December 8, 2013: New song stream via SoundCloud… Kith & Kin – Someone I Love.
New mini-album release via Bandcamp… Ballboy – Merry Christmas To The Drunks, Merry Christmas To The Lovers.
New video via YouTube… Angus Munro – Shooting First, taken from Shooting First EP.
Free album download via Bandcamp… Lovers Turn To Monsters – Now That’s What I Call Slit Yr Wrist Christmas.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Jack James – Florence, taken from fifth album Stopping Distance, out on February 3.
December 6, 2013: New video via YouTube… Prides – Messiah.
New video via YouTube… Rachel Sermanni – Everything Changes, taken from Everything Changes EP, out on January 27.
Free mini-album download via Bandcamp… We See Lights – Every Autumn, Every Winter.
New gigs… Kid Canaveral at Glasgow’s Stereo on February 14, Aberdeen’s Tunnels on March 7 and Dundee’s Beat Generator on March 8.
December 5, 2013: Fatherson, The LaFontaines, Cairn String Quartet, Garden Of Elks and The Holy Ghosts 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 gigs… Silibil N’ Brains (stars of The Great Hip Hop Hoax film) play Dundee’s Buskers on December 27 and Glasgow’s Pivo Pivo on December 28.
December 4, 2013: Mick Cooke has left Belle & Sebastian. The band made the announcement in their latest mailshot, stating: “We wish him all the best with any future projects and hope to work alongside him again in the future.” The multi-instrumentalist, who had been a full-time member of Belle & Sebastian since 1998, will now focus on his work as a composer and arranger.
New gig… Song, by Toad Records’ 5th Birthday Party at Edinburgh’s Henry’s Cellar Bar on December 21 featuring PAWsault, Tom Collins Shatner and assorted label friends and guests.
December 3, 2013: Budding musicians aged between 14-19 can register for Hit The Road, a project that offers workshops, seminars and information sessions about performing live, before they are given the opportunity to tour across Scotland. The next set of tours will launch in January, with each one taking three acts on the road.
New video via YouTube… Red Sands – Too Short A Season, taken from debut album Red Sands, out on December 9.
New video via YouTube… Mickey 9s – Ammunition.
New EP release via Bandcamp… Jo Mango – When We Lived In The Crook Of A Tree.
December 2, 2013: New video via YouTube… Mogwai – The Lord Is Out Of Control, taken from their forthcoming album Rave Tapes, out on January 20.
New album release via iTunes… Cold Crows Dead – I Fear A New World, featuring The Xcerts’ Murray Macleod.
Free album download via Bandcamp… Kobi Onyame – Glory.
November 29, 2013: Brew at the Bog have announced the first 25 acts for its festival in Inverness on May 3. The line-up includes Kid Canaveral, Stanley Odd, Friends In America, Fake Major, Randolph’s Leap, Call To Mind, Beerjacket, Campfires In Winter, Shambles Miller, The Little Kicks, This Silent Forest, Woodenbox, Jo Mango and Atom Tree.
The Holy Ghosts have set up a Kickstarter page for pre-orders of their debut album Ride Them Down, due out in April.
November 28, 2013: New video via YouTube… Over The Wall – Radiator.
New video via YouTube… Book Group – Victory Lap, taken from Victory Lap / The Lowdown Of A LOUD Sound single.
New album release via Bandcamp… Scott McWatt – A Ceíst Amá.
November 27, 2013: New song streams via SoundCloud… King Creosote – Dial C For Cradle; Meddling Gut Wrenches; Impossible To Resist.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Rachel Sermanni – Everything Changes.
Findlay Napier has set up a PledgeMusic page to fund the recording of VIP: Very Interesting Persons, an album of songs co-written with Boo Hewerdine.
November 26, 2013: Free album download via Bandcamp… Olive Grove Records Sampler featuring Call To Mind, The State Broadcasters, Randolph’s Leap, The Moth & The Mirror, The Son(s), Woodenbox, Jo Mango and Pensioner.
Free album download via Bandcamp… Mini50 Records Winter Sampler 2013.
New song release via iTunes… Withered Hand – Black Tambourine. Dan Willson will play solo gigs at Glasgow’s Glad Cafe on November 27 and Aberdeen’s Tunnels on November 28 as well as Glasgow’s Platform on January 24 for Celtic Connections.
New video via YouTube… Kid Canaveral – A Compromise, taken from A Compromise EP.
November 25, 2013: New album release… There Will Be Fireworks – The Dark, Dark Bright on CD and download.
Detour will hold their fourth Wee Jaunt in Glasgow on December 7, and the allocation of free places has already been snapped up. Email your name to firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the reserve list.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Sparrow And The Workshop – One Brush.
Blindfolds have split up after three years together – they bow out with the release of new video Lucid.
November 22, 2013: New video via YouTube… Young Aviators – We’ve Got Names For Folk Like You.
New video via YouTube… The Pastels – Kicking Leaves.
New video via YouTube… Conscious Route feat Werd & Jordan Butler – Friends Til The End.
