Khaidian – Penumbra | SMALL RECORD REVIEWS



The music business is often painful, and London quartet Khaidian know that all too well. John Tyrell and Joseph Perumal first got together way back in 2010, with the intention of forming a band that would present a unique sound that blended industrial metal with a mix of electronica.

Although there was a clear goal, it took them a whole 8 years to produce their debut album, having endured endless challenges, mainly related to constantly line-up changes that had the project delayed again and again.

At last, here we are; the light at the end of the tunnel that sees the forthcoming release of the aforementioned record – Penumbra – but was the wait actually worth it in the end?

The guys go charging in with a dominant force that quickly attracts attention. At the heart of it is Andy on the mic, who has an impressive voice that boasts quite an amount of intensity behind it.

John works double duty, standing out with some tasty riffs that get the chance to shine through some slick solos, while working on the programming side of things to blare out the sweeping electronics as advertised, which are utilised well to add an extra layer of energy to the tracks, especially when teamed up with Joe and Kris who give out their share of booming basslines and sturdy drumming.

After nearly a decade of frustrating hell, Khadian have thankfully pulled through with an album that is overall great with a large scale and driven by hardy rhythms, and while the electronic-metal sound has been done by other acts between the band’s formation and now, they still pull it off efficiently.

Now their next step should be to evolve and expand upon their roots to ensure that they can break out from the rest of the pack in a thriving scene that is both teeming and luxurious, and from there is where they will prevail in the long term.


Sense Of The Spherical, Dramatic Professions Of Martyrdom, Thrive, Pearls Before Swine




A night headlined by a pop duo also opened with one – Drift from Paisley – who were the only fresh new faces for this particular night, and we honestly had heard very little about them heading in; a fact that we regretted so badly coming out.

Linzi had such a luminous voice that was stunning and added so much to the aura that they established, plus it featured a wide pitch that swapped from low to high and vice versa at the flick of a dial.

Meanwhile, Andrew was multitasking like crazy, using guitars, keyboards, synths, electronics and who knows what other bits and bobs to produce melodic pieces, and doing so pretty effectively, and he even contributed some nice secondary harmonies.

The numbers were dark and dripping with ambience, and they had this undeniably magnetic pull to them, evident by the fact that at the end of the second song, everybody in the room suddenly migrated towards them and never turned back.

It was a fascinatingly radiant and even sometimes tingling performance that stood as perhaps the best opening set of #KTNYR19 so far from easily our favourite discovery of the entire festival by this point.

This pair is special. Oh, and happy birthday Elaine!

Russell Stewart fell into that rare category of acts that we had actually seen in the past, as we came to know him when he supported Fenella at 13th Note 2 years ago, but this time he wasn’t alone.

Russell himself has evolved his game since our last meeting. He was a great singer alone, but he also had a cool and collected confidence which never came off forced or flashy, he appeared to be all natural.

There was a broad variety and mix of tones with the material. You had those handful with bouncy beats that elicited sweet vibes to get people into a summery frame of mind, there was some slow, jazzy numbers, and at one point, Russell even returned to his solo roots for the drawing, well-written Old Wounds.

Each of the tunes were accompanied by dazzling backing vocals, very slick bass work, good drumming and bloody superb keys. Throughout, the feedback from the now heaping crowd was positive, and it was truly earned. Russell and co were on consistently top form, and left a fine mark on the stage of Tuts.

We came hooked onto Fauves when they released their debut EP a year prior, and we were quickly reminded why that was the case.

They entered and showcased a delightfully arty sound that was highly infectious, featuring a combination of high, pristine harmonies, polished riffs, juicy rhythms and exquisite synths.

They had little bother getting folk sucked in, with a sea of bodies to be seen bobbing along. Most of their offerings had a smooth, easygoing pace to them, yet they were catchy all the same, and there were a couple of spots where they upped the ante slightly and provided an extra dose of buzz.

Not surprisingly, they made their exit to mental cheers after a set that was a pleasing, well-refined display of their talents. By the by, Rory’s a cracking dancer.

We’ve been big fans of St.Martiins since we fell in love with Bad W/ Her in 2017, and we had been dying to catch the duo at a gig for ages since then, and they came equipped with the rest of their fine crew here.

