Carly Connor – The Goldie Hawn Stole My Guitar | SMALL RECORD REVIEWS

Carly


In late 2017, we had the opportunity to witness Easterhouse lass Carly Connor live in person at King Tuts. Name aside, we hadn’t been too familiar with what she had to offer, but on that night, she effortlessly made a mark and has kept us fans ever since.

Fast forward a couple of years, following a line of unsurprising further successes, she is back in full form with her highly anticipated new EP – The Goldie Hawn Stole My Guitar.

Within seconds of the cool title track kicking things off, we are immediately reminded as to what had initially drawn us to Carly, as she shines with an impeccably dazzling voice that is equally sweet as it is raspy, with a tone that is ravishing, yet also featuring a sharp sense of attitude that has you hooked.

Carabelle is where things really pick up, being an exciting, energetic doozy of a number; so big in size, featuring an immensely catchy beat and the vocals reaching an outstanding peak.

Semolina And Cyanide is a little more simple, toning it down from the previous tracks, but still pleases with awfully fine acoustics and gripping lyrics, and that also rings true for the heart-warming closing piece Greenock Hotel, which is ripe with waves of emotion.

With more or less all aspects delivering at a good standard bare minimum, plus plenty of distinction between each of the songs, this is an enchanting record that nicely mixes the sounds of country, pop and soul and leaves an impression in the short duration that it lasts, also making for a perfect introductory package to those out of the loop of her talents.

Carly Connor has a definitive star quality to her; a real-life Wild Rose as it were…well, minus the criminal conviction, obviously. Although she’s been on the go for several years, we still feel she has only scratched the surface for what she is truly capable of, and the next logical step would be for her to treat us to a full-length album, but we’ll wait and see.

***OUT NOW***

Oskar Braves – Dance On The Fire | SMALL SINGLE SPOTLIGHT

There are few Fife acts that have caught our attentio as much in the last couple of years as alternative rock outfit Oskar Braves, and if their latest single Dance On The Fire doesn’t convince you, then we can’t think what else possibly could.

The group’s finest track to date – perhaps one of the best Scottish songs of the year – clearly implements their new wave influences into the sound and is defined by a tremendous, out-of-this-world energy that is both thrilling and infectious, particularly with that cracking chorus.

It has a sweet beat to it, and the lyrics based around the idea of not conforming to what the crowd are following and doing your own thing make a positive impact, and it helps a tonne that they are brought to life via a fervent vocal performance.

The Dollyrots – Daydream Explosion | SMALL RECORD REVIEWS

Dolly


We’ve been more than familiar with the Californian duo of The Dollyrots for the last couple of years or so, but their history has spanned almost a whole two decades now, and miraculously – especially given the fact how tight they stick to their DIY roots, not to mention being a dedicated mum and pop – they are sure as hell showing no signs of slowing down.

For many months across series of endless late nights once daily family life closed, Kelly and Luis had been thoroughly grinding away on what is now their 8th full-length album, while battling some tough, emotionally-vindicating personal challenges along the way.

But now the light at the end of the tunnel is fast approaching, with the final Wicked Cool-assisted result ready to be released to the world – Daydream Explosion – and hot damn, what a record we have on our hands here.

As always, their sound is that bubblegum-drizzled flavour of pop punk we’ve become so accustomed to, being presented over the course of 14 tracks, but despite the hefty amount, they keep them short and to the point so that they never outstay their welcome, plus they flow into each other with ease, keeping the pace going and never struggling to hold interest.

The highlights are many and fruitful. Animal is a bouncy, blistering opener that will get anybody fired up in no time flat, Flippy In My Red Dress is radically different from their usual stuff, with cool verses featuring this nifty, laidback yet enticing jazzy tone to it, but I Know How To Party has to be the best of the lot, being a wild blast that will spark a fierce adrenaline if, for whatever bizarre reason, that hadn’t happened already by this point.

Multiple selections such as Everything, Kat’s Meow and I Love You Instead keep at a high this sense of exuberant energy that is giddily intoxicating, reaching a haywire optimum with the catchy, high-octane choruses that quickly become addictive.

The writing is also consistently good, but especially nips our attention through the likes of In Your Face, Watching The Storm Go By and No Princess.

Given how long they’ve been striving, you would think that the group would surely be beginning to show some rust, chinks in the armour, or any signs of age? Nope, none of that is present whatsoever. Instead, they undoubtedly come forth with their A-games.

The always-smiling Kelly is on absolute form with a bright, powerful voice that is utterly loaded with passion and has you totally glued, while she keeps the rhythms going with nice bass work. Luis, in addition to contributing solid vocals of his own, elevates the dynamic element of the tunes with reliably superb riffs.

