Small Music Reviews: Issue #1 – Crash

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THE MISS’S – CRASH

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Made up of the fabulous duo of Audrey Tait and Michelle Low – best known for their affiliations with Hector Bizerk and Glasville respectively – The Miss’s have been quietly working hard behind the scenes over the past year, with the final result being their debut album named Crash, and what a product we have on our hands here.

It is an album defined by a pop sound with essences of soul, plus a subtle hint of American blues rock in the same vein as Fleetwood Mac.

I Am commences in a gentle manner, slowly building until the halfway point where it kicks up a gear, carried by a pounding drum beat and an extra dose of fervor in the harmonies. The title track is a catchy little ditty; likewise with Together, where the chief hook features a seesaw sequence between the pair that has the lyrics left glued in the head afterwards.

Appealing melodies are a constant throughout, most prominent in the likes of Delay, Sleep and Not Brokenthe latter underlined by smooth riffs. The lead single It Won’t Happen is an elegant piece, the very low-key Here Again gives us goosebumps all over and Mountain II serves as an upbeat finale.

Tremendous is the word to describe this record, although judging by the ladies’ previous experience in music, this should come as no surprise.


ALTER EDEN – TIGERS & LAMBS

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Not too long back, we stumbled upon a bunch of Stoke gentlemen collectively known as Alter Eden, and with just one listen they had us instantly hooked. Just this past Friday, they brought out their latest EP – Tigers & Lambs.

They fire out the gates with the snappy title number, defined by a hammering beat and some powerhouse vocals. Colourless was the very song that made us fans in the first place, being a supremely dynamic blast of energy that has us floored.

The opening verse of Resent/Relent/Repeat is somewhat lethargic, but they quickly recoup the stamina with a volatile chorus, from where they build to a mind-blowing finish, leading perfectly into the similarly rocking Only Human, which is taken to another level with some vigorous screams.

The strongest lyrics of the EP feature in Count Your Sins, and afterwards their latest single We’ve Had Enough provides one last kinetic rollercoaster that leaves us out of breath and, most importantly, satisfied by the time it is over.

Hands down, the best record of 2017 thus far, being immensely exciting and seriously entertaining. Tigers & Lambs has made it clear just how special these guys are, and the fact they still remain unsigned bewilders us. But hopefully, that fact does not stay true for much longer.


SHREDD – EVERYTIME WE MEET I WANT TO DIE

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Glaswegian garage-punk trio Shredd have only been around for mere months, but they have rapidly garnered a following and even sold out their most recent headline show at The Old Hairdressers.

If you need evidence as to why these lads live up to the hype, then no look further than their debut EP, courtesy of Fuzzkill Records – Everytime We Meet I Want To Die.

Hideout immediately impresses with a wild, charged-up rhythm and fiercely brisk drumming. The vocals and cracking riffs get to shine more in I’ll Leave It, highlighted by a great chorus, and all the best elements from the past two songs all come together in the exciting closing number The Switch.

A staggering debut on all fronts, with every subsequent listen better than the last.


RACHEL ALICE JOHNSON – 2AM

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Last month at King Tuts, we headed along to catch The Northern as part of the venue’s New Years Revolution festival. Starting the show was a young singer-songwriter by the name of Rachel Alice Johnson, and we were taken aback by her talents. Since then, we have been given the opportunity to take a look at her debut EP – 2AM.

The smooth and stylish Lights On hooks us in quickly, followed by Hungry which is an invigorating track with stunning guitar work and a fiery display of passion to be had – if this song doesn’t have you convinced, nothing will.

Think Slow is more subdued, but Rachel continues to show off a level of poise and charm. Lastly, after a primarily instrumental opening, she hits the high notes with crisp precision in the tepid Pass The Time.

2AM is a very well done first effort for Rachel that exhibits a lot of promise.


THE DEAD BEATS – MODERN NIGHTS

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Hailing from Hull, The Dead Beats recently came under our radar with their latest record – Modern Nights – and what a record it is.

All four tracks on this EP can be best described as swinging and groovy, each of them donning some insanely intoxicating choruses, in addition to some rousing bass lines and chords; the finest of the lot being Jenny SaysA quick, bouncy pace prevails across the board, one that gives you a real hankering to get up and strut your stuff until exhaustion.

All the songs are based around the subject of living as a young adult in current society, and it is, funnily enough, done so in an old school fashion.

Not the most groundbreaking of acts per se, but we would be damned to say that they were not utterly entertaining.


