Wednesday, 29 January 2014

That's My Jam #29 - Young Fathers - Get Up

ny track entitled Get Up by rights needs to have a beat that bust a move.  Young Fathers bring a whole barrel of bump 'n' grind with them, fuelling a carnival atmosphere with catchy riffs, loud jagged bass and wonky rhythms.

Safe to say, Young Father's are giving off a vibe like no other, and début album DEAD cannot come soon enough.

Album Review - Monoganon - Family

Family is the second album from Glasgow based Monoganon which picks up where début Songs To Swim To left off adding even more layers to the band’s already dense soundscapes.

Opener Quick Crescent Moon flows by almost ambient in places before Wasted Teens sunburst guitar line parts the clouds taking us through sampled birdsong and lo-fi vocals.  The song, like a lot of the album has an almost Krautrock feel veering towards the experimental feel of early Kraftwerk (in the live instrument days) and Neu’s more ambient tracks.

Easterhouse continues that theme before Best Pals with its sampled laughter and near psychedelic feel shakes you up.  Arc Of The Tuna Fish and All You Need To Know Is are Pavement-esque in a very good way.  Closing trio Car Coming Home, Bean A Daughter and Ivory & Tusk impress with their mix of '90’s US Alternative sound and almost ambient passages

Overall this is an excellent album full of intrigue and one that will reward with repeat listens.  If you’re a fan of the styles and sound mentioned above (and they are only the tip of the iceberg) then there is plenty here for you.

- David McElroy

Monoganon - Family is out now on Lost Map Records and can be purchased on CD/Vinyl via Lost Maps records or in good record shops.  Downloads available via iTunes.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

That's My Jam #28 - Lists - Autumn

The world doesn't need any more acoustic singer songwriters does it?  If that's your point of view then I'd urge you to reconsider and squeeze one more in.  Lists is the creative persona of Edinburgh based musician Ali Milesi, and Autumn is the first sneak the public has been granted at his music.

Reminiscent of the finger picked guitar sounds of Jose Gonzalez, and the soft vocals of Damien Rice, the track also employs a captivating drum and snare rhythm, which add an extra layer of depth to an incredible lullaby.  Autumn is available via Bandcamp as a free download.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Album Review - Beerjacket - Darling Darkness

Like many songwriters, Peter Kelly, a.k.a Beerjacket keeps his cards close to his chest when it comes to his lyrics.  Yet when he does let slip about the inspirational sources the picture that emerges is not one of clichéd tormented artiste, but of a man who is genuinely contented and happy with his lot in life.  Take the opening line of Antlers; "put your hands on my head to make antlers", an imagine conjured, so we were informed during Kelly's between song banter on Vic Galloway's Celtic Connections show, by act of placing his children on his shoulders.  The same tracks sees Kelly sing "Dare I believe" in a brief moment of contemplation.

And believe he should well do.  For Darling Darkness, his second studio album, seventh overall, allows us all to believe. 

Peter Kelly wears many hats, combining his desire for creative independence with his musical talents, and a passion for teaching; his day job as an English teacher.  What he does well, as all good songwriters do, is to not separate those entities, allowing each of his passions to bleed into the other, so that his music bursts with honesty and realism.

The album begins with a sucker punch double whammy in the guise of Antlers and Two Travel.  Whilst Antlers delights with mandolin and vocal harmonies, courtesy of Julia Doogan and previous Beerjacket collaborator Louise Connell, Two Travel broods with intent.

Glow, contains the line from which the album gains it name is an uplifting love song, dedicated to someone who provides that respite from the world.  Another track whose roots lie in the imagination of children is Cape, an ode to the child-like vision of playing superheros.

An album as stripped back as Darling Darkness puts songwriting front and centre.  Acoustic guitar, the occasional additional guitar or mandolin, scattered percussion and fleeting vocal melodies are all that fill out the spaces between Kelly's voice.  Despite not quite fitting into the 'folk' bracket, there's an earthy feel about the songs, a realisation that simplicity equates beauty.  The music itself remains as heart warming as one has come to expect from Beerjacket following the acclaimed The White Feather Trail.  Instrumental interludes such as in Keys and final track Men showcase Kelly and producer Stuart McLeod's delicate playing.

