The Lazy Eyes: SongBook – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


THE LAZY EYESSONGBOOK

As the record begins, the Aussies nicely warm up and stretch their musical muscles through the intro piece, before they get going for real with The Seaside, a very pleasant number defined by an incredibly sleek and lax melody which gleams bright with fluorescent vibes that match the mood to a tee, and the closing minute see them kick it up a fair notch.

The Island has a wistful, semi-mysterious tone to it, and the guitar chords are memorably delightful, and then we get such an infectious boost of energy with the quick and skippy Tangerine. After taking five to sit back and chill with the interluding Hippo, they proceed onto Starting Over, the most lyrically yielding song up to this point reflecting on putting the past behind you, hitting the reset button and making the most of life with a brand new, better mindset.

Thus we come to what is indisputably the best entry of the entire record – Fuzz Jam – which is ridiculously catchy and brain-sticking, unpredictable as it consistently freshens up in style, and herded by one of the most awesome and addictive basslines you will ever hear in your life, I guarantee it.

Nobody Taught Me sounds like a dream, and helping in that are the amiable harmonies taking lead. Another interval comes with the fittingly named Trance, and then we move onto Where’s My Brain, the latest in a series of bouncy selections driven along by groovily perky drumming and further highlighted by super nifty, intoxicating riff displays.

Imaginary Girl sonically hails as a charming call-back to romantic pop of the 1960’s and certainly brims with heartfelt feelings; the latter quality flooding over into the satisfactory finale, Cheesy Love Song, which delivers exactly what it promises on the tin.

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding The Lazy Eyes over the last year or so, and it’s very much justified, and fans are undoubtedly going to be happy with the results of SongBook, which is from top to bottom a fun, wonderful and entertaining psych-rock album that will most assuredly set the Sydney quartet on course to becoming Australia’s next big breakout act.


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Ophelia’s Eye: Hopeless World – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


OPHELIA’S EYEHOPELESS WORLD

The guys charge full steam ahead to get opening number My Honor off to a respectably rocking start and more or less maintain that throughout, complete with brutish growls and tasty guitar solos. F*ck My Trust kicks off easy going enough, but it’s not long before they return to their dynamic standards and don’t hold back calling out those who have been deceitful towards them, ending up in being left in the dirt, and they get that across quite well, especially in the strong chorus.

The title track is initially calm, floating along with some nice smooth chords, before the strength is restored and we get treated to another solid banger with a diversifying rhythm concerning the endless negativity that we all seem to be surrounded in. The drumming is on seriously tight and remarkable form across the duration of Human Abyss, and the power levels are properly upped in I’m Explosive, where the band go all out and accelerate their performances to dish out a totally rip-roaring cut, which then seamlessly flows through into the equally palpable Pain And Sorrow; the ideal choice to serve as the fast and furious climax.

All in all, Ophelia’s Eye have made a firm and ample impression through this record, with the Swiss troupe initiating a heck of a good time for any metal funs tuning in while also penning lyrics that definitely ring with a forthright validity.


Doghouse: Going Out Out – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


DOGHOUSEGOING OUT OUT

The jubilant opening seconds of Not I quickly make way for some scruffy, pounding techno beats that are mighty catchy and get the head pumping back and forth while Jason gladly exposes those looking for an excuse to get angry and offended without having the slightest clue what the hell they are talking about. Bad Acid assuredly lives up to its name, serving as a weird and lucid trip that, admittedly, could’ve probably been cut down by a minute or so but is still a decent enough piece.

Things properly get rolling again with Your Mother Knows Best, complete with a snappier pace, a contagious rhythm, an utterly addictive chorus, amusingly peculiar singing, and more enjoyable lyrics, this time taking a stab at people who are stuck letting themselves be defined by what others tell them instead of choosing to be independent and think freely, and wrapping up the record is the title track which goes off the rails into a fun and cracking bout of delirious hysteria.

Going Out Out is yet another entertaining and suitably mental addition to the catalogue of the Cardiff madman, who you can always rely on for some satisfyingly mind-warping material.


Nonsun: Blood & Spirit – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


NONSUNBLOOD & SPIRIT

A Wizard Grieving commences at a very patient clip, and then a couple of minutes in suddenly erupts and hits you hard with sturdy riffs, echoing drums and this incredibly effective and perception of unbridled doom and gloom, and that feeling only escalates as the time rolls on. That Which Does Not Kill begins with the outright weighty aggression from the offset, and somehow even then they manage to raise the bar to empathetically bewildering proportions, between the deep grueling roars, the frankly insane rhythms, and everything else that they can muster.

