.

*

And then we had Junior, and god damn, did they put on an immense performance. The best moments were too many to count, such as A House That’s Not Quite Home which made an instant connection and got those in attendance pridefully singing back the lyrics, there was the dynamic and bloody catchy Veronica, and Fall To Pieces sent the room into a ballistic frenzy.

We also bore witness to the band’s trademark limbo competition, and if there was one thing we learnt from it, it’s that Scottish people sure are flexible. One of the greatest cases of crowd participation ever.

The trio transformed the venue into a daft party house, and we were glad to be a part of what was one of the most memorable live experiences for us in all of 2017.


sertraline

SERTRALINE – THE 13th NOTE | 10th NOVEMBER 2017

Fresh and new to us, the young trio of Headwitch did a solid job kicking off the evening with tracks characterised by extended instrumental sequences full of fairly stylish guitar work and bass-drum combos vibrating through the speakers.

The vocals, while fine, were so irregular that they seemed a tad pointless. Our advice for the guys would be to drop them entirely and completely focus on developing the one area to which they are more suited.

*

All the way from Dumfries – and narrowly avoiding having their gear stolen by a Glaswegian junkie earlier in the day – we were pretty familiar with Turbyne, as we last saw them open for Our Hollow, Our Home back in March. They impressed us then, and they impressed us even more now.

They brought a whole newfound buzz to the room that was sorely lacking beforehand, with plenty of aspects making that so, such as very tight singing from the pairing of Keith and Gary, keys and riffs that bounced off each other efficiently, and swift, pumped up rhythms. Their new tune Towers was especially phenomenal, and despite the cramped space, they still managed to be quite active.

It was a brilliant, jam-packed set that had one chap lose half his beer from too much headbanging, Police Scotland making a cameo (no, seriously) and left Sertraline in awe of them…

*

…and speaking of which, it was Sertraline‘s time to step up. They cranked out tracks from both their EPs and it was an electric, off-the-charts rush from end to end.

Liz was sensational with the mic in hand and the rest of the band complimented her splendidly. The crowd response was a very positive one, as they clapped and sang along where required and there was not a single dull moment. They even earned themselves an encore request.

A simply fantastic and convincing debut in Glasgow for the group. It was such a pleasure to see them do what they do, and we can only hope they return sooner than later.




WRITTEN/EDITED by JASON SMALL

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