Monday, 30 June 2014

Album Review - Poor Things - Poor Things

For those of us who surround ourselves with unsigned bands, often when an artist releases their début album, we'll be aware of the sheer joy and utopia they feel at having finally made their artists footprint on the world.  When that settles, and the relief at having ticked 'release an album' off the bucket list passes, the time for critical and artistic review can set in.

In the case of Perth trio Poor Things, who now called Glasgow home, their eponymous release teeters on the lip of their musical influences and their own creative juices.  Which, as it happens, for this record is a perfect place to be.

Poor Things  kicks off with For Edwin Morgan, a Teenage Fanclub drenched dreamy pop number, which espouses the virtues of being young, carefree and looking ahead, a sentiment that, for a young indie band, one might expect.  It's a theme that the writing of Craig Angus mines from on more than one occasion on this album, with tracks such as in Halcoyn Days, 1998 and New Best Friends all displaying youthful nostalgia.

Life One Part Two kicks through with a grizzly Pixies influence, with 1998, one of the teaser tracks for the release of the album, returning to the well of Teenage Fanclub.  Elsewhere elements of Pavement and The Smashing Pumpkins, such as on Yes and Anaconda Man shine through.  However as mentioned earlier, Poor Things  doesn't fall into the pool of it's influences but rather balances on the rim, pulling those indie-pop and alternative vibes into their stories, and their observations.

Two tracks that intrigue me as a listener, are the two that slow proceedings down.  Back to back Freezing and A Drunk Man Considers The Royal Wedding At Kelvingrove Park,  offer a more introspective glimpse, and whilst only a minute long Freezing  conveys that feeling of risk aversion, and fear of taking chances and leaving one's comfort zone; "the water's warm, so why get out when it could be freezing?"

As much as For Edwin Morgan, 1998 and Halcoyn Days are all fantastic songs, the latter two perfect single material, my stand out track is the album closer Master Of Arts which ends upon a cacophony of reverb, feedback and noise, tipping the hat to another music influence Mogwai.  Five plus minutes of great alt-rock which sums up almost everything, influence-wise and lyrically, that goes before in the previous 29 minutes.

- Neil Wilson

Poor Things - Poor Things is out now via Saraseto Records.  You can buy/ listen to the album in full via the below widget or direct from here.

That's My Jam #32 - Siobhan Wilson - Dear God

Some singers are blessed with voices that are so hauntingly beautiful, so achingly pure that they could turn heads amidst a full scale bar brawl.  Previous Scottish Fiction Session guest Siobhan Wilson is one such singer. 

Her latest track, Dear God, is part of the next Song, By Toad Records split 12" and was recorded at Inshriach House during the Insider Festival, which gives it that little more atmosphere.  Siobhan's vocals are reminiscent of Jeff Buckley on the Sin-é EP; haunting with each breath hanging in the air, seductive and soft.

Intricate and beautiful guitars provide the breeze behind Siobhan's voice, completing a package that is as close to perfect as one could ask from a folk-styled female singer songwriter.

Siobhan Wilson - Dear God  can be downloaded for free here, or via the widget below, ahead of the full split 12" release via Song, By Toad Records on 14th July.  You can pre-order the split 12", which also features Jonnie Common, Sparrow and the Workshop and David Thomas Broughton here.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

The Final Spook School Takeover Day 6: Nye, Testosterone and the Future

It's our final day taking over Scottish Fiction.  A big thank you to Neil for putting up with us and for asking us in the first place.  For our last post, before the blog can finally resume normal service, Nye has written about starting testosterone treatment.  We're super excited for Nye and super excited for the future.  We hope you're super excited too!
Lots of love,
The Spook School

One Big Spooky Family


I'm not going to lie and say that it's always been my dream to be in a band.  That wouldn't be true.  Being in a band was never even plausible enough to be a dream when I was a teenager.  That was for sexy magical demi-gods like Marc Bolan and David Bowie.  Not for anyone like me.  But hey, here I am.  And over the years this has become my dream.  Being in The Spook School is genuinely the best part of my life.  The thing that I'm most proud of.  The place where I feel that I can put all of my energy and emotions into the care of these three other brilliant people and we can create songs that maybe might just mean something.

