THE SMALL PLAYLIST – Week #2

MASON HILL – HOLD ON

The acclaimed young Glasgow rockers get the hype train for their debut album up and running with their first single in over a year, perfectly showcasing the evolution of their sound. Whopping vocals, great riffs, straightforward yet very memorable lyrics and a massive rhythm make this one a doozy.

 


SPLINTERED HALO – FLOAT

Glasgow’s resident character metal group celebrate Halloween with yet another beautifully demented track as they pay homage to the 2017 It, highlighted by great riffs, rattling drums, brilliant lyrics, and a remarkably versatile, theatrical vocal display from the Scottish horror queen, Elivyn.


HOTEL MIRA – JUNGLE

A mere few months after the release of their self-titled EP, the Canadian trio are already back with what is a candidate for their best song to date, thanks to an infectiously bouncy energy and an utterly catchy chorus.


STATIC UNION – NEW FOUND WAY

A very nice offering from the Glasgow post-punk group that has a cool ambience to it, which is down to the smooth harmonies, neat guitar chords and mild synths.


XERO – GARDEN

The Newcastle alternative metal ensemble deliver their second single of the year, driven by a rocking rhythm, a real fine lead performance and a chorus that is so hooking.


TOMORROW IS LOST – SHADOWMAN

With their debut EP just around the corner, the Geordie rock unit are getting a buzz going with the title track, which stands out with sharp vocals, freakishly superb riffs and a cracking chorus, and they certainly kick it up a notch in last third of the number.


TIRADE – TO BE HONEST

The young Manchester rock prospects continue to impress with another jumping track featuring tight performances and a sweet energy to it.


JAMES HOLT – ALONE AGAIN

One of Manchester’s most budding solo artists is on top form here with a top-notch track where he really shines vocally, plus the toe-tapping melody is real sweet and the lyrics are great too.


AMY LOU – CHANIA

The Glaswegian indie pop artist treats us to a fabulously infectious ditty that is so full of spirit, well-written and headed by an enthusiastic vocal display.


CHERRY HEAD, CHERRY HEART – JUST A SECOND

A pretty underrated act in our eyes, the Teeside pop duo return with a stunningly wonderful tune that has such an exuberant melody which is so, so catchy. Further highlighted by a wonderful harmony and strong writing, this is one that will most definitely stick in the head.


LUCY MAIR – BEING PRETTY WAS FUN

The latest single from this fine London artist is a really polished number with a warm, swaying rhythm and an excellent, magnetic vocal performance.


JAMES EDWYN & THE BURROWED BAND – QUOTING SAGAN

Another tremendous piece from one of Glasgow’s finest Americana collective with a terrific melody, refined harmonies and a hooking chorus.


IVORY CAVES – FALL FROM GRACE

The Dunfermline rock outfit’s new single is a riveting number that commences slowly and works upwards to cap off on a high note. A waving pace, excellent guitar chords and good drumming stand as the defining aspects here.


DEREK J MARTIN – GHOST TOWN

The Saltcoats musician gives us another taste of his upcoming debut album here with a nice track featuring a great dual performance on the guitar and at the mic, as well as plenty of passion.

 

SMALL GIG REPORT | New Vice – The 13th Note (28.10.18)

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We had seen Land Of Rubber Men before at the ABC2 last November, and almost a year on, we were quickly reminded of their talents as they played a line of tracks from their forthcoming debut album, plus we got a cracking rendition of Moonshine.

Angus Burns had a weird charm to him, but more importantly, he was a capable vocalist and guitarist, and the rest of the band were just as good; Fraser giving us smooth bass lines, Angus Morton being cool on the sax, and some sweet drumming from Matthew.

Most of their numbers had pretty easygoing rhythms and a sort of chilled quality to them, although there were one or two where they broke out with bouncy, energetic spurts, but all were great.

Overall, it was the ideal way to get the crowd warmed up and the night kicked off. We’ll certainly be making a point of grabbing their record as soon as it is out.


Right from the get-go, Honeygrip unleashed into a set of smashing tracks, mainly from their debut EP, with the majority riding off an insane energy.

Jamie, who was wearing the most colourful of attires that would make even 70’s-era Billy Connolly jealous, had a hell of a powerful voice that he put to use. The riffs from Kyle and Michael were superb, and the rhythm sections courtesy of Alex and Garry were just blistering.

