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 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.
It’s time for this month’s edition of the Music Alliance Pact, a global trot through the jungle of music to find exotic creatures you never even knew existed. I find it helps if you imagine David Attenborough narrating all the artist descriptions below.
To download all 34 songs in one file click here
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Bwani Junction – Two Bridges
You should know fairly instantly whether Edinburgh’s Bwani Junction are the band you’ve been waiting for when I tell you that they sound like a cross between The Libertines and Vampire Weekend. They are unsigned but, given the buzz that surrounds them, probably won’t be for much longer. Two Bridges is already a singalong anthem among their rapidly increasing fanbase.
November 27, Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh (Sneaky Fest) (tickets)
December 18, Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
January 7, King Tut’s, Glasgow
Alvy, Nacho & Rubin – El Galán De La Paternal (The Magnetic Fields cover)
Alvy, Nacho y Rubin Interpretan a Los Campos Magnéticos is the result of a singular process of research, translation and reimagining of Stephin Merritt’s songs. The project was crafted by three talented musicians from Buenos Aires and Mr Merritt himself revised and approved the adaptation of his songs. El Galán De La Paternal (The Luckiest Guy On The Lower East Side) is the first single and you can download it here as a MAP exclusive. The whole album is available on iTunes.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Ghoul – 3Mark
I’m excited that over the next six months we’ll be getting both a mini-album (in January) and a full-length release from Sydney experimental/glitch/pop crew Ghoul. It’s been a long wait, but Ghoul have grown a lot since self-releasing their debut mini-LP A Mouthful Of Gold in 2008. Both the production and the songwriting have taken epic leaps toward a more nuanced, crisp sound that relies less on jazz streaks and tangential arrangements to maintain attention and more on melody and detail. 3Mark is a sign of great things to come.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Labirinto – Anatema
Epic, dark post-rock is at the core of Sao Paulo-based band Labirinto, whose first full-length album is already one of the best Brazilian releases of 2010 and is also remarkable due to its gorgeous artwork. Anatema is the main song on the album, which is available from their Bandcamp.
Radio Radio – Dekshoo
On the surface, Radio Radio may seem like a joke: a couple of hipsters from New Brunswick rapping in extremely slangy French about stuff like Kenny G, luggage and, on this song, penny loafers. Dig just a little deeper, though, and you’ll find the band members are actually expert satirists, skewering just about every target they can find (except for Kenny G; their love for him seems serious). With brilliant lyrics and fun music, it’s no wonder the band was included in this year’s Polaris Music Prize shortlist.
CHILE: Super 45
La Reina Morsa – Fiesta Pequeña
Originally from southern Chile, La Reina Morsa’s members took up permanent residency in Santiago with their own music projects. But their common tastes brought them together to release their debut album Dónde Están Las Jugueterías? (“Where Are The Toy Stores?”), the brand new sensation for the current season. Fiesta Pequeña (“Tiny Party”) is the first single, a great presentation card for this band which creates a pop sound that features acoustic guitar, bizarre animal visions and a sweet, child-like naivety. We strongly recommend you download the full album for free, directly from the Sello Cazador website.
JJay – Nostalgic Melody
JJay’s ear-melting vocals coasting smoothly over dreamy soundscapes peppered with catchy, thudding beats and soaring synths have earned him a serious fanbase. JJay first moved from Beijing to Shanghai to study while also forming several post-punk bands. After earning a master’s degree in science in the US, he returned to Shanghai and met B6 with whom he shared a passion for Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk and Royksopp. Once the voice of IGO with B6, possibly the first synthpop band in China, JJay is now pursuing solo work after the band split in 2009.
COLOMBIA: Colombia Urbana
El Tigre – Quien Como Yo
Sebastian aka El Tigre is a rapper from Medellin. His new crew, Los Extraditables, are actually giving the world a new theory: Drugs aren’t the only thing that can be exported from Colombia – good music can be too. Quien Como Yo is a classic dancehall track with a nightclub vibe.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
The Kites – Summer Missus
Exactly one year ago I featured quartet The Kites and their very infectious pop-rock in the Music Alliance Pact. A month later they released the great four-track EP, The Kites Are On, and recently they followed up with this bittersweet gem, co-produced by neo-disco prodigy Vinnie Who aka Niels Bagge. Both the EP and Summer Missus are available for free at their website – so go download it.
ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
Trophy Wife – Microlite (acoustic)
Exclusive acoustic version of the Oxford indie-dance trio’s debut single, out on Moshi Moshi Records now. “Four minutes of limpid loveliness that suggests – with its gently insistent electronic pulse, swathes of shimmering synths and aching perkiness – Vampire Weekend playing New Order”, says the Guardian’s new band of the day writer Paul Lester. “It’s our old friend, sad disco, something to dance to even as you ponder the vapidity and meaninglessness of frivolous self-expression.”
70vierailijaa – Tärkeintä On (Puutarhanhoito)
With a gentle touch of female voices blending together and an elegant progressive instrumentation, 70vierailijaa create charming dreamy pop to melt the cold winter nights. Their recently released self-titled debut album is full of traditional Finnish themes and melodies, but with the refreshing twist of soft indie music, in an addictive mix of old and new and of local and global sounds.