Days Of Thunder Bring New Wisdom gives us more of those impressive guitar displays and fascinating droning vibes that bolster the surrounding atmosphere, before changing gears in the latter third, settling down with loose bass tones and beats which eventually come to a satisfying head. Guilt, Disgust, Disaster is another solid entry which generates some of the moodiest and most downcast vibes of any song yet, making for a subtly hellish soundscape, and the late addition of strings only elevates it.

The opening organs of In Your Eyes, I’m A Cripple define the disposition; an abrupt silence then occurs, after which a lucid sensation comes over, then before you know it, the guys link up and storm in with one final hefty attack to close out what is ultimately a strong and stiff record from the Ukrainian post-metal outfit that is simultaneously a heavy rocking trip and quite often akin to a diffusing out-of-body experience bordering a nightmare.


Treasvre: Stick The Knife In – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


TREASVRESTICK THE KNIFE IN

Run Away has you sold right from the offset, where the shimmering electronics actually fit quite well with the clashingly rugged guitars; it’s an admirable blend of differing styles that makes for something both melodic and robust, and on top of that, we also get stellar harmony work and such a freaking catchy hook.

Letting Nature Run Its Course is just as investing and is defined by an even darker sonic tone than before with a consistent display of sweet riffs throughout the tune and a brief but fun flurry of drum beats in the closing moments. Face In The Crowd begins on a quiet and pensive feel before exploding into an infectious stream of energy, and that ideally matches up to the lyrical theme concerning the desire to break free and stand out true and proud.

The title number is handily the most restrained cut of the bunch initially, which evokes a strong atmospheric vibe that has you seized, thanks in major part to the soft-spoken vocals spilling a lot of hurt and emotion into the lyrics, and they eventually rack up the strength for something a bit more intense and even more captivating, after which, ominous bass notes and chords provide a bridge into the heartfelt, spectral and unforgettable closing piece, I Just Want To Be Loved.

The San Francisco Bay quintet deliver in spades here on a record that manages to warp between a series of different genres with ease, get you excited one minute and sucked in the next, and most importantly garner the exact required reaction to the engaging and earnest writing.


Ali Slater: LUS!D – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


ALI SLATERLUS!D

Without You sets things in motion very nicely, where in a sonically steady fashion Ali confidently makes it crystal clear that getting rid of her romantic interest was not much of a difficult task when she came to realise not only how much of a toxic anchor he was, but also that she can make it through life as an independent force. The buzz truly gets fired into gear with the highly intoxicating Over It, a wonderfully lively pop-rock anthem that is catchy, driven by Ali’s fiery and positive vocals, and putting a bow on the themes from before.

Ring Shopping is a solid cut with a nice dashing of background strings all about exposing lies and any lack of true loving feelings, Kiss In The Rain features another marvellous chorus and captures that want for mutual goals which evidently can be tricky to come by, and lastly but sure as hell not least is the titular track, and holy god freaking damn, talk about an insanely electrifying, off-the-charts song which gets you up off your feet into a crazed dancing frenzy; it’s contagious beyond words.

Ali Slater may have single-handedly released the absolute best debut record of 2022 so far, I’m not kidding. The New Yorker has done just about everything right on this EP, from the excitement generated by her tunes, to the zeal streaming from her performances, to the stellar writing which will undeniably connect with a female audience while giving a particular selection of male listeners a much-needed education.


Slippery Trashmouf: Smiley Nonsense – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


SLIPPERY TRASHMOUFSMILEY NONSENSE

Goon exhibits a lot of mental turmoil in the opener Still Broke, where he finds himself trapped in cycles of medication and the like whilst doing all he can to survive, doing this and that while making compromises, yet he remains in a financial struggle; a perfectly timed release given the recent rise of living costs.

LungRot digs deeper into his addictions that have been dragging him down and creating an ongoing sense of helplessness, and meanwhile, he’s having a hard time trying to put on a happy face when the pain is eating him alive from the inside out. The last of the tracks Sloppy continues the prior themes while hitting the mark with a catchy production, and Kevin Breadknife makes a distinct impression with his input.