Darling Darkness connects in such a way because it's not disconnected from reality, the seeds of its songs come from the little everyday things, which serve as reminders to smile and be contended.  Beerjacket continues his unassuming, undemanding march to the claim of one of Scotland's finest crafter of songs.

- Neil Wilson

Beerjacket - Darling Darkness is out on Monday 27th January via iTunes, Amazon, and other online music retailers.  You can download and purchase a CD copy of the album directly from Beerjacket's Bandcamp.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 22nd January 2014

Get on board and hold on tight, this ride is about to get bumpy!  Racous new music from Young Philadelphia, and BRUNDLEHORSE to kick up the fire, and music from The New Mendicants and Beerjacket to sooth down the flames.  It's a bundle of new Scottish music for the hardy souls willing to take the journey.

Mogwai - Repelish
Dirty Lies - Shallow Grave
Babe - Tilt
The Winter Tradition - Departures

Cover Lover - We Were Hunted - Go Your Own Way

Rachel Sermanni - Everything Is OK
Geoff Martin - Something Good
Adam Holmes - I Can't Be Right
lists - autumn
Beerjacket - Cape
The New Mendicants - High On The Skyline
Randolph's Leap - Light Of The Moon
Tuff Love - Poncho
Call To Mind - Over The Machair
Woodenbox - Courage
The Moth & The Mirror - Germany
Alarm Bells - Compounds
Young Philadelphia - LQDBRKFST
St Deluxe - Plastic Eyeballs

#tweetatrack - Curators - Cemetery Sea - As chosen by Jon A Than

Sharfla - Heliotropic
Sean Armstrong - Warped Time
The Amazing Snakeheads - Flatlining

Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Be part of the crowd

Crowd-funding has been around for a while.  Even the Statue of Liberty has crowd funding to thank for her platform on Liberty Island, built back in 1885 thanks to crowd-funding.  Over the past few years, and in increasing numbers since the world's biggest crowd-funding website Kickstarter allowed UK based projects to use its site in 2012, the number of musicians turning to their fans to fund their music has grown exponentially.

Of course music fans have always 'funded' artists music.  In the most overly simplistic model possible artists releasese album, fans by album, artists gets paid.  However as anyone who has ever released anything above a DIY demo tape will tell you, releasing an album costs money.  Money that you have no guarantee of ever getting back.  With record labels watching every penny going out, how do bands without any label backing avoid bankrupting themselves to put out their music?

Answer... Crowd-funding. 

For those not in the know, crowd-funding allows a group or individual to run a campaign to raise funds for a particular project.  That may be making a film, building a house, or releasing an album.  Donors can pledge a certain amount of money in return for certain benefits.  The end result being if the target is met, the project is funded.

What's important to realise however is that even at this stage (statistics show that over 50% of crowd-funding projects fail to reach their targets) is that musicians have not yet made any money.  What crowd-funding allows them to do is have a chance of making some money off the fruits of their labours, rather than going into hibernation to pay off the debts accrued from making the last record.

But what about fans?  How does it change the musical landscape for the people who buy the end products?  Think of it this way.  When you go into a record shop, you can choose any of the albums on the shelves.  The products are already there, the choice of which to buy is yours.  Crowd-funding allows you to choose which products to put on the shelves.

What is the potential in crowd-funding?  Where can it go from here?  Surely, as much as the traditional model of the music industry can be lambasted, the end goal for musicians is still to be 'signed' and paid by a label in advance to release their music.  With many labels pulling back in A&R and scouting, no longer taking chances on music that doesn't conform to market trends, and dropping artists after one or two 'below-expectations' releases, crowd-funding gives unsigned musicians the opportunity to put their wares out into the market and build a name for themselves. 

Whatever the future holds for the music industry, crowd-funding appears to be one of the few ways independent and unsigned artists can take the first steps into releasing albums, and you can pledge your bottom dollar, that as grass roots music fans, you'll be on the end of increasingly more crowd-funding campaigns.

