December 4, 2013: Mick Cooke has left Belle & Sebastian. The band made the announcement in their latest mailshot, stating: “We wish him all the best with any future projects and hope to work alongside him again in the future.” The multi-instrumentalist, who had been a full-time member of Belle & Sebastian since 1998, will now focus on his work as a composer and arranger.
New gig… Song, by Toad Records’ 5th Birthday Party at Edinburgh’s Henry’s Cellar Bar on December 21 featuring PAWsault, Tom Collins Shatner and assorted label friends and guests.
December 3, 2013: Budding musicians aged between 14-19 can register for Hit The Road, a project that offers workshops, seminars and information sessions about performing live, before they are given the opportunity to tour across Scotland. The next set of tours will launch in January, with each one taking three acts on the road.
New video via YouTube… Red Sands – Too Short A Season, taken from debut album Red Sands, out on December 9.
New video via YouTube… Mickey 9s – Ammunition.
New EP release via Bandcamp… Jo Mango – When We Lived In The Crook Of A Tree.
December 2, 2013: New video via YouTube… Mogwai – The Lord Is Out Of Control, taken from their forthcoming album Rave Tapes, out on January 20.
New album release via iTunes… Cold Crows Dead – I Fear A New World, featuring The Xcerts’ Murray Macleod.
Free album download via Bandcamp… Kobi Onyame – Glory.
November 29, 2013: Brew at the Bog have announced the first 25 acts for its festival in Inverness on May 3. The line-up includes Kid Canaveral, Stanley Odd, Friends In America, Fake Major, Randolph’s Leap, Call To Mind, Beerjacket, Campfires In Winter, Shambles Miller, The Little Kicks, This Silent Forest, Woodenbox, Jo Mango and Atom Tree.
The Holy Ghosts have set up a Kickstarter page for pre-orders of their debut album Ride Them Down, due out in April.
November 28, 2013: New video via YouTube… Over The Wall – Radiator.
New video via YouTube… Book Group – Victory Lap, taken from Victory Lap / The Lowdown Of A LOUD Sound single.
New album release via Bandcamp… Scott McWatt – A Ceíst Amá.
November 27, 2013: New song streams via SoundCloud… King Creosote – Dial C For Cradle; Meddling Gut Wrenches; Impossible To Resist.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Rachel Sermanni – Everything Changes.
Findlay Napier has set up a PledgeMusic page to fund the recording of VIP: Very Interesting Persons, an album of songs co-written with Boo Hewerdine.
November 26, 2013: Free album download via Bandcamp… Olive Grove Records Sampler featuring Call To Mind, The State Broadcasters, Randolph’s Leap, The Moth & The Mirror, The Son(s), Woodenbox, Jo Mango and Pensioner.
Free album download via Bandcamp… Mini50 Records Winter Sampler 2013.
New song release via iTunes… Withered Hand – Black Tambourine. Dan Willson will play solo gigs at Glasgow’s Glad Cafe on November 27 and Aberdeen’s Tunnels on November 28 as well as Glasgow’s Platform on January 24 for Celtic Connections.
New video via YouTube… Kid Canaveral – A Compromise, taken from A Compromise EP.
November 25, 2013: New album release… There Will Be Fireworks – The Dark, Dark Bright on CD and download.
Detour will hold their fourth Wee Jaunt in Glasgow on December 7, and the allocation of free places has already been snapped up. Email your name to email@example.com to be added to the reserve list.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Sparrow And The Workshop – One Brush.
Blindfolds have split up after three years together – they bow out with the release of new video Lucid.
November 22, 2013: New video via YouTube… Young Aviators – We’ve Got Names For Folk Like You.
New video via YouTube… The Pastels – Kicking Leaves.
New video via YouTube… Conscious Route feat Werd & Jordan Butler – Friends Til The End.
New gig… The Xcerts at Aberdeen’s Downstairs on December 21.
New gig… Glasgow’s Dirty Weekender across five venues on February 28-March 1 featuring Mark Morriss (The Bluetones), Mark Gardener (Ride), Bombskare, etc.
November 21, 2013: New song stream via SoundCloud… Withered Hand – Black Tambourine.
New video via YouTube… Jo Mango – When We Lived In The Crook Of A Tree, taken from When We Lived In The Crook Of A Tree EP, out on December 2.
CHVRCHES’ gig for TYCI’s Christmas Party on December 21 has been moved to Glasgow’s SWG3 due to a delay in the reopening of The Vic venue at The Art School.
New gig… The Jezabels at Glasgow’s Oran Mor on February 26, plus ticket bundles with new album The Brink.
