The Wolverhampton artist delivers a pleasing blend of RnB and hip hop with an undeniable soul influence squeezed in, and in terms of all musical areas, I can’t recall a record as of late as good as this in those genres.

The EP is warm, heartfelt and honest, and the emotions are as legit as they come, plus on a technical level, Sophie’s voice is insanely smooth and serene; there’s nothing forced or phony about it, her vocals have a flawless flow to it. She’s a pure natural, plain and simple.

The lyrics are so powerfully gripping, and in some cases relatable, with topics including the struggles with self-consciousness, the push to serve those you love, and learning to be proud of your identity.

Sophie is one of the most fiercely underrated musicians across England at the moment, and is deserving of far more attention.



The long-running Glasgow metal outfit deliver so much in such little time: brutal vocals, supreme guitars, palpable diverging rhythms, engaging lyrics, belting choruses, a non-stop wild energetic force, and a pure massive scope.

A stripped sampler compared to their albums obviously, but it nevertheless brings the goods in a tidy fashion, and it makes for an ideal introduction for any newbies out there.



The second solo effort from the prolific Swedish musician and YouTube sweetheart sweeps with superb, efficient guitar displays as you’d come to expect, with great riff sequences and memorable solos aplenty.

The synths are damn sweet too, adding a melodic pulse to the already extravagant rhythms and further elevating the infectious sense of energy that gets you in a roaring buzz when it hits full blitzing power. There’s also a handful of moments with smooth strings, light bell sounds and scintillating saxophones intermixed.

Topped off by a clean and crisp production standard, the album is a mighty metal marvel.



Everything about this is hefty. The Manchester group just smack you in the face with an unbridled force and relentless intensity regularly switching between brooding and just flat out mental.

The vocal work is among the most scarily formidable I’ve encountered in a long time, and I can’t get enough of the colossal breakdowns, which they are kind enough to milk the hell out of.

One of the most unbelievable and monstrous metal records you will hear out of England this year, guaranteed. It’s bloody brilliant, and honestly, words cannot do it justice, it simply needs to be experienced.


THIS FAMILIAR SMILELate Night Conversations With God

It’s been an insanely long time since This Familiar Smile last released an album, but the years haven’t had any negative effects on the Ayrshire outfit, so it seems, because Late Night Conversations With God is an enthralling rock record with superb writing radiating heartfelt integrity, transmitted through immersive, soulful performances that are fully dedicated and not held back in the slightest.



The Gracious Losers have released some quality music during their run which have established them as one of Scotland’s premier acts in the Americana field, but this record may have cemented them as the cream of the crop.

Six Road Ends is a masterful work featuring stellar harmony ensembles, fantastic instrumental offerings, investing lyrics and a variety of grand, intoxicating moods that has elevated this band to an even higher level than ever before.



PULSE went and killed it with this EP, undisputedly one of the heaviest and most jaw-dropping metal records in recent memory, venting out into berserk hysteria time across the substantial bangers while dishing out upfront writing.

They are damn sure a force to be reckoned with, and I highly recommend you all watch this space, because they’re going to grow into something mighty big and special very soon.


JEN ATHANI Love Me, I Love Me Not

I had stumbled upon Jen quite recently through a mutual acquaintance, and I’m sure glad I did because she is clearly a talented artist, and this EP, as short as it is, makes a solid impression courtesy of some compelling tracks surrounded in a lucid vibe, led on by convincing vocals and showcasing emotionally-resonant writing.



Both members of the Finnish duo have taken their past individual musical experiences and channelled it into a staggering, epic doom album setting a gritty, hellish scene via stout vocals, tremoring riffs, slamming drums, gloriously spirited high-pitch howls and an intoxicating rage.

God damn, this is something else. In equal measure, this cements Desolate Realm as a key component of the Finnish scene and simply ranks as one of the year’s most badass metal releases overall.


AD MELIORAThe Void, The Time, The Path

The Swedish band’s new EP is defined by a cool, grooving rock sound with quite a buzzing pulse to it, especially considering the exciting rhythms worth headbanging to.

