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.
Seeing as the end of 2011 is fast approaching and thoughts are turning to potential albums of the year, I wanted to shine a light on an album that really ought to feature highly on the list of music critics and fans. Diamond Mine by King Creosote & Jon Hopkins is that album and, thanks to their label Domino, you can download a stunning reworked track from it for free below, along with 34 other songs hand-picked by 34 bloggers around the world.
Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a .zip file of the whole 35-track compilation via MediaFire.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Bats In The Attic (Unravelled)
Rarely has the word “timeless” been more appropriate for a record. It took seven years for King Creosote and Jon Hopkins to make their first collaborative album, the Mercury Prize-nominated Diamond Mine, and it handsomely captures delicate snapshots of unhurried, everyday life in rural Fife – literally, with the sound of coffee shop chatter, running streams and chirping seagulls. Here’s an exclusive free MAP download of their reworking of album track Bats In The Attic, taken from their Honest Words EP.
January 26, ABC, Glasgow (tickets)
Fútbol – El Asedio De River
El Eternauta is an amazing science fiction comic created by Argentine comic strip writer Héctor Germán Oesterheld with artwork by Francisco Solano López. It was first published from 1957 to 1959. Los Ellos is a tribute compilation to this work and its author, one of 30,000 people who disappeared during the dictatorship that ruled the country between 1976 and 1983. The album contains 18 original tracks written by independent bands from La Plata and Buenos Aires. El Asedio De River is one of them, an instrumental track from alternative rock trio Fútbol.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Feathers – Cat Burgler
Cat Burgler is a sweet new jam from Brisbane’s Feathers, taken from their forthcoming 12″ Hunter’s Moon, out through Bon Voyage. The song showcases this all-female four-piece’s ability to intertwine whimsy and hooks into irresistible tunes suited for both Saturday nights and Sunday mornings.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Kassin – Calça De Ginástica
Kassin is a producer who has worked with some of the most creative artists in Brazilian contemporary music. He has also played in some bands and projects and this year he released his first solo album, from which Calça De Ginástica is taken. The electronic pop is combined with funny lyrics in which a man tells of his desires with a girl he knows (such as having sex with her in a paraplegic’s bathroom while wearing his gym clothes).
First Rate People – Someone Else Can Make A Work Of Art
Someone Else Can Make A Work Of Art is a dance song, but only in the way that, say, All My Friends is a dance song. It’s got incredibly catchy beats and a wonderful vocal performance, but it’s held together by a genuine emotional core. It, and the album it comes from, are currently free for download from Bandcamp, so there’s really no reason not to go get it right now.
CHILE: Super 45
Fernando Milagros – Carnaval (feat. Christina Rosenvinge)
San Sebastián, the third album from singer-songwriter Fernando Milagros, is, in simple terms, a masterpiece. Although in his early days as a musician Milagros pointed towards a more contemplative kind of folk (a big reference here would be Nick Drake or the calmer moments of Devendra Banhart), in his newest album he explores South American music, creating denser pieces, darker yet more powerful. Carnaval, the first single from the album, features guest Spanish musician Christina Rosenvinge.
Tong Dang – Don’t Let Me Cry
Tong Dang formed in 2001 in Chengdu. Their name is derived from the Chinese word meaning “Young Gang”. They started off as a melodic nu-metal band and gradually added elements of pop-punk and emo. Tong Dang are known for their explosive performances which features catchy hooks and melodies. Don’t Let Me Cry is taken from their album Far Away, released in 2007.
ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
WooWoos – Fizzy Lettuce
WooWoos are Nicky, Tasie and Jess, three London girls shaping up to be the new Sugababes – only the Sugababes when they were good, when Keisha, Mutya and Siobhan were in the group, not the three ciphers they’ve got in now. They’re funny, they’re sassy, and their debut single, Fizzy Lettuce, is 90s trip-hop revisited with a solid chorus that suggests there in a substantial musical base below the fizz and pop. We still don’t know what is a Woo Woo, or indeed what is fizzy lettuce, but at least they’re getting us thinking, these sugar-babes with subversive intent.
Ewert And The Two Dragons – Jolene
Ewert And The Two Dragons, consisting of Evert Sundja, Erki Pärnoja, Ivo Etti and Kristjan Kallas, sky-rocketed into the Estonian music scene in autumn 2009 with their debut album The Hills Behind The Hills. 2010 was a busy year for the Dragons: they performed in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, including noted festivals such as Tallinn Music Week and Positivus. Their smooth sounds and melodies have been praised both at home and abroad. Their second album, Good Man Down, came out in April and has enjoyed tremendous success.
The Saturnettes – Girl Named Sue
The Saturnettes, from Tampere, blend in a refreshing way the 70s glam rock sounds of David Bowie and T. Rex with a touch of new wave and synth-pop. Girl Named Sue is the very catchy first single off their debut album.
