December 5, 2013: Fatherson, The LaFontaines, Cairn String Quartet, Garden Of Elks, The Holy Ghosts and have been announced as The Big Apple Award competition finalists. All five acts play free sets at Glasgow’s G2 on December 11, with an all-expenses-paid trip to play New York City in April 2014 up for grabs for the winners.
New gig… Silibil N’ Brains (stars of The Great Hip Hop Hoax film) play Dundee’s Buskers on December 27 and Glasgow’s Pivo Pivo on December 28.
December 4, 2013: Mick Cooke has left Belle & Sebastian. The band made the announcement in their latest mailshot, stating: “We wish him all the best with any future projects and hope to work alongside him again in the future.” The multi-instrumentalist, who had been a full-time member of Belle & Sebastian since 1998, will now focus on his work as a composer and arranger.
New gig… Song, by Toad Records’ 5th Birthday Party at Edinburgh’s Henry’s Cellar Bar on December 21 featuring PAWsault, Tom Collins Shatner and assorted label friends and guests.
December 3, 2013: Budding musicians aged between 14-19 can register for Hit The Road, a project that offers workshops, seminars and information sessions about performing live, before they are given the opportunity to tour across Scotland. The next set of tours will launch in January, with each one taking three acts on the road.
New video via YouTube… Red Sands – Too Short A Season, taken from debut album Red Sands, out on December 9.
New video via YouTube… Mickey 9s – Ammunition.
New EP release via Bandcamp… Jo Mango – When We Lived In The Crook Of A Tree.
December 2, 2013: New video via YouTube… Mogwai – The Lord Is Out Of Control, taken from their forthcoming album Rave Tapes, out on January 20.
New album release via iTunes… Cold Crows Dead – I Fear A New World, featuring The Xcerts’ Murray Macleod.
Free album download via Bandcamp… Kobi Onyame – Glory.
November 29, 2013: Brew at the Bog have announced the first 25 acts for its festival in Inverness on May 3. The line-up includes Kid Canaveral, Stanley Odd, Friends In America, Fake Major, Randolph’s Leap, Call To Mind, Beerjacket, Campfires In Winter, Shambles Miller, The Little Kicks, This Silent Forest, Woodenbox, Jo Mango and Atom Tree.
The Holy Ghosts have set up a Kickstarter page for pre-orders of their debut album Ride Them Down, due out in April.
November 28, 2013: New video via YouTube… Over The Wall – Radiator.
New video via YouTube… Book Group – Victory Lap, taken from Victory Lap / The Lowdown Of A LOUD Sound single.
New album release via Bandcamp… Scott McWatt – A Ceíst Amá.
November 27, 2013: New song streams via SoundCloud… King Creosote – Dial C For Cradle; Meddling Gut Wrenches; Impossible To Resist.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Rachel Sermanni – Everything Changes.
Findlay Napier has set up a PledgeMusic page to fund the recording of VIP: Very Interesting Persons, an album of songs co-written with Boo Hewerdine.
November 26, 2013: Free album download via Bandcamp… Olive Grove Records Sampler featuring Call To Mind, The State Broadcasters, Randolph’s Leap, The Moth & The Mirror, The Son(s), Woodenbox, Jo Mango and Pensioner.
Free album download via Bandcamp… Mini50 Records Winter Sampler 2013.
New song release via iTunes… Withered Hand – Black Tambourine. Dan Willson will play solo gigs at Glasgow’s Glad Cafe on November 27 and Aberdeen’s Tunnels on November 28 as well as Glasgow’s Platform on January 24 for Celtic Connections.
New video via YouTube… Kid Canaveral – A Compromise, taken from A Compromise EP.
November 25, 2013: New album release… There Will Be Fireworks – The Dark, Dark Bright on CD and download.
Detour will hold their fourth Wee Jaunt in Glasgow on December 7, and the allocation of free places has already been snapped up. Email your name to firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the reserve list.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Sparrow And The Workshop – One Brush.
Blindfolds have split up after three years together – they bow out with the release of new video Lucid.
November 22, 2013: New video via YouTube… Young Aviators – We’ve Got Names For Folk Like You.
New video via YouTube… The Pastels – Kicking Leaves.
New video via YouTube… Conscious Route feat Werd & Jordan Butler – Friends Til The End.
New gig… The Xcerts at Aberdeen’s Downstairs on December 21.
New gig… Glasgow’s Dirty Weekender across five venues on February 28-March 1 featuring Mark Morriss (The Bluetones), Mark Gardener (Ride), Bombskare, etc.
November 21, 2013: New song stream via SoundCloud… Withered Hand – Black Tambourine.
New video via YouTube… Jo Mango – When We Lived In The Crook Of A Tree, taken from When We Lived In The Crook Of A Tree EP, out on December 2.
