Love The Taste | Local Music Scene: Issue #3

Bloodlines: Love The Taste

BLOODLINES

I’ve been well acquainted with Fort William rock band Bloodlines for over a year, and have been really impressed with their music; the little there was. But finally, after the longest wait, they at last put out their highly anticipated debut EP, Love The Taste.

The title track serves as an energetic opener that hooks in the listener from the get go, followed up by Stop Me, which features a great chorus, and Polarbear, an exciting, fast tempo track. The band’s inaugural single We Are Anonymous is up next, a simple yet effective tune with very memorable lyrics and a captivating, addictive beat.

Wrapping up things is Cathedral, which kicks off with a slow building intro accompanied by a neat bass line, before suddenly launching into what is an exciting, explosive track with a ridiculously catchy rhythm and a complex sound to it thanks to fantastic riffs and drumming, as well as passionate vocal work.

A superb debut where every track hits its mark and which clearly has a lot of love and hard work behind it. All the time, money, blood, sweat and tears spent building this EP together have paid off big time.

Black & White Boy: The Avenue

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The brainchild of musician Andrew Nicol, I only discovered Black And White Boy recently when I was introduced to them through their debut album Fragile – which was quite an satisfying record – and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as their next release, The Avenue, was on the way very soon.

Well, it’s now here and it has truly succeeded delivering on the goods, providing an album which is a rare case of being one that is consistently strong from start to finish, so trying to pick out the highlights is quite the difficult task. Captivated gets things rolling as a really enjoyable, chilled intro track with stand out lyrics, followed by A Beautiful Revolution afterwards which features a fun beat, great acoustic guitar work and brilliant trumpets that are pleasing to the ears.

Other tunes that stick out as memorable include the likes of It’s About Time, Shifting Sands and Come Back Home, but it doesn’t get any better than Miss Complication, an undeniable case of saving the best for last, being an amazing number with top notch guitar work, quality backing pianos and an unbelievably catchy chorus that is almost certain to get glued in your head for a fair while afterwards.

The Avenue does what a second record should: improve upon everything from the first release, and that has been done to a very high standard. A strong album that will rank as one of the best in the folk category that Scotland has to offer in 2015.

Malka: The Constant State

Malka - The Constant State cover artwork

This has been a year heavy on experimentation, as I’ve begun to explore a wide range of genres that I never dived into before. One of those genres I’ve really been getting into more is dream pop, a division that Malka all the way from New York fit nicely into, with their debut EP, The Constant State, proving to be something pretty special.

The record opens with A Flock Of Crows, an amazing psychedelic tune with neat vocals, fantastic riffs and overall a very catchy rhythm. For Now We Live starts quiet and soothing, soon building into a louder, more resonant second half. Mientras Se Respira is a warm song that is quite unique, as it is completely in Spanish (if my awfully vague knowledge of the language stands true), an aspect revisited in later track Corazon Sin Sangre.

Wolves And Sheep is a laid-back number with a riveting, riffy climax, and Diamond Girl is highlighted by some really good drum work. In time, we come to Swoon, a fantastic final tune with a sound very similar to the opening number; perfectly treating them like bookends to what is on the whole a marvelous record with some of the best dream pop in the underground scene today.

Let’s hope sooner than later their talents are uncovered and given some exposure. Their music can’t afford to be missed by aspiring listeners.

Mohawk Radio: Halfway To Heaven

MOHAWK RADIO

Manchester rock band Mohawk Radio have achieved quite the success since their formation, with accolades ranging from winning the Rock The House music competition, to playing in New Orleans representing the country of Bermuda; no small feat. But the question is are these distinctions warranted? Judging by their most recent record, Halfway To Heaven, the evidence appears to be more than clear.

Lifetime Sunshine is a gentle rhythmical opener with a blend of rock and pop, and even a subtle touch of country, that soon leads into Drive You Down which is bouncier and featuring a distinctly electronic sound. Oblivion gets more rockier as it lays heavy on the riffs, with Curious Morality then taking the tempo down again for a more prominently acoustic anthem.

