Album Review: 'Fall Better' – Vukovi

Almost three years after their widely-praised self-titled debut album, Vukovi are back and better than ever with new album Fall Better’. Throughout 2019, Vukovi gifted us three tastes of ‘Fall Better’, with the incredible singles ‘C.L.A.U.D.I.A’, ‘All That Candy’ and ‘Behave’ signposting the band’s next musical phase, and the rest of the album does not disappoint. ‘Violent Minds’ opens the record following a cryptic electronic automated voicemail in the form of ‘17359’, referring to the listener as “User 17359” and warning that the album “contains strong language, dark themes, and dirty fucking riffs”, what more could you ask for?

The strong opening sets the tone for the rest of the album and every song flows beautifully together until the interlude ‘Verify Your Worth’ but quickly jumps back into softer anthems such as ‘I’m Sorry’ and soulful ‘Where Are You’. Many of the lyrics on the album are influenced by Thought Action Fusion, a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that frontwoman Janine Shilstone was diagnosed with in the time elapsed between their first album in 2017 and 2020’s ‘Fall Better’. The disorder can lead those who have it to believe that their actions are guided by an external presence; in Janine’s case, this presence took the form of a shadow, and in ‘All That Candy’ she references this presence as “nothing but a ghost, holy messing up my head”.

Vukovi are the future of UK rock music and ‘Fall Better’ is a masterclass in catchy and powerful songwriting with the classic aspects of rock, pop, and alternative music sprinkled throughout; you can dance and mosh and cry, all at the same time. Vukovi have proven once again that they will not conform to a cookie cutter society and will bend and break all expectations set out for them as a band.

Fall Better’ drops this Friday January 24th via VKVI Records, and is still available for pre-order at:

Album Review: Songs For Sad Girls – Lauren Tate

We’ve worked closely with the band Hands Off Gretel in the past, and reviewed their latest album ‘I Want The World’, but merely months after the release, front woman Lauren Tate announced she would be releasing her first solo studio album in five years through her own record label Trash Queen Records. Lauren is a musical powerhouse; not only writing, recording, mixing and producing the album but presenting her artistic skills in the album’s artwork.

‘Songs For Sad Songs’ is a thirteen track adventure, tip-toeing through sensitive subjects ranging from grooming, abusive relationships, to mental illness. The two singles from the record differ greatly in message but at the same time, they are closely linked, conveying two life changing political and social issues. ‘Miss American Perfect Body’ is about women in the media and body image, a catchy soft grunge anthem guaranteed to have you swaying with a lighter in the air in no time. On the other hand, the second single ‘What About The Kids’ is a heart-wrenching account of a school shooting, from the perspective of a victim addressing her father. “The song is from a child’s point of view speaking to her father addressing gun violence in America.

“I wanted the song to highlight issues around gun control and the importance of children’s future in a world where nobody is listening to them. I wrote this song to sing for those that won’t ever get the chance to do so.”  

Other notable mentions on the album include ‘Can’t Keep my Hands Off You’ is a classic love/hate pop rock ballad, portraying an “asshole” boyfriend or love interest that Lauren can’t escape, hence the title. ‘He Wanted More’ is a grungy song, one of the heavier parts of the album, lyrically painting a frustrating portrait of being told you’re not good enough by someone who supposedly loves you. ‘He Loves Me’ covers an abusive relationship in a jazzier tempo, a stand out part of the chorus being the phrase “I know you only hurt me ‘cause you love me, right?”

‘Rock N Roll Radio’, a narrative song, telling a tale of grooming from the perspective of a fifteen year old befriending a thirty-one year old man who is then revealed to be married. Whether or not Tate has personally experienced some of the issues raised throughout ‘Songs For Sad Girls’ does not take away from her incredible penmanship, making every song feel so raw and personal without taking too much away from the music itself. 

“My lyrics are honest and brutal with songs about domestic abuse, body image, feminism and fear of dying. I wanted it to sound like a girl writing in her diary, unapologetic and imperfect like real girls are.”

Closing song ‘Teddy’ is gritty nostalgia-fuelled song, Lauren yearns for the comfort of her childhood toys, ending the album on a blue note, but it almost feels appropriate. ‘Songs For Sad Girls’ really is an album for sad girls, and is possibly a weapon to make young impressionable women realise they are not alone in their feelings or experiences. Lauren Tate is influencing a whole new generation of riot girls, unafraid to be loud and angry and especially in the music industry, demanding to be visible and to be listened to. 

Preorder ‘Songs For Sad Girls’ here:

Album Review: Body Bag Your Scene – Riskee and The Ridicule

In the social climate of 2019, Riskee and The Ridicule are the band we so desperately need. Their third album ‘Body Bag Your Scene’ breezes across subjects such as sexual exploitation, drugs, mental illness, and of course, modern politics. Opening so intensely with ‘Accelerate’, the record teases with gang vocals, a catchy chant that will have you humming along in no time, tied up with a crescendo into a massive punk fuelled chorus. The first single ‘Kaboom!’ jumps in to steal the attention away, weaving an extremely memorable melody and intelligent penmanship, a couple listens are recommended to truly take in what the verses are preaching about right-wing propaganda in the media.

