SMS | Connor And The Wildfire – Songs From Flat 0/2


Literally right from the first note of Understanding Love, the quartet chock up the excitement and subsequently get you infused with an engagingly bright melody that is strengthened by the colourful guitar chords and Connor’s warm harmonies.

The energy is toned down a touch for the next track Distant Friend, where the heartening lyrics are simply to die for, making such a positive impression and pressing all the right emotional buttons.

Baby It’s Raining has a great sense of atmosphere and the instrumental performances are really strong, producing an almost palpable ballad-like number, and they maintain that enrapturing potency in the passionately gripping final song, Fog And The Deep Dark Blue.

This band are a worthy and very much welcomed addition to the bustling Scottish scene that folk should be keeping in their scopes, because this is a seriously promising introduction.


SMS | Faerie – 2am


The first of the two tracks from the New York artist is Fever Dream, an utterly exuberant pop hit where Christine really gets into her performance; not only is she great on a technical level, but she sells the writing and brings it to a shining life, conveying that desperation for the attention from your lover and being anxious and uncertain on whether they truly care for you.

Secondly is White Noise, which details that almost claustrophobic sensation of being locked up in insolation for an extended period of time. Aside from being well written, this is sonically even better than its sister song, with an extra focus on producing a catchy dance beat that is infectiously enthralling, topped off by a stellar chorus.

It may be short, but Faerie’s new EP is definitely sweet, a quick but wonderful showcase of the terrifically addictive music that she has to offer to the world.


SMS | Lloyd’s House – We Could Be Friends

LLOYD’S HOUSE – We Could Be Friends

The opening title number is a steadily proceeding lo-fi cut with a gentle, almost trippy essence featuring a neat hook and quite a fine beat, and that same dreamy mood revolves around That’s When I Sold Myself, complete with cool fuzzy guitar chords and pleasantly warm harmonies that could perhaps be described as comforting.

The instrumental Shabbat is super brief yet still a piece of magic, Tell Me It’s Over has a distinctly catchy pep in its step, and a similar pulse stems through the sweet finale, I’m Too Cold.

Lloyd Ledingham has crafted together a very nice EP that is just as sonically captivating as it is emotionally engaging, and you can bet on seeing his name pop up more in the coming years, especially with material this easily likeable.


SMS | The Soviet Machines – The Soviet Machines


Get Your Kicks is a simple yet great starter for ten with an appealing classic rock buzz going, and they keep that sparked energy rolling higher in the bouncing You Should Kill Me, especially with the mental frenzied riff solos in the finishing sequence.

Baby We’re Gonna Die flows along to a grooving rhythm with an extra bite in the basslines, while the guitars and particularly the drum beats are explicitly amplified to another level with Two Shots.

All We Are is another solid and catchy cut although honestly it doesn’t bring much new to the table, but Better Way makes up for it, being an awesome, definite return to dynamic form in every manner imaginable, before the guys ease out with the steadily-paced Bittersweet Angel.

The Minneapolis boys have killed it in their self-titled debut effort, treating us to a fairly tight and consistent fun selection of tunes that have you coming alive and feeling good. Granted, it’s short, but it serves its purpose damn well.


SMS | The Young Hearts – The Modern State

THE YOUNG HEARTS – The Modern State

It’s been a long time coming, but after many years and multiple hurdles, including a certain pandemic you might have read about somewhere, the Kent alt punk-rockers are bracing themselves for the release of their debut album, and man, they have delivered excellent results, and then some.

As early as the jovial opener Wild & Reckless, there’s a tonne of spirit displayed in the great vocals that spark immediate audience interest in the lyrics which are quite investing, with a major focus on the crazy ups and downs of growing up as a young adult, an element that so many can connect with and understand on several layers.

The guitar work is consistently smashing and the rhythms often drive an intoxicating energy that further elates the buzz, unless effectively drawn back as in Anchors, plus there’s certainly no shortage of banging choruses, with the best including the likes of Easy Life, London and especially Still Wander.

The Young Hearts have built a legitimate brand for themselves that is perfectly captured here in an all-around passionate, relatable and emotionally bonding record.


SMS | Sulka – Take Care

SULKATake Care

Lukas Clasen has been a regular part of the Glasgow scene over the last 5 years or so and has been consistently good in his musical output, and I can safely say that his upcoming album Take Care features him at his best yet.

