SMALL MUSIC SCENE: ISSUE #1 | All My Dreams Are Dull

RECORDS


DW

DECLAN WELSH & THE DECADENT WESTALL MY DREAMS ARE DULL

OUT NOW!

I’ve been following fellow Kilby man Declan Welsh for a good 8 years now, and it’s indisputable that he’s really come into his own as one of the country’s most outspoken artists. He has a new EP out now by the name of All My Dreams Are Dull, and it truly showcases Declan at his very best.

Good Person, Bad Things gets the ball rolling with a ballistic energy and engaging hook, with no rest for the wicked as the pace is further boosted in Lull, where we get a great candid vocal performance; a trademark of Declan’s.

A notable chorus and outstanding writing are the focal points of Shiny Toys, while No Pasaran is aggressive and forthright in its lyrics, delivered superbly by Declan, plus the insane riffs and drums towards the end are a perfect fit. Do What You Want is a gripping final track as it tackles the subject of non-conformity and individuality.

All My Dreams Are Dull is hands down one of the best EPs to come out in Scotland this year. Between the themes explored and the sound itself, it’s easy to get invested and sucked into this collection of whopping, hard-hitting songs. Declan is a hell of a talent, and if this record doesn’t convince you, nothing else will quite frankly.


YKTD Artwork Selfhood_preview

YOU KNOW THE DRILLSELFHOOD

AVAILABLE on 22th JUNE 2018 via SCYLLA RECORDS

The British pop punk scene has been on fire this year so far, and it’s only set to get better as Birmingham quartet You Know The Drill prepare to throw their hat into the ring with their forthcoming EP – Selfhood.

Overcast is a strong opener with a fresh energy and stand out lyrics that are instantly ingrained in the listener’s head. They power forth with Homesick, carried by the mix of driving drums and a punchy bassline.

The tempo only escalates moving into Suspect, where the writing is once again the prominent facet. Blossoms goes the acoustic route and it is pretty engaging, especially with great vocals taking charge at the forefront.

They cap off with lead single Snake Eyes, the very song that has been getting many hooked on the band recently, and for good reason. It’s a heavy, fast and furious flux that closes out the record on the highest of notes.

Selfhood is one of the tightest releases to come from the genre as of late, and it surely won’t be long before You Know The Drill emerge as key players in UK pop punk.


Element-Of-Sex-(album-cover)

SICK N BEAUTIFUL – ELEMENT OF SEX

AVAILABLE on 29th JUNE 2018

Sick N Beautiful have been gaining notoriety as one of the most wonderfully bizarre acts in the whole of Europe; something that I can certainly vouch for, having seen their insane live show in action.

But the question is – is there more to this band that their intergalactic gimmick? Is this a case of style over substance? Well, the answer can be found in their upcoming sophomore album – Element Of Sex.

The rugged Fire True is a forcible opener that pulls with gritty bass and Herma’s intense vocals. Megalomanical is bloody amazing, being so catchy and packing a walloping, in your face chorus, all topped off with a supreme guitar solo and hefty drum beats. There are more tracks of a similar nature such as All Wanna Go To Heaven, C*mmunion and especially Cryptid.

Slam and New Witch 666 have solid rhythms, and Hellawake sticks out with drawing lyrics. Meanwhile, the writing is particularly notable in HeXXX, and it has a hell of a hook to boot, and Heart December is glistened with pretty stunning synths.

So to answer the earlier question – yes. Underneath all the mind-blowing theatrics, there is actually a quality to the music. Element Of Sex is a very strong metal record that is rich in content, shining with fierce, incomparable personality and the songs on offer are really memorable. Granted, some are definitely better than others, but as a whole it is a tight, versatile compilation that never gets old even after several listens.

Sick N Beautiful are an entertaining marvel on the surface, but it is their music that ultimately cements them as a must-see act.


dot

DANCING ON TABLESSPACE RACE

OUT NOW!

My introduction to Dancing On Tables came last November when I saw them live supporting 100 Fables at the ABC2, and I was awfully impressed. Fast forward to now, the guys are fresh off releasing their new EP – Space Race – and it’s a good ‘un.

Missing is a nice opener with an easygoing melody to it, and the chorus isn’t too shabby. Body boots up the energy levels, and there’s some spiffing bass chords thrown in for good measure.

