Sunday, 4 December 2011

Scottish Fiction - Best Of 2011 - Singles

Best is a subjective term, which should really be replaced with 'favourite'. But in our chosen field of music, and in a wider term the arts, 'best' is never a word that can be used without actually meaning favourite. Anyway, enough about semantics, onwards to the 'best' single of 2011.

It's the time of year where bloggers, reviewers, journalists and all sorts of other people with an obsessive compulsive personality compile together lists ordering and categorising any given subject. So in the forthcoming weeks you can expect some things of that nature. I'm saving the albums until after the BAMS having finally submitted my top picks.

I've been sitting for too long trying to do this, so I've decided on my favourite, numero uno, the creme de la creme. The rest are presented in no particular order, other than to say they are all awesome. So just now you can sit back, read and disagree with everything I say.

Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - The Copper Top

I find it difficult to describe this song. It's so unlike anything that I would usually listen to, and yet I'm drawn to it's beauty. The brutal bone chilling honesty of Moffat's lyrics, that all too familiar Scottish trait of talking about anything other than what we really feel, the beauty of Well's piano, the captive attention to detail, the heart rendering final line softly sighed. "Everything's getting older..." Actually that wasn't difficult at all.

Michael Cassidy - Everybody's Scared

This song hit YouTube in 2010, but I'm counting it because I first heard it this year. Michael has a fantastic voice, and this track showcases that really well. It's also got a great video to boot, and Michael's a great guy. Not that that should have any bearing on the matter...

Adam Holmes & The Embers - I Can't Be Right

Like Michael Cassidy, Adam Holmes has a fantastic voice. It's raw, it's earthy. it's warm. And along with his band The Embers, they have put out two EP's in 2011, Follow The Sun, and Long Way Home, from which this track is taken from.

Bwani Junction - Two Bridges

This came so close to being the number one pick. If anything it probably should be, but I've gone for something else for reasons I'll explain later. Bwani Junction are described with an Afro-Caribbean sound, which is true. 'Two Bridges' retains this sound with the funky bass line, and also cements itself as a stand out track on their debut album 'Fully Cocked' due to it's mainstream accessability. Hard to believe these guys are not signed yet.

The Shivers - Love Is In The Air

Okay they are not Scottish, which may be against the ethos of Scottish Fiction. But let's tear down our nationalistic walls for a moment to appreciate this truly great song from an equally inspired album. I could have chosen any song, but 'Love Is In The Air' has that kind of laid back soulful vibe that makes the whole thing seem effortless. Oh and there album 'More' was released on Fence records. So it counts.

The Little Kicks - Call Of Youth

It starts off with an intro that Ocean Colour Scene would have been proud off. Any further comparisons can be forgotten once lead singer Steven Milne kicks in. Good steady beat throughout, it begets further listening and has pretty darn good ending.

PAWS - Lekker

I fucking love PAWS. They are without doubt one of the best bands to emerge from these shows in recent times. 'Lekker' is a romping, stomping orgy of noise. And I could have been in the video but didn't make it. Shame.

FOUND - Anti Climb Paint

A story of persistance? The antagonists object of affection has legs coated with anti climb paint, but even though it's a bugger to wash off, why let that get in the way. Great song, and cue the obligatory mention of the edible chocolate 7"...

The Twilight Sad - Sick

Teaser 'Kill It In The Morning' didn't reveal too much new about the Sad's third album 'No One Can Ever Know' which drops in February next year. But first single 'Sick' showcases a new sound, and thoroughly whets the appetite for the afformented album. I did a review of it here, so read that 'cause I'm lazy.

We Were Promised Jetpacks - Medicine

Another band making their return this year were We Were Promised Jetpacks, who released their sophmore album 'In The Pit Of The Stomach'. It was preceeded by the single 'Medicine'. WWPJ are quickly becoming one of Scotland's premier bands. Again, I've already review this here.

So there's ten tracks which I think are pretty swell. There's been literally hundreds of great stuff out this year, and it would be folly of me to even attempted to cover it all. Cast your ears back over all of the Scottish Fiction radio shows this year and hear the above tracks and more throughout all the episodes.

So we come to the top track. The best song I've heard this year.

The Spook School - History

I love this song. Pure and simple infatuation. (It's been said countless times so I'll add one more) Sounding straight off the C-86 tap, all the elements are there. Jangly guitars, melodies, tweeness reminiscient of Belle & Sebastian. 'History' is so catchy, you'll wake up at 3:24 AM humming the 'la la la la'. It also makes reference to John Cleese, so as an avid Python fan, this gets double points. The lyrics are cute little observations, which complete the whole package.

But why this song as #1? Well other than the above, I was so impressed that this was the very first offering from the band. I'm sure obviously they've spent some time together, but as a maiden release into the world of music, 'History' takes the crown as best single this year. Bravo, well done, jolly good show, etc, etc.

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