FRANCE: Yet You’re Fired
1995 – La Source
Ask someone from France if they like French rap and they will most likely answer ‘no’, but ask if they likes old-school rap and the answer is most likely to be ‘yes’. And that’s what this month’s band is all about: old-school rap, with modern lyrics. 1995 (or “un-double-neuf-cinq”/”un-neuf-neuf-cinq”) is a young rap collective (five MCs, one DJ) hailing from Paris who released an extraordinary, well-received EP, La Source, last June. The EP is a work of art for people disappointed and bored by gangsta-like music, and is almost a miracle for the purists as well, thanks to the return to basics, the flow and the instrumentals. You can buy La Source on Amazon or iTunes.
Jolly Goods – If I Were A Woman
When you listen to Jolly Goods’ second album Walrus, released recently on Staatsakt, you should be prepared for some serious disarray. Their songs, especially their lyrics, bear testament to a deep doubt in the world as it appears to these two sisters; they capture emotions like anger, trepidation and a little bit of hope in an extraordinary way.
Sugar Factory – 440
Sugar Factory have unleashed their luminous, lilting, lovely debut single, the double A-side 440 / Explosions. It’s an insular instrumental experience, casting intrigue in the minute details, an immersive and inevitably cinematic gem rich in fuzzy memories, nostalgia, melody and atmosphere, with woozy accordion that accentuates the underlying emotions, guitars and samples with an otherworldly quality that lingers with you. Listen to 440, a perfect mood piece as the night begins to draw in.
Polka Wars – Horse Hooves
Horse Hooves is an echoey, spacey song made by a collective of young boys influenced by the current fuzzed and mopey music scene. You’ll love their simple interpretation of what we call humble music.
We Cut Corners – Go Easy
Go Easy is a fine example of what to expect from Today I Realised I Could Go Backwards, the debut album from Dublin duo We Cut Corners. Restricting themselves to drums, guitar and voice doesn’t hamper John Duignan and Conall O’Breachain in the construction of their direct songs. Rather, they find new ways to create unique songs from a limited palette. They might Go Easy but they will go far.
Horrible Present – Cloudy Talks
Nicola Donà used to sing in the band Calorifero, now he lives in London and writes music under the moniker Horrible Present. His new songs are more lo-fi, bedroom pop-oriented, ranging from synth-driven experimental tunes to romantic acoustic guitar ballads, but always with a big shining love for melodies. And the love is returned. Expect a debut album in early 2012.
JAPAN: Make Believe Melodies
Avec Avec – Kuzuha No Sunday
Avec Avec is one of the most promising young artists to emerge in a burgeoning electronic scene based in the Kansai region. Kuzuha No Sunday stands as one of the best tracks from this fledgling movement, a stuttering beat-driven song reminiscent of Bibio or Cornelius that sounds like a perfect sunny Sunday. The sweetest part comes via that glitchy vocal sample, one of the most joyous sounds to come out of Japan this year.
MALTA: Stagedive Malta
Cable 35 – Cow Head
Formed in 2006, Cable 35 have become known for their highly energetic performances and are arguably Malta’s tightest band. The three-piece is made up of singer and guitarist Jeffrey Zerafa, bassist Kriz Zahra and drummer Chris Mallia. Following a couple of EPs, the band released their aptly-titled debut album Louder three months ago and are currently touring Europe to promote it. Louder brings back Bleach-era Nirvana to your ears.
November 28, Pivo Pivo, Glasgow
MEXICO: Red Bull Panamérika
Antoine Reverb – You As A Fish
The tradition states that Guadalajara is the quintessential land for Machos and Mariachi in Mexico. But Antoine Reverb (actually a quintet, not a person) doesn’t belong to their time and place. On their splendid second album Everything Is A Foreign Language To Me, the band sets their inner clocks backwards on a swirly Victorian time-travel in a quest to reach the land of the Pet Sounds, rabbit-holing on a twee-gaze mood (reminiscent of Broadcast in the 90s), finally sliding on a spiral that leads to confusing atmospheres that resemble the soundtrack for the Czech vampire film Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders. Antoine Reverb are not only strangers in their own land, but in their own dreams.
NETHERLANDS: Unfold Amsterdam
Moon & Sun – Hunt (Gavin Russom remix)
Although based in Amsterdam, Moon & Sun is very much an international concept. At its core is artist/musician Monica Tormell, who’s originally from Sweden but who wrote and recorded her debut album, The Wild Things, in Curaçao, the Swedish woods and also back in Amsterdam. That original collection emerged last November, offering bouts of atmospheric and tribal folk. One year on, a number of its tracks have been reworked by a host of international collaborators. This remix by DFA artist and LCD Soundsystem collaborator Gavin Russom draws on the heavily percussive elements to create electronic patterns reminiscent of Swedish peers The Knife and jj.
NEW ZEALAND: Einstein Music Journal
Fabulous/Arabia – The Ballad Of State Highway 1
James Milne (Lawrence Arabia) and Mike Fabulous (The Black Seeds) unveiled their collaboration last month and surprised many fans by presenting an album of nu jazz songs – combining elements of funk, soul and jazz, while quite obviously retaining Lawrence Arabia’s indie-pop influence. Their debut album is a mixed bag, each song exploring a different path. The most obvious reference is British downtempo DJ Mr Scruff, courtesy of Fabulous’ wonderfully unusual instrumental experimentation. Their debut album Unlimited Buffet can be downloaded from Bandcamp.
