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.
The delicate, precious sounds of Mike Nisbet represent Scotland in this month’s Music Alliance Pact – he truly is an outstanding prospect.
The Pop Cop’s counterparts in Colombia, El Parlante Amarillo, made a neat video about this project which features an interview with our Mexican MAP blogger. Check it out here, señoras y señores:
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 38-track compilation here.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Mike Nisbet – Not Long
Originally from Oban, Mike Nisbet possesses an enchanting backstory that could give Justin Vernon a run for his money. Living a genuine nomadic existence, acoustic guitar in hand, this wandering troubadour has a Dylan-esque timeless quality to his songwriting, a voice that soothes and shatters hearts, and a gorgeous debut album, Vagrant, that could/should earn this remarkable 23-year-old talent devotees in any continent, any generation, any decade.
March 16, Roxy 171, Glasgow
March 24, The Captain’s Rest, Glasgow (tickets)
April 8, The Old Hairdressers, Glasgow
May 5, Brew At The Bog, Inverness (tickets)
June 2, Dirty Weekender, Kilmarnock
Yataians – What A Man’s Got To Do
Yataians is a Buenos Aires-based band with a rocksteady sound heavily influenced by Jamaican artists from the 60s and 70s, such as The Ethiopians, The Gaylads, The Heptones and The Paragons. It’s also a product of global age, with members from France, Colombia, New Caledonia and, of course, Argentina. This song is from their first album, Ô Tulop, which came out a couple of months ago, courtesy of the independent label Estamos Felices.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Shady Lane – Dumb Hope
Dumb Hope is the gorgeous lead single of Shady Lane’s forthcoming album, Built Guilt. Once the solo guise under which Sydneysider Jordy Lane put out a diverse range of odds and ends, Shady Lane has grown into a four-piece (officially?) with more hooks, vocals and a nostalgic pop sensibility not unlike fellow New South Welshmen Belles Will Ring.
Giantree – Communicate
With past major label experience, the founding members of what is now Giantree found a new home on an indie label, but without denying that what they are doing is pop in capital letters. Their debut album We All Yell comes with synthesizers and catchy hooks. Communicate, a song about fragile beginnings, was a radio hit in Austria.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
DJ Cremoso – Say It Ain’t So
In the film Be Kind Rewind, Jack Black and Mos Def produce their own lo-fi version of movies, which they call “sweded” versions. What DJ Cremoso makes is like that, “bregalizing” songs – turning international hits into tecnobrega rhythms (a popular style from northern Brazil). There’s almost always the same beat and silly synths are its trademark, as we can hear in this tecnobrega of Weezer’s 90s hit Say It Ain’t So. DJ Cremoso’s identity is unknown – all he has is a profile on 4shared with his remixes.
CANADA: Quick Before It Melts
Bronx Cheerleader – Camelot
Bronx Cheerleader have been a regional treasure in and around their hometown of St. Catharines, Ontario, for years now but their new album, Real Punks Don’t Sing About Girls, deserves to be heard by a wider audience. Camelot is a deliciously dirty lo-fi anthem-in-waiting, and one of the stand-out moments on this record, of which there are many.
CHILE: Super 45
Matías Cena & Los Fictions – Raíz
Matías Cena used to be a solo artist from the folk scene in Santiago, and he made himself relatively known via an acoustic guitar and MySpace. Gradually, Ryan Adams and Conor Oberst’s influence diverted him to the ensemble format, which has developed into this six-piece that shines in a land not used to country-like rock. Raíz is a taster of Matías Cena & Los Fictions’ second album Arauco Cajún.
Modern Children – Mongolia
Modern Children is a six-piece band based in Hong Kong that formed in 2006. “Colorful” is the best word to describe them. They play music in different styles, from indie-pop to post-rock. Their songs are filled with all kinds of sounds by using a wide range of instruments, from guitars and bass to rainbow bells and erhu. The band released their self-titled debut album in January.
COLOMBIA: El Parlante Amarillo
1280 Almas – Antipatriota
1280 Almas is the biggest cult band from Bogotá. More than 18 years of history, six albums and a life of independence on the underground make them local legends. Now, they present a new song called Antipatriota (“Unpatriotic”), a declaration of national nonconformity.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Ring Them Bells – When I Hear That Whistle Blow
A MAP exclusive, When I Hear That Whistle Blow by Ring Them Bells is only the second great taste of the quartet’s loud combination of 90s noise-rock and 60s psych-pop in circulation. The other, titled Technicolor, is also available for free at the band’s website, and both will most likely be part of Ring Them Bells’ debut album slated for release later this spring.
ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
Submerse – Love You Down
Rob Orme alias Submerse is a 23-year-old DJ and producer from Runcorn, now living in Tokyo, who happens to be making some of the most heartbreakingly beautiful (dance) music anywhere on the planet. Influenced equally by 2000-era UK garage and Japanese pop (J-pop), it combines the skittering rhythms of 2-step with sad female vocals and wan melody to make J-garage. If you thought Rustie was a maximalist, try this ADHD pop. It’s like bubblegum Burial, Orme filling every second of space with infinitesimal bursts, droplets, clicks, spasms and lovelorn cries, dubstep given a sugary coating.
Lack Of Eoins – Sudden Death Mode
Lack Of Eoins came together in late 2005 and recorded their first demos the following year. In 2008, they won a garage band contest in Estonia and recorded their debut album, which was mastered at Abbey Road Studios. They’re back now with the single Sudden Death Mode, which was released along with three remixes as a free download on the first day of 2012.
Cats On Fire – A Few Empty Waves
Many argue that Cats On Fire are the best indie-pop band in Finland at the moment. This bold statement may easily be true thanks to well-crafted pop songs with a melancholic and dreamy twist, solid lyrics and distinctive vocals. This month, Cats On Fire release their third album All Blackshirts To Me. It is their best yet. So good, in fact, that the band can afford a terrific outtake like A Few Empty Waves.
FRANCE: Yet You’re Fired
Rhum For Pauline – I Can Reach The Top
Rhum For Pauline are an indie-pop band formed in Nantes in 2009 who released their first mini-album, Miami, in 2010, and their first EP, Can Reach The Top, in January. Their upbeat songs are incredibly enjoyable, the kind you like immediately after the first listen, the kind you’ll put on repeat for days. Be sure to check out the very cool video for I Can Reach The Top, directed by The Incredible Kids.
Juli Kapelle – Treiber
Juli Kapelle is a collective from lovely Aschaffenburg, built around mastermind Achim “AS” Sauer. They are guitar-driven, reminiscent of a laid-back and bit krauty Dire Straits. All in all, music for a sophisticated afternoon.
Playground Noise – This World
Playground Noise’s new single, Swinging Lowdown, is a delicate combination of finely arranged brooding melancholy and redemption. The two indie-pop songs infuse soaring guitars with a tense, literate sense of foreboding, adding strings and brass to strike the perfect balance between moody, underground noise and melody. They are built on restraint, tinged by poignancy and wrapped up in poetic human emotion that sticks with you long after the final note. Their sophomore album is set to be released later this year.
1860 – For You, Forever
For You, Forever is the third single from 1860′s self-released debut album Sagan. Drawing inspiration from bands such as Fanfarlo and The Avett Brothers, the song has a modern folkish vibe to it, with small-town sentiments featuring heavily in the lyrics. The song was recently included in the short documentary Íslander by Grasshopper Films.
Young Wonder – Tumbling Backwards
Ian Ring and Rachel Koeman recently teamed up as a producer/vocal duo under the name Young Wonder. Their sound is hard to define as any one genre but is recognisable by its big beats, euphoric synth rushes, pitched vocal samples and emotive lead vocals from Koeman. Yet another excellent new Irish band to watch. A debut EP drops on April 14.
Man On Wire – A Thousand Legs
The name of the band is a reference to Philippe Petit, the French acrobat who walked on a rope between the Twin Towers, but their sound is definitely Americana. Man On Wire play that kind of warm and emotional folk-rock that you can find in certain songs by Arcade Fire, Wilco or The National. Their debut album is a rope from the music to your heart. And they are walking on it.
JAPAN: Make Believe Melodies
Occult You – Psychic Feelings
Tokyo artist Occult You loves to explore new sounds, each new release from this moniker and his other alias Taquwami (Google it, totally worth it) sounding like a new artistic swerve. Psychic Feelings is one of the newest tracks from the young producer, an irresistibly funky jam recalling the synth-heavy songs created by Ford & Lopatin and the Beverly Hills Cop theme tune. This is not needless nostalgia, though, rather a great song from a promising contemporary artist.
MALTA: Stagedive Malta
The Shh – So Over
The Shh’s music emerges, in secret, from a place in between the city of Paris and the island of Malta. Their debut EP, The Burning Love, evokes surf-rock sounds with warm Summer Of Love-esque vocal melodies.
MEXICO: Red Bull Panamérika
Descartes a Kant – Convince Me
Descartes a Kant is about to release their sophomore album Il Visore Lunatique, a lovingly crafted treat of madness from this exquisite riot grrrl band. While their music speaks for itself, Descartes a Kant has brought to the surface a collection of fears and obsessions through very tight and twisted imagery filled with schizoid violent punk episodes, cabaret, electronic glimpses and a disturbing cheerleading attitude embraced in a well-accomplished match between roughness, eroticism and femininity.
NETHERLANDS: Unfold Amsterdam
Kim Janssen – Tors
Singer-songwriter Kim Janssen has had plenty of international experiences to date. He has recorded and performed around the world with The Black Atlantic (a previous MAP tip), he has followed his parents around Asia as a youngster, and even experienced English boarding school life. It’s the latter that most influences his lush and gentle new album Ancient Crime. He describes it as “a concept album that takes place in an old idyllic school, in a remote village in north-west England during the winter”. Like traditional folk, it’s a mixture of history, myth, memories, old and new verses. Along the way he’s aided by Marla Hansen’s Oriel Quartet and a 100-piece choir, resulting in ambitious, delightful arrangements.
