CHLOE LILAC – Manic 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.
THE MURDERBURGERS – What 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.
TILL I FALL – All 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.
FOUNDLINGS – Foundlings
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.
OUTRIGHT RESISTANCE – Cargo 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.
VISCERAL NOISE DEPARTMENT – Distant 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.
BAD HOMBRES – Protest 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.
THE HALF EIGHT – Rose 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.
COLIN HUNTER – Maths 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.
SCOTT CANDLISH – A 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.
SHALLOW POOLS – Spring
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.
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.
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