Here's some current crowd-funding campaigns from Scottish musicians:

Rachel Sermanni -

Pledge for a new EP Everything Changes.  Various goodies are available such as handwritten lyrics, signed vinyl and the opportunity for an acoustic house concert.  Pledging open until 27th January 2014

Meursault -

Meursault are heading to the USA.  Namely for SXSW, however the band plan to do a full east coast tour and finally 'crack' America.  To help fund this they are releasing a new album The Organ Grinders Monkey with various ways for pledgers to contribute to the album, such as suggesting a cover, or a private gig.  Pledging open until 6th February 2014

Sefiros -

Electronic producer Bryan Henderson has been making music for nearly 10 years under the moniker Sefiros.  This project is to fund his eight album, but would be the first to be released as a physical project.  The album is called Dither, and fans can receive signed CD's, special artwork and t-shirts.  Pledging open until 14th February 2014

How To Swim -

With their second album Niagarama recorded and ready for release, How To Swim are looking for funding to put their album out professionally on vinyl, and to be able to properly promote the release.  There's some interesting pledges available including paying for the band to clean your house!  Pledging open until 10th February 2014

Monday, 20 January 2014

That's My Jam #27 - We Were Promised Jetpacks - Peace Sign

Anyone who's ever seen We Were Promised Jetpacks live can pay testimony to the intensity and passion that burns within the band.  On the stage is where Jetpacks thrive, so it's apt that the first new material we hear from the band is a live version of new track Peace Sign.

Taken from their forthcoming live album E Rey Live In Philadelphia, the track is a little fuzzier than you'd be used to from WWPJ's, albeit it is live.  There's plenty of punch in however in the instrumental breaks, showing that the band haven't lost any of their potency.  With hints of breakup and torment in the lyrics, and Adam's voice in fine form, all signs point towards album number three being something to look forward to.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 15th January 2014

Starting 2014 by celebrating the best live tracks from our guests of 2013 seems like a good way to go about the first live show of the year doesn't it?  After hearing back just how good these session tracks were, I think the only conclusion is yes it bloody was!  Tracks including some exclusive new tracks played ONLY to the Scottish Fiction audience.  There's also the announcement of our first live guest of 2014 plus an exclusive first radio play of a track from their new album.  Back of the net!

Rick Redbeard – Any Way I Can (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
Dave Hughes – She Dreams Of Toronto (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
Panda Su – Bee Song (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
Siobhan Wilson – All Dressed Up (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
Lenzie Moss – Kelvin British Summertime (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
King Post Kitsch – Fante’s Last Stand (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
Wounded Knee – Muckle Sang (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
Reverieme – Sorry Or Something (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
Lidh – Peace Now (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
Adam Stafford – Please (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
Fake Major – We’re The Same (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
Algernon Doll – Venus (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
Behold The Old Bear – Blessings Or Bruises / Home Space (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
Beerjacket – Antlers
Kevin Harper – Kingdom Of Wires (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
Esperi – Little Shirts (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
RM Hubbert – Bolt (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
Lovers Turn To Monsters – LA Gear (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
Julia Doogan – Whirlpool (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
Blue Rose Code – Acquainted With The Night / Silent Drums (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
Blood Relatives – Bone Idle (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
Gone Wishing – The Confidant (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
TeenCanteen - Friends (Live in Pulse 98.4 studio)
Mogwai - Batcat

Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Single Review - Withered Hand - Black Tambourine

Jarvis Cockers favourite Edinburgh based singer-songwriter is back!  Dan Wilson’s Withered Hand have returned with Black Tambourine; the first single from the much-anticipated album New Gods.  The single features Eugene Kelly, of The Vaselines and Pam Berry, singer of the influential twee pop band Black Tambourine and their influence can certainly be heard on the track.

Following on from Withered Hand’s first album Good News, a quiet folk album that included instant classics such as No Cigarettes and Religious Songs, this track is the perfect evolution from that.  Having perfected one sound on Good News it seems Wilson has transcended to another with ease.  Black Tambourine is a jangle pop anthem that wouldn’t look out of place on an early Teenage Fanclub record while never losing the heart and sincerity you attain from their more sombre songs.

