Millie Manders & The Shut Up – Shutup | SMALL MUSIC SCENE


Being musically-involved most of her life, London artist Millie Manders has been making a significant name for herself in the British scene over the last 5 years; particularly after getting a band of merry performers together in 2015 to form The Shut Up.

Describing themselves as cross-genre punk, the group has been tearing it between their music and at live shows, and they are getting prepped to release their next EP – Shutup.

From the offset, Millie impresses with a heck of a strong voice, flourishing with power, a wide range and plenty of conviction as she puts forth the writing, which is very poignant and features striking commentary that many people will surely make an immediate connection to.

The rest of the troupe contribute in outstanding fashion, helping to create a sound that is certainly varied – with ska the most obvious influence – being wild, energetic and immensely bouncy, with this owed to a combination of solid riffs, sturdy rhythms and an awesome, blaring brass section.

Shutup is nothing short of a berserk ride with some added substance to make for a sweet listen that never gets old.


Brave, Right To Life, One That Got Away



Bell Lungs – Phosphodendrophobia | SMALL MUSIC SCENE


It goes without saying that Scotland offers a diverse music scene, with acts of essentially all kinds, and here we have a case of something that is very different.

Ceylan Hay is a composer who performs under the guise of Bell Lungs, and she is preparing to release her new EP titled Phosphodendrophobia.

The self-created name of the record deprives from an ancient myth based around sleep paralysis, and you do get that sense from the general sound, not just in the title number but throughout.

Ceylan uses a multitude of instruments – ranging from your traditional violins and electric guitars, to other intriguing items like an omnichord and a shruti box – to produce said sound that has a fiercely binding ambience that is atmospheric and transcendental.

She also implements her own voice; whether chanting or seemingly speaking directly to the listener, it’s hypnotic, and you lynch on to every word and every note.

Phosphodendrophobia is on the whole a captivating and even meditative experience that certainly stands out from the pack, and while it’s not going to be for everyone due to its offbeat nature, there is an audience out there that will love to indulge in this alluring trip.


What Has Hardened (Will Never Win), Wonders Will Never Cease, Lysteria Hysteria


The Twistettes – A Strange Play | SMALL MUSIC SCENE


Having already gotten people talking in their first few years together, The Twistettes cemented their status as Glasgow’s resident riot grrl duo with their first full-length album, Jilt The Jive, back in 2016 and have only grown their fanbase since then.

Two years on, they are back to bring something bigger to the fray with their long-awaited follow-up – A Strange Play.

The tracks offered here are packing domineering rhythms, driven by the buzz of fuzzy, distorted bass lines and the pelting of hard-hitting drum beats. Jo is very strident in her harmonies, and when Nicky enters the mix, their dual vocals are properly loud and brash.

A majority of the numbers also feature some insanely good and catchy hooks that are difficult to resist bopping along to, with some notable examples including Hate Hate, Juliette and Selling Skin.

But not every song is your standard adrenaline rush, with particular ones like On The Table and State Of Affairs being on the low-key side and putting more emphasis on the lyrics. On that note, the writing as expected is entertainingly blunt throughout.

After much anticipation, The Twistettes have delivered another cracking record with an addictive raw sound, plenty of attitude and a stronger variety than ever before, perfectly showcasing their evolution as a top-notch act.


Hate Hate, On The Table, State Of Affairs, Selling Skin, Juliette, Weird Me



Vaureen – Extraterra | SMALL MUSIC SCENE


Since their debut back in 2011, Brooklyn trio Vaureen have established themselves as one of the standout acts in New York’s underground scene and have received tonnes of praise and recognition in the process.

But what is it about this bunch that is so intriguing and has the attention of many? Well, the answer can be found in their upcoming debut album – Extraterra.

The most distinctive feature of the record is for sure the sound, which can be described in many ways – grand, resonant, absorbing – but it turns out to be tricky to narrow down to a specific genre.

Their music is considerably rocky, yet it has the stunning, atmospheric quality of shoegaze, but it is also grungy, and even somewhat psychedelic. They blend together a mix of elements to create something that is unique and cannot be simply pigeonholed.

