SMS | As December Falls




It was 2014 when Nottingham pop rock band As December Falls came to be, and very quickly they established themselves as one of the hottest new acts to emerge from the city, only getting better with each passing year.

In 2018, with an EP and a live album to their name already, they concocted to produce their first full-length record, and after what has felt like an eternity of waiting, they are just days away from unleashing it to the world, and we can proudly say that those who have been highly anticipating it since it was announced are going to love the results.

On The Edge makes for a great starter to set the bar, and naturally they throw in more of their previous singles including Ride, More To You and One More Night, all running off a high-level energy and defined by enjoyably catchy choruses, and their latest one No Money is definitely a highlight, with it’s strikingly engaging hooks that make it perfectly suited to be played at gigs and sung to an audience.

They even revive the classic Don’t Say A Word, and it’s just as awesome as ever, but of course there are plenty of new additions. Ones like Do You Remember, Zombie and Tired have such appealing, zealous melodies, while others such as the sweet I Don’t Mind go in a more mature, emotional direction, and succeed in doing so.

Bethany brings her A-game with simply astonishing harmonies that have this intense power behind them and get the hairs standing on end. The zealous dual riffs from Ande and Will are as polished as they come, the bass work from Timmy is on form and Lukas’ drumming is top-notch.

Given just how loaded to the brim this album is, we had concerns that it would suffer from repetition or a case of quantity-over-quality, but thankfully that is not the reality whatsoever. As December Falls’ self-titled album is an entertaining rollercoaster all the way through that represents their talents to the best degree possible, and it will undeniably go down as a major musical highlight of the year for us.




Folk quartet Sister John have long stood as one of indie label Last Night From Glasgow’s most notable acts, having first made a big impression with Returned From Sea back in 2017, and now they’re kicking off the year with their highly anticipated self-titled sophomore effort.

Amanda is generally an elegant vocalist and she even has spots where she displays a sharper edge, but she never fails to show conviction through her voice. Heather and Sophie, on top of providing their nice harmonies now and again, are equally a really unified rhythm and string section, and Johnathan is a fantastic guitarist as always.

Among the highlights from the consistently strong line-up of songs on offer, I’m The One and Nothing Else are catchy ditties, Waiting On The Sun and Silver Whistle perfectly build into grand tracks, and the pairing of Lost And Won and Love Me Or Not are gripping pieces that forge these immensely pulling atmospheres.

On the run up to the release of this album, we were promised something special, and this is definitely special. A tremendous work of art that is engrossing from both a musical and lyrical standpoint, and it will almost certainly rank as one of the finest Scottish records to have seen the light of day in 2019.

***OUT NOW***


GALLUSDon’t Be Shy

The Glasgow-based indie punk five-piece haven’t been together a full 2 years yet, and already they have established themselves as one of the city’s most promising acts currently on the rise, having especially generated a buzz around them throughout 2018, and now they are put to the ultimate test with the release of their debut EP – Don’t Be Shy.

Their latest single Looking Like A Mess is a ripe choice for the opener, as it sparks an instant energy and gives us a cracking chorus with a wild vibe and lyrics that immediately stick, and thankfully they keep that pace going through the reminder of the record, with the aforementioned qualities remaining constant, while the vocals are pretty robust, the guitars are electrifying, and the rhythms are just mental.

With a blistering off-the wall energy surrounding the whole thing, Gallus’ first output is nothing short of a belter that is insanely good on all fronts, only getting better each time we choose to stick it on.

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While Nottingham outfit Shadows Like Strangers came to official fruition in 2018, it was a project being built from the ground up since 2014 by frontman Jezza, and his vision has become fully realised with their debut album – Cali.

A pulse is ignited from the get-go as they kick off with the catchy Counterpart, and it rarely dulls down as they progress, running off a spirited energy and dishing out memorable, lively choruses more often than not sandwiched between sweet, melodic verses.

Jezza brings the great writing to life through his excellent vocals, while Scott keeps himself occupied with a slick showing on the guitar, and Dan and Paul help to form the fine rhythms on the bass and kit respectively.

Chock full of highlights such as Night Vision, Love Again, It Doesn’t Matter At All, and the best of the lot A Way Home, this is a record that is equally poppy as it is rocking, giving it that extra touch of depth to complete what is a smashing first effort from these folk, who we will be keeping an eye on as 2019 goes along.