The guys were really animated and had an appealing presence on stage that obviously rubbed off on the crowd. Capping off with the awesome Tequila, where they were joined by the legendary Uncle Funkle, who got real intimate with Jamie, it was a tight performance that could easily conclude a gig any other night without a doubt.


It was going to be a struggle for headliners New Vice to follow that, but in their defense, they are another kettle of fish altogether. As amazing as Honeygrip were, this was a case of them being a unfitting support for the bill.

But with all that said, New Vice did put on a good showing. Their rock and roll sound had this jazzy essence to it with a slight hint of blues, and compared to many of the other acts on the scene right now, this really felt like something different to us.

The harmonies were solid, the sax and guitar were stylish, and the beats were genuinely toe-tapping and catchy. Even Uncle Funkle returned to the fray, where he and his dreaded friend put on a theatrical dance along to the group, in which the crowd were entertained by.

Sure, this wasn’t the same craze put on by their predecessors, but it was still an enjoyable, easy listening affair to finish off the show on a positive high.

 

THE SMALL SPOTLIGHT – Lisa Kowalski

Lisa Kowalski is a young artist hailing from Paisley, and has spent the last four years performing locally and out the area. In that short space of time, she has managed to achieve so much and earn a reputation as one of her hometown’s brightest young prospects.

She’s already got a decent wealth of experience behind her, and at the age of 18, it is quite clear that the best is yet to come.

In the debut edition of The Small Spotlight, we take the time to chat with Lisa and find out more about her inspirations, her successes, her supporters, and what the future holds.


To kick off with a generic biographical question – what was it that sparked your interest in music in the first place?

