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.
The Music Alliance Pact is a collective of 36 blogs who choose a song by an artist from their home country and post the entire selection on each of our sites on the 15th of the month, which you can download for free individually (right-click on the song title) or in a compilation album via MediaFire. You won’t find a more eclectic mixtape anywhere.
This month I’ve picked SONG OF RETURN to represent Scotland. Trajectory will be familiar to anyone who has visited the T in the Park website this year, with the festival having adopted the song as their 2011 anthem.
The album that it comes from, Limits, has been attracting rave reviews – pick it up on Bandcamp.
To download all 36 songs in one file click here
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Song Of Return – Trajectory
Trajectory simmers menacingly in a premeditated assault to the senses for two minutes before the drums crash in like a lightning strike and you very quickly realise your Facebook ‘like’ button just isn’t going to suffice. The Glasgow-based alternative dance band (who will appeal to fans of Delphic) is fronted by Craig Grant, formerly of Union Of Knives, and also features Louis Abbott, singer of Admiral Fallow, one of this country’s best new bands.
July 21, King Tut’s, Glasgow (tickets)
Marcelo Ezquiaga – El Gaucho Vive y Muere En Su Ley
Although Hombre Golpe is his second album as a solo artist, Marcelo Ezquiaga’s career started with a musical project called Mi Tortuga Montreaux, which gave us three amazing records between 2003 and 2006. El Gaucho Vive y Muere En Su Ley is one of our favorite songs from this new work, which comprises his acoustic-pop signature with strong melodies and fine arrangements. As he likes to say: rock without guitars.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Mildlife – Milk & Wool
Milk & Wool is a sweet jam and the first we’ve heard from Mildlife – a new loose, electronic outfit from Melbourne. It’s a good sign from a band that manages to mix light and dark with interesting production and a strong pop sensibility.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Eskimo – Cavalo De Fogo
It’s hard to define Cavalo De Fogo, the first single from Eskimo’s debut album. The breadth of genres covered, including pop and alternative, results in some intriguing music. One of the highlights of the current Brazilian indie scene.
Socalled – Work With What You Got
Hip-hop? Klezmer? Folk? Pop? Gospel? Some insane, wonderful combination of all of that (and then some)? There’s so much going on on Socalled’s newest album, Sleepover, that I have no idea how I’d classify it. Oh wait, I do: as a simply great album. Work With What You Got captures the album’s sense of fun, but only shows a fraction of the wide range of genres it displays.
CHILE: Super 45
Adrianigual – Arde Santiago
After a four-year break, Adrianigual is back. Big time. Their new album, Éxito Mundial (released on Sello Cazador), is a punk-hearted but dancefloor-driven collection of feverish songs. Arde Santiago is their second single.
AM444 – Eye Wonder
AM444 is the Shanghai-based project of singer ChaCha (Kode9, Clive Chin, Jimi Tenor, Desto, etc) and Dutch producer/DJ Jay.Soul (Mr. Windmill & Jay.Soul, Sole Profit, Cecilia Stalin, etc). After years of thoughts, discussions and drunken promises, the pair have finally been in the studio for the past few months and the result is their eight-song debut release Eye Wonder. It’s a jazzy, funked up, dubbed out Chinese language sonic assault and some of the most exciting music to come out of Shanghai in a while, already receiving radio play in London, LA, Europe and around Asia. Eye Wonder is a landmark release for Chinese underground music.
COLOMBIA: Colombia Urbana
Marita – Pequeña
Marita has been writing lyrics since she was a little girl, although she never knew where they would end up. The single Pequeña (“Little Girl”) is a resume of her own history and a good illustration of her electro-rock sound.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Why Don’t We Love Lucy – With You
In March, Danish/Norwegian quartet Why Don’t We Love Lucy released their debut EP, CPH-OSL, which serves up foot-moving club-funk-pop (slap bass included) with a light ring of the 80s and 90s to the five catchy tracks. A new EP is in the works, with a release planned for this autumn, but here’s the excellent With You from the debut for you to enjoy.
ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
Leopard Of Honour – Teenage Fantod
David Roocroft is a Manchester boy who calls himself Leopard Of Honour and, like Oxford’s Chad Valley, counts himself as one of the British musicians doing similar things with synths and samplers to America’s chillwave artists such as Washed Out and Toro Y Moi. His instrumental Teenage Fantod, named after a “an archaic phrase for quivery anxiety used a lot by David Foster Wallace”, was described as “effortlessly lovely and languid” in a recent New Band of the Day column, adding that it was “pop music with experimental urges and precious little retro intent”.
Barthol Lo Mejor – Pick Up Track
You’ve partied but not this wild! Barthol Lo Mejor jumpstarts your night with trash electro. It sounds fresh, upbeat and raw like Justice, MSTRKRFT and Huoratron. His performance drives you further, guiding you with his signature sound and bouncing around in a flashy outfit to provide vanity, energy and edge. Don’t just listen, but enjoy it all.
Satellite Stories – Family
These four young lads from the Arctic city of Oulu play music to bring you nostalgia from events you never really experienced, like the 60s, the first kiss from your elementary school crush and the time you and your best friend bought that awesome 45 single and listened it on your parents’ record player. Satellite Stories bring all these feelings with cheerful and fast-paced indie music influenced by Vampire Weekend and The Wombats.
FRANCE: Yet You’re Fired
Mondrian – Or Unicorn
Mondrian are a young Parisian pop band formed in 2007. After releasing their first EP last year, Popshop, they dropped another one, Whippersnapper, just a month ago. Catchy beats, fresh voices and a talent for writing will surely bring them some success. They take everything that’s good in pop to make the best out of it, creating addictive and lovely songs with a high repeat listen potential.
Petula – Wives
Where have they been all these years, playful electro-inspired German artists writing and reinterpreting great songs? Berlin-based Petula definitely is one of those with a wide and emphatic spectrum of styles. Wives is a wary, slightly more uptempo, more electronic cover of a Savoy Grand song. It has just been released on a split EP with all-girl band Candelilla.
Gravitysays_i – The Urge Of Identity / The Figures Of Enormous Grey
It’s hard not to stare in open-mouthed amazement at the sheer brilliance of Gravitysays_i’s superbly executed, intensely creative and nearly flawless sophomore album, The Figures Of Enormous Grey And The Patterns Of Fraud. They bring together experimental, dark, atmospheric elements along with Greek and Eastern traditional music and examine social values, institutions and morality as an extension of individual, as well as collective, conscience with an emotional clarity and narrative acuity that makes it an undeniable triumph.
ICELAND: Icelandic Music Maffia
Morning After Youth – Lived
Morning After Youth is a four-piece band with a smooth and artsy sound to their music. They are working on their first album which will hopefully be ready this summer. Lived was recorded in the famous Studio Sýrland with Adda 800 and Börkur.
Goddess Gagged – Visionary
Goddess Gagged is a metal band from Mumbai. The band channel melodic post-hardcore in the vein of acts like Architects and Alexisonfire, a foundation given legs by frontman Siddharth Basrur’s almost effervescent vocal delivery. Visionary is a new track, presumably from the band’s upcoming debut album. We suggest you keep your eyes and ears open for that.
Polyester Embassy – Space Travel Rock N Roll
Polyester Embassy have a deep affection for noises, sounds and a vintage synthesizer. After years of experimenting, they’re bringing out a second album which sounds like Pink Floyd/Flaming Lips/Mogwai/Ride/Spiritualized mixed raw into their own characteristic.
Ghost Estates – Paris
The members of the newly-formed Ghost Estates were previously of two pretty different bands SickBoy and 8Ball. Their new band may be named “after the thousands of abandoned housing estates built in Ireland during the Celtic Tiger boom years” but there’s plenty going on in their music, from 80s guitar to processed beats to a spoken word interludes and, I kid you not, a treated saxophone solo.