Rolling Stone magazine cited Withered Hand as an artist to watch, yet the pressure you would expect from such an accolade hasn’t seemed to faze them.  This single, while definitely not would you expect from Withered Hand, is enough to make any listener long for more and thankfully we only have a few months to wait until we are delighted with some more goodies.

- Stuart Thompson

Withered Hand - Black Tambourine is out now on FortunaPOP! and available to download via iTunes.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Scottish Fiction Top 20 Scottish Albums of 2013

Last week I unveiled my favourite tracks of 2013 on the blog, which had the rather unfortunate effect of generating a list induced frenzy upon myself.  Since then I've decided fighting the compulsion is futitle, and the only thing for it is to provide our Top 20 Scottish albums in list form too.

If you tuned into Scottish Fiction's New Year's Day special on Pulse 98.4 FM, then you may already know the outcome.  Similarly if you have checked out the latest Scottish Fiction podcast then the element of surprise may have frittered away.  Incidentally said podcast is available here.

As always with lists, you need to put a limit on what you include, otherwise it becomes tedious.  I am of the person opinion that there's no difference between my 35th favourite album of the year and my 34th favourite album of the year.  So I've gone for a Top 20.  (Also in a rather convenient coincidence, 20 tracks fit nicely into a two hour radio show.)  However there's a few 'honourable mentions' I'd like to put out there, albums that had I invested more time in them (which I didn't for whatever reason), probably are equal to any on the final list.  So do try and check out the following albums too; eagleowl - This Silent Year, Steve Mason - Monkey Minds In The Devil's Time, The Little Kicks - Put Your Love In Front Of Me, The Pastels - Slow Summits, Sweethearts Of The Prison Rodeo - On The Desolate Hillside, Monoganon - F A M I L Y, L. Pierre - The Island Come True, Blue Rose Code - North Ten, Homework - 13 Towers, and This Silent Forest - Indivision

Without further ado, in reserve order, here's our favourite albums of 2013:

#20 - Reverieme - With Up So Floating

Self released back in April, Reverieme have evolved from being the solo project of lead singer Louise Connell into a fully fledged band with this clever and catchy sophmore album.  With Up So Floating features some darker moments, but fans of the Camera Obscura influenced sounds of debut album Melodies will not be disappointed either.

#19 - Camera Obscura - Desire Lines

Speaking of Camera Obscura, the Glasgow indie-popsters made their return this year with their fifth studio album Desire Lines.  Sweetness seeps out from this record, with Tracyanne Campbell's vocals softly weaving through the layered melodies to wondrous effect.

#18 - Boards Of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest

Who didn't wet themselves just a little bit when the news eeked out about super secret Boards Of Canada releases on RSD 2013?  Returning from a 8 year absence, Tomorrow's Harvest came out on 10th June after one of the best hype building promotions in recent years.  Woozy, dreamy, evocative and deliciously layered, it's classic BoC.

#17 - Quickbeam - Quickbeam

Albums this beautiful deserve to be heard by as many people as possible.  The eponymous début album from Quickbeam is one that you can lie back, turn off and shut out all the concerns of daily life, and float away with.

#16 - Friends In America - What It Is To Be

Not American, but most likely friends, Glasgow four piece Friends In America have been building up to the release of What It Is To Be for the best part of two years.  A labour of love, which shines through the clever songwriting and melodic indie sound.

#15 - Kid Canaveral - Now That You Are A Dancer

Indie darlings Kid Canaveral released their second album Now That You Are A Dancer on the now defunct Fence Records.  Building on the strong base they developed with Shouting At Wildlife, it's more of the assured indie-pop that we loved first time round.

#14 - Blood Relatives - Deerheart

In the form of Dead Hip, Blood Relatives are responsible for endless hours of this mid 20's male shaking his hips unashamedly.  Yet the catchy melodies and pun filled lyrics didn't end with the first single taken from the album, they continue right through like a stick of rock.  A joyous début that you will return to again and again.

