Cade Hoppe: Everything That’s Wrong With You – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


CADE HOPPEEVERYTHING THAT’S WRONG WITH YOU

Straight out of the gates, Cade is on killer form in the fantastic and catchy opening titular track; his vocals are smooth and slick, and the lyrics are very strong, striking back at a toxic heel who is trapped in this unhealthy obsession with trying to cause a rift and make him look like a bad person. Heart Safe is very similar in that regard, as Cade stands his ground and strives to protect his loved one from their ex who had wounded them in the past, and the believability rings well and true behind his voice and words.

Hurts features an infectious beat and a dazzling pair-up of synths and guitar chords while reflecting on the pain of loss and heartbreak, Cade then delivers yet another forthright and all-consuming performance in the quieter Don’t Watch Me, where you indeed sympathise with and maybe even relate to his doubts and generally negative state of mind, and lastly Morphine discloses that push to recover but unfortunately it still comes with its difficulties, including a reliance on drugs and that fear of being open about bottled up feelings.

Not long after his memorable debut late last year, the New York pop artist has doubled down and impressed yet again with an incredible sophomore EP that sees him stripping his emotions down to the barest of bones, exposing them for the world to see, and he’s insanely effective at pulling the listener into his issues and problems without it ever coming across as forced or illegitimate, and thus creating a firmly deep impact in the long term.


Polly: Slump – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


POLLYSLUMP

The guys get your attention nicely with the opening Is This It and it’s cool, solid rhythm; Just Ask Me follows suit, initially in a sleek, easy-going manner but steadily elevating and amplifying as it proceeds, wrapping up with a darn fine guitar solo.

Sick Of The Man is where things get serious though, as a more absolute energy becomes present, urging you to bob your head and stamp your feet along in twine, and then eventually just explode into a frenzy altogether.

A valiant singing performance is the key driving force of the catchy and lyrically engaging Boy, Girl, and the chorus of 8-Track rocks satisfyingly hard, but then the buzz is tuned down for the utterly mesmirising Dyawannarun, where the singing is soft and magnetic, and the instrumentals equally absorbing.

Fresh off that, they ease their way back up into the mildly fluent No Man, and the writing continues to gauge firm interest through Project 23 in between the sublimely sleek riffs on the go.

Then we get a return to the high-octane stuff with Slump, which trots to an infectious jumping bassline and is headed by cracking guitar work and impassioned blaring yells when it reaches its pinnacle, and Let’s Grab A Drink serves as a splendid, captivating finish.

All in all, the Edinburgh quartet have churned out positive results with their debut album. It’s not a perfect package, but when it’s great, it’s really damn great, with a pick of particular songs sure to get the replay treatment for the foreseeable future, and it’s a safe bet that Polly will only get better from here on out.


Megalomatic: The Benbecula Tree – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


MEGALOMATICTHE BENBECULA TREE

The ringing siren of Theme immediately induces curiosity and interest as the trio build and build the anticipation until bursting into a storm of noise which in turn seamlessly transitions into the mighty Anniversaries, slaying with stonking guitar and bass tones, avid beats, and a smashing chorus, and we get more of those tasty qualities in the follow-up Disclaimer, with extra emphasis on the impressively hefty vocal chops.

The Temples Of Small Gods imposes with a formidable scale while also captivating with its writing, and just as resonant, if not even more so, is the most recent single, Red-Eyed Rabbit, which is about as epic as it comes, crushing with a perpetual driving force from beginning to end while the guys perform at their absolute apexes, and if that wasn’t enough, the lyrics are damn memorable and contagious too.

After a much needed intermission with Etch, the band return to business as usual with the sweet Varying Degrees Of Everything, especially when it properly gets going in the second half, then A Burst Of Three is defined by more great singing, engaging words and a constantly heightening power.

After reeling wholly back with the muted and mystifying Sketch, they perfectly flow through into A New Pair Of I’s, a fast and furious banger of overwhelmingly exhilarating proportions, and to end matters is Every Colour Of The Peacock’s Tail, a thoroughly engrossing 10 minute number that regular switches gears through a multitude of styles, but never struggles in maintaining interest along the way.

I’ve known Megalomatic for the better part of the previous decade, and through all the plasmafia conspiracies, the midnight sasquatch hunts and the symbolism, I’ve witnessed them continuously grow and develop both as people and as musicians, and now with this long-awaited debut album, I have to say I’m extremely proud of what they’ve accomplished.