November 20, 2013: Arctic Monkeys have been announced as the one of headliners at next year’s T in the Park on July 11-13. Tickets go on sale on November 22.
New gig… The Christmas Songwriters’ Club at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall on December 22 featuring Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison, Kid Canaveral, Broken Records, Miaoux Miaoux, Siobhan Wilson, TeenCanteen with Eugene Kelly, Karine Polwart & Findlay Napier, We See Lights and Very Well.
New song stream via SoundCloud… SOS – Fake Hallelujah.
November 19, 2013: New video via YouTube… Franz Ferdinand – Bullet.
Free EP download via Bandcamp… King Post Kitsch – The Silver Screen.
New video via YouTube… The Amazing Snakeheads – Flatlining.
November 18, 2013: CHVRCHES have been confirmed as the live band for TYCI’s Christmas Party at Glasgow’s Art School on December 21.
New album trailer via YouTube… Withered Hand – New Gods, due out in February.
New Beerjacket album Darling Darkness will be released on January 27.
New tour… The Winter Tradition at Glasgow’s King Tut’s on February 6, Stirling’s Tolbooth on February 7, Aberdeen’s Cafe Drummond on February 8, Inverness’ Mad Hatters on February 9, Galashiels’ Heriot-Watt Student Union on February 10, Dundee’s Duke’s Corner on February 11 and Perth’s Twa Tams on February 15.
November 17, 2013: Glasgow venue King Tut’s has unveiled it line-up for the fourth annual King Tut’s New Year’s Revolution on January 3-16, with the likes of Campfires In Winter, Cherri Fosphate, Book Group, Garden Of Elks, Saint Max And The Fanatics and Quinny featuring on all-local bills.
Labels, musicians and fans are being invited to register albums released by Scottish artists in 2013 for consideration for next year’s SAY Award.
November 15, 2013: French Wives will play their last ever gig at Glasgow’s Mono on December 19 after announcing they are splitting up.
New video via YouTube… There Will Be Fireworks – Youngblood.
New album release via iTunes… Ministry Of Stories – Share More Air, an album of children’s lyrics set to original music including Rachel Sermanni’s Love Story.
New song stream via Bandcamp… Water Of Life – Sources And Springs / Abercrombie, 1949, an art-science collaboration between Tommy Perman and Rob St. John exploring flows of water through Edinburgh.
November 14, 2013: New gig… The Wee Chill Festive Weekender at Glasgow’s SWG3 on December 22, featuring Admiral Fallow, Washington Irving, The Little Kicks, Call To Mind and Atom Tree.
The Big Apple Award has launched its annual competition, with an all-expenses-paid trip to play New York City in April 2014 up for grabs. The deadline for applications is December 2, before the winner is picked from a shortlist of five Scottish performers at Glasgow’s Garage on December 11. The last two victors were Stanley Odd and Song Of Return.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Mike Nisbet – Traveling Blues (demo)
November 13, 2013: Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations will incorporate an afternoon of free live music on January 1. Starting at the National Museum of Scotland at noon, the guest-curated SCOT:LANDS event will feature performances across nine Old Town venues by the likes of King Creosote, Withered Hand, RM Hubbert, Lau and FOUND as well as a production of Whatever Gets You Through The Night.
New video via YouTube… Washington Irving – Palomides , director James Houston claims it’s the world’s first autostereogram music video.
New video via YouTube… Nightmare Boy – Paranoid (Black Sabbath cover).
New video via Vevo… KT Tunstall – Made Of Glass.
November 12, 2013: New album release via Bandcamp… Medals – Disguises, new project of Sucioperro’s JP Reid.
New event… Vic Galloway – Songs In The Key Of Fife book reading + Withered Hand + Kid Canaveral at Glenrothes’ Rothes Halls on November 29.
New album stream via SoundCloud… Kobi Onyame – Glory, available to buy on iTunes.
November 11, 2013: Next year’s MTV Europe Music Awards will be held at Glasgow’s Hydro on November 9.
Arches singer Michael Rice has left the band, with guitarist Barry Morrell taking over vocal duties.
New EP release via SoundCloud…. Casual Sex – The Bastard Beat, streaming on SoundCloud.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Mike Nisbet – What Will Be Will Be (demo).
November 8, 2013: BBC ALBA programme Buskers has returned for a second series, with the first two episodes available to watch on iPlayer. Episode 2′s spotlight on Glasgow features Donald Macdonald, Alan Tennie, Anna Shields and Holly Wilson.
