SMALL RECORD REVIEWS | #5 | The Shadowman



In the early half of 2017, Newcastle quintet of Tomorrow Is Lost came to fruition, and in no time at all, they started to make a name for themselves with a mixture of numerous great singles and dynamic live shows across the country on a seemingly non-stop basis.

From this, they have attracted attention as one of the hottest and hardest working young acts to emerge in the British rock scene as of late, and we couldn’t have been happier when they announced the release date of their eagerly awaited debut EP – The Shadowman.

Right off the bat, they instantly set the bar with one of the wildest opening tracks of the year in the form of We Are The Lost, and they keep that standard at a consistent high all the way up to the finish.

Cass is an incredible vocalist through and through, with such a rigid power behind that voice of hers; the central component of immense, awesome hard rock numbers ignited by a flaring energy courtesy of blazing riffs and seriously potent rhythms that go all in as they hit the staggering choruses.

With great writing and a clear diversity between the tunes as the icing on the cake, The Shadowman is an astounding record that is loud and large and triggers a feeling of sense of excitement that never ceases, leaving you buzzing for long after.

We have been an advocate of this bunch since we had the pleasure of being presented their first single, and we feel this EP has done enough to prove their worth and put them on a map as one of the UK’s next big hard rock bands.


We Are The Lost, Insane, No One Knows




Age appears to be just a number when it comes to music, as proven by Dallas power poppers Not Ur Girlfrenz. The trio are hardly in their teens, being a combined average of only 13, but given the quality of their material, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking they were at least twice that.

But what is it about these girls that has big acts such as Bowling For Soup asking for them to join their side across the pond for a UK tour? Well, the answer can be found in their appropriately titled debut EP – New Kids In America.

Each of the tracks on this are defined by really bouncy, buoyant melodies that are just plain catchy, filled with infective hooks along the way. Liv’s vocals are sharp in pitch and brash in tone, while Gigi and Maren drive the songs with pulsing rhythms that create this nice feeling of cheery elation.

But beneath the exterior of these pieces is surprisingly adult writing, with lyrics that touch upon themes that are pretty relevant to the members, and that is the striking quality where this record shines finest and helps it to make a bigger mark beyond it’s cool sound on the surface.

Not Ur Girlfrenz’ first EP certainly did a 180 on our expectations, being produced from their abilities that mix together youthful sensibilities and a developing maturity to the best advantage possible.

Given how much they’ve impressed at such an early stage, we can only imagine what the future holds for them, but we’d be shocked if it turns out anything other than good.


No One Asked You Anyway, Friends Or Memories, New Kids In America




Blackpool metal outfit Ravenface were making a lot of noise and garnering loads of praise back around the start of the decade, before sadly dispersing in 2013.

But much to our liking, they would then emerge out of hiding last year with a brand new-line up and a rejuvenated drive, and their comeback is about to be completed by their forthcoming album, the aptly named Breathe Again.

It doesn’t take long to get engulfed in the band’s sweeping sound, which is elevated by a lavish production quality. Leading man James impresses with bracing, highly impassioned vocals that are complimented by the backing harmonies of guitarist Jack, who is equally busy shredding some fine riffs alongside Leah. Meanwhile, Adam and Cameron team up to deliver heart-pounding rhythms that go all-in as they charge into the huge choruses.

While great overall, the one thing that does drag it down a little is that there is not much to separate the songs to make each of them stand out. It feels like the album has a whole follows a formula, which becomes more noticeable and somewhat repetitious as it rides along.

But with all that said, there is still a real effort put on display here where the group do make the most of their veteran skills. What it lacks in variety, it makes up for with hardy performances, an epic size and solid writing at the core. Not quite perfect, but a welcome return to form nonetheless.


Tastes Like Misery, In Time In Sight, Breathe Again, Colder, Light In The Dark




Whenever people discuss the Scottish music scene, usually most will direct themselves to Glasgow, but as we’ve been exposed to time and time again, the town of Paisley is very rich and brimming with talents, from the likes of Lisa Kowalski to The Vegan Leather, and here is yet another.

Folk pop artist Michael Cassidy is a fella that’s had his fair share of success, including nabbing the Best Acoustic award at the 2016 SAMA’s, but it’s been a while since we’ve had a record out of him. Luckily, that all changed recently with the release of his brand new EP – I Never Made It.

Spurred by delicate acoustics, the songs lay down the hurt and unhappiness of a failing romance, told through some excellent lyrical content and carried by poignant vocals that are equally sharp and emotional. The numbers also have some great facets that are memorable, such as the catchy chorus of You’re Gone, or the awe-inspiring strings featured in Benbecula.

Michael has returned to the limelight in the best fashion possible, with an EP that is so pure and authentic. It really expresses the melancholy tones of the material and makes an effective imprint that will have you coming back for more.