Twenty has an engaging beat, the familiar Oh manages to be both warm in its tone as well as catchy, and Symmetrical is a chilled out number to finish on.

Space Race is an excellent follow-up to their previous effort Don’t Stop, more or less topping it in every way. Is it any wonder why Dancing On Tables are getting more popular by the day, both here and across the pond? Definitely ones to keep an eye on.


tongues

TONGUESFIGHT

OUT NOW!

Well then, it’s been a while since we all last heard from Glasgow quartet Tongues, but much to my delight, they are back with a brand new EP titled Fight.

The superbly titular intro piece sets the mood in no time, eventually transitioning into Not Like The Real Thing, where the electronics are very tantalising. They quieten it down briefly for Figment, before moving into old favourite Religion, which is just as awesome and catchy as ever, only getting better as it builds to a grand scale. You Never Knew Me At All has a lively melody, and The Joy Of The Journey brings us some solid writing to close out the record.

Tongues are back and in firmer form than ever before, courtesy of a highly entertaining and stimulating EP. More of this, please.


csb

CS BUCHANCS BUCHAN & FRIENDS

OUT NOW via FITLIKE RECORDS!

Over the past few months, Charley S Buchan has been working hard and collaborating with a variety of musicians across the country, and the final result – the nicely titled CS Buchan & Friends – is one that cannot afford to be missed.

The opener Like It’s 1979 has a simple yet fiercely infectious rhythm. Lizabett Russo’s harmonies in Cynthia Says are so warm and dazzling, and the song as a whole is just beautiful.

Mystery may just be the highlight of the batch, thanks to an unforgettable chorus that is just oh so catchy, plus the combined vocals of Michael Chang and Katie Buchan (of Best Girl Athlete fame) just mesh impeccably.

Sandwiched between the decent Everybody Knows and the fine All Used Up is Ambulance, which is glazed by an engaging atmosphere. Light The Beacons is a good instrumental piece that grows in sizes as it progresses.

Katie Buchan reemerges to lend her gracious voice once again to I See You, You See Me, while Home From The Sea shines with smooth guitar chords and great lyrics, delivered excellently by Alexander Ironside at the mic.

Iona Fyfe makes her mark in Who Are You Kidding, another focal point with bright piano keys and acoustics, in addition to a cheerfully bouncy beat. The album takes a bit of a different turn in the closing number Losing The Race, categorised by a distorted sound, but it still serves as a pleasing conclusion.

I went into this expecting something worthwhile, but what I did get was nothing short of fantastic. CS Buchan & Friends is a massively entertaining collection of tracks that are not only diverse, but contain many positive elements that has me – and I’m certain other listeners too – coming back for more.

Charley has helped to prove just how rich the Scottish music scene truly is, being chock full of terrific people that deserve plenty of credit for their capabilities and creativity, and at the end of the day, it is just so commendable to see these folk get together to create a product that is simply special.

I have a stronger faith than ever in what the local talents in this industry can offer, and we honestly need more things like this.


EE

EXCUSES EXCUSESCATCH ME IF YOU CAN

OUT NOW!

Toronto’s finest punk rock trio Excuses Excuses are back in the limelight with their second EP – Catch Me If You Can.

Pizza & Cigarettes gets it started in wild fashion, followed up by the brilliant, bass-driven title track which is immensely catchy and rocking a seriously good chorus, a trend that is recurrent in Face The Fear, which is prominent with its lyrics.

Jimmy Snow is solid and displays some fine riffs, similarly so in Stoned In The Sun, and eventually they charge to a blinding finish with the high-octane Rebel Without A Clue.

A stormer of an EP that easily trumps their debut record. This was two years in the making, and well worth the wait. I’ll certainly be keeping this one on repeat for the foreseeable future.


cover

VETOWHERE DOES IT GO?

OUT NOW!

While regularly playing shows here and there, Glasgow ensemble Veto have been really quiet on the record-making front for a few years. That is until recently, when they finally had a new EP for us, being Where Does It Go?

It starts off solidly with Break The Cycle, which has a fair amount of energy to it. Losing ramps it up a little, with more power in particular behind the guitars and drumming.

While short, Hate Breeds Hate is for sure the best on offer; a frantic rhythm, sublime bass and Lewis giving it his all as he busts out with fervid vocals. Pinky is decent, although admittedly it does go on a bit long, but they do recover with the adequate Golden.