CHVRCHES’ gig for TYCI’s Christmas Party on December 21 has been moved to Glasgow’s SWG3 due to a delay in the reopening of The Vic venue at The Art School.
New gig… The Jezabels at Glasgow’s Oran Mor on February 26, plus ticket bundles with new album The Brink.
November 20, 2013: Arctic Monkeys have been announced as the one of headliners at next year’s T in the Park on July 11-13. Tickets go on sale on November 22.
New gig… The Christmas Songwriters’ Club at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall on December 22 featuring Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison, Kid Canaveral, Broken Records, Miaoux Miaoux, Siobhan Wilson, TeenCanteen with Eugene Kelly, Karine Polwart & Findlay Napier, We See Lights and Very Well.
New song stream via SoundCloud… SOS – Fake Hallelujah.
November 19, 2013: New video via YouTube… Franz Ferdinand – Bullet.
Free EP download via Bandcamp… King Post Kitsch – The Silver Screen.
New video via YouTube… The Amazing Snakeheads – Flatlining.
November 18, 2013: CHVRCHES have been confirmed as the live band for TYCI’s Christmas Party at Glasgow’s Art School on December 21.
New album trailer via YouTube… Withered Hand – New Gods, due out in February.
New Beerjacket album Darling Darkness will be released on January 27.
New tour… The Winter Tradition at Glasgow’s King Tut’s on February 6, Stirling’s Tolbooth on February 7, Aberdeen’s Cafe Drummond on February 8, Inverness’ Mad Hatters on February 9, Galashiels’ Heriot-Watt Student Union on February 10, Dundee’s Duke’s Corner on February 11 and Perth’s Twa Tams on February 15.
November 17, 2013: Glasgow venue King Tut’s has unveiled it line-up for the fourth annual King Tut’s New Year’s Revolution on January 3-16, with the likes of Campfires In Winter, Cherri Fosphate, Book Group, Garden Of Elks, Saint Max And The Fanatics and Quinny featuring on all-local bills.
Labels, musicians and fans are being invited to register albums released by Scottish artists in 2013 for consideration for next year’s SAY Award.
November 15, 2013: French Wives will play their last ever gig at Glasgow’s Mono on December 19 after announcing they are splitting up.
New video via YouTube… There Will Be Fireworks – Youngblood.
New album release via iTunes… Ministry Of Stories – Share More Air, an album of children’s lyrics set to original music including Rachel Sermanni’s Love Story.
New song stream via Bandcamp… Water Of Life – Sources And Springs / Abercrombie, 1949, an art-science collaboration between Tommy Perman and Rob St. John exploring flows of water through Edinburgh.
November 14, 2013: New gig… The Wee Chill Festive Weekender at Glasgow’s SWG3 on December 22, featuring Admiral Fallow, Washington Irving, The Little Kicks, Call To Mind and Atom Tree.
The Big Apple Award has launched its annual competition, with an all-expenses-paid trip to play New York City in April 2014 up for grabs. The deadline for applications is December 2, before the winner is picked from a shortlist of five Scottish performers at Glasgow’s Garage on December 11. The last two victors were Stanley Odd and Song Of Return.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Mike Nisbet – Traveling Blues (demo)
November 13, 2013: Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations will incorporate an afternoon of free live music on January 1. Starting at the National Museum of Scotland at noon, the guest-curated SCOT:LANDS event will feature performances across nine Old Town venues by the likes of King Creosote, Withered Hand, RM Hubbert, Lau and FOUND as well as a production of Whatever Gets You Through The Night.
New video via YouTube… Washington Irving – Palomides , director James Houston claims it’s the world’s first autostereogram music video.
New video via YouTube… Nightmare Boy – Paranoid (Black Sabbath cover).
New video via Vevo… KT Tunstall – Made Of Glass.
November 12, 2013: New album release via Bandcamp… Medals – Disguises, new project of Sucioperro’s JP Reid.
New event… Vic Galloway – Songs In The Key Of Fife book reading + Withered Hand + Kid Canaveral at Glenrothes’ Rothes Halls on November 29.
New album stream via SoundCloud… Kobi Onyame – Glory, available to buy on iTunes.
November 11, 2013: Next year’s MTV Europe Music Awards will be held at Glasgow’s Hydro on November 9.
Arches singer Michael Rice has left the band, with guitarist Barry Morrell taking over vocal duties.
New EP release via SoundCloud…. Casual Sex – The Bastard Beat, streaming on SoundCloud.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Mike Nisbet – What Will Be Will Be (demo).
November 8, 2013: BBC ALBA programme Buskers has returned for a second series, with the first two episodes available to watch on iPlayer. Episode 2′s spotlight on Glasgow features Donald Macdonald, Alan Tennie, Anna Shields and Holly Wilson.