It's not always been my dream to be transgender either.  Got to admit, when I figured out that it explained all the feelings that had been milling around for years and years (sometimes surfacing through songs), I wasn't too happy about it.  And when The Spook School started up, and I initially seemed to be 'the singer', I was terrified that this fantastic new thing in my life was dependent on me keeping as I was.  Keeping me tied to a voice, an identity that I couldn't connect with.  But that's the wrong way to look at it.  If I wasn't transgender, I would never have written 80% of the songs I have (even my strange obsession with Buster Keaton has a lot to do with being trans, but that's a story for another day).  And they're my contribution to the band.  They are what I bring to the whole affair.  And they're what I'm proud of.

If I wasn't trans, if I was able to recognise myself as the binary gender that was assigned to me at birth, I'd never have heard a crowd of lovely, brilliant people yelling 'I am bigger than a hexadecimal' back at me at the top of their lungs.  If I wasn't trans, I might have been in a band, it might even have been called The Spook School, but it wouldn't have been the same.  I wouldn't be the same.  I have no idea if I'd even like the person that I would have been had I been born a cis male (FYI: cis = not trans).

So yeah, I suppose this is a long winded way of saying that I started testosterone a week ago.  It’s my long-winded way of saying that I’m a bit worried about losing my voice, but more excited about being recognised as myself.  This is a long winded way of saying that I love this band, and I think that I'll only continue to be more proud of what we manage to accomplish.

I’m super excited about what the next months, and years, have in store for me, and optimistic in a way I’ve never really been before.  I have dreams of listening to our next album and going “Hey, that’s me!” rather than “Who’s that girl singing all my lyrics?” - and that will be the happiest day.  Also, dreams about the day when I can cover all the Lou Reed songs.  Because obviously that’s the most important thing.

Lots of love (especially to the queer kids)

Nye x 

PS - Because I’m a nerd and want to see how my singing voice changes, I’ve been singing a song a day since I started T.  If you’d like to see them, go here:, or

Friday, 27 June 2014

The Spook School Takeover! - Day 5: Scottish Band Names. The Truth

It’s Day 5 of The Spook School Takeover and it’s time to learn a little bit more about how some bands we like in Scotland decided to name themselves.  It is important to note that Scotland’s only Independent-Muso-Historiographer-In-Chief Niall McCamley can only tell the truth.  We certainly trust him and you should too.

Withered Hand: The musical project of the man previously known as Dannnnnnnnn Willllllson.  After trying and failing to buy a name badge that would fit over a single breast Dannnnnnn hired a management consultancy company who brainstormed a number of names.  The winning title, Withered Hand, came about when the company’s stenographer lost a hand after being forced to write out Dannnnnnnnnn Willllllllson too many times.  His personal name was also changed by deed poll to protect stenographers everywhere to Dan Willson.  Many people in the stenographer community still maintain this name is still too long but Dan has decided to cease using their services and instead uses his memory to remember things now.

Why is my name so looooong!!?!?
Honeyblood: After developing a taste for sweet nectar straight from the plant this Scottish duo sought to eliminate any competition.  As such they actually devour bees that encroach on their turf.  They have actually eaten so many bees rumour has it that their blood has turned into honey.  Known to the local police as Stina ‘Sting Ya and Eat Ya’ Blood and Shona ‘Honey I Blew Up a Colony of Bee’s’ Blood it appears their reign of honey related terror will be never ending.

The Honeyblood Mausoleum
Randolph’s Leap: The band’s name was originally the title of a concept album.  It was to be about a little known Scottish triple jumper called Randolph MacLeod and his tragic final jump at the Olympic Qualifiers where he managed to come joint last with Eric the Eel.  The level of tragedy was increased however when it was realised that Eric the Eel was in fact an eel and not the heartwarming amateur swimming athlete of the same name.  Randolf then jumped on the eel leading to the International Olympic Community to decree the day Eel Day, the colloquial equivalent in Leith is The Day of Randolph’s Leap Where He Killed That Poor Eel.  What a dick.

Adam Ross
Kid Canaveral: Their first choice name was actually Jodie’s Kidd’s Carnival but this idea was scuppered when discovered it had already been taken by a show on ITV2 +1.  It was never actually broadcast on ITV2, just ITV2+1 in order to give the impression that they had a full and varied schedule but in doing so made the +1 element redundant and a lie.  In the end the name they went for came from the band’s secret desire to send a baby goat into space.  They still harbour this dream and every year petition NASA to open their programme to goats.  They also throw goats in the air after they drink too much Buckfast.

