#19 | Allusinlove – Broadcast (04.02.19)

ALLUS


We entered a little late and walked in on Black King Cobra in the midst of repairs and chipping teeth, but once the issues were settled, they continued and did a damn fine job.

Callum is a really good frontman with a confident presence about him and holstering a strong voice at his disposal. Ross managed to keep his instrument in stable enough condition to dish out some great riffs, and the rhythms had an engaging energy to them that had us in their grasp.

Plenty of folk were bobbing their heads along and liking what they were hearing – including Jason from Allusinlove, who was stood right beside us and digging it – and they responded with a “par 3” applause. Top picks from their selection included PyramidUndesirable and the high-octane as ever Quake, off their Law Of Attraction EP.

We’ve seen them in tighter shape in the past, but with that said and despite the technical faults, they turned out a rocking set that got the night rolling quite nicely, and we still believe they harness some serious potential. Highly recommended.


In 2017, Shredd emerged and made us fans. In 2018, they blew us away with one of the best Scottish EPs of the year, on top of a class showing at the SAMA’s, so naturally we were excited to see them again, and they didn’t disappoint.

Chris was wildly into it as he busted out with these blazing, distorted riffs, Mark looked cool and collected while displaying his superb skills and churning out satisfyingly crunchy, grungy bass chords, and Calum battered out these hard-hitting, resonating drum beats.

They never took their foot off the pedal at any moment the entire way through, making for a half hour of non-stop, concentrated insanity that was capped off with the immense pairing of In My Head and Cobra.

Add three purely talented blokes with a line-up of top notch material and you get a pulsing, dynamic performance that further cemented Shredd as one of the best acts hailing from North Lanarkshire. For those somehow blind to them, they cannot afford to go amiss. They’re just too bloody good, and are only going to get better and better.


It had been nearly 2 years since we last saw Allusinlove in Glasgow, when they packed out Nice N Sleazy and got a party started. Since then, they’ve changed their name and their image a touch, but still appeared to carry the same appeal. Did it translate onto the stage though? Oh, absolutely.

They called for the crowd to step forward, who answered by squeezing themselves in front of the boys. Immersed within showers of flashing lights, they provided a doozy of a live experience.

Jason, clinging onto his mic for deal life, was a quintessential frontman, being a great vocalist, showcasing loads of personality and making a connection with the people, going all in with an outstanding, passionate presence.

Andrey…oh man, what a superb guitarist. The dude just belted out these flashy awesome solos that blew the minds of those within close proximity of him. Jemal was animated and fluent on the bass, while Connor furnished the music with firm, resounding drumming.

The tunes from their recent EP were quality, particularly Bad Girls and All Good People, we liked the newer stuff, and they also resurrected certain old favourites which we may or may not be legally allowed to publicly divulge…

The audience on hand were loving every second of it; dancing, headbanging and clapping along. There were demands for mosh pits from one individual but to no avail, although we did ascend to the heavens so does that count?

As expected, another showstopper from the Leeds outfit in the city, with no doubt that they brought their A-game here, and we can only imagine that they will step it up even more as they continue their rise up and onwards.

#18 | “The Ice Box” Launch Night!

NHC


The very first act to be playing on the grand stage of the all-new Ice Box was Jeanice Lee and her band from Edinburgh, although none actually originate from the city, funnily enough.

They gave us a variety of pretty sweet rocking tunes which that this cool doom metal vibe to them and were strong on the riff side of things – completed by a few neat solos thrown in for good measure – and the rhythms were solid too.

Jeanice herself, on top of sporting a mesmirising voice, was a very lovely lady and grateful for the opportunity to be playing in Glasgow, given her past history with the city, but when duty called, she was totally focused and on the ball.

A sturdy performance to kick off the night, and we’ll certainly make an effort to grab her album once available to purchase.


After spending some quality time with Gonzo the dug, Garlands were next, who came into our radar late last year via their Golden Sounds EP, and we were happy for the chance to now see them on stage.

Their set comprised of tunes that had this engaging energy to them and were driven by entertainingly bouncy melodies; Wake Up ranking as the focal point for us. The vocals and guitars were skillful, the bass tones were firm and the drumming was just dynamic.