Tongue-in-cheek “Our Time” potentially has some of the best one liners on the album, and perhaps in general, for example “Sex, drugs, and sausage rolls (vegan!)”. Now that is the kind of lyricism I want to hear more in modern music.

The next single ‘In The Dark We Dwell’ marks a dramatic departure from the first single and was directed entirely by the band. It also includes a respectful nod to the late Keith Flint (of The Prodigy) and anyone suffering from their own internal darkness.

Around the halfway mark of the album sits ‘Sellout’, reminiscent of the early days of pop punk (Green Day, Blink-182) with bouncy choruses and witty writing that are irresistible. On the other hand ‘Cut Your Teeth’ feels more like a hardcore inspired track, think Stray From The Path mixed with The Clash… a combination that sounds ridiculous but trust us, it works.

People accuse the genre of rock music of regurgitating the same cliches, the same bands and songs over the decades but every song on the record has some thing different. ‘For Old Times’ Sake’ is another anthem

Closing with ‘D.I.Y’ feels appropriate, considering the was made with fans submitting to Riskee and The Ridicule’s own pledge campaign and saw them having a direct input and a piece of the release via credits, memorabilia and even private home shows.

‘Body Bag Your Scene’ is a great example of a successful punk album with mixed influences and incredibly experimental songs, back to the roots of what punk was and what it needs to be in 2019.

Overall Rating: 7/10

To pre-order ‘Body Bag Your Scene’ on CD or Vinyl:

Album Review: Through Love And Death, You’re All I Have Left – Dude Trips

The big name in Scottish music right now is Lewis Capaldi, making a huge splash in the mainstream media, his new album plastered on every billboard up and down the country. In this climate it can be easy for new music to be swept aside while everyone is drooling over someone so popular but Aberdeen-based quartet Dude Trips are paving the way for the future of Scotland’s alternative-emo music scene with their new album ‘Through Love And Death, You’re All I Have Left’.

Opening song ‘Blank Canvas’ paints the most beautiful scene for the rest of the record, setting the tone musically and lyrically. Followed perfectly by ‘In Between Days’ and the first single from the album, ‘Documentaries’ has one of the catchiest choruses of 2019, ready to be screamed along to by a massive crowd of fans.

“This record is for the heartbroken, it’s for anyone who has lost a friend, a family member. It’s for the ones struggling with mental health & for the people who’re struggling to come to terms with a break up.”

via Dude Trips Facebook

Through ‘Tampa Bay’, a song that was originally part of their 2017 EP ‘Sad Lads’ is the heart-wrenching breakup song of the century, Capaldi wishes it was in his repertoire. The title track “Through Love and Death” closes the album, leaving the listener with something rare to be desired… more. Ten songs feel like ten seconds when you have been swept away in waves of such raw emotion.

If you enjoy bands such as Moose Blood, Movements, and even The Wonder Years, Dude Trips have perfected the blend of catchy alternative music, clean guitar tones, and impeccable penmanship and storytelling resembling that of Dan Campbell of The Wonder Years.

Here’s where you can find the band online:

Album Review: I Want The World – Hands Off Gretel

After premiering the music video for Hands Off Gretel’s “I Want The World”, the title track of the new album on our site, we knew the Yorkshire-based quartet were truly a force to be reckoned with, and with the imminent release of their independently produced album, we thought we would talk you through what to expect.

The album opens strong, lead by single “Kiss Me Girl”, an infectious punk number, singer Lauren Tate’s lyrics are reminiscent of Courtney Love’s penmanship, with possibly the catchiest chorus of 2019. We can promise it will be stuck in your head for days!

Songs like “S.A.S.S”, “Big Boy”, “I Want The World”, and “Alien” are quintessential riot-girl numbers that are seething with femme energy, perfect soundtracks for girl gangs all over the world to jam to.

On the other hand, “It’s My Fault”, “Blame Myself”, “Fingers”, and “Freaks Like Us” are melancholy fuelled ballads of angsty teenage frustration, something that every girl or woman has experienced and can relate to.

“Milk” is unlike the other songs on the album, and to me is the only one that defies boundaries, and is a direct attack on the dairy industry. I believe this is the first vegan anthem I have ever heard and I absolutely love it.

“Rot (All The Good Things)” is the perfect closing song, in my opinion, encapsulating everything that Hands Off Gretel are so accomplished in, making raw punk anthems with the most memorable choruses and bridges to be screamed along to at the top of your lungs.

Under the layers of punk rock, riot girl, and grunge, ‘I Want The World’ has something for everyone to enjoy. If you’re a fan of Hole, No Doubt, or Babes In Toyland, this is a band for you. Hands Off Gretel’s whole aesthetic is conveyed so beautifully musically and physically with the CD, that we definitely recommend you pick up!

Favourite Song: It’s My Fault or Rot (All The Good Things)
Favourite Lyric: “Girl on fire! Girl to crash and burn!”
Overall Rating: 7/10

Find Hands Off Gretel at: