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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
I’d like to sign off with this month’s Music Alliance Pact, the round-the-world monthly magical mystery tour which I founded, organised and edited since October 2008.
I’d also like to say a big thanks to all the MAP blogs who have helped show just how effective we can be when we put our faith in the music we love.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Sorren Maclean – You Shook
Sorren Maclean is a 20-year-old singer-songwriter who I recently came across while doing research for a feature on musicians from Scottish islands. Although Sorren lives in Glasgow, he grew up in Mull and still maintains strong ties with the island. His debut album won’t be out until later in the year but we’ve got an exclusive sneak preview from it. You Shook is typical of Sorren’s sound, driven by melody and harmonies and very easy on the ear.
Verdeoscuro – Allright
This is the musical project of singer-songwriter-producer Diego Acosta. We’ve been following his evolution since the very beginning of our blog, so we’re very fond of the folk-rock vibe, languid guitars and moaning vocals of Verdeoscuro’s songs. This is his newest release after the departure of long-time partner Victoria Boano and it was released by a new netlabel called Fuego Amigo Discos.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Cloud Control – There’s Nothing In The Water We Can’t Fight
Sydney’s Cloud Control made a mark in blogging circles with their previous single, the unforgettable Gold Canary. This time I would like to highlight the track There’s Nothing In The Water We Can’t Fight, taken from their debut album Bliss Release. From a collection of indie gems, this track is the outstanding crown jewel that caught my attention with its amazing melodies, counter-melodies and lyrics. Bliss Release is truly an album for the 2010 indie-rock fan and I’m glad I got to hear this one early.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Renegado – Meu Canto
Straight from the slums, Renegado presents a concise social screed (the fruits of his work as leader of an NGO focused on social development and appreciation of black culture) by mixing hip hop with Brazilian rhythms. The samba-influenced Meu Canto is an example of that, featuring vocals from Aline Calixto and lyrics that discuss the hardships of poverty and the pleasure of enjoying life. Renegado is preparing for upcoming shows in the United States, Europe and Africa. His debut album, Do Oiapoque a Nova York, is available for streaming via his website.
Hannah Georgas – Bang Bang You’re Dead
Hannah Georgas’ full-length debut, This Is Good, is chock-full of exceptionally good, radio-ready pop-rock. Few of the songs on it are as fun as the slyly naughty Bang Bang You’re Dead, complete with its children’s choir and chorus of “You’re talking shhhh… ’bout me / I’m talking shhhh… ’bout you”. If (or, more likely, when) Georgas breaks through in a big way, it’ll be songs like this one that will help her do it.
CHILE: Super 45
Gepe – Por La Ventana
The long-awaited third record by Gepe will be released this month and is preceded by a suprising first single. Por La Ventana (“Through The Window”) must be his poppiest song yet, but it comes from his personal understanding of what pop music is: the mixture of contradictory traditions converging to produce an easy-to-grasp sound. It may be a little upsetting for his hardcore fans but this isn’t the first time Gepe has bent his own rules, and it certainly won’t be the last.
COLOMBIA: Colombia Urbana
Transporte – Lonely
Transporte are not afraid to experiment. Formed by Diana Navarro (vocals) and Juan Felipe Bastidas (drums, guitars, sequences), the duo mix live sounds with digital synths to create their electronic pop.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
The Wong Boys – Git Ur Wong On
At the start of the year, Frank Ziyanak (The Wong Boys, Death To Frank Ziyanak and much more) launched a new website making a solid portion of his impressive musical output – remixes, full albums, demos and rarities – available for download on a “pay your respect” basis. Among the rarities is this remake of The Wong Boys’ club-banging smash-hit Git Ur Fuk On, aimed at the Asian market as Git Ur Wong On.
ENGLAND: The Daily Growl
Archie Bronson Outfit – Shark’s Tooth
One of my favourite albums of the year so far is Archie Bronson Outfit’s Coconut. It’s a beast of an album, full of dirty, greasy, noisy rock thrills. And by that I don’t mean lo-fi – with DFA man Tim Goldsworthy in the chair, it’s pretty high-spec stuff with amped-up guitars, propulsive rhythms and carefully controlled noise explosions. If it sounds rough, it’s meant to be that way. It’s less about the tunes (though they are there), more the dark energy seething underneath the wall of sound. This is an album that you know wants to rock you, but you’re always afraid that it’s going to sneak up on your gyrating body and kick your head in. Exciting.
Picnic – Too Fast
Picnic was formed in 2006 and features Rivo Jarvsoo (guitars, electronics), Andres Soosaar (guitars, other instruments) and Marju Taukar (vocals, keyboard, accordion). Flowing guitars mingle with electronic beats and treats, and the influence of ’90s British shoegaze is not difficult to notice – Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Chapterhouse are all there. The band released their debut album Winter Honey on local label Seksound in February.