You’re Gone, Benbecula, The Wedding Dress




Glasgow singer-songwriter Peter Kelly has been in the game for a fair amount of time, and is best known for his alternative folk project, Beerjacket.

Over the course of the last 3 years, he has been slowly but surely forging together his ultimate project, that being an album titled Silver Cords, and after spending so long working on it, we are happy to say that the finished product has proved his efforts to be worthwhile.

Peter is an adept storyteller and lyricist all in one, hooking with some incredible, emotional writing that links throughout, conveyed through the heartfelt harmonies. The majority of the songs have a quiet, mellow tone, although there are some that feature a grander size to them, but all are gripping.

As you progress from track to track, you wait for that weak one to break the streak, but that never happens, it’s nearly flawless in being consistently strong, to the point where trying to pick out specific highlights is quite the challenge, and the more we listen, the more that certain elements begin to stand out and elevate our appreciation.

Silver Cords is an absolutely wonderful experience that clearly has so much love and toil thrown into it, and we don’t say this lightly, but it may very well be a candidate for the best Scottish folk record of 2018.


Hopen, Half, Nervous, Friends, Cord, Arms




It was back in 2016 that Tottenham trio Cocoa Futures made a significant impact in the British underground with their Blue EP, which was released to plenty of acclaim and made them ones to watch.

Over the last year, the boys have been hard at work in the studio trying to create a respectable follow-up on the same level, and now it’s here – Recovery.

What we get is a collection of sweet pop pieces that have this sheer, rich quality to them, basking in an enticing ambience that is joyous to the ears.

Greg’s vocal performances are so utterly crisp and vibrant, the smooth rhythms have a nice groove to them, and the melodies are infectiously catchy, with the sensational title track being the champion in that area.

Cocoa Futures’ sophomore record is just fabulously exquisite, and continues to show off the talents of 3 very skilled gentlemen that know how to get the job done.


Recovery, Sink In The Water, Big Time




I Am Pariah are a name that we’ve seen doing the rounds in the metal scene a lot as of late, but now that we’ve been given the opportunity to actually check them out via their forthcoming EP – Procreate//Annihilate – it turns out they’re actually pretty cracking, and then some.

As soon as they get rolling from the first verse, you know you’re in for something damn good, with all the tracks here being big, boisterous thrill rides. The harmonies are powerfully piercing, the riffs are plain wild and the programming adds to the scale so nicely.

The poignant lyrics are another element that stand out, tackling a variety of subject matters that range from something as simple as giving the middle finger to all those who treat you badly, to the cruel nature of the music industry.

They even delve into something as dark and distressing as child abuse, but they have no fear digging into topics like this, and all the credit to them for doing so.

Procreate//Annihilate is a superb record that is great on two fronts. It’s an utter blast that is tailormade for headbanging along to, but there are plenty of mature layers underneath the frenzy that make this one worth regularly returning to.


Heavy In Japan, A Place To Belong, Cult Society


Habberdash - MATM EP Cover


Hailing from Sheffield, the quartet known as Habberdash have spent the last 5 years honing their craft whilst simultaneously building their image within their local scene.

But it wasn’t until the latter part of 2017 that the guys would head into the studio to produce a record that would finally showcase the best of their capabilities and cement them a place as one of the UK’s hottest young acts.

12 months or so on, and the time has almost arrived to unveil it to the world. It is Morning After The Madness, and the result has proved to be as great as we had anticipated.

The tracks have a substantial sound that is real engrossing, chock full of energy and running off thrilling, turbulent rhythms littered with investing hooks that will pull in rock fans, but also featuring a lighter, poppy strain that will get listeners of more mainstream music interested too.

The vocal performances are avid and full of life, while the guitars are spotlighted through cool riff sections and blistering solos dotted about, and the bass and drum combos help add to the size and satisfy the senses.

Morning After The Madness is a short but undeniably dynamic rollercoaster of an EP that perfectly succeeds as the ideal platform for the band to display their purely evident talents.


Superstar, Like A Lover, Hear You Say




Alternative rockers Dead Fiction have not been around long, but it’s safe to say that they’ve been catching the attention of many already with what they’ve had to offer so far.

Things have been going smoothly to this point, but now they prepare for their first true test with their upcoming self-titled debut EP.

The general sound of the material has this pure, raw quality akin to that which all the great, modern Scottish rock acts of a similar vein that have sprouted over the years had. There’s also this perpetual fire that lasts throughout the entirety of the record, and it is one that never simmers.

The vocals are so hearty and have a fierce spirit behind them, the guitars are compelling and the drum beats only add to that pounding drive through all the tracks, which are topped off with choruses that are both large in scale and catchy as hell.