November 7, 2013: New gigs… Fireside Acoustic Sessions (organised by Comets & Cartwheels) at Glasgow’s Drake Bar featuring free stripped-back sets from Friends In America + Prehistoric Friends on November 7, Finn LeMarinel on November 14, Randolph’s Leap on November 21 and Honeyblood + LightGuides on November 28.
New gig… There Will Be Fireworks + Friends In America + The Youth And Young at Strathaven’s Old Mill Studios on December 7.
November 6, 2013: New video via YouTube… Prides – Roar (Katy Perry cover for Vic Galloway session).
New song stream via YouTube… Fridge Magnets – Chase The Sun.
Rachel Sermanni has set up a PledgeMusic page for pre-orders of her Everything Changes EP.
Free song download via SoundCloud… This Silent Forest – Root To The Seed, taken from debut album Indivision.
New song stream via Gold Flake Paint… Book Group – The Lowdown of A LOUD Sound, taken from Victory Lap / The Lowdown Of A LOUD Sound single, out on November 25.
New video via YouTube… The Button Men – Man With A Plan.
November 5, 2013: New song stream via SoundCloud (today only)… There Will Be Fireworks – Elder And Oak.
New video via YouTube… CHVRCHES – Lies.
The Birthday Suit have a PledgeMusic campaign featuring various incentives and packages to go with pre-orders of their third album A Hollow Hole Of Riches, out in April.
BrewDog Records has been set up by the Scottish craft beer company with its first official release being The Shiverin’ Sheiks single Guided Missiles, taken from the band’s debut album A Curious Case Of…, out on November 20.
November 4, 2013: New album release via Bandcamp… Washington Irving – Palomides: Volume II.
New album release via iTunes… Kobi Onyame – Glory.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Over The Wall – Radiator, taken from This Is How We Did It EP, out on December 9.
November 1, 2013: New gig… There Will Be Fireworks + Friends In America + Kevin Harper at Glasgow’s SWG3 on November 22.
Arctic Monkeys have rescheduled tonight’s show at Glasgow’s Hydro to November 21 as singer Alex Turner has laryngitis. All original tickets remain valid.
New video via YouTube… Michael Cassidy – Everybody’s Scared. He plays with Beerjacket + Julia And The Doogans at Glasgow’s Mono on December 5.
October 31, 2013: New video via YouTube… Nightmare Boy – Mary (first solo offering of ex-Kassidy member Barrie-James O’Neill).
New video via YouTube… Frightened Rabbit – Holy.
A fan-led campaign to boycott all of Idlewild’s side-projects in the hope of spurring them to make new music has been attacked by band member Rod Jones. The guitarist, who also fronts The Birthday Suit, wrote: “If anything this just has the opposite effect in that it made me really consider whether I wanted to make music anymore. My other band The Birthday Suit and its touring and releasing records has absolutely no bearing or influence on whether and when an Idlewild tour or album might happen.”
October 30, 2013: New gigs… The Reflektors (Arcade Fire) at Glasgow’s Barrowland on November 15 and November 16 – general sale from November 1; presale passwords are available to those who pre-ordered the band’s new album from their official website.
New album release via iTunes… Cairn String Quartet – One (streaming on SoundCloud) featuring orchestral covers of Lana Del Rey, Coldplay, Oasis, The Stone Roses, Ocean Colour Scene etc.
October 29, 2013: Free song download via official website… Mogwai – Remurdered (streaming on SoundCloud), taken from eighth album Rave Tapes, out on January 20.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Pinact – Brew.
New video via YouTube… The LaFontaines – All She Knows.
Free song download via SoundCloud… SOS – ROCK N ROLL.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Madison – Mending, taken from Mending EP, out now.
Gig venue change…. Katie Sutherland plays Glasgow’s Faktory instead of Mackintosh Church on November 2.
October 28, 2013: New album release via Comets & Cartwheels… Blood Relatives – Deerheart.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Call To Mind – A Family Sketch.
New album release via Lost Map… Monoganon – F A M I L Y, streaming in full on Gold Flake Paint.
October 25, 2013: Born To Be Wide will host a seminar on record shops at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus on November 7. Panelists include Rose Norton (Coda), Sandy McLean (Love Music) and Darren Yeates (VoxBox).
New gig… Blood Relatives album launch at Glasgow’s Bar & Fly on October 26.
New gig… Scottish Fiction presents Beerjacket & Friends + Julia And The Doogans at Glasgow’s Mono on December 5.
New song stream via SoundCloud… The LaFontaines – All She Knows (Prides remix).
The 1975, Nina Nesbitt and The 10:04s have been added to the Concert in the Gardens bill at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay alongside Pet Shop Boys. Other stages feature CHVRCHES, Django Django and King Creosote.