The Kid Canaveral Dream
Tuff Love: They were originally called Ruff Love in homage to their love of dogs.  There is in fact bootleg footage of the band trying to enter Johnny ‘Pictish Trail, Mr Lost Map’ Lynch’s beard into Scottish Crufts.  The video shows the trio being thwarted in the final round when Mr Lynch’s beard shat itself in front of the judges.  If you watch the video below you will see the King of the Lost Map Empire's beard complete lose itself.  Poooooooooo. 

Belle and Sebastian: Their first name was the ultra cool Belle and the Sebastians, inspired by the famous Scottish love story about a crate of Jamaican lobsters and a French door ringer.  Unfortunately focus groups didn’t like the lobster heavy references and Stuart Murdoch was forced to plump for a French book instead.

Stuart Murdoch

The Pastels: Originally The Fruit Pastels but they were quickly sued.  They tried a lot of names including Opal Fruits, Starburst, Pastel Parcel, Pastel/Future Heaven (PAST HELL FUTURE HEAVEN hahahahaha!).  They are now happily called The Pastels and unhappily mocked by fruit flavoured sweets bearing their old names.

The Pastel's first ever publicity shot

Glasvegas: They worship a glass sculpture of Johnny Vegas.  That is all.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

The Spook School Takeover! - Day 4: JUMP, JUMP, JUMP

It's Day 4 of this travesty of a takeover from us, The Spook School. Neil is beginning to struggle in the basement, he's currently composing emails to S Club 8 to invite them in for an acoustic session. Last night I heard him shout, "they're the new Frightened Rabbit!"

The world has long wondered...who is that jumping with a guitar over there? The answer, of course, is Adam 'The Body' Toddy. He has travelled the world (as far as Leith say the legends) leaping, apparently aimlessly, whilst throttling an electronic guitar instrument. He has found himself often used as a political football (it's slightly bigger than a regulation football so it shows up better at photo-shoots). David 'Just call me Dave' Cameron once remarked 'Jumping is for losers'. The Liberal Democrats asked him to replace Nick 'I Promise I'll Jump, No Wait, I Can't Jump' Clegg. And the Labour Party offered him an owl.

We caught up with him at you, the Internet's, behest. We grabbed him, tied him to a chair and said, 'stop jumping for five seconds and let us ask you some questions' and 'can you cook us some vegan curry?' and ''what do you mean you can't cook tied to a chair?'

How tall are you? Round about the same height as the average Argentinian female.

He went and jumped his shoes right off!
How tall are you when you jump? Round about the same height as the average Argentinian male.

Adam jumping at the bright lights.
How many times have you jumped in your career? Six-hundred and sixty five. On my next jump the devil will be summoned and I will harness the power of all evil.
Adam jumping in what appears to be a cinema

Do you remember your first jump? No. That's a silly question. Nobody remembers their first jump.

From Adam's first jump.  You can tell it was a long time ago because it's black and white.
What do your jumps stand for politically? My jumps don't stand. They jump. They jump for the release of Pussy Riot (I know that's already happened but they just can't stop).
F**k you gravity!!!

What do your jumps stand for musically?
Shambollic non-musicianship. 

I've jumped my guitar into my face!
What do your jumps stand for economically? 100% tax for the super-wealthy and anyone who has ever thought "Oh, that David Cameron has a pretty face." Even just for one nano-second. Tax them all.

Perfection.  Simply perfection.
Is it true you can't hold a guitar if you are seated? Yes. I'm allergic.

Adam practicing his jumping face

What does the future hold for our dear, dear Adam? Is it yet more jumping? A medical diagnosis of jumpaphilia? A prime-time Channel 5 Special called "The Guitarist Who Jump-Started A Revolution...And Then His Face Exploded!!!"? We can only pray... and think rationally, scientifically and logically. Is there a moral to Adam's story I hear you ask? Not really, no. But if I had to come up with one I would say the moral was, 'use jumpers for goalposts, use jump leads for dead car batteries and never watch 22 Jump Street. It's not really about jumping and it's adverts are misleading.'

