Up front are the palpably magnetic vocals that are so good and snaps you to attention; among some of the most impassioned you will hear all year; working in twine with excellent guitar work and smashing rhythms generating the really addictive, bouncing melodies and stellar hooking choruses.

Just as grabbing is the writing, which is seriously investing and featuring plenty of depth, heartfelt emotions and occasionally dry humour that keeps you thoroughly engaged; often digging into the oh so familiar topic of romantic struggles makes it quite relatable by itself.

The London pop-rock band have released a killer record which is sonically entertaining as is, but it’s the candid and unafraid open-mindedness of the content that elevates this from something great to something pure brilliant and unforgettable.


JIM MCHUGHPretending To Wake Up

The superb, slick singing with catchy vocal hooks spliced in spots help amplify the great flowing melodies, and the writing itself is constantly captivating, with barely a moment where interest is lost.

The rhythms have such an infectious swinging groove to them, and a big part of that are the consistently excellent displays on the guitar which add a much welcomed extra layer of energy.

With certain songs he’s able to launch into a grand-sized flurry (e.g. Her Love) and it’s quite the intoxicating thrill, and in other moments he can take it nice and slow and still produce that same level of engagement.

Ireland is home to many a talented musician, and Jim McHugh definitely fits that mould, bringing us a highly entertaining and sure as heck impressionable album with many admirable qualities squeezed in from top to bottom.



There are few young artists currently in the Scottish scene rising up the ranks as swiftly as the Glaswegian indie man Hector Shaw, and his forthcoming debut EP exhibits exactly why that is the case.

He’s a magnificent singer with a naturally polished voice that reels you in so effectively, and he also authors fantastic writing, taking a stab at various topics including a sense of fabrication on social media or letting yourself be hurt time and time again.

His music has some distinctly strong folk influences, as noted in the slick guitar performances. The melodies are incredibly calm and smooth, and the choruses are quite magnetic and captivating.

In short, you couldn’t ask for a more excellent first record. Hector Shaw has already delivered on his promising talents in spades to date, and a bright future is just over the horizon, which you can expect him to reach sooner than later.



The French punk squad churn out a beautifully titled album that is excellent, ever-changing, and above all else, just insanely entertaining.

There’s a cool clash of pure rawness and a melodic feel in the rhythms, as evident by the gritty basses and shattering drum fills mixing with the dashing riffs and the harmonies ranging between light and fluent, and gruffly harnessing a right old attitude.

Most of the tracks have a serious catchiness to them, with the peaks naturally being the brilliant, high-octane choruses, and the writing nails the subject matters on the head.


JAX DIARIESRiverside Motel

After an immense intro that explodes into a burst of heaviness, the Italian alt-rock group are off to the races in the most spectacular fashion imaginable.

The tracks have such an unbelievably huge sound to them that is out of this world, ferried by hammering rhythms working at a perpetual pace to maintain the dynamic intensity which is loud and large throughout without missing a beat.

There’s a truckload of tremendous gut-dropping choruses on hand, and while the vocals aren’t always particularly the strongest, there’s nonetheless an undeniable effort and fervour behind them.

An absolutely awe-inspiring whirlwind of a record that words cannot possibly do justice for; perhaps the single most entertaining record I’ve encountered from out of Italy in 2021 thus far.



Staran is the outcome of some of the best folk musicians and artists the Scottish scene has to offer collaborating together, and naturally the results of the self-titled debut album are very good.

Primarily defining the tunes are beautiful harmonies that bring us some nice lyrics, and very warm, calm and relaxing Celtic melodies proceeding at a smooth tempo.

There’s such a serenity to most of the affair and it creates this captivating air, at times even haunting, that is loose and allows you to unwind and take in the music with ease.



Within 3 tracks, the New Yorker makes quite a firm impact that stays with you, beginning with an attention-grabbing, contagious pulse initially coming from the super smooth beats.

Then eventually Sylvan’s deep and engaging voice enters into the field, and following from that, the candid writing where he examines the more disgraceful affairs of the country that he lives in.

Amongst all that, he treats us to a helping of nice guitar performances, blistering electronic blasts and memorable choruses as he goes.



The album is a decent collection of instrumental rock numbers from the Dutchman, where the melodic guitars are the major element carrying them through, featuring a multitude of radical solos as the tracks move along in tune with the solid basslines and drum beats on hand to get a fair amount of buzz going.


The Cost Of Dreaming – SMALL MUSIC SCENE: ISSUE #8


A multi-national effort encompassing the UK, the USA and India, the group follow up on their hot 2017 release Atone with an album that surpasses it and proves to be an even better result.

Drawing you in with a stellar intro, they waste no time digging into the juicy material, boosted by a production that enforces what is without a doubt the most vast and awe-inspiring scale I’ve heard from a record all year; no exaggeration, it’s insanely breath-taking.