ISRAEL: Metal Israel
Sumo Elevator – Pedal Horse
Sumo Elevator is a group of five ex-metalheads with short hair mixing prog-rock/metal, electronica jazz and breakbeat into intense atmospheric electro-fusion pop-rock. Their eclectic line-up consists of traditional rock/jazz instruments (electric guitar, bass guitar and acoustic drums) and turntables, noise boxes, samplers and modern synthesizers. With two years of live performance and studio experience under their belts, Sumo Elevator is about to release a full-length album in 2011 called Breakfast, which Pedal Horse is taken from.
Karibean – We Need The Sun
First day at the sea, the sun is shining, friends all around, Beach Boys playing on the jukebox, see The Housemartins on a surf, meet Vampire Weekend at the bar. It’s all just perfect. One last thing: go here and download Karibean’s free debut EP. It would be the icing on the cake.
MEXICO: Red Bull PanameriKa
Pellejos – Abuelita
Take some inspiration from Jack Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues and recite it on a cantina filled with the country’s intellectual crème de la crème, then leave them dumbfounded with the evocation of images of decay, corruption and nihilism. Pellejos started in 2005 when some refusing-to-age contemporary art-farts took a late chance to form a band led by visual artist (now bassist) Daniel Guzmán. What seemed to be just some art-wank has endured six years of sporadic gigs that led to bear a (rotten) fruit with a debut LP – a fetid collection of ethylic spoken word from the hoarse mouth of vocalist Ignacio Perales, backed by what sounds like Tindersticks from the Third World. Abuelita is just a random nonsense collection of excuses to fall back into old patterns of drinking. Cheers!
NETHERLANDS: Unfold Amsterdam
Skip & Die – La Cumbia Dictadura
Skip & Die is a Netherlands-based outfit that began as a globally-infused collaboration between South African vocalist/visual artist Cata.Pirata and producer Jori Collignon (also of Dutch electronic experimentalists C-Mon & Kypski and Nobody Beats The Drum), although these days they’re a fully-fledged live band. Via their travels through the towns and cities of South Africa, they’ve forged a contemporary and vibrant wall of sound that mixes electro, hip hop, Afrobeat and South American grooves. While specialising in sexy party bass hits that remind at times of Diplo’s Major Lazer, there’s always a more considered side to their art than simply noise and dance as Music Alliance Pact exclusive La Cumbia Dictadura shows.
NEW ZEALAND: Einstein Music Journal
Cool Cult – Skulls
New Zealand’s best young exponents of shoegaze styled no-wave. Described by UK music blog Sonic Masala as “beautifully formed nuggets of sound that are brimming with exuberance and ebullience”, Cool Cult’s noisy rhetoric is a mixture of early Deerhunter and discordant Canadian punk wizards Women. Their debut album Try Crunch is full of carcinogenic guitar hooks and elegant vocal melodies, with a refreshingly mature approach to constructing traditional pop music. Skulls is the band’s first single, featuring an observantly sleepy vocal melody overwhelmed by a crushing wave of distorted guitar.
NORWAY: Birds Sometimes Dance
Ihab – Æ Må Fær
Who would have thought that Bodø, a small city in northern Norway, would harbor so much good indie. So far there’s Cold Mailman, Kollwitz, Kråkesølv and now Gabriel and Ihab, both on newly started Beyond Records. Ihab make quirky indie-rock reminiscent of 90s heroes like Pavement and Built To Spill as well as newer bands like Cymbal Eat Guitars and Algernon Cadwallader.