Capping off with Seen It All Before, this EP does more than enough to justify the hype behind this band, as they present a record which features a wide, constantly changing variety in their sound, allowing for each song to stand out on their own and keeping the EP as a whole fresh and interesting as it progresses.

Able Faces: Freedom

ABLE FACES

Having only spawned mere months ago, Glasgow pop rock outfit Able Faces look to make an immediate impact with their debut EP, Freedom.

Fine By Me is a fun, upbeat number which starts things off nicely; sounding like it came right from a seaside holiday advert by the last minute. The City That Never Sleeps features a catchy chorus and some stand out drumming, In My Head is a slower tune with notably sweet piano and glockenspiel, in addition to having memorable lyrics, with the title track afterwards providing another catchy song with great riffs.

In no time at all, the bass heavy You Want It All comes around to cap off a really solid debut EP that provides a collection of pretty enjoyable, chipper pop tunes. A most welcome addition to Glasgow’s always thriving music scene.


Lights That Change: Voices

LIGHTS THAT CHANGE

In the same vain as Malka, Lights That Change from Wales are another group that fit into the dream pop category, and also as one that is very underrated, with no better proof of that than their single Voices.

An absolutely mesmirising number with a hypnotic sound that can be summed up as a trance in audio form, captivating the listener with graceful vocal harmonies, gentle riffs and a narcotic beat. A highly overlooked track from a band that deserve way more attention drawn to them.

Vladimir: In My Head

VLADIMIR

With the vigorous crashing of cymbals from the immediately off set, In My Head – the latest single by Dundee rock four-piece Vladimir – makes for a highly entertaining listening experience, being a catchy rock tune with a very memorable chorus, great vocal work, high standard guitars, bass and drumming across the board and an all around enticing rhythm.

The Caves: On Your Mind/Comatose

THE CAVES

The Caves from Dundoon are another great band that will appeal nicely to all those who desire their share of mighty fine psychedelic rock, with no better evidence of that than their latest pair of songs.

On Your Mind is a riveting track with rugged riffs, slick bass lines and smashing drumming which all combine to create a really cool, kaleidoscopic rock tune which has a very classic Sabbath-esque sound to it; an aspect that carries over into Comatose, an even catchier, fast-paced number with very stylish guitar work.

Year Of The Jackal | Local Music Scene: Issue #2

Attention Thieves: Year Of The Jackal

AT YOTJ

Reading rock band Attention Thieves have been on quite the rise recently, with it all coming to a head with the release of their highly anticipated new album, Year Of The Jackal, and I feel I’m right in saying it delivers on the goods big time.

Straight off the bat, the opening track Crooked Teeth demonstrates what we’re in for over the course of the record: an aggressive, explosive energy created by a combo of fierce vocals, kinetic riffs and forcible drumming.

Throughout, we get fantastic writing in the likes of Coins, If You’re Not With Us and Actors Cast As Heroes; and ridiculously catchy numbers in the form of Tell Me, Hangnail and the ferocious Culture Of Fear.

This is an undeniably excellent album that should certainly do the job in getting Attention Thieves on the map as one of the finest rising rock bands in the country. If you’re looking to spend a few pennies on some new music today, ensure this is right at the top of the list. You won’t regret it.

Trash Boat: Brainwork

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Fresh off their signing to Hopeless Records, St Albans pop punkers Trash Boat have fired out a brand new EP under the name of Brainwork.

Simply put, this is a vibrant record chock full of high tempo, adrenaline-fueled tracks accentuated by really rocky guitars and dynamic drum work, with the most memorable having to be the closing number Eleven, a tune so relentlessly rapid that it gives the listener very little chance to catch their breath.