Adam 'The Body' Toddy was talking exclusively to hard-hitting journalist and drummer (HAHAHAHAHA I wish I could make sweet, sweet love to the clever person who came up with that!) Niall 'Hot Knees' McCamley. They are currently planning to visit local schools to highlight the pros and cons of jumping in public. Their talk is called "The Boy Who Jumped At The Sun And Got Mild Sunburn As A Result. An Entertaining Audio-Visual Warning About Jumping in Public".

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Spook School Takeover! - Day 3 - Makthaverskan!

Welcome to day 2 of The Spook School's Scottish Fiction Takeover! 

Niall has a wee band crush on Makthaverskan from Sweden.  In his efforts to seduce his Swedish muses he has written them a delightfully forward love letter.  We all hope Niall finally finds true love this time.  How could they possibly resist?

Dear Maja, Irma, Andreas, Gustav and Hugo,

Låt oss gifta!

My name is Niall.  And I want to marry you.  All of you.  My flat only has one bedroom but I feel when you move in with me it will be a great way to get to know each other.  We can all sleep on my foldout sofa bed.  We could be a giant cutlery drawer except only containing spoons!  I know Sweden can get very cold so I have already installed a snow machine in my bed to make sure you don’t get homesick.  You may, however, simply get sick as it’s very difficult to sleep in snow without getting a cold.  I also have a garden which is great for frolicking in where we could sit and chat and then when we're bored of talking we could also drink lots of Schnapps and just gaze into each other's eyes.

When I heard you had a song called ANTABUS I, of course, had visions of a traditional Swedish pop song about public transport for ants.  And in my head forever it will be about those strong, strong insects of love.  I dream about them when I’m ASLEEP.  When you sleep is it me your dreaming of?  Or at the very least having nightmares about?  If you were to refuse my offer of marriage I would feel like I was SLOWLY SINKING.  With me it’s never too much to ask for SOMETHING MORE.  I don’t where you guys are tonight but I’d love you to move into my flat.  You will always OUTSHINE me, you can always talk to me when your heart is broken.  We could go percussion crazy and live in DRÖMLAND.  Feel free to show me NO MERCY [as a brief serious aside, ‘Fuck you for fucking me when I was 17’. What lyrics!!!].  I’ll travel any DISTANCE or at least get public transport to a reasonably close airport to pick you up and move you into my cosy den of debauchery.  Sorry if I’ve been too VOLGA.   

We could grab Fika on the weekend.  Talk about how dreamy Henrik Larsson is.  You could teach me naughty Swedish words and I could put the immersion on so we could shower together keeping us all both clean and dirty at the same time.  I could teach you how to juggle and you could teach me how to love.

på fullt allvar att du är alla fantastiska och jag älskar er alla,

Lots of love,

Look at what you're missing Makthaverskan!
Tomorrow we have an interview with The Spook School's very own high jump champion Adam 'The Body' Toddy.  Unmissable for fans of leaping and pouncing!

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 25th June 2014

Tsssssssssss...  Turn the tape over, it's time for Scottish Fiction, your one stop shop for the best new Scottish music.  On this side you'll find another new cut from Algernon Doll's forthcoming album Omphalic, two tracks, in the form of Siobhan Wilson and Jonnie Common, from the latest Song, By Toad split 12", and plenty more.  Party on Garth!

The Pictish Trail - Of Course You Exist
Ace City Racers - Different Angle
Algernon Doll - Justine
alansmithee - Sonic
Young Fathers - iHeard
Dear Lara - Girl In My Head
Siobhan Wilson - Dear God
Jonnie Common - Summer Is For Going Places
Rustie - Raptor
Penfold - Northern Light
The Sinking Feeling - Not Now

Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.

Scottish Fiction - 25th June 2014 by Scottish Fiction on Mixcloud

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Spook School Takeover! - Day 2

Welcome to day 2 of The Spook School's Scottish Fiction Takeover! 

Baltimore will always hold the romance of night swimming.  Not the romance conveyed by Michael Stipes, oh no, this is the more realistic romance of hangovers and hypothermia.  Holding on to the romance that is the seductively illicit feel of slipping silently (very loudly in hindsight, but we had been drinking to be fair) through a fence to sneak into an outdoor pool, the feel of icy cold water ripping away the groggy veil of ‘Natty Bo’s’ induced inebriation to reveal a nude sobriety in the early hours.  Memories of Adam walking barefoot through a debris strewn side street before being impaled on some American splintered sliver. Knowing as Adam limped towards JFK airport that he would always have a little piece of America with him (unless he visited a free medical professional on the NHS).