They commenced on a soft note and eased their way in steadily, but that quickly changed when Do Your Words ignited a dancing sesh in the front row, and it continued from there with their other fantastic 2018 singles No It’s All Over and Ur So Pretty, each donning some fab writing.

Katie was a sensational vocalist, with such a pure voice that is even more ravishing in a live environment. The twin guitars fused with excellent tender chords that helped to drive the engaging melodies, the beats formed from the bass and drums were captivating, and the synths assisted in enhancing the atmosphere that enveloped the room and had a tight grip on the vast audience.

Capping off with the ever-popular Jazzboy and going out with very little in the way of flaws, it was a truly enticing viewing and listening experience from one of Dundee’s finest that left us in high spirits, as well as so glad to have finally scratched their name off our bucket list.

Tiger Mimic – Elephant Skeleton | SMALL RECORD REVIEWS



It was last year that the pairing of Bram and Jess upped from New York City and moved across the pond to London, where they would form the indie rock quartet Tiger Mimic alongside their pals Ben and George.

In just a matter of months, they quickly made a strong first impression and caught the attention of many online. With that buzz firmly at their side, they get ready to release their debut EP – Elephant Skeleton.

Between the set of five tracks, we get a tight combination of really smooth, enchanting harmonies, sweet guitars, utterly sublime bass chords and mild drumming that carries the great beats.

The choruses are addictive, the writing shines through; even being quite clever in spots; and the infectious, almost jazzy rhythms are a joyous, sensation for the ears that unconsciously gets our hips swaying from side to side.

We knew we’d be in for something good, but Tiger Mimic have surpassed expectations here with an impressive record that is a tonne of fun, featuring content that is really memorable, well put together and has more than enough variety to keep it fresh.

Any new listeners that are given the opportunity to check out Elephant Skeleton should definitely not pass it up, it’s a pleasant surprise that will make anybody a fan.


Salt Woman, Elephant Skeleton, I Took Off My Body

Bad Hombres – King Tuts #KTNYR19 | SMALL GOES GIGGING


Kilwinning band Refuge Island have not been around long, but they’ve been making waves fast with a strong debut single and being recruited by management, and we were keen to see how they would translate onto the stage. They charged out the gates with The Blame, and from there would dish out a batch of other pungent, aggressive punky numbers such as Fever and Above Board.

Wullie was a perfect fit for the tone of the material, with a blunt attitude in his singing. Darren’s riffs were intense, John busted out bass chords real fast, and Stephen – while suffering from bad luck with a dropped stick and a falling cymbal – still kept up with his equally rapid drumming; accompanied by that one happy chap in the crowd proudly stomping away.

Few slips aside, it was a solid enough set from an act who are clearly still in their infancy, but could potentially develop into something more prominent down the line.

We became fans of Cats With Glasses dead quick after we got hooked onto their debut EP the month before, and we were quite excited to see if they could recapture the magic live. The short answer was yes.

As they broke in with Fit For Flight and Breakthrough, they switched up the energy and got a buzz going in a room now more packed with people, the majority of them being fans that knew the score and responded with much love via clapping and the like.

The bulk of their tunes were catchy and infectious. Those from the aforementioned record sounded cracking, while the fresh new songs were up to scratch. Jack delivered great harmonies, and he and Connor both gave us excellent guitar work. Tam was fluent on the bass, and Daniel was so concentrated in his craft on the kit, and effectively so.

It was impressive stuff from the four. We have high hopes for these guys, even at this early stage of the game, and we think they have a tasty amount of future potential lurking.

Now we moved into what was unfamiliar territory for ourselves, starting with Franky’s Evil Party from Dumfries, and yeah…this was something else.

The frontman Josh had this bizarre yet damn strong presence that was so brash but so fixating, and he backed that up with mental vocals. The rest of the sweaty shirtless outfit (well okay, not Megan on the latter) excelled too, with screeching riffs, sturdy chords, hefty cymbal crashes and catchy electronic beats all loaded in there.

