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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Day, Never 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.
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