Adding to the size of each track is the range of outstanding, unforgettable choruses, with highlights including Run To The Forest, Sixty Shades Of Cray and the fiercely catchy Stare Into The Sun.

Andrea gives us some really sweet riffs, while Marianne plucks out fine bass lines, and the pair team together to deliver some astounding vocals throughout, with Cale completing the package courtesy of his great drumming.

Extraterra is undoubtedly one of the most captivating albums to have emerged this year, coming from an utterly talented group that are not getting enough exposure, to be frank.


Stare Into The Sun, Run To The Forest, Apocalypse II, Sixty Shades Of Cray, Forms Beyond My Own



Avocet – Borrowed Seed | SMALL MUSIC SCENE


As far as the Scottish folk scene is concerned, there are few acts that have been getting as much praise over the last year as Glasgow trio Avocet, and you only need to lay your ears on their debut EP – Borrowed Seed – to understand why.

Iona’s luminous harmonies are really enchanting, catching the listener and bringing focus to the good writing, and she also doubles up and adds to the songs with delicate harp chords.

The ringing double bass is vibrant and the acoustic guitar pleasing, and these instruments combined create a deep ambience with a Celtic touch that is really nice and engrossing.

This is a very fine record which is heavy on atmosphere and is just a joy to the ears in general. But don’t take this review for it, feel free to experience it for yourself and see what the buzz is all about.


Causeway, One Thing, Coming Down


Hail The Sun – Mental Knife | SMALL MUSIC SCENE


Going strong for nearly a decade now, California alternative rockers Hail The Sun have built quite the fanbase around the globe, thanks to their music making a substantial mark on people.

Despite this, the guys have had some difficulty trying to develop the exact sound that they were initially searching for, but after 2 records, they feel they have finally been able to achieve what they have desired for so long, and are now set to pull the trigger on their third album – Mental Knife.

A striking feature from the beginning is Donovan’s distinct sharp harmonies, and in combination with some insane screams, he thoroughly impresses in the vocal department overall.

He also dishes out some fiercely intense drumming, and when teamed with the great bass work by Stirrat, they produce some powerful rhythms. Add to that the lashing riffs from Shane and Aric, and you get a collection of dynamic numbers that are upgraded all the more by the fantastic, highly emotional writing.

The third time’s the charm for Hail The Sun, as their latest effort is a roaring success that proves that they are ready to step up to the next level and move on to bigger things.


Feel It When Convenient, The Strangers In Our Pictures, Mental Knife, Risk/Reward, Suffocating Syndrome, A Lesson In Lust



Chasing Dragons – Faction | SMALL MUSIC SCENE


Leeds quartet Chasing Dragons have undoubtedly established themselves as one of the hottest acts in the British rock scene; in particular, the last two years have seen the band receive a lot of attention and earn some big opportunities.

In the process of this, they have been working hard behind the scenes on the production of their debut album – Faction – and the wait is almost over for it to hit the shelves and the group to truly showcase what they are capable of.

From the offset, they build a sense of hype with the intro, and from there they charge into the chaos for the next 40 minutes, going from strength to strength and stampeding through a barrage of tracks bearing huge, astounding sounds that get the blood rushing all over.

Tank takes the lead, and does she ever live up to her namesake; her brawn voice is large and packing tonnes of vigor, adding so much to the size of their music, and this is only further boosted by Murf and Mitch’s intense backing vocals.

Speaking of which, Murf delivers some hefty bass chords, Mitch’s riffs are off the charts, and Katie thumps out earth-shaking drum beats from end to end. The songs also feature some of the most outstanding and memorable choruses of the year, and the writing is consistently strong, quickly making an impact and sticking in the head not long after the initial listen.

Driven by an overwhelming, never-ending energy from start to finish, Faction is nothing short of phenomenal. Everything hits the mark, and it’s a genuine struggle to pick out any flaws on this, essentially coming as close to perfect as you can get.

Chasing Dragons’ first full-length effort is a sensational triumph, and hands down one of the best records of 2018. For those who have yet to indulge in the experience: brace yourself, you are in for such a treat.


Like Gravity, Bareknuckle Lover, Devil In Her Eyes, Parasite, For Kingdom For Glory, I’m No Devil, We Are The Wall