Even with a few tech issues, they kept their composure, rolled with the punches and didn’t miss a step, in turn putting on quite a fine display that was definitely worth seeing.


And finally was the entourage known as The Big Nowhere, who we came across as far back as 2015, and they were one of the very first bands we ever did a review for. It took us a whole 4 years to see them in the flesh, but the moment had arrived and it was a positive experience.

All the members were on top form and developed this multi-layered sound curated from great vocals, cool riffs and basslines, sublime trumpets, nice keys and charging, resonating drum beats.

The sea shanty crowd were hooked, as were we, and it was overall a superb set to cap off what was a successful launch for what is sure to be a tight new venue.

“They look raging!” – Chris Herron

#17 | Carla J Easton & Mark McGowan – Celtic Connections 2019

Carla Mark


We first had the opportunity to listen to Glaswegian artist Mark McGowan via his Speakeasy EP after the lovely folk at Olive Grove Records shared it around back in December. We enjoyed that, and we certainly loved him live in the flesh.

The “dramatic as f***” Mark bolstered such a superb, distinct voice, and he was a phenomenal guitarist with this diverse, multi-tasking style we hadn’t seen the likes of before, plus an excellent lyricist too to top off. He had us and the audience totally drawn in, and we wouldn’t dare avert our eyes or ears.

A charming bloke with stand-out talents that could do with a little more attention, in our humble opinion.


Finally, we were getting to see one of our favourite Scottish artists on stage – Carla J Easton – who had made an indescribable impact on us with Impossible Stuff, our pick for 2018 record of the year, and lo and behold, she was unsurprisingly amazing.

Commencing with Dreamers On The Run, she would go on to play a range of other high quality favourites such as Milk & Honey, Girl From Before, Wanting What I Can’t Have and the underrated Vagabond; the majority sporting these catchy, staggering melodies that were fiercely infectious and captured the sizable scale of the album from which they originated from.

Carla’s vocals as always were awe-inspiring, not to mention that she was a stunning pianist and superb writer, and all three qualities were put on full display, showcasing just why she is one of the country’s purest musicians. Accompanying Carla was her cracking band – Gus, Calum, Ed and the fabulously dressed Paul – all of whom were excellent and truly helped to bring the songs to glorious life.

When we first listened to Impossible Stuff, it sparked something deep within us that had us almost seeping happy tears, and without any shame, we have to admit that it was nearly a repeat here. The experience was overwhelming, and we aren’t sugar-coating it in any way, it is the absolute truth.

Capping off with the title track of her acclaimed record, she and her troupe had put on a dazzling spectacle that had the full attention of the crowd and left us with the fattest of smiles on our face from beginning to end. Not that it was needed, but this was a reminder that Carluke’s resident pop sweetheart is a one-of-a-kind asset who we can’t appreciate enough.

 

SMS #2 | Slight Disconnects

BIS ALBUM

BISSlight Disconnects

In the mid 90’s, a humble little electronic trio from Glasgow named Bis began to make a name for themselves as one of the UK’s most distinct acts in the country’s alternative scene, and this led way to quite the flux of attention which eventually got them contributing to soundtracks like that of The Powerpuff Girls – a childhood favourite of ours – and even a spot on the prestigious Top Of The Pops.

Unfortunately, they weren’t able to quite reach the heights that they were pegged for, and they would split in the early 2000’s, but towards the end of the decade, they would reform, and have been on the go ever since within the Scottish underground, and have formed a new lease of life in that time.

It’s been a busy past couple of years for the group, and entering 2019, they are back with a brand new record titled Slight Disconnects, and the results are just as awesome as we expected them to be.

The entire album is stacked with tune after absolute tune, each of them with this pulsing new wave vibe that grabs you and has you addicted from there on out. They never fail in delivering these juicy melodies that are just so engaging, dotted with hooks that glue to the brain, with just some of the best examples including Sound Of A Heartbreak, Dracula and the exuberant There Is No Point.