The Benbecula Tree is a hell of a colossal, thrilling progressive rock record that takes you on a sweeping journey with various twists and turns throughout, and no matter how many times I listen to it, it never fails to take the breath away and get me into a space of total, unadulterated hype.


Assumption: Hadean Tides – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


ASSUMPTIONHADEAN TIDES

As Oration kicks off, the group sure don’t waste time delivering exactly what any mindful listener is begging for: a fearsome roaring combo of shrill riffs, a deep, charging rhythm, and some of the most indescribably incredible growls you’ll hear from any vocalist in the genre at the moment.

Submerged By Hadean Tides commences on a strong and compelling note with cool choral harmonies and seismic bass tones that ring in your ears, and that brute, resolute pressure coming courtesy of the latter is thoroughly retained through the entirety of the track, then in the later minutes we get juicy guitar displays and an awesome, blinding, barraging assault.

Daughters Of The Lotus slowly enters the scene in a meticulous fashion whilst generating a sludgy, menacing air that keeps you sucked in and totally hooked all the way to the end. The completely instrumental Breath Of The Dedalus produces this utterly awe-inspiring as well as unsettling hellish soundscape that’s difficult to express through words, but trust me when I say that it’s very effective. Liquescent Hours begins at a steady pace, but soon enough they unleash into another infectiously driving offensive.

But out of nowhere, we get a change of style with Triptych, as the band opt to strip everything back and focus on a spoken direction, and they accomplish this stupendously; his voice is fiercely gripping and spine-chilling, the words are arresting, and the initially minimal instruments in the first half only broaden the haunting atmosphere, and afterwards Black Trees Waving makes for a great, entertaining finale that shifts and swerves over its 15 minute duration.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the Italian unit have produced one of 2022’s definitive A-level death metal records, from top to bottom it’s an immense and overpowering experience that is loud, large, investing and featuring little to no flaws to speak of, it’s as close to bloody perfection as it gets.


Lia Rye: Fever Dream – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


LIA RYEFEVER DREAM

An instant impression is made with the title number, a slick dark pop piece shimmering with a mysterious tone before livening up further in the cool chorus, and the detailed, imaginative lyrics really help it live up to the namesake. Habits slides closer into the rock genre, where we witness a vivid pulse generated through the addition of oh-so-sweet guitar chords and great drum beats, and Lia also amplifies her vocal game as she seeks to escape the trap of a looping spiral keeping her away from independence.

In the next entry Blue Midnight, the pleasing piano keys and synths forge a nice, luminous mood, while a vibe of energy which lingers underneath is still maintained. One Track Way features some good self-reflection on Lia’s behalf, primarily the struggle to break off from the beaten path causing pain and strife, but there’s still hope that this can be accomplished and that positivity will eventually help her towards the brighter future she desires. Although sadly, as stipulated in Novacaine, the wrong misguided sources of inspiration can always set you backwards, and they’re not exactly the easiest of obstacles to overcome.

The 18 year old artist from London wished to prove herself, and quite frankly I think she has, mainly because there’s a definitive maturity in her content in more or less every area: the performing, the writing and the production. Fever Dream is a strong starting point for Lia Rye, I’m confident in her talents and I believe she can go nowhere else but up from here. Her mission to establish a new non-stereotypical image for black artists will not be in vain, I can tell you that much.


Demi McMahon: Rainbow Remedy – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


DEMI MCMAHONRAINBOW REMEDY

The album begins fashionably with Sheep, a relatively smooth-running opener with Demi through the lyrics effectively airing her grievances over obvious liars and time wasters, then I Know features such a sweet synth melody worthy of dancing along to while conveying well that want to provide comfort when others find themselves in a struggle.

The piano work of Party is great and helps give the song an enticing theatrical quality of sorts, capping off with a pleasing wee vocal scat from Demi in the finishing moments, and Flames is a solid piece pushed by a fine guitar line. Baby Steps is a perfect example of Demi’s speciality – beautiful songs that warm your heart with a wholesome message, and this one certainly inspires the listener to take a moment to ease and not feel guilty about taking all the time they need to achieve whatever goals or ambitions they have set for themselves.