The multiple vocal performances are on strong form, the guitar work is slick, the rhythms tight, the merged keys and synths sensational, and the choruses often reach epic proportions. From start to finish, The Cost Of Dreaming is a vivid, masterfully crafted musical journey guaranteed to blow your senses sky high.



The fast rising Irishman delivers once heck of a debut EP that matches up to the hype surrounding him as of late.

Niall has a proud and hearty voice, and you can’t help but admire the awfully nice writing and the genuine personal nature of the lyrics which really hit you in the right spot.

He brings us melodies that range from pleasantly calm, to more upbeat and exhilarating, and great work on the likes of the guitar, violin and the piano, all livened up by an altogether spotless production.



The Brighton punk rock chums are beginning to garner a lot of attention as of late with their recently released album, and deservedly so in my books, helping to solidify them as one of the best of the genre within the English underground.

The vocals are quite legit and fired up, assisting the listener in getting equally stimulated in conjunction with the blinding distorted riffs and the rhythms which, when at full throttle, are such a blast.

Most are topped by these banging choruses chocked with great hooking lyrics seeping into your mind, and for that matter, the writing in general is pretty engaging.



The long-time friends and underground music faces from Massachusetts give us a slick post punk record where their experience in the field is very much on display.

There’s a spry excitement to the tunes which particularly comes from the rocking guitar work and strong drumming. The vocals have a great deal of moxie to them, and the choruses are unforgettable, lodged with banging hooks galore.


MISPLACEDFell In Love With A Lie

The Scottish pop punk lads have had a fair surge in popularity lately, and their latest EP shows that they’ve really stepped up their games since day one.

There’s a real serious oomph to the harmonies, with Kyle going all in with a flared up zest like his life depended on it, helping to put on show the great lyrics.

The melodies are dead energetic, packed with wild, hardened riffs, ringing bass tones and clobbering drum fills, and combined they make up some bloody blazing and catchy numbers, except for Storyboard, which in its case is a pleasant, thought-spilling acoustic tune, and Fates & Fairytales which has a neat electronic pulp.

An impressive effort from the group emanating with wallops of potential and proving that they might just be ready to take it to the next level.



The Wellington outfit present an utterly dazzling EP that is without a doubt one of the finest releases I’ve come across from out of New Zealand.

All but one of the tracks are fronted by Alba Rose and her sensationally alluring voice, then in her absence on It’s Just So is Coralie Martin, who has this wonderfully celestial presence to her.

The fancy synth/electronic work is a consistent plus and the beats are more often than not enjoyable, and there are surreal guitar chords often mixed in that expand upon the outlandish and dreamy atmosphere.

The more melodic numbers have a nice spring to them as well as fabulous choruses, especially Raptor which is downright addictive and endlessly taps at you to get up and boogie along.


LAURA MacFARLANEAqua Orange Silver Green

The new EP from the young Airdrie singer-songwriter is relatively simple in nature but really nice and welcoming in tone. The songs contain heartening lyrics, pleasant vocals and occasionally the odd infectious hook, such as with the utterly catchy chorus of Silver which refuses to get unstuck from your head no matter how hard you try.

This is the perfect record to stick on if you are in a bit of a negative slump and need to put a smile on your face, it’s clear as day a skill that Laura is well versed at, and honestly, the more kind of content like this out there, the merrier.



The Athens guitarist brings us a series of cracking performances involving remarkable and diverse riff displays across all the tracks, most notably during the variety of melodic portions that are pretty freaking catchy and buzz-inducing.

But it’s not just all about the guitar, there’s also an array of other instruments on hand here helping to forge the great rhythm sections, such as the solid basslines and drum beats, a rare appearance of decent stretches of piano keys and glockenspiels, and especially the bright and sublime synths.




The album has been promoted as “dystopian pop”, and sound-wise it’s right on the mark, often featuring the likes of spine-chilling reversed keys and eerie synths that form the creeping, fiercely captivating melodies, boosted by the polished pianos and humming bass notes.

But then in other cases, the songs have a lighter nature with a more definitive pep and catchy choruses (e.g. Architecture In LA, which is bright and buoyant, the latter due to the infectious brass and harmony hook combos.)

Roddy’s vocals are an essential quality of this record, dressed in a solemn tone that is magnetic and stirring, and on that similar note, the writing is vividly enrapturing and poetic, and particularly with the more absorbing numbers, you find yourself totally gripped.

After over 15 years flying solo, Roddy Woomble continues to be a valuable staple of the Scottish underground with an unbelievably immersive LP that few others in the field can match up with.


RAE ISLAAnother Life

The well-travelled Washington state born artist brings a solid effort to the table with music mixing pop and Americana, although with more emphasis on the latter.

The songs are made up of enchanting, harmonious melodies, where nice work on the guitar is regularly displayed, and heralded by lovely singing and congenial writing which is so pure at heart.



The defining factor of the New York duo’s wonderful album is the likeable writing focused on making the most of doing what you love to make you feel good, no matter the amount of crap the naysayers care to throw at you for it.