Granted, it’s simple and there’s nothing particularly complex, but still the tunes are undoubtedly catchy and entertaining with a selection of damn fine choruses to boot.


SMS | Hadda Be – Another Life

Apathy is a scorching opener flowing with this infectious buzz that hits a marvellous peak, complete with a rapid onslaught of drums. Catch It On The Fall mixes in an ounce of dreamy substance, forging a sound still melodic but with a loose, silky quality underneath.

The title number is short and slick, while Take It Away reduces the tempo for the most easy-going of the lot so far, which also features some neat bass tones and solid writing, but it all kicks back up into high gear with the bloody phenomenal Wait In The Dark, donning an unbelievable chorus and a distinctly punky splash of colour, especially with Amber’s grittier vocals, the aggressive guitars and the overall manic pace to the whole thing.

Suddenly, it’s another shift in style moving onto the sweet, lightweight Unknown Places, and there’s a fine dram of riffs in the fairly bouncy This Won’t Get Well. So It Goes is a spellbinding stripped back piece spearheaded by Amber’s lovely singing, and the atmosphere is further boosted by the enticing acoustics, gentle piano keys and very warm secondary harmonies.

Fire and Almost Over are another pair in a long line of fun and exciting entries to this point, and last but certainly not least is Nurse’s Song, perhaps the most powerful and poignant on this record, with Amber painting a vivid picture of her all too important role working as part of the NHS and the many difficulties that are to be endured, but at the end of the day, it’s so worth it, and folk on the frontline such as herself are to be celebrated and, beyond all else, supported.

Hadda Be were discovered by yours truly back in their Foundlings days, and it must be said that the Brighton/London indie pop outfit have elevated to a whole new level here. Another Life is an extraordinary album where every single track makes a significant impact, bound collectively by a variety of stylings; all of which are executed excellently; that create an altogether engaging journey that is enjoyably and unforgettably out of this world.


SMS | Post Coal Prom Queen – PCPQ

Tomorrow’s Garden opens up on a lucid vibe, taking it at a calm pace while supplying a lovely dose of warm, endearing synths and far-out electronic tones that perfectly match up with Lily’s familiarly soft and divine voice.

Next is Salt, an utterly stunning piece that, as these two have successfully accomplished in the past, dives into the dark and tragic subject matter of the climate and how we’re headed for an inevitable doom, but conveyed in a beautiful, comforting manner that eases that sense of dread and panic, plus the chorus is so infectious

Following that is something, until this point, I never thought could possibly exist in this dimension: a post-apocalyptic dance banger, but Wait, Wait! Dig proves otherwise. As the band’s first time dipping their toes in the water of this kind of material, they succeed in spades, with this being an insanely bright and catchy track with a pumping beat that gets you all buzzing.

Then they return to a recognisable fray with the final song, Faraday Cage For One, another silky tune littered with appealing keys, a dreamy ambience and Lily’s wonderful vocal chops.

This is now the 4th release I’ve covered featuring this pair in some capacity since I began my career in amateur music critique, and they just continue to impress and amaze me in their ability to always evolve and develop their content, constantly changing and diverting routes to create something unique every time.

The PCPQ EP showcases Post Coal Prom Queen’s repeated innovation with a set of dazzling, distinct tracks that draw you in slowly then take you on an astonishing, high-flying ride before settling for a fulfilling conclusion. It is guaranteed to quench the thirst of long-time fans while pleasing any curious newcomers who happen to pass by.


SMS | Robi Mitch – Future Perfect

Golden Hour is a pretty neat way to start, inducing you into this dreamy indie pop essence with the use of shiny reverbed vocals, easy acoustic strums and subtle bass notes. One insanely delightful interlude titled My Friend Robi later, and we’re on to Can’t Win, another whimsical tune that drifts along to a nice and steady melody.

Brother instantly nabs your attention with a vividly surreal sound before transforming into an absolutely contagious piece highlighted by the most stupendously catchy chorus imaginable. Seriously, if I had the capacity, I’d be squeezing this onto the big radio chart playlists, it’s just that bloody good.

