1 January 2018

Round Up - Singles & EP's

I have had an awful lot of single and EP submissions, which is something that I've not always been able to focus on if I'm brutally honest.  But I've been wanting to review some of these submissions as they sound interesting.  Also, there have been a couple of releases that have not been submitted that I wanted to pick up for my own reasons.  But time has not always been my friend, as is the way of things around here.  So, as I've been busy with album reviews and such things, I thought I would do a round-up post of these releases that I was sent in 2017.  I wish I had time to dedicate a single post to each release, but there is only one person working here these days, so a round-up it is.

Alex Stanilla - WEN EP (Released via Kangaroo Boy Records, available on streaming sites)

Alex Stanilla is an electronica artist, who deals with a twisted version of indie that is also so strange, so warped and also very hypnotic.  Imagine if Trent Reznor has created Nine Inch Nails with a love of Fever Ray and Visuals, then let Billy Corgan write the words.  I like this a lot, there is something strangely familiar about it from the beginning, as if I've heard it before.  If you're looking for something slightly off the beaten path, this is a great place to start.

4 out of five - This is really good, well worth checking out

Top track - Albuquerque

Donnie Alexzander - Donnie Alexzander (Self release on Bandcamp)

Donnie Alexzander is an indie-three piece who hails from Hartford, Connecticut, USA, who sound like a lo-fi grunge deluxe band.  Over the four tracks on this EP, Donnie Alexzander creates a good amount of noise, there are some slower numbers mixed in, but all brought together under a very definite alternative banner.  Lyrically, it's not quite as hot, but lyrics come with time.  It's a decent release, which shows promise for the future.

4 out of five - This is really good, well worth checking out

Top track - The Black And The Red

Twin Tides - All These Songs, All About Her (Self-released, available on streaming sites)

I can't find out much information on Twin Tides, they class themselves as (and I quote directly from their Facebook page) "as an Alt/Pop duo from the foothills of the Smokies." That's not much information to go on, also the picture of them on their page has three people, so that makes them a trio???  Anyway, enough of that, what about the music?  All These Songs, All About Her would not have been out of place in the 80's, and I don't mean the party 80's which you hear at discos. This will appeal to fans of Autoheart, Go West and the love song at the end of 80's movies.  It's a decent EP, one for the brokenhearted synth lover.

4 out of five - This is really good, well worth checking out

Top track - Me/You

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes - Spray Paint Love (Released via Internation Death Cult, available on streaming sites)

"Spray Paint Love" is a solo single that was released towards the end of last year by Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, which coincided with their tour of the UK (where they also recorded a live album at London's Brixton Academy).  It's a heavier beast than most of their Modern Ruin, but it's also a bridge between that record and their first album Blossom.  I love that main riff, it already sounds like a classic track and the band sound tight as a nut.  If Modern Ruin had have sounded more like this, it would have been higher on my end of year album list.

4.5 out of five - This is really good, well worth checking out

Top track - only one song, so by default - Spray Paint Love

Cold Sweats - Most High (Self-release - available from the Cold Sweats Bandcamp page)

Cold Sweats have returned with an adrenaline-fuelled, garage rock noise fest.  It's got swagger, it's got style and above all, it sounds like a band who is determined to strike out on their own groove.  It's a mixture of old time rock 'n' roll, garage noise and some huge riffs, what is there not to love on this one?  They have also released another EP which I need to check out, watch this space.

4 out of five - This is really good, well worth checking out

Top track - Swollen Head

The Thick Un's - Deadly Bargain (Self-release - available on streaming sites)

Originally released in 2016, Deadly Bargain is the home-recorded project of The Thick Un's (a solo project by Marc Kennedy).  It's a lo-fi recording that has shades of The B-52's, Captain Beefheart and mutated surf rock noise mixed together, unleashing a bizarre and strange creature onto the world.  It shows potential, there are some rough edges for sure and it's not easily accessible.  But there is something about it that keeps me coming back to it as I'm still trying to figure out some parts of it.  Tread carefully here, it's well off the beaten path, but it could be worth it.