Official Natty Bo Spokesman
There are some many special and absurd memories of our American dalliance.  A brief highlight reel would have to include sharing Korean food and karaoke with the legends that are Expert Alterations.  Rocking out in a straight edge venue in Pittsburgh.  Standing next to the Rocky statue in Philadelphia whilst a man in a hat claimed he was Sylvester Stallone (he was just a man in a hat!).  Niall being offered free knee surgery for his ‘hot knee’ in New York. Singing along to Taylor Swift in the van.  Eating vegan Philly Cheese Steak.  Playing an awesome show that seemed to be run by a very confident 11 year-old in Philly.  International van quizzes between Heathers and the Spooks.  Being trounced at foosball (a lot).  Attempting to complete drunken jigsaws in Burlington.  Stage invasions and minor stage destruction at New York Popfest.  The complete absurdity that someone was letting The Spooks do any of this in America.  

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
What is a ruta-bagel?  I’m so glad you asked!  On arriving in America we swiftly learned that it was a world that is both similar yet different to our own.  The humble and beautiful turnip was not labelled as such.  In America they had the ‘rutabaga’.  Yes, I agree with you dear reader, it is a deliciously silly name and much fun to pronounce.  The classic American nursery rhyme ‘who left a rutabaga in my Winnebago?’ was a classic staple for the road trip.  In another coincidence we noticed the immense popularity of the Bagel in American culture (what we call in Europe a savoury donut).  It seemed only right that these two icons of Americana would come together to create something Uncle Sam could truly be proud of.  Step 1: Pick your turnip.  Step 2: Drill a hole through the middle.  Step 3: Claim to be the inventor of the ‘Ruta-Bagel’.  Fourth step, bask in the adoration of the public and wait for Wal-Mart to buy your idea.

Soooo expensive!
What can we expect tomorrow I hear you cry?!?!?!  Well, how about a love letter from Niall to one of our new favourite bands.  They are from Sweden and they make us cry with joy.  

Monday, 23 June 2014

The Spook School Takeover! Day 1

This is the voice of The Spook School!  Scottish Fiction you are our prisoner for the next week!

We always have an incredibly soft spot in our hearts for Neil and the blog. We even played one of our very first shows for him in Glasgow!

Looking like the children we truly are.
That’s why it’s all the more awkward that we tied him up in our Spooky HQ with nothing to do except re-watch Smash Hits interviews with S Club Juniors. - (Damn, they actually made some really catchy tunes!)

For the next week we will be doing what we want on the blog.  Expect narcissism, self-portraits, self-interviews, selfies, self-flagellation, self-discovery and, most likely, self-destruction.

Let’s start as we mean to continue.  DOGGING.

We have recently returned from playing some shows in the United States of that there America.

New York Stage Invasion [Photo by SoundBitesNYC]
As with any foreign excursion there is always the risk of miscommunication.  For us this happened in Burlington, Vermont.  As Niall, our slightly debauched drummer, asked the audience if they wanted to go dogging with him in the ‘parking lot’ after the show (a perfectly reasonable request I'm sure you'll agree) he got a strange response.

"What’s dogging?"
"Yeah, what’s dogging? It sounds fun!"

After realising dogging is not a ‘thing’ in America he attempted to laugh off their questions and continue with the show.  However, when the next song ended he was again asked for more information about this fun sounding ‘dogging’ phenomenon.

We will spare you Niall’s incredibly graphic explanation but suffice to say it is a rare sight to see so many smiling American smiling faces slowly morph into visages of disgust.  In the aftermath a lone hand in the crowd is raised and moves forward to ask a question.

"And you’re telling us everyone in the UK goes dogging?"

There is now an American city out there who have an unshakable belief that after a hard day at work we all park up at Arthur's Seat for a good auld Scottish dogging session.  Oh what wonderful cultural ambassadors we are!

Tune in tomorrow for to learn about the invention of the Ruta-bagel, how we were offered free knee surgery, and trying to look sexy night swimming in Baltimore.

Also there will be less references to dogging...sorry.

