SMS | Leader

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FRANKY’S EVIL PARTYLeader

Of all the cracking discoveries in 2019 so year, we’re struggling to think of any that we could put in the same league as Dumfries outfit Franky’s Evil Party. The troupe made a massive statement when we saw them live at King Tuts back in January, and they’ve only proven to be something greater than anticipated with their debut record – Leader.

Yabba sets an ominous mood, continually looming and looming until the carnage finally breaks out and the real presence of the band’s sound is brought to light; becoming fully realised in the main single Paradise, which runs with the delicacy of a demented rave as the sharp lyrics are transmitted through the blunt, tactless vocals, the grainy riffs add a dynamic edge and the energy ramps up towards a turbulent climax.

After a small window to catch breath, the group go for a second round with the similarly unhinged Big Push, running full steam with screeching electronics, intense bass chords and blitzing drum beats galore, before Dmz makes for a satisfyingly crazed finale.

Leader is a bloody brilliant EP that makes for a relentless, no holds barred expedition that is hellishly addictive; their music just leeches feeds into the brain and refuses to leave, and we personally wouldn’t have it any other way.

Franky’s Evil Party are unmatched by anybody else that we’ve came across in recent memory, standing as their own unique entity within a jam-packed scene, and that distinction is surely going to take them to a higher ground.

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aiden

AIDEN HATFIELDChapter One

It occurs to us that being so caught up with supporting his amazing, charitable clothing brand, In Music We Trust, has made us forget just how we were introduced to Aiden Hatfield in the first place: his own musical talents. But that fact returned to light with the release of his new solo EP – Chapter One.

First and foremost, Aiden shines with a voice that is not only great, but just gushing with this passion that has you believing every word. On that note, the writing is a definitive quality, with the lyrics being easy to latch on to.

Every track is jam-packed with this enjoyably spirited energy, which is taken up a notch over the seriously infectious, memorable choruses that alone has us returning to this record time and time again, and additional elements such as the sweet guitar work and the nice basslines only hike them up all the more.

While not exactly breaking ground in any capacity, this EP still makes a significant impact, and that is owed to the man behind the music putting forth a tonne of devotion to help bring this to a sensationally appealing life.

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pollyanna

POLLYANNAThe World Is…

From our experiences, there are few music scenes on the east coast of the USA that are as bountiful as that of New Jersey, and Pollyanna, the indie pop rock duo of Jill Beckett and Dan McCool, are becoming a pivotal part of it, and after a 6 year tenure developing their craft over teenagehood, their debut EP – The World Is – has finally arrived.

Not So Bad starts off in a calm manner, carried forth by gentle chords before they rise up into the real meat of the song, where Jill showcases a mature vocal capacity beyond her years that is riled up with heaps of passion, and the writing is beautifully uplifting. In contrast, Between You And I is a lot rockier in comparison and cranks up the energy in a great track highlighted by a damn good chorus.

Ghost follows that same trend, with an enticing melody, faded harmonies and Dan going in totally forceful with a full-frontal performance from behind the kit, whilst guest Alex Fabio provides his own contributions to the singing, and lastly they take the tempo down for the milder-paced Way Past, ripe with plentiful emotions to cap off the record in gratifying fashion.

Pollyanna have excelled in their first proper effort here and shown quite a fair amount of promise, and given how young they are, it’s a safe bet that they’re only going to grow into something even more special down the road, creating music that will traverse beyond their hometown to not only the rest of the country, but across the pond and even further so.

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neverlanded

NEVERLANDEDFluffy Unicorns United

So we got word that there was a hot grunge trio from London that had recently put out their debut release. They are Neverlanded, with an EP titled Fluffy Unicorns United, and with a name like that, how could we resist?

In all seriousness though, the three tick all the necessary boxes for us, entertaining with great crude harmonies, cool scuzzy riffs, awfully fine bass lines and sweet drumming that appeases with hard-hitting snare shots and ringing cymbal crashes.

The writing’s pretty solid too, and they work in a variety of styles and tempos, either steering at a medium pace, going slow and steady, or kicking it up an extra step to turn up the excitement levels in the process.

A delicious doozy of a record, although it’s unfortunately on the short side and left us craving for more, but isn’t that the best compliment you could give any music act?

We can confidently say that folk who dig this sort of stuff should be able to get hooked on with ease, and if given the chance, this group could reach grander heights and perhaps conquer their goal of changing the landscape of the genre.

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BURNING BRIGHT – Beats, Rhymes & Cuts

On either side of the British border, there is a fruitful hip hop community chock full of talents that more often than not do a better job of impressing than their mainstream peers, and to get just a small taste of what’s available, you can check out the collaborative pairing of Tickle and salemAnders, known together as Burning Bright, and their new release – Beats, Rhymes & Cuts.

As the title suggests, all three elements come into play, and effectively so. Riddled is a cracker of a tune where all rappers involved, including special guests Ciaran Mac and the award-winning Solareye, give us some top-notch lyrical content delivered earnestly, and we get more of the same in The Beat, with Futurology making their presence felt in an forcefully explicit manner, while being accompanied by some seriously sweet brass and a simple yet infectious hook.

From there, we’re treated to a trio of nice, smooth instrumental pieces, and with that, they wrap up a brief but engaging record that helps to expose just what the underground hip hop scene has to offer.

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SMS | I Want The World

HANDSOFFG

HANDS OFF GRETELI Want The World 

The last few months for Yorkshire alternative rock outfit Hands Off Gretel have been…eventful, to say the least. The band had embraked on a mission to raise funds in order to promote and distribute their album – I Want The World – via the once helpful Pledge Music, with a tonne of help from their dedicated fanbase across the nation and beyond.

They would smash their target with ease, but unfortunately, as was the fate of many striving musicians using the service, Pledge done a runner and have left the group potless, unfairly throwing them into financial insecurity regarding the record.

It was a dire situation, but despite that, the release of the album still went ahead, and it turned out that all those generous donations meant for the band went to a worthy cause, for this turned out to be a high quality product.

From top to bottom, every single song we get is bare minimum a certified rocker, each amplified by a storming energy which is so intoxicating, and if that wasn’t enough, at the centre of them are bloody awesome, whirlwind choruses that knock the socks clean off with such immense horsepower behind them, with the likes of Kiss Me Girl, Rot and I Want The World itself packing the biggest punches.