But you can’t have such zippy dance numbers without great performers at the helm, and all three members work at their highest level here. Most strikingly is Manda, whose sharp, distinct harmonies are so bright and peppy, with a real youthful quality behind her voice. Steven and John’s combined warmer, deeper vocals also click, the general production – from the perky guitars and synths to the pumping beats – is top notch, and the tunes feature some entertaining, often clever lyrics that hold our attention.

Slight Disconnects doesn’t feel like the product of a band desperate trying to cling on to past glory, instead being one that is a fresh, fun and raving good time, not only creating a feverish buzz that will rub off on both veteran fans and newcomers, but shows that Bis have only excelled with age and their talents are at a higher standard than ever before. Surely, it’s not too late to achieve mainstream success again, right?

***AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 15TH FEBRUARY***


empire circus

EMPIRE CIRCUSTi

It was 3 years ago that we were presented with the opportunity to check out Dublin indie folk rockers Empire Circus, and we absolutely fell in love with them, but we didn’t hear much of them since then. That is until now, as the guys have re-emerged to release their sophomore album, Ti.

The sound they produce is thoroughly rich and crisp, and has the listener just totally engrossed within a tingling atmosphere. It has a grand, cinematic vibe to it, and at the forefront are these warm and very sincere harmonies, and they are a major contributing factor towards the luxurious melodies that are further boosted by the excellent guitars, smooth bass chords and sleek drumming, and the occasional usage of pianos provides an extra coat of paint to the songs.

Bloodlines, Salt and We March Into The Night feature hooking choruses, pieces like One Snapshot are a little more straightforward yet still make a mark, and tunes such as Strangers, Under The Same Stars and A Promise Of Nothing pull in with captivating writing, but the cream of the crop has to be the closing number High Above This Grey There’s Blue, which is a masterpiece where all elements are employed to perfection, and it is honestly worth the buying price alone.

The quartet have absolutely outdone themselves here, creating one of the most brilliant, awe-inspiring records that we have had the pleasure of experiencing in the longest time, being as close to flawless as it gets from start to finish – already an early candidate for the best of 2019 – and cementing Empire Circus as perhaps the best underground musical act in all of Ireland; our favourite anyway, no doubt about that.

***OUT NOW***


TH mech

TWIN HEARTMechanical Heart

To coincide with the 10th anniversary of them playing together, Dawn and Murray of Twin Heart have surprised us with a new EP titled Mechanical Heart, featuring a blend of the old and the new.

In terms of fresh additions, we have the gentle title track which has a simple but nice drum beat, the harmony is lovely and the lyrics, while straightforward, quickly stick in the head. We also have their latest single This Place Is Not My Own, which is our favourite to come from them in a while, featuring fantastic writing, a stand out chorus and what has to be one of Dawn’s finest vocal performances ever.

But on top of those, they also give us alternative renditions of 3 classic Mechanical Smile songs – Arrows, Kaleidoscope and Leap Of Faith – all presented excellently in a more stripped manner with the sound focused towards the emo-based direction that encompasses Twin Heart.

A much welcome addition to the stacked library that the Baxters have cranked out over the last decade, and hopefully this is truly not the end…

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BURY

BURY THE TRAITOR – Ascend To Clarity 

Since the Derby metalcore outfit Bury The Traitor made their grand return in 2017, they’ve been developing a buzz around them, in the meantime compiling together a brand new EP – Ascend To Clarity. It’s been a whole year since they put the finishing touches on the record, and on the eve of it’s release, folk better get ready because this is going to blow your socks off.

Embers kicks it off slow and steady, setting the scene before they drop into the heaviness with the incredible Season To Burn, highlighted by immense verses and a strong chorus, and from there it’s walloping thrills right up until the end, with other landmarks including the catchy A.S.I.F and Lion Vs Wolf.

The songs, in addition to being so tightly produced, have this thumping intensity propelling them that keeps the listener totally consumed and urging them to bang their head along. The great lyrics are also a key feature that add yet another notch to the already bountiful handiwork.

Oli is an outstanding vocalist with a real brawn behind his voice, and he’s complimented perfectly by Martyn Sheridan, who keeps himself busy working the kinetic riffs alongside Scott, while Martyn Emmett on bass and James at the drums churn out booming rhythms.