  • I don’t think there’s anything particular that I can pinpoint. It’s just always something I’ve loved. I always thought there was something so magical and beautiful about being able to express every single emotion, tell every single story, confess every feeling through a 3 minute song. Music has gotten me through so much in life; loss, despair, happiness, anxiety, etc. It’s always been music that has been there for me. 
It’s no secret that Taylor Swift is a huge inspiration to yourself, but why is that?
  • I always just admired how she can take any situation and write such an eloquent, beautiful song about it. I believe that she’s one of the best writers in the mainstream pop charts right now because she has such an amazing talent for writing genius lyrics and putting them on incredible melodies the way no one else can. 
How did you first get involved in the local scene, and did you have any highlights early on?
  • I started going to open mics and busking when I was 14 and from there in I just kept writing and performing and as the years have gone on I’ve gained more experience and knowledge in the local industry which has lead to me getting more opportunities. Since I was so new to the music scene, the highlights in the early days were just the entire thing. The fact I could perform to people, gain fans, meet other like-minded people who had the same passion and drive as me. All of it was just an incredible, eye opening experience. 
You made your first significant mark with your Free Spirits EP. Describe the experience of making your debut record. What was going through your mind before it came out, and what was the feedback like once it was released? 2 years on, how do you feel your EP has held up?
  • It was definitely a journey, that’s one thing I can say about it. Before it came out there were many moments of doubt, worry, regret, excitement, pride, determination. But all of them were worth it because once it was released I got some amazing support and reviews. It was more of an artistic success than a commercial one though and there’s a long way to go with future releases.
Not long ago you were chosen as a representative for Paisley’s 2021 UK City Of Culture campaign. How did that come about, and what was your initial reaction to that request?
  • I’ve always loved being from Paisley. It has such a supportive community, so to represent the town is amazing because I couldn’t be prouder of where I come from and I owe so much to the town and the people in it so its great to give back. 
Although Paisley lost out in the end, the experience was undeniably still a huge one for you. Overall, what is it like, and is there any lasting memories that have stayed with you from that?
  • Recording the Hearts of Gold music video is an experience that would never have came about if it weren’t for the bid. And that is a video that will always be held close to my heart and in my fond memories as it highlights the way the town has really helped to lift me up and back me in my career. 
You’ve also been nominated for a number of awards and been part of several competitions over the last couple of years. Would you like to fill the readers in on what some of them were?
  • I was a finalist in the Salute Music UK competition, which led to me getting to headline King Tuts and gain funding for my next couple of projects which is incredible!    I also reached the finals of the Song Academy International Young Songwriter competition this year. My only outright win has been the Live and Unsigned Renfrewshire competition last year, which meant a lot. I was also voted in as a wildcard finalist for the Mayor Of London Gigs busking competition this summer, so it was awesome to be the only finalist to represent Scotland. I am currently hoping to get a place at the Pilton Party auditions next Spring, which is a way of getting on the radar of Michael Eavis and the Glastonbury selection team.
Between them all, how does it feel to be selected for these, and what is it like for you to have a dedicated group of supporters for you, especially at what is still an early stage of your career?
  • Its all about dreaming big and trying everything. If you shoot enough arrows, one might hit the target! I appreciate all the support I get but I’m still a small fish in a big sea!
You’re in the process of releasing your new single – I Do – give us a brief description of what the song is about, and how you think people will relate to it.
  • I Do is a song I wrote when I was in a difficult, toxic relationship, or more so towards the end of it. I loved someone and all I was getting back was “maybe” – maybe I’ll love you again, maybe I’ll want you, maybe it’s the end. This song was me saying that I won’t settle for maybe anymore. I wanted to know what was going on and stop being messed around so I said if they are going to decide they want me they need to stick with their answer. 
What’s the game plan for 2019 so far? Anything you’re able to give us a sneak peek of, or will we have to sit patiently for what you have in the works?
  • Some things are left better unsaid and some projects left unknown… for now at least!  I will definitely be looking to focus a bit more though and channel my efforts into things that will might a significant impact on my musical progress.
We’ve touched upon a number of your achievements, but what would you say is the one you are most proud of?
  • Getting invited to perform in NYC is definitely among the top. It’s so hard to choose as I’ve achieved so many things that I’m so grateful for but getting to go to New York to perform in some really special places is not something I’d ever have expected to happen when it did. It was such an unbelievably surreal experience that I’ll never forget. 
Aside from the obvious of making a living, do you have any long term goals that you would like to achieve in the future?
  • I’d love to release a debut album. I’ve got my debut EP out and a single coming out soon but I don’t have any plans for an album soon but it’s definitely something I’d love to achieve in the future. I’d also love to take my music to more places – more states in the US, more countries in Europe and perhaps cross a couple more continents off my list too! Also getting a dog is on the list too. 
Any other local musicians that you would like to give a shout out to that everybody should check out?
  • A lot of people will have heard of them but The Vegan Leather are awesome, such cool guys and their gigs are so much fun. Amazing music, amazing atmosphere and amazing people. I also love Pronto Mama, they have such a cool variety of sounds in all their music. 
And now to wrap up, we want to give you the opportunity to say a message to your biggest supporters. Any people in particular?
  • My mum will always be one of the main people to thank as she has helped me so much with getting started and believing me when not everyone else did. My boyfriend, Nikolai, is another person who’s been there for me through absolutely every bit of stress I’ve faced when doing music, whether it’s getting to gigs or dealing with anxiety he’s helped massively. Some other massive supporters have been Create Paisley, St Mirren FC, New Hellfire Club and Music Plus. 

Lisa Kowalski’s new single “I Do” is available on Wednesday 14th November.
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Lisa will be playing at the following shows this week; tickets still available!

WEDNESDAY 31ST OCTOBER – TRON THEATRE, GLASGOW

CAROL

SATURDAY 3RD NOVEMBER – THE ADMIRAL BAR, GLASGOW

IAN PROWSE


Check out Lisa’s previous single, Hearts Of Gold!

SMALL GIG REPORT | Twin Heart – King Tuts (27.10.18)

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Some familiar faces in the form of alternative rockers Remind Me Of Home started up the night. We seen them live twice before, where they had done fine, and it was a similar story here.

They went at a steady pace, with a couple of high spots including Bloodless and Enigma, and quite a fair amount of people had come down early and stuck around for the whole set, bobbing their heads and frequently howling.

On the whole, the guys put in a solid effort, although there were one or two instances of distracting miscues that hindered the flow a bit, but otherwise a decent opening to the show.

Some tightening up is essential, and we do feel they need to up the ante moving into 2019 and beyond. It’s not until they find that quality that unwraps their potential and turns them into something other than “just another local band” that they will find greater success, and make no mistake when we say that they have the tools to do so.


We hadn’t listened to Crashes in almost a year, and we had forgotten how good they actually were. They’re a band that don’t have the biggest buzz surrounding them, but whenever they pop up in conversation, it’s always in a positive light, and there’s a reason for that…

They entered on in matching costumes and masks; the latter thrown off early because stage lights are about as hot as the sun.