#13 - Hector Bizerk - Nobody Seen Nothing

Self released, self promoted, and self supported, Hector Bizerk continue to stream ahead blazing a trail for Scottish hip-hop and demonstrating what you can achieve when you apply yourself.  Louie raps with passion, belief and knowledge, with Audrey snaps at the drums.  Fuller, louder, and sharper, the album deserves all the plaudits it has received.

#12 - RM Hubbert - Breaks & Bone

Not one to rest on his laurels, SAY Award winner RM Hubbert had album number three in the bag even before previous album Thirteen Lost & Found bagged him the SAY Award prize.  The last in the ampersand trilogy Breaks & Bones sees Hubbert attempt to call time on the experiences that shaped his previous work and move on, and features vocals from the man himself for the first time.

#11 - Kevin Harper - Kingdom Of Wires

 A contender for the most under appreciated album of 2013, Kevin Harper's self released effort Kingdom Of Wires is an unheralded gem.  The albums embodies DIY punk ethos and musically draws influence from a host of '90's American alternative bands.  Lyircally it's as honest and open an LP as you'll find from last year.

#10 - The Spook School - Dress Up

Demonstrating the immediacy and expectation that comes with releasing material on the internet, I expected The Spook School's début album a long time before it finally came out in October.  However it's clear that the band have been working hard, tightening up everything, honing their sound to ensure that when they did drop Dress Up, it lived up to the promise of their early singles. 

#9 - Fat Goth - Stud

 RAWK!  Released all the way back in January, it would be easy to forget Fat Goth and their second album Stud given all the great music that been released since.  But Stud is not an album that goes quietly back on the shelf.  It's 9 songs worm their way into your head, set up camp, and hold the funkiest, loudest, raucous party you've ever imagined.

#8 - Sparrow & The Workshop - Murderopolis

 Released on the Song By Toad label Sparrow And The Workshop's third album, the cheekily named Murderopolis, may be the band's finest yet.  At times descending into effects driven madness, at others harmonising playfully, it's a creative masterpiece.

#7 - Conquering Animal Sound - On Floating Bodies

 Ally McCrae stated that Conquering Animal Sound were one of his tips for the SAY Award's 2013.  He's a man who knows a thing or two.  Were On Floating Bodies to be absent from the longlist when it's announced in a few months, it would be a travesty.  It's a wonderful album which pushes the boundaries the band marked out on their previous album.

#6 - There Will Be Fireworks - The Dark, Dark Bright

The Dark, Dark Bright is an absolute triumph of an album, from a band who now can stand aside, not behind, the influences that shaped them.  There Will Be Fireworks prove they can do layered indie rock in the quiet-loud-quiet mould as well as anyone.

#5 - Rick Redbeard - No Selfish Heart

Steeped in Celtic folk music, No Selfish Heart sees The Phantom Band frontman Rick Redbeard step out with his own solo material.  Hauntingly beautiful, simplistically detailed, the album celebrates the softer, gentler side of music.

#4 - Algernon Doll - Citalo-pop

Ewan Grant a.k.a. Algernon Doll taps into his punk and hardcore roots to craft an album that has more room to breathe, and is more complete than his début.  Citalo-pop scuzzes, fuzzes, roars and delights with Grant's elegant songwriting heading the charge.   

#3 - Adam Stafford - Imaginary Walls Collapse

One of the most inventive, creative and thoroughly likeable musicians, Adam Stafford returned with a masterful blend of musical influences that hang off each other with ease.  Imaginary Walls Collapse is a triumph deserving of your time.

#2 - CHVRCHES - The Bones Of What You Believe

 There was no way that The Bones Of What You Believe couldn't have been a success.  But a collective sigh of relief was exhaled when we realised just how good CHVRCHES debut was.

#1 - Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse

Number 1.  Numero uno.  Top of the heap as ol' blue eyes would say.  2013 really say Frightened Rabbit step up to the plate that being signed to a major label presents.  Not only did they play their biggest UK tour to date, pull in a massive crowd at T in the Park, but fourth album Pedestrian Verse has the making of becoming a classic album.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 1st January 2014 - Top 20 Scottish Albums of 2013

End of year obligatory list time!  The difference this year is that we announced our top 20 Scottish albums in a countdown broadcast on Pulse 98.4 on New Year's Day.  This episode consists of a track from each of our favourite albums of 2013, in a mega dramatic countdown, that could only be spoiled by knowing the playlist in advance... D'oh! 