Bury The Traitor, as well as their followers for that matter, have been waiting on putting out Ascend To Clarity for ages, and we think it’s going to be worth it, because this EP is an insanely good one that excels on pretty much every level, and will go down as a major highlight within the British metal scene in 2019.

***AVAILABLE ON THURSDAY 14TH FEBRUARY***


semaphore

SEMAPHORELeave With The Season

Hailing from Brooklyn, the quartet of Semaphore have been grinding on the city’s underground scene for a number of years now, and our first introduction to the group comes via their next forthcoming EP – Leave With The Season – and they grabbed us quickly.

On the surface, the guys label themselves as post-shoegaze, but their sound is not as simple as that, because there are clearly essences of rock, pop and indie meshed in there, so what we ultimately get is music that is diverse and can’t be necessarily pigeonholed.

As for the tracks themselves, they are pretty freaking sweet. Lead single Unreliable is the undisputed highlight, not only being catchy as all hell but also featuring really strong lyrics relating to the negative aspects of a romantic relationship in the modern age which we are sure many can connect with.

The rest of the tunes live up to that same high standard, driven by great performances from all the band; Siddhu leading the charge with bold and emotionally flushing vocals, Jay shining with superb guitar work alongside the former, and punchy rhythms being cranked out from Niko and Emmett.

Tightly put together and loaded with a tonne of depth, Semaphore’s latest effort is a cracker and proves them to be one of the finest up and coming acts to emerge from the Big Apple.

***AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 22ND FEBRUARY***


blairc

BLAIR CORONON THE NATURE OF THINGS

We appreciate musicians who can deliver something different that breaks way from the usual mold, and Blair Coron fits that description. We actually first came across him back in 2016 when we got a hold of his first album DO RE, but now he’s returned into our sights with his latest release, On The Nature Of Things.

Within minutes, you’re fixated and locked in for the journey, and over the course of an hour, Blair presents a compilation of pieces that are nothing short of stunning, as he forms these intriguing soundscapes with a rich scope, sometimes soft and delicate, other times leaning in a more brimming, ethereal direction but always engrossing throughout.

Many instruments are put to use, most often beautifully gentle piano keys, but sometimes there can be the likes of raw acoustics, warm strings and even harmonies added into the mix.

It makes for nice easy listening, whether it’s before bed or on a long bus or train ride, it is a good distraction to ease the mind, and that’s something we can’t say about a lot of albums that we review, so if this is your cup of tea, then this record from a mature and talented artist will satisfy, being on the whole a pleasantly lucid, atmosphere experience.

***OUT NOW***


burnt tapes

BURNT TAPESNever Better

Regret punk. If those two words resonate with you, then you’re in for a treat, courtesy of London quartet Burnt Tapes and their upcoming debut album, Never Better.

Their self-proclaimed brand isn’t just a cheap gimmick, it’s a perfect representation of the themes that they revel in, including loss and insecurities, and the negative effects of these experiences, which the guys capture to a tee through the captivating writing prevailing throughout.

The performances also bring these ordeals to life, courtesy of a triad of vocals rife with rough emotion; Phil leading the charge in stellar form in that area, aided nicely by Tone and Panos who also supply some slick guitar work and bass tones respectively, and Jordan completes the tunes with sturdy drum beats.

Add in a solid diversity between the tracks and you get a strong effort from a band who are clearly evolving and improving their artistry with each release.

***AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 22ND FEBRUARY***


dangerface

DANGERFACEGet Loud

2018 was the year that we were exposed to the beauty of the Norwegian metal scene, with bands such as Kosmik Boogie Tribe, Leonov and Juicer grabbing our attention, and our latest discovery, Dangerface, ranks as one of the most welcome yet, having given their new record – Get Loud – a spin.

From the word go, they unleash into a string of insanely heavy, off-the-wall tracks that spark this overwhelming, high-octane energy that is so sweet, and they keep that sensation on a constant drive without much of a hitch.

The vocals are wickedly forceful, the riffs are pretty damn rousing, the bass tones have an extra crunch to them that is oh so good, and the drumming has a roaring power behind it.

