May 18, 2013: The 16-strong T Break line-up for T in the Park on July 12-14 has been unveiled - Arches, Blindfolds, DARC, Fake Major, Hector Bizerk, Honeyblood, Machines In Heaven, Michael Cassidy, Poor Things, Pronto Mama, Seams, Sunshine Social, The Merrylees, The Velveteen Saints, Vasa, Waiting For Go.
Anna Sweeney has announced she is taking a full break from music and has cancelled her scheduled appearance at Wickerman in July as she relocates to Reading for work in June. Another musician swapping Scotland for England is Plum, who is moving to Brighton in July.
May 17, 2013: The stage times have been released for the 35 acts playing Stag & Dagger across seven Glasgow venues on May 18.
Franz Ferdinand’s fourth album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action will be released on August 26 – check out this brief trailer.
Frightened Rabbit recorded a cover of Best Coast’s The Only Place for Australian radio show Triple J. The band release their Late March, Death March EP on June 2.
The Mouse That Ate The Cat song When I Wake Up is available for free in exchange for your email address.
The title track of Adam Stafford’s forthcoming second album Imaginary Walls Collapse is streaming here.
May 16, 2013: The Discopolis remix of Bwani Junction single Civil War is available to download for free from SoundCloud.
Born To Be Wide’s next seminar at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus on May 30 is on the topic of goNORTH, with a panel featuring broadcaster Vic Galloway, goNORTH duo Amanda Millen and Alex Smith and Chasing Owls frontman Ben Sunderland explaining how musicians and delegates can get the most out of the annual Inverness convention. Tickets are free.
AC/DC have backed a campaign to erect a bronze statue of their former frontman Bon Scott in his hometown of Kirriemuir in Angus. Community music group DD8 Music hope to raise £50,000 via Kickstarter by June 5.
Kite And The Crane’s debut EP, Found In The End, is out on Bandcamp.
May 15, 2013: Biffy Clyro have a video for their new single Opposite.
The View are playing a one-off show at Glasgow’s King Tut’s on June 12 for the Sunday Mail Centenary Fund.
Adam Stafford is launching his second album Imaginary Walls Collapse with a gig at Glasgow’s Glad Cafe on July 5 with support from Siobhan Wilson and Robbie Lesiuk.
May 14, 2013: The Wee Chill will mark its 10th anniversary with a two-stage bill at Glasgow’s SWG3 on June 29 for the West End Festival. The line-up features Malcolm Middleton, James Yorkston with Sparrow & The Workshop (collaborative debut), Aidan Moffat (spoken word), Three Blind Wolves, Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire, Miaoux Miaoux, Fake Major.
Tommy Perman, who recently left FOUND, has unveiled his new solo project ComputerScheisse – check out These Beautiful Minds, the title track of his debut EP, out on July 15 through Phuturelabs.
RockNess have announced more acts for the festival on June 7-9 including Fenech-Soler, Fatherson, Public Service Broadcasting, The Boy Who Trapped The Sun, Niteworks and Jemma Tweedie.
Too Many Fireworks Records will donate all profits from sales of Variations Of Chopin, an album of contemporary interpretations of the composer’s music, to the fundraising campaign for drummer Robbie Cooper, whose cancer fight was documented on The Pop Cop.
May 13, 2013: New releases out now include Young Aviators’ debut album Self Help, Eagleowl’s debut album This Silent Year, and Cherri Fosphate’s new Burning Youth EP.
May 10, 2013: The live schedule for goNORTH in Inverness on June 5-6 has been unveiled – it includes a Scottish Bloggers Showcase hosted by The Pop Cop, Peenko and Song, by Toad featuring a four-band bill of Garden Of Elks, Friends In America, The Yawns and Flutes.
May 9, 2013: The documentary Hunting For Remoteness details The Magnetic North’s visit to Orkney – where frontman Erland Cooper is from – for the making of their debut album. It will be released on June 24 alongside a reissue of that record, Orkney: Symphony Of The Magnetic North. You can watch the trailer here.