Reverieme - Sorry Or Something - From the album With Up So Floating
Camera Obscura - Do It Again - From the album Desire Lines
Boards Of Canada - Nothing Is Real - From the album Tomorrow's Harvest
Quickbeam - Grace - From the album Quickbeam
Friends In America - Gaffe - From the album What It Is To Be
Kid Canaveral - Breaking Up Is The New Getting Married - From the album Now You Are A Dancer
Blood Relatives - Deerheart - From the album Deerheart
Hector Bizerk - Welcome To Nowhere - From the album Nobody Seen Nothing
RM Hubbert - Bolt - From the album Breaks & Bones
Kevin Harper - Kingdom Of Wires - From the album Kingdom Of Wires
The Spook School - The Cameraman - From the album Dress Up
Fat Goth - Debbie's Dirty Harry - From the album Stud
Sparrow And The Workshop - The Faster You Spin - From the album Murderopolis
Conquering Animal Sound - Warn Me - From the album On Floating Bodies
There Will Be Fireworks - River - From the album The Dark, Dark Bright
Rick Redbeard - No Selfish Heart - From the album No Selfish Heart
Algernon Doll - Cassini - From the album Citalo-pop
Adam Stafford - Please - From the album Imaginary Walls Collapse
CHVRCHES - Gun - From the album The Bones Of What You Believe
Frightened Rabbit - Backyard Skulls - From the album Pedestrian Verse

Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.

Scottish Fiction's Top 25 Singles / EP's of 2013

Happy New Year to y'all.  2013 was another feather in the cap of fantastic music emanating from Scottish shores.  The rise of CHVRCHES shows we do electro-pop with the best of them.  The return of Boards of Canada demonstrates we've not lost that shoe-gazey EDM touch either.  In between there's been hoards of fantastic folk, positive pop, humongous hip-hop and incredible indie to treat ears of all frequencies. 

On Christmas day we aired a special episode of Scottish Fiction which was a look back on some of our favourite singles and EP's for 2013.  You can listen to that in full here or via the embed at the bottom of the page.  Here's the majority of those tracks, plus a few more, making this post my favourite 25 singles or EP's from 2013.

In no particular order, and with no other judging criteria than my own personal tastes here's Scottish Fiction's Top 25 Singles / EP's of 2013

Prides - Out Of The Blue

Name changes have never sounded so good.  Previously Midnight Lion, now Prides, the Glasgow three piece re-invented themselves to fist pumping effect.  Dancing like a maniac to this tune at Wickerman was a highlight of 2013.

Campfires In Winter - Picture of Health EP

Following single White Lights released early in 2013, September's release of Picture of Health EP cements Campfires In Winter's status as one of the finest emerging bands in Scotland.  Album next surely?

Book Group - Victory Lap / A Lowdown of a LOUD Sound

Début single from Book Group released via the influential Gerry Loves Records.  Insprining, uplifting and gloriously inflectious.  Book Group, don't you ever change.

Young Fathers - I Heard

Edinburgh hip-hop trio Young Fathers hooked many people with this smooth, emotional and soulful cut from their second EP Tape Two.  Released on the legendary Anticon label, lead single I Heard has the power to worm inside your brain for weeks.

Atom Tree - Tide of Thorns EP

There is a wave of artists who are continuing to push electronica music in new and exciting directions.  Glasgow producer and musician Atom Tree is but one of them.  Debut EP Tide of Thorns leads the pack and this track Die For Your Love evokes fluorescent memories of euphoria on a blissful come down.

Nevada Base - Foresight

Having never been a Nevada Base fan before this track I feel almost sheepish in the realisation that they are indeed Scotland's answer to LCD Soundsystem.  Foresight is an accessible jump on point for those in search of jerky rhythms and groovy basslines.