October 24, 2013: New gig… TYCI Christmas Party featuring secret live act plus DJ sets from CHVRCHES + Pretty Ugly + Adele Bethel at Glasgow’s Art School on December 21.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Honeyblood – Kissing On You.
New gig… Starz In Their Eyes featuring RM Hubbert + Eagleowl + The Pictish Trail + Kid Canaveral + Two Wings (each covering a female artist of their choice) at Edinburgh’s Pilrig St Paul’s Church on November 23.
October 23, 2013: New video via YouTube… Siobhan Wilson – All Dressed Up.
New video via YouTube… TeenCanteen – Honey.
New video via YouTube… Young Fathers – Low, taken from forthcoming album Dead, out on February 3.
New video via YouTube… Biffy Clyro – Sounds Like Balloons.
New EP release via Bandcamp… End Of Neil – Less.
October 22, 2013: Local Natives’ Nik Ewing had his Fender Coronado bass guitar stolen during their gig at The Arches in Glasgow last night – contact police if you spot it.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Michael Cassidy – Everybody’s Scared, out on November 28.
October 21, 2013: New song stream via SoundCloud… TeenCanteen – Honey, out on October 28. They play Edinburgh’s Summerhall on October 25, Glasgow’s Rio Cafe on October 26 (free) and Aberfeldy Festival on November 3.
New album release via Bandcamp… Saint Max & The Fanatics – Saint Max Is Missing And The Fanatics Are Dead.
New video via YouTube… Kobi Onyame – Goodbye World, Hello, taken from new album Glory, out on November 4.
Free download via official website… Plum – Death Comes With A Bow, taken from Betsy Thunder EP, out now.
October 18, 2013: Dumfries Music Conference has announced its upcoming four-day programme of free events in the town.
October 30: Screening of LCD Soundsystem documentary Shut Up And Play The Hits at Robert Burns Centre.
October 31: Music Industry Experts seminar featuring The Pop Cop and others at The Stove (ticketed).
November 1: Songwriting Workshops featuring Findlay Napier + Finding Albert’s Robert Shields at The Stove.
November 1: Live showcase featuring Hector Bizerk + Honeyblood + Barstow Bats at The Stove (ticketed).
November 2: Record Fair featuring Rebecca Vasmant (Ministry Of Sound) + Jason Reid (Sub Club) at The Stove.
October 17, 2013: New song stream via SoundCloud… Washington Irving – Babble. Their track Palomides is also available for free download. Both are taken from Palomides: Volume II album, out on November 4.
New video via Clash… The Birthday Suit – A Bigger World, out on November 4.
New video via YouTube… Atom Tree – Die For Your Love, taken from Tide Of Thorns EP, out on October 18.
Free gig… Rachel Sermanni at Glasgow’s Love Music on October 21 (5pm).
October 16, 2013: New video via YouTube… Colin Macleod – Devil Pavement (Live from the Green Bus), taken from The Anchor EP, out on October 21. On the same day he will play instore sets at Edinburgh’s Coda Music (1pm) and Glasgow’s Love Music (5.30pm).
57ᵒ North have published their Guide To DIY Gig Promotion – a useful resource for anyone venturing into this side of the music business.
Michael Cassidy will play at the opening night party for Glasgow’s The Bar & Fly on October 19.
Free gig… French Wives + Randolph’s Leap + Laki Mera + The Graveyard Band + Donald Macdonald And The Islands + The Mademoiselle for 1st Birthday Bash at Glasgow’s Broadcast on October 25 (RSVP required).
October 15, 2013: New video via YouTube… Travis – Mother.
New video via YouTube…. Casual Sex – Nothing On Earth, taken from The Bastard Beat EP, out on October 28.
October 14, 2013: Anna Sweeney, who spoke out on The Pop Cop about her mental health issues after quitting her solo career, has started a new project with Maeve McCrorie called The Scarlings. They play their first gig at Glasgow’s Oran Mor on October 31.
October 12, 2013: New documentary via BBC iPlayer… The Great Hip Hop Hoax.
New song stream via Clash… Washington Irving – Palomides, taken from Palomides: Volume II album, out on November 4.
Free download via SoundCloud… Beerjacket – Glow (demo).
Free album download via Bandcamp… Louie & Bigg Taj – Paranoise.
October 11, 2013: New gig… Withered Hand at Edinburgh’s Whale Arts Centre on October 19 (free tickets) with free return coach travel from Waterloo Place as part of Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival.
New tour… Travis at Edinburgh’s Picture House on November 17, Inverness’ Ironworks on November 18, Aberdeen’s Music Hall on November 19 and Glasgow’s Barrowland on December 20.
October 10, 2013: The venue splits and stage times for Haddowfest in Edinburgh on October 11-12 have been released.
