SMALL MUSIC NETWORK: ISSUE #3 – Embers

GIGS


EMPIRE

EMPIRE – NICE N SLEAZY | 21st NOVEMBER 2017

We arrived just in the nick of time and entered into a jammed room for Karin from Dumfries. These guys had some hype behind them leading up to this, and we were told multiple times that we were going to love them, and damn where they right.

The trio delivered a fiercely tight set that engaged and incited everybody all the way through. Their dynamic energy and ability to swing between opposing tempos in a snap was great, and on the subject, when they did reach full speed it was quite a sight; in particular, the drumming was a fluent blur.

An awesome opener, and we cannot remember the last time we became fans of a band so quick.

*

Here’s a quartet that we were familiar with – Visceral Noise Department – whom we fell in love with when they supported Allusondrugs at this very venue back in the summer, and it was nice to see them again in action with a rocking grungy performance of delightful proportions.

Some of the slower material didn’t click as well, but when they kicked up to a speedy groove, they were a blast. Brenden bobbled around the place like a madman, as is his wont, and we feel Jenny doesn’t get enough appreciation for her drumming abilities.

A couple of the focal points included an ode to Joe Bone via a cover of The Promise by The Coffins, and the catchy Olympic Gold In Mental Gymnastics. On a whole, freaking sweet.

*

Now here’s a group we haven’t seen live in a long time – self-proclaimed “prog w*nkers Atlas Empire, fresh off their Canadian tour.

They didn’t seem stilted by nippy gear issues prior to beginning, impressing with the likes of new single Diminishing Returns and It’s All In The Reflexes. When low, they built atmospheric moods, and when they picked it up, they wowed the audience with intricate riffs and explosive rhythms.

It was fantastic stuff, as we’ve come to expect from these guys, and we look forward to their upcoming album.

*

Empire themselves took to the stage, commencing with the spirited Sparrows. In addition to the customary songs we’ve all grown to love, they also gave us a plethora of banging newer tunes throughout.

There was a great display of resonant vocals and forceful drumming in Sights, before the immense Future, Past And Present got the crowd into a storm.

The fervent Patchwork And Bone kept the ball rolling, with special guest Dave McPherson appearing out of the blue and joining Joe in the proceedings, and they would electrify one last time with the always classic Black Hearts.

The first half was solid, but they improved upon it for a fun as hell latter half, and for the fourth time seeing them now, they were still more than worth our money.


cml.jpg

COURAGE MY LOVE – THE ATTIC | 22nd NOVEMBER 2017

Due to a late bus journey, we entered halfway to pop punk band Wasted Summers, and from what we saw, it was mainly solid stuff, although the group were a little still on stage (but to be fair, Steph had a legitimate excuse).

Tomorrow stood out as a neat tune with a catchiness to it. Overall, it was fine for what we got, and we even nabbed a demo, in addition to countless free stickers.

*

We had seen Remind Me Of Home two weeks prior supporting Junior at this venue, and while they didn’t fully impress us then, it was a different story here.

For one thing, we felt that vocalist Craig was more upfront and in the zone, and his voice even packed more of a punch, and for that matter, the rest of the band sounded pretty sturdy too. They dished out numbers from their Bloodless EP, including StockholmEnigma and the title track, and there was a big crowd on hand.

It was not flawless by any means, with the couple of miscues here and there, and the mic cable disconnecting is never a fun time, but a real step up nonetheless, and they can now call us fans.

*

For the second time, we would be witnessing Chapter And Verse from London at a gig, and they were even better on this term. Their latest single Magazines was great live, while newer tunes Eleven Hours and Ink hooked us in with magnetic writingThe New Breed was massive as usual, and they finished with a resounding bang courtesy of Slave.

Josh’s vocals were just astonishing, and the rhythms were brash and truly rocking. Our only compliant was that our eyes were nearly sizzled by the bloody bright lights, but otherwise, a damn fine steal-shower of a set.

*

We were questioning whether Courage My Love were going to be able to follow up on that. They begun smoothly with Animal Heart, and Love Hurts came off well with its rich lyrical content. In the same vein were Two Headed Monster and Not Gonna Change, where Mercedes shined with a passionate performance.

Need Someone had a lovely message, and it was clear that it meant a lot to Mercedes in particular. The trio gave us the melodic and highly catchy Stereo, before ending on a couple of encores, including the bouncy Walls.

