December 6, 2013: New video via YouTube… Prides – Messiah.
New video via YouTube… Rachel Sermanni – Everything Changes, taken from Everything Changes EP, out on January 27.
Free mini-album download via Bandcamp… We See Lights – Every Autumn, Every Winter.
New gigs… Kid Canaveral at Glasgow’s Stereo on February 14, Aberdeen’s Tunnels on March 7 and Dundee’s Beat Generator on March 8.
December 5, 2013: Fatherson, The LaFontaines, Cairn String Quartet, Garden Of Elks and The Holy Ghosts have been announced as The Big Apple Award competition finalists. All five acts play free sets at Glasgow’s G2 on December 11, with an all-expenses-paid trip to play New York City in April 2014 up for grabs for the winners.
New gigs… Silibil N’ Brains (stars of The Great Hip Hop Hoax film) play Dundee’s Buskers on December 27 and Glasgow’s Pivo Pivo on December 28.
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.
The anticipation is building ahead of the announcement of the first ever Scottish Album of the Year Award winner on June 19 – look out for extensive live running commentary from the ceremony on The Pop Cop blog on Tuesday.
Twelve months from now, it’d be hard to imagine Olympic Swimmers not being on the shortlist for the prize (remember, the SAY Award is about albums released in the previous calendar year) with their just-released debut record, which confirms the Glaswegians as one of this country’s most appealing new bands.
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 through Ge.tt here.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Olympic Swimmers – Father Said
Olympic Swimmers’ debut album No Flags Will Fly triumphs in every path it treads, pushing exquisite, dreamy melodies through genres not typically associated with pop accessibility such as slowcore and post-rock. Star of the show is frontwoman Susie Smillie, who makes every lyric feel indispensable in her thick Scottish brogue. Here’s an exclusive free download of album opener Father Said – let it seep into your soul as it bubbles to the surface in a procession of searing crescendos.
June 24, Oran Mor, Glasgow (tickets)
July 20, The Wickerman Festival, Dumfries & Galloway (tickets)
July 23, King Tut’s, Glasgow (tickets)
August 26, Doune The Rabbit Hole, Carron Valley (tickets)
August 31, The Tunnels, Aberdeen (tickets)
Valle De Muñecas – Dos
Dos is our favorite track from Valle De Muñecas’ third album, La Autopista Corre Del Océano Hasta El Amanecer. This is their best work to date, with 10 songs that leave behind the folk-rock vibe of their 2007 effort, Folk, and return to their original rock and ballad-driven sound. You can listen to and download the whole album for free from Bandcamp.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Seven Year Itch – Ern Champion
This young Melbourne quartet have their obvious musical heroes done right up to the top polo button. Ern Champion takes the popular concept of four white guys making calypso and throws in some restless treble guitars, counter-beat drums and echoed vocals, all in the Surfer Blood/Vampire Weekend vein. Clean, twee surf pop at its best. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, make sure you drop this on your summer playlist.
Likewise – Hope Upon My Heels
There must be something in the water in Upper Austria’s Kremstal region. Part of a collective of remarkably talented young bands, five-piece Likewise released their full-length debut Prometheus Run earlier this month. Covering topics ranging from Greek mythology to wanderlust to romance (obviously), the 12 songs on the album oscillate between folk and Americana.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Os Skrotes – Estupro Dos Cisnes
They look like three surfers from the city of Florianópolis, south Brazil, but when you listen to the sound of Skrotes (a deliberate wordplay on Strokes) you could get a real surprise. Their music goes through influences of progressive rock, 70s funk, dub, jazz, classical music and even punk rock. Estupro Dos Cisnes shows their progressive rock approach and some virtuosity in the use of synths.
CANADA: Quick Before It Melts
PS I Love You – Sentimental Dishes
The thing that sets PS I Love You apart from other guitar-and-drum-based duos is the combination of Paul Saulnier and Benjamin Nelson. There is an instinctive interchange between Saulnier’s fretwork and Nelson’s taut rhythms that doesn’t come from drill and practice. Theirs is a natural partnership that works to serve the song. And they play with such fervency on Sentimental Dishes that I’m overcome with the desire to air-drum every time I hear it.
