Grand Pricks’ offer tracks that seem to always be building, replacing toe-tapping with jumping around wanting more, raucous anti-establishment punk which manages to deliver both the simple hook and feel of 80s skater punk, coupled with eloquent, carefully considered lyrics. Polarnecks hit you with thumping drums and catchy hooks, which mask the somewhat melancholy lyrics. Elements of garage surfer rock, but with a darker undertone, yet still full of swagger, coupled with self-deprecating lyrics, something that a lot of people will be able to identify with. It’s impossible to pick a side on the split, as both bands have a clear, defined style but still manage to create one record which is very difficult to put down, mostly because you will be constantly flipping it over trying to decide which side deserves to go first.
Sean Garrett’s forehead is an extremely complex and nuanced thing, his solo act Forehead is even more so. Garrett has a number of tricks up his sleeve, not least Bedroom Tapes, the debut EP from Forehead. With catchy musical hooks – ranging in temperance – and soft, emotional and well delivered vocals, all wrapped up in quirky, sporadic, experimental production, there’s not much not to love about Forehead.
Crammed with distorted, powerpop riffs, dreamy harmonies, Beach Boys-inspired jams, delicious wonky pop and an anthemic footstomper of a closer with a grandiosity akin to Sparks in ‘As Hard As I Feel’, Running Commentary is unashamedly powered by a modern take on retro rock and roll which wears its influences on its sleeve.
Wendell Borton convey their sense of joviality and lightness quickly, kicking things off with the titular track ‘Crawl’. With some subtle, washed out production, some weird vocal harmonies and some unmistakably fun musical elements, this is a very endearing song, which opens a very endearing EP. A massive point to Wendell Borton’s credit is that their choice of musical lines is quite subversive; they would likely be decried as another group of pop-punk plonkers were it not for their habit of taking a lot of musical back roads.
Choke found The New Fabian Society not wasting a second, gone are the days of 10-minute post punk epics, instead we’re hit with a more focused approach, which allows arguably a higher and more varied output from the band, who’ve been going nigh on five years. With influences that lean less on the psychedelic side here the band really take a punk focus and run with it, with drums soundings like they’re from an industrial rock album at times, bass switching from synth like to simply balls to the wall distortion and a layered production that lets the guitars shine through with more clarity than before.
Sky Hooks shakes the loose skin off your face with its fuzz induced perfection, providing intelligent verses and humble choruses, forcing you to keep this record on constant repeat. American Clay’s debut EP is highly inventive with a distinctive, solid-stated sound; a ridiculously enjoyable record that gives off a playful, yet subtle maturity.
Not one we’ve been hugely familiar with but Glaswegian producer Calum MacRae, a.k.a. Lanark Artefax, has been getting mighty praise all over for his alien techno tracks. Whities 011 fizzes with perplexing sonic complexities and crowd pleasing maximalism that fellow Glasgow boys Hudson Mohawke and Rustie have mastered, while also showing an ear from powerful emotive ambient tracks.
LAPS returned after a three-year break and withWho Me? let everyone know that this isn’t some mere side project, cemented further by Cassie Ezeji’s other act Golden Tecaher seemingly calling it a day. It’s an EP that oozes an ultra cool vibe as the duo, who also features Organs of Love’s Alicia Matthews, woo us with an anarchic groove centred record that dips its toes into no-wave soul, mimial industirial dark rnb and dubbed-out house, with an entrancing variety of vocal deliveries.
Marbles Gods’ Songs was a wee pop gem for 2017, it’s the perfect wee fuzzy C86 channelled indie pop tape that instills bags of upbeat fun with a tongue-in-cheek humour. Here’s hoping that we get more like this in the near future.
Wojtek the Bear returned with Second Nature, an EP that takes the listener on a journey through changing opinions and lifestyle changes in a typically Scottish manner. The EP takes you on a journey from a band looking for answers and end with the acceptance that what will be will be, through reflective driving drums and melodic guitar. It’s rewarding listen that takes a look at some of the darker sides of Scottish culture through a relatable and almost cheery mirror.