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.


GBEE

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.


SLYDE

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?


Maypine Bend Break Artwork_preview

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.


softs

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.


CRH

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.


NC

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.


CUTTY

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.


yikes

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.


BTL

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


DW

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.


YKTD Artwork Selfhood_preview

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.


Element-Of-Sex-(album-cover)

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.


tongues

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.


csb

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.


EE

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.


cover

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.


tt

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.


bizarre_necro_preview

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.


twistettes

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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