This is not to say by any means that they are anywhere near hanging up their boots, but normally when reaching a stage where bands are leaning towards the end of their heyday, the quality of content more often tends to slip, but here, that couldn’t be further from reality. On their 8th rodeo – not even taking into account the multiple EPs on top of that – The Dollyrots have again pulled it off the bag and delivered an exceptional record that might honestly be their best work to date, no joke.

Daydream Explosion is an album where Kelly and Luis take the standard that they have established from their discography and push it to the next level, in which the songs are front-loaded with exciting melodies, sweet lyrics, astonishing harmonies and kick-ass guitars. Everything feels so fine-tuned, and it’s only boosted by a fresh variety and this visibly underlying devotion to produce the best possible project.

It’s nothing short of awesome, but even more beyond that, we find it inspiring and have all the respect for the couple for never holding back in chasing their dreams. Despite how long they’ve been going for and not being signed to a major label for a big chunk of their lifespan, they are still giving it 200% to make a sustainable career for themselves and enjoy family life all the while.

To any underground bands and musicians reading this, The Dollyrots have proven it can be done, so what’s stopping you?

***AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 12TH JULY***

IN ASSOCIATION WITH RAGE PR

SMS #5 | Loaded Gun

LittleTriggers

LITTLE TRIGGERSLoaded Gun

Achieving widespread acclaim from critics, hitting bullseyes with their line of singles and earning spots on an array of luxurious shows – whether as headliners or supports – Liverpool quartet Little Triggers have, needless to say, been touted as one of the country’s ultimate up and coming acts.

But with a hype to that kind of degree, that only makes for sky-high expectations when it comes to their anticipated debut album – Loaded Gun – but the guys have pulled it out the bag and given us one doozy of a record.

That fact is certified as they hook us in a snap with Giving Me Up, a frenzied blinder of an opener, stuffed to the brim with streaks of supreme riffs, setting a tone that is perfectly maintained in the short but equally exciting I’m Alright.

They take somewhat of a breather in Fosnavag, where we are able to appreciate just how fantastic the harmonies are, before returning to an energetic cadence in So Fine, topped off by a catchy chorus and stylish drumming.

They break through with some more of that engaging writing in Girl, Silly Cigarettes and the blues-esque, bass-ushered title track, but they make a return to staggering form with It Ain’t Over, powered by a bouncy rhythm that goes haywire towards the end, and that zest stays constant as they wrap up nicely with the pairing of Run Away Baby and I’m Not The Same.

There have been very few times where we’ve been blown away by an album this year, and this is one of them. From top to bottom, Little Triggers have crafted a phenomenal set of blistering, exhilarating tunes where more or less all aspects, both creatively and technically, leave an astounding impression, easily making this one of 2019’s best that had us unashamedly mouthing “f***ing hell” quite often.

Purveyors of the new rock n roll, indeed.

***OUT NOW***


tvcoma

TV COMABody Negativity

Perhaps the only musicians to ever be inspired by Mark Jindrak, Saint Albans quartet TV COMA came presented to us via their debut EP – Body Negativity – and to be honest, we didn’t know what to expect, but what we did get was real dandy.

Have A Party gets things running, and after being greeted by an ensemble of kazoos, we are instantly latched by the oddball lyrics voiced in a dismal, morbidly funny fashion and suckered in further by the awesome chorus, and it only gets bigger in size as it proceeds.

They continue with Digital Girl 1, more traditional sound-wise but simultaneously stepping up the tempo and the energy from the get-go, while showing off some flashy riffs; likewise in Trudy, with the most infectious of hooks serving as a delightful bonus.

The aggressive-toned Unemployable is another major highlight when it comes to the writing, as is the ballistic, catchy as hell Football Song, flooring the rhythm to maniacal levels, and they remain in a similar vein as they finish with the rambunctious Grow Up.

This sure is something else, let us tell you. Batty performances, nihilistic writing and an unstable verve are the key ingredients to what is an utterly entertaining EP packing a tonne of personality behind it to a degree that we think few others in the scene could possibly match. More acts like this, please!

***OUT NOW***


Jesus

JESUS CHRUSLER SUPERCARLucifer 

Being a connoisseur of some good old-fashioned rock and metal, it’s impossible to turn away a band described as “death & roll”. Those very words define Swedish outfit Jesus Chrusler Supercar, who recently came out with their third album – Lucifer.