CHILE: Super 45
La Golden Acapulco – Da La Beleza Dab
Ervalizer, Poli Jah and Dr Leinad make up the trio La Golden Acapulco. Through the use of machines and sound effects, the band have been experimenting with dub and Jamaican music, starting with the sonic expansion of reggae and its processed and remixed forms. Da La Beleza Dab is taken from their album Encuentra Las Joias Del Dub, available for free download here.
COLOMBIA: El Parlante Amarillo
Resina Lala – Mi Salto Mortal
When you hear the sound of Resina Lala there is little option but to move your feet and feel this contagious, addictive music. Their first release is called Influjos Plásticos, a six-track journey through experimentation in a genre they call post-nuclear visual punk. But better than their music is the live show, where lead singer Cristina is quite the performer.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Penny Police – As Long As You Watch My Heart
The purchase of an electric autoharp in 2009 was the beginning of what was to become Penny Police – the alias of singer and songwriter Marie Fjeldsted – and a lauded first album titled The Broken, The Beggar, The Thief (released in Denmark earlier this year), from which the excellent As Long As You Watch My Heart is offered here as a MAP exclusive download.
ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
Alt-J – Fitzpleasure
This Cambridge four-piece have just released a debut album called An Awesome Wave that has received an awesome wave of glowing reviews for the band’s superb musicianship, excellent quirky songwriting and generally off-kilter approach to pop. Fitzpleasure – based on a chapter from Hubert Selby Jr’s book Last Exit To Brooklyn, so you already know this is going to be a notch or two above standard indie fare – is a typical example of what they do, in that it’s utterly unclassifiable, seemingly belonging as much to the world of dubstep as it does to folk.
July 7, T in the Park, Balado (tickets)
Big Wave Riders – Waiting In The Wings
There’s no better summer song than this one. Big Wave Riders will deliver their long-awaited debut album at the end of the summer, but before that we can enjoy the refreshing first taste of it. Waiting In The Wings is two-and-a-half minutes of modern-day surf pop.
FRANCE: Yet You’re Fired
sHEPARD electrosoft in public garden – A Tribute
sHEPARD electrosoft in public garden studied classical music and played organ before he decided to break free from classical rules while making his first album, Chroma, to compose electronic tunes. Influenced by the likes of Air, The Chemical Brothers, Björk and Aphex Twin, sHEPARD makes dark, ambient tracks that slowly build up to a peak that makes you eager to hear the sequel, like a movement in a piece of classical music would do. A Tribute is an excerpt from his latest album of the same name, released this month.
Ursprung – Kalte Eiche
German artists are finding nature again. Lots of bands have started to include organic sounds and noises in their acoustic or electronic music – you may call this ‘new kraut’, pun intended. The newest and perhaps most elaborate piece comes from Ursprung. The self-titled debut of Hendrik Weber, aka Pantha du Prince, and Stephan Abry, a member of Workshop, was released in May via Dial Records.
Psychedelic Trips To Death – Within My Head
With moments of breathing room and stripped melodies, Psychedelic Trips To Death delve into their psychedelic wall-of-sound identity and explore the conflict between noise and harmony. For all its familiarity and formula, debut single Within My Head sounds great. Here’s hoping they carve their own unique sound out more in the future. Their upcoming release, Malibou, is definitely something to mark on your calendar.
Múgsefjun – Sendlingur Og Sandlóa
Sendlingur Og Sandlóa is a song about relationships in which one partner spends long periods of time away from home. The lyrics paint a fairytale picture of a sedentary bird (the sendlingur) who’s in love with a migratory bird (the sandlóa) and the cyclic shift of emotions he goes through each year as the couple is reunited and then separated again. This song is from the highly-anticipated sophomore album from Reykjavík-based Múgsefjun.