It’s fitting that their content is about finding positive escapes from negativity, because this album can be described as one itself. Just stick in the headphones, hit the play button and you’ll find yourself on one hell of a chaotic, yet cathartic ride.

***OUT NOW***


RESURGENCE

RESURGENCEVoices 

Australian hard rock band Resurgence haven’t been together long, but in no time at all they have garnered quite a decent reputation in their home country as promising stars within the Aussie underground, and if you get the opportunity to listen to their debut album – Voices – you’ll find out exactly why.

It has to be said, given their short run so far, they’ve already clicked so well with a firm chemistry between them as they perform at an equal level, giving us a tasty combo of hearty vocals, rocking riffs, bulky bass chords and stout drumming.

They have little bother generating a sense of excitement, with more or less every track donning a large scale, and that size is only reinforced by the staggering energy which encompasses each of the hook-laden numbers.

Whatever this record lacks in immediate originality, it makes up for with the rest of the great qualities that defines it. With a punchy verve driving it and plenty of variety on offer, Voices is just a pure blast. Here’s hoping Resurgence make something of themselves, because they definitely don’t deserve to slip under the radar.

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phonseca

PHONSECABetween A Dream

Matthew O’Connor from Bristol has long been a musician, having trained as a classic pianist and also composing content that has been featured on national TV in both the UK and Europe.

But over the last couple of years, he has been established himself as a capable electronic artist with his solo project, Phonseca, which has earned him a positive reputation in the press and plenty of airplay to show for that, and now he prepares to release his first full-length effort under this banner – Between A Dream.

Matthew provides a blend of smooth, tranquil pieces that flow at a slow and steady pace, giving you the time to sit back, take it all in and immerse yourself within the enticing atmosphere being flourished.

The production is very pure, and the instrumentations that utilise the likes of piano keys, warm strings and subtle bass chords benefit from that.

Celestial vocal chimes are featured in a few places and they add to the ambience nicely, and Matthew also enlists the help of Kristina Sheppard to sing on a few songs, who does a terrific job with stunning, sublime harmonies. Honestly, the pair should collaborate more in the future, they make a great team.

All in all, a professionally assembled and beautifully executed album from a man with genuine talent that cannot afford to go amiss.

***AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 15TH FEBRUARY***


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SMS #1 | As December Falls

ADF

AS DECEMBER FALLSAs December Falls

It was 2014 when Nottingham pop rock band As December Falls came to be, and very quickly they established themselves as one of the hottest new acts to emerge from the city, only getting better with each passing year.

In 2018, with an EP and a live album to their name already, they concocted to produce their first full-length record, and after what has felt like an eternity of waiting, they are just days away from unleashing it to the world, and we can proudly say that those who have been highly anticipating it since it was announced are going to love the results.

On The Edge makes for a great starter to set the bar, and naturally they throw in more of their previous singles including Ride, More To You and One More Night, all running off a high-level energy and defined by enjoyably catchy choruses, and their latest one No Money is definitely a highlight, with it’s strikingly engaging hooks that make it perfectly suited to be played at gigs and sung to an audience.

They even revive the classic Don’t Say A Word, and it’s just as awesome as ever, but of course there are plenty of new additions. Ones like Do You Remember, Zombie and Tired have such appealing, zealous melodies, while others such as the sweet I Don’t Mind go in a more mature, emotional direction, and succeed in doing so.

Bethany brings her A-game with simply astonishing harmonies that have this intense power behind them and get the hairs standing on end. The zealous dual riffs from Ande and Will are as polished as they come, the bass work from Timmy is on form and Lukas’ drumming is top-notch.

Given just how loaded to the brim this album is, we had concerns that it would suffer from repetition or a case of quantity-over-quality, but thankfully that is not the reality whatsoever. As December Falls’ self-titled album is an entertaining rollercoaster all the way through that represents their talents to the best degree possible, and it will undeniably go down as a major musical highlight of the year for us.

***AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 8th FEBRUARY***


Sisjohn

SISTER JOHNSister John

Folk quartet Sister John have long stood as one of indie label Last Night From Glasgow’s most notable acts, having first made a big impression with Returned From Sea back in 2017, and now they’re kicking off the year with their highly anticipated self-titled sophomore effort.