The quartet have proven to have come so far in the past 12 months, working as a professional force up there. There were fervent vocals, great riffs and tight rhythms throughout as they played tracks from The Lightning Age, as well as selections to be featured on their upcoming EP, Something’s Wrong.

The packed audience were so into it, chiming in and dancing about – even igniting a mosh or two in the centre of the venue – and there were constant chants of the group’s name.

Closing out with I Am The Enemy, the guys had thoroughly impressed everybody with as near to a show-stealing performance as it gets. They had a clear dynamic and made such a connection with the paying public that were squished in that room.

A big thumbs up from us, and we already can’t wait for their follow-up record. Crashes could very well be ones to watch in 2019.


The headlining Ayrshire trio Twin Heart genuinely had a tough act to follow here, but with years of experience behind them, they know how to put on a memorable performance, and that they did.

They surprisingly kicked off with Speak To Me, which is usually saved for the finish, but they booted it up a notch with Ghosts and now were off to the races, getting the place fired up in the process.

More highlights from the set included the emotional Little Death, the passionate Suffocating and the vastly underrated stormer that is Young Eyes. The forthcoming new single was fantastic, and they unexpectedly dug out Take Me To The Otherside from the Mechanical Smile archives.

Dawn, donning pigtails and a pink dress, was fabulously theatrical and so animated, bouncing about merrily half of the time, while throwing out a few birds here and there. Kyle was slick on the bass and backed up Dawn on the vocals nicely, and Murray belted out big drum beats like a tank.

After a pair of heavy-hitters, Down and Losing Trust, they finally wrapped up with Failure Of Another. The band were on fire from start to finish and completely in the moment, and the crowd responded in earnest. A satisfyingly dazzling show to make this a Halloween night out to remember.

“Kyyyleee. Kyyyleee.”

SMALL RECORD REVIEWS | #3 | Are You Even There At All?

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BRENT WALSHARE YOU EVEN THERE AT ALL?

Many will recognise Brent Walsh as the frontman of San Francisco alternative band I The Mighty, and there is no doubt that he has enjoyed his fair share of success along with the rest of the group.

But lately, Brent has been inspired to try something new that is more out of his comfort zone, and the result is his first individual EP since 2014 – Are You Even There At All?

What becomes obvious quick is that Brent doesn’t just stick to the one sound, instead mixing it up with a range of the styles between the tracks, from mellow acoustic-based numbers, to catchy pop songs that are upbeat and featuring a hint of hip-hop to them that has drawn comparisons to Justin Timberlake.

Brent puts a real effort into his performances, with bold and vibrant harmonies throughout that impeccably get across the emotional tones of the tracks, shining with compelling writing focusing on an uncertain relationship, which also ties of them together and makes a flowing narrative out of it.

Refined by memorable choruses and a ravishing level of production, Brent’s return to the fray as a solo artist has proved to be very successful, with a tonne of passion thrown in and a gamut of excellent material from top to bottom, and truth be told, this is more investing than most stuff in the mainstream charts right now.

***HIGHLIGHTS***

The Way You Seem, Clouds Song, Confession Repentance

AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 2ND NOVEMBER!

jackaltrades

JACKAL TRADESTRIP HAZARD ADVISOR

Kilwinning musician and Girobabies vocalist Mark McGhee made the unlikeliest of big impacts when he introduced his Jackal Trades project, and sequentially released his debut album Need The Character(s), which has went on to earn him a SAMA nomination and a strong following of listeners and local journos alike.

And just recently, at this bustling stage of his career, Mark has followed up with a sophomore release, titled Trip Hazard Advisor, and it is clear he has only gotten better.

If it wasn’t already evident at this point, Mark’ greatest attribute is unquestionably his vocal performances. As crude and rugged as it is, there’s nothing phony about it. His delivery is totally legitimate and it’s not about him putting on a show or trying to prove how amazing he is, it’s all about trying to convey the lyrics of each number, which is what matters here.

On the subject, the record is driven by the story of Jack The Lad, a figure who debuted in the song of the same name on the predecessor, and this narrative is one that is thoroughly engaging from start to finish, and that is owed to the blunt and explicit writing, featuring lyrics that suck you in, keep a firm grasp and still linger long after it is over.

Once again, Mark collaborates with a range of talented producers, who help to forge immersive beats that shift between dark and catchy; dependent on the track. We also get a line-up of some real fine vocalists from around the country contributing throughout, with stand outs including Josephine Sillars, Jo D’Arc, Becca Starr, and even John McMustard of all folk gets involved.