This EP is an incredible effort with so much to love about it, leaving you with a long-lasting buzz as it wraps up, and it only gets better and better as you run on back for more. We have been thoroughly impressed by Dead Fiction here, who undoubtedly rank high as one of Scotland’s top newcomers of 2018.


Polarised Parts, Crushed By The Weight, Bloodline




We can’t help it when we harp on about certain acts that we love, but when they make such an indescribable impact so unexpectedly, it can’t be helped. Livi Morris, aka Runrummer, is an individual who falls into this division, coming out of nowhere with her debut EP – Soul Wrinkles.

From the get-go, the electronic pop artist makes a tantalising mark with tracks that have this mesmeric resonance, simultaneously being carried by wonderful melodies and generating tingling atmospheres.

In other areas, Livi shines with stunning vocal performances, the choruses are so great, and most definitively, the writing is amazing, primarily tackling subject matters touching upon mental health, and doing so impeccably.

The strikingly addictive Good For Nothing is the prime example that combines the best of these elements, becoming what is in our mind one of the ultimate tracks of the entire year.

We have so much to say about this that we could go on for ages, but we’ll spare you all the extra reading. The point is, Soul Wrinkles is a tremendous work from a very talented lady hailing from East London who deserves way more attention, and hopefully that comes sooner than later.


Good For Nothing, Penny Drop, Eyes




Instrumental metal trio Grant The Sun broke into the limelight of the Norwegian underground scene last year with their debut EP, which got a lot of folk hooked, and now they’re back for a second round with another record titled Simmar Ur Bild.

Each of the tunes are driven by a firm, pulsing force that starts off resonant, cranks up for a fiercely exciting and energetic middle, before wrapping up on a strong note. The guitar work is consistently great, the basslines aren’t half-bad, and the drumming is seriously good.

An underrated little gem we’ve got here that is tightly performed, and will surely satisfy any headbanger that finds this in their radar.


Tje Kjonoj, Ondskans Vaktmastare




Ayrshire musician Stewart Bryden has spent the last decade and a half involved in a variety of projects, but never has he before ventured alone. That is until recently, when he released his first solo effort – The Bones Of Yesterday.

He quickly reminds us of just how capable a vocalist he is, with a tonne of vitality flowing through his singing. His writing is grasping, and everything else from the mix of acoustic/electric guitars to the harmonicas are done superbly.

The songs also stand out with their own individual qualities, with the title track being the undisputed highlight, featuring quite a rocking energy that gets you riled up.

Stewart has made the most of his veteran experience to deliver an EP that is thoroughly entertaining and thrives beyond expectations. Don’t you dare let this one pass you by.


The Bones Of Yesterday, Fleeting Moments




Curdle are a riot pop four piece of the trippy variety who have been playing around the Glasgow scene for a number of years now, but they only just recently came into our radar with the release of their self-titled debut album.

The quartet get the ball rolling with the rocking Give Me Your Phone Number, and from there, proceed to give us a line of tracks that swap between slow and smooth, and more bouncy ones with likeably rugged rhythms.

The songs of the latter kind tend to be the stronger ones that also feature some decent riffs, stiff bass chords and a lot of personality flowing through the vocals as they spout out some amusing lyrics, with highlights in this category including Dave Gahan and In My Car. Unfortunately, there are a couple or so that fall on the flat side that make little impact, and admittedly it sputters a little towards the end.

While rough around the edges production-wise and a lot of the songs don’t click as well as they should, Curdle’s record admittedly did gradually grow on us, because when the material is good, it’s real good, and becomes all the more enjoyable with each passing listen.

A farcry from being perfect, sure, but there’s enough here to warrant checking this out at least once, and perhaps it may be worth coming back to time and time again.


Dave Gahan Is Such A Love Butt, Give Me Your Phone Number, Dave Vanian, In My Car, Knock, Top 3



SMALL GIG REPORT | Dead Or American – Nice N Sleazy (10.11.18)


The hairy duo of Acid Cannibals got the gig rolling with quite the mad set. From end to end, they belted out a collection of berserk, fast-paced numbers with reckless abandon, including some choice picks off their Why Not Every Night EP, and all had folk politely bobbing their heads along.

The guitarist, turned away from the crowd, ripped out some great, grungy and distorted chords at breakneck speed, and the drummer was insanely good, punching out intense, heavy-hitting beats so fast that his arms were just a blur; a real sight to see. He also admired Ritchie of Dead Or American’s beautiful kit.

Admittedly, it was hard to hear the vocals sometimes due to the high reverb on the mic, and there were also one or two spots they went so off the scale that it was a bit messy. But overall, the pair gave us an enjoyable loud and brash as all hell opening. And remember: “everybody’s great!”