The writing is also on another calibre, personally clicking with us and keeping us firmly hooked throughout with raw, emotional undertones and relatable elements; It’s My Fault, Freaks Like Us and Milk being good examples in that respect.

This facet is only fully realised through leading lady Lauren Tate, who comes forward with one of the most fiercely bewildering vocal performances of the year by far. Her voice has a sheer intensity that pierces the senses, and she’s so believable in everything she sings thanks to her blunt, in-your-face delivery.

The remainder of the band also step up to the plate and bring nothing short of their best in their given duties. Sean is a lean, mean shredding machine, cranking out these mental riffs that elevate the excitement levels of what is already a frenzy. Becky’s basslines are consistently on top form, tightly played and resonating through the undercurrent of the tracks, and she’s perfectly partnered with Sam and the stiff, emphatic beats that he batters out to complete the beautifully grungy rhythms.

What else is left to be said? This is one hell of a kickass experience that is, in it’s simplest form, a thrilling, hard-hitting rush that will tick all the boxes for those who seek such a thing.

But it’s more than that, it’s a compilation of tunes that connects through the validating lyrics, and in combination with the members throwing in everything that they’ve got, we get a record loaded with passion, a passion that takes it to another level and is sure to make lifelong fans of any newcomers who dare to take the plunge and enter.

Hands Off Gretel have undoubtedly earned the right to success with I Want The World, and given both their talents and the community of people who keep them going on a daily basis, we have faith that they are going to continue pulling through and emerge better than ever, despite what they have suffered through. #ScrewPledgeMusic

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Edward

EDWARD IN VENICEEmpathy

Hailing from Pesaro in Italy, Edward In Venice are new to us but certainly not to the scene, with 7 years of their lives dedicated to the cause of a band who already had 3 records to their name by 2015.

But between then and now, they would remain quiet on that front, opting to take their time and grind away bit by bit for their next release in order to create the best product possible which properly exhibits their talents to a worthy degree, as opposed to just getting more music out for the sake of meeting a non-existent quota.

The final result is the Empathy EP, and their decision to take the patient route has paid dividends, because this has turned out to be something pretty damn good.

One major element that helps the group stand out from the crowd is their addictive sound, which successfully encompasses both the hardcore and pop punk genres; fans of the former surely able to be hooked by the brute heaviness, while listeners of the latter can easily dig the more melodic side of the tunes which lend to bouncier spots; and this becomes apparent within seconds of the opener, The Deserter.

While each bringing individual attributes to separate them from each other, the range of tracks on here are realised to a high standard with the combo of impassioned vocals and furious screams, charged guitars, tight driving rhythms, fine lyrics and memorable choruses, and besides Manalo Riddim providing a quick breather, there is a wild, exhilarating energy that is perpetual throughout.

Showcasing the benefits of quality over quantity, Edward In Venice’s careful crafting has given us undoubtedly one of the most satisfying metal records to have come out in 2019 that is potent, diverse and just plain well-executed overall.

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fenella

FENELLAA Gift From Midnight

Mairi Whittle, better widely known as Fenella, first came to our attention when we had the pleasure of seeing her live at the 13th Note a couple of years back – joined by Heir Of The Cursed and Russell Stewart, two other great musicians we can recommend – and we liked her an awful lot, and just recently, we finally got to see Mairi showcase her potential through her debut album – A Gift From Midnight.

In a matter of moments, we quickly see how capable she is in the vocal department, with a terrifically prime voice at her disposal, one that is dripping with a blend of mature class and chic elegance, and as a result, you find yourself totally hooked onto her very good writing.

The majority of the material stuns with a sound that borrows heavily from the likes of jazz and blues and has an easy-going flow to it, with notable examples including Pretty Abbey’s Mantra, Malicious and the title number, but then we get other picks such as The Western Way and The Pusher’s Lore, which stick in the head with their infectious underlying catchy beats.

Not that we expected anything less, but Fenella’s first full-length effort is an enticing collection of rich songs that are quite investing from start to end.

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99cobra

99% COBRAProgrammed To Coalesce

When Hull trio 99% COBRA arrived in Glasgow a few months back for a cosy little show at Bloc, they had us leaving the night as fresh new fans after delivering one hell of an awesome performance, and their mental know-how is captured to a tee in their debut release – Programmed To Coalesce.

A dank intro soon makes way for a set of dense, manic tracks that blaze along with a barbaric drive, and aside from a short interlude to break things up in the middle, it’s a persistent rush from beginning to finish.

The guitar work is rabid, the bass tones pounding, the drumming unbelievably kinetic, and the screams have a mighty power behind them, with the lyrics grinding into the eardrums and left crammed in the subconscious.

Delivering on pretty much everything that is promised from a band like this, this is an a stormer of an EP which makes an undeniably big impact in the little time that it lasts, and it wouldn’t be too big of a stretch to think that these guys could develop into something mighty noteworthy down the line.

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viggo

VIGGOViggo Was A Love Child

Based in Oslo, VIGGO is a project that brings together a trio of adept Scandevian musicians who each excel at their respective fields: the savvy singer-songwriter Marte Wulff, the wonderful pop artist Charlotte Qvale and jazz extraordinaire Sjur Miljeteig.

As a collective, they shared a common goal of producing music that spawned as a result of their individual creativities being unleashed, and what we get from this is their debut album, Viggo Was A Love Child.

The three play their best hand straight off the bat with the amazing Get Up, an absolutely intoxicating tune with a fixating chorus which touches upon the notion of powering through tough situations and emerging in a better state; a positive theme that remains a constant throughout the writing of the record.

As they progress, they give us more great tracks that continue to make an impact lyrically, stick in the head with delightful hooks and impress with beautiful vocals, whilst being defined by an utterly sublime, sleek production centred around a sound really reminiscent of 80’s new wave but twisted into something modern.

Well, there’s very little to complain about here, VIGGO have went and delivered a truly excellent album that is rich and full of fantastic qualities which have us coming back for more, time and time again.