November 7, 2013: New gigs… Fireside Acoustic Sessions (organised by Comets & Cartwheels) at Glasgow’s Drake Bar featuring free stripped-back sets from Friends In America + Prehistoric Friends on November 7, Finn LeMarinel on November 14, Randolph’s Leap on November 21 and Honeyblood + LightGuides on November 28.
New gig… There Will Be Fireworks + Friends In America + The Youth And Young at Strathaven’s Old Mill Studios on December 7.
November 6, 2013: New video via YouTube… Prides – Roar (Katy Perry cover for Vic Galloway session).
New song stream via YouTube… Fridge Magnets – Chase The Sun.
Rachel Sermanni has set up a PledgeMusic page for pre-orders of her Everything Changes EP.
Free song download via SoundCloud… This Silent Forest – Root To The Seed, taken from debut album Indivision.
New song stream via Gold Flake Paint… Book Group – The Lowdown of A LOUD Sound, taken from Victory Lap / The Lowdown Of A LOUD Sound single, out on November 25.
New video via YouTube… The Button Men – Man With A Plan.
November 5, 2013: New song stream via SoundCloud (today only)… There Will Be Fireworks – Elder And Oak.
New video via YouTube… CHVRCHES – Lies.
The Birthday Suit have a PledgeMusic campaign featuring various incentives and packages to go with pre-orders of their third album A Hollow Hole Of Riches, out in April.
BrewDog Records has been set up by the Scottish craft beer company with its first official release being The Shiverin’ Sheiks single Guided Missiles, taken from the band’s debut album A Curious Case Of…, out on November 20.
November 4, 2013: New album release via Bandcamp… Washington Irving – Palomides: Volume II.
New album release via iTunes… Kobi Onyame – Glory.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Over The Wall – Radiator, taken from This Is How We Did It EP, out on December 9.
November 1, 2013: New gig… There Will Be Fireworks + Friends In America + Kevin Harper at Glasgow’s SWG3 on November 22.
Arctic Monkeys have rescheduled tonight’s show at Glasgow’s Hydro to November 21 as singer Alex Turner has laryngitis. All original tickets remain valid.
New video via YouTube… Michael Cassidy – Everybody’s Scared. He plays with Beerjacket + Julia And The Doogans at Glasgow’s Mono on December 5.
October 31, 2013: New video via YouTube… Nightmare Boy – Mary (first solo offering of ex-Kassidy member Barrie-James O’Neill).
New video via YouTube… Frightened Rabbit – Holy.
A fan-led campaign to boycott all of Idlewild’s side-projects in the hope of spurring them to make new music has been attacked by band member Rod Jones. The guitarist, who also fronts The Birthday Suit, wrote: “If anything this just has the opposite effect in that it made me really consider whether I wanted to make music anymore. My other band The Birthday Suit and its touring and releasing records has absolutely no bearing or influence on whether and when an Idlewild tour or album might happen.”
October 30, 2013: New gigs… The Reflektors (Arcade Fire) at Glasgow’s Barrowland on November 15 and November 16 – general sale from November 1; presale passwords are available to those who pre-ordered the band’s new album from their official website.
New album release via iTunes… Cairn String Quartet – One (streaming on SoundCloud) featuring orchestral covers of Lana Del Rey, Coldplay, Oasis, The Stone Roses, Ocean Colour Scene etc.
October 29, 2013: Free song download via official website… Mogwai – Remurdered (streaming on SoundCloud), taken from eighth album Rave Tapes, out on January 20.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Pinact – Brew.
New video via YouTube… The LaFontaines – All She Knows.
Free song download via SoundCloud… SOS – ROCK N ROLL.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Madison – Mending, taken from Mending EP, out now.
Gig venue change…. Katie Sutherland plays Glasgow’s Faktory instead of Mackintosh Church on November 2.
October 28, 2013: New album release via Comets & Cartwheels… Blood Relatives – Deerheart.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Call To Mind – A Family Sketch.
New album release via Lost Map… Monoganon – F A M I L Y, streaming in full on Gold Flake Paint.
October 25, 2013: Born To Be Wide will host a seminar on record shops at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus on November 7. Panelists include Rose Norton (Coda), Sandy McLean (Love Music) and Darren Yeates (VoxBox).
New gig… Blood Relatives album launch at Glasgow’s Bar & Fly on October 26.
New gig… Scottish Fiction presents Beerjacket & Friends + Julia And The Doogans at Glasgow’s Mono on December 5.
New song stream via SoundCloud… The LaFontaines – All She Knows (Prides remix).