Where Does It Go is, for the most part, a welcome return for Veto. While a little lacking in spots, it will no doubt please those who enjoy their fair share of emo.


iako

IAKOQUEEN OF BALANCE

OUT NOW via PLANKTON RECORDS!

Originally hailing from Venice and currently based in London, Jacopo Rossetto has naturally been looking to make a name for himself as a musician. Under the moniker of IAKO, he recently presented us with his debut EP – Queen Of Balance.

Coming off a nice intro, we get our first taste of Jacopo’s abilities in Paint. His voice is tender and the track itself is warm and welcoming. Bloodbath is perfectly constructed; the first half is gentle and gripping, and just as the listener is engrossed, it leaps into a grand and spirited second part.

The record’s namesake gives us an excellent showing of graceful pianos, and Vanishing Point is driven by an utterly infectious melody, boosted by the addition of cool guitar chords towards the ending. Finally, the staggering Stones makes for a fervent conclusion.

Queen Of Balance is simply wonderful on all accounts, establishing Jacopo as a tour de force; a more than capable artist whose aptitude deserves to be recognised. He may just be the most promising newcomer of 2018, and I’m thoroughly excited for what he comes up with next.


tt

TAKE TODAYRISE ABOVE

OUT NOW!

Glasgow rockers Take Today have had plenty of momentum rolling over the last few months, all coming to a head with the release of their latest record – Rise Above.

Wasting Time is for sure the best of the bunch, thanks to a memorable chorus, engaging rhythm and delightfully crunchy bass lines. Yes has a good pace to it and dishes out a fair share of sweet riffs, and they bring the energy once more with the great Faith.

While pretty straightforward, Rise Above is still a cool ride that earns a listen or two.


bizarre_necro_preview

BIZARRENECRO

OUT NOW via SEKSOUND!

From far over in Estonia, shoegaze group Bizarre recently flew into my radar with their brand new record – Necro.

Songs like Waters and Summer Rain endear with an rich ambience that raises the hairs on the back of the neck, whilst other tracks such as Any DayNever Ever and Barcode Warrior entertain with catchy beats. The dual harmonies of Rentboy are nice and help to add depth, and Laizy Sun has a very relaxed pace to it.

However, International Love Affair is almost a complete turnabout in style, being a bouncy electronic piece with a heck of a hook, and Super Latex Boy follows in the same vein.

Overall, this is a solid collection that will certainly be a welcome addition for any fans of shoegaze out there.


twistettes

THE TWISTETTESWEIRD ME/HATE HATE

OUT NOW via TRAFFIC CONE RECORDS!

The Twistettes are without a doubt one of Glasgow’s most fun and engaging duos on the go, having initially made me a fan with their Jilt The Jive album, which I ultimately nominated as one of my top Scottish picks of 2016, and it gives me pleasure to say that they are back with a brand new AA.

Just as expected, the fast and frantic main single Weird Me is characterised by grungy riffs and jumping drum beat, and the twin vocals are loud and brash. Similarly, the short but sweet Hate Hate has a speedy tempo, the chorus is damn catchy and the lyrics are blunt.

A much welcome return for the pair, which I give the highest recommendation. Here’s hoping another album is on the horizon…


EDITED BY JASON SMALL

PRODUCED IN ASSOCIATION WITH RAGE PR, INCEPTION PRESS, LOST IN THE MANOR AND KOOL THINGS

FACEBOOK | TWITTER

REVIEW | The Nickajack Men – Changed Ways/Different Languages

NICKAJACK


For the better part of the past two years, Falkirk indie rockers The Nickajack Men have been consistently making waves and gaining a reputation for their talents, and they are getting set to stir the pot again with a new AA single courtesy of the lovely folk at Electric Honey.

Before diving in, I took the time to revisit their previous releases from last year – the Wasted Years EP and the single Can’t Take It Anymore – to refresh myself, and they both still hold up immensely well. With that in mind, do they meet that established standard again? Simply put, yes.

Changed Ways doesn’t waste a second in grabbing the listener, sparking an infectiously raving energy that never simmers. The riffs are off the charts, the keys add a nice extra layer and the drums are forcible, particularly in the latter half.

Although Different Languages doesn’t stand out as much compared to it’s companion piece sound wise, the boys make up for this with great writing, while also maintaining a dynamic rhythm.