New video via YouTube… Honeyblood – Bud. The band play Glasgow’s Broadcast on October 29 and Edinburgh’s Electric Circus on October 30.
New video via YouTube… Camera Obscura – Troublemaker. The band’s Break It To You Gently double 7″ single is out now.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Saint Max & The Fanatics – Soul Surrender, taken from debut album Saint Max Is Missing And The Fanatics Are Dead, out on October 21.
October 9, 2013: New video via YouTube… Katie Sutherland – Canvas. She plays Glasgow’s Mackintosh Church on November 2.
New gig… Rachel Sermanni + Bwani Junction + Vigo Thieves at Edinburgh’s Liquid Room on November 23 (for War Child). Rachel’s The Boatshed Sessions EP is out on October 21.
The Great Hip Hop Hoax will be broadcast on BBC Two Scotland on October 11 at 9pm.
LCD Soundsystem documentary Shut Up And Play The Hits will be shown for free at Dumfries’ Robert Burns Centre on October 30 as part of Dumfries Music Conference which runs from October 30 to November 2.
October 8, 2013: CHVRCHES, Django Django, King Creosote, The Rezillos, Treacherous Orchestra and Fiddlers’ Bid have been announced to play Edinburgh’s Hogmanay street party alongside headliners Pet Shop Boys.
New song stream via SoundCloud… SOS – ROCK N ROLL.
October 7, 2013: New song stream via YouTube… The LaFontaines – All She Knows, out on October 27; B-side My Yo-Yo available now on iTunes.
New album release via iTunes… The Fratellis – We Need Medicine.
New album release via Bandcamp… The Grand Gestures – Second.
New album release via Fortuna POP!… The Spook School – Dress Up.
October 6, 2013: New video via YouTube… De Rosa – Spectres. The band play their first gig in four years as part of Kid Canaveral’s Xmas Baubles IV at Edinburgh’s Portobello Town Hall on December 14.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Beerjacket – Androgynous (The Replacements cover).
New album stream via SoundCloud… L.Pierre – Neverland Transmission, A Disney Mix (tracklist on Dazed and Confused).
October 4, 2013: 57º North will run a free music journalism training course at Aberdeen’s Seventeen every Wednesday for four weeks from October 23. Email email@example.com to apply for one of six spaces.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Katie Sutherland – Canvas, out on November 18.
New gigs via Ticketmaster… The Twilight Sad performing debut album Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters at Glasgow’s King Tut’s on December 20 and December 21.
New album release via Bandcamp… The Little Kicks – Put Your Love In Front Of Me.
New video via BBC iPlayer… Rapal – Series 7, Episode 8, featuring Vukovi, Donald Macdonald And The Islands, The Velveteen Saints, The River 68′s and Conquering Animal Sound.
October 3, 2013: The Glasgow venue formerly known as The Barfly, which shut in February 2009, will reopen as The Bar & Fly at the same location on Clyde Street on October 18.
New video via YouTube… The Deep Red Sky – Kids (MGMT cover), out on October 7.
New song via YouTube… Finn LeMarinel – Love Is Waves (demo).
October 2, 2013: Free album download via UK Rock Radio… Free Sample Issue #03 featuring songs by The Xcerts, Sparrow And The Workshop, Admiral Fallow, A Band Called Quinn, Mull Historical Society and Unkle Bob.
Meursault frontman Neil Pennycook will be a guest speaker at Born To Be Wide’s seminar on promoting gigs, which takes place at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus on October 3.
New video via YouTube… We Were Hunted – You Know Me Now.
What The Blood Revealed have announced they are splitting up.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Lorraine McCauley & The Borderlands – Belong.
October 1, 2013: Free song download via iTunes… CHVRCHES – Tether. Singer Lauren Mayberry has written a Guardian article about the online misogyny she has been suffering, it’s well worth a read.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Julia & The Doogans – Love At First Sight (Kylie Minogue cover).
New song stream via SoundCloud… Cold Crows Dead – Ghost That Burned Your House Down, taken from debut album I Fear A New World, out on December 2. The band is a collaboration between The Xcerts’ Murray Macleod and Brighton songwriter Paul Steel. They play Aberdeen’s Tunnels on December 10 and Glasgow’s King Tut’s on December 11.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Galleries – Underground Overground
Galleries have only been in existence for a matter of months, yet the quality of the songs on their MySpace page can’t help but mark them out as a band whose reach is sure to extend much wider than the blogosphere. The Glasgow group is made up of three students and, interestingly, BBC political reporter Andrew Black on drums. The lush sounds of Underground Overground beautifully hints at their The National and Jimmy Eat World influences and is taken from Galleries’ forthcoming debut EP. It’s a MAP exclusive download so feel privileged that you’re getting to own it first.