When their tracks were at their calmest, they were smooth and had nifty grooves to them, but when they hit the other end of the spectrum, it was bloody insane. The profane writing was hooking, and the crowd were caught up in the madness, especially the red-hot front row yelling back and dancing along. Most, if not all, of the tunes were belters, with the immense King sticking out the most as the lyrics were echoed around the venue.

Whatever in the blue hell it was that we had just witnessed, it was a fresh, beautiful sight to behold.

And lastly were Bad Hombres, whose name we had seen kicking all over online, and much like the lot of the other headliners new to us, we were converted into fans.

Admittedly, it took us a while to regain the buzz after the preceding chaos of Franky’s, but we were soon won over. The set was good to begin with, and they gradually garnered momentum and we became all the more invested, especially with the subject matters their songs centred around, with focal points including Yes MenProtest As You Please and Theresa, all lyrically sound across the board and tackled in a bitter manner.

Their vocal games were top notch, the riffs were sweet and the rhythms had a pumping energy to them, particularly when they kicked it into a higher gear. The choruses tended to be ace, and they had a clear grasp on the crowd who filled the room to the brink.

A mixture of raw, resonant content and an obvious chemistry on stage made this a satisfying way to cap off the show. Bad Hombres had officially entered our radar, and they sure wouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

P.S. Hiip Priest’s DJ playlist was by far the best from any gig of #KTNYR19 so far, just saying.

Heir Of The Cursed – Hold The Mirror | SMALL RECORD REVIEWS



It was nearly 2 years ago that we had the opportunity to see Beldina Onassis, better known as Heir Of The Cursed, and we’ll never forget the impression she made on us that night, inheriting this sheer, magnetic quality that very few other acts can match.

Recently, Beldina and her partner got together and forged an off-the-cuff group of tracks within the space of an hour. The result of that is an EP titled Hold The Mirror.

At the forefront is Beldina’s beautiful voice, which she wields to deliver a vocal performance that is so broad, and so warm and gracious in tone. The gentle, delicate chords are also soothing, and the lyrics are utterly gripping.

The whole record is shrouded in an atmosphere that is dark, yet so stunning, and it triggers genuine goosebumps. You would have to lack any normal human compassion to not get even the slightest tingle down the spine.

This blew us away. So much is achieved with so little in such a raw environment, and it has to be said, given the conditions that this was done, this turned out to be such a tightknit, firmly curated product.

Hands down, one of the most beautiful and captivating EPs we’ve had the pleasure of listening to in such a long time, providing an experience that is guaranteed to make a permanent mark on anybody.


Ancient, Texture Of The Sun

Heir Of The Cursed headlines The Hug & Pint on Friday 18th January as part of Celtic Connections 2019, with support from Tamu Rassif and Robin Adams.


Tenements – The 13th Note (09.01.19) | SMALL GOES GIGGING

tenements gig2

Due to the early start and work commitments, we came in a little late for Of One Blood, but that didn’t do much to hamper our enjoyment of them.

Ali came armed with a hefty voice and held nothing back using it, plus the dual guitars from Cally and Greig amped up the excitement levels with fiery solos, Fro’s loud and pounding bass tones shook through our chest, pairing well together with Hoogz’ driving drums.

Combined, they formed rapid, dynamic rhythms that made up tracks such as Unleashed and Surrender Onto None, and while the crowd weren’t moving particularly much, their attention was nonetheless held and focused on the band, plus there was some scattered headbanging. Overall, a heavy showing that made for an ideal way to kick off the night.

For what had to be now the umpteenth time, we were witnessing Northern Nightlights live again. After a false start, they properly got rolling with Shout and Slam Tent; the latter of which saw Paul strut his stuff and Darren Coles botched the removal of a mic from the stand in his guest appearance…always the smooth one, he is.

Speaking of Paul, while he didn’t appreciate our personal space, he was great on the mic and showed his long-term chemistry in that area with Andy, whose skills on the guitar get tighter and flashier by the day, and completing the outfit was Robert and Samuel making for a firm rhythm section.

Playing some top picks from their depository like Sorry Gifts and the mature Streetlights, they gradually managed to get the audience more involved and into it, and by the closing number, a few folk were seen bobbing and dancing.

Another sweet effort from a pop punk group who continuously improve with every gig we see them at.