It’s pretty safe to say that these tracks are smashing, and continue to prove The Nickajack Men as a must-see act in the Scottish Scene. But don’t take my word for it, buy it for yourselves as soon as it hits the digital shelves, and even feel free to purchase a limited vinyl once they become available.


“CHANGED WAYS/DIFFERENT LANGUAGES” IS AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 1st JUNE


 

REVIEW | The Lightness Of Being – Diversions

335291


Alternative rock quartet The Lightness of Being have been a part of the London music scene for eight years now, and appear to show not signs of slowing down. Case in point: the impending release of their third EP – Diversions – following on from their previous efforts, Directions and Movements.

A neat intro leads into Bottomfeeder, where solid verses give way to loud, rambunctious choruses that feature aggressive riffs and drums. We suddenly get a shift in mood with Cave, where the tempo is lowered, but eventually they build back up towards a jolting final quarter. They return to the manner in which they started with Refute, which is energetic and packing a bracing rhythm.

In a short space of time, The Lightness Of Being make another worthy impression with Diversions, which is ultimately a pretty good EP that is mostly straightforward in style, but nonetheless sure to draw in listeners with it’s rousing numbers, not to mention enough variety between said numbers to keep it fresh.


“DIVERSIONS” IS AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 1st JUNE


REVIEW | Wheel – The Divide

Wheel---TheDivide-Cover


If you consider yourself a keen fan of prog rock and are in the mood to discover something new, then I have just the band for you – Finnish quartet Wheel, who are set to release their latest EP, The Divide.

From literally the first second of Please, they catch the listener’s attention with a deep, sturdy bass line, and from there the piece perfectly builds and only gets better. The harmonies are crisp and durable, and the drums have a hefty, resounding force behind them.

Pyre escalates the energy, whilst beefing up the rhythm and delivering slick, intricate riffs. They tone it down for It’s Over Now, where the vocals are again great and the lyrics get to properly shine.

The Divide is a thoroughly staggering, damn near flawless record with a trio of numbers that not only diversify from each other and bring their own individual qualities, but are packed with so much depth and complexity.

Wheel deserve much more recognition for their obvious abilities that are on full display here, and I cannot recommend this EP enough.


“THE DIVIDE” IS AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 1st JUNE


 

REVIEW | Rascalton – C S C

RASC


There’s no doubt that Rascalton are one of the most promising acts to emerge from Glasgow in the past couple of years, swiftly gaining a following with their talents and awesome live shows. Now comes their biggest test in the form of their new EP – the long-awaited C S C.

The very bouncy Told You So sets the pace with cool bass lines and a smashing chorus. From there, the ridiculously catchy Police potently ups the ante further, kicking up the tempo to another degree.

With Lonely Faces, the vocals are sharp and the wild riffs continue to dispense tonnes of manic energy. The closing track Lost Generation loses a little steam, but still provides a more than satisfying finish.

Dishing out four brief but jam-packed tracks in under ten minutes, C S C is a constant, perpetual stampede that is an insane amount of fun to listen to, and I’ll happily stick this one on repeat again and again.

 

REVIEW | Sick N Beautiful – Ivory Blacks (27.5.18)

snb2


There are few acts more weird and wonderful than Sick N Beautiful. I haven’t been aware of the intergalactic group for too long, but they certainly didn’t take long at all to make their mark, so when given the opportunity to witness them live in Glasgow as part of the We C*m In Peace tour in support of their upcoming record – Element Of Sex – of course I took it.


Despite a regrettably less-than-desirable attendance and the tough task of opening the show, Novacrow worked their butts off.

The definitive trait of the quartet was their on-stage presence, which came to life when songs such as Criminal Mastermind, Fat Frog and Fever Swamp called for it. Kitty was getting up and close with those at the barrier, Jonyx strutted and hopped around like a loony, and Federico was like an uncaged animal, as he planted himself on the monitors, while also leaping and tumbling about like he was possessed.

Their energy boosted a performance that featured great vocals, flashy solos and solid bass-heavy rhythms. Overall, a pretty enjoyable set with plenty of charming personality behind it.


Bad Pollyanna were up next, and while not as wild and frantic as their predecessors, they were undoubtedly tight. Their sound was simply huge, and numerous factors contributed.