The 1975, Nina Nesbitt and The 10:04s have been added to the Concert in the Gardens bill at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay alongside Pet Shop Boys. Other stages feature CHVRCHES, Django Django and King Creosote.
October 24, 2013: New gig… TYCI Christmas Party featuring secret live act plus DJ sets from CHVRCHES + Pretty Ugly + Adele Bethel at Glasgow’s Art School on December 21.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Honeyblood – Kissing On You.
New gig… Starz In Their Eyes featuring RM Hubbert + Eagleowl + The Pictish Trail + Kid Canaveral + Two Wings (each covering a female artist of their choice) at Edinburgh’s Pilrig St Paul’s Church on November 23.
October 23, 2013: New video via YouTube… Siobhan Wilson – All Dressed Up.
New video via YouTube… TeenCanteen – Honey.
New video via YouTube… Young Fathers – Low, taken from forthcoming album Dead, out on February 3.
New video via YouTube… Biffy Clyro – Sounds Like Balloons.
New EP release via Bandcamp… End Of Neil – Less.
October 22, 2013: Local Natives’ Nik Ewing had his Fender Coronado bass guitar stolen during their gig at The Arches in Glasgow last night – contact police if you spot it.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Michael Cassidy – Everybody’s Scared, out on November 28.
October 21, 2013: New song stream via SoundCloud… TeenCanteen – Honey, out on October 28. They play Edinburgh’s Summerhall on October 25, Glasgow’s Rio Cafe on October 26 (free) and Aberfeldy Festival on November 3.
New album release via Bandcamp… Saint Max & The Fanatics – Saint Max Is Missing And The Fanatics Are Dead.
New video via YouTube… Kobi Onyame – Goodbye World, Hello, taken from new album Glory, out on November 4.
Free download via official website… Plum – Death Comes With A Bow, taken from Betsy Thunder EP, out now.
October 18, 2013: Dumfries Music Conference has announced its upcoming four-day programme of free events in the town.
October 30: Screening of LCD Soundsystem documentary Shut Up And Play The Hits at Robert Burns Centre.
October 31: Music Industry Experts seminar featuring The Pop Cop and others at The Stove (ticketed).
November 1: Songwriting Workshops featuring Findlay Napier + Finding Albert’s Robert Shields at The Stove.
November 1: Live showcase featuring Hector Bizerk + Honeyblood + Barstow Bats at The Stove (ticketed).
November 2: Record Fair featuring Rebecca Vasmant (Ministry Of Sound) + Jason Reid (Sub Club) at The Stove.
October 17, 2013: New song stream via SoundCloud… Washington Irving – Babble. Their track Palomides is also available for free download. Both are taken from Palomides: Volume II album, out on November 4.
New video via Clash… The Birthday Suit – A Bigger World, out on November 4.
New video via YouTube… Atom Tree – Die For Your Love, taken from Tide Of Thorns EP, out on October 18.
Free gig… Rachel Sermanni at Glasgow’s Love Music on October 21 (5pm).
October 16, 2013: New video via YouTube… Colin Macleod – Devil Pavement (Live from the Green Bus), taken from The Anchor EP, out on October 21. On the same day he will play instore sets at Edinburgh’s Coda Music (1pm) and Glasgow’s Love Music (5.30pm).
57ᵒ North have published their Guide To DIY Gig Promotion – a useful resource for anyone venturing into this side of the music business.
Michael Cassidy will play at the opening night party for Glasgow’s The Bar & Fly on October 19.
Free gig… French Wives + Randolph’s Leap + Laki Mera + The Graveyard Band + Donald Macdonald And The Islands + The Mademoiselle for 1st Birthday Bash at Glasgow’s Broadcast on October 25 (RSVP required).
October 15, 2013: New video via YouTube… Travis – Mother.
New video via YouTube…. Casual Sex – Nothing On Earth, taken from The Bastard Beat EP, out on October 28.
October 14, 2013: Anna Sweeney, who spoke out on The Pop Cop about her mental health issues after quitting her solo career, has started a new project with Maeve McCrorie called The Scarlings. They play their first gig at Glasgow’s Oran Mor on October 31.
October 12, 2013: New documentary via BBC iPlayer… The Great Hip Hop Hoax.
New song stream via Clash… Washington Irving – Palomides, taken from Palomides: Volume II album, out on November 4.
Free download via SoundCloud… Beerjacket – Glow (demo).
Free album download via Bandcamp… Louie & Bigg Taj – Paranoise.
October 11, 2013: New gig… Withered Hand at Edinburgh’s Whale Arts Centre on October 19 (free tickets) with free return coach travel from Waterloo Place as part of Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival.