And now for the most abrupt change of tone to a gig ever, as Adam Stafford was up next. Truthfully speaking, the Falkirk native was the main reason that we were here tonight, being a big fan of his for 2 years now, but what we got completely defied all expectations.

He produced tracks with these grand, cinematic soundscapes, intricately formed from a mixture of his guitar, an assortment of pedals, and even his own voice, all put to use in tremendous fashion, and he had a firm sense of timing.

It has to be said, we can’t recall that many musicians that get into such a zone during a performance that Adam did, being so utterly sucked into it, and when he played the more dynamic stuff, his energy was unreal. It was really something to behold, like he was in his own little world; waterfalls of sweat spilling off him, and with the demeanour of a person with a screw loose.

We could probably go on for ages about our thoughts and feelings coming out of that, but it certainly proved Adam to be a unique, incredibly creative individual who doesn’t get enough appreciation. Sure he’s different, radically different, and his style more than likely turned off a few people at the show, but it sure beats being boring and beige, doesn’t it?

And finally, Stirling post-hardcore outfit Dead Or American stepped up after a years-long hiatus. They last released music long before we ever stepped foot onto the scene, and after seeing them in person, it turned out that we seriously missed out back in the day.

Despite being away for ages, they seemed to shake off the rust with little problem, appearing natural and in their element. They dusted off a line-up of material that had the crowd fixated and hooked through it all; a handful of them dancing, and even a few singing back the words.

The performance on the whole was tight, with strong dual vocals, superb riffs and the energetic, forceful rhythms were constantly pumping with gas, hitting a peak during the fantastic and catchy choruses, and that pace was maintained throughout.

No geriatric jokes here. Deservedly greeted with passionate cheers and applause, the quartet made a triumphant return and showed everybody that they still have what it takes, providing a satisfying nostalgia trip for the diehards and a wild experience for newcomers like ourselves.


SMALL GIG REPORT | The Katet – The Hug & Pint (09.11.18)


For a number of years now, we have been enamoured by Rosie Bans and her music, but in all that time, we never actually had the pleasure of meeting and seeing her live until this very night, and the wait couldn’t have been any more worth it.

Rosie proved to be a woman of many talents, and there were 4 in particular that we could pinpoint. Firstly, her voice is astounding, being so pure and powerfully echoing around the room. Secondly, she is an utterly slick pianist, being able to jump from key to key in a flash with such poise.

Third, her lyrics are engrossing and featured relatable themes, with highlights in this area including InstinctsHome and Kindness. And lastly, even her anecdotes between songs were interesting. It had never occurred to us that she is a natural storyteller, and whether it’s about the smell of Berlin or her screaming ovaries, we could listen to her for hours.

She may be a compulsive oversharer, but damn is she an amazing performer. Keeping the audience entranced throughout, it was a mesmerising display from one of Scotland’s most underappreciated artists.

And now it was time for headliners The Katet to come on up. The seven just barely squeezed onto the stage, and they started off nice and easygoing, gradually building up to the catchier stuff as they progressed, which was defined by an insanely good sound that fused funk and jazz; something relatively fresh in the Scottish scene; and it had us shaking our hips quite often.

Mike the frontman looked as if he was having the time of his life – that smile of his is contagious – and he was cool on the keyboard. Jed’s riffs were so stylish, Craig and Davide’s rhythms flowed well, and the brass trio of Charles, Tom and Ross were unbelievably superb, just wowing us every chance they had with their sweet abilities.

In the midst of their setlist were notable tracks from their Guillotine album that we were familiar with, such as Calvin Klein, The Bed And The Arms and the exciting Everything Is Not Gonna Be OK, and they even brought Rosie back up for a pair of tunes, and of course she was delightful.

While maybe running on the side of being too lengthy, the 12 year veterans put forth their experience and delivered an excellent show. They had journeyed all the way to Glasgow to bring the party, and they more or less succeeded. A perfect act for any function, as long as it doesn’t involve cruise ships…

Craig-Russell Horne’s review of the gig – “f***ing amazing, gig of the year!”

SMALL GIG REPORT | The Vignettes – “Subway Romance” Launch


Yung KP would be starting off the night, and it’s difficult to put into concise words what we witnessed. But first, the essentials – the trio blasted out short punk-rock numbers made up of great riffs, sharp bass lines and fervent drumming; most of them driven by infectious, butt-shaking grooves, especially Art School.

But boy, did things enter bizarro territory on many an occasion – tops were stripped off, the bassist wandered around aimlessly, there were nonsensical conversations between songs, and we got what was probably the most intense playing of a recorder ever…

…but you know what, and we believe the same can be said for the rest of the audience there, we couldn’t look away, so they must have done something right. To sum it up, it was weird but wonderful.