A creeping intro transforms into a shredding of chords before they kick off and lunge into the heaving titular opener, and the energy and the power are equally amped up tenfold in the barbaric Flesh N Bones, packing some gruff vocals and freaking off-the-wall guitar solos.

 The throbbing drum work is given more focus in Never Sleep Again, while the writing and thick bass tones get the attention in the steep-tempo’d High Times For Low Crimes. Boogeyman is gloriously murky and distorted, while the charmingly titled Suck On My Balls is another relentless banger with the most proudly sung of hooks.

They continue to plow through the likes of Out Of My Head, From Death To Dawn and Straight To Hell but, although good and maintaining that sense of aggression , this is where that hot steam from the start begins to slip a little as it leans more into the repetitive side of things. However, they begin to recover with the more memorable You Can’t Spell Diesel Without Die, before taking us into the hefty climatic number Black Blood.

As our personal introduction to this group, their latest album does exactly what it promises on the tin as they deliver a stormer of a record, where throughout it almost feels like the tracks are being violently shoved down our throats, and in this case, we’re sure as hell happy to oblige here.

Not perfect by any stretch, but any minuscule flaws do little to derive from what is overall a cracking product.

***OUT NOW***


triplesundae

TRIPLE SUNDAE – Glow

So recently, our pals over at Lockjaw Records approached us with something that they had fallen in love with – Glow, the new EP from London punks Triple Sundae – and having experienced it for ourselves, we have also fallen in love with it.

From the offset, Pollution pulls us in with tremendous, hard-hitting writing that immediately resonates and has us intently intrigued from this point forward; our interest becoming pure delight courtesy of Swisher, as they step up the energy, while also spouting more heartfelt, brutally honest lyrics. Dazed is a little more simple in style, but is elevated by investing vocal hooks.

A tantalising spark is ignited as they charge through Everything’s Cool, complete with rip-roaring guitar chords and bonafide singing. Glow itself treats us to a dynamic rhythm, while Safe provides a striking conclusion that is awash with full-on, sincere emotions.

We are eternally grateful for the Lockjaw folk here, because they’ve introduced us to a seriously talented outfit who have put out a prime candidate for best British punk record of the year. No exaggeration.

While many recently have made a big impact, this connected with us on a completely different level personally, and for a humble upcoming band of their size to achieve that, you know you’ve made a special discovery.

***AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 7th JUNE***


ohnova

OHNOVAI Can’t Sleep

Glasgow is overloaded with an abundance of cool rock bands that we quite like, but it doesn’t hurt to have yet another added to that list. Enter the trio of OHNOVA, and their recent debut EP – I Can’t Sleep.

The tingling of bass chords sweeps into the hard-edged title number, getting things off to a promising start as Paul takes lead with good vocal work, and the chorus is pretty smashing as well. They step up the ante in Heavy Smile, furnished by a fine guitar solo, and they definitely pick up the pace as they make their way towards the finish.

 Home starts off on a standard note, but the drumming keeps in solid form and they suddenly escalate into a no holds barred latter half. Banjo Mac is a catchy, dynamic tune with notable writing and each of the three members going all in, and they crank up the dial one last time for the fervent high-octane banger Easy Way Out.

While not every song reaches their full potential, the ones that do hit the mark make this record worth checking out and even revisiting a few more times afterwards.

Great stuff overall, and hopefully the guys will be able to expand upon their sound and bring us something even sweeter for the follow-up.

***OUT NOW***




This issue of SMALL MUSIC SCENE was presented in association with the following:

SAINT IN THE CITY PR | SAN PR | DR MUSIC RECORDS | LOCKJAW RECORDS | RAGE PR

Half Formed Things – To Live In The Flicker | SMALL RECORD REVIEWS

HalfFormedTh


We owe a lot of credit to our good pals in L-Space for this one, helping us be introduced to Edinburgh experimental pop four-piece Half Formed Things, a band whose name we’ve seen floating around lately, particularly as members of the bill for Flying Moon 2019, but we hadn’t listened to them previously.

That was until they slipped into our inbox with a copy of their debut full-length album – To Live In A Flicker – leaving us with no choice but to finally check them out, and we are glad we did, because this is a superb record.

Entering with the sounds of distant church bells, they quickly grabbed us with the opener The Flicker which has this compellingly haunting edge to it, and that’s a tone that remains pretty recurrent throughout as they focus on pretty dark subject matters and tackle them through the tremendous, fiercely fixating writing.

Another key aspect that helps this album to is the extensive variety of it. Whether obviously or subtly, the quartet consistently evolve. You never get the same kind of song back-to-back, it’s always changing, it’s always different.