Semakbelukar – Be(ren)cana
Palembang-based Semakbelukar add some attitude to this local, melancholy Malayan tune and push the boundaries of folk music. The title of this song about fate is a wordplay of Berencana (‘planning’) and Bencana (‘disaster’).
Faws – Whitney
Another to add to the growing ranks of talented Irish electronic producers, Faws has wisely chosen to remain anonymous so that the local scene would judge his music on its own merit first. But the wider world has also noticed and sites like XLR8R, Truants and Disco Naïveté have posted about his music since appearing with the downtempo Antonym EP in December 2011. New track Whitney seals the deal, slowing down Whitney Houston’s It’s Not Right But It’s Okay and shrouding the R&B track in an industrial cloud.
The Tunas – The Autumn Stoned
The Tunas started as a garage rock band, and a damn good one. With their self-titled third album, out now on the excellent Wild Honey Records, their songwriting has become more open to psychedelia, 60s beat and folk. But they still sound as powerful as ever. Rock in its purest form.
JAPAN: Make Believe Melodies
LLLL – Because Of My Eyes
Tokyo project LLLL exists in a Japanese scene crawling with bedroom-based acts making shadowy electronic music. What makes LLLL stand out, though, is their refusal to shy away from pop sounds. Because Of My Eyes features skittery drum programming and swirling electronics, but also puts pop-worthy singing high up in the mix, making this inward-looking song very accessible.
MALTA: Stagedive Malta
Monobrow MP – William
After relative success as guitarist and vocalist in now-disbanded local band The Imagery, Lukas Grech and Jorje Bosios continued writing together. Having invested in some home studio equipment, they recorded the songs that had been written up to that point and released them individually – each with a video – over the course of a few months (2010-2011). This is the project that became Monobrow Musical Produce (MMP). The band has just released their debut album, Carpet Clown.
MEXICO: Red Bull Panamérika
Mexican Institute Of Sound – Es-toy
Mexico is living election-time turmoil. On July 1, a new president will be elected for a six-year term. Students have risen to stop an imposed candidate, from the party that ruled a smooth dictatorship from 1929-2000, and now has plans to strike back. The so called ‘Mexican Spring’ couldn’t be a better time for Camilo Lara’s Mexican Institute Of Sound to release his fourth studio album, appropriately titled Político. It’s a work full of ironic cumbia, rockabilly and tropical-tronica tunes, with a straightforward commentary on the zeitgeist of our beautiful but convulsive country.
Nouveau Vélo – What To Do
“I wanna be like Marvin Gaye, sexual healing every day.” The words of What To Do don’t just call out some of this band’s more and less obvious influences (Morrissey, Josef K), they might also give you some clue as to why these boys from Helmond describe their sound as ‘healing pop’. One thing you can be sure of, though, is that you’re bound to feel better after hearing Nouveau Vélo’s sunny, reverb-heavy tunes.
The Basurers – La Desdicha Del Perro Salchicha
It’s time to show off one of 2012′s best new bands, The Basurers, a quartet who define their music as rock-blues, although this doesn’t do justice to the energy of their songs and their exceptional lyrics. La Desdicha Del Perro Salchicha is taken from debut EP, Váyanse Al Tacho, which you can download for free here.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Wraygunn – Don’t You Wanna Dance?
Wraygunn (named after legendary guitarist Link Wray and the Blake Edwards character Peter Gunn) are a band formed in Coimbra who mix rock ‘n’ roll, blues and soul. MAP exclusive download Don’t You Wanna Dance? is taken from their just-released fourth album, L’Art Brut.
PUERTO RICO: Puerto Rico Indie
Tachdé – Lotus Eaters
Tachdé is an experimental ensemble that delights in exploring the juxtaposition of psychedelic sounds with ambient and noise. Formed in 2006, the group has earned a reputation as one of the best sounding live groups in Puerto Rico. Lotus Eaters is a track from their sophomore effort, Deluge. This track showcases their ability to create a strong sense of beautiful longing.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Cycler – Broken Mirror
Cycler’s Polymath is an outstanding example of the glitch genre: beautifully layered, glitching and clicking in all the right places, flowing well and topped off with some very crisp production. There’s chaos and structure, chill and energy.