Leading lady Olivia was superb; her harmonies powerful and fluent in her movements; the riffs were awfully sweet and the bass/drum combo was a strong one.

Throughout their assortment of quality tracks like Pull The Trigger and Invincible Girl, they never lost their essence, retaining that strength from end to end, and I was coloured impressed.


Sick N Beautiful stormed on stylishly, and the first thing taken notice of was the incredible costumes. They were so elaborate and chock full of depth and detail from head to toe, with each member sporting a different look.

Herma naturally stood out the most for many reasons. Among other things, she had a breast plate transformed into a pair of electrical orbs, laser lights stemming from her gloves and a custom made guitar which she played with a goddamn circular saw that sent sparks flying all over, and that was just plain awesome. The production was something else, made all the more brilliant on how small a scale it was pulled off on.

Musically speaking, they were fantastic and worked well as a coherent unit as they dished out an array of catchy and exciting songs, with the likes of Fire TrueHellawakeHeart December and Megalomanical being the high points.

The audience were entranced – Kitty from Novacrow in particular was having the time of her life in the middle of the room – and on the whole, it was a wonderfully unique spectacle that I, and I’m sure the rest of the crowd for that matter, won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

REVIEW | Mason Hill – King Tuts (26.5.18)

MH2


There are few up and coming acts in Scotland that have made a notable impression as swiftly as Glasgow rockers Mason Hill. Since putting out their debut record in early 2016, which is how I discovered them when given a copy for review, they have grown in popularity and garnered an insane following like nothing else.

It has been so satisfying seeing young talents emerge in the fashion that they have, but all this time, I have never actually made it down for a show, so when the guys announced a headliner at the prestigious King Tuts, I immediately bagged a ticket before they sold out over a weekend’s span.

With a drink or two beforehand alongside Campbell Stewart of Fatman’s Rock Show notoriety and chums, we soon made our way to Tuts, where the venue was filling up fast and the hardcore attendees had perched themselves at the barrier, and you can bet a significant chunk were donning Mason Hill tees.


But before the main attraction was Black King Cobra, who I was going into completely blind, but coming out, I was instantly made a fan.

The quartet worked their asses, and I’m sure they had that awareness that most of the public had paid for Mason Hill specifically and probably weren’t bothered about any support acts, but their efforts paid off tremendously, and by the end of the first tune, they had the crowd firmly in their grasp. Even the band were gobsmacked by the rambunctious reception, but it should have come as no surprise.

Callum, in addition to being loose and animated, delivered strong vocals, the guitars from Ross were top notch – hitting an optimum during the fiery solos – and the rhythm section of Robert and Steve were just on a hell of a form. Trying to resist clapping and headbanging along was a damn near impossibility.

Through the entirety of the set, it was a cracking experience, and I was quite frankly blown away by it. A textbook example of how to properly kick off a gig. The only regret was that they, in my opinion, should have been afforded more than half an hour, but oh well, can’t win them all.


Riding off that huge wave of momentum, Mason Hill themselves stepped up to the plate, individually entering to choruses of cheers, naturally.

Scott was a sensational frontman – perhaps one of the finest in the country, to be honest – for his voice packed a punch, he was dripping charisma and in general was giving it his all as the sweat just poured off him.

His fellow bandmates backed him up nicely with accompanying harmonies. The echoing drum fills were fierce, the basslines cool and the riffs were just a thing of beauty, especially from the calm and collected James (who, did in fact, smile).

They presented us with a collage of newbies, with the in-your-face Hold On, the low-key I Will Follow You, the emotional Who We Are and the absolutely bouncing Wait For You ranking as just some of the highlights, and the sooner they get these on record for my impatient self, the better.

Meanwhile, the more familiar tracks went down a storm, such as Now You See Me, my personal favourite Survive and closing number Where I Belong, the latter in which, at the request of Scott, the venue was entirely illuminated by phone lights whilst the people chimed along. Not going to lie, that moment gave me the utter chills.

They fed off the contagious energy of the crowd, and that only elevated their performance. From start to finish, the audience were hooked and fixated, and there was never a moment for them that lacked interest.

There was a real gravity on that stage and a serious atmosphere within the room, and all in all, it was a pleasure to witness. The future of Scottish rock is both bright and secure with Mason Hill at the helm, and they deserve all the success coming their way. Between the two acts, this was a special night that easily earned five stars.