Small Music Reviews: Issue #1 – Crash




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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.




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.



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.



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.



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.



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


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


HIGHLIGHTS: Cowboy Doom, Round Four, Medications


#18 | Vukovi – Sweet Swears


HIGHLIGHTS: Thick Skinned, We Are Robots, Obsessions


#17 | ACODA – Truth Seeker


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


HIGHLIGHTS: Abraxical Solapse, Titan, Teratology


#15 | Mickey 9s – The Party Manifesto


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


#14 | Let’s Talk Daggers – Fantastic Contraption


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


#13 | Halo Tora – Omni\One


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


#12 | FOES – The Summit Lies Skyward


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


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


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


#10 | Carnivores – Let’s Get Metaphysical


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


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


#8 | My Extraordinary – The World We Live In


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


#7 | Flood Of Red – Throw


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


#6 | Anavae – Dimensons


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


#5 | Black Peaks – Statues


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


#4 | We Came From Wolves – Paradise Place


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


#3 | United Fruit – Eternal Return


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


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


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

Small Top 100 Favourite Records – Part 4 (40-21)

#40 | Exist Immortal – Darkness Of An Age


HIGHLIGHTS: The Participant, Desolace, Edge Of Infinity, Legions, Liberator


#39 | Sworn To Oath – Pillars


HIGHLIGHTS: Let The Rain Pour, Outcast, All My Time, Forever Hurting, Free Me


#38 | Adam Stafford – Taser Revelations

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 20.57.45

HIGHLIGHTS: Railway Trespassers, Atheist Money, Phantom Billions, Let A Little Love Inside, Taser Revelations


#37 | KLOE – Teenage Craze


HIGHLIGHTS: Teenage Craze, Grip, Feel


#36 | Allusondrugs – Allusondrugs


HIGHLIGHTS: Cherry Pie, Nervous, Ted What’s The Porn Like In Heaven?


#35 | Servers – Leave With Us


HIGHLIGHTS: Universes & Supernovas, Claustrophobia, Save Me From Myself, Do Gooders, Run With The Foxes


#34 | Follow You Home – If It Kills Me


HIGHLIGHTS: Playing With Fire, What’s To Say You’re Not Alone, Long Way, Eyes Wide Open, Low


#33 | Bec Sandridge – In The Fog


HIGHLIGHTS: You’re A F***ing Joke, High Tide, In The Fog In The Flame


#32 | Altered Sky – Without Wonderland

front cover - web res - do not print

HIGHLIGHTS: Songbird, Live For It, Stupid In The Dark, Waves, Apple Tree


#31 | Devil Sold His Soul – Belong =/= Betray


HIGHLIGHTS: Time, Devastator, Unveiled


#30 | Vasa – Colours


HIGHLIGHTS: As Long As It Doesn’t Explode, Not A Cop, Ergonomic Keyboard, The Angry Dome


#29 | Fizzy Blood – Feast


HIGHLIGHTS: January Sun, Black Sheep, Queen Of Hearts


#28 | Our Lucid Reality – Hy Brasil


HIGHLIGHTS: Hy Brasil, Microcosmic Thrones


#27 | Mutiny On The Bounty – Trials


HIGHLIGHTS: North Korea, Artifacts, Myanmar, Modern Day Robbery, Mapping The Universe


#26 | The Vegan Leather – This House


HIGHLIGHTS: This House, Days Go By, The Bottom Of The Ocean


#25 | Courtesans – Better Safe Than Sober


HIGHLIGHTS: Knowhere, Mesmerise, Feel The Same


#24 | When We Were Wolves – Heartless


HIGHLIGHTS: Heartless, Dying On The Inside, The Devil You Know


#23 | The Van T’s – Laguna Babe


HIGHLIGHTS: Laguna Babe, Growler, Feel Touch Feel


#22 | White Clouds & Gunfire – For All The Non Believers


HIGHLIGHTS: You Can’t Bring Me Down, Poison, Since You Were Gone, Pebbles


#21 | Max Raptor – Mother’s Ruin


HIGHLIGHTS: England Breathes, Back Of A Barrel Wave, Evangeline, Taming Of The Shrewd, Grace And Favours



REVIEW | The Courtesans – Better Safe Than Sober


How do you best describe The Courtesans? Fact of the matter is, it is pretty tricky, as they seem to mix in facets of several genres, including alternative rock, pop and doom metal – just to name a few – but that only helps differentiate these femme fatales from the rest of the pack in the blooming British underground scene.

Recently, they embarked on a Pledge campaign and achieved overwhelming success, resulting in the release of a new EP titled Better Safe Than Sober.