Amanda is generally an elegant vocalist and she even has spots where she displays a sharper edge, but she never fails to show conviction through her voice. Heather and Sophie, on top of providing their nice harmonies now and again, are equally a really unified rhythm and string section, and Johnathan is a fantastic guitarist as always.

Among the highlights from the consistently strong line-up of songs on offer, I’m The One and Nothing Else are catchy ditties, Waiting On The Sun and Silver Whistle perfectly build into grand tracks, and the pairing of Lost And Won and Love Me Or Not are gripping pieces that forge these immensely pulling atmospheres.

On the run up to the release of this album, we were promised something special, and this is definitely special. A tremendous work of art that is engrossing from both a musical and lyrical standpoint, and it will almost certainly rank as one of the finest Scottish records to have seen the light of day in 2019.

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gallusep

GALLUSDon’t Be Shy

The Glasgow-based indie punk five-piece haven’t been together a full 2 years yet, and already they have established themselves as one of the city’s most promising acts currently on the rise, having especially generated a buzz around them throughout 2018, and now they are put to the ultimate test with the release of their debut EP – Don’t Be Shy.

Their latest single Looking Like A Mess is a ripe choice for the opener, as it sparks an instant energy and gives us a cracking chorus with a wild vibe and lyrics that immediately stick, and thankfully they keep that pace going through the reminder of the record, with the aforementioned qualities remaining constant, while the vocals are pretty robust, the guitars are electrifying, and the rhythms are just mental.

With a blistering off-the wall energy surrounding the whole thing, Gallus’ first output is nothing short of a belter that is insanely good on all fronts, only getting better each time we choose to stick it on.

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sls

SHADOWS LIKE STRANGERSCali

While Nottingham outfit Shadows Like Strangers came to official fruition in 2018, it was a project being built from the ground up since 2014 by frontman Jezza, and his vision has become fully realised with their debut album – Cali.

A pulse is ignited from the get-go as they kick off with the catchy Counterpart, and it rarely dulls down as they progress, running off a spirited energy and dishing out memorable, lively choruses more often than not sandwiched between sweet, melodic verses.

Jezza brings the great writing to life through his excellent vocals, while Scott keeps himself occupied with a slick showing on the guitar, and Dan and Paul help to form the fine rhythms on the bass and kit respectively.

Chock full of highlights such as Night Vision, Love Again, It Doesn’t Matter At All, and the best of the lot A Way Home, this is a record that is equally poppy as it is rocking, giving it that extra touch of depth to complete what is a smashing first effort from these folk, who we will be keeping an eye on as 2019 goes along.

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rcklss

RCKLSSSo Cynical

Hailing from the musically-rich city of Brighton, RCKLSS have been on the go for a number of years and describe themselves as “heavy pop”, leaning mostly towards pop-punk. Since forming in 2016, they’ve been going from strength to strength as they’ve developed their craft, and now feeling ready to do so, they’re here with their long-awaited debut record – So Cynical.

Upfront, their sound hooks us in – certainly being both heavy and poppy as promised – and the tracks are fueled by this great, dynamic energy, especially the opening number Every Time, and this becomes a regular aspect as they chug along, except when those moments where they tone it down for something more low-key, i.e. Struggle.

The performances are pretty good overall from all members, with Matty taking lead with passionate harmonies, Lewis shining on the guitar, and a mixture of solid bass tones and drumming from Laurence and Josh. The writing is a key element, touching upon a variety of emotions as best showcased in Tell You and Sorry For Trying.

The guys claim that they felt like they had something to prove with this EP, and we feel they’ve proved themselves to be a worthwhile commodity. So Cynical is an enjoyable compilation that gives us plenty of reasons to revisit it time and time again.

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DeadC

DEAD COYOTESWhere Demons Dance

2016, Glasgow. Two lads named Rory and Stephen get together to form a rock band. In time, they are joined by Dom and Calum. They are Dead Coyotes. Fast forward to 2019, a new EP hits the digital shelves, named Where Demons Dance.

