BUGEYE – Ready Steady Bang
The ladies of London quartet Bugeye have been on fire as of late, battering out awesome singles one after the other over the span of several months, all coming to a head with their upcoming debut album on hand here.
Their sound is made up of a tight combo of vibes such as raunchy punk, riot grrl, fluorescent pop and fancy disco, and these far-reaching styles of different measures amazingly fit together like a glove.
The record has a little of everything. Front and centre, we get these dazzling vocals dripping with heaps of delightfully sassy, sometimes even cheeky personality, and these are supplemented by the equally neat backing harmonies, efficiently bringing to life the awfully engaging lyrics that you’ll find yourself falling in love with fast.
The common ingredients found between each of the numbers include sweet guitars, tantalising, groovy as hell basslines, catchy drum beats and plain awesome, shimmering synth work that is bursting with colour.
Some of the tunes become so freaking contagious, that you simply have to boogie along, and the supreme, insanely hooking choruses really help there, with the finest picks including When The Lights Go Out, Electric and Nightlife, but that’s only scratching the surface because there are no weak links whatsoever.
With never a dull moment from the second they step up to the time comes to wrap up, Ready Steady Bang is a bloody whopping party. I can’t quite go as far as to call it the deepest record by any stretch content-wise, but in terms of pure entertainment, Bugeye kill it with one of the best that I’ve heard across this entire year, and you’d honestly have to be soulless to not find enjoyment from this beauty.
AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 10th JULY!
KITTI – Young, Careless & Free
Any regular by-passers to Small Music Scene will know that I am a mighty big fan of Katie Doyle, more widely known as Kitti. I’ve went on and on in the past about her musical aptitude, but for those who have until now been unfortunately aware of Katie, then you need look no further than her brand new EP – Young, Careless & Free – to get a complete picture of what makes her special.
Kicking things off is Rain, a collaborate effort alongside Liam Shortall (corto.alto) and Leah Cleaver (Zebede), where Katie is of course her usual tour-de-force self on the mic, heartily spouting out these engaging words. The song has this jazzy, seductive sound comprised of these cool riffs and sharp, sublime bass chords, and the ambient background noise makes it even broader.
Liam naturally kills it with some sexy contributions on the trombone, and given his past experience, that was to be expected. Leah, however, is a fresh face to me, but she makes an excellent impression in her brief spot, and she is such a tight fit alongside Katie vocal-wise.
Kandy Kissin’ is where the emotional resonance of Katie’s singing ability really starts to shine, legitimately selling the listeners on the topic of self-love; learning to not get too wrapped up in bad thoughts and to rub off the unneeded stress and worries that shrouds you, accepting that you are a wonderful human being and have much to offer to others, and you shouldn’t be afraid to hide that.
The tune also radiates with this pure sparkling vibe that makes you feel fabulous – which is pretty much perfect with the context at play – and don’t be surprised to find yourself dancing along to the addictive beat without the slightest care in the world.
We’re then treated to a live version of Hopelessly Devoted To You from Grease, and while I don’t count covers for reviews, I couldn’t possibly go by without mentioning just what an ace rendition it is, featuring what is hands down Katie’s most phenomenal vocal performance to date.
And last of all is the single that put everything into motion – Chasing The Crowd – steered by shimmering guitars and stiff, super punchy piano keys, while continuously escalating to a grand finish.
The writing is once again fantastic, dealing with that irritating demand from others to follow these exact rules in order to make something of yourself, when really it leads to unnecessary anguish, so it’s time to finally put those anxieties away and into the bin for good, and to become an original who truly stands out instead of becoming just another colourless face in an insignificant horde.
If an entire essay’s worth can’t convince you by this point, then f*** knows what will. Young, Careless & Free is a total gem, with these spellbinding numbers that are not only impeccably performed, but pull you by the mind and the heartstrings with relatable issues that could only encourage and inspire you to become a better person.
And speaking of which, Katie is a major inspiration to myself, and I’m sure she will be to others, because she is living proof that it doesn’t matter what handicaps you may suffer from – mental health especially being a big relevant obstacle in the music industry – if you work hard and push yourself to another degree, you can achieve anything, and I can’t describe just how proud of her I am for that.
It goes beyond her being, in my not so humble personal opinion, the single most gifted singer I’ve ever witnessed in my local scene. That insane talent is chump change when compared to the fact that she is a brave and courageous fighter striving for positivity in the world, a noble effort.
Kitti is up there with the elite, hand in hand with the likes of Be Charlotte, Luke La Volpe and Callum Beattie, a lucrative company of artists who will (not might, WILL) define the Scottish pop charts in the years to come.
CALLING ALL ASTRONAUTS – #Resist
Comprised of veteran contributors to the music scene, London-based gothic electro punk outfit Calling All Astronauts have established a hefty following. It would be safe to assume that a major factor in that is an ability to create music perfectly in tune with the times, if their latest release #Resist is anything to go by.
That suspicion becomes quickly confirmed as soon as you dive in, as the three blast through these poignant, politically-fueled tracks with mercilessly blunt lyrics unafraid to tackle any subject through an open-ended, tell-it-as-it-is mentality.
But it’s not just the writing, as the songs are just as impactful on a sonic level, particularly as we get damn good choruses with magnetic sentences that will seep in and remain. The music resounds with grungy post-punk overtones blended in with not-so-subtle shades of nifty electronica and plentiful sprinklings of rock and roll for measure.
I feel between the energy stemming from the music and the themes being covered in an unyielding, passionate manner, you find it rubs off on you and gets a bit of the old adrenaline rushing through.
#Resist is an excellent record that will leave you with an urge to stand strong and proud, fist in the air, and ready to revolt against the globally tarnished, corrupt system wrecking our lives, and you can’t go wrong with that.