A hammering drum beat signals the beginning of Knowhere, which soon unleashes into a phenomenal, grandiose chorus which is insanely catchy, and the hypnotic multi-layer harmonies leave the hairs standing on end; likewise with Feel The Same, which is also notable for subtly slick guitar work throughout, as well as some excellent spoken word from frontwoman Sinead during the verses that has a sheer magnetic quality.

After two extravagant openers, they bring it down for a more subdued and solemn yet still enthralling number in the form of John Doe, but the levels slowly rise again for Mesmirise, a tune that does exactly what it says on the tin, as it builds up to a fiery, passionate vocal performance which sends chills down the spine, and eventually The Tide concludes the record in exciting style.

It is really obvious it was more than worth the time to contribute money toward the production of this EP.

Hands down, this is the greatest thing the group have ever done, an outstanding listening experience like no other that has sent a clear, emphatic statement – The Courtesans deserve the spotlight, and are ready to make one hell of an impact when given the opportunity.



REVIEW | Mt Doubt – King Tuts New Year’s Revolution 2017


Into the home stretch of the 2017 King Tuts New Year’s Revolution fesitval now, and topping the bill of the 13th show we have Mt Doubt from Edinburgh – the brainchild of Leo Bargery – an act who have constantly been named ones to watch over the past couple of years; full proof of that in their two albums – My Past Is A Quiet Beast and In Awe Of Nothing.

Although big fans, we had never before got to see them on stage, and this proved to be the perfect opportunity to break that affliction.

First up was the only band completely unknown to us – Sea Captain – who congratulated all in attendance for getting down early to see them.

While opening lukewarm, they gradually got better as they progressed, displaying some neat chords, decent bass lines and vocals which really shined in parts, plus frontman Joe offered some little quirky quips in between songs. Overall, a good solid showing to start the night off.


Taking the helm next were SKJOR (pronounced “sure”, for your information), who we were looking forward to after liking the little taste we got of their material online.

The fact they had quite the crowd lined up for them was a hopeful sign, and they simply captivated us.

The dual guitars were excellent, being fluid and precise from Callum whilst more delicate from leading lady Louise, who strummed by the fingertips with such subtlety, and she furthering impressed with her crisp harmonies. Completing the package, we had very fluent bass and drum work from the pairing of Jack and Toni respectively.

From the mellow Without Hope to the dynamic Self Controlit was an outstanding showcase of talent, and we are so eager to see what the future holds for this quartet. It cannot be anything other than positive in our minds.


Aside from the headliners, we were most excited for Crow’s Feet, who we have championed ever since their debut; emerging as one of the most promising newcomers of last year, with Hornets Nest being nominated for our 2016 Scottish Record Of The Year prize, so obviously our expectations were high.

Surge // Swell eased us in and set the mood nicely, escalating as it elapsed before transitioning into the title track of their aforementioned album, which sounded great despite the mic going dead for half a minute.

The new number was stunning, and Alarm Clark Bones sent chills down our spine, so much so that even the irritating people behind us did little to hamper our love for it. Eventually, they would wrap up in bombastic fashion with their latest single Hesitator.

Huge credit has to be given to vocalist Calum here. We forgot just how incredible he was, not only because of his wide range and his knack for hitting the high notes, but because of just how into it he gets, and we become more invested as a result.

Add on some atmosphere-boosting synths and tight drumming for measure, and you have a recipe for something truly special.


After that, we were really feeling the buzz for Mt Doubt, and from the word go, we were hooked.

Leo was very apt both in his playing and in the vocal department, complimented perfectly by his entourage in each of their particular fields; all working together as a cohesive unit.

Focal points included Sheer And Utter which was bursting with energy, the more subdued Hotel Key, the equally engaging Soak and Afterglow, both driven by memorable melodies, and finally the zealous Soft Wrists which brought the set to a sensational conclusion.

It was a long wait to see Leo and crew, but very much worth it. Undeniably, a successful outing for them at the prestigious venue.


REVIEW | The Dead Settlers – King Tuts New Year’s Revolution 2017


On the heels of an unforgettable sell out with The Van T’s the night before were indie-blues rock quartet The Dead Settlers, a bunch we had grown fond of lately, who were ready to take their turn in the headline position at King Tuts’ New Year’s Revolution festival.

Up first were Lional, who flurried through a medley of high quality tracks such as Easy Love and Season Of Salt, all of which were notable for articulate riffs and incredibly tight bass-drum combos.

All in all, an enjoyable start to the night courtesy of a worthwhile discovery for us.


