Nick Shane is one of those musicians who deserves to be better known. The Dundee based singer songwriter has been giving the world some rather solid mod-inflected pop/rock since the release of his ‘An Introspection of Now Here’ album in 2014, but hasn’t really reached household name status – at least outside of Scotland. Even 2019’s ‘Come Under Cover’ – with Nick falling back on the time honoured covers album to attract new ears – didn’t really gain the kind of traction it so warranted, and at the point where 2022 seemed ready to pull to a close, his Discogs page remained strangely incomplete. Nevertheless, the hard working musician isn’t without his share of fans, and at Scotland’s very first Rainbow Awards in 2015, Nick received an award for “Outstanding Contribution to Music & LGBT Rights”. For most, the road to stardom isn’t taken overnight, but quite why Nick isn’t thought of with the same reverence as Miles Kane is a mystery.
Released towards the end of a troubled 2020, at a time when the Coronovirus global pandemic appeared to be at its height, Fred Abong’s first full length album ‘Our Mother of Perpetual Help’ was a suitably moody affair. Comprised of songs largely played from an oddly tuned acoustic guitar and featuring lyrics that captured a genuine emotional fragility, its lo-fi charms felt like a step up from his earlier, hastily recorded EPs.
Goodbye Blue Monday’s third release, the ‘Misery Punk Ruined My Life’ EP, was one of 2018’s strongest DIY punk releases. Between a barrage of massive riffs and some thoughtful lyrics dealing with mental health issues, the Glaswegian band marked themselves out as one of the UK scene’s most intelligent acts.
Despite sterling support from Make That A Take Records and some very positive online press, things seemed to go quiet in the GBM camp a short time after. It wasn’t until 2020 any new material materialised, but a pair of digital singles (‘Love In The Time of Corona’ and ‘Exile’) made good on the promise of earlier recordings by way of musical crunch and more social commentary. A world grinding to a halt and a lack of social interaction enforced by a global pandemic also meant that fans would have to wait even longer for a brand new EP or album, but the band closed the first half of 2020 with a surprise acoustic EP to tide everyone over.
The ever prolific Devin Townsend has announced a series of new releases that he says will be “interesting” but not necessarily something he’d want to present as “a major release”. The Devolution Series will give fans access to various live materials and more and begins with with an acoustic live set from 2019.
First impressions can be deceiving. Just one look at Black TarPoon and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d be about to experience an intensive stoner rock band, or maybe a massive riff-based juggernaut not too dissimilar to The Workhorse Movement. Nothing could be further from the truth. On their 2021 release ‘The Thad EP’ these Texan musicians go deep into a roots based sound where drawling vocals mesh with a country-blues groove. Their choice of band name – an anti-heroin reference – lends a certain sense of unease and Their cutting lyrics lend a further edge, but otherwise, their acoustic based sounds are surprisingly accessible. …And very retro in a 90s style.