March 2, Nice ‘n’ Sleazy, Glasgow
Catalina Vin – Caleidoscope
Catalina Vin is an Argentine-American singer and songwriter who started learning music at the age of seven. Genuine is her first album, in which her roots are reflected through eight indie-pop songs sung in both English and Spanish, with soft string and piano arrangements. Caleidoscope is one of our favourite tracks.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Seekae – Void
Ever since FBi Radio started broadcasting regularly some five years ago, Sydney’s independent music scene has flourished from the much-needed lifeblood and community support that the station provides. A lot of young musicians now have an alternative to Triple J to supplement their listening habits and this has encouraged the more experimental writers to pursue their own distinct sounds, knowing they will be played and heard. Seekae is the clear breakout band out of Sydney’s resurging experimental electronic music. With their abstract vocals and dreamy atmosphere they have earned their place as leaders of the city’s 2010 sound.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Curumin – Vem Menina
Curumin is one of the biggest names of the contemporary independent music scene in Brazil. A drummer and singer, besides his solo work, he plays with artists such as Otto, Céu and Guizado. Vem Menina is a samba from his debut album, Achados e Perdidos, released in 2003. His latest album, Japan Pop Show, was released last year and shows his talent to compose funk, samba, rock and electronic songs.
Leif Vollebekk – Quebec
Some people hear Patrick Watson in Leif Vollebekk’s vocals. Others have compared his music to that of Owen Pallett/Final Fantasy. I’m not sure about the comparisons, but I know this: Vollebekk is an incredibly gifted performer and artist, and when his debut album, Inland, gets re-released in a few weeks on hot new Toronto label Nevado Records, all of Canada is going to find out just how talented he is.
CHILE: Super 45
De Janeiros – Montreal
Milton Mahan and Pablo Munoz are De Janeiros, one of the most interesting projects in the Chilean experimental scene. In the trend of bands such as Health or Fuck Buttons – that kind of plastic and colorful noise – their sound goes beyond by adding a more playful and “tropical” feeling to it. Chilean net-label Michita Rex have made their sophomore album Plateado available to downloaded for free here.
PK14 – Cuo Guo Le
PK14 is the best post-punk band in China. Formed in 1997, they have released five albums. Currently, they are preparing a new album to be release this year and they will attend SXSW in March.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Cours Lapin – Cache Cache
Cours Lapin is what happens when four movie score composers (Louise Alenius, Asger Baden, Peder and Jonas Struck) get together to do pop. Their name is French (translated as “bunny run”), their lyrics are in French (of course) and the French chanson is at the root of their mellow, melancholic pop that makes me think of black and white movies (and yes, they’re French).
ENGLAND: The Daily Growl
Thomas Western – Your Front Door
Last month I picked an Italian musician based in England for MAP – this time it’s the turn of an Englishman currently living in Scotland. Thomas Western’s bluesy/folky approach to songwriting is reminiscent of Elliott Smith or Bob Dylan, while his exquisite vocal range is pitched halfway between Tim and Jeff Buckley. Western moved from Derbyshire to Edinburgh last year to complete his university studies and Your Front Door is his masterpiece.
January 16, Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh
UNCANDY – Lovecool
UNCANDY (and yes, it’s important to write it in capital letters) is multi-talented Maria Juur from Tallinn. Her home recordings have already created quite a buzz in the Estonian indie scene and rumour has it we won’t have to wait long for a debut album. She also records under the name Maria Minerva. Lovecool is featured on new Estonian indie compilation album, Kohalik Ja Kohatu 3.
Vishnudata – Silver Falls feat. Suho Superstar (radio edit)
Established in 2003, Vishnudata is a project by electronic dance music guru Ville Lankinen which explores the artist’s techno and house influences. Silver Falls is the closing track of his self-titled sophomore album and progressively it introduces the listener into a shiny ethereal atmosphere and psychedelic soundscape. This radio edit version, which features Suho Superstar on vocals, is included in a recently released EP along with three more remixes.
Ibrahim Maalouf – Souma Hia
Born in Lebanon, Ibrahim Maalouf grew up in Paris and began studying the trumped at the age of seven. Ten years later he met Maurice André, who advised him to give up his mathematics studies to dedicate himself to music. Maalouf also had the opportunity to record a song with French singer Matthieu Chedid and this collaboration can be found in the very good Diachronism album. The track Souma Hia carries a great deal of energy.
Get Well Soon – 5 Steps / 7 Swords
Get Well Soon is the solo project of Konstantin Gropper, a classically trained singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Berlin. His soulful and sophisticated songs take the same path as the likes of Sufjan Stevens or Zach Condon. 5 Steps / 7 Swords is the first single release from second album Vexations.