Retro Video Club then stepped up and kicked it into high gear. Utterly captivating stuff, with tonnes of energy radiating off the stage; especially from frontman Liam who displayed an abundance of vitality to a point where he was sweating like mad halfway through.

The herd of family members at the barricade were going bananas, while the rest of the crowd were seemingly invested throughout, with some bobbing and bouncing along with the beats; something we caught ourselves doing a few times.

Highlights ranged from the spirited Heart Brigade and pleasing Recovery, to a track serving as a tribute to all those who suffer in the world of retail and/or hate their boss titled Can I?

We thought they sounded entertaining on record, but they proved to be even more so live. We can only hope that the DF Concerts booking team took notice and will be smart enough to bring them back for a future festival as a headliner, because they deserve to be in that spot.


The Ranzas from Ayrshire were second to last, and what stood out to us most was the vocalist Lyle, who had an off-kilter charisma and quite a fascinating presence; swaying about without much of a care, and whenever he signaled for the audience to clap, jump or cheer, they would do just that without fail in every instance.

With plenty of slick songs donning decent melodies and choruses, they had made a fine first impression.


It was now time for The Dead Settlers, and for the most part they did very well, with a mix of strong vocals, solid guitar work and engaging rhythms that had a majority of the crowd hooked; a certain few deafening us with chants for Jonny.

They burst out the gates in fiery fashion, although admittedly the pace did wane a little around the middle, but it was not long before they recovered and built up marvelously to a brilliant climax featuring Burn With Me and Sophia – both from their recent EP – and after an emphatic demand, they got the place going one more time with a riveting encore.

While not without flaws, their performance still done enough to leave a lasting impact and send us home satisfied.

Small Top 100 Favourite Records – Part 3 (60-41)

#60 | The Hiding Place – So This Is Home


HIGHLIGHTS: Barfly, Guts, Long Winters


#59 | Kamikaze Girls – SAD


HIGHLIGHTS: Black Coffee, Stitches, Hexes


#58 | Crash Club – CC.101


HIGHLIGHTS: Chemicals, Pennydrop


#57 | Felix Champion – This Lateral Life


HIGHLIGHTS: Ropes, Canyons, These Four Walls, French Wine, Animals, Breathe In Breathe Out


#56 | Erin Bennett – ReFlowered

Erin Bennett

HIGHLIGHTS: Ready To Play, You Will Not Escape This, Never Give Up The Fight, Power Back, Elevate, Every Time I Breathe


#55 | Painting Rockets – From The Debris


HIGHLIGHTS: Empathy, Method In The Madness, I’ll Be Fine


#54 | Divides – Anywhere & Nowhere


HIGHLIGHTS: Falsehood, Spiders


#53 | A Plastic Rose – Flickering Light Of An Inner War


HIGHLIGHTS: Autumn Eases You Into The Dark, Move Islands, Boxes, Happiness And Joy, This Side Of Winter, Someone’s Daughter, Be A Phoenix


#52 | Colt 45 – The Tide Is Turning


HIGHLIGHTS: Salt Water, I Thought I Knew Best, Ok, I Remember When The Rain Came Down, The Simple Things Are Working


#51 | The Ciazarn Affair – Le Cirque D’un


HIGHLIGHTS: You Can’t Call Me A Freak, Hey Rube, Just Like The Mona Lisa


#50 | Mechanical Smile – Say Goodbye


HIGHLIGHTS: Close Your Eyes, Say Goodbye, Wolf, Take Me To The Otherside


#49 | Chirper Horsket – Domino Mindfield


HIGHLIGHTS: Homeless Devil, Yesterday Aliens Came Around To My Door


#48 | Fathoms – Cold Youth




#47 | Dream State – Consequences

dream state

HIGHLIGHTS: Rebuild Recreate, Burn Them Down, Burden


#46 | Huxtable – It’s A Trap


HIGHLIGHTS: Regimental, Shut Up


#45 | Baby Strange – Want It Need It


HIGHLIGHTS: Human, Pure Evil, Pleasure City, VVV, Nude


#44 | From Sorrow To Serenity – Antithesis


HIGHLIGHTS: i9, Antithesis


#43 | Shields – Guilt


HIGHLIGHTS: But This Feels Worse, Guilt, Jordan


#42 | Enemies Of The State – Awakening


HIGHLIGHTS: No Tomorrow, Sand Wood Or Stone, Open Your Eyes, No Time For Tears, Awakening


#41 | Donnie Willow – Inhale, Exhale

inhale exhale

HIGHLIGHTS: I Eat Flies, Little Brother, Exhale, Jagged Teeth