The guys certainly have no problem going into great, lengthy detail, almost to a level of in-your-face trolling, because to hell with it, they want to, and if you find yourself offended, then hard cheese old chap.

The groovy, almost trippy-like guitar streams and lax beats help create an incredibly chilled out environment that’s fun to sit back and lose yourself to, and the warm harmonies play a big part in that too.


DOROTHEA PAASAnything Can’t Happen

Dorothea’s highly anticipated and long overdue debut album has got to be one of the most ravishing pop records in recent memory.

Her voice is as lovely and elegant as they come, and the heart-warming lyrics click with ease. The very passive and serene melodies featuring luscious guitar and bass chords mixed in with pleasingly steady drum crashes, sparking a radiantly soft vibe to the overall sound.



The latest release from the endowed Japanese producer comprises of three tracks surrounded in this eerie quiet, courting you with a beautiful section of strings partnered with the occasional low bass key for that neat shuddering effect.

It’s a record that ethereal, mysterious and overall very relaxing, certain to clear the head of a busy mind.



With patience, the Greek act steadily create an engaging ambient setting, minimalistic to begin with, but gradually a range of instruments such as smooth chords, radiant pianos and gentle drum beats enter the fray and form the comfortable melody before ramping it up into these large, hard-hitting sections pulsing with energy.

That proves to be an efficient working formula which they choose to stick by through the remainder of the EP, with the final result being a nice and engrossing post-rock record with a great drawing power.



The album has a very welcoming, friendly impression, as if meeting with a long-time friend or a pleasant acquittance.

In that vein, the lyrics have a real homegrown, relatable sense to them that allow you to connect quite easily, and the great personable singing only helps to further certify that fact.

If you care to seek out music of the folk/country variety with a lot of heart and wholly honest humility riding behind it, then Quarterman is an absolute must in my book.


AYYAFrom The Fire: Chapter 2

The introductory spoken piece is utterly gripping, with Matt’s narration effectively sending chills down your spines and, as planned, make you uncomfortable about the topic, whilst the surrounding cosmic air has you encapsulated.

After that, he dives into the meat of the EP, a listing of potent techno tracks naturally defined by thick, thumping beats that clock your ears, working in tow with the juicy melodic electronics and pieced in vocal hooks which only serve to amplify the energy to an even more hair-raising degree.

Subsequently, he sticks to that blueprint of providing more of the captivating tale before returning to the music; the last of which is hypnotic beyond words; all coming together to create what is ultimately a distinctively fascinating record.



The album is personalised by a colourful sound with an infectiously kooky vibe to it, as if it came together in a manic circus at times, and on that note, the tracks are quite lively and bouncy.

There’s a lot of character behind the vocal work, then from an instrumental standpoint, the guitars are cool and the rhythm sections dead catchy, and naturally these apply to the insanely memorable and likeable choruses.

A ruddy good debut from a blooming great London band definitely worthy of a bigger spotlight on them and their charming music.



The Austin, TX quintet bring us a quick but entertaining EP, starting with the light and bubbly The Feeling which gets it rolling on such a positive note, complete with a catchy melody and memorable chorus.

The title number is more low-key and restrained, flowing at a steady tempo while we’re treated to some lovely heartfelt harmonies.

The final song Ain’t No Baby has a similarly casual pace to it to begin with before picking it up as it goes, accompanied by a great beat and fabulous waves of brass, and also featuring good lyrics.



FROST*Day & Age

The repeatedly lauded veterans of the English scene return to deliver their 4th album, where they continue to stamp their mark and show just why they are considered to be ranked so highly.

Commencing with a young girl sassily hurling abuse, the guys dive into a collection of superlative numbers with an endless list of positive qualities: gutsy singing, superb guitars, grooving bass lines, tight drumming, dazzling soundscapes, magnetic lyrics and an all-around bold energy.

Despite the songs being complex and at times on the lengthy side, they never fail to let your interest slip; you are completely mesmerised by the music, and by the end, you’re done experiencing an extraordinary masterwork with an awe-inspiring cinematic scope that is certain to stick with you, ensuring you won’t be forgetting it anytime soon.


CMAGIC5Ready To Run

The young yet already well experienced Canadian star is taking her country and the world of social media by storm as of late, and judging by her impressive freshly recently debut album, it’s not a shock in the slightest.

It comes loaded with pure pop dazzlers with elements of R&B and dance scooted in there to, tackling a mixture of mature topics and featuring inspiring, positively upholding lyrics. If that wasn’t enough, we also get spoiled by superb vocal work and insanely addictive choruses that will definitely appeal to a mainstream audience easily.

As a first full-length record is concerned, this is how it’s done, and there’s certainly a heap of promise lurking with this artist who is going nowhere else but up at this rate.


RITUAL CLOAKDivine Invasions

The highly ranked Welsh duo are back with their 2nd release and they’ve produced another rich and highly engrossing product right here.