Quiche have been quietly rising as a must-see act over the course of 2018, and we were awfully keen to finally see them in person. They came off looking strong with a combination of excellent harmonies that blended perfectly, a line of slick guitars and pretty engaging rhythms.

A key element that elevated them was the diversity of their material; in one instance, they would give us something smooth and swaying, the next moment they were more peppy and energetic.

The group were so lively and fluent, and had the people hooked as a result, even attracting the attention of the Yung KP boys, who emerged from the shadows to showcase some delightful dancing.

It was a really tight performance that thoroughly impressed and left us craving more.

A mass of folk pushed forward towards the front of the stage for The Vignettes, so there was an obvious buzz within the room.

The guys delivered a mashup of old and new tunes – of course, their cracking new single Subway Romance was on the list – and all were greeted with zealous cheers, and for good reason, as each for them were splendidly intoxicating rock and roll tracks riding off such a snappy energy.

All four were top notch, and leading the charge was Hamish, who displayed a fierce showmanship that was magnetic, as he oozed passion and gave it his all, sweating himself silly in the process.

The atmosphere in the venue was simply electric, with a tonne of crowd participation involving clapping, singing along, happy blokes on top of shoulders and cries for glowsticks. It was captivating, and you wanted to be part of it so badly, not wanting to feel left out of it all, and isn’t that ultimately the sign of a good show?

Capping off with the frenzied Young Bohemians, there was no doubt that this was a staggering victory for the quartet, who demonstrated a high caliber of talent on a brilliant night that we are so thankful to have been invited to, leaving a big fat smile etched on our face for hours afterwards.


SMALL GIG REPORT | Blood Command – Audio (07.11.18)


To start off this diverse night of music were Glasgow’s prime synthpop group 100 Fables, who we had last seen in action making a killing headlining the O2 ABC2, and man were they good here.

Cutting the chitchat to a bare minimum, they dived straight in and dished out hit after hit, including old favourites The PressureElectric Girls And Boys and the emotionally-driven Untold, in addition to awesome singles from earlier in 2018 like Complications and the infectious Neon Nightmare.

The key strength of this band is in their live presence, and we got some addictive melodies, sweet riffs and bouncy rhythms, and if you could name us a more enthusiastic vocalist in Scotland that gives no less than 200% on the same level as Lyndsey, then please make us aware.

On a bill that they were probably not suited for, they still impressed in the opening position and managed to hook in a lot of listeners that were not from their usual scene, so kudos to them.

It had been ages since we last saw Donnie Willow. Firing out with Stuck, they played a pretty tight set consisting of numbers from the Exhibition EP such as Toys and the mighty Blessed Company, intermixed with new material that the boys have been grinding away on, and they all sounded real promising.

The trio as a whole worked well, displaying their years-long chemistry. Arthur was strong wielding the guitar and venting sharp, broad-ranged vocals that paired nicely with Sam’s harmonies and crunchy bass tones, and Peter was a resilient force at the kit.

Only minor issue: perhaps a little too much time spent on tuning between songs that killed the pace a little, but otherwise it was great stuff as expected, and they earned a positive response from the crowd, so they deserve credit on that front.

There was a wave of anticipation hovering in the room before Blood Command headed on. We have to confess that we had only discovered this band via the announcement of this gig, but we had quickly fallen in love with them prior to the show, so we were just as buzzing.

The Nordics had some early trouble with major mic issues, but as soon as that hurdle was quickly cleared, they held nothing back in putting forth one hell of a performance.

The energy from the six was off the charts for the entire hour, as they threw out endless bangers. Collectively between them were insane vocals, a triad of blazing riffs and wholly resonant rhythms, plus you can’t beat an extra dose of maracas and (airbourne) tambourines.

It was jumping, shredding and synchronised kicks galore, and the outfit firmly had the audience in a mad clapping, headbanging rally throughout, including one immensely passionate bearded bloke in red; a true fan, if we ever saw one.

Blood Command came all the way from Norway to conquer Scotland, and oh boy, they did so with such ease. An outstanding, blow-away effort that made an empathetic statement.

SMALL GIG REPORT | Apna – Ivory Blacks (04.11.18)


So there was an hour’s delay due to drop outs, but eventually Open Minded Skeptics from Leven got the gig rolling with not the longest of sets. As stated, they were a little knackered from antics the previous night, so they weren’t on top form, but saying that, they were better than they probably had a right to be.

We were honestly impressed by Koupa shooting out some swift vocals, the riffs were not bad and the rhythms were fine, although maybe a little too occupied trying to reposition the drumkit.