Smiley Nonsense is handily the best Slippery Trashmouf record since he came to my attention through What The F*ck back in 2020, as he remains one of the most honest and respectfully objective rappers on the Scottish scene who isn’t afraid to shy away from his personal issues and predicaments.


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Bobby Mahoney And The Seventh Son: We Go On – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


BOBBY MAHONEY AND THE SEVENTH SONWE GO ON

A dose of bright and flashy guitar chords get Moth To The Flame up and rolling, and from there the tune is nothing less than energetically bobbing and positively pulsing, topped off by a cool chorus and Bobby’s great vocal work. The main hook of Take What You Can Get is ungodly catchy and addictive, the riffs and rhythm pairing have an added raw edge behind them, and the lyrics are engaging, making for an altogether enthralling belter that is out of this world.

No Amens In This Van is a little reeled back in comparison but is just as riveting and the writing continues to be good, diving into the stresses that naturally come with the pursuit of music. Lay It On Me brings it all the way down for a really pleasant stripped back ballad that is quite romantic and smile-inducing, showing appreciation for having a source of love even through the roughest of spells, and the title track wraps up things in a decently solid manner.

The latest EP from the New Jersey alt rock squad is an all-around smashing effort that seeks to excite as much as it seeks to unravel some personal feelings, and in both cases, Bobby and co simply kill it.


Seek Harbour: Far From Home – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


SEEK HARBOURFAR FROM HOME

You know this is going to be a great record as soon as we get the first taste of the lead harmonies in Dagger Like Eyes, which feature both a broad pitch and a legitimate emotional punch, and this is also abundantly present in the contrastingly harsher and equally effective yells, and the pairing get across well the falling apart of an unhealthy relationship. Wolves inspires to let go of the past and finally rid yourself of those who have constantly hurt you and let you down, with it now being time to strive for a prosperous future complete with your independence, and also the chorus is really good stuff and quite memorable.

The title track validly chronicles being caught in such a state of regularity that then comes that fearful knot in your stomach when a major change is forced upon you and you need to take the plunge into newer unfamiliar territory. Lastly, TY (FBMH) is an incredibly heartfelt and delicate number which continues the themes of before, learning to accept that everything is different now while showing gratitude for your loved one for the progress achieved up to this point and how that’s going to help push you forward for the better.

It really is a hefty task trying to determine if there’s any other outfit in the entire English hardcore scene that can match up to the purity and the authenticity that Seek Harbour bring to their content. From beginning to end, the Far From Home EP is powerfully sentimental and immensely upfront, unafraid to dig deep and actually get a few tugs in at your heartstrings, and surely any band able to accomplish that must be doing something right.


Tranzat: Ouh La La – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


TRANZATOUH LA LA

Literally, the millisecond your finger clicks on that play button, you’re greeted with a blinding barrage of noise which opens up Shall We Dance, and as you’d probably guess, it’s a bloody tremendous off-the-rails banger that possesses your body to flail along wildly without as much of a second thought, but that’s only the beginning, for next is Lobster Beaujolais, the most epic operatic piece to ever grace the airwaves based on a crustacean, which as we all know is the finest of the mainstream musical genres.

Mr Awesome commences like a soft and sweet ballad, but of course that doesn’t last for long as they kick it back up for another great rocker, and the same can be said for Climbing Tibetan Mountains, where the vocal ensembles work damn well, plus it comes with a hint of atmosphere lurking in there too which fits with the subject fine enough.

Lord Dranula is a spectacularly frantic and full-frontal belter, further highlighted by, again, the singing which reaches its greatest and most impressive peak yet, and the guitar work is something to behold too, and if that wasn’t enough, they even somehow manage to squeeze in an excerpt of Happy Birthday, as you do.

Morning Glories is another solid entry with a robust rhythm section hoisting it up, and that factoid rings even truer in the aggressive and lyrically entertaining My Dear Washer. Contrary to what the title may suggest, Pillow Flight is a loud, hefty and psychotic assault from bell to bell, and soon they conclude with what is handily the most poignantly written song on this record, Global Warning.

This third album from Tranzat served as my personal introduction to the French metal band, and goddamn, have I been missing out, but all the same, I’m grateful to have jumped on the hype train now, because this is one of the most dynamic, sizable, humorous and on the whole phenomenal albums I’ve endured in recent memory, and it goes without saying that these guys could do with the extra publicity.


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