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RCKLSSSo Cynical

Hailing from the musically-rich city of Brighton, RCKLSS have been on the go for a number of years and describe themselves as “heavy pop”, leaning mostly towards pop-punk. Since forming in 2016, they’ve been going from strength to strength as they’ve developed their craft, and now feeling ready to do so, they’re here with their long-awaited debut record – So Cynical.

Upfront, their sound hooks us in – certainly being both heavy and poppy as promised – and the tracks are fueled by this great, dynamic energy, especially the opening number Every Time, and this becomes a regular aspect as they chug along, except when those moments where they tone it down for something more low-key, i.e. Struggle.

The performances are pretty good overall from all members, with Matty taking lead with passionate harmonies, Lewis shining on the guitar, and a mixture of solid bass tones and drumming from Laurence and Josh. The writing is a key element, touching upon a variety of emotions as best showcased in Tell You and Sorry For Trying.

The guys claim that they felt like they had something to prove with this EP, and we feel they’ve proved themselves to be a worthwhile commodity. So Cynical is an enjoyable compilation that gives us plenty of reasons to revisit it time and time again.

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DEAD COYOTESWhere Demons Dance

2016, Glasgow. Two lads named Rory and Stephen get together to form a rock band. In time, they are joined by Dom and Calum. They are Dead Coyotes. Fast forward to 2019, a new EP hits the digital shelves, named Where Demons Dance.

The four showcase their skills with a trio of grooving rock tunes that shine with tasty, thumping bass chords, potent drum beats and cracking riffs, with each subsequent track only getting all the better in quality; Post Sordidum serving as a wild climax to cap off a short yet satisfying record.

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LO RAYSUnstable Air

Lo Rays are still fairly fresh on the Scottish scene but are doing a lot to put themselves on the radar, and their recently released debut EP – Unstable Air – is the finest possible introduction to the group we could have asked for.

Laura is one of the most impressive vocalists that we have had the pleasure of discovering lately, bringing forth this real brutish attitude through her voice like few others can. The rest of the band hold their own too, creating some tantalisingly raw tracks driven by aggressive rhythms that dig into the eardrums; Bare Hands and the awesome 2 Variables being the go-to highlights in that regard.

After a few listens, we’ve quickly fallen in love with Lo Rays, and we have little doubt that they’ll continue to grab the attention of more folk.

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Hoooooly moly. Entering with a deep stirring intro, the Canadian metal outfit give us one hell of a huge sounding track that charges through with dynamic riffs and an intoxicating heavy rhythm. The chorus is awesome, and Lauren’s vocal performance is something out of this world.

If this doesn’t convince you to buy their forthcoming album Redeemer later this year, nothing will.


Midge Ure’s favourite part-time band on the planet are back in business with a characteristically swinging tune that is chocks of fun and gives you the urge to stand up and bounce around the room all so merrily.

Now just to wait for the album to arrive…

DAY – Blessings

The pair are back with their whopping second single, formed from a mixture of Ali’s awesome grooving riffs and a magnificent performance courtesy of one of the country’s best vocalists, Christina.

Add in great lyrics and a catchy as hell chorus to the mix and you have yourself a belter of a track.


Dude, this is right up there as one of the catchiest, most replayable rock tracks that we’ve had the privilege of indulging in recently, but there’s more to it, as under the addictive surface layer lies some strong writing focusing on the relatable tough battle against the negative effects of mental health, making for a song that gives us the best of both worlds.

JETSTREAM – The Last Goodbye

The latest single from the Gibraltar rock group is a warm and encapsulating tune highlighted by a memorable chorus and carried out at a professional standard, both performance and production-wise.


Truthfully speaking, the production is a little on the rough side, but it doesn’t do much to hamper what is an awesomely trippy song with this cool distinct sound that sounds like an indie punk band undertook a psychedelic journey, not to mention the accompanying video is easily one of the best we’ve watched in the longest time.

TEACH ME HUMAN – Tell Me You Love Me

The New York pop-rock band bring us an enticing tune that is well produced, melodically satisfying and topped off by an incredibly hooking chorus, plus it also boasts some endearing, emotional lyrics.



One of our favourite new faces on the Scottish scene, the synthpop trio’s debut single is a bright and bubbly track with smooth chords and delightful harmonies.


Rising from the ashes of the short-lived EDGR, the Scottish electronic pop duo make a heck of a first impact with a single that immediately clicks with the listener, presenting an infectious sound, riveting melody and sweet harmonies.


Carla Mark

CARLA J EASTON & MARK McGOWAN – Celtic Connections 2019

We first had the opportunity to listen to Glaswegian artist Mark McGowan via his Speakeasy EP after the lovely folk at Olive Grove Records shared it around back in December. We enjoyed that, and we certainly loved him live in the flesh.

