IN MEMORY OF MALCOLM YOUNG (1953-2017)
MILK TEETH – GO AWAY
What a year it has been for Stroud punk rockers Milk Teeth. From gracing the front cover of Kerrang, to signing with Roadrunner, to their successful Be Nice EP, and they’re not done yet, as the quartet have cranked out yet another record titled Go Away.
Without the slightest hesitation, they immediately bust out the goods with I Stabbed You First, setting the bar with high-octane energy levels to get the blood pumping, further highlighted by brilliant writing. They make the most of every second with the concise Lillian, where the volatile drumming is joyful and helps to boost the already established intensity.
Nearby Catfight has a frantic rhythm, solid chorus and some more noteworthy writing, and soon they cool the pace down for the harmonious Big Sky, in which Becky prospers at the forefront and the guitars give a slick showing.
And just like that, with another smashing EP, Milk Teeth continue to authenticate themselves as one of the greatest British factions on the go right now.
SPINNING COIN – PERMO
Less than a week ago, we listened in to Vic Galloway’s show on BBC Radio Scotland, and it was then we were exposed to one of Glasgow’s brightest shining quintets – Spinning Coin – hot off releasing their debut album, Permo!
Commencing it is Raining On Hope Street, encompassing serene vocals from Rachel and tender riffs that suck us in very quickly, before we get a change of tone with Tin, which flaunts a lot more energy, and adds an extra dose of power to the guitars and drums. The lead single Money For Breakfast is a draw with its fine writing; an aspect that further improves in the following track Money Is A Drug.
After the mellow paced Metronome River is our personal highlight – Magdalene – featuring a swinging blues feel that is thoroughly rousing, and then out of nowhere, they skyrocket to a breakneck onslaught of madness that almost leaves you breathless. In contrast is the charming Floating With You, where they bring it back to a smooth demeanor.
They continue to entertain over the course of the second half, which is admittedly not as strong yet still engages with songs including Sides, Starry Eyes and I Feel The Need To Be An Actor.
Permo is an incredible assortment of short, to the point tunes with frequently altering sounds that keep the record fresh and encourage multiple listens, a fact that rings true to ourselves already at this point.
100 FABLES – WE ARE ELECTRIC GIRLS AND BOYS
Well, it’s about darn time! Glasgow’s prime synthpop group 100 Fables are here with their debut EP – We Are Electric Girls And Boys – and it is a doozy.
An 8-bit intro gives way to The Pressure, an infectious tune with a simple yet fixating hook. Lyndsey is sensational as ever in her role as vocalist, with a fluent, dilated pitch range and wonderful inflections.
Excellent lyrics are the main ingredient of Joy, certainly one of the band’s more serious numbers. The eponymous track is another magnetic one that is a surefire throwback to the 80’s in terms of sound and structure, and they wrap up with the stunning and polished Untold.
We have been dying to hear this for ages, and 100 Fables have delivered on all fronts here.
LILAC KINGS – WHAT BRINGS US BACK
Hailing from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Lilac Kings were recently signed to We Are Triumphant and their debut EP, What Brings Us Back, has been widely promoted. Naturally, there is a fair amount of hype here – the six figure listening count on Spotify alone makes that obvious – and thankfully for us, it is justified.
Their sound is compelling, with their material mainly made up of post-hardcore tracks that each have a subdubed ambient touch to them, with the go-to pieces being Answer Me, For When You’re Dreaming and Shiver. We admire it, and we believe it will help them establish an identity in the long run.
Garnish all that with a regular showcase of hooking lyrics and sturdy vocals which stretch to an insanely high pitch, and you have a damn good first effort here.
THE SOURHEADS – CARE PLAN FOR THE SOUL
When you present us with a band that are described as having a sound which cannot be exactly pinpointed, it certainly builds intrigue, and if such a claim is validated, it can leave us glad to discover said band.
This was the case for Wakefield locals The Sourheads, who are fresh off releasing their debut full-length album – Care Plan For The Soul.
Their general sound is immediately established in the memorable, well-constructed opener Demons, being one of good old-fashioned rock and roll with an updated modern touch. The guys have plenty of roaring solos on deck in the likes of Morally High and Don’t Get Caught.