It took a while for them to get into a swing, but they steadily got there and at the end of the day, their debut outing in Glasgow was a triumph that resonated with the audience.


100 fables

100 FABLES – O2 ABC2 | 24th NOVEMBER 2017

After a miserable wait out in the subzero cold due to delayed doors, it would be the job of Dancing On Tables to get us simultaneously warmed and cheered up, both of which were accomplished.

There were plenty of focal points among the setlist. Colour Me Good was a great and lively track, Missing had quite the bounce to it and featured a cool bassline, and Waiting On Saturday brought a real energetic pulse. Throughout were well-rounded dual harmonies, sublime guitars that battled through broken strings, and smashing drum fills.

Closing out with their simple but effective new single Oh, the night was off to a promising, noteworthy start.

*

Land Of Rubber Men were visibly popular with the crowd, and there were some notable highlights.

Watch It Burn was slow and gripping, and frontman Angus was really into it. Meanwhile, Carpets had nice riffs and the sax added an extra dose of depth, Just Run was scattered with a couple of dazzling chords, and Book You In was a jumping conclusion which was evidently ideal for drunken dancing.

They were a little inconsistent at moments, and it wasn’t always the most interesting to watch, but when they delivered, they did so with style, and we may just check out their album once that comes around.

*

The room was in an absolutely buzz and jam-packed with folk, all of whom were ready to be graced by 100 Fables.

They burst out the gates wildly with The Pressure, and Lyndsey was quick to exhibit her sheer charisma through articulate expressions and movements, on top of her excellent vocals. She worked so well with guitarist Erin, as demonstrated in Electric Girls And Boys, where the latter’s low harmonies in the chorus suited perfectly.

The exciting Lost Generation had the audience clapping and dancing, before they toned it down for the magnetic Forgotten. Afterwards, Neon Nightmare had a hammering drum beat, ripe bass work and fast riffs, and all five members were really active on stage towards the end.

Lyndsey again drew us in with an infectious performance in Joy, and she took the time to perch herself on top of the amp during the groovy Complications. Following the scintillating Untold, they blew us away with the explosive Wake Up.

But they were not done yet, as the crowd demanded an encore, and they got their wish when the band returned and sensationally stunned one final time with the classic Metropolis.

A simply incredible set from 100 Fables, and if this wasn’t a star-making show that should earn them a record deal, we don’t know what is. A wonderful night that we won’t be forgetting in a hurry.


RECORDS


EMBERS

DIVIDE – EMBERS

Divide are a band that we have followed from the very beginning, ever since we worked with them at their Oran Mor debut gig back in 2014, and they have continued to evolve since then.

The last year, safe to say, has been a turbulent and testing one with constant line-up changes and the like, but nevertheless they have worked tirelessly at their craft, and they are ready to really show what they are made of with their much anticipated sophomore EP – Embers.

Before I Go serves as a fiery start that excels in the riff department, and just past the halfway point, they accelerate to a faster, more furious tempo. It is a similar case with Last Words, which runs off a snappy, fleeting pace, bolstered by high-impact drumming.

Lead single Catalyst is a song that has been garnering them much attention recently, and for good reason. This is an awesome, big-scale tune that just emanates adrenaline and features a catchy, hooking chorus and immense vocals.

Sink This City is equally as beefy, with the lyrics being the definitive factor here, and Embers itself is substantial in size with an emphatic rhythm and a fiercely direct performance from Nicole.

A tremendous follow-up record from one of Glasgow’s prominent rock acts that will surely kick-start their climb to grander success.


Fathoms Cover Art

FATHOMS – COUNTER CULTURE

For as long as six years now, we have been fans of Fathoms from Brighton and their brand of “hategroove”. In that span, they have put out several records; the most recent being the full-length Lives Lived which, while good, we felt never reached its full potential and did not have the lasting impact it should have. Counter Culture, however, is a different story.

The catchy Hate Preach unifies all listeners, and frontman Max is back at his A-game here with an authoritative, incensing voice. The title number is a loud, bombastic one with a strong chorus, although the screeching electronics admittedly do get a little grating.

The writing is notable in B.E.L.I.E.V.E, while I’ve Been Trying To Leave is littered with shredding chords, plus Sam gets a chance to shine at vocals; likewise with Slip Away which has a good hook in the middle.