To Be Free, naturally, shows Demi losing her patience with somebody who isn’t worth it and vying to find a much needed lone sense of individuality in life. Don’t Forget About The Reggae has a decent flow and kick to it, then the buzz undoubtedly picks up with the pure bopper Think Twice and its fantastically catchy chorus. Material Things rings with contagious vibes in its own right all while Demi exhibits via emphatic singing displays that humanity and honesty beat out physical riches and pretentious egos like any day of the week.

Heart Of Gold is a brilliantly compelling ballad resonating with currents of emotions and a raw purity, and Time’s A Healer is yet another entry in the line of affectionate cuts and also another with a latching lead hook. In the highly touching and immensely heartfelt Loved And Lost, Demi takes a moment to reflect on the kind souls no longer with us and how close they will always stay in our hearts and memories forever, and finally, she concludes with the merry and motivational electronic piece, Try.

A proper full-blown record from the famed Dundee singer is something that’s been on the cards for god knows how long by this point, but now it’s here at last, and it’s simply wonderful. Demi McMahon goes all in through the range of tunes on hand with a little bit of everything stylistically speaking without running dry or becoming too repetitive, which is impressive considering how stacked and loaded of a tracklist we have here, but the two most important ingredients without a doubt are her genuine character and bona fide honest writing, which creates a well-earned huge degree of charm and respect, and in turn a drawing power making for an overall splendid album courtesy of the red-headed dazzler.


Lucky Number You: Aftercare – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


LUCKY NUMBER YOUAFTERCARE

The fresh new Birmingham trio have made a staggering impression with their debut album characterised by an indie pop sound screaming with such strong tropical vibes that make this a quintessential pick for your summer playlist. It’s fluorescent, perky, and just fills you up with swells of glee sure-fire to enhance your serotonin levels. The performances are on point throughout, made up of glossy harmonies, class guitar chords, sweet flowing rhythms, flashy synths, countless excellent hooks, and an array of memorable choruses.

The writing can be quite good too, sweeping a variety of different topics effectively; being fearful of the world and the mental state it is in, the value of being somebody’s ray of light through dark periods, the added anxieties and weariness that comes with growing older, and questioning the loyalty of those you once thought to be dependable.


Benjiphonik: I Got Old – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


BENJIPHONIKI GOT OLD

One of the most wholesomely charming and quirky faces in all of American hip hop strikes back with yet another really fun EP that honestly might just be his best work yet. As expected, assuming you’re familiar with his material, there’s an overall amusing buzz that remains consistent on a sonic degree, with the songs featuring great beats and solid instrumental work, plus a few select equipped with such catchy choruses.

Without a doubt, there’s plenty of creative humour to go around, as is the course with the artist, but it’s also quite endearing and self-reflective, and this is where the record shines best, as Benji gets honest and speaks truthfully from the heart, whether examining how life has changed as he ages each year, or pledging for better human decency fresh off all of us experiencing and enduring explicitly harsh global events


Glassmasterer: Kaossteedeethree – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


GLASSMASTERERKAOSSTEEDEETHREE

The always reliable yet often overlooked Scottish electronic artist cracks the code again with another cool EP which traverses through a number of different styles over the course of the six songs.

A little bit of everything that you’d want from the genre is given the treatment here: catchy melodies that radiate brightly with neat vocal hooks attached, laidback chiptune, light sci-fi vibing ambience, velvety dream-like bliss, pumping techno beats, and vintage computerised noise; all achieved fantastically.


Abbacaxi: Endless – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


ABBACAXIENDLESS

Thomas slides into a groove quickly and efficiently with the great title number, which is paced along through a sleek electronica melody, and the lead hook is easy to latch onto and even fun to trill along to if you care to do so, but it only gets better with The Pageant, hands down the best of the bunch, with its juicy bassline and ungodly catchy chorus spawned from the gladdening high-pitch harmony effects.

You Took My Love sparks some fresh incandescent vibes with a dreamy sound that makes you feel like you’re walking on air, and the house influences gleam stronger in the similarly intangible More Than I Need featuring the best vocal work yet. Move Me adds some offbeat sonic warps into the mix, and lastly I Think You’re Gonna Make It is presented as a solid and riveting banger to end things on a positive note.

Dublin artist Thomas Garnett has gotten his Abbacaxi project off to a top notch start with an altogether rad debut EP that blends the finest elements of several subdivisions encompassing electronic music, and I’m already hungry for whatever else he has to offer in the future.