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SMS | Spectral

ANNIEspectral

ANNIE BOOTH – Spectral

Take a shot for every time that we’ve mentioned Annie Booth as one of our favourite Edinburgh artists, and you’ll most likely be dead. After initially seeing her as part of Mt Doubt, she really made us fans with the release of her 2017 album An Unforgiving Light, which is still a big favourite of ours to this day.

A couple of years on, and she is set to return to the fray with her brand new Spectral EP, which we cheekily picked up a physical copy of at Last Night From Glasgow’s 3rd birthday bash.

Unlike her debut record, which was a full production with a band to boot, Annie goes in a more straightforward, minimalist direction this go around, but this proves to be in no way a negative. In fact, given the content here, it’s beneficial.

Lead single Magic 8 sets the mood very effectively, being a graceful tune that gets us sucked in with such stunning lyrics. The masterful Mirage is on another plane entirely, drifting along with delicate acoustics backed by haunting ambient sounds, and Annie, particularly at the chorus, gets legitimate tingles running down the spine with her fiercely eerie voice.

But it doesn’t end there, as that aura remains a constant in Spill, with Annie keeping us fixated with her harmonies while a wonderful performance is delivered on the piano, and the grip is tightened all the more proceeding into the final number, Spiralling, and the writing is again so magnetic and so provoking, and the song continues to build to a strong apex, before fading to silence.

It has to be said that it is very, very rare for a record to leave us totally speechless, but that is exactly what happened the first time we experienced Spectral, and multiple listens later, it never fails to leave us with a similar feeling.

This is a flawlessly crafted, utterly gorgeous EP that has truly captured our imagination like nothing else, helmed by one of the country’s most raw and humble talents, and it will undoubtedly stand as a major pinnacle of 2019, not just within the Scottish scene but in underground music as a whole. Nothing less than a slice of perfection that earns an easy five stars.

***AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 10TH MAY***


lspaceMFM

L-SPACEMusic For Megastructures 

There were few acts that made a bigger impact on us over the course of 2018 than Glaswegian electropop quartet L-Space, who blew us away with their debut album Kipple Arcadia, one of our top picks of that year, and perhaps ever.

But we didn’t need to wait long for the group to quench our thirsts for more, as they have been quick to curate another album, although they’ve decided to take a completely different direction.

Dubbed “an instrumental score for a city that doesn’t exist yet”, the final result is Music For Megastructures”, where we get a compilation of 20 numbers, most of which are brief in length, together forming a soundtrack that is seeping with this rich, immersive atmosphere with a dainty futuristic tinge that is easy to get enveloped in.

Each of the songs are generated by a mixture of dazzling synths, gleaming keys, juicy bass tones and solid drum beats, and they tackle a range of styles – at one moment, being buoyant and full of life, and at another more mild and sombre – which allows for some variety, although admittedly it can get a little repetitive in spots, particularly as they progress towards the end.

While lacking in a lot of the qualities that give L-Space their unique identity, such as great riffs, ethereal vocals and especially their outstanding in-depth writing, this is nonetheless an intriguing little experiment that makes for an enjoyably lucid experience.

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bubble

BANSHEEBubble

We’ve been keen supporters of Greenock alternative rock outfit Banshee as far back as 2013 when we became acquainted with them under their original Life On Standby guise, but it wasn’t until 2016 after a change of name where they set a whole new standard with their superb Say My Name EP, which has aged so finely.

In the 3 years since, they continued to further establish their live presence, as well as treat us to a couple of singles here and there, but over a month ago, we finally got what we were truly wishing for: another record, that being Bubble.

They get the gears swiftly into motion with the exuberant title track, radiating with such a profuse pulse that is excelled by the stiff rhythm from Liam and Gianluca, and livened up by Erin’s persistently supreme voice, and the energy flows well into Frenemies, dotted by pretty good vocal hooks.

The awesome You Said is up next, highlighted by a punchy, catchy as all hell chorus and damn cool guitar work, and this leads nicely into the closing Erased, which has become the sleeper song of sorts on this. It hits a whole new level of maturity for the group writing-wise, being defined by lovely lyrics that really resonate and are brought to life by the beautiful harmonies.

We’ve indulged in this EP many a time since it first came out, and we can say without hesitation that this is not only a staggering follow-up to their previous effort, but easily one of the best Scottish records to have emerged this year so far.

United by an unparalleled chemistry, the four put absolutely everything into Bubble, and it’s clear as day to anybody who has the luxury in giving it a listen, and then another, and another…

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Small Spotlight #2 – Magic 8

ANNIE BOOTH – Magic 8

We’ve long considered Annie one of our favourite Edinburgh artists, especially given how much we loved her spectacular album An Unforgiving Light back in 2017, and she’s set to make more waves this year, beginning with this new single.

The song goes in a stripped-down direction compared to her previous works, but that only helps to amplify her beautiful vocals – which are so sensitive and passionate on an emotional level – and a tender performance on the acoustic guitar. Adding to those are mesmirising lyrics and an almost ethereal atmosphere which gives it a further dose of grace.

Those who find satisfaction with this track must ensure they grab her forthcoming Spectral EP coming in a few weeks, with similar content that makes it one of the most spellbinding records we’ve had the pleasure of listening to as of late; Mirage alone may be the greatest thing that she has ever composed, it’s simply perfect.


LAUREN LAKIS – Right Now

It’s become clearer by the day that the LA music scene is utterly rich with talent, and Lauren Lakis is yet another worth paying attention to, proven by her latest offering.

Defining it is a sound that it so challenging to narrow down, seemingly encompassing a variety of genres all at once, such as shoegaze, lo-fi, rock, and even hints of doom chucked in for good measure.

But no matter how you want to describe it, it simply works, producing this dark, fixating ambience that has the listener almost in a trance, and this is only boosted by Lauren’s great voice and a totally hooking chorus.


MT DOUBT – Unravelling

Leo and crew have got to be by this point one of the most prolifically featured acts in the history of this site, but can you really blame us when they hit bullseye after bullseye with their music? And big shock, the Edinburgh alt-rock band are here again with their latest outing.

More or less all aspects on this mesh perfectly; the genuinely earnest vocals, the really nice assisting harmonies, the polished guitars, the solid basslines and the great drum beats.