The smooth and easygoing Power Of Addiction is the focal point in terms of writing, while the rugged vocals are an ideal fit for the stark Rag And Bone Man. Elsewhere, My Rock And Roll gives us a taste of some glorious bass work, and Mad Dog serves as quite the fervent climax.
A top-notch record from a cracking act who are sure to catch the eyes and ears of more soon-to-be fans over time. They already have the attention of Labour Party deputy leader Tom Watson, so they are obviously doing something right.
SAPIENN – A BLACK SARCASM
With all the immensely talented musicians currently in Glasgow, it’s a real shame that Scott Simpson – more widely known as Sapienn – isn’t getting enough attention. He first impressed us with his Hours Of Despair EP last year, and now he has further validated himself with A Black Sarcasm.
Throughout the tracks, especially in stand outs like Everything Is Spiders, Cognitive Bias and Chase You Down, it becomes clear that the key strength of Scott is in his writing, which engages with its frank sincerity. Not only that, but his vocals are consistently crisp and he is pretty competent with the acoustic guitar in tow.
Are there moments where it gets repetitive? Absolutely, but the aforementioned aspects bind this album together so well, that this minor downfall can be forgiven, and we thoroughly recommend it as a whole.
MID REFLECTION – OUTCAST
At a glance, a mixture of punk, rap and ska seems a little curious, to say the least, but London four-piece Mid Reflection manage to pull it off, as indicated by their upcoming Outcast EP.
The title number recounts the experience and lasting effects of bullying, conveyed well by vocalist Matthew Bishop. Very strong writing at play here, despite not being the most engaging track from a musical standpoint.
Up next, the assertive Illusions provides a good hook with the background ensemble, plus the guitars stick out and the closing section is just rocking. Matthew is back front and centre in the really catchy Legalise It, as he blares out verses at a superb breakneck speed, and to wind up, we’ve got the hard-hitting Foes that is oozing with animosity.
EVERYDAY PHARAOHS – CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR SMILE
As is with the scene, there is a wide variety of fledgling bands across Glasgow at the moment, with a few falling into our radar lately, one such being Everyday Pharaohs, who are back with their sophomore EP – Congratulations On Your Smile.
A Dart Room For Dave is a fair start, with the lyrics sticking out as the strongest quality, covering domestic issues and doing that well; a feature recurrent in Allison, which has some spots of cool bass work here and there.
Bed Sores is where the record really gets going, as they charge at a rapid tempo and the drumming provides quite the bounce. Similarly, Rainbows has a catchy beat and is dotted with sweet riffs all over.
If we did have one jarring criticism that is a constant throughout, it’s that the mixing is too quiet. We really shouldn’t be needing to turn the volume all the way up to max just to hear the music properly. Other than that, we were satisfied by this.
TOXIC RADIOS – FACE THE TIDE
And now for another group falling in that same category; indie-rock quartet Toxic Radios, who just put out their first EP – Face The Tide.
I Can’t Turn It Around Tonight is a pretty upbeat number to start off with, driven by a cool, bass-backed melody. They boot up the tempo for the very catchy Lone Wolf, comprising of some really good riffs and an ace chorus, and we get more of the same for the fun finishing song, These Wires.
While relatively straightforward in nature, there are enough elements in there to make for an entertaining listen equaling a thumbs-up from us.
BIS – YOU WRECKED MY CHRISTMAS
Anybody up for some Christmas tunes in the middle of November? No? Well tough, because we’re bringing you Bis and their new holiday-themed A-side.
You Wrecked My Christmas is positively addicting, with a melody that is nothing short of loud, cheery and frolicking. Manda’s high harmonies are contagious and the lyrics are cosigned to be glued in the brain. The steadier and leisurely I Was Born On Christmas Day does not quite have the same memorable effect, but with multiple listens it becomes more appreciated and we grow to like it.
So if you can’t contain the yuletide joy building inside your body, unleash it with this pair of perky anthems.
OCEVNS – OPEN ARMS
One of Glasgow’s top rock bands Ocevns return with new single Open Arms, where Kris once again proves himself to be one of the city’s most capable frontmen, for there are few people we know of with such strong chords and an ability to display loads of spirit as he does.