RUSSIA: Big Echo
Everything Is Made In China – Brittle Crystal
Being one of the most popular indietronica bands in Russia, Everything Is Made In China never stops looking for new sounds. Brittle Crystal is a broad musical canvas with complex patterns and contrasts, and has a surprisingly good video which makes fun of Pitchfork, Stereogum and Gorilla vs. Bear, showing the usual path of a consumer from iBorn to Cool Cool Death.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Basement In My Loft – Just Desserts
Basement In My Loft’s second album, Subject To Change, features some of the most heartfelt and emotive rock music we’ve heard in a while. Maybe it’s got something to do with frontman Adrian Jones leaving Singapore and returning to Wales, or that urgency from recording and producing the entire album in five days. The band sounds exceptionally tight, with guitar lines and intense riffing shearing through the mixes with white-hot clarity, and Jones providing the purest and most painfully honest of vocal deliveries.
SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
Tristan Waterkeyn – To The Hills
Tristan Waterkeyn has been around. He was born in Tanzania, moved to Kenya, then on to Zimbabwe and finally South Africa. It was here that he learned to play guitar, resulting in his debut solo album, Hay Day. His music has been described as “a combination of languid lyrics, effortless acoustic guitar, jazzy rhythms and gentle vocals”, which perfectly sums up To The Hills. This mellow song makes for easy listening.
SOUTH KOREA: Korean Indie
MukimukiManmansu – Andromeda
MukimukiManmansu is one of the most interesting acts in Korea right now. The two young girls dub their unique acoustic sound “supranational intelligent punk” and they scream and shout according to temper. Their debut album, 2012, came out recently and it opens with Andromeda, a perfect introduction to the awesomeness of MukimukiManmansu. The title is Korean slang for something weird, crazy or stupid – and that’s exactly what this song is in the very best way possible.
Reina Republicana – Que Cunda El Pánico
Reina Republicana are a a five-piece band from Pamplona and, together with Kokoshca (with whom they even used to share a member, Maite), they are Navarran noise-pop flagship bands. Formed in 2009 by Israel Medina, Reina Republicana are taking off in Spain’s indie scene, playing all around the country and becoming the talk of the town. Clearly influenced by noise acts such as The Jesus And Mary Chain, their lyrics can be romantic as well as melancholic and very dark. Que Cunda El Pánico is a love song set at when the world comes to an end.
The Drops – Eleanor
Up-and-coming indie act The Drops, from Basle, are a safe bet when it comes to a Swiss contribution to a playlist with summer hits. Their first single Fire On Your Feet (see video) was already a catchy tune, and now they drop their second haunting melody with Eleanor.
She Past Away – Sanrı
She Past Away is a new wave / post-punk band from Bursa, the opposite shore of Istanbul. Gothic lyrics with buzzsaw guitars, allegedly broken vocals and sensory drum effects, the band evokes the cavernous experiments of the darkwave era with the likes of The Sisters Of Mercy, Bauhaus and Suicide. The band recently released their debut album, Belirdi Gece.
UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
Tropic Of Pisces – Symmetry
Brooklyn’s Oberhofer affiliate Tropic Of Pisces make Graceland-inspired hi-life, complete with lushly plotted atmospherics, bubbly harmonies and buoyant, summery melodies. They’ve released a few songs so far, all of which could easily wind up on a best-of-summer playlist, and all taken from an upcoming EP out soon.
VENEZUELA: Música y Más
Melancólicos Anónimos – Tonto
Melancólicos Anónimos is a collective formed in Caracas in early 2011 who describe their music as “angry rock for gentle people”. Earlier this year they released their first album, Inscripciones Abiertas, which comes with four music videos that can be viewed on the band’s website. They are currently working on their second album.