Contender – SMALL MUSIC SCENE: ISSUE #9

FIGHTMILKContender

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.

OUT NOW!


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.

AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 28TH MAY!


HECTOR SHAWGravity

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.

AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 21ST MAY!


PLASTIC AGEYEACK!

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.

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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.

OUT NOW!


STARANStaran

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.

AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 21ST MAY!


SYLVAN PAULAmerica

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.

OUT NOW!


MIQULMake/Shift

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.

OUT NOW!

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