New gig… The Xcerts at Aberdeen’s Downstairs on December 21.
New gig… Glasgow’s Dirty Weekender across five venues on February 28-March 1 featuring Mark Morriss (The Bluetones), Mark Gardener (Ride), Bombskare, etc.
November 21, 2013: New song stream via SoundCloud… Withered Hand – Black Tambourine.
New video via YouTube… Jo Mango – When We Lived In The Crook Of A Tree, taken from When We Lived In The Crook Of A Tree EP, out on December 2.
CHVRCHES’ gig for TYCI’s Christmas Party on December 21 has been moved to Glasgow’s SWG3 due to a delay in the reopening of The Vic venue at The Art School.
New gig… The Jezabels at Glasgow’s Oran Mor on February 26, plus ticket bundles with new album The Brink.
November 20, 2013: Arctic Monkeys have been announced as the one of headliners at next year’s T in the Park on July 11-13. Tickets go on sale on November 22.
New gig… The Christmas Songwriters’ Club at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall on December 22 featuring Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison, Kid Canaveral, Broken Records, Miaoux Miaoux, Siobhan Wilson, TeenCanteen with Eugene Kelly, Karine Polwart & Findlay Napier, We See Lights and Very Well.
New song stream via SoundCloud… SOS – Fake Hallelujah.
November 19, 2013: New video via YouTube… Franz Ferdinand – Bullet.
Free EP download via Bandcamp… King Post Kitsch – The Silver Screen.
New video via YouTube… The Amazing Snakeheads – Flatlining.
November 18, 2013: CHVRCHES have been confirmed as the live band for TYCI’s Christmas Party at Glasgow’s Art School on December 21.
New album trailer via YouTube… Withered Hand – New Gods, due out in February.
New Beerjacket album Darling Darkness will be released on January 27.
New tour… The Winter Tradition at Glasgow’s King Tut’s on February 6, Stirling’s Tolbooth on February 7, Aberdeen’s Cafe Drummond on February 8, Inverness’ Mad Hatters on February 9, Galashiels’ Heriot-Watt Student Union on February 10, Dundee’s Duke’s Corner on February 11 and Perth’s Twa Tams on February 15.
November 17, 2013: Glasgow venue King Tut’s has unveiled it line-up for the fourth annual King Tut’s New Year’s Revolution on January 3-16, with the likes of Campfires In Winter, Cherri Fosphate, Book Group, Garden Of Elks, Saint Max And The Fanatics and Quinny featuring on all-local bills.
Labels, musicians and fans are being invited to register albums released by Scottish artists in 2013 for consideration for next year’s SAY Award.
November 15, 2013: French Wives will play their last ever gig at Glasgow’s Mono on December 19 after announcing they are splitting up.
New video via YouTube… There Will Be Fireworks – Youngblood.
New album release via iTunes… Ministry Of Stories – Share More Air, an album of children’s lyrics set to original music including Rachel Sermanni’s Love Story.
New song stream via Bandcamp… Water Of Life – Sources And Springs / Abercrombie, 1949, an art-science collaboration between Tommy Perman and Rob St. John exploring flows of water through Edinburgh.
November 14, 2013: New gig… The Wee Chill Festive Weekender at Glasgow’s SWG3 on December 22, featuring Admiral Fallow, Washington Irving, The Little Kicks, Call To Mind and Atom Tree.
The Big Apple Award has launched its annual competition, with an all-expenses-paid trip to play New York City in April 2014 up for grabs. The deadline for applications is December 2, before the winner is picked from a shortlist of five Scottish performers at Glasgow’s Garage on December 11. The last two victors were Stanley Odd and Song Of Return.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Mike Nisbet – Traveling Blues (demo)
November 13, 2013: Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations will incorporate an afternoon of free live music on January 1. Starting at the National Museum of Scotland at noon, the guest-curated SCOT:LANDS event will feature performances across nine Old Town venues by the likes of King Creosote, Withered Hand, RM Hubbert, Lau and FOUND as well as a production of Whatever Gets You Through The Night.
New video via YouTube… Washington Irving – Palomides , director James Houston claims it’s the world’s first autostereogram music video.
New video via YouTube… Nightmare Boy – Paranoid (Black Sabbath cover).
New video via Vevo… KT Tunstall – Made Of Glass.
November 12, 2013: New album release via Bandcamp… Medals – Disguises, new project of Sucioperro’s JP Reid.
New event… Vic Galloway – Songs In The Key Of Fife book reading + Withered Hand + Kid Canaveral at Glenrothes’ Rothes Halls on November 29.
New album stream via SoundCloud… Kobi Onyame – Glory, available to buy on iTunes.
November 11, 2013: Next year’s MTV Europe Music Awards will be held at Glasgow’s Hydro on November 9.
Arches singer Michael Rice has left the band, with guitarist Barry Morrell taking over vocal duties.
New EP release via SoundCloud…. Casual Sex – The Bastard Beat, streaming on SoundCloud.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Mike Nisbet – What Will Be Will Be (demo).