Alphabetical Order Orchestra are streaming their first song, The Architect. The band is made up of My Latest Novel members Chris Deveney, Gary Deveney and Ryan King.
A Band Called Quinn have launched a crowdfunding campaign to support performances of their multimedia show Biding Time (remix) at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.
May 8, 2013: Three Blind Wolves have released their new album, Sing Hallelujah For The Old Machine.
May 7, 2013: Adam Stafford’s new single Please is streaming online – it’s taken from his second album Imaginary Walls Collapse, out in July.
May 6, 2013: The T in the Park Roadshow is bringing free live music to Scottish towns this month – it stops at Glasgow today for The View at Kelvingrove Park (1pm) and Buchanan Street (3.30pm); Edinburgh on May 10 for Vigo Thieves at Queen Margaret University’s Student Union (noon), Dundee on May 11 for The LaFontaines at Overgate Centre (noon); Aberdeen on May 12 for Sienna at Aberdeen University (noon); and Ayr on May 18 for The Redettes at Ayr Railway Station (noon).
Fake Major have a video for Fiction, a song on their Have Plenty Of Fun EP. Fellow Comets & Cartwheels artist Finn LeMarinel has a new video for Garden, taken from his debut album Violence.
Capitals have released a sampler of all the tracks on their debut album A National Service, out on June 3.
May 3, 2013: Episode 11 of BBC ALBA’s Rapal music TV programme is on iPlayer and features Cara Mitchell, Brown Bear & The Bandits, Three Blind Wolves and Anna Sweeney.
Steve Mason has accused Samsung of plagiarising the video for The Beta Band’s 2004 single Assessment for their new television advert. Both show historical figures running down a beach and helicopters circling overhead.
May 2, 2013: Young Aviators’ debut album Self Help is streaming on Electric Honey’s SoundCloud ahead of its release on May 13.
May 1, 2013: Travis have a video for Where You Stand, the first single and title track of the band’s seventh album, out on August 19.
Fake Major’s debut EP, Have Plenty Of Fun, is available for download.
My Latest Novel have gone on hiatus, with three of the members forming Alphabetical Order Orchestra - look out for music from them next week.
Kobi Onyame has a video for his new single The Real Part 2.
Trapped In Kansas have unveiled new song Collapse Rebuild.
Rob St John’s new AA single Charcoal Black And The Bonny Grey/Shallow Brown is out now.
April 30, 2013: Boards Of Canada will release Tomorrow’s Harvest, their first new album in eight years, on June 10.
Quickbeam song Immersed is available to download for free from DIY – you can also listen to snippets from every track of the band’s self-titled debut album, out on June 3.
Discopolis have unveiled the video for their new song Falling (Committed To Sparkle Motion), out on May 5.
April 29, 2013: The SAY Award will stream each of the 20 longlisted albums for 24 hours through their app, starting today with Miaoux Miaoux’s Light Of The North. You can read The Pop Cop’s feature here.
Panda Su’s new song MAPS is available to buy now on Amazon, while Bwani Junction’s new single Civil War is on iTunes.
The Boy Who Trapped The Sun has a video for new song California ahead of his May tour in Scotland.
The Pastels have a video for Check My Heart, taken from their forthcoming new album Slow Summits, out on May 27.
Frank Turner covered Frightened Rabbit’s The Modern Leper for Jim Gellatly’s In:Demand Uncut session.
April 27, 2013: Episode 10 of BBC ALBA’s Rapal music TV programme is on iPlayer and features two fantastic unreleased songs by Beerjacket as well as The Holy Ghosts, The Merrylees and Ray McCartney.
Travis, Johnny Marr, Hurts, James Skelly, Jack Savoretti, Willy Mason, Foy Vance, Steve Mason, Milo Greene and DIIV have been added to the T in the Park line-up, which has now been separated into day-by-day splits.