A Forest – A Stereotype
A Forest definitely run the unfair risk of being overlooked. Their musical mixture of souly electronica does not want to paint the town red. Instead, they create cautious, almost fragile songs on their debut album, Leaves Leaves Fall Fall Rain Fall, that get under your skin. The featured single, A Stereotype, is a perfect example for this sound which is founded on jazzy rhythms and soulful voices, especially from Fabian Schuetze. A Forest will release a new, as-yet untitled EP in March.
Film (featuring Hildur Kristín) – Harmur Fuglsins
Harmur Fuglsins, an atmospheric song with cinematic aesthetics that effortlessly creates images of tender, hearth-side warmth, is the bewitching outcome of a collaboration infused by the strikingly contrasting geographical and artistic backgrounds of Film and Rökkurró’s Hildur Kristín Stefánsdóttir. Curling around an eloquently subtle arrangement armed with guitars, delicate noises, pounding drums, sombre sonic textures, melodic synth lines and electronic facets and combined with the marvelous, ethereal vocal touches of Hildur brings out its tremendous beauty with every listen.
ICELAND: Icelandic Music Maffia
Sykur – Rocketship
First we had Sykurmolarnir, known worldwide as The Sugarcubes. Now an Icelandic electronic trio of youngsters from Reykjavik goes under the alias Sykur (“Sugar”). Their shows are fun-filled, sexy and energetic and they collaborate with local rappers and pop and rock singers. Rocketship, which has guest vocals from Útidúr singer Rakel Mjöll, is taken from Sykur’s debut album Frábært Eða Frábært, which was released a year ago on the Icelandic Record Records label.
Sulk Station – Contentment
Bangalore downtempo act Sulk Station define themselves as “mellowdramatic pop”, a term that captures the essence of their ambient soundscapes particularly well. The young duo’s minimal yet stark productions are powered by vocalist Tanvi Rao’s lazy delivery. Contentment grows from a Zero 7-esque drone to a swirling dance track which wouldn’t be out of place at an EDM club downtown.
Bangkutaman – Ode Buat Kota
Ode Buat Kota, which means “an ode to the city”, is taken from Bangkutaman’s latest concept album about hard life in Jakarta – the pollution, traffic, crime, house loans, etc. Their music is influenced by The Stone Roses, The Byrds and The Mamas & The Papas. They are one of the most well-respected bands in Indonesia.
Kasette – You Were More
Kasette consist of a trio of school friends who formed a music partnership while on a J-1 visa in Vancouver. They have just released their debut EP entitled A Mixed Tape which showcases the girls’ brand of chamber folk-pop. Simple and soft, Kasette’s music is in its infancy but it’s already lilting and lovely.
ISRAEL: Metal Israel
Desert (featuring Joakim Broden) – Lament For Soldier’s Glory: Order 227
Israel is comprised of many Russian-born people, some Jewish, some not. Lament For Soldier’s Glory: Order 227 by Desert taps into Russian history, describing Stalin’s cruel command that any soldier captured by the enemy was considered a traitor. Its haunting melodies and driving rhythms sonically depict pain and determination. And as all of Desert served (or are still serving) in the Israeli army, they know what it means to fight for survival. Vocalist Joakim Broden of Sweden’s Sabaton (Nuclear Blast Records) lends his talents to the tale of war and blood.
Sybiann – Monsoon Breath
You don’t really want to know where this is going to end up. Kraut, post-rock, noise, Liars, Deerhunter… it’s a scary, puzzling orgy of sounds. The amazing debut album of this young band from the town of Ravenna will fire up the imagination of anyone who has the guts to listen to it.
MEXICO: Red Bull PanameriKa
Movus – Al Filo Del Origen
Movus is a five-piece band from Guadalajara. Theirs is a very cinematic post-rock sound, filled with peaks and valleys of instrumental narratives. For their second album Maxa FireKeeper (produced by Jimmy LaValle from San Diego’s The Album Leaf), they were inspired by the Huichol Indians’ myths: Maxa is a deer that guards the mystical fire of the universe. Al Filo Del Origen (translated as “at the rim of the origin”) is as epic as Explosions In The Sky and as evocative as a new soundtrack to the Dr Who sci-fi series.
NETHERLANDS: Unfold Amsterdam
Daily Bread – About Birds And Bees
This raw trio from the north of the Netherlands label themselves as “sexy garage dance”. They’re certainly sexy, glamming it up at times, banging out taut, fast, noisy grooves reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand or !!! – albeit with a female vocal on top. Particularly live, they’re all about big beats, sweat and dancing. However, About Birds And Bees tunes into a summery Sixties garage-pop vibe instead. And they’ve delightfully avoided any tweeness precedent by writing a deliciously poppy, organ-driven ode to the one-night stand.
NEW ZEALAND: Counting The Beat
Disasteradio – No Pulse
Disasteradio is Luke Rowell’s one-man synthpop outfit. No Pulse comes from his second album Charisma. With this album, Disasteradio has shifted the balance a little more on to songs rather than sounds compared to past releases. The end result is an album with vocodered vocals and a crunchy new wave feel – part Devo, part Gary Numan and part computer game. Charisma is available on Bandcamp and you can watch the video for No Pulse on YouTube.