The sturdy bass-enhanced drum beats create a light yet still resonant rhythm serving as the general foundation for an album which becomes defined by a majestic grand size.

There’s so much here; haunting piano keys, compelling ringing electronics, loose and bright high-pitched synths, refined guitar chords and occasionally the addition of ambient environmental bytes to provide another layer to the already broad scope.

Even here and there, vocals come into play and they’re pretty good too. The mood is always changing and evolving, ranging between calm and collected, eerily brooding, positively melodic and just straight up rocking.


HOT BREATHRubbery Lips

The Swedish hard rock troupe generate this ridiculously infectious energy that will undoubtedly get you in a wicked frenzy.

The singing is superb and has a pure fire behind it that only elevates the excitement levels, the guitars are blazing, the basslines are quite groovy, and the drumming on great form, and holy moly, the choruses are flat out awesome, being so catchy and memorable and all around vivid.

This is a simply electrifying record, and seriously, the world really needs more acts like this band who bring forth such a feverish enthusiasm that is beyond words.


STONED IMMACULATEI Mean, That’s What I Mean, You Know What I Mean?

Wow, that’s a mouthful. Last year, the boys made a solid statement with their previous Nah EP, and now they’re back to please us some more.

The loose, easy-paced rhythms don cool beats pushing them along, while being decorated by solid vocals, good riffs, neat bass rumbles, and in the final piece a likeable piano/strings combo, and the writing is entertaining too.

Their sound blends elements of indie and punk, with even a distinct dash of country lingering in the latter pair of tunes, and there’s a few sequences where they escalate the tempo and shine with a contagious energy, which is where the band really deliver at their peak.


HEAVYMAN – Beautiful Place

A classic American blues-rock vibe paints the London outfit’s record and is delivered in a smashing manner.

The vocals are incredibly fervent and chock full of personality, the riffs are supreme, churning out an array of bloody good solos, and the rhythms are beyond addictive, being so catchy and groovy and forcing your body into an irresistible sway.

Beautiful Place is total dynamite; all the way through it’s nothing short of a blistering, infectious experience that comes absolutely recommended for those who fancy themselves a real positive rush.



Ohio hard rockers kill it with this EP, loaded to the brim with impassioned vocals aided by mighty growling screams, really forcible rhythms that shake you to the core while the guitarists show off some dynamic riff displays, hefty choruses, and palpable lyrics.

One hell of a debut that only impresses me more with every subsequent listen. These guys mean serious business, and you can expect them to make a big impact in the American scene very soon.


LEXXI VONNE – Aquarian Age

To begin with, Lexxi provides some dark electro-pop pieces notable for her stunning voice as well as a tingling atmosphere in the environment courtesy of the spacious, mesmerising sound, and the lyrics are intriguing as well

She then proceeds to switch it around for a batch of catchy dance tracks that get you bopping your head along, thus proving to be pretty accomplished in dishing out both styles where required.


THE DISTRACTORSSubversiv Dekadent

The Belgian rockers’ debut album brings us songs highlighted by enjoyable, often humorous lyrics. They’re also quite short and to the point without ever outstaying their welcome, they throw out just the perfect amount of content.

The great rhythms are defined by an energetic bounce which stays consistent and are bundled with fun hooks, at times with a distinct tinge of raw punk squeezed in, and the rugged vocals are usually on solid form.

There’s certainly a couple of shaky spots that could have been tightened up, I won’t lie, but on the whole, it’s a satisfying first effort.



The case is often that the guys will rock at a steady mid-tempo during the verses, engaging the listener while elevating the anticipation, then at the perfect moment, kick it into full gear with the fervent choruses, throwing quite the fair amount of vitality behind their performances as they go.

Great riffs, big rhythms and solid writing on hand make for a fun romp overall from the Glasgow unit.




4 years since the much beloved UK rock quartet dropped a stellar album, they are at long last treating the masses to a brand new full-length effort – Invicta – and of course, it’s bloody brilliant.

We get Chloe’s fantastic lead vocals as we’ve come to know and love, backed up by the equally beefy screams punching at your ear drums for that added heavy edge. The lyrics are fantastic and incessantly make a major impression, full of running emotions and rarely, if ever, struggling to gauge investment; Underwater, Into Pieces and Falling are particular focal points there.

Tremendous thrilling choruses rack up the already brimming excitement and energy brought on by the rhythms into positive overdrive, plus they are jam-packed with super sweet riffs that include a few flashy solos now and again.

An outstanding record living up to the hype and keeping Skarlett Riot perpetually standing tall within the elite of the British underground, which is evidently too small to contain them; a band of their calibre deserve to reach even higher ground.


THE RAH’sWhen Does It Become Real?

One successful crowdfunder and months of waiting later, the young and promising East Lothian outfit have finally delivered their much anticipated debut album, and the final result is a belter.