The four showcase their skills with a trio of grooving rock tunes that shine with tasty, thumping bass chords, potent drum beats and cracking riffs, with each subsequent track only getting all the better in quality; Post Sordidum serving as a wild climax to cap off a short yet satisfying record.

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lorays

LO RAYSUnstable Air

Lo Rays are still fairly fresh on the Scottish scene but are doing a lot to put themselves on the radar, and their recently released debut EP – Unstable Air – is the finest possible introduction to the group we could have asked for.

Laura is one of the most impressive vocalists that we have had the pleasure of discovering lately, bringing forth this real brutish attitude through her voice like few others can. The rest of the band hold their own too, creating some tantalisingly raw tracks driven by aggressive rhythms that dig into the eardrums; Bare Hands and the awesome 2 Variables being the go-to highlights in that regard.

After a few listens, we’ve quickly fallen in love with Lo Rays, and we have little doubt that they’ll continue to grab the attention of more folk.

***OUT NOW***


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#16 | The Gracious Losers – Celtic Connections 2019

the gracious losers


Leading up to the event, a special secret guest was hyped up, and it turned out to be Mark W Georgsson who, truthfully speaking, we had never actually listened to beforehand, but we’re always eager for new discoveries, and he was a worthwhile one for sure.

The venue instantly quieted down as Mark got started with a set that had the nature of a stripped, acoustic one but done on the electric guitar. On that note, he was a very sophisticated player who was quite adept on his instrument. He was a terrific vocalist as well, being able to convey some genuine raw emotion, plus he was a first-rate whistler too.

He told gripping stories through lyrics that had us and everyone else wholly immersed. The crowd remained silent as he played – amazingly, a very rare sight at local gigs – only raising their voices to cheer and show their appreciation between his songs.

It was excellent stuff from a talented guy who is from far as fake as it gets. A secret guest who was rightfully special, indeed.


On the other side of the spectrum, we were really acquainted with dream pop troupe L-Space. They begun with the nice I Never Knew, but things went south during Home Sweet Home, where the pedals didn’t co-operate and proceeded to deafen everybody with bitter screeches, but Stephen saved the day and it was smooth sailing from there.

For our money, Lily has one of the most purely delicate and beautiful voices in the entire scene, and it’s all the more apparent when you see her on stage. She’s so hypnotic to watch, and it’s further emphasised by just how much she herself gets engrossed in the moment.

Dickson’s subtle bass chords boosted the ambience, and Gordon, while under the delusion that he was a comedian, was a capable multi-tasker and provided both great riffs and spacey synths.

One of their notable strengths is the intriguing subject matters that they tackle, through the likes of Tigers In The StreetEyes Shut and the superb Space Junk, all defined by engaging writing, and their rendition of Bjork’s All You Need Is Love was stunning.

Luckily, the audience were totally understanding about the issues and gave them no slack, instead giving them their utmost attention. A shaky start killed the mood at first, but gradually they recovered and gave us yet another real fine performance with diverse material equally poppy and atmospheric.


And now to close off the gig was country outfit The Gracious Losers, who had quite the challenge trying to get squeezed onto the tiny stage, but they accommodated.

Their strongest attribute for certain was their chemistry; every single member put in a resolute effort, and you never got the impression that any were slacking or falling behind, they functioned like a well-oiled machine.

In the process of this, they gave us these fantastic tunes of many varieties. There were a mixture with sweeping, upbeat melodies so catchy that you couldn’t help but nod along – you could visibly see silhouettes in the dark doing exactly that – but also a fair share of slow, hushed numbers that were fiercely magnetic, and even those that started quietly and built up to awe-inspiring conclusions.

The tracks had too many elements to count – an excellent leading performance, polished guitar chords, smooth basslines and keys, solid drum beats, eloquent violins and outstanding ensemble harmonies – all fused together to produce these grand soundscapes, with our personal highlights including Where The River Meets The SeaMoonlight Parade and the reeling I Can Never Read The Signs.

Topped off with Carol Vorderman-inspired comedy, this was a wildly entertaining, better than expected show from a bunch of very accomplished musicians who are united as, in our mind anyway, one of the elite underground Scottish acts of their genre.