The band are comfortably at home in the tracks that are pushed by brisk, weighty rhythms, as demonstrated in the likes of FatedThe Spaces In Between and No Compromise, and they eventually wrap up like bats out of hell with the kinetic You Ain’t On What We On.

The guys have trumped their previous effort with Counter Culture, going above and beyond to bring us a formidable album that should certainly re-establish them as one of the top dogs in the British underground metal scene.


DUNTS

THE DUNTS – NOT WORKING IS CLASS

Yet another young and upcoming act to emerge from Glasgow that have been fast to make a name for themselves, punk rock quartet The Dunts justify their preceding hype with their debut EP – Not Working Is Class.

They launch with the zippy Tommy, setting a high level of excitement straight off the bat courtesy of a hectic rhythm, and they keep the pace going with Coalition Of Chaos, which has a sweet, memorable chorus and prime writing on display.

They screech to a sudden halt before moving onto Hampden Cabs, where the fuzzy riffs are a joy, and they exhilarate one final time with the bass-steered Dimitri.

In under 10 minutes, they provide a rush so sharp and intense that you will probably need a cigarette afterwards. If this record is anything to go by, we seriously can’t wait to catch them at New Year’s Revolution in January.


JR GREEN

JR GREEN – FLORA

Hailing from up in Strontian, the duo of JR Green – comprised of brothers Jacob and Rory – have somehow avoided our radar for so long, but better late than never. Our introduction to these two came via their latest EP – Flora.

The accordions provide an appealing rhythm in Tiger Lily, and the heartfelt harmonies are a delight. First Blood features good acoustics and has quite the enticing energy to it.

These trends run over into the thoroughly engaging For The Wild, where the lyrics are in the spotlight, and they save the best for last with Technicolour Native, which commences so gently, and is carried by an utterly captivating, tender performance that is easy to get sucked into.

This is one of the most charming and endearing records that we have had the pleasure of listening to this year, and is a must-have for those that like their share of folk and pop.


thumbnail_Rayne Complex By Design Artwork

RAYNE – COMPLEX BY DESIGN

Having formed over two decades ago, Sunderland rock trio Rayne have a fair amount of experience behind them, so it would be natural to assume that their talents would be refined by this stage and that their material would be of a high quality. Well, that just happens to be the case with their Complex By Design LP.

A thumping beat welcomes us to the electrifying Subject A, and the buzz rolls on into Dolorous, donning a tenacious chorus and memorable writing. Chemicals establishes a grand, immersive sound, with the background pianos adding an extra layer.

They keep the momentum wheeling with the hooking, guitar-driven Great Burden and the passionate lead single Opportunity For Progress. Ben gets his true shining moment in Love, Live, Learn, before they chill the tempo down for Human Imitation, a magnetic finale with a gripping melody.

We were promised something great with this record, and great it is. A profoundly enthralling product across the board.


The Starling Radicals Cover Artwork

THE STARLING RADICALS – PROMISELAND, VOL 1

Okay, so it’s one thing that Cardiff rockers The Starling Radicals chased James Dean Bradfield through a park once upon a time and had their beefs with the outspoken Morrissey, but is there actually anything of substance to these guys beyond those facts? The short answer – yes. The evidence – Promiseland, Vol 1.

Wasting little breath, they deliver rip-roaring riffs in the full frontal and dynamic I’m With Her. Following that is You Make A Mess Of Me with hooking lyrics and again superb guitar work. Afterwards, they fire straight into the wild and rampant Scottish Play, before capping off with the very strong and spirited Heart Of This City.

An excellent EP from start to finish where at no point the pace is killed, for it is consistently entertaining and well worth listening to again and again.


ADifferentLight-cover

INAIR – A DIFFERENT LIGHT

InAir from Reading have been generating a reasonable amount of buzz with their new EP, A Different Light, but does it live up to expectations?

Rise Again gets it off to a solid start with a pretty satisfying chorus and catchy drum beat, but it’s not until Tonight Is Our Night where they boot it up to another degree and exhume a real, exciting energy.

Bound To Break has a nice flowing melody, and finally Insomnia is a well paced track with good vocals on display and likable lyrics at hand.

