Hotel Mira – Hotel Mira | SMALL MUSIC SCENE

HOTELMIRA


It wasn’t too long ago that Vancouver alternative rock outfit JPNSGRLS underwent a transformation and became the three-piece known as Hotel Mira, and since then, it seems that they have a newfound freshness and motivation.

Following months of preparation and an array of singles to satisfy those in waiting, they have finally brought us their highly anticipated first EP under this banner.

Long-time fans of JPNSGRLS will be glad to know that the many qualities that made the band entertaining are present here, and more refined than ever before, it must be said. Charlie Kerr continues to be a remarkably charismatic frontman, thanks to a fusion of robust harmonies and the ability to project emotion through his deliveries so well.

The new kids on the block certainly shine here too, with superb and divergent riffs from Colton Lauro and pulsating bass tones courtesy of Mike Noble. At the core of it all is the writing, which is consistently transfixing and allows for each song to stand on their own and express provoking stories.

Overall, a brilliant record that is engaging and diverse, and has proven Hotel Mira as a must-see act in Canada’s underground music scene.


***HIGHLIGHTS**

3 AM Lullaby, Baby, Stockholm, Ginger Ale



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The Old Pink House – Expectations | SMALL MUSIC SCENE

TOPH


Over the past year or so, cosmic pop quartet The Old Pink House have grown into one of Newcastle’s most promising young acts, and if you need a taste of what these guys have to offer, then their brand new EP – Expectations – is the perfect place to begin.

The tunes are steered by pulsing melodies and infective catchy beats that are emphasised by the crisp harmonies, neat guitar work and totally mesmirising electronics. There is a vivid energy that is never-ending throughout and keeps the listener hooked without a dull moment to speak of.

This is an outstanding EP with an engaging sound that only gets more infectious with each passing listen. It’s clear that this lot have plenty of potential, and I’m eager to see what lies for them in the near future.


***HIGHLIGHTS***

Fever Dreamer, Silver Cadillac, Expectations


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Yonaka – Teach Me To Fight | SMALL MUSIC SCENE

yonaka


Last year, Brighton alternative pop quartet Yonaka got people’s heads turning with their Heavy EP, and since then, they have emerged as what many consider to be one of the most promising up and coming young acts in all British music.

Fast forward to 2018, to add to their ongoing success, they have come out with another EP titled Teach Me To Fight, and if you were a fan of their previous release, then you are in for a serious treat here.

Theresa is hands down one of the best singers in the national scene, as proven by her piercing, hair-raising voice that is drizzling with attitude and enforced by a striking, in-your-face quality. But this is only one aspect that makes this record great.

On a technical level, every track is an amazing experience, not just because of the astounding production, but also the hodgepodge of massive melodies and catchy as hell choruses (Fired Up), hard, commanding beats (Waves), and most notably, the potent writing (Teach Me To Fight, Wish You Were Somebody) that makes an impact and is quickly ingrained in the listener’s brain.

After setting a high standard with Heavy, these four have delivered the most satisfying and impressive of follow-ups that just takes the breath away and rocks the core like nothing else. This is an EP that comes as close to perfection as it gets and actually lives up to the established hype, and for that, it easily ranks as one of the finest records of the year.

In the case of rising bands, there are tonnes out there that we hope to be big one day, but in terms of Yonaka, there’s no doubt here – they will be big.


***HIGHLIGHTS***

Fired Up, Teach Me To Fight, Waves



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Melisa Kelly & The Smokin’ Crows – Devil’s Luck | SMALL MUSIC SCENE

MELISA


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The wonderful thing about the Scottish music scene is its sheer diversity, with many options to choose from that cover all genres. Blues is no exception, and there are few groups that do it as well as Melisa Kelly & The Smokin’ Crows from Glasgow, who are fresh off releasing their debut full-length album – Devil’s Luck.

Naturally at the forefront is Melisa herself, who is a heck of a soul singer. Her voice is powerful and features such a broad range. She also displays quite the personality that changes depending on the song. One moment, she can be assertive and jaunty, the next she’s warm, and in yet another she could be spilling her emotions. No matter the situation, she has a drawing power that is simply magnetic.

As talented as she is, she is only further elevated by her Smokin Crows entourage. The blend of fluent backing harmonies, flashy guitars, nice keys, utterly catchy rhythms and a fiercely enticing brass section help bring the tracks to an appealing life.

There is a strong variety to the material itself. The likes of the upbeat I’m The Boss, the bouncy All For You and especially the exciting, old-school I Won’t Give Up On You are tonnes of fun, but as touched upon earlier, there are a selection of numbers that are more low-key and sentimental, such as Break Of The Dawn, It’s Not Me, It’s You and particularly the minimalist and chilling Day Of The Dead.

This is a terrific and highly entertaining record showcasing the talents of a very proficient group who definitely do not deserve to fly under the radar; they’re just too good to be ignored.


***HIGHLIGHTS***

I Won’t Give Up On You, I’m The Boss, All Of You, Day Of The Dead, Break Of The Dawn


Bad Year – Safety | SMALL MUSIC SCENE

BADYEAR1


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Lately, Glasgow punk trio Bad Year have been making the rounds on my social media, with people going around recommending their new release – Safety – and it’s easy to see why.

From start to finish, they just blaze through the array of tracks with a high-octane energy, blurting out the quick-clicking lyrics with plenty of animosity behind the vocals. On top of that, the riffs are sweet and the drumming is especially fierce and potent throughout.

It’s about as straight-forward as it gets, but it’s undoubtedly effective. Intermixed with young kids’ profanity and an obsession with Spongebob, it’s simply raw, nihilistic bliss.


***HIGHLIGHTS***

Megan, I Hate Everything, 1A, Do You Still Hate Me, What Else Can I Say


The Goatboy – It’s Not Regret, It’s Worse Than That | SMALL MUSIC SCENE

goat1


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The Goatboy is the Perth-based amalgamation of four musicians with prior experience in the local scene who got together to play some grunge music, and the result of that is a demo EP entitled It’s Not Regret, It’s Worse Than That.

The vocals are sturdy and the grubby rhythms are overall pretty bulky, especially when they crank it up to the more aggressive stuff e.g. that catchy as hell chorus of JULIAN.

The lyrical work ain’t half bad, and there’s also a solid production scale that’s more than what you would regularly expect from a demo.

This is a very fine first go that easily gets a recommendation and a want for more from these chaps. Hopefully this is only a sample of what they are capable of.


***HIGHLIGHTS***

JULIAN, Bookshelves, It’s Not Regret It’s Worse Than That


Shredd – Eat Your Enemy | SMALL MUSIC SCENE

shredd


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In early 2017, Cumbernauld fuzzy garage trio Shredd made a strong first impression with their debut EP, Everytime We Meet I Want To Die.

In the short space of time since, they have built one hell of a following and emerged as one of Scotland’s fastest rising acts, and just recently, they further cemented their name with the highly anticipated sequel – Eat Your Enemy.

Each song is propelled by soaring, blood-rushing rhythms that are built from a combination of wailing harmonies, exhilarating riffs, punchy basslines and stable drumming. What they lack in variety, they more than make up for by sticking to an enormous sound and properly excelling at it.

Bookended by Prisoner quotes, Shredd’s sophomore compilation is beyond insane. It’s a seriously wild ride that is just plain exciting, and hands down one of the best Scottish EPs of the year.

These guys are only getting better and better, and if they’re good at this current stage, then we’re in for quite the treat for whatever they have planned for the future.


***HIGHLIGHTS***

The Cave, What’s This I See, In My Head