#15 | Walt Disco – King Tuts #KTNYR19

ktnyr19


Before getting to the names that we had an awareness of, there were a pair of newcomers for us to discover. First was the Edinburgh pop duo of Chuchoter, and they made an impression swiftly with a line of bouncy, infectiously melodic songs.

Emily had plenty of poise and her voice was just spilling with a biting attitude that helped to give the material that extra touch of personality. Meanwhile, the permanently smiling Owen provided the spiffing electronics via the synths and laptop, which included some catchy as hell beats and a few tasty bass drops scattered here and there.

In particular, their new track and Pieces were freaking sweet, and also contained some enjoyably poignant lyrics. The fast-filling (anti-Deezer) crowd responded with woo’s and a surge of dancing.

Both loose and evidently having fun in the process, the two turned in a pleasing performance that got the night rolling in juicy fashion.


Bubbatrees is a name that has cropped up a tonne in our feeds lately, and they’ve definitely been gaining their fair share of traction.

Andy, in addition to having the loudest possible shirt on, was a good vocalist and a really fluent guitarist, Kyle was slick on the bass, and Martin’s drumming was superbly tight. Their tunes were driven by compelling rhythms that were a mix of being smooth and sleek – a quality elevated by the keys – yet also generating an energy with a punch of excitement to it.

The now densely jam-packed audience were sucked in and bobbing their heads along every chance they got, and the boys definitely sparked a shot of life into the room when they played their latest single, the almighty Dog In Heat, resulting in a lot of movement and stamping that had the floor shaking around us.

The trio did an excellent job, and in doing so taking the buzz levels of the night up a few notches.


Of all the acts featured in the festival, there were none that we were more excited for than Crystal, being naturally big fans of them, plus it had been nearly 2 years since we last saw the group at a show.

They came on to chants of their name before bursting out the gates with the pairing of Heaven and Sugar Sweet, both featuring intoxicating hooks, and the latter sparking a sudden mosh.

Anna is among the elite when it comes to frontwomen in the Scottish scene, with such a striking voice that blended sparkly glamour with a ruthless aggression, and she displayed an immense amount of confidence and an unbelievable display of charisma, on and (subsequently) off the stage. We even overheard from behind us “she’s so cute”, so obviously she was making some kind of mark.

Blair handled the banter and busted out with bucket loads of cool riffs, the underrated Lizzie got a chance to shine with gleaming harmonies and charging basslines, and the eventually topless Aidan was a mental and forcible drummer.

Take A Drop (which we were secretly hoping would make the setlist) went down a storm, getting bodies bouncing everywhere and an ensemble of singing along, and Sex Rich ignited the most bonkers climax ever with everybody losing their minds, screaming the lyrics and flying around the place.

We’re going to throw the little professional integrity we have out the window for a moment to say that this was plain f***ing awesome. The quartet brought their A-games and gave what was an easy choice for best set of the entire NYR series, perhaps even the best of the year so far in general.

An immense, flawless performance that garnered the most blistering of reactions and proved that Crystal deserve to move on to bigger things, and it’d take a hell of a case to argue against that.


And last but certainly not least, the main event – the swiftly rising Walt Disco. We initially had some reservations about whether they would have been able to follow what just transpired with Crystal, but luckily those fears were shattered in no time flat.

Equipped with deep and distinctive vocals, James is one of the most interesting frontmen in the whole country. He has this oddball, yet captivating theatrical character to him that was only amplified by his weird, flexible movements, and it was this flamboyance emanating from them that made for one reason to have us totally drawn in for the whole ride.

Carrying their new-wave songs were these springing rhythms that were engaging and also unpredictable, constantly shifting tones on a dime, and these were formed from amazing addictive synths, flashy guitar work, pumping bass chords and zippy drumming.

Some of the most memorable picks included My Pop SensibilitiesCut Your Hair and the absolutely blinding Velvet Bed, with some sexy sax thrown in for measure, and Anna from Crystal returned to help cap their run off in glorious fashion.

A colourful and dynamic display which cemented the hype preceding Walt Disco, while concluding a night that confirmed just how bright the future of Scottish music is.