Throw in other well-executed elements such as engaging writing, a hooking melody and a lively chorus, and you’ve got another victory for the talented troupe, and there appears to be no end in sight as to how far they can go.


LUNA KISS – Not Afraid

After 10 years of grinding and busting their butts, the rock quartet have firmly established themselves as one of the dominant acts to emerge from Coventry, with a line of EPs and a constantly growing fanbase to their name.

They now look ahead to the release of their long overdue debut album, and if this single is anything to go by, this is going to turn out to be something special.

There’s a bulk of emotion riding behind the fantastic harmonies, the guitar work is pretty impressive, and it caps off on a really enjoyable finishing note as they elevate the energy levels moving into the final minute, and throughout it all is some great writing.


 

 

MEDICINE MEN – Back On Board

The Scottish rock group have achieved plenty of success in their half-decade together, particularly with their Into The Light album in 2017, and now the boys are back in the radar with what is a candidate for their greatest track to date.

There’s a lot of zeal behind the singing, the guitar work is great, the sleek synths are prominently outstanding, and the drumming has a real pulse to it.

It grabs the listener with this fervid energy that is so infectious, and it only gets better every time we stick it on. On the whole, it’s a belter.


LUKE LA VOLPE – Can’t Seem To Get Enough

And here we are showcasing another artist who we were lucky enough to discover at #KTNYR19 this year – Luke La Volpe from Bathgate, who has impressed us big time with his new track.

Driven by a cracking gritty blues-based rhythm and highlighted by a damn good chorus, Luke excels with a deep, broad voice and fine lyrics, while the rest of the band back him up nicely with slick riffs, cool bass tones and swell drumming.


JANOS – Zero

Hailing from Oslo and currently residing in London, the artist has been picking up a lot of steam recently, and this track is the perfect introduction to those not familiar with in already.

With a sound blending the likes of pop and soul, the high-octane, larger than life number is dotted with excellent writing all about having positivity trump over negativity, and this is reflected well by Janos’ utterly spirited singing, an exuberant melody and a seriously catchy chorus.


FORTNIGHT IN FLORIDA – Easier To Lose 

On the run-up to the release of their years-in-the-making debut album, the London quartet give us a reason as to why we should be spending our cash on it with this neat single.

The track has such a mellow tone to it that makes it inviting; a feeling which comes from the band bringing us a mixture of laid-back singing, a chilled, easy-going beat and dazzling keys, and the chorus is awfully sweet too.


 

 

 

 

 

EDWARD IN VENICE – High Tide

With their brand new Empathy EP imminent, the Italian hardcore outfit get us excited with this belter of a track.

Among the band-wide tight performances, we get some excellent vocal displays, sturdy riffs and dynamic rhythms, and the writing is pretty strong too.


 

 

 

CRASHES – In Colour

Pretty much since their birth as a band, the Glaswegian pop-rock outfit have been regularly hyped as a hot commodity in the local scene. Their debut EP, The Lightning Age, showed a lot of promise, and their recently released follow-up, Something’s Wrong, has lived up to that and then some.

At the centre of the new record is this lead single, an immensely fiery, infectious track that is so rocking, yet also has a lighter, perky feel to it that will satisfy those of a more mainstream taste.

The vocals are impassioned, the dual guitars are superb and the tied bass and drum work are on top form. All these elements combined make for what is a stormer of a tune.


FABRIC BEAR – Pop Song 

The fuzzy garage rock trio have constantly improved since they made their debut a couple of years back, and their first single of 2019 is above and beyond their best work yet, with really tight riffs, a strong rhythm and a cracking chorus with a vivid hook to it.


 

 

 

 

FALSE BLISS – To The Forest 

Formerly known as DTHPDL, these guys from Edinburgh are sure no strangers to the Scottish scene, and ahead of their Ritual Terrains album, this track gives us a preview of the kind of quality material that we are in for.

Entering on a brooding note, they soon work their way into what is a complexly curated song, with umpteenth layers from an instrumentation standpoint, all nicely building on top of each other as the number constantly grows in size, before eventually simmering down at the end.

The provoking writing also adds chocks of depth to it, conveyed excellently through the harmonies.


DEAD FICTION – Modern Primitives 

Last year, we named Dead Fiction as one of Scotland’s top newcomers, and they’ve clearly lived up to that standing with a trio of new singles, each different yet sweet – The Crux, A Plot Or Spine, and our favourite of the lot, Modern Primitives.

This is a dynamic banger that runs at a fast and furious tempo which makes it so damn intoxicating, plus the riffs, drumming and vocals are all up to a great standard.


WE ARE ALL FOSSILS – Merry Go Round 

We’ve kept a close eye on Jakob Oelofse since he came to Glasgow alongside Marc Halls back in 2017, and he’s kept us as fans with this lovely song headed by mild, gratifying ensemble vocals, accompanied by first-rate performances on the instruments which create this engaging melody, as well as some really gripping writing.


 

 

 

 

 

 

COURTNEY ASKEY – River

It’s been too long since we last gave attention to one of the finest women in the Leicester scene, so we are redeeming that by showcasing her new single.

This is a dazzling tune with a haunting air to it which is purely magnetic. Contributing to the fact is Courtney’s eerie harmonies, the raw guitar chords and the stiff drum shots.


 

RICHARD JAMES SIMPSON – Cell

2 years after the release of his acclaimed debut solo album, Richard is gearing up for his sophomore release, and this track here gives us confidence that he’ll be earning further praise.

What we get here is a cracking alternative punk number with a rowdy energy and intriguing experimental undertones, made as good as it is by Richard’s raunchy vocals, the full-frontal riffs and the battering drums on display, and the lyrics hit the mark nicely.


LORI SMITH – Fighter

Over the last couple of years or so, a rush of young teens have been making a big impact in the Scottish music scene, including the likes of Robin Ashcroft, Connor Fyfe and Claire Doc, and as of 2019, Lori Smith is a name who deserves to be talked about within the same conversation.

A few months ago, the 14 year old Ayrshire native made a mark with her first song, Record On Repeat, but that would only prove to be a taster of what she was capable of, for her talents are totally brought to light via her new single.

She has a tremendously beautiful voice that is beyond her age, and she’s able to express slews of legitimate emotions with such ease; through that, totally sucking in the listener and drawing them in to the very touching, stellar lyrics.