New tour… Travis at Edinburgh’s Picture House on November 17, Inverness’ Ironworks on November 18, Aberdeen’s Music Hall on November 19 and Glasgow’s Barrowland on December 20.
October 10, 2013: The venue splits and stage times for Haddowfest in Edinburgh on October 11-12 have been released.
New video via YouTube… Honeyblood – Bud. The band play Glasgow’s Broadcast on October 29 and Edinburgh’s Electric Circus on October 30.
New video via YouTube… Camera Obscura – Troublemaker. The band’s Break It To You Gently double 7″ single is out now.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Saint Max & The Fanatics – Soul Surrender, taken from debut album Saint Max Is Missing And The Fanatics Are Dead, out on October 21.
October 9, 2013: New video via YouTube… Katie Sutherland – Canvas. She plays Glasgow’s Mackintosh Church on November 2.
New gig… Rachel Sermanni + Bwani Junction + Vigo Thieves at Edinburgh’s Liquid Room on November 23 (for War Child). Rachel’s The Boatshed Sessions EP is out on October 21.
The Great Hip Hop Hoax will be broadcast on BBC Two Scotland on October 11 at 9pm.
LCD Soundsystem documentary Shut Up And Play The Hits will be shown for free at Dumfries’ Robert Burns Centre on October 30 as part of Dumfries Music Conference which runs from October 30 to November 2.
October 8, 2013: CHVRCHES, Django Django, King Creosote, The Rezillos, Treacherous Orchestra and Fiddlers’ Bid have been announced to play Edinburgh’s Hogmanay street party alongside headliners Pet Shop Boys.
New song stream via SoundCloud… SOS – ROCK N ROLL.
October 7, 2013: New song stream via YouTube… The LaFontaines – All She Knows, out on October 27; B-side My Yo-Yo available now on iTunes.
New album release via iTunes… The Fratellis – We Need Medicine.
New album release via Bandcamp… The Grand Gestures – Second.
New album release via Fortuna POP!… The Spook School – Dress Up.
October 6, 2013: New video via YouTube… De Rosa – Spectres. The band play their first gig in four years as part of Kid Canaveral’s Xmas Baubles IV at Edinburgh’s Portobello Town Hall on December 14.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Beerjacket – Androgynous (The Replacements cover).
New album stream via SoundCloud… L.Pierre – Neverland Transmission, A Disney Mix (tracklist on Dazed and Confused).
October 4, 2013: 57º North will run a free music journalism training course at Aberdeen’s Seventeen every Wednesday for four weeks from October 23. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to apply for one of six spaces.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Katie Sutherland – Canvas, out on November 18.
New gigs via Ticketmaster… The Twilight Sad performing debut album Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters at Glasgow’s King Tut’s on December 20 and December 21.
New album release via Bandcamp… The Little Kicks – Put Your Love In Front Of Me.
New video via BBC iPlayer… Rapal – Series 7, Episode 8, featuring Vukovi, Donald Macdonald And The Islands, The Velveteen Saints, The River 68′s and Conquering Animal Sound.
October 3, 2013: The Glasgow venue formerly known as The Barfly, which shut in February 2009, will reopen as The Bar & Fly at the same location on Clyde Street on October 18.
New video via YouTube… The Deep Red Sky – Kids (MGMT cover), out on October 7.
New song via YouTube… Finn LeMarinel – Love Is Waves (demo).
October 2, 2013: Free album download via UK Rock Radio… Free Sample Issue #03 featuring songs by The Xcerts, Sparrow And The Workshop, Admiral Fallow, A Band Called Quinn, Mull Historical Society and Unkle Bob.
Meursault frontman Neil Pennycook will be a guest speaker at Born To Be Wide’s seminar on promoting gigs, which takes place at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus on October 3.
New video via YouTube… We Were Hunted – You Know Me Now.
What The Blood Revealed have announced they are splitting up.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Lorraine McCauley & The Borderlands – Belong.
October 1, 2013: Free song download via iTunes… CHVRCHES – Tether. Singer Lauren Mayberry has written a Guardian article about the online misogyny she has been suffering, it’s well worth a read.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Julia & The Doogans – Love At First Sight (Kylie Minogue cover).
New song stream via SoundCloud… Cold Crows Dead – Ghost That Burned Your House Down, taken from debut album I Fear A New World, out on December 2. The band is a collaboration between The Xcerts’ Murray Macleod and Brighton songwriter Paul Steel. They play Aberdeen’s Tunnels on December 10 and Glasgow’s King Tut’s on December 11.
It’s time for 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.