It’s loaded with infectiously pumping up tunes mixing indie rock with modern punk sparking an unreal energy. The singing has great resolve, and the guitar work is a pure thing of beauty.

There are plenty of cracking choruses on hand that are ridiculously catchy and won’t be getting out of your skull any time soon – The Time Is Now, Land Of The Dreamers and Never Try to pick out just a mere few – but there’s also a batch of low-key numbers like Watch The World and Fuel To The Fire which are quite magnetic in their own right.

The Rah’s have surpassed already decent expectations with such an excellent record that is electrifying all the way through, and don’t be surprised if this skyrockets them to whole new heights.



Well, there’s certainly no contest when declaring this the best work to date of the Glasgow singer-songwriter and his capable team.

It opens up on a stunningly haunting note, before suddenly dropping into a loud and large blast of rock noise which wakes you up big time and gets you engaged into the vivacious rhythms and noteworthy writing, led on obviously by Austin himself who is on the ball with his harmonies.

The music is fabricated from zealous guitars, rocking bass and stiff drumming, all of which make for an insanely tight combo that generate a hell of an intoxicating sensation, although they do for a moment return to the quieter material led by nice pianos and soothing strings.



A mighty metalcore album from a mighty German outfit which greets you with a strong opening before getting down to serious business with a list of heavy, barbaric tracks that are non-stop stimulative, led on by tight performances across the board and bloody good choruses that serve as the highlight to each of them.



The Canadian punk boys bring a heap of humour and personality to their lyrics and performances, being unapologetically crude and brash in their singing while battering out dual rugged guitar and bass riffs, and raw, echoic drum shots.

The tunes are fast, furious, pretty damn catchy and whirled through at a relentless velocity which stays consistent all the way through.


KABBELEnd Of Norms

The queer sadcore connoisseur presents quite the interesting combo of dark pop, electronica and trap.

It can be best described as a lucid, acid-trip like experience that is off and surreal, yet oddly invigorating and hypnotic, characterised by rich and deep vocal work, highly flavoured production standards, and dazzling choruses.

A really cool and immensely enthralling EP that enforces your attention from the offset and clings on to you hard until it eventually comes to an end.



Kevin Day of Aspiga is quite the busy bee, now delivering the 3rd record under the banner of his solo project.

The NJ native treats us to a trio of short yet sweet pieces with light, easy-going melodies where his harmonies are nice and tender and the writing is quite earnest, with the listener able to get drawn in to the self-reflective lyrics without much difficulty.


DJBERWICKOne Night In Hell

The up-and-coming Scottish techno artist kicks off slowly building the anticipation, then starts pumping up the energy with thick, pulsating beats to get your subwoofers jumping whilst developing a dark ambience that is emphasised by the vocal loops.

He does well to maintain that absorbing mood lingering with a sense of dread, with light synth sounds intermixed before finishing up on a banging, vitalising finale.



The Boston punk outfit make a very quick impression through their 2-track debut here.

The harmonies have a fair amount of heart to them, doing well to get across the sincere lyrics on hand, and there’s a good pulse ignited from the rocking rhythms compiled of sweet riffs and great beats.



The EP is composed of a lo-fi pop rock sound that is able to capture a variety of moods.

It can be quite melodic and flow at a satisfying mid-tempo, they can lower the pace down and generate a firmly serene and soothing mood, getting you all loosened up inside, or they can choose to up the ante and charge through some catchy bops with an added buzz.

Whatever the case, it’s pretty polished music by the Italian duo certainly worth investing time to.


What Would Nova Do? – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


In the months following her SAY Award victory, Nova has continued to affirm her legacy in the Scottish hip hop scene by taking it to the next level with her stellar new EP.

As soon as possible, she displays such a strong power in her rapping with deep harmonies that are soft and natural, before picking up the pace with her widely known usual passion as she goes along.

As always, the writing is as openly candid and legitimate as it gets; she has a clear awareness of her status and livelihood, and not much will change regardless of success. The cuts themselves feature a tight mixture of fluent melodies, fixating beats and an absorbing ambience.

The spitfire quality of Re-Up isn’t as regularly prominent here, but Nova more than makes up for that with a pure emotional resonance that effectively clicks with the audience.


NUELA CHARLESBlissful Madness

Evident straight off the bat is Nuela’s amazing voice, which is not only soulfully luxurious, but also features a clear, no-nonsense tone that shows she is serious and not messing around, and as a result, the writing hits the mark effectively.

The songs are occupied within this divine and exuberant R&B sound that is insanely pleasing, heightened by the fiercely addictive melodies with mighty fine beats helping drive them as they go – which in turn get your body moving – and the first-rate choruses that are oh so catchy.

Within the space of 10 minutes, I’ve fallen in love with Nuela Charles, and she is undoubtedly somebody destined to break big in the Canadian mainstream charts very soon.



A raw, rambunctious energy is ever present and quite contagious here. The rough vocals are consistently in your face and shattering drum clobbers ring in your ears in conjunction with the rumbling basslines and snappy, screeching guitar work.