Robi eventually slows it down for the funky, tantalising Close / Closer. Bike / Endless Summer is incredibly similar in that regard, ticking those same boxes plus with the addition of thoughtful, absorbing lyrics, and we certainly get more of that in the heartfelt follow-up, Goodbye Everything, further highlighted by stellar guitar displays.

The casually paced Bone Dry has a great hook attached, and Loving You is quite wholesome and charming. Next is a quick, stunning instrumental reprise of Golden Hour, and then we close out with the spine-chilling 400 Buffalo.

Robi Mitch was introduced to myself without me having a speck of prior knowledge about him, but oh man, I wish I had discovered the Bristol artist earlier because he has undeniable talent, and this album is proof of that. Future Perfect is diverse; switching regularly between blissfully warm and utterly infectious; each of the songs rank with quality, and leaves you craving for more.

I’m not going to mince words here, Robi Mitch has real potential, and I badly want to see him rise up the ranks, succeed, and be exposed to a wider audience, because he deserves it and the public right now are missing out.


SMS | The Martial Arts – Getting Stranger By The Month

A wave of far-out sonic tones and we’re off with Guilt By Association, which has a cool mixture of overwhelming 60’s grooves and a touch of the modern. It’s bright and colourful, the chorus is insanely good, and Paul is incredible avid in his singing. With basically only a split second of reprieve in between, he and his troupe immediately carry on into Bethany, which is even more wonderfully cheery and jubilant than its predecessor, especially with the fruity synths, and it’s pretty much certain to get you smiling like an unapologetic fool.

Getting Stranger enters in with a nifty bassline, and continues to impress with the likes of nice writing, a noticeably pumping beat and damn fine, fancy guitar solos. Nicechap is the most relaxed of the bunch to this point but still delivers the pleasantries, with the highlight undoubtedly being the amazing collective vocals which spark an infectious hook. The concluding number The Wild Humdrum starts off with a good showing on the piano at a stable pace before picking it up to a dazzling degree complete with one last riveting displays of riffs, keys and harmonies.

Paul Kelly, one of the Scottish masters of alt-pop, made a favourable return under The Martial Arts banner in 2019 with a short and sweet EP, but this is a big step up. Getting Stranger By The Month is a fiercely entertaining record that makes the most of the entire 20 minute runtime, packing every positive element imaginable into each of the deliciously entertaining, electric songs that have you engaged, gushing, dancing along and craving for even more once the party is over.


SMS | The Canarys – Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid

Sweat gives us our savoury first taste of the New Orleans duo in action, mounting a buzz with an entertaining chorus, engaging harmonies and real nifty riffs, but then Open Up suddenly breaks out into a barrage of intense noise, shaking the senses with loud distorted chords and great drumming. Snake is a smooth going, blues rock-style ditty where the enthralling writing has your full attention.

The madly infectious Lois And Sam makes you wanna get up and dance like an eejit without a care in the world, while Love is more low-key and awfully pleasant, highlighted by the super slick singing, but it’s a return to the livelier material with the catchy back-to-back coupling of Let Me Shine Your Shoes and Preacher.

Gigantic delivers a beautifully rad solo in the middle, and How To Age Gracefully is another one of the most notable songs lyrically speaking; a factor continuing on into Gemini, a neatly polished delight, and that leads into the nice stripped back final tune, Winnie-The-Pooh.

I’m thoroughly impressed by The Canarys’ debut effort. Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid is a great showing in terms of the performances, the written content, and the bountiful sonic variety where the pair consistently mix it up in style, keeping it fresh as they effectively venture in various directions. A humble band that I implore everybody to give some attention.


SMS | Comrad – Restiamo Vicini

The Italian-English punk combo batter the doors down with Che Bello E, firing out hooks left, right and centre in-between a fiery, dynamic rhythm and spirited vocals, and the latter of those qualities is put further in display in the short and sharp Disfatta.

Grande Salto showcases some cracking guitar work, and there’s plenty of thrills to go around with the abundance of energy featured here. They pump up the pace with distinctly forceful, agile drumming in Il Primo Sbaglio, and maintain the fever closing out with the titular number.