This number is nothing short of incredible, and we sincerely hope Lori goes on to achieve a tonne of success down the road.


NICOL & ELLIOTT – Wish You’d Stayed Away

Electric Honey Music have always been a quintessential go-to hotspot for discovering some amazing underground acts, and Americana duo Nicol & Elliot are yet another worthwhile find.

The pairing of Andrew and Rachel, who have previously showcased just how capable they are in the past, come together with an excellent ditty that isn’t particularly complex by any means, but nonetheless succeeds in every area, from the marvellous dual vocals, to the enthralling melody, and right down to the memorable chorus.

This is one that certainly sticks in the head, and we’ve found ourselves going back for quite a few repeated listens.


KING SLOTH – Truth & Lies

Rising from the ashes of Foxbeef – a band who did not enough love, in our humble opinions – King Sloth have been on the go in Dundee for the last couple of years, and their new single is certainly worth checking out.

A catchy number with quite the jumping energy to it that features an addictive chorus, snappy guitars and rapid flurries on the drums.


JON HAGGERTY – Backbone

A promising artist coming out of California, Jon makes a lasting impression with a sincere number where he showcases his stellar voice and a fine knack for writing, plus the rich production and an addicting beat are welcome bonuses here.


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Small Spotlight #1 – What U

KELSY KARTER – What U

LA-based New Zealand native Kelsy Karter attracted mass media attention a little while back with that notorious face tattoo of Harry Styles, which led nicely into her viral single named after the former One Direction member.

We would have never guessed that, months down the line, she would be presented to us with a new song – What U – in tow, but truthfully speaking, Kelsy has actually proved to be something legitimate.

She has a great voice which is packing this brash attitude, and the addictive track has a similarly raucous tone to it, especially with the energetic riffs and sweet bass chords that are rife throughout.

While earning fame for the weirdest of reasons, she looks set to maintain it with her musical talents, realised and brought to life perfectly through this quality single.


SCARLETT RANDLE – Her

A gorgeous low-key song that is simply flawless; fuelled by an alluringly warm atmosphere which helps to amplifies the gripping lyrics and the absolutely beautiful harmonies.

Scarlett has continuously evolved from day one, having come far in maturing since Berlin, and she is prime and ready to emerge as one of the definitive queens of Scottish pop.


BANSHEE – Bubble

On the eve of the release of their new EP, the title track is among their best ever, capturing an infectious energy through slick guitars, amped-up bass chords, intense drum beats and a supreme vocal performance.

They have also developed a chemistry so tight which surpasses that of many other groups going in the Scottish scene, to the point where if any one member were removed, it just wouldn’t be the same, because they all match up together perfectly.

Wrapped up by a top-notch chorus, the quartet have clearly stepped up their game to another level ahead of what is sure to be another great record from them.


SERTRALINE – Relapse

After what has felt like forever, the Northerners are at last back with a brand new track, and it’s a f***ing doozy, taking the finer elements of their sound and implementing it into a beautifully filthier direction.

The rhythm is bulky, Lizzie’s mix of vocals and guttural screams are insanely good, and it will take hours for that superb chorus to leave your head; perhaps the greatest one of 2019 thus far, regardless of genre.


FOREIGNFOX – Birthday Flowers

For years, we’ve considered Foreignfox our favourite act to hail from Dunfermline, and they’ve retained that status with yet another supreme track added to their already luxurious arsenal.

It has a bit of everything here – a glorious size, fresh guitars, a tight rhythm, lofty vocal work and really great writing. How are these lads not bigger by this point?


LAKYOTO – Invincible 

The Edinburgh electronic outfit treat us to a tune that is the epitome of short but sweet. A grand-scale sound with a lot of life to it is formed from a combo of a staggering melody, a class production and a stormer of a chorus that is beyond addicting to the point where you might just be singing it in your sleep.

The boys have proved their worth with this one, and they deserve their share of mainstream attention so that others can find out what they are missing.


IZZY THOMAS – Trouble

One of the most astounding debut singles of the year comes to us courtesy of London artist Izzy Thomas, and what a vexing powerhouse of a tune it is.

Thematically, it makes an impact as it encompasses the all too familiar subject matter of women being treated second-rate in the industry, and the lyrics hit the mark so damn well.

Musically, it sits in that perfect middle ground between catchy pop and intense rock, and there’s a vivid punch to it, with Izzy displaying a blunt, full-frontal edge in her singing, and it’s taken to another level as she pushes into the fantastic chorus.


CALUM FRAME – Lover Of Dreams

One of the musicians that we’ve been following the longest since we entered the local scene, the Strathaven lad gives us his second single of 2019, and perhaps his best yet.

Driven by a hooking drum beat, the track features Calum at his pinnacle vocal-wise, some fine lyrics and rocking guitars, and the chorus is a belter.


ROSE PETAL – OUT OF BLUE 

One of the finest artists currently emerging from the state of Rhode Island brings us a chart-worthy pop anthem with enticing R&B vibes all over it.

A stunning ambience that is substantially rich, sublime bass, a catchy beat and dazzling vocals make this one a must-listen.


VIGGO – Get Up!

What happens when you take three of Norway’s elite musicians and fuse them together? You get VIGGO, and the trio have combined their abilities to bring us this tremendous single.

This features gracious harmonies, utter lucid instrumentation that contributes to a ravishing melody, and most important of all, fantastically inspiring lyrics that stick with you after what is sure to be the first of many, many listens, for this has a magnetic facet to it which has us personally coming back again and again.


FRANKY’S EVIL PARTY – Paradise

Undoubtedly, one of the most striking acts that we discovered at 2019’s New Year’s Revolution at King Tuts was this lot from Dumfries, and mental numbers like this one just show why they caught our attention.

The track has this insanely loud, jarring rhythm to it that punches endlessly and relentlessly into the brain. Screeching electronics, a persistent drum beat, and harsh, almost deranged vocals define it. It keeps a firm grasp on the listener, right up to the closing seconds where they rack up the tempo to an overwhelming degree.

Difficult to properly describe, but it’s sure one hell of an experience that has us coming back for more.