The entire record is the very definition of ruthless aggression, an element that the Virginia band promised, and sure as hell delivered.



A Black Peaks/Toska crossover? Hell yeah, I’m down for that! The 3 track collaborative EP, as you’d expect, is, to quote the guys themselves at the very end: “ f***ing dope!”

Liam helms the bloody booming rhythms through his as-per tight displays on the kit in twine with Rabea’s grooving bass tones, who in turn completes the puzzle with stellar guitar sequences and a nice sprinkling of melodic synths, bringing to life an immensely emphatic energy all around.

At the risk of sounding lazy and cliché, the only real problem is that this could have been longer, but hopefully this isn’t a one-off and it opens the doors for further group efforts in the future.


LOCKED INThe Solemn Leap

After luring you into a false sense of security with the opening interlude, the Italian group out of nowhere batter into a line-up of aggressive hardcore bangers packing potent vocals, chugging riffs and bass lines, and a crashing flurry of drums.

Fast, furious and flipping good stuff. Simple as that.



As the record gets going, a mood is established that I can only describe as overwhelmingly pleasant.

The music is very low-key, being warm and gentle and quite tender to your senses, with not much more than lovely acoustic chords and a subtle brumming of noise in the background to helm the melody. The harmonies are really mild and mellow, delivered in a delicate manner.

Then as you’ve been completely captivated, the switch is flicked and you’re greeted to a charge of heavy-hitting guitar riffs, which are effective as the suddenness of them is a testament to just how engrossed you are into the music.

The remainder of the ride follows suit, maintaining that pure and peaceful setting which all comes together to produce what is ultimately one of the most stunning EPs of the year.



Courtney Gains many folk will know as being part of various cult classic films of the 80’s, but he also happens to be a capable musician, as evident by his gas of an EP right here.

He presents some infectious blues rock cuts that get you grooving along courtesy of stellar guitar solos, high-spirited vocals and insanely buoyant rhythms, all of them, when at their peak, being so damn catchy and donning an off-the-charts energy.

But on top of those, there’s also a share of slower pieces which are investing in their own right, with solid lyrics and a fine country tone to them.


EUPHORIICASongs For Healing

Jeremey Hernandez, a pro of his local scene, lives up to the project’s namesake; the music being headed by incredibly sleek and loosing harmonies that are easy on the ears.

The tracks themselves are, fittingly enough, luminous and mesmerising, with a slight 80’s tinge and strong atmosphere being formed as they proceed along at a calm and gentle pace.

The choruses shine through and rank as the highlights of the already great songs, which are fairly straight-forward on a technical level, but that’s exactly what is required from a record of this nature: a product that is simple in order to ensure a nice, relieving listening experience.



The Australian duo devise an intriguing spectral sound that is out of this world, with the low-tempo cuts especially having a pleasant, relaxed ambience to them.

When they kick it up a gear, they provide some enjoyable bouncy post-punk style numbers that are pretty catchy, featuring a neat mish mash of piano keys, synths, deep bass chords and slick beats, plus the addition of lucid vocals.


KING UGLY DELIGHTNational Disgrace

The masked Glasgow artist dishes out some decently produced electronic tracks ingrained by a blend of various styles, with a noticeably distinct focus on synths and 8-bit bytes.

Naturally, it’s with the high-tempo numbers where the energy levels are kicked up through the roof, completely with intense catchy beats, while there’s also a draft of slower pieces which has a pretty good, cool flow to them.



VINOK – Holy Fool

Front and centre are Nathalie’s awesomely vital harmonies; in the calmer moments, she alluringly draws you in, forcing you to scoot closer and focus, then when the dial switches to the high energy sequences – namely the supreme choruses – she unleashes into a wild, contagious fury.

A significant factor are the fantastic lyrics, diving into subjects like the feeling of being an outcast, combating mental health, but most prominently of all, the desire to stand proudly alone, independently without hinderance from others.

Dusted off by latching hooks, dynamically hard-hitting riffs and beats, and a big size in general, the Ukrainian-American alt rock outfit deliver a flat-out blinding album.


KATEE KROSSThe Old House Session

One of Scotland’s premier country acts is back following up on her highly-rated Show Your Hand album with a short but equally satisfying EP.

It starts off gently with the beautiful Bluebird, highlighted by Katie’s pure and wonderful voice, then Game Of Life elevates the buzz a touch with some sweet electric chords, a calm yet catchy beat and memorable lyrics, then a little more of the same positive qualities return in the melodic and heartfelt Memphis.

A new release and a proposal on the same weekend? Not too shabby. (ps. CONGRATULATIONS!)


STEVE GROZIERAll That’s Been Lost

A stalwart of the Glasgow scene for several years now, Steve finally brings us his long-awaited debut album.