It all came to a screeching halt when a guitar string snapped, and being exhausted with no backups to hand, they called it quits. Not much to say given the circumstances, it could have been worse, but we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt here. Maybe a little less of the fruit juice next time…

In our review of his debut EP, we named Minches “a peculiar breath of fresh air in the Scottish scene”, and after this night, that was clearly an understatement. He commenced with his first song, belting out “SHUT THE F*** UP, STOP BEING A F***ING C***!”, totally unaware that it was a 14+ gig…

So after being naturally told to abort and somehow not getting himself kicked out, he continued with tracks from his record, such as Caked In DiamondsSlumberjack and the catchy Something Decent, and credit to Martin for censoring himself on the fly; “horrible person” was definitely not the original lyric.

We even got treated to a freestyle revolving around cats, death and the seaside…as you do. He put on a manic performance, fearlessly bouncing about flashing his hairy chest with such a fierce energy that radiated off the stage.

It was something so bizarre, yet you couldn’t look away. We were right in saying that he is one of the most unique acts on the go right now, he’s just incomparable. Whether he’s able to build a wider audience is another question, but for now, we’ll bask in the oddness.

And now we return to the realms of reality with somebody way more normal, down to earth and rule-abiding – Laurie Talbot-Heigh, better known as LTH.

He was a lovely gentleman, and he and his backing crew gave us a line of nice, simple numbers with decent vocals, solid memories and fine hooks.

A couple of points – Laurie needs to loosen his nerves a touch, and the whole band could do with tightening up more, but honestly these are things that nothing more than a little polish and practice can fix up, but overall we’d be happy to see this chap in action again.

And finally, to close off the night were the quartet of Apna, and a worthy choice to do so. They fired out a set of enjoyable indie rock tunes with engaging rhythms and catchy choruses that had us and the crowd squished at the barrier quite invested.

The highlights included Black Star, Day At The Races and Who’s It Gonna Be, and their cover of Kasabian’s LSF was smashing.

There were a couple of major slip-ups, without a doubt, but we’re not going to hold that much against them, because they were otherwise genuinely entertaining.

A long way to go yet, but Apna demonstrated a fair amount of talent and promise, and if given time to develop, we could be seeing them on bigger stages in years to come, and we don’t say that lightly.




It’s no secret that Scottish quartet LUCIA have been gaining notoriety as one the most promising up and coming alternative rock acts in all of the country, evident by a growing national fanbase and award nominations.

They’ve now got another reason for people to get invested, that being their latest, much anticipated EP – Cheap Talk.

The tracks are defined by stellar melodies that have an attractive quality to them, and dotted with fantastic, memorable lyrics.

The harmonies are irresistible and have a tonne of personality behind them, the guitars are vibrant, and the catchy rhythms made from a blend of smooth bass chords and slick drumming are mighty good.

As expected, Cheap Talk is a smashing record, with a line-up of songs that are all so great and leave us struggling to choose which are the highlights between them. In case you needed more proof of what has folk falling in love with this group, you have it right here.


Summertime, All The Money In The World, Cheap Talk


Freaks In The Ocean Album Cover


Brand new to the Latvian music scene? Well, so are we, and our introduction to it could not have come from a better band: alternative pop-rockers Neon Saturdays, who are set to release their second full-length album, Freaks In The Ocean.

It doesn’t take long for the listener to sucked into the sound, which is not only melodic, but luxurious in both scale and quality.

The unified harmonies are incredible, and really boost the size of every number. In addition, the guitars are luminous, and the polished combo of bass and drum beats are the cherry on top.

The great writing has a great pull to it, and the choruses are simply infectious. There’s also a nice balance of both low-key and energetic songs to give it that consistently fresh feeling of diversity.

Freaks In The Ocean is for sure one of the most grand, investing records we have listened to in recent memory, and it’s about time that the rest of the world was make aware of Neon Saturdays’ talents.


Phoenix, Heartbeat, Get Up, I’m Alive, Movie Love, Since 17




Hailing from London, singer-songwriter Dale Giles has been on a journey nearly a year long, which has involved raising a lot of funds, travelling all the way to America and dedicating every ounce of his being, in order to produce a brand new album – Tennessee & 48th – but have the ambitious trials and tribulations paid off?

The songs on the album cover quite the range of themes, with examples such as nostalgia, individuality, not-so-nice relationships and premature death, and without fail, he manages to absorb the listeners and hook them on these subject matters.

His performances, both vocally and on the guitar, are terrific, and you really get that sense of belief in the emotion behind everything he sings, and that he’s giving it his all throughout. His backing band help to elevate the sound of each number and make them all the more engrossing, and the writing, as you would probably gather, is sensational.

Dave has taken so many risks to put together this record, and you know what, his efforts have seriously paid off here. Tennessee & 48th is a brilliant, professionally curated work that is compelling from the first note to the last, and the public need to start giving this man the attention that he warrants.