The “dramatic as f***” Mark bolstered such a superb, distinct voice, and he was a phenomenal guitarist with this diverse, multi-tasking style we hadn’t seen the likes of before, plus an excellent lyricist too to top off. He had us and the audience totally drawn in, and we wouldn’t dare avert our eyes or ears.

A charming bloke with stand-out talents that could do with a little more attention, in our humble opinion.


Finally, we were getting to see one of our favourite Scottish artists on stage, who had made an indescribable impact on us with Impossible Stuff, our pick for 2018 record of the year, and lo and behold, she was unsurprisingly amazing.

Commencing with Dreamers On The Run, she would go on to play a range of other high quality favourites such as Milk & Honey, Girl From Before, Wanting What I Can’t Have and the underrated Vagabond; the majority sporting these catchy, staggering melodies that were fiercely infectious and captured the sizable scale of the album from which they originated from.

Carla’s vocals as always were awe-inspiring, not to mention that she was a stunning pianist and superb writer, and all three qualities were put on full display, showcasing just why she is one of the country’s purest musicians. Accompanying Carla was her cracking band – Gus, Calum, Ed and the fabulously dressed Paul – all of whom were excellent and truly helped to bring the songs to glorious life.

When we first listened to Impossible Stuff, it sparked something deep within us that had us almost seeping happy tears, and without any shame, we have to admit that it was nearly a repeat here. The experience was overwhelming, and we aren’t sugar-coating it in any way, it is the absolute truth.

Capping off with the title track of her acclaimed record, she and her troupe had put on a dazzling spectacle that had the full attention of the crowd and left us with the fattest of smiles on our face from beginning to end. Not that it was needed, but this was a reminder that Carluke’s resident pop sweetheart is a one-of-a-kind asset who we can’t appreciate enough.



The very first act to be playing on the grand stage of the all-new Ice Box was Jeanice Lee and her band from Edinburgh, although none actually originate from the city, funnily enough.

They gave us a variety of pretty sweet rocking tunes which that this cool doom metal vibe to them and were strong on the riff side of things – completed by a few neat solos thrown in for good measure – and the rhythms were solid too.

Jeanice herself, on top of sporting a mesmirising voice, was a very lovely lady and grateful for the opportunity to be playing in Glasgow, given her past history with the city, but when duty called, she was totally focused and on the ball.

A sturdy performance to kick off the night, and we’ll certainly make an effort to grab her album once available to purchase.


After spending some quality time with Gonzo the dug, Garlands were next, who came into our radar late last year via their Golden Sounds EP, and we were happy for the chance to now see them on stage.

Their set comprised of tunes that had this engaging energy to them and were driven by entertainingly bouncy melodies; Wake Up ranking as the focal point for us. The vocals and guitars were skillful, the bass tones were firm and the drumming was just dynamic.

Even with a few tech issues, they kept their composure, rolled with the punches and didn’t miss a step, in turn putting on quite a fine display that was definitely worth seeing.


And finally was the entourage known as The Big Nowhere, who we came across as far back as 2015, and they were one of the very first bands we ever did a review for. It took us a whole 4 years to see them in the flesh, but the moment had arrived and it was a positive experience.

All the members were on top form and developed this multi-layered sound curated from great vocals, cool riffs and basslines, sublime trumpets, nice keys and charging, resonating drum beats.

The sea shanty crowd were hooked, as were we, and it was overall a superb set to cap off what was a successful launch for what is sure to be a tight new venue.

“They look raging!” – Chris Herron


RUNRUMMER – Penny Drop (Live At Stockwell)

Our favourite newcomer of 2018 recently played a live session at Stockwell Studios, and if many of you have seen our gushings over the last number of months, you can see the reason why just watching this, as Livi’s talents are showcased in a raw environment.

As a performer, she proves to be really confident, totally immersed and also one hell of a fabulous poser. Her backing band are also awfully good at what they do too.

Here’s hoping we can see them strut their stuff up here in Glasgow sooner than later…


DEMI McMAHON – Upside Down (Paloma Faith)

While surfing through our social feeds lately, we came across Dundee artist Demi McMahon, who was sharing around her cover of Paloma Faith’s Upside Down, and wow, were we made fans quick.

Demi’s voice is utterly fantastic, and she’s able to convey a lot of personality through her vocals too. Joining her is Lewis who is a really good guitarist and adds to the catchy melody of the song.




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