Edinburgh venue The Forest Cafe, which has been banned from hosting live music due to council restrictions, are looking for acts to play their new monthly event, the Forest Big Night Out at Old St Paul’s, which launches on May 23. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
April 26, 2013: The Burns an’ a’ that! Festival will feature live music as part of Weekend in the Park at Ayr’s Belleisle Park on May 25-26. Rose Parade, Little Fire, Pronto Mama and The Bluebells are among the free acts; Justin Currie + Rachel Sermanni play a ticketed gig on May 26.
Other newly-announced concerts on sale include Lana Del Rey + Kassidy at Glasgow’s SECC on May 16 (replacing her two dates at the Academy on May 15/16) Bombay Bicycle Club at Edinburgh’s Liquid Room on June 7, Belle & Sebastian at Inverness’ Ironworks on July 1, We Are Scientists at Glasgow’s Oran Mor on July 29, Kid Canaveral + Ballboy at Edinburgh’s Liquid Room on August 10.
Kid Canaveral + The Last Battle + Adam Ross (Randolph’s Leap) also play a free show at Edinburgh’s Caves on May 23 with 300 tickets on the door on a first come, first served basis as part of a Dewar’s event.
April 25, 2013: Seasick Steve, The Pigeon Detectives, Julie Fowlis, Meursault, Washington Irving, PAWS and The LaFontaines have been added to the Belladrum Festival line-up on August 2-3.
Washington Irving have released Palomides Volume 1, the first half of their debut album.
The View are streaming Kill Kyle, one of two new songs on their compilation album Seven Year Setlist, out on June 17.
April 24, 2013: The showcase list of artists picked to play goNORTH in Inverness on June 5-6 has been announced. For the third consecutive year there will be a bloggers’ showcase stage hosted by The Pop Cop, Peenko and Song, by Toad. More details to follow soon.
Kilmarnock’s Dirty Weekender will feature 45 acts over three venues on May 31 to June 2 including Fridge Magnets, Bwani Junction, The Ok Social Club, Ross Leighton (Fatherson) and Chris Helme.
Poor Things’ new single Morgan is free to download – it’s taken from their Hurricane Poor Things EP, out on June 10.
Similarly, Cherri Fosphate are giving away Wool from their Burning Youth EP, out on May 11.
April 23, 2013: Glasvegas will play Aberdeen’s Garage on June 27, Edinburgh’s Liquid Room on June 28 and Glasgow’s ABC on June 29.
Reverieme’s second album With Up So Floating is out now.
Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire have announced they will release their self-titled new album through Middle Of Nowhere Records in July.
Herculean have a video for Red Weather, taken from The Falling Thunder EP, out on June 7.
April 22, 2013: Stag & Dagger have added Phosphorescent, Rachel Sermanni, Randolph’s Leap, French Wives, Fake Major, Prides, Chris Devotion & The Expectations and Donald Macdonald & The Islands to the Glasgow festival’s line-up on May 18.
Episode 9 of BBC ALBA’s Rapal music TV programme is on iPlayer and features Brown Bear & The Bandits, Cara Mitchell, The Open Day Rotation and John Wean.
Texas have unveiled a video for The Conversation, the title track from their first album in eight years, out on May 20.
Bronagh & The Boys have released their debut single Green, taken from A Young Heart EP, out on May 19.
April 19, 2013: Kassidy’s Barrie-James O’Neill and his girlfriend Lana Del Rey have recorded a cover of Summer Wine (made famous by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood), backed with a video featuring handheld footage of the pair in Los Angeles.
My Bloody Valentine, Trash Talk, Fidlar and The VirginMarys have been added to the T in the Park line-up.
April 18, 2013: Pre-sale tickets are available for Regina Spektor at Glasgow’s Academy on August 20 and Kings Of Leon at the ciry’s Bellahouston Park on August 15, the latter being part of the Glasgow Summer Sessions.