Taken Too Soon, Devil In A Green Dress, Child Again, Whiskey And Daffodils, Who I Wanna Be




Dopesickfly are undoubted one of the prominent funk acts in the local Scottish scene, and for good reason. They have an infectious sound that also mixes in touches of rock and hip hop, and they are something to behold live, as we personally learned when they headlined Broadcast last year.

The group released their self-titled debut album back in 2016, and it’s a fun record with lots to offer, but now they are back with a brand new EP titled Dreamerz Never Sleep, and it’s on an entirely different level.

Ant is sensational on the mic, with an excellent voice loaded with elation and featuring a broad range, but he’s only one piece of a great puzzle, as the guitars are glorious, the bass lines are real nifty, and the drums carry forth the pulsing rhythms.

Every song is so catchy and running off such an exhilarant energy that has you inadvertently moving your body to the beats, it’s just irresistible, and the lyrics are pretty memorable in their own right.

If it wasn’t obvious already, Dreamerz Never Sleep is an electric listening experience that is fun, fiercely addictive and just about flawless. What a blast, it is.


Let’s Go, Hey You, Treat Love Simple




Since local outfit The 21st State called it quits, Craig Horne has went on to establish himself as a solo electronic artist. Earlier this year, he put out his debut EP titled Robotz & Machinez, which did well to give us all a taste of what he’s capable of.

But now, Craig has taken it to another level that has him standing out from the rest of the pack with his debut album – With The Absence Of Light.

Unlike most of the stuff you expect from the genre, there’s little in the way of fun and games, as Craig uses the tracks to touch upon and explore serious, real life problems, whether it’s affects people individually or as a collective, such as battling mental health, or ongoing political issues.

The writing as a whole is dark and uneasy and makes a stiff impact. The tone of the record is reflected well in the sounds produced, ranging between soft and atmospheric, or hard-hitting and aggressive, often fitting well with the subject matter of the current song.

With The Absence Of Light is a strong and impressionable album that has surpassed our expectations of what Craig was capable of, being a lyrically consuming work that will surely put him on the map. One of Scotland’s most promising newcomers in 2018, that’s for sure.


Terrifying, Safe, Wait, The Happiness Illusion




A few years ago, Dutch musician Emily Meekel migrated to Glasgow to not only study, but to also immerse herself within one the world’s most prestigious scenes.

In the process, she formed a group by the name of EMME, and after plenty of time to build their standing in the city, they recently came out with their second EP titled I K.

First and foremost, Emily instantly awes with one of the most bewitchingly stunning voices we have heard in quite a while. Her harmonies are sharp, pitch-perfect and convey the captivating lyrics so, so well.

In addition, she has enlisted a very proficient trio in the form Grant, Chris and Jordan-Lee to help produce some beautifully melodic tracks that each daze in their own ways – whether on the livelier, catchier side, or slower and fiercely atmospheric – but all of them are mesmerising, no matter the tone or style.

Emily and crew’s second effort has left us speechless, being one of the few records of 2018 to perhaps be flawless in every regard. It is a stunning piece of work, and more people need to be aware of the supreme talent being put on display here.


Who We Are, Don’t Give A, What Hurts Us




Glaswegian rock duo The Bleeders are a pair that regularly pop up on our feeds, but we actually never took the time to give them a shot, so we took the dive and checked out their debut EP – Greetings From The Bleeders.

The catchy songs on this record constantly go back and forth in style. At one moment, they are running off such a swift, raving energy; the next, they dip the pace (well, by a touch, mind you) and focus more on swinging rhythms.

There’s a persisting deranged tone to the whole thing, and this is definitely reflected in both the vocals and the outlandish writing. Elsewhere, the riffs are sweet and the beats are cool.

The Bleeders’ first release is nothing short of frantic and peculiar, and we wouldn’t have it any other way, speaking truthfully.


American Express, Greetings From The Bleeders, Bats*** Lazy




Emerging out of Belgium, Soul Grip have been grafting to build themselves into one of the country’s prime black metal acts, and if you judge by their latest album – Not Ever – then they might have just achieved that.

The majority of the record runs off such a rigorous, relenting aggression that drill right into the eardrums. Nathan’s vocals are fierce beyond belief, the conspiring riffs are mental, and the rhythm sections erupt with such a resounding force.

But the whole experience is not like this, for they consistently mix it up and keep the pace changing, often taking it down and creating a macabre atmosphere that slowly builds and builds towards another colossal outbreak just waiting to happen.

Soul Grip’s sophomore effort is a wild, combustible jaunt that is two parts brutal, one part absorbing, but totally satisfying as a whole.