ERIN VIVERS FERGUSON – Clockwork

Having gotten a taste of her fine talents from a couple of occasions attending the King Tuts Sunday Song Club, this is actually the first time we’ve properly sat down and checked out Erin’s music, and this single serves as a cracking introduction.

This is a wonderful, gentle-toned number driven by her striking, authentic voice and grasping lyrics, and it’s all elevated by this hypnotic quality which will easily hook in any listener.

Speaking totally honestly, this beautiful song is quickly becoming a favourite of ours, and Erin doesn’t deserve to be passed over, she’s just too good to be.


IN FEAR THEY FOLLOW – Erebus

The UK metal scene is ripe with upcoming raw talent, and this group from Bristol have been highly touted as of late, and their latest single has definitely convinced us to hop on the bandwagon.

Jake is a beast on the mic, helming a voice both strong and broad, while we get dual blinding guitars and a resounding force behind the packed rhythms. The massive chorus is just the icing on the cake, being nothing short of epic.


SUPER CASSETTE – Better In Reverse

This song from the Californian garage pop quartet is a really smooth, melodic ditty surrounded in this serene, dreamy essence that is easily approachable.

We get easy-going harmonies, sleek chords and a rhythm that is somehow simultaneously laid-back and bouncy, and at the core is some pretty good writing questioning the negative impact of humanity that gives you something to think about.


THE ASTRONOTS – Settle Down

Yet another promising act breaking out in California’s bustling scene, they impress with this slick, well-crafted track off their Cotati EP.

The song does an awfully good job digging into both the awfulness of anxiety and that feeling of being lost, while also offering a stunningly sincere showing on vocals, prominently crisp basslines and nice riffs that have a grungy root behind them, and the chorus is absolutely top-notch too.


DRIFT – The Isle Of

This Paisley synthpop duo made a big impression on us when we saw them live at King Tuts in January, and with stunning pieces like this, does it come as a surprise as to why?

Over the course of six minutes, Linzi showcases her skills as one of Scotland’s most underrated vocalists, with a warm voice that captivates like few others can, while Andrew uses his knack as a producer to build a sound that generates this misty auditory environment, as well as a nice beat during the embracing choruses.


NICKY RUBIN – Cigarette Song

The jet-setting Nicky Rubin makes a killing with this simply superb tune that falls into that category of indie pop merged with alternative rock.

The melody is ridiculously catchy and upbeat, and it only elevates with the stimulating chorus, plus the added bass earns it some extra points and only makes it better.


SIR CURSE – Tarot

Now this is how you make a debut. The Leeds ensemble deliver a blooming awesome first effort that is immensely catchy and enjoyably kooky as all hell.

The vocals have a lot of personality to them, the guitars are cool, the twinned bass and drums are solid, the keys are delightful, and the trumpet is super sweet.

We love this. More, please.


JEANICE LEE – Beyond Never

We were introduced to the Edinburgh-based artist and her merry crew at the launch night of The Ice Box in Glasgow over a month ago, and she truly caught us off guard.

The empress released her debut album Beyond Never earlier this week, and the opening title track certainly makes a good impression for new listeners, with this appealing sound that is akin to operatic doom rock.

While there’s a couple of awkward slips, the song nonetheless hooks us in with sonant vocals, great work on the guitars and a solid rhythm.


PHVNTOM – Who Do You Think You Are?

So it turns out that Jonny Turner is not only adept in the art of djent, but also that of indie rock when teamed up with his pal Tom Ward, and their debut tune together is a cracker.

While straightforward in style, the track fuels a real sense of excitement with a perpetual high energy, swell riffs and an enthralling chorus.


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SMS #3 | Manic Pixie Dream

CHLOE LILAC

CHLOE LILACManic Pixie Dream

In the midst of the massive American underground scene, one particular artist has been making a name for herself across the web and standing out from the pack. She is the Brooklyn born and bred Chloe Lilac, and her brand new Manic Pixie Dream EP is a damn sweet introduction to what she has to offer.

Chloe has been tirelessly developing since the days of playing in the streets as a teen, and it shows here just far she has come, with a voice that not only spans a wide range pitch-wise, but also carries a hefty weight of emotion that is so raw and pure, never at any time appearing to be phony, and as a result you hang onto every one of her rich, magnetic lyrics.

In addition to forging a beautiful sense of ambience with a gorgeous chilled vibe, the superb production quality created helps to give each of the anthems a grander size and an extra dose of spice, particularly when it comes to the dazzling choruses.

Crammed with highlights such as Jesus Couldn’t Love Me, Heartbreak City and the excellent title track, Manic Pixie Dream is a thoroughly engrossing EP that ranks as one of the finest pop records we’ve come across as of late. After multiple listens, it’s no wonder as to why Chloe has been garnering plenty of attention; she’s a legitimate talent, plain and simple.

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murderb.jpeg

THE MURDERBURGERSWhat A Mess

For over a decade now, The Murderburgers have persisted and developed into one of the most lucrative and noteworthy acts in the jam-packed Scottish punk scene, and they’ve only went and added another notch to their careers with their latest album, What A Mess.

At the front and centre of the group is Fraser, who in addition to showing his chops on the guitar, has this ability to convey a tonne of believable emotion and angst through his vocal work, and because of that, you get easily hooked onto the downbeat yet fantastic writing, a key element that defines more or less every song, with nothing coming to mind that doesn’t succeed in that regard.

It’s not just the lyrics though. The bulk of the tracks have an electric, rampant pace that makes them stimulating, and it doesn’t hurt a bit that the tight rhythm sequences courtesy of Noelle and Alex on the bass and drums respectively add an extra driving power to the music.

Being at a consistently high standard, the trio run off a strong momentum that never wavers at any point, and with very little in the way of flaws, What A Mess is hands down one of the most cracking punk records to have been unleashed from Scotland in recent memory, just maybe cementing The Murderburgers as the best of the genre that this country has to offer.

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till i fall

TILL I FALLAll I Have 

Since their formation way back in 2011, Till I Fall from California have taken their time in flourishing and building upon their abilities, and have developed into one of the West Coast’s most noteworthy and talented underground pop-punk acts, with their years-long journey finally culminating in the release of their debut full-length album – All I Have.