The Mirror Trap have unveiled a video for Westminster Ghost Story, the first track to be taken from their second album Stay Young, due out this autumn.
April 17, 2013: Midnight Lion have changed their name to Prides and expanded to a trio with the addition of Kitty The Lion’s Callum Wiseman on guitar and vocals. To coincide with the announcement, they have unveiled wonderfully addictive new song Out Of The Blue.
T in the Park have added Local Natives, Lucy Rose, Swim Deep, Theme Park, Lewis Watson and Sons & Lovers to the festival on July 12-14.
April 16, 2013: Doune The Rabbit Hole have announced that this year’s festival will take place at the new location of Cardross Estate at Port of Menteith in Stirlingshire on August 22-25. The line-up features Clinic, Meursault, Rachel Sermanni, Alasdair Roberts, Washington Irving, The Pastels, PAWS, Beerjacket, Rick Redbeard, We Are The Physics, Randolph’s Leap, Siobhan Wilson, Panda Su, Shambles Miller, Jo Mango and TeenCanteen. See here for full day-by-day splits.
April 15, 2013: James and Twin Atlantic will headline the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival on August 2-3. Other acts on the bill include Admiral Fallow, Fatherson, Rick Redbeard, Noisettes, The Horrors and King Charles.
April 13, 2013: Edinburgh’s live music scene has suffered yet another setback with Forest Cafe having its live music licence reviewed, causing the immediate postponement of gigs there, starting with the Solas Showcase scheduled for today.
Newsnight Scotland featured a report on the music industry on April 10, prompted by the Wide Days convention in Edinburgh. Watch the segment on BBC iPlayer, with contributions from Stanley Odd’s Dave Hook, Plum’s Shona Maguire, Chemikal Underground’s Stewart Henderson, Wide Days organiser Olaf Furniss and journalist Nicola Meighan. The interviews were conducted by Galleries drummer Andrew Black.
April 12, 2013: Episode 8 of BBC ALBA’s Rapal music TV programme is on iPlayer and features Niteworks, The Holy Ghosts, Miaoux Miaoux and The Merrylees.
Eagleowl have unveiled Not Over, the first offering from debut album This Silent Year, which will come out through Fence Records on May 13.
Dear Lara, aka David Lan, has released his debut EP Plans as a free download.
April 11, 2013: Capitals’ debut album A National Service will come out on June 3, with those who pre-order it (from just £5) getting an immediate download of any of the record’s 11 tracks, one of which is Reliever.
The View will release singles compilation Seven Year Setlist on June 17 – the album features two new songs, Dirty Magazine and Kill Kyle.
Several Scottish acts have posted tracks from forthcoming new albums – check out Washington Irving – Wandering Wits, United Fruit – Taste I Can’t Give Up and Hector Bizerk – Orchestrated Madness.
April 10, 2013: Promoters Cry Parrot will host their 6th Birthday Party at Glasgow’s Glue Factory on April 26 with a gig featuring Sacred Paws, Hector Bizerk, Tut Vu Vu, Ultimate Thrush, Ela Orleans and Sad City.
Three Blind Wolves are previewing Slow Summer Deer, taken from their Sing Hallelujah For The Old Machine album, released on May 6.
Where We Lay Our Heads single Keanu Leaves is out now.
Great Cop are giving away new song Stop Hiding as a free download.
April 9, 2013: Mogwai guitarist John Cummings uploaded a photo of himself at Glasgow’s George Square yesterday where more than 300 people gathered, inspired by his band’s 2011 song George Square Thatcher Death Party.
Hi-Arts, which promotes arts in the Highlands and Islands, has issued notices of redundancies to all 10 of its staff in the wake of funding cuts.
April 8, 2013: Fridge Magnets will play a ‘silent gig’ at a secret outdoor location in Glasgow on May 15 (6pm) – tickets can be won through organisers Deezer. The band will perform inside a mobile perspex box with the 300-capacity audience able to hear them through headphones.
Kassidy have released new mini-album People Like Me.