While it does fall on the short side, the band make the most of the little time they have, providing us with another tight EP signalling their swift rise as one of the best pop punk outfits the UK has to offer.

Exile The Traitor: Winter Eternal

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In the past few years, Glasgow melodic death metal band Exile The Traitor have established themselves as one of the best in their category, and there’s no better proof of that than their latest record, Winter Eternal.

This EP was my first chance to experience the talents of new co-vocalist Wull, and he does a damn good job delivering vicious high-pitch screams, and combined with the renowned demonic Scandinavian growls of Anton, together they dish out a double dose of vocal ferocity.

Add to that blistering riffs, bass lines and drumming, all contributing to a quartet of heavy tracks, we get a delightfully brutal EP that once again shows Exile The Traitor as an essential go-to band for some of the finest death metal in Scotland today.

Final Silence: Arcadia

Final Silence - Arcadia - cover

And on the subject of Scottish metal, Final Silence from Stirling are a band I’ve known for over a year that I quickly became a fan of after first working with them. Their debut record More Human Than Human I found to be a really good album, and now I’ve been given the opportunity to review their upcoming new album Arcadia a couple of months ahead of it’s release.

With high expectations going to it, and their first album being quite a hard act to follow, does it deliver? Damn right, it does. In fact, it’s even better.

In no time at all, Purification hits with the force of a speeding mach track, with Landscapes afterwards to kick up the pace a few notches and get the blood pumping; the music having such a heavy, brunt force behind it. Redeemer follows suit and is undoubtedly the highlight of the record, demonstrating the band’s qualities at their best, in addition to having an insane rhythm and a really memorable chorus. Other notable tracks include Solace, Sinners and the catchy as hell Tyrant.

Final Silence have absolutely topped themselves with this one. A superb record that ranks as their best work to date, maybe even among the best albums from the Scottish metal scene this year. When this launches, I implore you all to grab it ASAP.

Picture Frames: Playground

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Recently emerging from Newcastle, alternative rock band Picture Frames sought to make a statement with their debut EP, Playground, and they’ve done a pretty good job in doing just that.

The Waiting Room is a decent opening number, although I have to admit it does lack an oomph. But things properly pick up with Reverie which features enjoyable guitar work and a neat melody, followed by the catchy title track which is highlighted by a bouncy rhythm and a lot of energy behind it.

On the whole, a solid first effort from the band that is certainly worth checking out. The production could do with a touch of tinkering in the future, in order to allow their already good music to truly pop out and unravel the great potential they clearly hold.

All The Franklins: (Self-Titled Album)

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From the humble town of Crawfordjohn comes a humble alternative folk band by the name of All The Franklins, who were brought to my attention via their self-titled album, and what we get here is a smashing little record.

Where Were You kicks off the proceedings very nicely with a catchy, swaying melody, and that’s only the first of many tracks which stand out on this album. Canabal Carnival features addictive guitar work and an enjoyable beat; Brothers Life is a hip tune that is very difficult to resist tapping your foot along to, and throughout they are a collection of songs with very memorable lyrics including Happy Place, Beauty Of The Breakthrough and The Show.

With the fantastic Dreams to close us out, this is a great record that any fan of the folk genre will be most certainly entertained by.


As I Was Hunted: Anthroapology

as i was hunted

On one of my regular surfs across the realms of Facebook, I came across Edinburgh metalcore band who had just recently released their debut single Anthroapology, so I took the time to check it out and I was pleasantly surprised at how really good it was.

The vocals and screams are great, the lyrics are memorable and most notably the chorus is addicting as hell.

They’ve made a hell of a first impression, so I ought to keep my eyes on these guys, for it looks like we have quite a talented new band going here.

Poor Frisco: Take What You Want

POOR FRISCO

While my hometown of East Kilbride has very little of a music scene to speak of, there are a number of talented bands that regularly emerge from here; a category that Poor Frisco fit into nicely.