The tracks can be grand, luxurious and almost abrasive at times, otherwise they’re much calmer, at a low-tempo and lay heavy on the atmosphere side of things. Out of the many highlights, the personal stand outs for us were the dazzling fully instrumental The One You Hate, the blow away Among Men and the immensely spine-tingling Pendulum…like, seriously spine-tingling.

Also, in a way we can’t fully put into words, there’s this sense of timelessness too, mixing elements from both artists of years gone by, and those more current, and it wasn’t until we listened to this that we came to realise just how rare a quality that is in music.

As for the performances, each member devotes a hell of an effort here. The guitars are great, the drumming makes a focal impact, the unified harmonies are just stunning – the fact they keep mixing up who takes the lead on the vocals also adds to the diversity – and the pianos are utterly gorgeous; it’s been so, so long since we’ve heard piano work to this high a standard, and off the top of our heads, it’s very difficult to think of anything recently that comes anywhere close to matching it.

So in conclusion, we adore this. To Live In A Flicker is one of the most majestic, breath-taking records we’ve indulged in as of late, and as a debut, you couldn’t have asked for a better initial impression.

The first listen alone captured our imaginations, but on the second, it only improved and struck this indescribable chord with us, where all the facets become more fleshed out and fully realised. It’s a pure work of art.

Half Formed Things in one fell swoop have delivered one of the ultimate highlights of the year, whilst firmly establishing themselves as the future of Scottish music.

***OUT NOW***

#30 | Pandacar – Cathouse Rock Club (17.05.19)

pandacar


We were no strangers to Heavy Smoke, but it had been ages since we last caught them live. Luckily, it didn’t take long for the boys to refresh our memories as to why we became fans.

You couldn’t question Stevie’s work ethic here, for the dude was always into it. If he wasn’t belting out the sharp lyrics that defined their writing, he was bouncing about around the plentiful amount of free space he had, his hair a whirling dervish all the while.

It helped spawn an energy that was elevated by his fellow band mates, as they busted out with rugged riffs taken up a notch through the slick solos, and brawn, energised rhythms equally dynamic as they were raw.

Junkatron is still a certified banger, with other highlights from their arsenal including DIY and their namesake number. The room was a little on the empty side at first, but gradually they got a sizeable group of curious folk bravely stepping forth closer to the barrier.

They survived a handful of gear malfunctions and a few off spots to bring what was, for the most part, a tasty set that nicely got the show on the road.


It was a troublesome start for Ambivist, being delayed by umpteen tech problems before they could get going, and honestly speaking, it did look like it had an effect on them.

They seemed shaken in places and didn’t always appear confident, and there were a few subtle awkward slips. They were also up against the fact that their music was a less hectic, more restrained style compared to the previous act, so it did take a while for us to get invested.

But on the brighter side of things, there were flashes of cool guitar work, the bass lines were good and the drumming was on constantly firm form, plus we got a damn decent cover of Rag N Bone Man’s Human, so that was certainly a positive to take away from this.

As is, and especially taking into account the issues out of their power, it was overall solid. While being considerate, we do feel they need to step their game up, because in such a crowded scene, labels and PRs need a reason to believe that this group can stand out from the pack. If there is potential there, they need to flesh it out more.


Journeying down from far up in Inverness were King Kobalt, who caught our attention last year with their cracking EP, The Faithful, and we were happy to be seeing them live at last.

All five of them were quick to click and reignite the sort of fiery energy we expect from this type of bill, swaggering a naturally large presence on stage that was legit. Not at any given moment did we feel that they weren’t working a proper shift or wasting an ounce of breath as they battered through from tune to tune with a lasting, intense flow.

The vocals from Craig were punchy, Dylan and Kenneth’s dual riffs were freaking sweet, and the pairing of James and Finn cranked out these turbulent, hard knocking rhythms that were quite infectious and served as the base for the whopping choruses. The momentum just rolled on as the band got the audience sucked in with ease, with a line of headbanging, clapping and yelling going on at the barrier where applicable.

This is a quintet who know the score on how to deliver a show. A superb display from one of the Highlands’ finest metal acts that have earned their constantly thriving following.


And now for a trio that we’ve been eager to watch in the flesh since they burst onto the scene – Pandacar – and they didn’t let us down.

They came equipped with a delightful set of dynamic indie punk tracks with rollicking, fast and furious tempos that didn’t die down, with bitter-toned writing centred around politics, mental health and the like, cunningly hidden under the guise of Adventure Time.

Eddy, dressed in the most gloriously dapper, eye blinding outfit from Primark that money could buy, was oozing charisma and had some exquisite skills on the bass, an instrument that perfectly matched his Brian Blessed-calibre voice.