As per, he delivers a tidy set of lo-fi indie pop numbers that are quite smooth, polished and mellowing to your ears, with the melodies, however steady or brisk, maintaining a pleasant, untaxing tone, and his warm vocals accentuating that fact.

In term of high points, Fear It and Chasing don memorable choruses, She Care is a catchy ditty with a multitude of nice instrumentals squeezed in, Porch meshes guitar chords and bass lines efficiently, and You And I is a deliciously dreamy drift.


SMS | Scarred – Scarred


If you want the epitome of metal music done as perfect as possible, setting a mighty high bar for others to follow, then I suggest focusing your attention on Luxemburg group Scarred, who are set to release their third eponymous LP, and I’ll go ahead and say with confidence that this is hands down the best record of 2021 so far.

Once you’re engaged by intro, they deliver optimal performances right from the offset with the single Mirage, a trojan banger that gives you everything you want from an ideal death metal track; powerful screams, stringent riffs, hefty bass-toned rhythms and ferociously dynamic drumming; and from there on out, the rest of the album follows suit in a phenomenal fashion.

The quality is on strong form throughout and the exhilarating energy never ceases. Among the endless highlights, AD Something, Chupacabra and Petrichor are ridiculously off-the-chart assaults. Merry-Go-Round features impressive singing, In Silent Darkness is a great prolonged instrumental piece, and the choruses of Nothing Instead and Dance Of The Giants kick major ass. Heck, even the various interludes are vivid.

No bones about it, Scarred’s latest effort is a freaking masterwork with an epic quality that never diminishes even after a multitude of repeated listens.


SMS | Novae Militiae – Topheth


Man, if you want to talk about black metal in its absolute purest and more primal form, you get exactly that with this formidable French outfit’s latest album release, and I have no qualms in declaring this one of the dankest and heaviest records I’ve discovered in some time.

Entering into an unnerving, muted wave of sound that sparks a sheerly potent sense of atmosphere, they soon explode into an unrelenting, ear-shattering charge of strident noise, consisting of palpable guitars, bloody kinetic drumming, fierce growls, and impressive deep choir-like chants, all while maintaining a dark and brutal setting.

The immense power brought forward throughout the series of meaty endurances is nothing to be scoffed at, and it’s that quality that really keeps you engrossed for the near-hour the LP exists despite the limited variety brought to the table. A must-buy for fans of this genre.



SMS | Ian:O – Music Incompatible With Life

IAN:OMusic Incompatible With Life

Hailing from Aldershot, Ian is sure as heck a busy man, keeping himself occupied in a variety of different acts and ventures, one of them being his solo experiment electronic project, which has most recently spawned his album right here.

The record consists of various pieces reliant on generating a rich and enveloping atmosphere, and for the most part, Ian succeeds in this facet, with the instrumentals resonating with such a pristine quality that’s a joy to the ears, and when you’ve got headphones available, it’s all the more rewarding.

Although there’s plenty of nice sequences, there are also various sections throughout with a distinctively unnerving feel courtesy of darker notes, cinching beats and haunting screeches, and with the addition of firm underlying bass, it really encapsulates you.

It’s not without flaws, admittedly. Some of the tracks can drag out a lot longer than necessary and there aren’t any that particularly stand out on their own, but if you can’t get past these minor issues, then you’ll certainly get a kick out of this euphorically gripping score.


SMS | The Fear Within – Lies / Beyond / Quarantine

THE FEAR WITHINLies/Beyond/Quarantine

It’s not often you begin a record with a hidden track, but the trio decide to mix it up and chuck it on first, and a good choice too with it being an awesomely energetic banger with a strong chorus and a few minor breakdowns sneaked in.

Lies belts out a vast amount of hardy riffs that further pump you up while the lyrics keep you involved, there’s an extra dose of passion that comes with Beyond, particularly in the case of the fervent singing, and lastly is Quarantine, which is such an exciting and infectious blast from start to finish, complete with a dynamic rhythm, catchy hooks and an overwhelming fiery energy.

A supreme debut effort from the Spanish post-hardcore outfit who have shown a heap of promise with this EP, and I sure as hell will be keeping a close eye on them from here on out.