Exposed By Observers – In My Skin
Exposed By Observers aim to rape the listeners’ ears, yet are less faithfully wed to punk and more interested in dance-derived rhythms, deploying more tightly coiled riffs and distinctive beats than most screamo bands. Secondhand Youth EP, which was given away for free on their website, sounds like everything they’d ever heard, spewed out and rewired for a different type of moshpit etiquette, a brand new teenage riot. They frantically blend cheap samples, beatbox rhythms, clicks, bleeps, fringes, beeps and guitars with manic electro buzz and raw, squawking vocals. Unsurprisingly, there’s also a noticeable undercurrent of emo here too, but actually feels charged and compelling in the momentary tantrums of In My Skin. Listen loud!
ICELAND: I Love Icelandic Music
Bloodgroup – My Arms
Bloodgroup was formed in 2006 by Halez, Lilja, Raggi and Janus during some boring winter days on the east coast of Iceland and they make catchy electronic dance-pop. Debut album Sticky Situation was released on the band’s own label, Sild Ehf, and got excellent reviews. Its follow-up, Dry Land, was released on the Record Records label last month. My Arms is their latest single.
Seven Degrees – Shadows In The Dark
Seven Degrees is a boy-girl punk duo from New Delhi. This irreverent twosome produce angular, infectious punk that’s largely bare-boned yet crashy enough to cause a decent racket. Shadows In The Dark is part of a free compilation album called Stupid Stupid Stupid available on Indiecision. The song is a spiralling, old-school punk tribute that leaves you with the distinct feeling of wanting to get up and not be lazy anymore.
Seringai – Mengadili Persepsi (Bermain Tuhan)
Seringai are one of the finest Indonesian metal bands, often described as a blend of Motorhead and Black Sabbath. Their brilliant lyrics are a social critique of religious extremism, policies, domestic violence and sometimes just about stupid people.
I Am The Cosmos – Remembering You
Remembering You is a beautiful slice of broody 80s-inspired electronica buttressed on creaking synth stabs and high-pitched melodies. Its creator, Ross Turner, is known for his work behind the drum kit with various Irish bands but stepping out on his own here as I Am The Cosmos, he shows us what he can do in sole producer mode.
Port-Royal – The Photoshopped Prince
There was a blizzard here last week and I found myself listening again to this third album by Port-Royal. It was the perfect soundtrack. Shoegaze, IDM, electro and ambient influences blend together to build an epic soundscape. The Genoa-based quartet used to be on the renowned Resonant label and have worked with Ulrich Schnauss and made remixes for Ladytron and Felix Da Housecat. Now they’re back with a throbbing, intense, unpredictable, brimful of life new record.
JAPAN: JPOP Lover
Green Blossoms – Hana Akari
Green Blossoms are folky duo Aiko Koga and Anthony Guerra. Aiko sings and plays ukulele, Anthony plays the other instruments. They released their second album, Whiskey Leaves, on US-based Digitalis Recordings last summer. Hana Akari is beautiful, softly-intoned songwriting and its ghostly incantations will stick in the back of your mind.
MEXICO: Red Bull PanameriKa
The Hong Kong Blood Opera – Cansei De Ser Gangsta
The Mexican alternative scene recently witnessed the rise of a synthetic yet raw punk generation raiding the underground. A frenetic quintet from desertic Hermosillo stood out – The Hong Kong Blood Opera. A bloody opera? More like straight hardcore screaming evil and rough beats. The HKBO got sweaty teenagers shaking their guts and also blew the critics away when they won a nationwide competition sponsored by a monopolic corporation a few years ago. Instead of vanishing like every band from those schemes usually does, they reappeared with a remarkable album titled Not For The Faint Of Heart. The record breaks the rock-band-contest cliché and at the same time mocks the whole mediatic circus and abusive music industry models with killer singles like Cansei De Ser Gangsta.
NETHERLANDS: Amsterdam Event Guide
The Wooden Constructions – No No (Hip Hop)
Happy New Year from the Netherlands crew. We’ll kickstart 2010 with one of the most talked-about Amsterdam acts, The Wooden Constructions. Their tribal disco with punk-infused lyrics (which harness the confidence of Mark E. Smith) sit alongside their own blend of twangy guitars and driving rhythms. Their unique musical stylings and great live shows have got the city rather excited about what 2010 might offer for this band and the Amsterdam scene itself. Watch this space.
NEW ZEALAND: Counting The Beat
The Mint Chicks – Crush
For three decades, Chris Knox has made some of New Zealand’s most exciting music – from the punk of The Enemy, Toy Love, virtually inventing the country’s indie music scene with four-track recordings of his band Tall Dwarfs and writing one of the nation’s most popular songs. Knox suffered a debilitating stroke last year and to aid his recovery many who have been influenced by him have contributed to an album of covers called Stroke. The roll call includes Jay Reatard, Stephen Merrit, Will Oldham, Lou Barlow and more. Crush, from The Tall Dwarfs’ 1984 EP Slug Bucket Hairy Breath Monster, is performed by The Mint Chicks, one of New Zealand’s most exciting bands.