November 8, 2013: BBC ALBA programme Buskers has returned for a second series, with the first two episodes available to watch on iPlayer. Episode 2′s spotlight on Glasgow features Donald Macdonald, Alan Tennie, Anna Shields and Holly Wilson.
November 7, 2013: New gigs… Fireside Acoustic Sessions (organised by Comets & Cartwheels) at Glasgow’s Drake Bar featuring free stripped-back sets from Friends In America + Prehistoric Friends on November 7, Finn LeMarinel on November 14, Randolph’s Leap on November 21 and Honeyblood + LightGuides on November 28.
New gig… There Will Be Fireworks + Friends In America + The Youth And Young at Strathaven’s Old Mill Studios on December 7.
November 6, 2013: New video via YouTube… Prides – Roar (Katy Perry cover for Vic Galloway session).
New song stream via YouTube… Fridge Magnets – Chase The Sun.
Rachel Sermanni has set up a PledgeMusic page for pre-orders of her Everything Changes EP.
Free song download via SoundCloud… This Silent Forest – Root To The Seed, taken from debut album Indivision.
New song stream via Gold Flake Paint… Book Group – The Lowdown of A LOUD Sound, taken from Victory Lap / The Lowdown Of A LOUD Sound single, out on November 25.
New video via YouTube… The Button Men – Man With A Plan.
November 5, 2013: New song stream via SoundCloud (today only)… There Will Be Fireworks – Elder And Oak.
New video via YouTube… CHVRCHES – Lies.
The Birthday Suit have a PledgeMusic campaign featuring various incentives and packages to go with pre-orders of their third album A Hollow Hole Of Riches, out in April.
BrewDog Records has been set up by the Scottish craft beer company with its first official release being The Shiverin’ Sheiks single Guided Missiles, taken from the band’s debut album A Curious Case Of…, out on November 20.
November 4, 2013: New album release via Bandcamp… Washington Irving – Palomides: Volume II.
New album release via iTunes… Kobi Onyame – Glory.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Over The Wall – Radiator, taken from This Is How We Did It EP, out on December 9.
November 1, 2013: New gig… There Will Be Fireworks + Friends In America + Kevin Harper at Glasgow’s SWG3 on November 22.
Arctic Monkeys have rescheduled tonight’s show at Glasgow’s Hydro to November 21 as singer Alex Turner has laryngitis. All original tickets remain valid.
New video via YouTube… Michael Cassidy – Everybody’s Scared. He plays with Beerjacket + Julia And The Doogans at Glasgow’s Mono on December 5.
October 31, 2013: New video via YouTube… Nightmare Boy – Mary (first solo offering of ex-Kassidy member Barrie-James O’Neill).
New video via YouTube… Frightened Rabbit – Holy.
A fan-led campaign to boycott all of Idlewild’s side-projects in the hope of spurring them to make new music has been attacked by band member Rod Jones. The guitarist, who also fronts The Birthday Suit, wrote: “If anything this just has the opposite effect in that it made me really consider whether I wanted to make music anymore. My other band The Birthday Suit and its touring and releasing records has absolutely no bearing or influence on whether and when an Idlewild tour or album might happen.”
October 30, 2013: New gigs… The Reflektors (Arcade Fire) at Glasgow’s Barrowland on November 15 and November 16 – general sale from November 1; presale passwords are available to those who pre-ordered the band’s new album from their official website.
New album release via iTunes… Cairn String Quartet – One (streaming on SoundCloud) featuring orchestral covers of Lana Del Rey, Coldplay, Oasis, The Stone Roses, Ocean Colour Scene etc.
October 29, 2013: Free song download via official website… Mogwai – Remurdered (streaming on SoundCloud), taken from eighth album Rave Tapes, out on January 20.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Pinact – Brew.
New video via YouTube… The LaFontaines – All She Knows.
Free song download via SoundCloud… SOS – ROCK N ROLL.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Madison – Mending, taken from Mending EP, out now.
Gig venue change…. Katie Sutherland plays Glasgow’s Faktory instead of Mackintosh Church on November 2.
October 28, 2013: New album release via Comets & Cartwheels… Blood Relatives – Deerheart.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Call To Mind – A Family Sketch.
New album release via Lost Map… Monoganon – F A M I L Y, streaming in full on Gold Flake Paint.
October 25, 2013: Born To Be Wide will host a seminar on record shops at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus on November 7. Panelists include Rose Norton (Coda), Sandy McLean (Love Music) and Darren Yeates (VoxBox).
New gig… Blood Relatives album launch at Glasgow’s Bar & Fly on October 26.
New gig… Scottish Fiction presents Beerjacket & Friends + Julia And The Doogans at Glasgow’s Mono on December 5.
New song stream via SoundCloud… The LaFontaines – All She Knows (Prides remix).
The 1975, Nina Nesbitt and The 10:04s have been added to the Concert in the Gardens bill at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay alongside Pet Shop Boys. Other stages feature CHVRCHES, Django Django and King Creosote.