NORWAY: Birds Sometimes Dance
Bendik – Igjen
Bendik is a lush, ambient electro-pop band signed to the great Trondheim-based label Riot Factory alongside the likes of Scarlet Chives, Dråpe, Angelica’s Elegy and Pelbo. It started as Silje Halstensen’s solo project but has now grown into a trio. They have played at some of the biggest festivals throughout Norway, such as Øyafestivalen, Pstereo and Slottsfjell, and their debut album will be released next year.
Division Mayday – Lugar Seguro
Division Mayday formed in 2008 and their sound ranges from post-punk to electro-pop. A mix of electronic guitars, intimate lyrics, an intense rhythmic base and electronic sequences are the raw materials of their musical proposal.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Rose Blanket – Feel My Way Around
Nothing Ahead Nothing Behind is the third album from Miguel Dias’ project Rose Blanket, recorded between 2008 and 2011. For this double album, he collaborated with several Portuguese musicians and two American vocalists, Jennifer Charles (Elysian Fields) and Dana Schechter (Bee And Flower). Feel My Way Around features Jennifer Charles.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
East Roots – S.O.S.
East Roots is not a conventional dub/reggae band. As the cardinal points, each member comes with a new direction: drum ‘n’ bass, reggae, ska, dancehall and even trip-hop, you will find it all in their music.
RUSSIA: Big Echo
Valotihkuu – Two Shadows
Valotihkuu’s Flutter EP is made up of 15 tracks which collect memories and emotions of a full year, filled up with nostalgia, old vibes, cassette tapes, weird samples and a unique feel that might remind you of Madlib and Monster Rally.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Magus – Riders On Psychedelics
Magus is a new collaboration between Mark Dolmont and Leslie Low, the latter best known for his work with Humpback Oak and The Observatory. Their debut effort is fittingly the first release by Ujikaji Records, a new independent label and distro focusing on experimental music in the region. The album, titled Sun Worshipper, presents a dark and spiritual brew of kraut-inspired psychedelia which makes for an addictively harrowing pilgrimage through the deepest of valleys.
SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
Laurie Levine – Six Winters
Six Winters is the lovely first single and title track of the third album by acclaimed Johannesburg singer-songwriter Laurie Levine. Piano and acoustic-driven, twinkling and atmospheric with an electric tinge, it all makes Laurie’s heady blend of folk coupled with her captivating vocals one that has earned her critical acclaim and a growing audience.
SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
Coedwig – Let Her Go
Street folk artist Neofolk has gotten himself a band member and formed the unit Coedwig. Let Her Go is one of the indie rock numbers on the recently self-released first EP, which also contains a couple of acoustic tracks – a sound that is very popular in Korea at the moment.
Lasers – Solar System
Lasers are a cosmic pop three-piece from Barcelona. Influenced by acts such as Animal Collective, Fuck Buttons, locals Delorean and label mates The Suicide Of Western Culture (featured in September’s MAP), Lasers have learnt to create extraterrestrial atmospheres using “samples, tireless cyclic sounds, breeze melodies” in their music, which can be both obscure and optimistic at a time or, as they call it, “noise and poetry”. Lasers will release their first album Juno through Irregular in December, from which Solar System is taken.
Halina Larsson – Puget Sounds
Halina Larsson is an expat from Sweden who has lived in LA and now resides in Brooklyn. She has a diverse sound and a variety of influences including Janis Joplin, Nina Simone, Erykah Badu, Feist and Elliott Smith. Halina is a trained jazz vocalist who, on her latest Fires & French Horns EP, falls somewhere between indie folk songstress and new soul chanteuse. It’s an odd combination but on certain songs and in certain styles she can pull it off.
laFayette – Heavy Rain (feat. Lena Fennel)
Since their launch in 2009, Basel boys Jascha Dormann and Simon Hauswirth have found their place in the Swiss electronica scene. Musically, laFayette boldly go into the deep end of a pool filled with electronica, hip hop and techno music. Their debut EP Sputnik was released in September.
UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
Saskatchewan – Skinny Dipping
Orlando, Florida’s Saskatchewan are masters of slow-built dream pop, lush vocal harmonies and melodies that are damn near impossible to ignore. Skinny Dipping is their latest single, available for free on Bandcamp. Look out for an album sometime in early 2012.
VENEZUELA: Música y Más
Carlos Angola – Hasta Mañana
I first saw Carlos Angola at a festival called VirgenFest which was being held in a public square. The atmosphere was magical, it felt like Woodstock. On stage there was this boy with glasses, an acoustic guitar and a great voice. Carlos Angola used to be part of a ska band called Skabiosis, but now he is displaying his talents as a solo artist with his album Rompecabezas which guarantees total relaxation no matter when you listen to it.