Young Dreams – Young Dreams
Young Dreams is a Bergen-based collective who make beautiful pop with equal doses of tropical flavours and Phil Spector/Brian Wilson influences. The project started in 2009 and now has as many as 10 members, including profiled musicians such as Matias Tellez and Chris Holm. Young Dreams will release two 7″ singles in early 2011 and their debut album is in the making. They will also perform at the upcoming by:Larm festival.
The Satellite – El Sol
The Satellite began their activities as a band in 2006 with a slight tendency towards post-rock, fusion and experimentation, using any sound that was available. In 2008, with a consolidated style, they released their second EP, 124, which contains El Sol. The band is currently composing more musical pieces and looking forward to making a debut album which they hope will come out very soon.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Emmy Curl – Seafire And Its Waltz
Emmy Curl lives in a northeast Portuguese town and has studied classic guitar in a music conservatory. However, her songwriting and singing is closer to a mix of ethereal and alternative folk than to anything classical. Imagine a blend of Lisa Germano and Suzanne Vega. She is one of a number of promising unsigned Portuguese artists and is due to have her first European tour.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Thy Veils – The KnifeChild
Daniel Dorobantu comes from Timisoara and is the mastermind behind this beautiful experimental/ambient project. A bit dark and somehow persistent, Thy Veils’ music is that soundtrack you always wanted for your weird dreams. And if you have trouble dreaming, visit the official site, where a slideshow of the band’s videos (The KnifeChild included) will help with the visuals.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Nicholas Chim – Midnight
Nicholas Chim is a singer-songwriter who walks the thin line between being absolutely self-indulgent and giving every iota of emotion that he conveys through his music. What results is some of the most earnest songs that shine in their simplicity; yet, the complexity of his arrangements and lyrics come forth distilled and pure. Nicholas is in the middle of recording his second album, Forgiefan, but has kindly shared a contemplative, folksy offering from it entitled Midnight. He hopes you enjoy the music as much as he did writing it.
SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
Merseystate – Jersey Girl
With a rock sound that has been compared to other stellar acts but is still uniquely their own comes Merseystate. They are the culmination of alternative rock at its best. Jersey Girl officially launched them on to the music scene last year. It’s a deftly-crafted song that tugs at you then whirls into melodic pop euphoria.
SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
Autumn Vacation – Dreamy Even In Deception (Fooled But Dreamy)
Autumn Vacation showcases the songwriting skills of Bobby Chung – the mastermind behind former MAP artist Julia Hart – and the warm, addictive voice of Gyepy, who could previously be heard as the female vocalist of Broccoli, You Too? The duo recently put out a self-titled album full of what they hope to be perceived as thought-provoking easy listening, providing the same sense of peacefulness as strolling in a park. As lovely as anything else from the band, Dreamy Even In Deception (Fooled But Dreamy) is a light and sweet pop tune that is bound to make you crave more.
6pm – Letters Play
Formed in mystical Santiago de Compostela in 2003, 6pm are an electronic/indie duo that has found inspiration in ambient/shoegaze bands such as Sigur Rós, Múm, Styrofoam or even The Postal Service. Letters Play, taken from their rather uknown last EP called Tape Worms, is certainly a breath of air in the Spanish ocean of indie music, where we rarely find inspiring ambient electronic tracks. 6pm are working on their sophomore album, set to be released sometime next year.
Johan Hillblom – Sneak Preview
Sneak Preview by Johan Hillblom may be underproduced but that doesn’t mean it’s amateurish. The trumpet solos are great, the odd beats cool, and Johan’s crooning vocals clear and crisp. The lyrics are personal and clever without being pretentious. Examples include “you should see the gallery in my cellphone, you look like an angel from every angle” and “once when I was drunk I accidentally poked you on Facebook, and what’s worse you didn’t poke back”. If you are looking for the next Jens Lekman or Montt Mardié (or the next cast member of Glee for that matter), look no further.
The Circle Brothers – Hands At The Steel
You say Nick Cave, I say Alban Ringli. Never heard of him? Alban Ringli is the singer of Swiss indie-folk outfit The Circle Brothers and he gives his two bandmates (who also happen to be his brothers) a special touch in a Nick Cave manner. They have just released their new record Love & Disorder. It sounds gloomy and anxious but still has a gleam of hope.
UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
TV Girl – On Land
San Diegan dudes TV Girl know how to make one hell of a pop song. On Land is quickly becoming one of our favorites of the year, matching the earnestness of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s debut with the hooks of MGMT’s most memorable songs. Their debut EP is a free download on Bandcamp. Keep your eyes peeled for TV Girl in 2011, they’re gonna dominate it.
Mochuelo – La Reina Del Lugar
Venezuelan rock band Mochuelo are known for their electronic sounds and all of the members pour their influences into one unique concept. Their guitar distorsions, contagious rhythms and sweet female vocals saw this band walk away with first prize in the 2005 New Bands Festival. La Reina Del Lugar is from their second album, Un Tanto Mas.