HAPPY SPENDY – You’re Doing Okay
Over a month ago, I was introduced to Lost Map Records, a mighty fine label who have been working with and promoting equally mighty fine acts, thus becoming another trusted source for content to discover.
This is how I became aware of Glasgow outfit Happy Spendy, who I hadn’t even heard of until the day came where they released their debut full-length album – You’re Doing Okay – and I honestly can’t remember the last time I fell in love with a new band this hard.
No matter what your current mindset is, what you’re occupied with and so on, as soon as the record begins and until it ends, it has you captivated on it and it alone, keeping you fiercely invested without a break, it makes that much of an impact.
I absolutely adore the beautiful, hair-raising harmonies. There is such a purity to them and they are totally legitimate; you never get any false sense of feeling behind the resonant, full-blown emotions that soundly radiate throughout the lyrics.
The music is sensational, stowed with gorgeous, sharp-pitched twinkly synths, silky soft beats, faint jangling bells, and intriguing, oft-kilter electronic waves and the like, which gives it particularly dreamy, nostalgic vibes in places; the track Babies is a noteworthy highlight that especially encapsulates these and the other qualities mentioned up to this point.
Although there is a lot of sadness over its course, it’s complimented by various stretches headed by signs of inspiring hope, which adds extra layers to an already brimming package.
And no joke, upon my second listen of this LP, I noticed myself coming close to teary-eyedness not just once but on several occasions, the songs were having that kind of profound effect on me, and let me be clear that this sort of event is very rare.
And really, that says it all, doesn’t it? You’re Doing Okay is an absolutely mesmerising, soul-cleansing record with not a bad word to be said about it whatsoever. I love it, I love it, I freaking love it.
LLOYD JAMES FAY – Fake Depth
Having already been a fan of the now-defunct Thula Borah in the past, I had reason to expect quality results from Lloyd James Fay, and quality results were achieved in his Fake Depth EP.
The Gartcosh musician has such a vivid awareness of the world around him, and he’s not afraid to not only convey that in his music, but also be wide open and transparent about his inner emotions and plights.
For example, in Idiocracy, he takes a long hard look at the state of the 21st century, being rightfully unhappy with how the world has turned out compared to the potential alternative that we could have had.
Echo Chamber is another effective track, which effectively details the dilemma of trying to get your voice out when others are so trapped in their own bubbles, unwilling to listen and give any attention. Scarily relevant.
Beyond the content, Lloyd is quite adept in drawing you in with an atmosphere-infused sound, whether it’d be the rich and haunting strings of The Bitter Angels or the warm and cordial singing displayed in the meaningful Extinction Burst.
A partnership of strong lyrics, convincing vocals, and technical capability help to create a record that everybody should take 20 minutes of their day to experience and soak up if they haven’t already.
CONNOR SPRATT – BLUNT.
If you’re looking for the next potential big face in the British hip hop scene, then Connor Spratt from Bristol may just be your man. He has a new album out entitled BLUNT, and it’s worth sinking your teeth into.
His deliveries are more often than not on strong form and help to emphasise the points and the themes that he explores via his captivating writing, plus the production tends to have a gritty, dark-toned vibe to it, and it’s an ideal match to the established tone, which is sure as hell not meant to be pleasant.
PANDEMIC takes an effectively scathing look at, what else, the global crisis unfolding and how it’s been handled by both the government and the common sense-lacking public.
Dark Realities and State are also really powerful tunes that stab deep in the mind, and lyrics like the ones penned here are the type of thing that makes artists like Connor more multi-layered and beyond one-dimensonal; you actually find yourself invested, you want to sit down and embrace the words that he spits out.
Other notable examples in terms of the writing including the title track, Ash Mountain and the heavily atmospheric Bottles, where you feel like you’re actually in the zone, experiencing what’s being conveyed.
If the album did have any significant flaws, it’s that the rare instances of autotune don’t work like they should, and it clashes with the legitimacy of the rapping.
BLUNT is a seriously impressive release that clearly has a lot of effort and diligence behind the creation of it, and it cements Connor Spratt as a name with plenty of value to it.
PROJECT REVISE – Songs From The Shed
There’s been various choice finds that I’ve come across in the British punk scene over recent months, and the latest to make the list are the trio of Project Revise, courtesy of their banging Songs From The Shed EP.
The performances between the three guys are generally solid, their collective vocals mesh really well, and they do a strong job in maintaining this stimulating buzz that is quite bright and perky.
They blaze through the dynamic numbers at a rollicking pace, such as the blinding stand out Hide Yourself and the tightly chorused Just A Story, plus you really can’t go wrong with a tune about giraffes on stilts, can you?
It’s not the most original-sounding result by any stretch, but the Redditch lads make up for his fallback with a batch of cracking songs that are a tonne of blooming fun.
SECOND ARROWS – Second Arrows
What do you get when members of various mighty metalcore acts come together as one? You get the New York/New Jersey fusion of Second Arrows, and in turn you get a whopping LP.
The collated vocals are freaking immense. Each of them alone are strong enough as is, but when united, holy moly, you get some juicy ear-ringing goodness, as well as the lyrics being forced into the forefront so that they are right in your face and have to be encountered.
The rhythm sections are so thick and tight-knit, coming from a result of gut-punching drumming and the dankest bass tones imaginable, and the riffs are pure smashing. Plus other added minor elements such as Godzilla roars serve as a cheeky bonus, and only help to accentuate the ruthless nature of the music.
And to finish off, they leave little to no breathing room in between the songs, sustaining a relentlessly monstrous musical ride that will rip your senses inside out in the best way possible.