May 21, 2013: Camera Obscura song Fifth In Line To The Throne is available for free download in exchange for an email address. It’s taken from the band’s fifth album Desire Lines, out on June 3, and pre-ordering it will get you another track, Do It Again.
Book Group have released their debut EP, Homeward Sound.
Sparrow And The Workshop’s third album Murderopolis, out on May 27, is streaming in full via DIY - one of the songs, The Faster You Spin, is also available for free download.
May 20, 2013: Garden Of Elks’ debut EP, Extended Play, is available to buy and stream.
The Clock have a video for their excellent song Everything’s Eventual, which is released on May 28. They have Glasgow gigs lined up at Broadcast on June 1 and Roxy 171 on June 20.
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 the Music Alliance Pact, the monthly project that presents The Pop Cop’s favourite song by an up-and-coming Scottish talent, chosen under the most stringent code of quality control and handed to you as a free mp3 download with a bit of right-clickery.
As Scotland’s representative, I’ve plumped for something pretty seismic by THE BARENTS SEA from Perth – I really hope you like it.
Be sure to check out the other countries’ selections that make up this eclectic international mixtape. Not only is the German one an absolute belter, we’ve also got MAP’s first ever Russian song thanks to new recruits Big Echo - as they say in that blog’s hometown of Novosibirsk, “Ypa!”.
To download all 32 songs in one file click here
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
The Barents Sea – O’ Brother Of Mine
Every once in a while you come across a band like The Barents Sea who have an indefinable essence that makes your ears prick up. One spin of O’ Brother Of Mine will confirm how capable the Perth band are when it comes to constructing punch-the-air, epic guitar riffs… but you’ll probably play it over and over again just to make sure. Feel free to discover how they sounded before they developed into a harmonious blend of indie and post-rock by downloading their charming bedroom-recorded 2009 mini-album Bear Island for free here.
Laika – Corazón
Laika is a soft-rock band featuring Leticia Monge (vocals, guitar), Micaela Hattori (guitar), Nicolás Torregiani (bass) and Franco De Paoli (drums). They’ve just released their self-titled debut album and we think it’s great, with really funny lyrics written in an almost scientific poetry. Corazón is one of our favourite songs and it was included in the soundtrack of Plan V, a web sitcom about the lesbian scene of Buenos Aires that we also recommend.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Guerre – Millenium Blues
Guerre is the best thing to happen to Oz music since the Australian cast recording of Jesus Christ Superstar. If you’ve not heard his ghostly take on lo-fi R&B then now is the perfect time to get into it because his official debut EP, Darker My Love, and a remix companion are available for free on his label’s Bandcamp page. A good point of comparison would be blog sensation How To Dress Well, although there’s enough uniqueness and authenticity here to keep you hitting repeat (plus I actually heard of Guerre first, so points for that). Highly recommended.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Criolo – Mariô
Criolo is a rapper who released an acclaimed album this year, Nó Na Orelha. In this song he pushes African beats above his rhymes and shows why he is part of a new scene of creative MCs in Brazil, such as Emicida, Renegado and RAPadura.
Patrick Canning & The Suffering Mothers – The Howl
The first influences listed on Patrick Canning’s MySpace are Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave, so it should come as no surprise that his music is dark and gloomy. Still, as a song like The Howl shows, just like his influences Canning has a way of making even dark and gloomy sound surprisingly engaging.
CHILE: Super 45
MKRNI – Humedad
Hailing from completely different backgrounds, ranging from experimental folk music to visual arts, the three members of MKRNI (pronounced “makaroni”) come together to produce a distinctive sound that combines Latin American rhythms and post-punk influences, whose roots can be traced back to bands like ESG. Formed in 2008, the trio released an album through independent label Madhaus Records and are currently touring America, Europe and Brazil. Their latest single, Humedad, is a sample of their forthcoming and long-awaited second album.
Fan Shiqi – Dreamland
Fan Shiqi is an emerging, talented singer-songwriter. Professionally trained in classical piano and influenced by jazz, Fan exhibits the peaceful urban scene with her refreshing voice and showcases the delicacy and confidence of this modern female with her smooth lyrics. Fan’s debut album Dreamland, released on the Peaceful Music label, is a collection of her jazz-flavored songs spanning four years.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Highway Child – Love Love Love (I’m Gonna Take It Out On You)
Fueled on a combo of Fernet Branca and a profound love for rock as it was cut 40-50 years ago, Highway Child have been personal favorites since I first caught one of their always awesome live performances a few years back. Three albums in, they keep impressing with their ability to make the musical heritage their own instead of just robbing the historical cradle. Their 2011 album Highway Child, from which this track is taken, expertly fuses their classic hard rock debut On The Old Kings Road (2008) and 60s psychedelia sophomore effort Sanctuary Come (2009).
ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
Gross Magic – We’re Awake Tonight
Sam McGarrigle is Gross Magic, a one-man band from Brighton who comes across like a UK Ariel Pink, all static-drenched pop with echoes of everything from glam to grunge, delivered in a fabulously fey, high, camp voice. We’re Awake Tonight manages to condense 35 years of rock and pop into three glorious minutes: T.Rex’s iridescent boogie, ELO’s Mr Blue Sky – it’s all here. As a recent Guardian New Band of the Day column put it: “It’s really hard to find actual precedents for the sound blend he’s achieved here: ELO meets glam, then fed through a hypnagogic filter. Not so much shock of the new as shock of the ‘ooh!’.”
Laulan Sinule – Masina Sees
Laulan Sinule is a tongue-in-cheek project by Taavi Tulev, who here leaves behind his usual deep electronics and makes pure Estonian electro-pop with analog synths. For months he managed to stay anonymous with this new project, but is now gigging around Estonia – in concerts this music really comes alive even more.
Astrid Swan – Box Elder (Pavement cover)
Astrid Swan was meant to be the princess of Finnish pop but she always seemed to be too stubborn to accept the impositions of the music biz. With her third album, Better Than Wages, she fully embraced the indie sounds with a full album of straightforward guitar-pop. Astrid has taken another turn in her career and in August she will release a Pavement covers album with the attractive title of Hits (Pavement For Girls).
FRANCE: Yet You’re Fired
Hold Your Horses! – We Dear Are A Desert
Hold Your Horses! come from Paris and, like many others acts from the capital, they are into acoustic folk-pop. They may already be known to you thanks to an original video in which they reinterpret the history of art. Their first EP, Sorry! Household, (an anagram of Hold Your Horses!), released in May, can be bought on iTunes.
soft.nerd – Always The Good Times
soft.nerd really are into analogue synths. In their 80s-driven tracks and remixes it is the driving force which makes room for the guitar sounds and Christian Bachmann’s catchy vocals to float free in subtropical spheres. After rebuilding as a three-piece, soft.nerd recently released the album Sound Sound Sound, available via Bandcamp, from which Always The Good Times is taken.
A Victim Of Society – You’re Gonna Hate Me
A Victim Of Society delves into the darker side of human nature and delivers eerie, uncannily alluring melodies with raspy vocals buried beneath noise and distortion-drenched filters. His music is a plaintive, lo-fi mixture of nostalgia wrapped up in deeply ingrained noir sensibilities. You’re Gonna Hate Me’s rough and tumble groove coated in sheets of echo and shadow will leave you bewildered and enthralled in equal measures.
ICELAND: Icelandic Music Maffia
Valdimar – Undraland
Valdimar is a fresh force within the Icelandic music scene. The band’s music spans the whole emotional spectrum, from intimate ballads to powerful, energetic rock. Valdimar colours its music with heavy brass, guitar and keyboard textures. They were nominated in the brightest hope category at the Icelandic Music Awards. Undraland is the title track of their debut album, released at the end of 2010 on the Geimsteinn label.
Burgerkill – House Of Greed
Burgerkill are one of the biggest and longest running metal bands in Indonesia. They have just released a new album, Venomous, which is heavy as hell.
Little Green Cars – My Love Took Me Down To The River (To Silence Me)
Having first been impressed by Little Green Cars in 2008, it’s with great pleasure that a mere three years later, the band consisting of 18-year olds have come good on that spark of promise they initially showed. Now a tight, talented and focused unit, their sound falls between Local Natives-style folk and Arcade Fire-style rock. Their debut single The John Wayne is out this month through UK label Young And Lost Club, and this separate new track showcases another impressive side to them.
ISRAEL: Metal Israel
Hammercult – Stealer Of Souls
Hammercult is an extreme thrash metal band formed in late 2010 by alumni of Israel’s finest metal bands. Following their debut show in December, Hammercult stormed stages all across Israel, smashing into the local scene and garnering a tremendous amount of fans in a minimal amount of time. They also won the right to represent Israel in the 2011 international Wacken Metal Battle competition to be held this August in Germany. Late July will mark the release of their debut EP, Rise Of The Hammer, and their first full-length release is in the works.
Giorgio Tuma – New Fabled Stories
Sometimes, in the middle of the summer, a sweet melody that brings back memories of Brian Wilson, Stereolab and flamboyant Italian soundtracks from the 60s (think Piccioni, Rota, Umiliani) is really all you need. Add a touch of bossa nova and a smoke of jazz and you’ll have In The Morning We’ll Meet, the brilliant new album by Giorgio Tuma, out now on the legendary Spanish label Elefant Records.
MEXICO: Red Bull PanameriKa
Candy – El Entierro
Coffin kids, you know them. Gloomy faces, an obscure way to dress and a strange glow of life that strains to endure all their gray and decaying surroundings. But wait a minute? Are we describing a slow and pitiful goth band? Maybe this approach to Mexico City’s Candy is erroneous and stereotypical. Candy have all the bittersweetness, frenzy and pomp that a power-goth trio could ask for. Produced by the experienced Joselo Rangel (from Mexican super-band Café Tacvba), El Entierro (“The Burial”) is the ravenous radio-friendly single that heralds a great sophomore album for Candy.