Naked - Lie Follows Lie

Spooky, eerie and haunting.  Check, check and check.  Not the most googleable names in music, but once you've found Naked, and this July release from the Edinburgh based three piece, you won't want to let go.

Giant Fang - Aqualung

When I reviewed this track back upon it's 23rd June release I said it had a 'freedom-of-the-summer' vibe and flavoured by the influence of M83.  In the midst of winter Giant Fang's Aqualung transports you back to the warmth of a carefree summer.

Lovers Turn To Monsters - Skeletor EP

Ok so I know I said this was in no particular order, but I'm putting it out there Lovers Turn To Monsters Skeletor EP is my favourite EP of 2013.  Intelligent and brutally honest lyrics with simplistic and heart tugging guitar playing, it's on a comparable scale with the indie lo-fi artists that young Kyle Wood calls his heroes.

Fake Major - Have Plenty Of Fun

Four armed singer songwriters don't come much better than Richard and Jarv of Fake Major.  Released on Comets & Cartwheels back in May of this year, Have Plenty of Fun proves that sometimes song writing partnerships are much more important than bells and whistles.  This track Little Researcher is a gem.

Michael Cassidy - Everybody's Scared

Fans of Paisley musician Michael Cassidy will be familiar with this track.  Everybody's Scared has been given the full band treatment ahead of the release of début album My Electric Heart, and re-released with a renewed sense of warmth and purpose.

DEATHCATS!!! - The Raddest EP

Bursting with scuzzy feel good vibes, channelling the blitzkreig ethos of The Ramones and the lo-fi touch of Fugazi, DEATHCATS might just change your life.  Failing that The Raddest EP is awesome and deserves your attention.

Honeyblood - Bud

 Scotland's answer to The Breeders and Throwing Muses, Honeyblood released Bud on continual Scottish music supporters FatCat Records.  It's garage rock with a laid back veneer and one of 2013's finest singles.

Poor Things - Hurricane Poor Things

Poor Things are another band who mine '90's American alt-garage rock for influence.  And to fantastic effect too.  Hurricane Poor Things ambles with intent and purpose.  Check it out.

Pinact / Min Diesel - Split 7"

Sneaking two bands in for the price of one here, this split 7" released in September by the Cool Your Jets label showcases Pinact and Min Diesel in all their DIY alt-rock glory.

Gone Wishing - The Gone Wishing Tape

The discovery of 2013 for me was the music of Owen McLaughlin.  In it's solo guise Owen plays under the moniker of Gone Wishing and his debut EP is heartfelt, gutsy and tender in just the right amounts.

Lidh - Rockpool Hospital EP

This video harks back to the play cartoon imagery used by The B-52's, but Lidh's music draws from a much wider range of influences combining in a slightly rough around the edges folk pop.  Single Rockpool Hospital is the pick of the bunch from her EP of the same name.

Mast - Romance

Former The Darien Adventure man Liam Rutherford struck out on his own in 2013 as Mast.  He struck gold with this shimmering delightful track Romance

John Knox Sex Club / Over The Wall - Split 7"

With both bands hiding in the shadows for most of 2013, a combined return via a Gerry Loves Records split 7" was a stroke of genius on everyone's part.  Animals packs the usual John Knox Sex Club punch, and Tell Her I Love Her bursts with inventive fun pop.

Garden Of Elks - Extended Play

Shouty fun pop at it's best, Garden of Elks seal the deal with a pinky promise (so they say) and rock raucously with a Pixies induced stupor.  

Mad Nurse - The Rip

Not a lot is known about Mad Nurse expect they are a four piece from Edinburgh who specialise in epic, layered post rock tinged creations.  The Rip EP is one of 2013's most unrecognised releases.

Shambles Miller - Deadpool

Shambles Miller Does It Again.  Is what the headlines would say in a world where the Glaswegian singer-songwriter replaced Beyonce as the world's biggest pop star.  Whilst we wait for that, latest single Deadpool cheekily muses on the big questions.

TeenCanteen - Honey

All girl sunshine pop never sounded so good.  Taking their lead from the girl bands of the 60's and 70's, Glasgow's TeenCanteen shone brighter than most with this début release Honey.