In a snap, they yank the notice of the listener as they kick off in hot fashion with their high-octane single Let Me Breathe, and from there, it’s a perpetual charge to the senses as they blitz through track after dynamic track which all carry this blistering energy, with regular breathers being provided during the carefully crafted, well placed interludes that link perfectly and create this flawless flow throughout.

The four guys bring everything that they’ve got here and add multiple layers to the range of tunes with a mix of fervent, expressive vocals, snappy guitars and rollicking beats, as well as some exceptional writing touching upon the almost daily uphill battle against negative situations that make a dent on our mental health, something that will certainly hit hard with many out there.

With an outstanding production being the cherry on top, this is an extraordinary record that succeeds to a high degree in virtually every area. An experience that is half a thrilling joyride and half an emotional encounter, it wouldn’t be such a stretch for us to claim this as one of the greatest pop punk albums we’ve had the pleasure of listening to, and if a major record label out there has any common sense, they would sign up this band pronto.

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foundlings

FOUNDLINGSFoundlings

Within the space of a year, Foundlings have emerged as one of the finest new indie rock acts to come out of England. Primarily based in London, the quartet have done wonders for themselves, building a fanbase across the country quickly and earning quite the bountiful amount of radio airplay.

And now, in association with the Last Night From Glasgow label, they’re here with their much anticipated self-titled debut EP, a collection of five exotic tunes encompassing a sleek, dreamy essence that is so delightful.

Each of the melodic tracks come equipped with ravishing harmonies, great fuzzy riffs, tender bass chords and smooth drum beats, while bringing their own distinct qualities to the table.

Whether it’s the addictive lead single Enemy, the heavier Busan or the bouncy Fall Out, this is a record that is nothing short of wonderful, exposing the wherewithal of four very capable musicians with the tools to make an even bigger impact down the road.

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OUTRIGHT

OUTRIGHT RESISTANCECargo Cult

It was late 2016 that we were first introduced to Stevenage metalcore outfit Outright Resistance when they came up to play Glasgow as part of their Me Vs UK Tour, and we quickly became fans.

Since then, there’s been a few changes, most notably the departure of the talented Paige on vocal duties, being replaced by the equally adept James in the role, and for the past number of months, they busted their butts to produce their first full-length release, Cargo Cult, and following some hefty promise, it turned out smashing.

James proved to be the right man to step up and fill the hole left by Paige, being one hell of a formidable vocalist boasting this mammoth voice that is simply impressive. But this is just one of several elements that shines, for the rest of the bunch hold nothing back in their performances; Joe and Grandad delivering some wild dual riffs, while Chris and Nelly bash out hard-hitting rhythms.

While not always necessarily strong in variety, the album is nevertheless loaded with a number of high-quality tunes. Among the focal points, we get the catchy Lone Wolf and title track, the rapid Holocene Epoch, and the breakdown-focused pairing of Gently and Fang & Bone, but the awesomely berserk Wretched One is the indisputable highlight of the lot, fueled by a crazy energy which leaves you almost knackered by the time it’s over.

Outright Resistance have went all in to create a superb record that totally fulfils our desire for an auditory ride which is heavy and insanely off-the-wall from bell to bell.

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VND

VISCERAL NOISE DEPARTMENTDistant Banging 

There are few acts in the Scottish scene that epitomise DIY more than the rat pack quartet of Visceral Noise Department, made up of the handsome Werninck brothers, the bearded beauty Brenden, and the multi-talented redheaded mistress Jenny.

They’ve captured the attention of us and several others over the last couple of years with batty live performances and some tasty demos to hand, and after grafting away in the studio, they’ve emerged at last with their first full-length album – Distant Banging – which we expected to be good, but the final result totally caught us off guard.

To begin with, the performances across the board are top notch, with all four members acing it in their respective roles – vocals, guitars, bass, drums, and whatever else they choose to thrown in. But that’s only scratching the surface, for there are two qualities that elevate this to another degree.

Firstly is their ability to tackle such a broad range of styles and sounds so effectively. Naturally, we get some sweet rock tunes, whether something more straightforward but catchy and hooking like Olympic Gold, or off-the-wall tracks with a mental energy such as Fetishising Struggle, Crazy 9, and Modern City Blues, each dotted with traces of metal and grunge.

But then we’re often presented with nice, slower songs, and then we get those that have a folky tone to them – the well-written Semi-Educated Delinquent, for example – or even going into a country-based direction of all things with Venus, and miraculously succeeding on that front. Because of the diverse nature of the record, you get an experience that is excitingly unpredictable.

Secondly is the sometimes deeply provoking lyrical content, which you wouldn’t immediately expect from a bunch like this at face value, but pieces including Made My Bed, Middle Class Hero and the tremendous Utopia feature some strong writing that has you totally sucked in, adding a surprising but much welcome level of maturity to the album.

Visceral Noise Department have knocked it out the park with what is undoubtedly the ultimate sleeper hit of 2019, completely shattered our initial expectations. The quartet have a tight chemistry that is as genuine as it gets, and with their combined skills, they have turned in by far one of the freshest records we’ve heard in a long, long time. Distant Banging is an outstanding effort, and it feels great.

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bad hombres

BAD HOMBRESProtest As You Please

In just a matter of months, the quartet of Bad Hombres have seen a swift rise into one of Glasgow’s most talked about fledgling young groups, with the pinnacle of their surge coming via their Protest As You Please EP.

The boys forge a sweet sound that blends together a mishmash of rock and roll, indie and punk, taking obvious inspiration from some of the most noteworthy groups that have defined said genres over the decades. The latter comes most blatantly apparent through the utterly engaging, hostile writing focusing on a range of social and political issues.

You can feel the bitterness and animosity just seething through the vocal work, digging into the eardrums of the listener with the close-to-home themes they want to get across, and that anguish is equally well reflected through the pounding drumming, sharp bass tones and blaring riffs.

With these aspects put forth into a selection of tracks that are short but striking, this is a record that makes an instant impact – especially on those with particular beliefs and attitudes – while putting Bad Hombres on the map as a must-see act in the city’s bustling scene.

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the half eight

THE HALF EIGHTRose Tinted Soul

Nottingham three-piece The Half Eight have done alright for themselves, haven’t they? In the space of five years, they’ve travelled and played across the country, been given the opportunity to play with a variety of big names and form a dedicated fanbase; in the process building a reputation as one of the country’s most must-see pop rock acts currently riding in the British underground.

