Single Review – NO:IR – Phantom

Since their debut in 2019, Bristol-based Nu-Metal five-piece NO:IR have evolved their sound from their hardcore roots to create a modern fusion from a host of genres. They take deep inspiration – and their name, from Film Noir, often characterised by cynicism, intricate plots and existential philosophy. 

With four previous successful singles under their belt, the band have achieved more than 100,000 streams on Spotify. Their innate blend of rap and metal draws on an array of influences including emo, hip-hop and dark pop. This has resulted in a signature re-imagination of the Nu-Metal sound; their upcoming single Phantom due for release May 7th 2021, captures this perfectly.

Produced, Mixed and Mastered with Josh Gallop (Phoxjaw) at Stage 2 Studios in Bath, Phantom challenges and explores the honesty and authenticity around an artist’s image. Established artists show a diverse variety of personalities, with some being completely transparent about their feelings and life stories; and some being the opposite, creating new identities or writing about fictitious situations in order to seem more appealing or interesting. 

“Phantom explores these ideas and reflects this back onto NO:IR,” explains lyricist Evvi Davies.  “The song is intuitive about who NO:IR is, and comparing the honesty in our music to the persona we have created as a band. NO:IR isn’t five individuals but one personality, blending elements of the individuals into one character. The song questions our authenticity, and the lyrics directly reflect where we are as a band.”

The music video for Phantom portrays Plato’s ‘Allegory of the Cave’, with an emphasis being on the shadows and silhouettes created by the band. The video challenges their own honesty and authenticity within their music. Often, we can believe an artist is being honest, however they’re really depicting a story which appears true to the world but in reality are just casting shadows on the cave wall.

Phantom is taken from their upcoming EP Are We Really Alive? due for release later this year. Are We Really Alive? Is the premiere to NO:IR, illustrating a contemporary and dynamic revival of heavy music. Conveying themes of depression, anxiety, addiction, anger, distrust and unity, Are We Really Alive? shows the different musical aspects of their sound, through trap beats, heavy metal breakdowns and haunting melodies. 

Just the start of the video and the screaming vocals come together in a wave of transcendence. It’s an utterly beautiful wave of emotion you just don’t get enough of in the world. Moving forward, the track is very well produced and the drums with the guitar just have this coherent rhythm that is impossible to ignore. I truly can’t wait to hear more because NO:IR could be a band that changes the shape of things in this generation.

Rating:5/5.

Check out the video for ‘Phantom’ below.

Single Review – Heckyl – ‘Stranger’

Stranger follows the release of ‘Preacher’ that received great reviews from NOTION, CLOUT Magazine, Talk About Pop Music and others plus it was selected Record of the Day by that influential music business daily.

Self-written, performed and produced in his Sweet Factory studio the song is a mixture of catchy melodies, harmonies built upon a base of imaginative ‘Kygo-esque’ rhythm, percussion and swirling synths. One listen and its earworm qualities will have you hooked and when you take in the lyrics you’ll feel and understand the darker side of life the author describes.

The song captures the inner voices that Luke channels through Heckyl and refer to the anxiety often experienced late at night when feelings are heightened by that imaginary monster that“crawls inside my head”. It’s relatable and, in difficult times like these, the feelings expressed will probably resonate with us all.

With a number of highly successful releases under his own name and co-writes and productions for other artists his songs have nearly 25 million streams on Spotify alone.”

Following on from the track ‘Preacher’, Heckyl’s follow up in the from of ‘Stranger’ just has a groove you can’t forget anytime soon. Punchy, rhythmic and truly fantastic, the artist proves he’s anything but a one hit wonder with the ideas flowing and one you want to see performed right away.

Rating:4/5.

Check out ‘Stranger’ below.

Single Review – Calling All Captains – Tailspin

Tailspin” is out now on New Damage Records, which is their first release in two years and is an energetic and emotional song about falling deep into your own vices. Consistently telling yourself you need to change, but struggling with the real pain that comes with healing. 

On the release, the band say:

Together we are slowly getting better, some days more than others. This is the first song we’ve released in over two years and it features Connor’s voice upfront and personal alongside Luc’s, adding a new element to our music. Thank you for listening!

The track is a perfect reminiscence track while blending genres in such a fascinating way. With reminders of Real Friends, Neck Deep, A Day To Remember and more, this is a very much welcomed return to the scene for Calling All Captains with the hooks coming in every shape and form but what displaces them from every band in similarity is the grungy vocals of Brad Bremmer. What they add to the genre though is the lyrics which encapsulate the feelings of the last year for most of the world. Hopefully they’ll be able to tour this one soon because it’ll go off in any venue!

Rating:5/5.

Check out Tailspin below or via your preferred streaming service.