3 out of five - Decent, getting there

Top track - Killer Hunt

The Virginmarys - Sitting Ducks EP (Released on ThreeHearts Records, available on streaming sites)

The Virginmarys are one of my favourite acts in the UK at the moment, they're one of the hardest working acts that I've seen and they keep getting better with each release.  Sitting Ducks EP keeps up that good work, with its rock swagger and Midas touch when it comes to riffs.  This is a good release, reminding everyone that they are still there and they've not gone away!

4 out of five - This is really good, well worth checking out

Top track -Through The Sky

Stone Temple Pilots - Meadow (Released via Play Pen Music, available on streaming sites)

Releasing their first song with Jeff Gutt, Stone Temple Pilots had a lot riding on "Meadow".  It's only natural to compare this to their previous work, they're one of the original Grunge acts and released some great albums.  I wanted to like "Meadow", I didn't want to hate it and I can honestly say that I don't hate it.  But I'm not loving it either, it's very forgettable and that isn't what you want from a song that is supposed to be starting your new era.  Time will tell if this line-up works, but this is a below average start.

2 out of five - Not bad, not good, so average it's zen

Top track - Meadow, but only by default as it's the only track on this release.

Bobby Mahoney & the Seventh Son - Empty Passenger Seat//Another Deadbeat Summer (2017) (Released via Bobby Mahoney Music, available on streaming sites)

Bobby Mahoney & The Seventh Son are an alternative rock/punk band from New Jersey in the USA, they have been incredibly patient for this review.  This two-track single is a reminder that American Punk is not always about slogans, sometimes it's about love as well.  With a sound akin to Social Distortion on a Bruce Springsteen trip, Bobby Mahoney & The Seventh Son have taken those influences and moulded it into something new, this is a great single and hopefully, there will be more to come.

5 out of five - I wish I had extra ears to love this more

Top track - Empty Passenger Seat

New Language - Everybody Scream EP (Self-release, available on streaming sites)

New Language was one of my best finds in 2017, releasing this EP as well as the fantastic album Come Alive, New Language is turning out to be one of the best-kept secrets in underground Alternative Metal.  They have lofty ambitions as this sound isn't one that will stay underground for long, as shown on the "Everybody Scream EP".  If this was on a major label, it would be on every American radio station and they would also be making waves over here in the UK.  I've not been as interested in a modern Alternative Metal act for so long, it's very invigorating and it sounds brilliant.  Get this EP and also get their album!

5 out of five - I wish I had more ears to love this more

Top track - Out of My Head

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - The French Press EP (Self-released via Sub Pop Records, available on streaming sites)

Rolling Blackouts Costal Fever are from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, and they have been making big waves in their native land.  It's easy to see why, they have a sound that is very similar to the likes of The War on Drugs, Kurt Ville, Brian Jonestown Massacre and other acts of that ilk.  I love the song "French Press", it was one of my favourites from 2017, but the rest of the EP does not quite hit that highwater mark.  It's a good EP, but I think there is better to come from them.

3.5 out of five - Decent, getting there

Top track - French Press

October Ends - A New Path EP & From The Inside (Single) (Self-released, available on streaming sites)

October Ends are a Newcastle based Metalcore/Groove Metal act who released an EP and a single in 2017.  Their sound is aggressive, with huge riffs and uplifting tones that are mixed with crushing riffs.  Both releases are good examples of how good Metalcore/Groove Metal can be when it's done correctly, they sound tight and they are definitely deserving the attention that is being laid upon them.  I also applaud their cover of the Linkin Park track "From The Inside", it's a good cover of that song.

A New Path EP - 4 out of five - This is really good, well worth checking out

From The Inside - 4 out of five - This is really good, well worth checking out

Top track - A New Path

Mantar - The Spell EP (Released via Nuclear Blast Records, available on streaming sites)

Mantar is one of those bands who keep getting better with each listen, The Spell is no exception to that formula that Mantar has made their own blueprint.  They are slow, methodical and brutal as ever, if anything, they sound even tighter than they did before on this release.  With each record, they keep getting better, and the Spell EP is no exception! All hail Mantar!

5 out of five - I wish I had more ears to love this

Top track - Age of the Virl

In this new year, I've got plans to do regular single round-ups.  Hopefully, 2018 this year can be as good musically as 2017 was! - Eddie.

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