A key element making this particularly strong is the emphasis on variety. Every single song is different in its own way, not only making for a more diverse and interesting listen but they each make a more noteworthy impact and leave you remembering them.

There’s a solid mixture of various sounds here; most prominently country; the harmonies are on excellent form, the acoustic melodies are quite pleasing, and the lyrics are real fixating.

Undoubtedly, this is Steve’s greatest triumph to date, a sentimentally compelling and magnetic record that grabs you from the offset and refuses to let go.



One of England’s most overlooked pop outfits present a sensational album that is simply delightful, bringing nothing but positive vibes that remain well and truly alive throughout the record’s entire course.

Spotlighted are wonderful guitar-driven melodies and light bopping beats with an infectious pep in their step that in turn get you joining in, plus there are pleasing dash of keys here and there.

The multitude of harmonies mix well together, with the lead singing in particular being especially nice and featuring personality in the delivery of the likewise entertaining lyrics.



Felix is very efficient in translating his political activeness into the music, resulting in really strong and potent lyrics that come off as sincere and thought-provoking as opposed to aggressive and preachy, which many would find off-putting; he finds that perfect middle ground.

Sonically, the record has its diverse range of styles, incorporating elements of freaking everything imaginable: pop, folk, blues, indie rock, Britpop, hippy grooves and much more. There are nice guitar displays, cool bass tones, fluent beats, slick harmonies, and on the whole the songs are just catchy and memorable.

An excellent EP that is just as academic and informative as it is entertaining.


TERMINALISTThe Great Acceleration

The Danish-American thrash combo charge through the quintet of mighty numbers at an explosive velocity, discharging mean, animalistic growls, intense riffs and shaking rhythm sections in their wake.

There’s an epic energy constantly running full steam ahead without any signs of ever slowing down. From end to end, it’s a hair-raising flight from the intercontinental ensemble.


THE ROMANASHanging On A Wire

So this is a unique mesh, indeed. Rhianna starts off with sublime country style harmonies, but then Rory implements his hip hop background to uphold his end of the bargain with strong rapping, and the pair switch between the two styles at regular intervals, but both equally radiate with a firm personal touch; likewise with the lyrics.

Thick bass chords and sweet drums carry the great, smooth-flowing rhythms, but are also often swapped for these radical electronic beats that are quite catchy, with an effective concoction of acoustic notes, electric licks, banjos and strings melded in throughout.

Creative in concept and successful in execution, this is a brilliant, odds-surpassing EP that can’t afford to be missed.



A cool batch of solid rocking numbers with the addition of engaging slow-tempo pieces. While not the most complex of records, consistently good performances and decent lyrical depth make the Midlands group’s debut full-length effort worth a check.


SHEVILSMiracle Of The Sun

Shevils are loud and brash, and very upfront about the fact, translating that into an infectious endless barrage of noise that completely consumes you.

An amplified raw vitality pumps through the rugged rhythms, personality (and profanity) are more than plentiful here, and the choruses are just plain great.

A stonking good time to be had here with the Norwegian post-hardcore group’s 4th album, but you wouldn’t expect less from them by this point, surely.



What we have here are a pair of smooth-flowing rock numbers that neatly blend this dreamy aura meshed in with a continuous rhythmic buzz, interestingly being both loose and lively all at once.

The guitar work is noticeably slick, the drumming brings us nice, steady beats, and the harmonies have a real absorbing quality to them.

All in all, a short but certainly sweet EP from the long-running Tokyo group.


The Difficult Number 2 – SMALL MUSIC SCENE

COLONEL MUSTARD & THE DIJON 5The Difficult Number 2

It’s been 7 long years, but the leaders of The Yellow Movement finally return to the fray with a brand new full-length album, and the final verdict? It’s blooming great, that’s how it is.

The majority of the package is comprised of catchy, utterly exhilarating bangers that encourage you to get up and dance and indulge in all the positive vibes being unleashed, although there are also a few chilled out moments as well that have a nice casual tide to them.

A mix-up of genres are at play, ranging from pop, to reggae, to dance, and even a cheeky dose of dubstep, sparked from blissful blasts of brass, cool guitar riffs, stimulating rhythms, chic electronics and excellent ensembles of vocals, including the inviting and charismatic colonel himself John McMustard guiding the charge.

The endearingly creative writing as usual is a major component, plus we get a series of special guests to help out the band, including Ant Thomaz, Becca Starr, the Castlemilk Youth Complex Chair, and even Troy The Gardener himself, Gavin Mitchell.

Coming out of a hellacious, stressful and uncertain year, this is exactly the kind of record we need as we make that slow but steady transition back into a world of normality. A total delight.



After churning out an endless array of singles in recent years, the Scotch-punk titans are finally treating us to a new record.

A voracious wild energy is sparked from the frenzied rhythms that batter through at an insane pace, complete with rapid drum streams, crunching bass lines and feisty riffs galore.