Grand, Ailes Noircies, Grav I, Fiend




For the better part of 5 years, Glasgow ensemble Damaj have went from strength and strength and worked vigorously to make a name for themselves as one of the prominent young metal acts in Scotland.

Finally, after a long time garnering the reputation, they have at last pulled the trigger on their debut full-length album – Ashen Path.

As expected, the assortment of tracks here feature a tonne of energy, red-hot tempos and a large scale in general, the latter especially being owed to a mash of weighty vocals, magnificently wild riffs and thumping rhythms.

The record as a whole has a constant fire to it, where it never loses steam or gets dull at all throughout the near-hour duration.

If there was one issue, it’s that the mixing is a little off in areas, with some elements being too overpowered and drowning out others, and it makes for inconsistent listening sometimes.

But with that said, Ashen Path is still a cracking blitz that any fan of metal can easily jump into and get a few headbangs out of.


Where Is Your God, Testament Of Judas, Well Of Souls, Suffered Too Much, King, Dying Day




Born and bred in Stockhalm but currently based in Edinburgh, musician Mark McCaffer has been quietly in the background of the Scottish scene with his solo project, Electrobuddha.

It’s a name that has cropped up under in our sights many a time, and after some steady airplay as of late, we finally got our chance to check him out via his latest work – Roller Disco.

The general sound of the record is very hard to pinpoint, and it varies between the songs. Sometimes it’s light, poppy and melodic, at another moment more rocky, and in some cases, it even has a psychedelic feel to it..

Regardless of the style, the choruses are always the highlights of each tune, being driven by utterly catchy hooks, with the writing usually an assisting factor in this respect, and the vocals are mainly solid.

The only thing that drags this down is that the production tends to be on the rougher side, and it could have done with a helping hand to get it polished. Despite that, this is certainly an interesting album that sparks a range of vibes and leaves a lasting impression.


ELO Nation, Intentions To Fly, Eternal Light, Roller Disco, Everything Is Groovy




In the far north west of the Scotland, a trio have been attracting folk with music that combines garage rock and grungy blues. They are The Howling Lords from Stornoway, and they are preparing to take the next step with their second album – Texas Medicine.

Throughout the collection of swell tunes, we get a doubler of rugged vocals and staggering riffs from leading man Felix, some sweet, crunchy bass chords by Jens and nice drum beats courtesy of Eoghainn.

While a little on the simplistic side, the majority of the tracks are seriously catchy and have a swinging kick to them, and that more or less remains a constant from start to finish. The writing is also pretty decent too.

Nothing particularly complex or fancy, but there’s little doubt that Texas Medicine is a rocking good time.


She Devil, Still Waters, Howling At The Moon, Black Dog, Looking At Me


cloakroom Q


Across the Irish Sea, alternative rock group Cloakroom Q have been making quite an impression over in Belfast and the surrounding areas, and having been given the opportunity to listen to their latest EP – Going For A Walk And I’m Not Coming Back – it comes as little surprise.

Very quickly, from the moment the opening track plays, you know you are in for something on the different side, as they produce an atmosphere that is intriguing and has a hold on you, mostly driven by smooth bass chords and gentle brass.

But then, with the click of the fingers, they suddenly do a 180 and launch into something louder and with more of a hostile, in-your-face tone, but yet they still keep a firm grip on you.

Constant through the whole ride is good vocals, intense lyrics, and as already covered, the sound is really varied and regularly changing it up.

Cloakroom Q have compiled a great record here, one that definitely helps them to stand out from the crowd, and if they have any aspirations of going higher up, then this will help them in the long run.


People With Energy, Feeding The Stranger, South Of Sane




Meeting together at university and sharing similar passions and aspirations, the Midlands pairing of Andrew and Aron formed The Unawake State, and together worked in unison to produce their debut EP – State Of Heart.

A feature that becomes notable very quickly is the sheer energy that is elicited, with the rhythms being pretty spirited and getting the listener drawn in with little effort. The tracks are loud and catchy, particularly through the great choruses, the vocals have a lot of zest, the guitars are so fervent, and the writing is solid on the whole.

The Unawake State’s first effort is a real exciting one, and the pair have showcased a lot of future potential with this record.


The Nearshore, Unawake State, Taboo




Felix And The Sunsets; comprised of the Christie brothers, Felix and Lukas; are a new rock and roll duo to recently emerge from Leith, and naturally they want to make a decent impression with their debut EP – Don’t Sleep.

We get a mixture of nice, simple tracks primarily driven by delightful melodies and enjoyably catchy choruses, with good harmonies and guitar work to boot, and the whole record has a generally upbeat feel to it throughout.

Although a little rough on the production side of things, this is a solid first effort from this pair, and if able to develop their music to a point where they can stand out in the scene, then they could potentially go far.


Sweet Jane, Steal The Sun