We were completely unfamiliar with the guys in Withdrones beforehand, but the moment they dropped into Holy Water, we were instantly hooked.

The band’s top secret weapon was frontman Ian, and man, what a voice. With a hell of a range at his disposal, he pulled off excellent harmonies, formidable screams and the spilling of tonnes of emotions all at once. He was just utterly magnetic.

But it didn’t stop there, as the rest of the unit forged this interesting, broad sound that was not only large in scale, but so diverse. At one moment, it was warm and atmospheric, and the next it was substantially heavier with tech influences blended in.

You had no idea what direction they were going to take next, but it was always fantastic, whether Decay, Powerless or Flower Of Life, and these were built from effortlessly dished out melodic chords, rugged bass lines and sturdy drumming, and the lyrics were very good on top of all that.

The quartet made a sizable first impression on us, and proved themselves to be perhaps one of the freshest entities that the Scottish metal scene has to offer right now.

Within mere seconds, Dead By Monday ignited something unreal, as they cranked out tracks that were rowdy, fast and frantic as all hell. The vocals from Jordan were bloody immense, plus he was really into it and occasionally joined in with the crowd, who were going bananas; clapping, jumping, headbanging and eventually pitting wildly.

Paddy blazed through blinding guitar chords, Declan would nearly grind his bass to dust, and Ciaran almost pummeled his kit to pieces, it was being smacked that hard. There were virtually no breaks and no breathers, it was just never-ending hysteria.

The highlights? Screw it, all of them, everyone hit a bullseye. Flaws? Maybe, but they would have been hardly noticeable, and we were too busy having a blast to notice anyway.

F***ing mental. 5 stars, easy.

Tenements now faced a huge challenge ahead of them. Just how were they going to follow that? Well, after entering to the beautiful sound of Goldberg’s theme, any doubts were shattered quick, as they belted out The Fear to a fiercely eager response, and it never ceased from there.

Darren has really evolved and come into his own as a frontman, with a potent voice and a lot of spirit at hand, and he had no bother connecting with the crowd, especially when surfing and kicking the heads off them. Chris and Callum’s riffs were beautifully wild, and the rhythms from Liam and Jamie packed a resonating punch behind them.

Jagerbombs were downed – “alcohol is serious sh*t” – and love was spread to the supports and the scene as a whole. Darren claimed that the energy in the room was at breaking point and demanded results, to which the people answered to with wholly chaotic scenes, featuring passionate singalongs and moshes aplenty.

They gave us a pair of newbies in the form of I Felt Invincible and The Echoes, which were both great. They toned it down briefly in …Expression, before picking it back up with the almighty Silhouettes. Thoughts & Prayers was freaking sweet, and Standing On The Back Of Angels was just perfect, with all the pieces falling together precisely; what a moment, that was.

In the midst of gloriously sweaty scenes, Tenements delivered a supreme performance in front of a sold out flock of crazed nutters that cemented their award-winning ways and showcased prime potential. Definitely not a 3/10 here.




Petra Taylor – Est 1983 | SMALL RECORD REVIEWS



Based in Glasgow, Petra Taylor has been a dedicated musician for many years, and that includes being involved with such acts as Rose City Blues and The Tweeds, although in all that time, she had nerves about playing herself and felt way more comfortable being part of a band.

But when confronted with the spark to keep going and nobody to join her, she took the plunge and flew solo, building up her confidence and improving her abilities in such a short period. After months of gigs and impressing many folk along the way, she has finally released her first record – Est 1983.

Her extensive experience as a vocalist is well and truly showcased, with a voice that is sharp, powerful and illuminated by an alluring quality that has the listener hanging on to everything that she sings, especially during the very minimal numbers where the harmonies are the focal point.

As for the songs themselves, they are infectious pieces with a pleasing blues sound that also subtly mixes in elements of old school rock and roll, carried by sweet melodies, delicate acoustics, and in one instance, enticing harmonicas, and the writing is so excellent and gripping throughout.

Petra has given us our money’s worth with a satisfyingly stellar debut that is beautifully performed and neatly put together. She has come out of her shell in a big way as of late, which we are proud of her for, and more people ought to be exposed to what she is capable of.


Elsie, Dreamin’, Take Me Away, Ukulele Rag