Artist representation of the reaction post-learning about DOGGING

Lots of love!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Who will win The SAY Award? - The Nominators Vote

So we've already heard from you, the Scottish Fiction readers, who you think will win The SAY Award (check that out over here if you haven't seen the results already), and now it's time to investigate further.

As you'll know the long list of twenty albums that was announced on 24th April was drawn from the nominations of 100 independent music industry figures including promoters, musicians, DJ's, bloggers, journalists, record shops and many more (you can find the full list of nominators on The SAY Award website).  As an interesting aside, because each nominator was asked to choose their favourite five albums over 120 albums produced in Scotland received at least one vote during the nomination process.

Once the long list is decided the nominators jobs are done.  The judging process is carried out by a separate group of industry experts, known ominously as the judges, who ultimately pick the winner (you can find the full list of judges on The SAY Award website).  Worth pointing out, given what's coming next, is that the judges are not involved in the nomination process, and vice-versa., and the tips and comments below from the nominators bear no influence to the final judging process whatsoever. 

This year's short list reads like a who's who of Scottish music.  Rock icons Biffy Clyro, last year's winner RM Hubbert, the intangible but hugely influential Boards of Canada, post-rock behemoths Mogwai and indie cult heroes Edwyn Collins, Steve Mason and The Pastels.  It's not all about the established acts though as Young Fathers and Hector Bizerk both have a spot in the short list - check out our interview with Louie from Hector Bizerk here - and although they are a household name in the UK, it's worth remembering the CHVRCHES have only risen to such heights within the last 18 months.

So we wondered, now that the short list has been decided, and the award ceremony is so close, who do the 100 nominators, given their different backgrounds, opinions, tastes, etc, think will win?  So we asked.  Of the 100 nominators, including yours truly, we got answers from 42, and those answers look like this:

Young Fathers, Tape Two  - 2.38%
The Pastels, Slow Summits  - 0%
Steve Mason, Monkey's Mind In The Devil's Time  - 4.76%
RM Hubbert, Breaks & Bone  - 0%
Mogwai, Les Revenants  - 16.67%
Hector Bizerk, Nobody Seen Nothing  - 4.76%
Edwyn Collins, Understated  - 9.52%
CHVRCHES, The Bones Of What You Believe  - 52.38%
Boards of Canada, Tomorrow's Harvest  - 4.76%
Biffy Clyro, Opposites  - 4.76%

Quite a resounding backing, I'm sure you'll agree, for CHVRCHES, polling over 50% of the vote, and if you adjust the number of votes to include those nominators who didn't respond, that's still nearly 25% of the vote to CHVRCHES.  Mogwai, perhaps unsurprisingly given their standing in Scottish music, are the nominators second choice, with Edywn Collins coming in third.

Another interesting aside, and you'll see this point illustrated by some of the nominators comments below, is that a lot of the nominators WANTED one album to win, but PREDICTED that another would.  Using the comments that I was given, if I adjust the votes to show who the nominators wanted to win, rather than who they think will win, CHVRCHES share of the spoils drops to a still pretty impressive 40.48%.  The albums that see an increase in the vote, when we are playing by heart over head rules, are Hector Bizerk, Young Fathers and Boards of Canada.  Take from that what you will, but the DIY ethos of Hector Bizerk, the cutting edge Zeitgeist of Young Fathers, and the sheer influence of Boards of Canada, perhaps leave some of the nominators wishing to see those artists rewarded accordingly.

Of course, as we've said through the series of articles about The SAY Awards, the final decision will fall to the eleven judges tomorrow night (Thursday 19th June), who are all as passionate about music as anyone of us, and will no doubt come to a decision based on the merits of each album and the music contained therein.  Let's wish all of the short listed albums good luck, and be sure to check them out regardless of the overall winner.