While not always tip-top, A Different Light is still a sufficing record that has enough positive qualities in there to warrant repeated listens, with each one being better than the last.


austin

AUSTIN MILLER – SOME DEGREE OF COMFORT

Austin Miller first came to our attention when he saw him supporting Marc Halls back in July, and he certainly made a statement on that night. Now he has an EP out, titled Some Degree Of Comfort, and it’s here where we get to see him make the most of his talents.

Coping Methods fades in with quiet piano keys, gradually gaining volume and turning into a solid opener, after which is Sparkler, a pleasant tune with a chorus that sticks out.

Quiet Tragedy grows in strength as it progresses towards the end, before leading into Bodyguard, an absolutely cracker that is catchy as heck and where the guitar work is mighty sweet, and last but not least, there are some fine lyrics and reams of emotion shown off in the closing number Give An Inch And Take A Mile.

A stunning record that has turned out better than we could have hoped, with a continuous rise in quality as it advances from the beginning to the end.


SINGLES


 

GREG

GREGOR COLEMAN – TOO GOOD TO ME

Gregor Coleman is a fella that we have always seemed to cross paths with over the years in the scene, whether it would be as part of Supanova, busking on the streets of Glasgow, or even serving us drinks at Audio once or twice. As many as you are probably aware, he appeared on The X Factor, and while he didn’t get too far, it was certainly a big break of sorts for him.

Fresh off his new boost in publicity and popularity, he’s released his debut single – Too Good To Mea verily infectious number with a clinching melody that reaches its height in the catchy chorus. Greg’s vocals are very natural and refined, and the lyrics, while simple enough, are quite memorable.

A worthwhile song that we are sure is going to a smash, assuming it hasn’t already.

 


TB

TIJUANA BIBLES – CATACOMB

Tijuana Bibles are back with one of their best tunes to date – Catacomb. For starters, the quick bass chords are nifty, and the screeching riffs are intense. The song slowly but surely builds through the verses, before firing into a blitzing, invigorating chorus.

Add in some top-rate writing, and you have yourself a beauty here to listen to on endless repeat.

 

 

 

 


hunter.jpg

HUNTER & THE BEAR – SKIN TIGHT

2017 has been a roaring success for Hunter & The Bear, with most of it being attributed to their Paper Heart album, and they’re following up on it with new single Skin Tight.

This is a track with a hefty scope, etched by a list of premium elements, such as a whopping chorus, addictive rhythm, banging beat and firm vocals.


rach

RACHELLE RHIENNE – CANDLE

One of Glasgow’s most stunning pop performers Rachelle Rhienne is back with another fine song by the name of Candles.

She nails it in the vocal field as usual, with her pitch on point, the straightforward is melody is awfully upbeat and addictive – the acoustics playing a big factor in that – and the chorus is just irresistible. Overall, a remarkable tune that wouldn’t be out of place in the official charts.

 

 

 


HUSK

EQUALS – HUSK

Hailing from London, the pairing of James Low in the role of producer and songwriter, and Ade Omotayo as vocalist – collectively better known as Equals – have been making waves with their single, Husk.

This is a sublime track with a really stimulating feel. Ade’s harmony is smooth and excellent, and he matches up so well with guest singer Awks’ bold and bright voice.

The lyrics easily connect and the high quality arrangement, from the piano keys to the trumpets, is quite appealing.


nrvs

NRVS – EVERYONE KNOWS, NOBODY TALKS ABOUT IT

NRVS have just put out their second single, Everyone Knows, Nobody Talks About It, which tackles the subject matter of change quite well.

This really enjoyable track is backed by torrents of energy, a tight combo of interchanging vocals and screams, and a solid breakdown thrown into the mix for good measure.

 

 

 

 

 


oceancode

OCEANCODE – ACROSS THE ROOM

Recently spawning from Edinburgh, folk pop quartet Oceancode have made a satisfactory first impression with Across The Room.

The melody is elegant, emphasised by Ruth’s lovely voice, and is tagged with a sincere bass line, nice acoustics and binding lyrics.

 

 


harlitones

HARLITONES – SWIRL

Harlitones are, in our opinion, one of Aberdeen’s most underrated acts, and you can get a taste of what they have to offer with their most recent single, the sensational Swirl.

They give us a fiercely potent rhythm, fervent vocals, catchy riffs, swift drumming, and a consistent heart-stopping energy in general that makes us want to get up from our seats and dance around like madmen.

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