If these long paragraphs weren’t apparent enough, Trip Hazard Advisor is one hell of a sequel highlighted by a magnetic plot and built upon the always-improving talents of Mark McGhee and the collective of proficient performers that join him by his side. Jackal Trades is at the core of Scottish hip hop for a reason.

***HIGHLIGHTS***

Chaos Nights, Badvisor, Suspiciously American Drug Education, The House That Jack, One Star From The Gutter, I Can See Patterns, Death Of The Centre, Jack To The Future

OUT NOW!


WEL

WHY EVERYONE LEFTTHIS IS NOT A TEST

Over the course of 5 years, Why Everyone Left have slowly but surely built into one of Italy’s most prominent pop-punk acts, and are set to cement that status with their long-awaited EP – This Is Not A Test.

It doesn’t take long at all for the boys to switch into high gear and bring forth a blistering energy to the table over the course of the tracks featured here.

Enzo’s harmonies are melodic and spilling with spirit, the guitars from Thomas are pleasing, and the two Luca’s help to keep the pace constant with bouncing and dynamic rhythms.

If all that wasn’t enough, they up the ante even further with tremendous choruses, while entertaining with great writing that makes a lasting mark and only improves with each listen.

Add in a quality production for good measure, and you have what is by far Why Everyone Left’s best and most significant work to date. More material like this in the future, and they will surely reach grand new heights.

***HIGHLIGHTS***

Pick You Up, Dead Inside, Whiskey & Coke

AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 2ND NOVEMBER!

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ARKDOWNTHE CALLING

Within a short space of time, Arkdown have established a reputation as one of Sheffield’s definitive metal acts, and having listened to their forthcoming second EP – The Calling – that sentiment rings very true.

The record is nothing short of a perpetual barrage, with one behemothic track being chugged out after the other, each donning a cumbersome power that is boosted by swift tempos, wild choruses and mighty big breakdowns.

Kyle puts in a hell of a shift with immense, guttural vocals at the forefront, while the pairing riffs add to the intensity, and the dense bass and drums cap off the rhythms with an extra dose of force.

The Calling is a mind-blower, and easily ranks as one of the most massive, rip-roaring British metal EPs of the year.

***HIGHLIGHTS***

Wake Up, Mirrors, It Calls Me

AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 2ND NOVEMBER!

mvcc

MVCCTHIS ISN’T FUN ANYMORE

Glasgow hip hop artist A-Macc, well known as a part of the Deadsoundz Inc collective, is back with a new project titled MVCC, and he has already got a lot of people talking with his debut solo record – This Isn’t Fun Anymore.

It’s been a long time since we’ve laid ears on Andy, but he quickly reminded us what made him notable in the first place, starting with the sharp inflections as he delivers verse after stinging verse, loaded with lyrics that are bitter and pungent.

The grim and bleak production fits perfectly with the overall tone of the album, and there’s a selection of really memorable choruses that pop up too which beg for multiple listens. Plus, the collaborators Andy gets on board are a tight match in their spots.

It’s not always strong, but when this record is good, it’s really damn good, featuring some cracking tracks that make a dent with intense writing and a regularly committed performance from Andy. Another worthwhile addition to the country’s teeming scene.

***HIGHLIGHTS***

Play Games, 030917, Save Me, Slippin’, This Isn’t Fun Anymore, Everything & Nothing

OUT NOW!


joy-cover-art

B**** HAWKJOY

Well, with a name like B**** Hawk, you can only hope for something subtle, right? Well, subtle they ain’t, but they are the very definition of mental. Case in point – their upcoming album, JOY.

In the space of 25 minutes, they blitz through a batch of bloody crazy tracks that are heavy and unrelenting, and it is a non-stop dash from the first note to the last.

Fred’s piercing vocals are among the most deranged of the year, Andreas pelts out a line of furious riffs, and the team of Patrik and Henrik on the bass and drums respectively curate rhythms that run at swift tempos and are brimming with such a stomach-dropping intensity.

JOY is an album that is heavy incarnate. Mad, chaotic and utterly rambunctious, the Swedish quartet have turned out something that is beautifully crazy and worth sitting through time and time again.

Undoubtedly won’t be for everybody, but this will surely satisfy metal fans out there that like their music straight up wild and are up for a good old-fashioned headbang.