October 24, 2013: New gig… TYCI Christmas Party featuring secret live act plus DJ sets from CHVRCHES + Pretty Ugly + Adele Bethel at Glasgow’s Art School on December 21.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Honeyblood – Kissing On You.
New gig… Starz In Their Eyes featuring RM Hubbert + Eagleowl + The Pictish Trail + Kid Canaveral + Two Wings (each covering a female artist of their choice) at Edinburgh’s Pilrig St Paul’s Church on November 23.
October 23, 2013: New video via YouTube… Siobhan Wilson – All Dressed Up.
New video via YouTube… TeenCanteen – Honey.
New video via YouTube… Young Fathers – Low, taken from forthcoming album Dead, out on February 3.
New video via YouTube… Biffy Clyro – Sounds Like Balloons.
New EP release via Bandcamp… End Of Neil – Less.
October 22, 2013: Local Natives’ Nik Ewing had his Fender Coronado bass guitar stolen during their gig at The Arches in Glasgow last night – contact police if you spot it.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Michael Cassidy – Everybody’s Scared, out on November 28.
October 21, 2013: New song stream via SoundCloud… TeenCanteen – Honey, out on October 28. They play Edinburgh’s Summerhall on October 25, Glasgow’s Rio Cafe on October 26 (free) and Aberfeldy Festival on November 3.
New album release via Bandcamp… Saint Max & The Fanatics – Saint Max Is Missing And The Fanatics Are Dead.
New video via YouTube… Kobi Onyame – Goodbye World, Hello, taken from new album Glory, out on November 4.
Free download via official website… Plum – Death Comes With A Bow, taken from Betsy Thunder EP, out now.
October 18, 2013: Dumfries Music Conference has announced its upcoming four-day programme of free events in the town.
October 30: Screening of LCD Soundsystem documentary Shut Up And Play The Hits at Robert Burns Centre.
October 31: Music Industry Experts seminar featuring The Pop Cop and others at The Stove (ticketed).
November 1: Songwriting Workshops featuring Findlay Napier + Finding Albert’s Robert Shields at The Stove.
November 1: Live showcase featuring Hector Bizerk + Honeyblood + Barstow Bats at The Stove (ticketed).
November 2: Record Fair featuring Rebecca Vasmant (Ministry Of Sound) + Jason Reid (Sub Club) at The Stove.
October 17, 2013: New song stream via SoundCloud… Washington Irving – Babble. Their track Palomides is also available for free download. Both are taken from Palomides: Volume II album, out on November 4.
New video via Clash… The Birthday Suit – A Bigger World, out on November 4.
New video via YouTube… Atom Tree – Die For Your Love, taken from Tide Of Thorns EP, out on October 18.
Free gig… Rachel Sermanni at Glasgow’s Love Music on October 21 (5pm).
October 16, 2013: New video via YouTube… Colin Macleod – Devil Pavement (Live from the Green Bus), taken from The Anchor EP, out on October 21. On the same day he will play instore sets at Edinburgh’s Coda Music (1pm) and Glasgow’s Love Music (5.30pm).
57ᵒ North have published their Guide To DIY Gig Promotion – a useful resource for anyone venturing into this side of the music business.
Michael Cassidy will play at the opening night party for Glasgow’s The Bar & Fly on October 19.
Free gig… French Wives + Randolph’s Leap + Laki Mera + The Graveyard Band + Donald Macdonald And The Islands + The Mademoiselle for 1st Birthday Bash at Glasgow’s Broadcast on October 25 (RSVP required).
October 15, 2013: New video via YouTube… Travis – Mother.
New video via YouTube…. Casual Sex – Nothing On Earth, taken from The Bastard Beat EP, out on October 28.
October 14, 2013: Anna Sweeney, who spoke out on The Pop Cop about her mental health issues after quitting her solo career, has started a new project with Maeve McCrorie called The Scarlings. They play their first gig at Glasgow’s Oran Mor on October 31.
October 12, 2013: New documentary via BBC iPlayer… The Great Hip Hop Hoax.
New song stream via Clash… Washington Irving – Palomides, taken from Palomides: Volume II album, out on November 4.
Free download via SoundCloud… Beerjacket – Glow (demo).
Free album download via Bandcamp… Louie & Bigg Taj – Paranoise.
October 11, 2013: New gig… Withered Hand at Edinburgh’s Whale Arts Centre on October 19 (free tickets) with free return coach travel from Waterloo Place as part of Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival.
New tour… Travis at Edinburgh’s Picture House on November 17, Inverness’ Ironworks on November 18, Aberdeen’s Music Hall on November 19 and Glasgow’s Barrowland on December 20.
October 10, 2013: The venue splits and stage times for Haddowfest in Edinburgh on October 11-12 have been released.
New video via YouTube… Honeyblood – Bud. The band play Glasgow’s Broadcast on October 29 and Edinburgh’s Electric Circus on October 30.