The vocals as per have that blunt potency to them that demand your attention, and the writing is among their most entertaining and impressionable to date, with every verse sinking into your brain and making a mark.

A bloody right old manic craze, this is, one that’ll have fans at this point choking to boogie along to the belting tunes inside the Priory Bar sooner than later.


PRETTY PREACHERS CLUBRomance & Adolescence

Mere months after their previous record, Glasgow’s most wholesome bedroom pop duo return with another truly heart-warming EP.

At the forefront are the beautiful harmonies which glimmer so hard with a feeling of comfort. In conjunction with those, the mood is so relaxed and beyond dreamy, which only makes the inevitable smile on your face all the bigger, with the application of luminous synths, easy drums, and sleek, spine-chilling chords accentuating that.

The lovely lyrics Aare conveyed in a soft delicate and manner, defined by all-too-real themes, most notably being open about yourself and not letting hardships and other negative elements be bottled up and wreck you from the inside.



For any newcomers, Stanley Odd is a collective of just some of the finest hip hop artists within the Scottish scene who, in this case, all prove to be incredibly beneficial, each delivering equally top-notch performances tied by the tightest of chemistries that further raise the bar of what turns out to be a hell of a high quality record.

Banging, vibrant beats and immensely fresh electronic sounds are initiated through the production that, at least with the bouncer cuts, infuse you with an urge to boogie along. The majority of the choruses are memorable belters, often equipped with sweet hooks.

The writing across the board is bloody good and not at any moment running short on frankness and creativity, consistently grabbing your attention, keeping you sucked in and garnering the desired reactions.



One of France’s finest underground acts are back and better than ever before, releasing what is above and beyond one of the most exhilarating and phenomenal albums of the year.

It’s defined by this huge, infectious sound with a vivid scope and power to it worthy of filling an entire arena. The record churns out a ballot of staggering anthems, featuring thrilling rhythms, strong harmonies and awesome choruses, where the energy is off the charts, making it impossible to not get you in an enthusiastic rouse.


RYLAHRunning In The Dark

The former Neon Seas have re-christened themselves with a new identity, but one thing certainly hasn’t changed: the quality of their output.

This record is chock full of everything imaginable: pitch-perfect vocals, nice lyrics, insanely addictive choruses, absolutely lush synths, a great rhythmic mixture of guitars and drums, and a vivid breath-taking scale courtesy of the phenomenal production work.

It may be only 3 songs long, but holy moly, is it a marvellous trio of tracks; in fact, I could go as far to say that this EP is damn near flawless. At this rate, RYLAH are well en route to becoming one of Scotland’s top-tier pop outfits.



The sound created by the Cardiff outfit is a well-executed crossroads of alt-rock and post-hardcore with a totsy hint of emo shoved in for added depth.

The vocals are a key highlight, comprising of back-and-forth great harmonies and passionate screams; either way, fuelled by believable emotions.

There’s an overall charged up moxie to all the performances that drive the songs along and get you invested, plus the choruses stand out well with some memorable hooks.



The established Scottish folk artist lives up to her talents with a simply remarkable record, where she showcases her vividly lush vocal capacity and draws us in with engaging lyrics.

As for the songs themselves, they are herded by fantastic melodies via the very nice instrumentals, and there’s a sensational grand sense of atmosphere that totally encapsulates and immerses the listener into the music, especially with ambient soundscapes being perfectly implemented.

It’s beautifully mystical stuff all around and is just begging to be experienced.


RUBY BONESLaser Tooth Tiger

I’ve listened to a multitude of thrilling records across 2021 alone, but this might just take the cake.

Most, if not all, of the songs on this package are of the high-octane variety, being blazed through at a fast pace with such mental, dynamic melodies that never let up and are able to get anybody in a flurried buzz.

Everything; from the vocals, to the guitars, to the rhythms; they all scream with this explicit sense of spirit that is indescribably infectious.

From bell to bell, a memorably zealous blast courtesy of the highly promising New Jersey group guaranteed to deliver a good time.



The music often has a mystical essence which loosens the senses and has you drifting dreamily as you listen, and Ane’s engaging voice is a major factor in that, not to mention the equally enticing lyrics to go along with that.

In addition, the delightful instrumentals are constantly mixing up bits and pieces of pop, folk and jazz to help create the nice, flowing melodies.


MULINIJust Beyond

The sophomore EP by the English R&B producer is a tremendously absorbing and emotionally pulling work.

Instrumentally, it’s very nice, with good beats, juicy synths and subtle ambient rumbles present throughout, and the choruses are as prime as they come.

The writing is excellent and has a true self-awareness, mainly diving into the array of mental faults sadly needed to be fought every day, and the pure vocal performances only enforce the legitimacy of the lyrics.


FLU FLUMi Mundo Interior

The latest EP from the Seville shoegaze project is the epitome of short but sweet indeed.

Wholesome low-key harmonies, neat guitars, easy-toned basslines and awfully nice beats all mesh to forge a sublime ambience.