***HIGHLIGHTS***

Baby Love, Get Up You’re Fine, EDM, Rikspsyk, Optical Chracter Recognition

AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 2ND NOVEMBER!

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TOM VEVERSEXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED RIGHT NOW

Homegrown in North Berwick and currently residing in jolly old Glasgow, Tom Vevers is one of many great acoustic artists to have made the rounds over the last number of years, and his latest effort – Exactly What You Need Right Now – might just be his best yet.

A quality that is instantly apparent is Tom’s harmonies, which are striking in pitch and really sincere, as he gets across the right amount of emotion that he wants to convey, and it helps to make the tracks all the more gripping. Also got to give credit to accomplices Robbie and Euan for doing their fair share too in that regard.

The writing is pretty strong as well, containing engaging themes and telling tales that are so magnetic. In fact, it’s probably one of the most interesting records as of late lyric-wise. Can’t forget to mention the fine performances on the guitar as well.

A fascinating EP that starts good, and only improves with each subsequent number. Tom Vevers is definitely a guy that cannot be overlooked.

***HIGHLIGHTS***

Children, Moscow

OUT NOW!


haiku

HAIKU GARDENWHERE IF NOT NOW

It’s been proven time and time again that Europe is home to some of the best underground shoegaze acts. Slovenian quartet Haiku Garden have established themselves as yet another over the last couple of years, and recently they released their first full-length record – Where If Not Now.

The guys produce an assortment of numbers that fuse elements of several genres such as rock, pop and a touch of psychedelia; the latter in particular giving it that immersive, dream-like quality the band are trying to achieve, and it’s certainly ambient, but they even succeed in creating a buzzing energy at times.

From a performance standpoint, the members play their parts to a tee. Above all, the vocals are fittingly smooth, the guitars adjust between dense and serene at a moment’s notice, and the synths are often the primary driving force behind the cool atmospheric sounds.

Haiku Garden’s objective with their debut album was to give listeners an engrossing experience, and in that regard, mission very much accomplished.

***HIGHLIGHTS***

Days Dripping Away, What Lies Within, Caving, Hazel, Drifter

OUT NOW!


UFOES

U-FOES – WHITEOUT

Following on from the demise of Silence The Foe and featuring members of other notable acts, the trio of U-Foes from Norway are wasting little time trying to make a formidable impression with their forthcoming debut album – Whiteout.

Whatever deliberate or not, the really raw guitars from Marcus have this sort of cybernetic quality to them, and this definitely helps give their sound more of a unique identity, and it’s even more interesting given that they use no effects at all.

The thunderous drum blasts from Peter are damn hefty and large in scale, and Anders delivers monstrous vocals on the mic. They consistently mix it up between the tracks, with some slower and swelling, whilst others kick it up and charge with the force of a stampede.

U-Foes have made a whopping impact with Whiteout, an unadulterated record featuring a line of awesomely deranged tunes packing tonnes of weight behind them. A promising start for a band set to light a fire within the Norwegian scene.

***HIGHLIGHTS***

The Getaway, Lies Refined A Thousand Times, Massive Star, No More No More

AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 2ND NOVEMBER!

gravelle

GRAVELLELIQUID SKIN

A cool new act has emerged from Livingston. They are the experiment post-punk duo known as Gravelle, who are fresh off releasing their first EP – Liquid Skin.

We get a quartet of seriously addicting tracks with dazzling sounds and captivating hooks, particularly during the utterly catchy choruses.

Monique generates stimulating melodies with the keys at hand, while Kyle bursts out with real sweet riffs, and the two are both top notch in the vocal department.

Liquid Skin might just be the single best Scottish debut record of the year. It is so fun, so well produced and so damn memorable that we cannot help but play it again and again. Perhaps the ultimate sleeper hit of 2018.

We are not exaggerating when we say that Gravelle are special, and we can only hope that the rest of the country finds this out as soon as possible.

***HIGHLIGHTS***

How I Learned To Stop Worrying, Touch Me, Shut Up

OUT NOW!


rarebreed

RARE BREEDCITY OF HANDS

Glasgow metal troupe Rare Breed have been on the go for quite some time now, however they never really had a record to define themselves with. But that all changed recently, as after many months of grinding in the studio, they finally put out their new EP – City Of Hands.