NETHERLANDS: Unfold Amsterdam
The Black Atlantic – Walked On Wood
The Black Atlantic is a folk-pop band based in Groningen, but they undeniably have international ambitions – no wonder given how easily their heavily melodic and lulling acoustic tracks fit in alongside the new Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes albums. The core of the project is singer-songwriter Geert van der Velde, who formed the band back in 2008 to record debut album Reverence For Fallen Trees. It has been freely available online for the past two years, although this spring it was also given a physical release in more European territories with added bonus tracks, one of which you can hear here. The band rarely takes itself off the road long enough to record new material, but a new single then EP are on the way.
NEW ZEALAND: Einstein Music Journal
Sleepy Age – Décor
In 2009, Christchurch’s Sleepy Age began their life as a guitar band, reworking the finer points of Britpop and 90s American indie rock. But in 2011, they’ve completely upended their sound, releasing the synth-heavy, European disco-inspired single Décor (see video). It’s a bold move, and at a time when they would be excused for making gloomy rock music, Sleepy Age has turned misery into delicious synth-pop. The band is currently escaping a string of crippling earthquakes in their home town and touring Europe and the UK – dates are available on their website.
José Arbulú – Salta
José Arbulú, a member of the well-known band Cementerio Club and considered by many people in his native country to be one of its most talented contemporary composers, returns to the music scene with his new solo production, Salta: Espíritu Azul, the first of a trilogy of records called SALTA. In this new stage, Arbulú tries to capture thoughts and feelings about all that happens to us and affects us in our tired routine of life.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
You Can’t Win, Charlie Brown – Over The Sun, Under The Water
They are six, most of them from Lisbon, who have/had other projects, such as David Santos (Noiserv), a previous MAP pick. Their debut album, Chromatic, released in May, prompted influential French magazine Les Inrocks to call their music “sublime”. If you are a fan of Fleet Foxes and Animal Collective, you will love You Can’t Win, Charlie Brown too.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Algebra – Moloz
Algebra come from Bucharest and just released their first album – a mix of post-rock, post-punk, noise and influences from several other genres translated into short instrumental tracks. You can find their entire album as a free download on Bandcamp.
RUSSIA: Big Echo
The Patience – Space Farewell
Novosibirsk-based trio The Patience have been searching for their proper sound since 2007. They released debut EP Sun Is Always Pt.1 this year, offering a massive wall of sound based on traditions of shoegaze and pop music. Space Farewell mixes the energy of live performance with the lead singer’s beautiful voice to make it one of the best Russian tracks you’ll hear these days.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
In Each Hand A Cutlass – A Universe Made Of Strings
Outlaws, stargazers and free riders – that’s the sense of freedom apparent in the debut album of In Each Hand A Cutlass. The masterpiece is called A Universe Made Of Strings, and while allusions to string theory and parallel dimensions are in order, no-one can deny the sprawling ambition that the group have laboured to achieve. Swirling with different time signatures, musical styles and rapturous energy, In Each Hand A Cutlass prove that genres are for the common man and that genius lies in the outliers.
SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
SiwaRainbow – We Are All Alone
Siwa is a female singer-songwriter, Rainbow99 is a guitarist and electronica producer. Together they have formed the unit SiwaRainbow, creating a mellow sound where Rainbow99 provides the atmosphere and Siwa adds melody and lyrics. The duo’s second album, We Are All Alone, was released in June. The title track opens with an epic synth-heavy intro that extends into total bliss.
EdredóN – Bautismo
EdredóN is a five-piece formed in the working class district of Carabanchel, Madrid. Their unique sound can be described as a cosmic mixture of psychedelia and several other genres not so easily found in Spanish indie music, such as Kraut, ambient, house or pop noir. Bizarre as it seems, this risky blend is present throughout their self-titled debut album released in 2010. Bautismo, with lyrics in French, is their particular approach to Serge Gainsbourg’s élégance.
Dead Bunny – I Don’t Know You
Dead Bunny don’t invent the wheel anew, but from time to time that’s bracing news, with hipster bands popping up all over the place. They play sweaty rock ‘n’ roll right from the heart, without frills and straight to the point.
UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
CSLSX – Keep Shining On
This band, by way of Philadelphia, are plenty young with plenty of talent. CSLSX have released a handful of tracks in the past few months, slowly showcasing their music abilities. Keep Shining On is the best yet, a perfect summer jam with stunning production value.
VENEZUELA: Música y Más
Vel France – Galaxia
Vel France is one of the newest talents to come out of eastern Venezuela, a region characterized by alternative rock bands, but this time bringing a more melodious voice than has been heard in recent years. Since debuting at a festival called VirgenFest, Vel France has captivated audiences with syrupy lyrics and nice guitar riffs. Galaxia, her first single, contains a lot of that and has been played on radio nationwide.