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EP Review – Blitz Union – Not Proud

The majestic arrangement of Blitz Union’s latest EP, ‘Not Proud’ features the bands unique blend of rock and EDM elements with catchy vocal hooks and elevating synth leads



“Why do we still think that the human race is superior to all others? Nature can live without us, but we certainly can’t live without nature. Did we forget?”

Here is what Blitz Union says about the release:

“Not proud” is the main single from our same-titled second EP. This song sums up the message of the EP dealing with topics and questions around the relationship of humans and their environment, artificial vs. natural, human-made vs mother earth. With this release, You can again expect a fusion of hard-hitting rock elements and EDM hooks, which became the signature sound of our band Blitz Union lately.”



Since the band signed with the label Dreamstart Music 6 months ago, Blitz Union has seen a steady and constant rise in new listeners who turn into devoted fans around the world. Whether in the U.S., South America, Asia or all around Europe, the band’s most popular singles catch new fascinated listeners.

The band has had successful live shows in the past, playing at festivals and supporting bands like Oomph! regularly, and they can’t wait to go on tour again. With the release of the second EP ‘Not Proud’ and many more exciting releases, videos and hopefully live shows as well to come in 2021, the band is just warming up to conquer the hearts of even more fans of their music.

Every concert of the Blitz Union is a reunion of their supporters and those who want to join. And every time the giant guy dressed all in black and wearing a Blitz Union mask hiding his eyes walks through the audience and scans everyone making sure they are eligible to join… one thing is for sure: nobody is questioning their story… and everybody is ready for a change… ready to be the change.

To use the band’s wording: “Are you ready for a change? Join the Blitz Union!”

Kicking off the EP with the track, ‘TV’, you immediately hear the techno rock vibe, where if you think Crossfaith but a little less hard but more lyrically driven with that guitar is being more specially aware but in places more subtle.

Heading into ‘Money Crazy World’ there’s more of the feel of the opener but more of a dance feel. It has a defined beat where you can’t help but imagine this would be amazing in a club setting but some of the lyrics definitely in tune with the title. When it comes to a head, the influx of more hardcore aspect comes out to play if only for a moment but it brings out so much more in the band where you are overcome with an all out assault to give you the inspiration of that cathartic release of energy which is well and truly need.

‘Human Robot’ is just one of those alternative tracks that’s hard to forget about. By now, Blitz Union have introduced you to their world and genre they’ve seemingly created and all but mastered but here, they give you a track that’s too hard to ignore because of its brilliance. The synthetic and huge sounds they’ve derived is the standout of the EP so far.

‘Plastic’ is still building the world and pulls you in to a more vastly thought out cyberpunk synth world you want more of. In addition I have to mention the lyrical aspect of the EP. It’s leaps ahead of what some artists write where they’re having pops left, right and centre about the way of living of the modern era and’Plastic’ encapsulates this in a way which is brilliantly done where they address themselves as the plastic, they make us listen to what we as humans are doing while taking this all this amazing music in.

Sometimes with an EP, the music runs its course a few tracks in but the title track still rakes you into the world that’s created by Blitz Union in such a different way because you want more from this world because there’s seemingly no shortage of inspiration and ideas. Lastly for this track, when the echo of the track in the final third mixed with the bass and drums comes into things it’s a little disappointing they don’t make it more of an anthem but the alternative choice with the harmonic guitar pays off just as well.

Not Proud is a stunning and provocative body of work in which people must listen to because in a world where this amount energy needs to be released and in this time of the world, it’s more crucial than ever to get back to a world that gives and much as this EP does.

Rating: 4/5.

The EP, ‘Not Proud’ is available to listen to right now!

Check it out via your preferred streaming service.

Single Review – Boxteles – ‘D’YOU MIND?

Huddersfield alt-rock collective Boxteles make their return with their tantalising new single ‘D’You Mind?’ April 23rd

Boxteles journey began back in 2018, now comprised of Tom Bedford (vocals and guitar), Alex ‘Rex’ Richardson (bass), Ryan Smith (guitar) and Will Hirst (drums). Their musical journey began in front of a sound-tech and an elderly couple in Keighley. Fast-forward 18 months and Boxteles were selling out headline shows throughout the north. The new line-up is ready to blow rooves off venues throughout the U.K. and beyond (as soon as it is safely permitted).

Having released a string of popular singles as well as supporting acts like; Kyle Falconer of The View, Larkins and Glass Caves, Boxteles have gained a strong and loyal following that grows faster and stronger with every release. 2020 started with a bang, selling out two headline shows in Huddersfield and Manchester, and having signed their first record deal with Caos Music Ltd, we’re expecting big things from Boxteles this year.