Brief as all hell but nonetheless achieving what was set out to be done, COMRAD’s new Restiamo Vicini EP is a brisk and banging record that will give any dedicated listeners of the genre a quick dose of what they love.



SMS | Chaser – Dreamers

Fight Of Our Lives sets the theme for the album; a call to arms for everybody to take a stand and make their voices heard. From there, they’re off to the races, next tackling the current manic state of the planet, in more ways than one, through the fittingly rampant 2020, but in contrast, there’s a greater sense of positivity vibing from Good Times, which especially comes through the sanguine vocal performances and the spirited rhythm.

Signs Of Life is an immensely catchy banger guaranteed to get any sensible person in an intoxicated frenzy, and the riffs have a notable oomph behind them in A New Direction. The Ripper is another rocking beast that flies at a scorching tempo with an unbridled stout strength, further elevated by a couple of brief yet juicy guitar solos and the tight bassline/drumming combo; the latter element being the focal point of the similarly thrilling Echoes.

The title number features inspiring writing that gets you feeling good and buzzing to pursue something you desire to define your life. Yet another pairing of palpable cuts emitting heaps of zest come next in the form of Break The Chain and Always With You. The relatable (and mighty energetic) Only Human digs well into how we’re all bound to make mistakes, and in such an event, we should just learn to move on and not wallow in the past.

Something In The Water gets stuck in your head with its ridiculously addictive hooks, and finally See You At The Show looks ahead to the future with the impending return of live music now on the horizon after such a long and draining year, and just how much it means to the guys, and everyone else for that matter.

This is Chaser’s 5th rodeo and they charge on full steam ahead with another lofty addition to their discography. From bell to bell, Dreamers is a tremendous, electrifying album that ranks as a major highlight of the skatepunk genre in 2021.



SMS | DreamKids – DreamKids

DreamKids get an infectious pulse glowing from the moment they kick off with Only God Knows If My God Is Real, a catchy rocker that has a consistent energy, a hell of a catchy chorus, and plenty of sweet hooks to spare throughout. Stay Safe With Me rolls the pace down a touch, this time gratifying with an incredibly smooth and glossy melody while Dawn, as is her wont, draws us with her lovely harmonies that bring to life the sentimental lyrics.

ICU is pushed by a nice rhythm and solid riffs while the emotional status remains alive and well in the writing, then Child serves as both an effective instrumental interlude; going all out in the guitars and drumming; and a tight gateway into the finale, Mother, an outstanding number that is gloomy, invigorating and beautiful all at once, undoubtedly a case of saving the best for last.

Given their lucrative and illustrious history under the Mechanical Smile and Twin Heart guises, it was a secure assumption that the debut DreamKids record would be another noteworthy notch, and lo and behold, it is, heralding the duo’s next evolution with an engrossing collection of touching songs brimming with hefty feelings behind them.


SMS | Rachel Jack – Magazine Girls

From practically the first second, Rachel dives straight into the optimal material with the title track, a stellar pop number that features some excellent writing discussing how the manipulative media tend to wrongly enforce a very specific image that women should adhere to in order to achieve success and popularity in life.

From there, she continues to go from strength to strength starting with Warrior, which has such a delicious beat with amplified bass tones under the surface, and the lyrics contain an affirmed sense of independence and self-respect.

The heavily topical, and tragically relatable for many, Stop is where Rachel takes a stand against men who don’t care much for observing boundaries and are too hungry to get their own way, and this is well reflected in the sharp and poignant vocals, and the loving For You is another catchy banger that ends the EP with a lofty slam.

When I was introduced to Rachel Jack through her debut The Calgary Tapes last year, I realised this was somebody special, but holy moly, leading to and after the release of Magazine Girls, she has upped her game like crazy.

This is a premium record where every song hits the mark on all accounts; great performances, a slick production, and above everything, impactful content; that has truly established Rachel as one of the top-tier artists currently hailing from the Aberdeen area.