Sacred Harp – Next Time Too
Sacred Harp are a trio from Oslo who recently released their beautiful self-titled debut EP on the small Norwegian label The Perfect Hoax. Their music is quite difficult to describe because it’s so in the middle of everything. It’s dark, but there’s also a lot of light and colour in there. It’s experimental, but it’s also full of pop structures and lovely melodies. It’s sacral and calm, other times almost brutal. It’s music you just have to listen to. The members are from Norway, Finland and Holland, so they really fit the spirit of the Music Alliance Pact.
La Mente – La Problema
In its wonderful fusion of tropical rhythms, reggae and psychedelic electronic models, La Mente has uncovered an inexhaustible source of energy and dynamism which beckons you onto the dancefloor. La Problema is a feast of total madness and one of the strongest songs from La Mente’s new album, Para Los Muertos Y Los Vivientes.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Malcontent – Aggressive
Malcontent are a quartet from Oporto led by Sérgio Costa. When you listen to them you know their influences (The Jesus And Mary Chain, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Sonic Youth, Joy Division, Nine Inch Nails) and they don’t deny them. They started playing in 2007 and released several promo singles. Finally, they have their first full LP out, called Love The Gun, which the band self-released.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Aievea – Joy Of Life
Vlaicu Golcea and Electric Brother are two incredibly talented multi-instrument players. They combine conventional music with electronic beats and the creative rhythms of Tavi Scurtu, the drummer who juggles with sound. To an already great recipe, we add Marta Hristea’s incredible voice for the perfect nu-jazz experience. After a six-year pause, they’ve just released their second album, Cinema, which can be fully downloaded here.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Sherene’s Closet – Stereo Loud
Have we got a classic for you this month! Though now defunct, Sherene’s Closet is still very much celebrated in the Singaporean music scene. You might say it all started with this demo recorded during the now legendary Green Room Sessions, and I hear it’s a bit rarer than the LP version. This should be considered one of the best local songs ever recorded, owing to Gerald Stahlman’s stellar vocal delivery and the raw energy of the rest of the band.
SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
Ashtray Electric – Lia
“A quaint mixture consisting of three parts suburb and two parts platteland” make up the phenomenon that is Ashtray Electric. They combine delicate beats, heartfelt lyrics and catchy melodies that lead to a rather fresh, unconventional sound, albeit one that gets your feet tapping. Lia has been compared to Editors and Interpol but Ashtray Electric bring a fresh new sound that has them at the forefront of the indie scene, and rightly so.
SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
Apollo 18 – Warm
Last year Apollo 18 established themselves as one of the very best rock acts of Korea. Starting with a marvellous post-rock-oriented EP, an amazing album followed in which they experimented with hardcore, shoegaze and psychedelic elements. An international version of the first EP has just been released and before the end of the month it’ll be followed by instrumental rock pieces of a more playful kind. Re-recorded to magically sound even better than before, Warm is a stunningly beautiful post-rock piece of epic proportions best played as loud as possible.
SPAIN: Oscuro Magazine
2 Minuts d’Odi – Cuidad De Dios
2 Minuts d’Odi (“2 Minutes Of Hate”) are part of the “Brave Coast Punk-Rockers” movement which extends throughout the Costa Brava. Cuidad De Dios (“City Of God”) is a song against religion which speaks of the Palestinian problem and the bad influences that hatred and violence can have on a kid growing thirst for revenge.
Jenny Björkqvist – To Heal Your Wounds
To Heal Your Wounds by Jenny Björkqvist is a song that successfully straddles the worlds of indie and folk – it would be as comfortable hanging out with Nick Drake or Jose Gonzalez as it would be spending time with Dylan or Guthrie. Friend and fellow neo-folkie Tim Schmidt contributes vocals on this track.
UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
Vikesh Kapoor – Mack The Knife
Vikesh Kapoor is an up-and-coming acoustic artist, currently based near Boston, who writes ballads which draw their strength from storytelling-type lyricism. After making appearances in Billboard and The Boston Globe, Kapoor is releasing his Newspress Scare 7″ featuring this great rendition of the Kurt Weill-composed Mack The Knife.
El Pacto – Hyperdance En La Curva De San Pablo
El Pacto are music legends in the city of Barquisimeto. Since 1992, they have been devoted to merging rock, pop, jazz, ska and folk music in a sound so original and vanguardist, they have even influenced famous national bands like Amigos Invisibles. Their shows ususally include circus-like performances with actors and acrobats. Hyperdance En La Curva De San Pablo is taken from the album of the same name.
To download all 34 songs in one file click here