Boxteles sound combines hard hitting riffs, sing-along choruses and more than a little of that famous Yorkshire wit. Now, making their return with ‘D’You Mind?’, Boxteles Tom Bedford explained: 

“D’You Mind? is a song that tries to encapsulate the excitement, anxiety and adventure that is the world of modern dating. It’s about trying to be yourself and be true to yourself as well as trying to impress and maybe hide aspects of your personality that you feel may deter others from wanting to stick around, all wrapped into a, rocky up-beat pop song.”


They look to 2021 with positive energy as it’s set to be a huge year for the band. They prime to hit stages once again with an all-new storming set of soul-stirring songs, with their sights set on the stratosphere. With ‘D’You Mind?’ set to drop on April 23rd 2021, this cheeky Yorkshire band are going places.

Check out ‘D’You Mind’ below.

Starting off with a little blues and then transporting into that rifftastic explosion is just utterly fantastic. Also, with the track diving further into modern dating is commendable and somewhat enjoyable to listen to but with the mix of the alternative and rock instrumentation coming together within the final third I was just blown away by the cathartic explosion the track really is.

Rating: 5/5.

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Single Review – Julian Skiboat – My Room

When you hear Julian Skiboat you stop and listen. Hailing from San Antonio, the 24 year-old multi instrumentalist and singer-songwriter evokes emotions out of each and every lyric and guitar strum. What’s astonishing is that up until recently, he has made all of his music on his iPhone 5.  

Starting out writing music at the age of 18, Julian was a drummer for local pop-punk bands in his hometown. Now the young enchanter has found his own sound. Following the release of his debut EP nice to meet u, which has garnered over one million streams to date, Julian is now unveiling his next slew of singles. Transitioning from his usual “sad boy” romance songs, to tracks about self-growth, the upcoming releases are all inspired by his day-to-day living, touching on themes from his own experiences and relationships, to everyday occurrences and general thoughts, providing comfort to listeners by reminding them that we’re all in this together. 

His latest single “My Room” was written as a reflection of how the artist has been feeling during the pandemic. He confides, “It’s about feeling bored, lonely, and stagnant. I have such a love for this song because I think it really represents me well. Having this upbeat happy instrumental with slightly somber lyrics really embodies me as a whole.” Emphasizing how better days are always ahead, the songwriter shares, “I think with my upcoming songs and projects I really want to dive into that kind of like “it could be worse”, “I can make it through this” message.” Sonically the track features laid-back tropical infused guitars, warm hazy vocals and Skiboat’s signature quirky soundscapes creating an enthralling juxtaposition.  

Continuing to press his artistry forward and with a step up in production and musicianship, Julian is showing his dedication to furthering his craft. The somber style he has developed has led to press pickups from Live Nation’s Ones To Watch, DIY, Earmilk, Lyrical Lemonade, Hilly Dilly, Urban Outfitters and more. Julian Skiboat seems poised to become a household name.

Right in at the start of this track you hear something striking and different. Whether it’s the instrumentation of the music or Julian’s voice, it’s something I gravitated to quite quickly and is a track for the generation trapped by COVID-19. Reflecting on the past is always good to be doing and this track does it in a way that you can’t get enough of.

Rating:3.5/5.

Single Review – Lacuna J – Fool (For Loving You)

LACUNA J is an independent and self-published artist/songwriter based in Manchester. Like her name, her music is alluring and evocative, referring to herself as genre fluid, LACUNA J will not be defined to a certain box. Relating more to the stubborn daisies flowering through the cracks in the pavement than to English roses, this songstress is quite simply a force to be reckoned with. 

After honing her craft at the Tisch School of Arts at NYU, LACUNA J’s magic lies in her ability to create misfit love songs and confessional odes about sexuality and bleeding emotions in a unique combination of indie lyrics and electronic beats. Her captivating tracks range emotionally from melancholic to exuberant, bubblegum pop anthems.

With a distinct authenticity and individuality, LACUNA J’s music is a total breath of fresh air. 2021 sees a new era of music, from exotic melodies streaked with neon, to moody lyrics that pack a punch. Her latest tune “Fool (For Loving You)” narrates her perspective as a spectator. It’s easy to become blinded by love and be blissfully unaware of someone’s toxicity and this songwriter knows all too well what it’s like to be in a vulnerable position at the hands of someone heartless. Written as a means of attempting to crack the rose-tinted glasses of a loved one, LACUNA J shares, “I guess it’s a silent plea for them to figure it out on their own without my interfering but the frustration of also sitting back not wanting to be officious.”

Describing her songs as “diary entries” she shares, “It’s almost like my subconscious is spilling all the tea on what I’m really thinking or feeling.” The lyricism is chilling, beautiful, raw and most definitely relatable. The production has an empowering tone with the trumpet-esque synths that elicit fierce feelings and a diverse catalogue of dynamics. With an R&B style beat that floats into a more pop feel, “Fool (For Loving You)” is glazed in waves of bright, luminous melodies that thrive amongst the vibrant soundscapes. The track contains a selection of sounds and pockets of individual elements that result in a journey of dreamy clouds of LACUNA J.