Captain Cougar – Engagement Song
For their second album, Captain Cougar came up with a history-related concept album telling the story of two people growing up on the heels of the Finnish independence and civil war in the early 20th century and emigrating for the never-to-be-found hope and glory of the American land. The cinematic music enhances the melancholy of the story with dense atmospherics and layers of instruments underneath the beautiful voice of Eva Louhivuouri, who acts as the narrator thanks to a collection of soft pop melodies. Early in the story, Engagement Song gives a break to the hard-working people in the rural community.
L’egojazz – Ovatime
Jazz and sampling are the foundations L’egojazz is built on. These guys from the Bavarian Chiemgau draw their inspiration from many different genres such as electro, indie and drum and bass, and merge them to form an eclectic, improvisational sound. Ovatime is a piece of impulsive music with a funky touch that goes directly into your dancing shoes. The song is a Music Alliance Pact exclusive which shows their electronic side best.
Sleepin Pillow – Silicone
Sleepin Pillow’s philosophy is based on bringing together experimental, psychedelic rock along with Greek and Eastern traditional music. They create eerie yet familiar soundscapes while achieving a distinctive sound of their own to form an enveloping whole, with each overlapping texture or shifting tempo plunging the listener further into the darkness. Their album Superman’s Blues is rewarding, thoughtful and challenging. It is an ambitious work of power, emotional depth and feeling, with vocals submerged under a claustrophobic blanket of guitars battling with drums.
ICELAND: I Love Icelandic Music
Who Knew – Sharpen The Knife
Who Knew is a six-piece indie power-pop band that produces catchy melodies and groovy beats. The band was formed by lead singer Armann Ingvi Armannson and backing vocalist and guitar player Baldur Helgi Snorrason in 2006. Sharpen The Knife is taken from debut album Bits And Pieces Of A Major Spectacle, which will be released in Europe on the German 101berlin label on May 21.
White Shoes & The Couples Company – Kampus Kemarau
White Shoes & The Couples Company’s music make Indonesians feel proud. Heavily influenced by old Indonesian movies and ’60s ballads, they spread the warm feeling of their vibrant, vintage pop tunes all around the world, even if most of the lyrics are in Bahasa Indonesia.
Kill Krinkle Club – Airport
Justin Cummins and Elena Bergman are an Irish-Swedish duo who released a promising EP back in 2008. They’ve recently been recording material for their debut album in September (each track will be accompanied by a video) and Airport is one of the first missives available from it, showcasing Kill Krinkle Club’s unique electronic/synth-pop sound.
ISRAEL: Metal Israel
Desert – Letter Of Marque
The evocative mastery of classic dark power metal act Desert exports a majestically melodic, edgy onslaught laced with influences from Judas Priest to Deep Purple. They’ve shared the stage with Sabaton and Draconian and show formidable talent and promise.
Vermillion Sands – Miss My Gun
A single out on Fat Possum, an EP on Sacred Bones and now the debut album on Alien Snatch Records – Vermillion Sands may be from Italy but they really talk the international language of rock ‘n’ roll. Their songs are raw and catchy as hell. You could say they play garage pop with a folk vibe, but you just have to let yourself go and wildly dance. Anna Barattin’s twangy voice will hypnotize you.
JAPAN: JPOP Lover
Tim & Puma Mimi – Aquarium
Tim & Puma Mimi is indie electro-pop group that consists of Tim (aka Christian Fischer) from Switzerland and Mimi (aka Michiko Hanawa) from Tokyo. They met in the Netherlands at a party in 2003. They are far away from each other but are connected via the internet, using Skype to record their tracks to deliver sweet and frisky tunes.
MEXICO: Red Bull PanameriKa
Carla Morrison – Buena Malicia
Carla Morrison is a beautiful voice in Mexico’s new music scene. Emerging from Baja California in 2009, Carla has touched audiences with just a piano, a guitar and her voice, which seems to melt down every soul that dares to listen to it live. Sweet and haunting, her sound is engaging but, more than anything, it’s moving. Buena Malicia is taken from her first EP titled Aprendiendo a Aprender. Carla is recording a follow-up with fellow singer (and fan) Natalia Lafourcade, which will go by the name Mientras Tu Dormias.
NETHERLANDS: Amsterdam Event Guide
Zea – Song For Electricity
Zea’s music draws influence from all over the world, and this entry especially is a mish-mash number inspired by an Ethiopian track taken from a recent tour through the country. Tribal beats with fast-paced indie-pop guitars merge with high-pitched electronics to create a messy, “wonderfully bonkers” pop number. File Zea in your collection with other eclectic, world-pop big-wigs MIA, Vampire Weekend and Animal Collective.
NEW ZEALAND: Counting The Beat
Bandicoot – Silence Is Golden
Take teenage angst and energy, pounding drums, speedy riffs, frenetic lead guitar, a hyper vocalist who spits her lyrics rather than sings, songs that duck and dive rather than take a linear path from go to whoa, turn up the treble and approach the whole thing with the aim of having fun. That’s Bandicoot. Silence Is Golden is from their second EP Jurassic Warfare and it ticks all those boxes. Jurassic Warfare, along with free 2009 EP Happy Talking are available from Muzai Records.