With all that hype preceding them, they were given the test of putting together a debut record worthy of the standard that was expected of them. What came of it was the Rose Tinted Soul EP, and it is indeed worthy.

It doesn’t take long for them to make a good impression with the opener End It Right, which has a nice bounce to it and is highlighted by an infectiously jumping chorus. They keep the pace on form with the lyrically engaging Timezones, and lastly is If I Had You, a song that starts off on a gentle, acoustically-driven note before they gradually ramp up the size and finish on a satisfying high.

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colin h

COLIN HUNTERMaths Teacher

Admittedly, we knew nothing about Kilwinning musician Colin Hunter until only recently, when we were exposed to his talents courtesy of The 23 Podcast Show, and it just so happened that we caught him at the right time, for he has a new album out entitled Maths Teacher, and it’s a beauty.

Shifting out some nice wee pieces such as Bicycle Cycle, Infinity Vs Infinity and What Matters Doesn’t Matter, Colin not only sports a crisp, harmonic voice, but you can feel the authentic heart behind everything that he sings. The writing is as genuine and down to earth as it gets, and while some may consider the lyrics too nihilistic at parts, it only adds to the realism of the stories that he tells.

The majority of the tunes are driven by these appealing melodies, and it doesn’t take long to start humming along to the memorable sections. Eventually you’ll find yourself even mouthing the words in parts, and within the space of half an hour, you form an attachment to the woes personified through his music.

Maths Teacher is one of the most sincere records we’ve came across as of late, spawning from the head of a real fine bloke who doesn’t deserve to be left under the radar.

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scottC

SCOTT CANDLISHA Little While, A Bit Of Time 

Scott Candlish is quite the travelled man, having departed from his hometown of Melbourne in Australia a few years back, taking the plunge and moving across the sea all the way to Edinburgh in Scotland.

In that journey, he’s kept his music career rolling and has achieved success with a pair of EP’s and a non-stop flurry of gigs wherever he goes, local or otherwise, and his next chapter comes in the form of his latest record – A Little While, A Bit Of Time.

The songs are characterised by a warm and welcoming folk-based sound; a departure from Scott’s previously rock-focused direction, which showcases his ability to undertake multiple musical styles effectively.

There’s a decent diversity between the numbers that keep them fresh, but each always feature three elements where Scott excel, those being his heartfelt harmonies, slick acoustics and great, gripping lyrics centred around his interesting life experiences and the natural fallout from those.

A spiffing introduction to a guy with obvious talent, and we can only hope that he continues to do what he does best and reap the rewards for his dedicated efforts.

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shallowpools

SHALLOW POOLSSpring

The alternative pop trio of Shallow Pools have been gaining our attention over the past few months and have become one of our favourite recent discoveries from the USA; a deal sealed by their new EP – Spring.

There are many things to love here, starting with each of the ladies’ individual performances – Glynnis leads the songs with her fabulous vocals, the riffs from Jess are regularly swell, and Ajemian is a capably solid drummer.

The tunes featured on this run off some sweet, easy-going melodies that are accentuated by addicting choruses which make a mark, with Sinking, Room To Breathe and the namesake number being the go-to choices in regards of that, plus the writing isn’t half bad.

While not exactly complex and even a touch repetitive in spots, this is a fun little record we have here that is simple but entertaining and will be sure to appeal to a wide audience.

The three are only going to improve from here anyway, so best to keep an eye on this bunch, as they have the potential to go far.

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all in due time

ALL IN DUE TIME – Young And Dumb

If you fancy yourself a fan of pop punk, then it’s worth focusing your attention on the New York trio of All In Due Time, who after a couple of years of grinding in their local scene are set to release their debut EP – Young And Dumb.

Taking a page out of the books from the all-time greats, the band’s songs hit a grand slam with a blend of hooking, easily relatable lyrics, catchy as hell choruses and a thriving spirit prevalent throughout.

Zeke brings a passion to his singing as he and Frank put in a good effort in their combined guitar work, while Joshua holds his own leading the peppy rhythms with the bass in tow.

A few rough patches here and there, but ultimately little harm done. Overall, this is a great first record that legitimately impressed us, and we believe that that this is only the beginning of what should be a prosperous career for the boys.

***AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 22ND MARCH***


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#25 | Rolland Square – Bloc (19.02.19)

Rolland


The alternative rock quartet Quotes Of The Dead are a group whose name have been in our sights for months on end and had kept missing out on for various reasons. But as we promised guitarist Brian back in December when we first met him, we would be down some day, and this was that day.

The four quickly fired through a batch of great tunes that had an energy to them, with the majority boasting really fine, often catchy choruses. They were each defined by Lauren’s good harmonies, Brian’s effects-laden riffs and smashing rhythms produced by the equally tight pairing of John and James.

Top picks that meshed these elements best included Control Alt DeletePainting Pictures and Filthy Dog, and the slower number Dancing Dolls was pretty likable too and made for a nice change of pace to throw into the mix.

Admittedly, they were a little still on spots and could have done more to let loose, but that’s small beans that can be developed and worked on anyway.

Regardless of that, they did manage to turn the heads of plenty of punters who were simply in for the drink. The talent is there, and we can easily recommend them to new listeners. They also happen to be proficient in the art of the dominant handshake.


Rolland Square were practically brand new to us, although we did get a taste of them beforehand via their demo on Soundcloud, and we fancied what we heard and knew we’d be in for something promising. The results lived up to expectations.

Within a verse or so, the boys had our attention with some excellent indie songs that had an infectious pep to them. The vocals were on continuously strong form, the guitar work was supremely good, the bass tones firm and the drum beats damn solid.

Along with enjoyable lyrics in their depository, the melodies had a grasp on us, and we caught ourselves tapping our foot along throughout, as demonstrated in the likes of Blackened HeartFall Apart and Ticket To Nowhere. They even attracted some loving cheers from some adoring fangirls who entered halfway in.

Granted, there were a couple of visibly shabby mistakes, but honestly it did little damage to what was otherwise a cracking set from a band who could potentially go far further down the road if given decent enough exposure.