They get the ball rolling in firm fashion, and never lose their footing as they charge their way through a selection of rocking tunes that are packing rapid velocities and a tonne of energy.

The mix of vocals and screams work effectively, the tenacious guitars really stick out, and the songs are loaded with catchy, heavy sections tailor-made for banging your head to.

Not perfect by any stretch, but still a great record that is both enjoyably wild and the ideal representation of a band who should be earning more attention at this rate.

***HIGHLIGHTS***

City Of Hands, Broken Memory, Open Grave

OUT NOW!


GARLANDS

GARLANDSGOLDEN SOUNDS

It was around a year ago that Glasgow alternative pop trio Garlands came together, and they’ve garnered an underground following courtesy of their live shows, as well as their debut EP – Golden Sounds.

Each of the tunes on here providing a satisfying rush, thanks to perky melodies headed by neat harmonies, constantly pounding beats and rocking choruses.

With less focus on trying to create a complex work of art and more on something simply fun and energetic, this is a cracking little record worth going back to a few times more.

***HIGHLIGHTS***

Wake Up, Don’t Do Me Wrong

OUT NOW!


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CHAOS OVER COSMOSTHE UNKNOWN VOYAGE

For a metal fan, hunting through the European scene is an absolute blessing. Left, right and centre, cool new acts emerge and leave a mark, and here is an example that is no different.

Chaos Over Cosmos is the unique duo of Polish guitarist Rafal and Spanish vocalist Javier, and from different ends of the continent, they have collaborated together to produce their first album – The Unknown Voyage.

The pair really go the extra mile and deliver lengthy, progressive numbers with large, absorbing sounds and powerhouse rhythms. Rafal throws everything into the electric riffs, especially as he busts out some wild solos, and Javier utilises his voice to his full advantage to pitch out fiery harmonies.

While it could do with a little polishing in some spots, The Unknown Voyage is, on the whole, a thrilling record.

***HIGHLIGHTS***

Armour Of The Stars, The Compass, The Sky Remembered By Night

OUT NOW!


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THE SHANMEANWHILE

Alternative rock and roll quartet The Shan are recent newcomers to Edinburgh’s rich music scene, and they did pretty well in making an impression with their debut EP – Meanwhile.

They crash out the gates at a fast pace, and from wall-to-wall keep it going non-stop with a set of charged numbers that have a real verve to them. The distorted guitars are damn good and the rhythms are vigorous.

It’s short, but gets the job done nicely. It’s a great preview for what this lot have to offer, and we would be keen to hear more.

***HIGHLIGHTS***

Discount Violence, Crawling I

OUT NOW!

SMALL GIG REPORT | TheCityIsOurs – Ivory Blacks (24.10.18)

TCIO


Kicking off the night were Glasgow’s own Corrupt The System, and man did they rock. The metal troupe worked as a tight, coherent unit throughout as they churned out tunes from their Game Over album and the like.

There were some dynamic riffs and bulky vocals from the pair of Neil and Paul. Meanwhile, Gary plucked out some awesome chords off his hellish-looking bass, and Adam was in the zone with great, rapid drumming.

It was damn impressive stuff from an act who got the job done, and to be quite frank, we feel we haven’t given this act nearly enough attention.


We had originally seen Horizons at Friends With Benefest last year. They were good then, and it was a similar story here.

The hardcore quintet were on their usual form, with Johnathan showing a lot of confidence and packing brawn behind his screams. Lee, Matt and Adam were lined up on the bass and guitars respectively and played their parts adequately, and the drum beats from Lewis were pretty potent.

Highlights included HollowedA Bid Farewell and the hooking Pathfinder to wrap up on, topped by a surprise guest appearance from our new pal, Mikey from TheCityIsOurs.

Overall, they put on a real solid showing that kept the attention of the crowd, and we wouldn’t mind seeing them yet again in the future.


It goes without saying by this point that As Everything Unfolds have been riding a huge wave of momentum lately, between constantly growing attention on them and their recently released blow-away EP, so we were surely in for something to remember.

They instantly found a groove and established a presence in front of everybody, which never cooled as they dished out a set of exciting tracks, primarily from Closure, with focal points such as the immense Centuries, the energetic You Will Be and the huge and catchy Divided, and just like the EP, they were joined by Sam from TheCityIsOurs for the latter, and let’s just say that he and Charlie make for a hell of a combo.