New video via YouTube… Camera Obscura – Troublemaker. The band’s Break It To You Gently double 7″ single is out now.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Saint Max & The Fanatics – Soul Surrender, taken from debut album Saint Max Is Missing And The Fanatics Are Dead, out on October 21.
October 9, 2013: New video via YouTube… Katie Sutherland – Canvas. She plays Glasgow’s Mackintosh Church on November 2.
New gig… Rachel Sermanni + Bwani Junction + Vigo Thieves at Edinburgh’s Liquid Room on November 23 (for War Child). Rachel’s The Boatshed Sessions EP is out on October 21.
The Great Hip Hop Hoax will be broadcast on BBC Two Scotland on October 11 at 9pm.
LCD Soundsystem documentary Shut Up And Play The Hits will be shown for free at Dumfries’ Robert Burns Centre on October 30 as part of Dumfries Music Conference which runs from October 30 to November 2.
October 8, 2013: CHVRCHES, Django Django, King Creosote, The Rezillos, Treacherous Orchestra and Fiddlers’ Bid have been announced to play Edinburgh’s Hogmanay street party alongside headliners Pet Shop Boys.
New song stream via SoundCloud… SOS – ROCK N ROLL.
October 7, 2013: New song stream via YouTube… The LaFontaines – All She Knows, out on October 27; B-side My Yo-Yo available now on iTunes.
New album release via iTunes… The Fratellis – We Need Medicine.
New album release via Bandcamp… The Grand Gestures – Second.
New album release via Fortuna POP!… The Spook School – Dress Up.
October 6, 2013: New video via YouTube… De Rosa – Spectres. The band play their first gig in four years as part of Kid Canaveral’s Xmas Baubles IV at Edinburgh’s Portobello Town Hall on December 14.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Beerjacket – Androgynous (The Replacements cover).
New album stream via SoundCloud… L.Pierre – Neverland Transmission, A Disney Mix (tracklist on Dazed and Confused).
October 4, 2013: 57º North will run a free music journalism training course at Aberdeen’s Seventeen every Wednesday for four weeks from October 23. Email email@example.com to apply for one of six spaces.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Katie Sutherland – Canvas, out on November 18.
New gigs via Ticketmaster… The Twilight Sad performing debut album Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters at Glasgow’s King Tut’s on December 20 and December 21.
New album release via Bandcamp… The Little Kicks – Put Your Love In Front Of Me.
New video via BBC iPlayer… Rapal – Series 7, Episode 8, featuring Vukovi, Donald Macdonald And The Islands, The Velveteen Saints, The River 68′s and Conquering Animal Sound.
October 3, 2013: The Glasgow venue formerly known as The Barfly, which shut in February 2009, will reopen as The Bar & Fly at the same location on Clyde Street on October 18.
New video via YouTube… The Deep Red Sky – Kids (MGMT cover), out on October 7.
New song via YouTube… Finn LeMarinel – Love Is Waves (demo).
October 2, 2013: Free album download via UK Rock Radio… Free Sample Issue #03 featuring songs by The Xcerts, Sparrow And The Workshop, Admiral Fallow, A Band Called Quinn, Mull Historical Society and Unkle Bob.
Meursault frontman Neil Pennycook will be a guest speaker at Born To Be Wide’s seminar on promoting gigs, which takes place at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus on October 3.
New video via YouTube… We Were Hunted – You Know Me Now.
What The Blood Revealed have announced they are splitting up.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Lorraine McCauley & The Borderlands – Belong.
October 1, 2013: Free song download via iTunes… CHVRCHES – Tether. Singer Lauren Mayberry has written a Guardian article about the online misogyny she has been suffering, it’s well worth a read.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Julia & The Doogans – Love At First Sight (Kylie Minogue cover).
New song stream via SoundCloud… Cold Crows Dead – Ghost That Burned Your House Down, taken from debut album I Fear A New World, out on December 2. The band is a collaboration between The Xcerts’ Murray Macleod and Brighton songwriter Paul Steel. They play Aberdeen’s Tunnels on December 10 and Glasgow’s King Tut’s on December 11.
It’s the first monthly Music Alliance Pact of 2011 and once again the world’s sexiest music blogs have sniffed out the tastiest musical treats their country has to offer and served it to you on a plate. And there’s not even a bill. But you can leave a tip if you want. OK, I’ve definitely stretched this metaphor as far as it will go.
Kudos to our Aussie MAP counterparts, who still managed to submit a song for you despite their home town being submerged under water and their website going temporarily offline. We’re also joined this month by new blogging representatives for New Zealand.
Let me know what you think of my Scottish selection, the poptastic Aaron Wright…
To download all 35 songs in one file click here
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Aaron Wright & The Aprils – Go On Yer Self
Aaron Wright & The Aprils’ self-titled debut album, due out conveniently enough in April, features guest vocal contributions from Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell and Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake as well as instrumental ones from Belle & Sebastian duo Stevie Jackson and Mick Cooke. Those influences certainly makes themselves heard on Go On Yer Self, which mixes a classic Scottish folk-rock sound with a strong helping of Beatles-esque melody-making. The 24-year-old shaggy-haired Edinburgh singer and his band will be heading out on tour in March as support to The Charlatans. The ingenious video for their new single, Trampoline, is also worth a look.