ALL ELSE FAILS – THE FOREVER LIE

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Over the course of 2016, our attention was turned to the country of Canada, and we continuously delved in what proved to be one of the richest metal scenes on the planet – the likes of Van Halst, Sanktuary and Protokult being some of our most noteworthy discoveries.

Kicking off 2017, we look to do more of the same, starting with our latest find All Else Fails from Edmonton, an act who have developed a fierce following in their homeland, and after experiencing their new EP, The Forever Lie, it comes as little surprise.

Beneath The Waves has such a tangible intensity, and there proves to be a real authoritative force behind frontman Barrett’s voice; two aspects that only become more apparent as the band catapult the ferocity up and step up their riff game with The Sons Of Plenty.

Next up, the titular number exhibits some great writing, and the lyrics continue to be a defining factor in the more mellow yet still compelling Twice Broken.

The swift tempo is resurrected for the catchy and colossal Bones, before they end things with the explosive anthem Terracide.

Bar none, one of the best groups we have ever come across to have emerged from the Great White North. The Forever Lie is about as flawless as it gets with a metal album, with all six tracks delivering the goods in a huge way.


HARLITONES – WOLF WHISTLE

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Have you ever came across a music act so good but leave you befuddled as to why they barely receive any decent attention? Well, we have just a perfect example of that – Aberdeen rock and roll band Harlitones, who introduced themselves to us a while back and gave us a taste of what they had to offer with their Wolf Whistle EP.

Kids is a chipper opener with a lively chorus and spirited vocals to boot, which leads into The Guy With The Big Coat, perhaps one of the catchiest tracks to have ever been fed to our ears. It is utterly exhilarating and the rhythm section are on absolutely top form here.

They give us the chance to collect our breath with The Day I Met Sam, which slows the pace but still entertains with undoubtedly the best writing on the record. Eventually, the dial is kicked back up again for the rip-roaring Big Fat Rope, thrilling one last time with a combination of astonishing guitar and drum work.

This EP is nothing short of a serious rush, and we implore all our readers to take the time to check this quartet out. By far one of the most underrated bands going in the country right now, and it is a real shame that not enough people are aware of them.

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BLOODLINES – MOTHER’S MISERY

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There are few bands in Scotland that have had as much momentum on the go as Bloodlines from Fort William, and to kick off 2017 with a bang, the winners of the 2016 SAMA Best Rock Act prize have delivered again with their latest single Mother’s Misery.

The vocals pack a punch, the raw riffs are delightful, the drum work is probably the tightest we have seen from Jamie Allanach yet, and the lyrics are magnetic.

The music video directed by Matt Liengie is also outstanding, being one of our favourites in recent memory.

After a sensational 2016, this amazing track has given up the utmost confidence that the boys will continue to cement themselves as one of the country’s leading up and coming rock acts.


TWIN HEART – DOWN

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Kilmarnock’s cream of the crop Twin Heart continue to impress with their brand new single, Down, their first release since the fantastic Progress:Decline EP.

A gratifying number that is yet another showcase of Dawn Baxter’s top notch writing abilities, conveyed through a sentimental performance. The track has peaks and valleys, opening at a steady tempo then taking it down for the middle, before elevating and capping off on a drum-driven high note.


PEUR – WHO IS YOUR GOD?

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One of Liverpool’s finest, Peur, are back in business with a new track entitled Who Is Your God?

This is undoubtedly the best writing we have seen from the trio to date, with some incredibly spurring lyrics on display throughout. Aside from that, we get the usual standards we have come to expect from Peur, including dynamic riffs, tight rhythms and slick verses that converse into amazing choruses.

Who Is Your God? certainly ranks among the best work that these guys have done, and we can only hope for more of the same in the coming months.


JOSEPHINE SILLARS – PROBLEMS WITH POWER

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Whilst she continued to perform a hodgepodge of shows throughout it, 2016 was not the most productive year musically for Josephine Sillars, mainly due to the fact she was caught under the stress of pesky university work, but now finally in the clear, she commenced her 2017 swimmingly, courtesy of her latest single Problems With Power.

This is about as stripped back as it gets, instrumentally being not much more than the beating of a lone tom and the light tapping of sticks. Jo’s vocals are sublime as always, and her lyrical work here is dazzling.

Even though short and simplistic in nature, it is a profoundly addicting song so irresistible that we have caught ourselves mumbling it under our breath following every listen.