April 7, 2013: Song Of Return have launched their Singles Club project on Bandcamp through which they’ll be selling unreleased tracks. Month 1 contains Torn Between The Tides (see video) and Enough.
Cairn String Quartet, who were profiled on The Pop Cop in March, have unveiled their orchestral cover of Kid Canaveral’s Low Winter Sun.
Travis have made new song Another Guy available to download for free through their website. It also has a video.
April 6, 2013: The following 16 HMV and Fopp stores in Scotland will remain open following Hilco’s takeover – HMV: Aberdeen, Ayr, Dundee, East Kilbride, Edinburgh Fort Kinnaird, Edinburgh Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh Princes St, Glasgow Argyle St, Glasgow Buchanan St, Glasgow Fort, Inverness, Livingston, Stirling; Fopp: Edinburgh; Glasgow Union St; Glasgow Byres Rd.
Bwani Junction have a video for new single Civil War, out on April 29.
Rachel Sermanni and Emma’s Imagination are among the acts playing the Kintyre Songwriters Festival in Campbeltown on May 24-26.
Quickbeam will launch their debut album with a gig at the disused Govanhill Baths in Glasgow on May 31. They will be supported by Fake Major whose debut Have Plenty Of Fun EP comes out on May 1.
April 5, 2013: Spotify director Mark Williamson will give the keynote speech at next week’s Wide Days event in Edinburgh as part of a session on the business of streaming. The full running order is here.
Episode 7 of BBC ALBA’s Rapal music TV programme is on iPlayer and features Anna Sweeney, Cara Mitchell, Discopolis and Paul McGranaghan.
Dot JR has uploaded new song Waterfalls to SoundCloud.
April 4, 2013: The Tiree Music Festival will take place in An Talla on July 20-21 with a bill that includes Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire, Washington Irving, The Youth And Young and Brown Bear & The Bandits.
Galleries’ fantastic new single Midnight Rush is out now.
Casual Sex have made a video for their debut single Stroh 80. They play Glasgow’s Nice ‘n’ Sleazy on April 5 and Oran Mor on April 7.
April 3, 2013: Comlongon Rocks have added a third day of live music to its line-up at Comlongon Castle in Dumfries & Galloway on May 17-19. The festival’s line-up features Three Blind Wolves, Emma’s Imagination, The OK Social Club and Saint Max.
Chem 19 are offering three days of free recording time to five Scottish acts through their Creative Scotland Demo Fund. To apply, musicians (under-25s only) should email a link to some demos and a bio to email@example.com with the subject Chem19 Demo Fund Enquiry before April 26. Chosen acts will also take part in a live showcase.
Siobhan Wilson + Julia And The Doogans + Jo Mango will play Glasgow’s Roxy 171 on June 26 as part of the Scottish Fiction Presents: Aye Tunes vs Peenko night at the West End Festival.
April 2, 2013: Acts confirmed for The Insider Festival in Aviemore on June 21-23 include Rachel Sermanni, Karine Polwart, Hector Bizerk, Urstan, David Thomas Broughton, Miaoux Miaoux, Pete Roe, Jonnie Common, Adam Holmes And The Embers and Sparrow And The Workshop.
Up-and-coming acts can apply to play the Hebridean Celtic Festival in Stornoway on July 17-20 through their One Step Further competition which is open to musicians aged 18-25. To enter, artists need to email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject HebCelt New Talent Submissions and include links to three songs, a biog and high-res photo. Closing date is April 12.
April 1, 2013: Quickbeam’s self-titled debut album will be released through Comets & Cartwheels on June 3 – check out the video for lead track Immersed which will be available as a free download on April 29.
We Were Promised Jetpacks will headline the second night of the three-day Solas Festival in Perthshire on June 22.
Minor Delilah will be giving away copies of their new EP, Only Dust Can Hear You, to anyone who attends their launch gig at Glasgow’s Classic Grand on May 3.
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.