January 15, Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
January 16, Red Dog Music instore, Edinburgh (3pm)
January 20, Cafe Continental, Gourock
January 21, Nice ‘n’ Sleazy, Glasgow
Les Mentettes Orchestra – Cosmic Sidewalks
Les Mentettes Orchestra is the augmented version of Les Mentettes, a psychedelic pop band from Buenos Aires that features more than 20 musicians live on stage. A couple of years ago we featured one of their early recordings, but now it’s time to unveil a great song from their first and self-titled album. It was recorded live at ION, a legendary studio that still works with tape and analog equipment. The album is available on iTunes and there’s also a video of Cosmic Sidewalks.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Spartak – Nightshift (Version)
Spartak were one of many great bands I discovered on the recently released compilation, The Sound of Young Canberra, which is full of exciting music from the oft-forgotten titular city. Spartak’s tune stands out amongst a very strong set that makes a solid case for reevaluating Australia’s capital as something of an emerging cultural hub. Nightshift (Version) reminds me of a Spoon demo, bringing together Spoon’s knack for effortless songs draped in subtle studio trickery. I look forward to more from these guys.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Apanhador Só – Maria Augusta
Contagious and catchy, Maria Augusta is an indie semi-hit from Apanhador Só, a band from the cold south of Brazil who released a good album last year that can be downloaded for free via their website. They’re part of a new scene of bands who sing in Portuguese, of which they are considered one of the greatest revelations. Maria Augusta quietly shows a group that do not take the easy route – they explore alternative ways of making music, such as using a bicycle wheel as an instrument.
Hooded Fang – Laughing
Think of The Strokes. Now think of The Strokes if they slowed things down considerably, but still managed to retain all their cool and catchiness. Got a picture/sound in your head? Then, as Laughing shows, you’ve got a good idea of what Hooded Fang sounds like.
CHILE: Super 45
Elefante Mecánico – Génesis
Génesis heralds the comeback of Elefante Mecánico after their celebrated Memorias De Un Elefante album, self-released in 2008. In this record, Bame, Jota and DJ Antioch pick up on old school hip-hop sounds, throwing inspired rhymes about cosmos, love and eternity.
Pet Conspiracy – Beyond
Beijing-based Pet Conspiracy plays funky, danceable electronic music that takes influences from punk-rock, new wave and disco. The band consists of two female singers, a guitar/synthesizer player and a drummer. Lead guitarist Hu Zi is already an established artist in the Beijing underground scene as an electronic musician. Pet Conspiracy is known for their high-energy live performances and the array of toys and costumes they bring on stage. They have just returned from a successful tour of Europe.
COLOMBIA: Colombia Urbana
The Colombian Party Cartel – La Murga De Colombia
Two Colombians and one gringo make up The Colombian Party Cartel. The crew resides in the United States, where every weekend they mix the best Colombian music. Carey James is the lead vocalist and principal producer of CPC. La Murga De Colombia samples a Willie Colón song and creates a new fusion of Colombian cumbia and urban style.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
CODY – The Light
The vessel for frontman Kaspar Kaae’s musical output, alternative country and Americana seven-piece CODY hit it big in Denmark in 2009 with their excellent debut album Songs, from which The Light is taken. Come March they’ll play both Canadian Music Fest and SXSW – they’re a really great live band as well.
ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
Anna Calvi – Suzanne And I
If you’re only going to pay attention to one name on all those Tips For 2011 lists then let it be Anna Calvi. Her influences – from Morricone soundtracks to doomy goth and opera – suggest her music could be preposterously overblown, yet Calvi is clearly an expert when it comes to dynamics and restraint. Cavernous drums open proceedings on Suzanne And I, then ominous, twanging guitar lines ring out before Calvi steps up to the microphone. Each new addition ratchets up the tension a notch, drawing you in so that, by the time Calvi’s wailing away on top of thundering riffs, crashing cymbals and a couple of spare kitchen sinks, you’re too involved to notice. Her self-titled debut album is out on Domino on January 17.
February 27, Arches, Glasgow (tickets)
Galvanic Elephants – Rum Rumble
Galvanic Elephants hail from Tartu. They came together in August 2010 and have released only one single so far, but that one song has earned them praise from critics and music bloggers and created anticipation for new material that should be released soon. With no concerts announced so far either, Rum Rumble is the only chance to enjoy the rough sound of Galvanic Elephants right now, but it definitely makes you want more.
On Volcano – Acceleration Of Heartbeat
On Volcano is one of the best underground bands in the Finnish indie scene. They play obscure post-rock songs with long instrumental movements and intense dynamics and atmospherics. Their latest EP is available for free on their website.