Complimenting him was Nick, donning a snazzy as hell top in his own right. He had an intense look in his eyes which carried through into his singing, not to mention he was a great guitarist. And finishing off the dandy package was Nathan on the drums, driving the thumping beats which were oh so catchy.

The crowd were visibly enjoying the madness unfold as much as we were, and just like us, plenty were sprightly dancing along.

Airing cynical content in a wildly fun and entertaining fashion, Pandacar have an intriguing quality to them that, in our mind, definitively breaks them away from the rest, and that element we feel could help take them to a higher plane. Personally, we can’t see how anybody could fail to be amused by what they have to offer.

On the whole, a very ruddy good show, indeed. Perhaps the best ten month anniversary event we’ve ever attended. #NoMoreBiscuits

#29 | Be Charlotte – The Attic (16.05.19)

BeC1


EMIAH was a name completely new to ourselves, so there were no expectations to have from her beforehand, although a place on this particularly bill was a good sign.

Plenty of highlights stuck out from her set; Lovin’ Me shining with vibes of positivity, More Love had such a sweet pulse to it, and Adios Amigo honestly wouldn’t be out of place as a dance anthem heard in any club, featuring a chorus so damn catchy it still lingered in our heads the next morning…we’re not joking.

Emiah herself was kind and appreciative to those attending and, on stage she showcased a great voice and nice style, although we feel she was holding back a touch and not fully loosening herself, but that may be owed to nerves; nothing major that hurt her performance anyway.

Stuart served as the ideal wingman, with a smooth showing on the keys and giving us some excellently produced pieces with infectious beats to them.

A satisfying way to start off the night, and we believe Emiah is only going to grow and improve over time because she definitely has something to offer.


Megan D was next, another act we can admit to not having listened to prior, but we did know folk who were well aware of her, and based on their opinions, she came highly recommended.

There was a change in tone here with Megan being acoustic based, separating from her fellow, more traditional pop musicians, and in an instant, the noise in the venue died down as she began her first song.

A chillingly palpable atmosphere was sparked, as virtually everyone in the now teeming room stood in total hushed silence and listened real intently. A clear connection had been made that was never lost throughout.

As for Megan, she was all smiles and displayed a heartwarming, down to earth personality as she gave us stunning, emotionally ripe harmonies and played fluently on the guitar, while we – like the rest of the people – were rooted to the spot, unable to take our eyes off her and falling so hard in love with the writing which had us fiercely consumed.

This was simply flawless. We do try our hardest to be objective and make note of any negative issues, but the fact of the matter is that we struggle to properly think of any; we were just enamoured by it all and this would have easily stolen the show elsewhere.

On a night centred around a certain Dundee lass, Megan made an astounding impact in her own right, and there’s no mistake that she warrants far more widespread recognition for her outstanding abilities.


A prime buzz was hanging in the air as we painfully waited a while for Be Charlotte to emerge, but eventually she made her entrance to a wave of cheers as she got the ball rolling with Hype.

Donning an utterly snazzy attire, she illuminated this unreal confidence and joyous spirit that had us gripped, asserting this vibrant, larger than life presence perfectly suited for the grander stages of arenas and major festivals.

Her voice was superb and on sturdy form from end to end, plus she was an insanely good dancer, particularly the robotic stuff; we weren’t aware that was a skill that she had mastered.

She already proved to be talented alone, but it was her band that truly elevated it to another degree; the team of Dan mixing in bright synths and top notch riffs, Kieran with tight bass lines, and Davie rattling out some awesome, walloping drumming; all the while, clicking with each other without any hassle.

As for the tunes themselves, Dreamers, Lights Off and especially Ego Wash were electric ballads with juicy melodies and bouncy rhythms highlighted by memorable choruses which had people happily moving and dancing about.

Fake Up and Never Gonna Grow were impressive on the lyrical front, the new single Brighter Without You was great, and of course the place went nuts and reacted in a rousing way for Do Not Disturb. Folk were also led on a singing session as they chimed along to the decent acoustic tune, Burning.

Overall, it was an entertaining, empathetic display from Charlotte, who only betters herself as the days go by, developing into a tremendous – and more importantly, legitimate – artist who, if it wasn’t clear by her successes as of late, is destined for bigger things.

It would be unfair otherwise, because she is slaying every opportunity being presented to her, and it would be a safe bet that in a few years from now, those in attendance will be looking back on this night and bragging “I was there, I got to see her before she was famous”.

Be Charlotte is the future of Scottish music, and it’ll be any day now that she finally breaks into the national charts and rises to a level she belongs at.