Another successful product in the evolution of Sillars’ craft.


CROW’S FEET – BALLOON

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In our minds, Crow’s Feet stood out as one of 2016’s eminent breakout acts, with their debut record Hornets Nest capturing our imaginations like little else. Since then, they have put out a great track in the form of Hesistator, before following up with today’s subject – Balloon.

Calum’s harmonies as always are spruce and have the chills running through. The mix of slick piano keys and transcendent electronics produce a spellbinding atmosphere, heightened by the addition of faint chatter.

We can safely say this is a truly mesmirising number – probably their best since Alarm Clock Bones – which again proves the band’s ability to entrance and pull the listener in for an out-of-body experience.

Small Top 100 Favourite Records – Part 5 (20-1)

#20 | Splintered Halo – The Splintered Minds Asylum

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HIGHLIGHTS: Mad Love, Your Face Is MY Face, The Dark Size Of Oz, Duality Of Personality, I Bathe In Blood

 

#19 | Shambles In A Husk – Die, Device, Die

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HIGHLIGHTS: Cowboy Doom, Round Four, Medications

 

#18 | Vukovi – Sweet Swears

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HIGHLIGHTS: Thick Skinned, We Are Robots, Obsessions

 

#17 | ACODA – Truth Seeker

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HIGHLIGHTS: Won’t Go Running, Whispers Like Roars, Sleep On It, Make It Up As You Go, Round The Sun

 

#16 | The Physics House Band – Horizons / Rapture

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HIGHLIGHTS: Abraxical Solapse, Titan, Teratology

 

#15 | Mickey 9s – The Party Manifesto

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HIGHLIGHTS: Find A Thing, Shark In The Water, Psycho Control, Icarus, Mickey 999

 

#14 | Let’s Talk Daggers – Fantastic Contraption

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HIGHLIGHTS: Have A Gabble, Round & About, The Bear Of Bad News, #1 Spicy Bugger

 

#13 | Halo Tora – Omni\One

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HIGHLIGHTS: Under The Surface, The Bones That Rock The Cradle, Permanent Revolution, Ruins, Age Of Terror, Tonight

 

#12 | FOES – The Summit Lies Skyward

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HIGHLIGHTS: Sworn Host, Orchestrator, No Sleepers Verse, Beautiful Fiction, Brothers Mortal, Young Sovereign

 

#11 | More Than Conquerors – Everything I’ve Learnt

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HIGHLIGHTS: Pits Of Old, Temper, Try-Antlers, Jaw, Smoke Trees Lungs Knees, When The Well Runs Dry

 

#10 | Carnivores – Let’s Get Metaphysical

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HIGHLIGHTS: Scottish Football, A Shadow Of A Shadow, Lion Tamer, Apathy In The UK, Insecurior, Let’s Get Metaphysical

 

#9 | Empire – Where The World Begins

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HIGHLIGHTS: Black Hearts, Future Past & Present, All The Rage, My Colour Optimistic

 

#8 | My Extraordinary – The World We Live In

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HIGHLIGHTS: Silly Little Things, The World We Live In, Bite The Bullet, Risky Business

 

#7 | Flood Of Red – Throw

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HIGHLIGHTS: Throw, Lashes, Ye Die Ye Die, Whispers And Choirs, White Russian

 

#6 | Anavae – Dimensons

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HIGHLIGHTS: Anti-Faith, Storm Chaser, Dream Catcher, Hang Man

 

#5 | Black Peaks – Statues

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HIGHLIGHTS: Set In Stone, Glass Built Castles, Saviour, Crooks, White Eyes, Hang ‘Em High

 

#4 | We Came From Wolves – Paradise Place

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HIGHLIGHTS: Away To Live Forever, A Bastard Son A Brother To No-One, Stallions Foals Foxes Crows

 

#3 | United Fruit – Eternal Return

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HIGHLIGHTS: Sorrow, Ghost Inside Your Head, Taste I Can’t Give Up, Nothing To Feel, How Long, Open Your Eyes

 

#2 | Press To Meco – Good Intent

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HIGHLIGHTS: Affinity, Diffusion Of Responsibility, Honestly, Family Ties, Manipulate, Means To An End

 

 

And now ladies and gentlemen, we proudly present to you our favourite under-the-radar record of all time…

 

#1 | We Caught The Castle – Time To Grow

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HIGHLIGHTS: Time To Grow, Lips, Memories, That Poor Boy, Escape, Everything You Are