Sizarr – Fake Foxes
Sizarr are lucky guys. Yet to finish school, they have already played big festivals in Germany such as the renowned Melt! without being signed to a label yet. These three guys from Landau have a very distinctive style, especially singer Fabian Altstötter, whose voice is very dark and uses a memorable stretching technique. Together they create modern electonica landscapes inspired by many other genres. They plan to record their debut album this year.
drog_A_tek – In_No_Sense
The movie Homeland, directed by Syllas Tzoumerkas, is an explosive parable of Greece coming apart at the seams, shown through the spectrum of a dysfunctional family, which decides to give up one of its members for adoption to a richer relative. The original music score, a compelling concoction of styles that continually surprises, reflects precisely those feelings. drog_A_tek, a band that records moments in real-time and produces temporary audiovisual environments, uses objects, analogue and digital musical instruments, typewriters, frequencies, recording archives/waste and technology landscapes to depict the film’s mood. As a result of this, no moment of Homeland is left unfilled with sparkling music ideas. Listen to In_No_Sense, where their ingenuity shines.
ICELAND: Icelandic Music Maffia
Miri – Góða Konan
Miri began at the LungA festival in the east fjords of Iceland in 2003. The debut EP, Fallegt Þorp, was recorded live one night during this festival in 2005, produced by Curver Thoroddsen. The band plays almost wordless, progressive noise mixed with beautiful guitar work. Góða Konan is featured on their 2010 full album Okkar.
Adam And The Fish Eyed Poets – Little Monkeys
Adam And The Fish Eyed Poets is the solo project of Kishore Krishna from Chennai. His music finds a place between the lush industrial sound of Nine Inch Nails and rootsy American rockabilly. Little Monkeys comes from his debut album, Snakeism. Featuring several clinky electronica bells and whistles, it is a resounding tune that is over almost as quickly as it starts. It’s a builder in a hurry; a chorus-heavy singalong that’s emphatic and imminently memorable.
((Auman)) – W.K.G.G.
Auman means “animal’s roar”, and their music is wild, dirty and full of energy – like a tiger deep in the Sumatra jungle that is ready to eat its prey. ((Auman)) is the latest group worth hearing in the local headbanger scene.
Retarded Cop – Copvan
Formerly of Dublin punk rockers Moutpiece, Gaz Le Rock has expanded his repertoire into an amazing 30-minute radio show called The Loving Room Floor and is now releasing tunes at a blistering pace as Retarded Cop, a project which has the catchiest pop-punk tunes you’ll hear all year. A debut LP is forthcoming.
ISRAEL: Metal Israel
Yerachmiel – Yom Shekulo
Yerachmiel “Rocky” Ziegler is an international musician who owns Little Apple Studios in the trendy Jerusalem artists’ enclave Nachlaot. He is an authentically indie artist, though his work is distributed worldwide and features on several albums. Yerachmiel’s music spans several genres but this specific song, Yom Shekulo, is a trance-rock rendition of ancient Passover liturgy that speaks of Messianic times (and it really picks up quite nicely in the middle).
Young Wrists – I Want You To Disappear
Alberto and Letizia come from the coastal town of Pesaro and there is definitely a breezy, summery shade in their jangly, noisy pop. Behind their C86 abrasive guitars and shining melodies you can hear a bright ode to adolescence and nostalgia, in the vein of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart or Dum Dum Girls. Well, you can decide not to trust me because I am too involved and helped them release their debut 7” (on We Were Never Being Boring), but just listen to this bittersweet bonus track and fall in love right now.
MEXICO: Red Bull PanameriKa
Disco Ruido! – Amorfos
Although Disco Ruido! has made its name in Mexico City’s hipster nightlife as a non-stop party combo, their debut album delves into a neon-blurred nostalgia from lost childhood afternoons watching pop stars miming on TV. Mercedes sings like a doll high on ephedrine (no doubt this song’s title is translated as “amorphous”), while the band explores the enormous legacy of harmonies that dwell in the Mexican collective memory. I wish Thalía and Paulina Rubio (the glamour-pusses from seminal 80s teenybopper group Timbiriche) could be doing this kind of sophisti-pop.
NETHERLANDS: Unfold Amsterdam
Lola Kite – Everything’s Better
At times pop trio Lola Kite can’t resist the playfulness of lo-fi, losing themselves to retro electro-pop tech and washes of hazy, melodic psychedelia – which undoubtedly reminds you of Animal Collective when combined. However, their debut album Lights, finally released this month following loads of gigging promise, shows they’re more than a quirky and charming proposition, upping their game with upbeat and snappy dance-pop gems such as Everything’s Better.
NEW ZEALAND: Einstein Music Journal
Golden Axe – Telephone
There’s nothing like the enthusiastic waveform tones of Golden Axe. Named after the Sega game, Chris Cudby and Daif Kent’s keyboard-based band has been making party-friendly psychedelic music since late 2001. True to their fun and eccentric form, the July release party for their latest album, Fantasy Footwork, saw them play inside a giant paper mâché igloo that they made themselves. Download the Telephone EP and buy Fantasy Footwork from their Bandcamp.
