The Very Small

The Very Small is an alt-rock trio from Washington, District of Columbia, in the USA comprising Robin Smith (Lead Vocals / Guitar), Aaron Mann (Backing Vocals / Drums) and Zack Be (Backing Vocals / Bass / Keyboard).

The Very Small - alt-rock from the USA

The Very Small

I am minded of Gilbert & Sullivan Operetta as The Very Small cram and expand lyric inside stanza – there the similarity falls off the cliff-edge as the trio sheer far away from the theatrical to the shorn of adornment. The scantily robed sounds flicker of the elements, which for its very open spaces, gives the material a raw energy that draws in the audience.


Of particular remark are the understated keys, which far from adding sympathy are deployed to create fragility, sitting in syncopation with percussion, the notes act more as an frozen wrap for the bass. That isn’t to say that The Very Small are unable to generate melodic texture, as the guitar shimmers like an electrode betwixt the pillars of ice and it is this very coldness that makes the music so appealing. The voices combine to add a warming candle which serves to add melt water to the contexts.

The listener is left with a sense of absolute pleasure, for the very chill that rattles through the spine. There is a mysterious and icy beauty to the music of The Very Small that finds the brain wanting more.

Zoomed Way Out – the Very Small is available on iTunes.*

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The Motel Beds

The Motel Beds from Dayton in the USA is the garage rock quartet of PJ, Tommy, Derl, Ian and Tod.

The Motel Beds - Garage Rock from the USA

The Motel Beds

Taking British Blues Rock references and adding dashes of Americana The Motel Beds deliver a sound which has a hint of psychedelia inside the rock formulations, giving the music a shimmering cross border appeal.


Relatively well established The Motel Beds have developed the ability to add flourishes to the basic constructs, without heading off into tangents unknown. There is something easy to extract from the compositions, whilst equally, for more cerebral moments there is plenty to keep the head busy. The deft way the quartet put together the music, gives the audience a sense of spaciousness as the notes unhurriedly float past the ears.

There is an instant recognizability to the songs, but The Motel Beds are able to create a space of difference which gives the band the potential to spread their wings across wide genres of listeners.

Not seeking to reinvent the wheel, the quartet nonetheless have something of value to the world of music and although not a collection I will be adding on to my everyday playlist – I can find this fitting into the more considered moments of calmness, where they have an immediate connection.

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These Are the Days Gone By (Remastered) – Motel Beds is available on iTunes*

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Surrounded By Thieves

Rich Castro (Drums), Eric Laux (Bass), Brandon Buck (Vocals) and Eric Raleigh (Guitar) from Las Vegas in the USA form the new-wave outfit Surrounded By Thieves.

Surrounded By Thieves - new-wave from the USA

Surrounded By Thieves

Charging through the speakers in a maelstrom of frustration Surrounded By Thieves deliver uncompromising music to accompany the affronted lyric. Songs speak of social injustice, whilst maintaining an equilibrium of self determination, which gives the overall out-put a positivity of making a change within the chaotic surroundings.


In the same vein, the instruments are deployed to deliver ear-splitting confrontation as percussion and bass demoniacally hurtle waves of sound and suddenly out of the blue rises a melodic twist of guitar virtuoso. Surrounded By Thieves are able to balance the walk between abject rage and considered fortitude which gives them an interesting positioning.

Perhaps these seemingly polar contemplatives comes about from personal experiences of life in finding a way to negotiate the barriers along the way as they are equally not offering easy answers to the questions they pose.

An LP their eponymously named eleven track came out last week and is well worth getting hold of as it trammels the incongruence of  life.

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Surrounded by Thieves – Surrounded By Thieves is available on iTunes*.

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MINOT

MINOT from Oakland in the USA is the electro-rock trio of Ben Thorne (Bass), Matthew W. Solberg (Guitar / Sampling / Sequencing) and Shannon Corr (Drums / Drum Synth).

MINOT - EQUAL / OPPOSITE artwork

MINOT – EQUAL / OPPOSITE artwork


Originally formed as a duo, the band took a while to get down to basics and it wasn’t until MINOT became a trio that things moved forward. Combining instruments and electronics the out-put is resplendent in finery, with sounds that weave their way around the room in flowing sequences of sound.

The compositions are complex and can be stood listening to several times over and on each occasion new dimensions will be caught by the ears. Given the intricate nature of the pieces, it is of little surprise that releases are a little sparse, although a new LP the seven track  EQUAL / OPPOSITE is being released on at the beginning of July.

This is music which demands both time and concentration, but is a worthwhile investment of effort as MINOT create music that contains some very well constructed nuances.

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Morning Fuzz

Morning Fuzz from New York in the USA is the rock quartet of Frank (Vocals / Guitar), Chris (Bass / Vocals), Michael (Guitar / Vocals) and Jesse (Drums).

Morning Fuzz - rock from The USA

Morning Fuzz

As evidence that there is no need to play around with a tried and tested formula of four people plus instruments and drum-kit and you have the foundations of rock band – Morning Fuzz  – are an example. Not seeking to change the world, rather add to it, the quartet deliver solid rock more than competently.

It is the infinitesimal nature of a combination of between ten and sixteen strings betwixt them that makes reviewing emerging rock bands such a pleasure.  In theory it should have all been heard before, but it never has and Morning Fuzz add a delicious temperament to the genre without ever trying to break the mould.

An interesting band, who it will be of more than cursory intent to follow as they have a sound which has the potential to easily accommodate big stage stadium performance, whether they ever have the opportunity, time alone will tell. Intriguingly, they equally have a style which suits the more intimate venues and well worth getting out to see playing live I would posit.

Whilst transposing smartly to recorded material, Morning Fuzz is almost certainly at their best in live performance, where the inter-play would be far stronger (I imagine) and perhaps why all the best rock bands get round to live recording of their LPs, as studio recordings almost inevitably dilute the real feel of the out-put. That said, as they are only playing in the USA and I am based in the UK, I am nonetheless grateful for the Studio releases I can get hold of. I would council they release a live LP to really showcase the sound.

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Chasing Ghosts – Morning Fuzz is available on iTunes*

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