Great writing, a supreme sound and outstanding production make this a cracker of a tune worth putting your ears to.
AS SIRENS FALL – IN MY MIND
As Sirens Fall have proved to be one of Yorkshire’s fundamental acts since their formation. They got to show what they were made of with their acclaimed Hospital Party record last year, and now they are gearing up for the sequel set for the spring of 2018.
This past Friday, we and the rest of the world were given a first taste of it via In My Mind, which runs off a thriving moxie sure to thrill listeners. The chorus packs a punch, Mikey leads the chase with his bold vocals and the powerhouse drums hit with some resounding force. They even acquired the services of Skindred’s Benji Webbe to add extra brawn to the track, and holy moly, is he on fire here.
A staggering single that has commenced months of anticipation for us to impatiently sit through to get to their next EP.
HYPNOSISTER – POORLY BOY
Formerly associated with Allusondrugs, Damian Hughes has been enjoying success with his new project Hypnosister. He got the ball rolling with debut single Brother, and now he has taken it up a notch with the followup – Poorly Boy – a boldly personal song tackling Damian’s real life experience of losing a friend who suffered unjustly at the hands of poor healthcare.
The writing is among the best we’ve come across all year. In addition, the tune is a very addicting one with its hooking chorus and a sound that blends raw, trippy pop with heavier, antipathetic rock. The accompanying lyric video is also a vivid foray of psychotropic colours and imagery.
SWAY – TO BE A MAN
We’ve honestly lost count of how many Scottish acts have burst onto the scene and made a real impact this year, and here’s another – Sway, from Paisley, who are capping off 2017 stylishly with To Be A Man.
Distinctly sublime guitar skills at play, a fluent flowing rhythm which is easy on the ears and an interesting subject matter make for a terrific tune with a primarily indie rock sound, although there is noticeably other influences sneaking in there.
These guys have a bright future as far as we can tell, and we can’t wait to finally see them in action at King Tuts in January.
FABRIC BEAR – ROGUE WAVE
As one of Edinburgh’s most promising rock prospects, Fabric Bear continue to make an impression with Rogue Wave.
The track is defined by varying tempos and timbres, where one moment everything is quiet and minimal, before exploding into an array of fuzz and the riffs come bursting out to life, and they go all out in a no holds barred frenzy as they push towards a resonant end that ultimately simmers down and leaves the listener craving more.
THE ELEPHANT TREES – OPEN UP
One of our favourite discoveries to come out of Manchester in a while, The Elephant Trees caught our attention with their new single Open Up, which focuses on being able to take a stand and just go for it, with the message being conveyed through a relationship.
It’s got an inspiring message, and the song itself is buoyant with a spirited, exuberant melody that is sure to leave a smile on the face.
LILURA – DARKEST DESIRE
Not long ago, we fell in love with Scottish electronic pop artist Lilura‘s No Control EP – which we still have on regular repeat, by the way – so when her next single Darkest Desire was announced, we naturally got a buzz, and rightly so.
Jemma stuns again with this one, as the verses do a great job generating an ever-growing aura, leading to a letting off of steam in an addictive and unforgettable chorus.
ALI ROBERTSON – SLOW DOWN
It has been nearly a year since we were introduced to Ali Robertson, who wowed us at King Tuts’ New Year Revolution event. He’s been keeping himself busy since then, and his latest single Slow Down has certainly peaked our interest.
This is a stunning track that forges a fiercely chilling atmosphere, accentuated by low humming, finger clicks and subtle hits of a bass drum. On top of that, the lyrics shine and Ali’s voice is astounding. Guaranteed goosebumps here.
THE VIGIL – FIND A WAY
Off their mighty Save Our Souls album from last year, Find A Way is the latest single from Bristol rock quartet The Vigil.
Tonnes of influences are visible in this, especially from 90’s acts. This is a satisfying number where the vocals are cool, the riffs are allowed to run wild and the dynamic rhythm is optimal for bopping your head to.
TAKE TODAY – WASTING TIME
It’s been a little while since Take Today from Glasgow released their great debut album, Choices, but now they’ve resurfaced with a new song set for release at the start of next month – Wasting Time.
Churning, quaking bass tones match up with the crunchy riffs in this dense, progressive track. These elements, mixed in with smashing drum claps and a noteworthy chorus, make this one worthwhile.
INKFIELDS – SNARE YOURSELF
Inkfields is the brainchild of Sam James-Griffiths, and we got a delightful introduction to the Edinburgh citizen’s music courtesy of Snare Yourself.
The song has a sincere melody, with the really smooth guitar work contributing to that well, alongside Sam’s warm harmony. A very fine tune indeed, and the music video ain’t half bad either.
BELTUR – FINISHING LINE
One year in the making due to line-up changes and personal lives taking priority, Glasgow rockers Beltur have returned to the fray with Finishing Line.
It is a great piece highlighted by an enjoyable rhythm and a fine solo present in the final third. Edith Casey is back to provide vocals alongside frontman Joe, and the duo as usual have a real chemistry. This is a song deserving of a listen or two.
CARLY CONNOR – KING TUTS | 18th NOVEMBER 2017
With a packed crowd from the offset, Julie Ann and her ensemble took to the stage for her debut appearance in Glasgow, which just happened to be at King Tuts of all places.
Among the range of highlights, there was Money which featured an enjoyable chorus, Tough Love had an elegant melody and guitars that added an extra layer, and the Hogmanay- themed When The Bells Go was really charming. We felt it was a very pleasant performance and that Julie Ann had achieved success in her first outing here in the city.
So the mood was set and we were off to the races. Loud chants preceded Billy Mitchell as he waltzed onto the stage. Lazy Like Me quickly got the people going, and just like that, the energy in the room was instantly kicked up a notch.
Chances was really damn catchy, and the likes of Losing Control, Psycho and especially the closing tune All You’ve Got had umpteen folk clapping and singing back the words in a frenzy; we could feel the ground shaking at our feet with all the bouncing about.
Billy displayed true showmanship, there were smashing riffs and hardy drumming throughout, and the minimal small talk kept the pace rolling to a point where it just flew in and it was all over before we knew it. Undoubtedly brilliant stuff here.
With the venue heaving and us caught right at the front with virtually no breathing space – but the best view in the house – Carly Connor walked on to quite a buzz, dressed in real classy attire. With a marvelous charisma and a heck of a voice, she looked like a legitimate star up there, and that fact was only elevated by the sellout crowd and countless cameras focused in her direction.
Real Good Looker was notable for its infectious swinging rhythm, while Living Easy had a bluesy edge to it. The warm To Be Loved was utterly magnetic, with the same to be said for the highly emotional Suffocating Love, and Woman stood out with fiercely blunt lyrics.
Carly’s name rang deafeningly throughout the place right before she blew us all away with new single Who’s Gonna Love You, following which she capped off in astounding fashion with Shadows and the rip-roaring encore Creepin’ On.
Being our first time seeing her live in action, she honestly took our breath away with a damn near perfect, memorable display. After a long journey of hardships to get to where she was, she absolutely owned this night.
IN MUSIC WE TRUST
For this week’s issue, we would like to take the opportunity to help promote a good clothing brand, and as a heads up, this is NOT sponsored in any way. We just wanted to advocate a company that shared our views and had similar ambitions.
In Music We Trust believe in the power of music as a medicine, and they help to bring awareness to depression, a very serious that is unfortunately rampant in this industry especially.
We relate to this very much, as we suffered from it for the first time earlier this year, and it affected us badly. This is a cause that both we and this group are committed to, and for every item of merch you buy, they donate half their profits to the Mind charity, who are dedicated to helping those battling the illness.
We recommend In Music We Trust thoroughly. Aiden Hatfield and the rest of the team work their butts off on this project, and the tees themselves are awfully lovely, plus you get a free sticker which is a cracking bonus!
For more information, check out inmusicwetrust.co.uk, and remember – if you feel like you are suffering, never be afraid to talk to someone, because you are far more important than you give yourself credit for, and it can save your life.
WRITTEN/EDITED by JASON SMALL
***SUBMISSIONS AT SMALLMUSICREVIEWS@HOTMAIL.COM***