The band recently put out a new single entitled Take What You Want, and while pretty short, it is an amusing tune regardless, with great vocal work, top notch guitars and a catchy beat.

Indie rock fans, take heed and give these guys a listen, you may find a new band worth becoming a fan of.

LTKLTL | Local Music Scene: Issue #1

So I thought I’d do something a little different and have a go at writing a weekly feature, where I review a collection of the finest music to emerge from the local scene recently, as opposed to one band per review on a regular basis. If this new format is favoured well, I may just stick with it and keep up with it every week. With all that said, let’s get started!

Dialects: LTKLTL

dialects

Glasgow instrumental post-rock band Dialects haven’t been around long, but boy have they had people talking; capturing the attention of all those who have had the opportunity to witness them live on stage. After much anticipation, they finally released their debut EP – LTKLTL – earlier this week, and I’m happy to say the wait paid off.

What we get is an EP that is a perfect blend of sublime ambiance and high adrenaline rockiness that will bring pleasure to the ears of any listener. With fantastic riffs abundant in Restless Earth, cracking bass lines in the likes of Unknown Orbit and Good Luck Felix, and swift drumming across the board producing enjoyable rhythms, this is a damn fine first record that will cater well to those who indulge in math and post rock, as well as help establish these guys as a band that demand all eyes on them.

Wojtek: Wilderness

wojtek

On the topic of high quality Scottish instrumental bands, Dundee 2-piece Wojtek recently put out their debut full-length record, Wilderness, courtesy of Good Grief Records. I became a fan of these two last summer and enjoyed their Becaused EP, so I had high hopes for this album, and again those hopes were satisfied.

Over the course of the record, I find it crazy the impressive sounds that the duo are able to produce. The variety of sounds created from the guitar work alone is outstanding, and the great drumming only compliments it wonderfully, with notable highlights including the opening number Isla, Heath and Bewildered.

This album shows we have the making of something real special right here with Wojtek. They are hideously underrated, and deserve the utmost attention from those who seek the finest music.

OVER: Is This Growing Up?

OVER

And here’s yet another underrated band who don’t get the attention they warrant – Italian alternative punk rockers OVER. I was introduced to these lovely people earlier this year when they embarked on their first ever UK tour, which involved them journeying up to Glasgow to play the mighty Bloc, and they did so in order to promote their new album, Is This Growing Up?

Over it’s 35 minute duration, they entertain us with an assortment of dynamic tunes accentuated by lively vocals, solid guitars and feisty drumming; the focal points of the record including The Promise with it’s fast tempo, Runaway which is performed with such a blazing force and comes complete with an insane chorus; and closing track The Fight which may be the best of them all, serving as a sick climax to what is all in all a fantastic album from one of the tightest bands to emerge from Italy.

Coeur: Activist

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Glasgow electronic indie pop duo Coeur, I have been well aware of for a fair while now, but it wasn’t until recently that I took the plunge and checked them out, as a copy of their debut album Activist ended up in my hands. And after the first listen, I was immediately a fan.

The majority of the record had a very Depeche Mode vibe to it, which is always a positive in my books, and it led the way to a number of engrossing tunes. 21st Century stood out as a very catchy number with great vocals, really cool electronics and captivating writing; Tick Tock was notable for it’s smashing guitar work and fun chorus, and the album’s lead single Disappear Here was an excellent, addictive song. Other highlights included Rio and the title track for their fast, upbeat melodies.

A really enjoyable and memorable record which only gets better with every listen, and at a time where many electronic outfits in Scotland like CHVRCHES and Prides are making their mark, Coeur can easily earn a spot among the elite if given the right platform to demonstrate their clear talents.

Cardinal Bay: Way Back Home

cardinal bay

I want to take this time to thank a certain photographer named Marianne Harris. Since I started following her work, I’ve went on to discover a variety of incredible bands across the UK, and I can now add Somerset hardcore pop band Cardinal Bay to that long list. Recently, I noticed they had released their debut EP – Way Back Home – so I took the time to check it out, and I was frankly quite impressed.