Charlie was so engrossed in her performance and wielded a seriously versatile voice. The twin guitars from Adam and Owen were loud and large, the rhythm section of George and Jamie kinetic, and Jon was bouncing around merrily behind the keys, and littered throughout were fantastic choruses and sizeable drops.

An incredible effort from a band who have only cemented all the more that they are destined for big things.


Truth be told, we had never listened to TheCityIsOurs prior to this tour being announced, and boy were we missing out, so to make up for the sin of lost time, we made sure to be present front and centre for them to finish off the show.

The venue darkened (and the stage was mopped) and they soon emerged, proceeding to fire out banger after banger for what was a non-stop thrill ride.

Sam was a superb frontman and a natural fit in his role, Mikey was the ideal companion, being passionate in his own right, and courtesy of Jay, Louis and Stuart, it was excellent riffs, thumping bass tones and banging drum beats galore, and the breakdowns were of the holy-moly standard.

Their chemistry was undeniable, and they kept the energy flowing from to end to end, not being disrupted by a few technical faults. The stage production was also something to behold; chock full with colourful lights, blinding strobes and jets of smoke.

It was simply spectacular, and we would happily pay a lot of money to relive the experience again. Also, watching the two drunken diehards at the barrier in the midst of it all was worth the price of admission alone.

 

THE SMALL PLAYLIST – Week #1

WOODFISH – DAMN THANG

The New Jersey trio deliver one of the most breathtakingly funky tracks of the year that is highlighted by an infectious rhythm, a catchy chorus, and some insanely jaw-dropping bass work. Absolutely awesome!


COCOA FUTURES – BIG TIME

A tranquil single from one of Tottenham’s most promising acts, feature vibrant harmonies and a balance of polished guitars and a smooth beat.


VOICE OF AIKO – PRESCRIPTION DREAM

The London collective of musicians and other creative folk team up together to produce a track touching upon the overlooked dangers of prescribed drugs that often go a miss, but can lead to dangerous consequences.

The song has a perfectly matching trippy, spellbinding sound to compliment the subject matter, and the accompanying video is among the most beautifully made of 2018.


BACKROADS – A HOUSE FOR CASEY

One of Bristol’s premier metal outfits deliver this brilliant single from their chart-topping EP that commences slowly and gradually swells before launching into an immense second half.

Dynamic riffs, banging drum blows and fiercely emotional vocals make this a must-listen.


PARLIAMO – SWEET

Big things are being said about this Perth pop group, and this is clear evidence as to why. A cracking, addictive tune with a lot of energy to it, good lyrics and the bounciest of rhythms.


THE EVES – TIDES

Marissa and Caroline’s new dual venture has already picked up a lot of attention, courtesy of a debut single that shines with affectionate vocals, memorable writing and a glowing sound that steadily grows with each passing second.


PRIMES – BODIES

The Scottish trio continue to impress with yet another excellent tune that is awfully catchy and topped by one hell of an amazing, energetic chorus.


ANDY K LELAND – THE KINGDOM

The opening track and third single from one of Italy’s most promising songwriters, this is an interesting song that draws the listener with a simplistic but intriguing low-key sound, candid vocals and compelling lyrics.


DAVE GILES – TAKEN TOO SOON

The London musician gives us a tune with some of the most genuinely heart-tugging lyrics of this year that personally had us struggling to fight back the emotions, and Dave conveys them flawlessly through an incredible performance.


STEVE GROZIER – RINGING OF THE BELLS IV

One of Glasgow’s finest Americana musicians is back with an engaging track that has a good melody to it and features terrific writing, as well as an equally great performance from accomplice Roscoe Wilson on the guitar.


RUBIAN – START AGAIN

Glasgow’s newest indie pop group make a legitimate impression with their superb debut single, consisting of stunning vocals, slick riffs and a big, memorable chorus.


HOLY PIRANHA – SAY WHAT?

The Stirling rock trio impress with another fine single that is seriously catchy and enveloped by an enjoyable distorted sound.


PANDACAR – HISTORY’S REPEATING

The first single from the Glaswegian post-punk trio is a cracking tune with nicely dissentient writing and a catchy as hell chorus that sticks in the head, and it only gets more mad as they rush towards a rocking finish.


CHASIN’ THE TRAIN – WHISKEY BOTTLE

The first half of this double-sided single serves as a proper introduction to the Dumfries blues rock group, led by a jumping rhythm, mighty sweet harmonicas and a solid chorus.