Giving some context to the above figures, here's what some of the nominators had to say:

"In the absence of There Will Be Fireworks from the long list and Frightened Rabbit from the short list my choice would be for Mogwai to win, which from a man who likes his lyrics is praise indeed." - Kevin Buckle, Avalanche Records

"I am going with CHVRCHES as my prediction.  It maybe an obvious choice but they have managed to move quite brilliantly from an underground act to one receiving global praise and success and they have possibly opened the door for more emerging synth driven acts.  They have been hailed as one of the UK's success stories of the past 12/18 months and that definitely makes them one of Scotland's" - Jamie MacDonald, Netsounds Unsigned

"I predict that CHVRCHES will win.  Having been through the mill in other bands, they have made an album of great electro tinged pop that is cool, yet sounds great on daytime radio.  Edwyn Coliins might be an outsider bet, after what he has been through to make an album." - DJ Mash, DJ/Producer/Broadcaster

"Hopefully Mogwai can win this year. Their music remains a real inspiration for the Clash team. But I fear Chvrches may pip them with their pop sheen and emergent hype. I'd equally love to see Young Fathers steal the show after they stole my heart at SXSW a couple of years ago. It's a strong final shortlist though, I'm really proud to be even consulted on such a vivid field of Scottish music." - Matt Bennett, Deputy Editor Clash Music Group

"The decision will, of course, come down to the collective make-up of the individual minds within the judging panel.  But, after back-to-back years where The SAY Award winner was introspective, bearded and male, I think there might be a bit of subconscious pressure on them to come up with a choice that stretches out into different genres.  The Bones Of What You Believe by CHVRCHES, with its Top 10 UK/Top 20 US chart placings, was very much the Scottish success story of 2013, but that might be seen as an album that has already had its commercial rewards.  In that case, I could see an on-the-night underdog victory for the likes of Young Fathers or Hector Bizerk." - Alan Morrison, Group Arts Editor, Herald and Evening Times

"Great list to choose from.  Love all of them.  Steve Mason brings back happy memories of collaborating on my album, Filmtales.  Boards of Canada are just damn amazing, but Mogwai, Les Revenants just edges it for me.  Beautiful melodies and haunting backing.  Awesome." - Paul Leonard-Morgan, Composer

"I'm going to say Young Fathers, mostly because it's the only record left in the competition from my original nominations, but also because it's far and away the most exciting record on the short-list. I should add that this is me stating who I want to win, rather than who I think will win. The answer to the latter would probably be Chvrches because I think it strikes the best balance between quality and impact. In short; anyone but Biffy please" - Tom Johnson, Gold Flake Paint

"It might seem like last year's big record but that tends to be the nature of the pop lens - a sugar high followed by a crash.  Then, years later, reappraisal is possible due to a total lack of ongoing reassessment. Like all "proper" pop artists, the speed with which CHVRCHES rose - not ignoring the significance of such a feat in an industry on its knees - rendered sustaining fierce interest impossible.  On top of that, CHVRCHES winning might help silence those voices which have accused the awards of being excessively indiecentric.  I somehow doubt the various members' past achievements in The Twilight Sad, Aereogramme etc, mean much to the many thousands of people in the UK and beyond who felt the pop mojo that lies within CHVRCHES' songs stir something in their libido.  That's what pop was, is and will always be about." - Sean Guthrie, Music Writer, Herald and Sunday Herald

"Well, from the announcement of the short list I have constantly said that  I think Hector Bizerk SHOULD win and I think CHVRCHES WILL win.  Both albums are worthy winners, each of which has pushed the boundaries of what many people understand as what independent Scottish music looks and sounds like, and I firmly believe that it is these innovative albums that The SAY Award should be recognising.  Hector Bizerk have my vote for their fantastic album which they have brought to life through their fantastic DIY shows while never losing their passion for what they do and their DIY ethic, but CHVRCHES have deservedly captured the hearts and minds of listeners and critics worldwide and the award would cap a fantastic year for them." - Lisa-Marie Ferla, Last Year's Girl

"It's a great selection to pick from - comforting in its eclectic landscape and heralds Scotland as the creative hub that we all know it to be.  It's all subjective, of course, but from my vantage point the music that stands out and demands my aural attention is Boards of Canada, Tomorrow's Harvest.  This is the result of the emotional and visual intensity that the seventeen tracks deliver.  Quite beautiful." - Iona MacDonald, Singer/Songwriter, Doghouse Roses

"My personal choice from the final ten would be CHVRCHES' sparkling LP The Bones of What You Believe.  It's rarely been off my record player at home, and Lauren Mayberry's vocals have been in my ears on bus journeys and walks to work since late last year more than anyone else, wrapping Glasgow in synths. It'll be seen as a classic of its era in time." - Paul English, Daily Record