Caudillismo y Pedigree – Mi Perro Poodle Tiene Pulgas Negras
Mi Perro Poodle Tiene Pulgas Negras exudes creativity both in its hypnotizing, pleasant melody and its lyrics. The minimalism mixes with nostalgia to tell a strange story – the pains and habits of a dog called Poodle. The lyrics seem to make no sense, but in fact the use of metaphors explain and criticize the current society and some dark extracts of Peruvian life.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Soulbizness – Victimless Crime
Rodrigo Gomes and Filipe Campos are Soulbizness, a duo deeply influenced by funk, soul and electronic dance music. They won the first music contest in which they participated, in 2007. In 2008, they released their first EP, Collectables, and soon had a single on a major TV series. 2nd Shake is their second EP, released this last April, and Victimless Crime is one of its four tracks.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Discoballs – Watch Out!
“From now on, no one is safe, nothing is for sure,” announced Discoballs – a 100% live electronic group from Bucharest – at the beginning of 2008. They were very well received by the public because such a project was missing from the music scene and because they are really good at what they’re doing – playing constantly with sound and managing to make incredible music every time they’re on stage. Here’s one of the few tracks they’ve recorded.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Great Empty – Intro (Pattern & The Essence)
Great Empty are an experimental, instrumental band. One of the most beautiful aspects of their music is the raw simplicity that lies at the heart of all their tunes. There is no need for grand opuses, or pitch-perfect production quality. I think flaw is their gift to the realm of music, to ache and bleed out the last vestiges of honest emotion beyond the limits of control. It is heartfelt music, something that’s worth remembering and listening to.
SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
Megan C – I Got It
Megan C is a triple threat – a model, classically-trained vocalist and gifted actress. She teamed up with producer extraordinaire Ameen Harron for the song I Got It. It is a blend of slick, uptempo beats combined with MIA-esque rap, hip hop flavour and just a touch of electro to make a surefire dancefloor hit. Megan C is a force to reckoned with, keep an eye out for more from her.
SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
Vidulgi OoyoO – Goodnight Shining
Vidulgi OoyoO (literally “Pigeon Milk”) is one of Korea’s finest shoegaze bands. They recently put out a split album with Chicago’s bliss.city.east and it is scheduled for release in Europe and the US later this month. They wanted to apply their own textures to electronica, post-rock, psychedelic blues and more, and the result sounds better than ever. Goodnight Shining is an outstanding instrumental piece that’ll make you want to stay in Vidulgi OoyoO’s world of droning goodness for as long as possible.
SPAIN: Oscuro Magazine
Barbo – Exilio En Yokohama
Barcelona indie band Barbo created Matagigantes, an alternative rock album full of three-minute pop songs. Exilio En Yokohama speaks of the search for a personal retreat when you see everything around sink. Musically, they try to recover the fighting spirit of early U2, especially with the drum beat and guitar delays.
Big Fox – Saturday
Big Fox (aka Charlotta Perers) accomplishes her sound mostly by herself playing all the instruments, and doing the production/arranging of the songs. You would think that Saturday would be an uptempo pop song about partying, but instead is a slightly melancholy (yet positive) song about being home alone on a Saturday night. Charlotta admits to being influenced by Feist, Regina Spektor, Frida Hyvonen, Jenny Wilson and Ane Brun but her sound stands out on its own at the same time.
Bonaparte – L’etat C’est Moi
Bonaparte is a multicultural music project based in Berlin. However, the band leader, Tobias Jundt aka Signorino TJ, is a Swiss musician and producer who has gathered members from Germany, France, USA, New Zealand, Mexico, Panama, Austria and Brazil. Together they’re putting on an unforgettable show. At the beginning of their energetic and witty live shows everyone is dressed like circus animals. At the end, almost everyone is naked. Bonaparte’s music is contagious as hell and will get you in the end. Their second long-player, My Horse Likes You, comes out on June 4.
UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
Sleigh Bells – Tell ‘Em
All it took was a killer P-Funk sample to make Sleigh Bells the hottest new band of 2010. Their debut album, Treats, is hitting shelves in early June on M.I.A.’s N.E.E.T. label and Tell ‘Em is the first official track we’ve tasted. It’s like crack-sprinkled Andes thin mints. Absolutely delicious, intimidatingly addictive.
Famasloop – Vaca Lechera
Famasloop is a young band with a new approach to music, combining fresh, innovative rhythms with a marketing campaign full of multimedia elements that match their energy. They go from pop to rock and indie, and claim to make music not from genres but from the heart. Vaca Lechera is taken from Casa 4, a release that includes 10 new songs, 12 remixes and four videos.
To download all 34 songs in one file click here