This is, simply put, an electrifying record with a sheer, explosive energy that never lets up at any time. The opening title track is undoubtedly the highlight, igniting a buzz which gets the listener hooked from the get go, and that momentum continues as the outfit fire through the rest of the slick tunes the record has to offer including Everytime and Hold Tight.

An invigorating debut EP from a most welcome addition to the UK’s thriving music scene. It has certainly cemented these guys as a band who are going to rise through the ranks over the next few years and quickly make a name for themselves.

REVIEW | Daydream Frenzy: Pride & Wonder

The city of Aberdeen certainly has a strong music scene, producing a collection of very talented bands over the years, and one of them happens to be the focus of today’s review – pop rock 3-piece Daydream Frenzy, who not too long ago, after half a decade together as a band and releasing a variety of EPs, put out their first full-length album, Pride & Wonder.

Ensuing a neat little intro is The Way You Are Now which serves as a solid opener with a catchy beat and a buzzing energy, one which continues as a trend throughout the course of the record. Following that are the 2 lead singles, All The World; highlighted by engaging lyrics and a memorable melody, and the mid-tempo title track most notable for it’s enjoyable chorus.

Jade’s Song is an upbeat tune featuring great guitar work, which soon leads into Reverie, a fantastic instrumental piece with addicting riffs, keys and drumming that are very hard not to enjoy. The momentum continues with Wandering Man, an appealing, mostly acoustic number with quite a relaxed tone to it.

Destinations serves as a rocking climax to what is, all in all, a smashing album which starts pretty good and only gets better with every passing tune. There’s no hesitation in recommending this record, as it’s one that affirms Daydream Frenzy as not only one of Aberdeen’s finest, but one of the best pop rock outfits in the whole of Scotland right now.

REVIEW | The Van T’s: Fun Garcon

Last year, I discovered Glaswegian indie-grunge twins The Van T’s via Sessions On A Rug, and very quickly they became a pair to watch. The two recently released their 2nd EP – Fun Garcon – and courtesy of Shoot The Moon Records, I was able to bag myself a copy.

One aspect that was immediately clear was that the production quality was a huge step up from their debut EP. The title track kicked things off, an energetic and ridiculously catchy number with some addictive grungy riffs and highly memorable lyrics, not to mention great vocals that, naturally coming from identical twins, matched each other perfectly and added a whole other element to the sound.

Growler, the very song that led me to discover them, was up next, featuring an enjoyable melody and fantastic writing which, again, was near impossible to exile from your head, before following up with Whale, a swift, electrifying tune which winded up the record on a hell of a high note that leaves the listener dying for more.

The definition of short and sweet, this is an incredible EP that is undoubtedly the sisters’ best work to date, which further cements them as a band who have the talent to go very far.

REVIEW | The Once – King Tuts | 5th May 2015

Anyone who knows me knows I come from a rock and metal background, but over the last few years or so I’ve opened up to a lot of new genres, one of them being indie-folk. And it all came to a head when I made my way down to the prestigious King Tuts to witness The Once all the way from Newfoundland in Canada, who coincidentally got their first big break in the city of Glasgow thanks to a certain gentleman named Passenger. With a packed crowd ready and buzzing with anticipation, it was time for the show to begin.

Up first to kick off the proceedings was Bec Sandridge, originally hailing from Syndey and now based in Glasgow, a singer-songwriter who I had become quite a fan of in the past year. Despite being ridiculously nervous, she captured the crowd’s attention as they got sucked in by her unique stage presence, terrific guitar skills and an array of tunes, including some from their Wild Heart EP like Cars, Red Jumper and the wonderful title track, and she even treated everyone to a brand new song.

A fantastic opening set which, judging by the awfully warm response from everyone in the room and the long queue waiting to chat to her immediately after, earned Bec a batch of new fans, and deservedly so.