Iván Fajardo – Calma
Iván Fajardo is a constant in the musical innovation of Lima. In the first edition of MAP in October 2008, we had ERA, his band at that time. More recently Ivan has been working alone. Calma is the first preview of his new direction and is accompanied by a video that combines well the relaxed mood of the song. Iván Fajardo is recording a video for his next single, which is worth keeping an eye out for.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Kubik – Shina-Kak
Victor Afonso, a musician, music teacher and cinephile, had his first release as Kubik in 1999. Since then he has had a steady flow of releases and collaborations. His great love for cinema and music for films shows in his work. His talent has been recognized by artists such as Mike Patton, who invited him to open for Fantômas. Shina-Kak is an exclusive download for MAP, taken from Psicotic Jazz Hall, which has just been released.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Toulouse Lautrec – Yesman
With a name that recalls the famous French painter, the Bucharest trio started in 2009 as an alternative rock band with post-punk flavours. Although their image in the Romanian media is promoted through neo-Dadaist elements, there is nothing absurd in their music. The prominent basslines and the upfront beats remind me of Editors but without those dark guitar riffs. Whimsical and witty, Toulouse Lautrec is what you need now to give your day a push.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Humming Kitten – Monochrome
Little is known of Humming Kitten, and we get the impression they’d like to keep it that way. It is a little disconcerting at first, approaching this musical project without any preconceived ideas of who or what the band members are, and appreciating their musical ideas purely at face value and on first impressions. However, once you soak it all in, you might feel that they’ve been there all along, lurking at your blogs or gigs. Revealing the chief conspirator as an entity known as Keyboard Cat, and that they favour a lo-fi noise-pop approach to their pieces, Humming Kitten ultimately sound so lonely with solitude as their ally.
SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
Simfonika Island – African Sunset
Simfonika Island is a project made up of two very talented individuals, Gianni Capri and Donny Halo. Both have diverse musical backgrounds, one from a very DJ-orientated world and one from a band. With African Sunset comes a song that crosses South African house with the influences of house music from New York City and Europe, all accompanied with some stirring piano and a dash of deep groove. It’s magical.
SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
Pigibit5 – Y.O.N.H.A
Sweet indie-pop act Pigibit5 claims kitsch to be the best description of its music, which is heavily based around a twee-pop and chamber-pop sound, also citing influences from folk and hard rock. The band is what remains of Pirigwa – where Ireland’s So Cow on occasion could be found playing an instrument or two – and the members have returned to their former label, Beatball, with the release of first full-length album Cherryboy Revolution a few weeks ago. Y.O.N.H.A is a cheerful tune with a retro pop sound.
Fur Voice – Wimp
Fur Voice is the stage name of David Gracia, an actor and singer born in Murcia and living in Barcelona since 2006. Inspired by electronic and psychedelic acts such as Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective, Fur Voice builds a dark extraterrestrial atmosphere in his debut album, Onto Endo (self-produced and self-released). The first single off Onto Endo, Wimp, takes the best from noise, post-rock and psychedelia and turns it into a dreamy, catchy, epic tune with an ending that leaves you wanting more.
BitRobot – She’s An Android
I’m always on the lookout for 8bit pop or C64 stuff. I’ve heard a lot over the years but still don’t consider myself an expert. Still, from my perspective this new record from BitRobot called Nebula, which She’s An Android is taken from, does something I haven’t yet heard. He personalizes the music, taking a completely computer-based sub-genre and gives it a touch of humanity.
Huck Finn – Sofia
Huck Finn is the moniker of two singer-songwriters who teamed up for a project. Four years ago they won a few music prizes in Switzerland but they struggled to deliver a proper record. On the second attempt they succeeded. Breaking In, their debut album, is bombastic and emotional at the same time. Sofia, their first radio single, will make you weep like a dog.
UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – Morning Thought
The Detroit duo released their full-length debut, It’s A Corporate World, earlier this month, just in time for summer. It’s the perfect season for this record too, full of catchy guitar riffs, melodious vocal harmonies and an added layer of production missing from their earlier works. Morning Thought hops along with glitchy effects, handclaps and enough thoughtful xylophone to keep wandering ears at bay.
VENEZUELA: Música y Más
Elefreak feat. El Prieto – RockMafia
In Venezuela, not many rock and rap bands interact. But a couple of months ago, one of the most iconic rock bands, Elefreak, coupled with one of the great exponents of hip hop in the country and created RockMafia, a song loaded with great strength and lyrics that leave a message of reflection. Elefreak’s nine-track record can be downloaded for free from their website.