LACUNA J has landed multiple official Spotify playlists, amassing close to half a million streams across all platforms. Garnering support from the likes of BBC Introducing, as well as BBC Manchester and Gaydio, LACUNA J, is also known for her songwriting and top-lining work for Sony ATV.

This track is just a slow burner in the best way. You see more emotion than most artists deliver in such a subtle way but the best thing about this track is the atmosphere that is created leaving you swaying your head to the beat of the melody. In addition the song structure having it as a ‘diary entry’ is something fascinating which gives us something more emotional and in turn something quite chilling to listen to.

Check out ‘Fool (For Loving You)’ below.

Single Review – Meisha And The Spanks -Mixed Blood Girls

Mixed Blood Girls is the latest single from Meisha & The Spanks April 16th 2021 Singles EP release.

On the singles release, they say:

It’s (some of) my story as a mixed Secwépemc girl from the East Kootenays. My dark skin and white features left me open to compliments on my “beautiful tan,” and when they found out it wasn’t, I was “too pretty to be an Indian.” From ballet moms to dudes in bars, I’ve heard it all.

But it isn’t all skin deep. Being mixed isn’t just about appearances and everyone’s entitled opinion about them. My story follows where I came from and where I currently stand, distanced from family and culture and often pretty isolated because of it.

I was inspired to write “Mixed Blood Girls” after attending my friend Smokii Sumac’s book launch. A poet before them, Rain Prud’homme, read their poem, Mixedblood Girls, relating their experience as mixed Creole-Indigenous. I loved it. I wanted to be that brave and say my words, but it wasn’t an easy thing to do. I had to dig deeper than my own story.

In my search for community I think I wrote an anthem. Our full force behind M-M-M-M-Mixed Blood Girls,” I call them hard from the start – anyone who’s been living in between or felt left behind. Anyone who can’t catch up to their culture. Women and girls fetishized for being darkexoticinteresting (NDNyou weren’t expecting.) For those girls who are brown in the sun, and brown in the shade.

It’s got a raw punk rock feel to it that just goes all in right from the start with a triumphant and unadulterated sound you can mosh to at any time. What’s more is that the lyrics have a more commanding presence than any in a song of recent memory. It’s a statement track you need to be hearing right now.

Rating: 4/5.

Check out ‘Mixed Blood Girls’ below.

Single Review – Heckyl – Preacher

Fresh pop artist Heckyl, aka the incredibly talented Luke Potter, drops his first track, ‘Preacher’. Super Catchy and well-produced.

As an experienced producer, Potter wrote, produced and recorded the piece himself in his ‘Sweet Factory Studio’. Synth-lead with bouncing percussion and vocal samples, the track is a perfectly crafted modern pop song from start to finish. The memorable and sing-a-long chorus is both melodic and meaningful.

Talking on the track, he states “​‘Preacher’ is about living in the moment and appreciating what you have in life, not chasing the things you don’t need.”

With a previous body of work under his own name, Potter is no stranger to musical success and is very experienced in his own right. Working as a producer for other artists as well as himself, he’s released tracks such as ​‘Something More – Andrelli Remix’ which has over 18 million plays on Spotify alone. Now rebranding as Heckyl, his new project focuses on the inner demons plaguing us all, a world where anxiety, love and creativity come together, especially apt in the current climate. With many more tracks to follow, this new look is an extremely exciting one from a new songwriter/producer with a vast potential.

The track is something definitely fresh but the thing I can’t get over is how high quality that production is! This always pops in the ear and is going to be one ear worm you’ll want to remember. Pop infused and incredibly entertaining, ‘Preacher’ is one track you don’t want to snooze on anytime soon.

Single Review – Endscape – Rain

After the release of their second single ‘Validate Me’ that received rave reviews and airtime on BBC radio, UK modern rock band ENDSCAPE are back with their third single ‘Rain’. 

On March 26th 2021, ENDSCAPE, one of the UK’s most exciting new rock acts, will drop track 3 of 12 that will be released this year (one a month). This song was recorded entirely remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

The song fuses together dark synthetic sounds with crunching guitar, thundering drums and brooding, anthemic vocals. 

The song’s theme is a love/hate relationship with the self-imposed pressure to succeed. Rain is a cathartic self vs. self anthem that suggests that maybe the only way to be truly happy is to live outside of success expectation culture.

The track is a crushing testament to what Endscape encapsulate and that is British anthems of epic proportions. The dark synths mixed with the thundering guitar is one track which is just visionary and the drop in the final third of the track is truly inspiring. With a band that only has now only their third track out at the moment, it’s hard to believe that is the case.

Rating:4/5.