NORWAY: Birds Sometimes Dance
The Avalanche – Throw Away The Rest
The Avalanche play noisy pop with both feet firmly planted in a classic shoegaze tradition. Catchy melodies hidden beneath endless layers of distorted guitar, driving drums and fuzz bass paired with the wonderful sound of dying synths throws the listener back and forth between waves of delicious pop and dirty noise. Their debut album will be released this autumn.
I Am Genko – Bobblehead Sphynx
I Am Genko is a live electronica act from Lima consisting of one person and some machines. They all get along pretty well. Bobblehead Sphynx, from Awkward Teenage Years EP, is a really fun, exciting song – a succession of catchy beats that take us back to our youth or childhood.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
A Jigsaw – The Strangest Friend
A Jigsaw, named after a dEUS song, are from Coimbra and have already won an honorable mention in the 2009 International Songwriting Contest. The Strangest Friend is the first single from their third album, Drunken Sailors & Happy Pirates. They have received enthusiastic reviews in Les Inrockuptibles (France) and Heaven Magazine (Holland) and will gather many more fans after this month’s MAP.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Lights Out! – Origin
Lights Out! are a bunch of high school kids from Cluj (the heart of Transylvania). In the past two years, since existing as a band, they have kept growing, managing to make a name for themselves among Romania’s alternative/indie bands. The start of this year found them in the studio, recording their first material – Patience EP – which is about to come out. With the smooth combination of psychedelia, dreamy guitars and indie sounds, topped with Teo’s amazing voice, Lights Out! could be one of the best musical products Romania has to offer.
RUSSIA: Big Echo
Human Tetris – Silver Tears
Moscow-based post-bunk band Human Tetris have just finished their debut LP, Happy Way In The Maze Of Rebirth, and a European tour that covered Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland and France. As cold and raw as the Russian winter, Silver Tears cuts right to the bone.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Shelves – Star Alright
The much-anticipated debut album by Shelves was released this month on both vinyl and digital, resurrecting not just the choicest cuts of Britpop and college rock, but the very essence of the 90s Singapore scene. Yet the record sounds anything but dated, with its clever balance of crisp melodies and generous distortion pointing the way forward for indie rock today. That vision is epitomised in Star Alright, a song that rides above the crackle and feedback to poke fun at the studded-leather ironies of pop stardom.
SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
Sterling EQ – Bach’s Kittens At Play
Sterling Electric Quartet, affectionately known as Sterling EQ, burst on to the scene with their genre-defying musical style and sensational live performance. What started out in 2007 exploded into a musical phenomenon that has continued to take the South African entertainment industry by storm. Bach’s Kittens At Play shows off their eclectic stylings and versatile influences. It takes you on a lovely journey. With a twist. Simply delightful.
SOUTH KOREA: Korean Indie
No Control – Time
Noise-rock band No Control started out making loud punk explosions, but have since learned the importance of harmony. Influenced by Sonic Youth and with some post-rock and shoegaze thrown into the mix, their first studio-recorded release will be out this month, but already we can savor the captivating sound of Time.
Kokoshca – La Fuerza
If there’s a band that can show off the creation of a hymn for those Spaniards who usually party like there’s no tomorrow, that band is Kokoshca. They are a three-piece from Pamplona and they have already released five records (some demos, a live album and EPs). Heirs of the biggest Spanish pop bands of the 60s but with an irreverent, garage spirit, Kokoshca have recently re-released their well-known single, La Fuerza, via Elefant Records, an indie-pop institution in Spain.
Fucking Werewolf Asso – Keep My Adresse To Yourself, Cause We Need Secrets
Honestly, I think I’m mainly posting this for the shock value. Both the band’s name and their odd amalgam of genres are, to say the least, unusual. Have you ever wondered what 8bit electronica and punk might sound like as a mash-up? Well, wonder no more. Here’s a new song from Fucking Werewolf Asso.
Castling Queen’s Side – Rise And Fail
The starting point for six-piece Castling Queen’s Side was an Arcade Fire gig in Zurich in 2005. There they got to know each other and decided to form an indie band. Now, seven years later, they have their debut record Cinema ready with 11 splendid songs full of depth, melancholy and catchy crankiness.
The Away Days – Dressing Room
The Away Days carries influences from Northern music sounds and actually presents an unfamiliar style for us in this terrain, which is indie-rock. What distinguishes them from other bands in Turkey may be their desire and aim to make themselves known in Europe. While The Away Days is preparing to release their first EP in a couple of months, we can also see the band perform in various festivals during the summer. Dressing Room has an exceptional unity of quality structure, lyrics and music that can’t be ignored.
UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
Hundred Waters – Me & Anodyne
There’s not really much you can say about Hundred Waters that will do justice to their brand of experimental dream-pop. You’ve really just got to hear it for yourself. Me & Anodyne is from Hundred Waters’ self-titled debut, an early album-of-the-year contender.
VENEZUELA: Música y Más
Buenaparte – Con Lucy In The Sky
Buenaparte formed in mid-2010 and released their debut album, La Caída De Lucy, in 2011. Third single Con Lucy In The Sky is a love song with lyrics inviting us to get lost with the person we desire.