NORWAY: Birds Sometimes Dance
Aristillus – Dying, Keep Dying
The members of Aristillus are aged 17 and 18 but, in spite of their youth, they sound much more mature than many other hardcore bands. With heavy drums, sharp guitars and lyrics as dark as their sound, I believe they’ll soon get a lot more attention. Their influences are Norwegian hardcore bands such as Snöras, JR Ewing, Kollwitz and Rumble In Rhodos, and they’re releasing their debut album, Devoured Trees & Crystal Skies, on January 24 on the Norwegian indie label Fysisk Format. Aristillus is playing at by:Larm 2011 and I’m quite sure that won’t be the last you’ll hear from them this year.
Voz Propia – Lentes Amarillos
With a career spanning more than 20 years, Voz Propia is still current, their sound having been renewed to the demands of each time. El Manifesto is their eighth production and it could be the definitive work of this mature band. Post-punk is the essence in their sound again so hold on, Voz Propia is back.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Balla – Equilíbrio?
Armando Teixeira, who has been playing in bands and as a solo artist for more than 25 years, is one of the most talented contemporary musicians and producers of modern Portuguese music. He is a creative multi-instrumentist and sought-after producer for labels and studios. Balla is one of his solo projects and we wish to thank Armando for letting MAP make Equilíbrio? the first free, worldwide downloadable track from latest album Equilíbrio.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Nebulosa – Trains
Nebulosa is the music space child of three people living on different continents: Noamme, Andrei and Vladimir. The sound is dreamy and sincere, using very simple chord structures and lyrics. Their debut EP, Chimes, can be downloaded from their website, a free ticket to the stars.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Kevin Lester – Rockstar 2.0 feat Vanessa Fernandez
Hip hop isn’t something one associates with Singapore’s music scene, but it exists, usually even more underground than rock, metal or hardcore. Ironically, it’s in response to rampant commercial radio that the local music community, regardless of style, has become a close-knit family. In his debut, Kevin Lester brings out the collaborative and experimental strengths of hip hop, forging a sound with slashes of rock and soul, and working with some of the country’s best singers to put out a record with incredible heart and talent.
SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
Thieve – Champion
Thieve are a trio hailing from the hub of Cape Town, whose motto and reason for picking the band name comes from the fact that “nothing is original – everybody steals”. While you can hear that sentiment heavily influences their song, Champion, they maintain a unique feel with their melding of swirling pop rhythms, a soft rock sound and a nostalgic lovestruck feel to their lyrics. With the experience of all the members being involved in previous well-known bands, they’ve turned Thieve into a tight-knit group that is set to take over the rock ‘n’ roll scene.
SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
Swimmingdoll – Last Take
After a year in the making, experimental shoegaze band Swimmingdoll were finally ready to present their first album, 8wimmingdoll, in the last weeks of 2010. Last Take is a gorgeous layered production with a sound well suited for “the infinite world of the spacewalk” the band wish to portray.
Oblique – Without Making Noise
Oblique’s music and aesthetic could remind us of 80s electro-industrial music (or even EBM) bands and, certainly, their biggest inspiration comes from dark synthpop acts such as The Human League or Ladytron. Without Making Noise, the second single taken from the eponymous album of this trio from Barcelona, features dark atmospherics and, of course, a catchy chorus. It’s got what it takes to be a perfect futurepop track.
Klifton Filente – It Takes A Thorn To Remove A Thorn
Klifton Filente is one of the underappreciated, unsigned and relatively unknown artists from Sweden that I am keeping my eye on. On the song It Takes A Thorn To Remove A Thorn, taken from their Common Ground album, you can hear echoes of Crosby, Stills and Nash as well as the lilting folk-pop of early Paul Simon.
Aie ça Gicle – Whisper Jet
Sonic Youth is the keyword when it comes to Aie ça Gicle’s musical universe. But the band’s debut album S.Y.R.U.P. offers more than just a blueprint. Their influences range from post-punk to grunge to post-rock. They pile guitar layer upon guitar layer, interlace some catchy refrains and try to be as laid-back as possible.
UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
Smith Westerns – Weekend
Chicago’s Smith Westerns break out of the relatively dull and dispassionate tunes of their first record and, in the upcoming Dye It Blonde LP, give us 2011′s first truly great album. It’s a wonderful construction upon the flashy glam rock that gave careers to David Bowie and T-Rex, endlessly listenable and replayable, particularly opening track Weekend.
Greasy Grapes – Candles In The Rain
Greasy Grapes are a straight-ahead rock ‘n’ roll band formed in Caracas in early 2006. Their music is influenced by American traditional southern music, which also inspired legendary bands in the late 60s and 70s such as Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Faces, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the The Allman Brothers Band. Candles In The Rain is taken from Greasy Grapes’ 2009 debut album At The Back Of The Hill, which blends a vintage vibe with rock, soul, blues and country sounds.