Now it was time for The Once themselves to take to the stage, and straight off the bat they were just the nicest trio of people you could meet, not to mention really funny too. Geraldine was a lovely vocalist, while Andrew and Phil demonstrated their clear acoustic talents. There was an intoxicating atmosphere in the venue as they played a selection of numbers from their Departures album including All The Hours and You Will, I Lead Follow, the latter featuring some clever writing. But no doubt the highlights of the set were when the crowd sang their hearts out alongside the band in songs like Standing At Your Door, Fool For You and a great cover of You’re My Best Friend by Queen. It was quite frankly an electrifying sight to witness, and one the band were genuinely grateful for.

Capping off with We Are All Running, which was accompanied by a thunderous clapping frenzy courtesy of the audience, they left the stage only to be greeted with a roaring ensemble of foot stamping that indicated a desire for the encore, and the band granted just that to send off their set in style. On the whole, an absolutely excellent, top notch performance that provided all in attendance with a memorable musical experience that won’t be forgotten any time soon.

If folk music is to your liking, then I implore you all to catch The Once and Bec at a live show near you today, for they are all hard working, highly talented musicians who deserve all the love and exposure they can get.

REVIEW | Devil Sold His Soul – The Classic Grand | 1st May 2015

Once in a blue moon, you get a tour with the most perfect of line-ups. And that’s exactly what the UK got, when renowned post hardcore outfit Devil Sold His Soul chose to take themselves across the country to promote their acclaimed new EP, alongside Dead Harts from Sheffield and When We Were Wolves from Bridgend, another two heavy bands who had been making the rounds in the last few years. The tour brought the trio of bands to Glasgow to play the Classic Grand, and the buzz was at an all-time high.

Local progressive rock band Atlas:Empire were first to take the stage, and as expected, the bearded five-piece got things warmed up in style, performing a mix of newer material while slipping in a classic in the form of Mitchy Valentino. With a combination of quality riffs, drumming and vocals, they provided the early birds of the gig with a highly entertaining opener that set the standard for the rest of the show.

Now it was time for When We Were Wolves to step up, playing in Glasgow for the first time with their new line-up. and boy did they deliver. While a little frozen on stage at first, they got well into it quickly as they played a really tight set of metalcore tunes, with the highlights undoubtedly being Dying On The Inside and Blind. The guitar and drum work was impressive, and frontman Mitch was a beast both on the mic and in his presence. They captured the attention of all those in attendance, as they further cemented themselves as one of the best bands Wales has to offer.

Dead Harts were up next, and simply put, they were bloody insane. Their sheer presence hooked the crowd, getting them headbanging and, in the case of one dedicated fan, constantly snatching the mic and screaming back the lyrics. Vocalist Bax marked his territory as he paced the stage, jumped down to the floor and regularly fired globs of spit about, one of them narrowly missing me by mere centimetres.

Every one of their songs hit their mark, especially the ones off Cult For The Haggard Youth, including the record’s title track, Stripptease and the ridiculously catchy Suicide Cocktail. Capping off the wild set with Concrete Walls, they lived up to the hype as one of the country’s most immense rising hardcore bands.

And now it was time for the main attraction, Devil Sold His Soul, and hot damn were they mind-blowing. They took the venue by storm with an incredible performance that had the crowd in the palm of their hands, as they soaked in the musical juggernaut they were witnessing right in front of them. In the midst of smoke and strobes, the band dished out a blend of both vintage material as well as tracks from their most recent release, with the audience singing, bopping their heads and clapping along all the way, a breath taking sight to say the least.

And it only got better with every passing moment, as it all built up to an epic climax in the encore, with fans enveloping vocalist Paul as they all fought for the mic, got themselves surfing and unleashed a mighty pit, it was absolutely bananas. I think it’s safe to say the band killed it, as they provided all in attendance with nothing short of the ultimate live experience.