Here’s The Pop Cop’s annual guide to new artists I reckon are worth watching out for. This time last year I wrote that there’d be new albums to look forward to from There Will Be Fireworks, Galleries, Bear Bones, Withered Hand, Dot JR and Make Sparks… and those predictions turned out well, didn’t they? THANKS GUYS.
Andrew McMahon (Facebook/Twitter) (California)
Jack’s Mannequin was, effectively, Andrew McMahon (his bandmates being session musicians) but that fact was often overlooked by casual observers which is one of the reasons he’s going under his own name now. Another is that McMahon wants to begin a new chapter in his life/career, with his recovery from leukaemia having dominated the Jack’s Mannequin story and the incredible songs he wrote. The great news is that Andrew will still play the exemplary piano-rock classics he released as Jack’s Mannequin (and his previous band Something Corporate for that matter) when he visits these shores this summer.
May 24, Oran Mor, Glasgow (tickets)
Father Sculptor (Facebook/Twitter) (Glasgow)
Father Sculptor, who were profiled on The Pop Cop in November 2012, may look a bit funny but their music is deadly serious – these are sabre-rattling, empire-building guitar anthems. With their perfect union of confident, polished production and dynamic vocals this band deserves to go far.
February 22, King Tut’s, Glasgow (tickets)
Kith & Kin (Facebook/Twitter) (Glasgow)
Unpretentious acoustic melody-making and rural romanticism allow Kith & Kin to tiptoe above their peers in the crowded contemporary folk scene while revealing Liam Cairns as a very capable writer and singer of songs. Their tunes should find favour with fans of Admiral Fallow. Look out for a debut album from the K&K clan this year.
LAYLA (Facebook/Twitter) (London)
One can only assume the artist formerly known as Jose Vanders (who appeared on this equivalent 2010 list) is just as baffled as I am that her sorcery in all things piano and pop hasn’t delivered the mainstream breakthrough she deserves. While the sudden name change to LAYLA hints at a now-or-never move, her latest EP, The New Year, is reliably assured, just like everything she turns her hand to. Check out her star turn in this wondrous one-take video from the band Futures.
Lidh (Facebook/Twitter) (East Neuk)
The songs of Fife teenager Eilidh Lawrence have a wistful, dreamy feel, slightly reminiscent of It’s Jo And Danny. The daughter of Eugenius drummer Roy Lawrence, her raw talent hasn’t gone unnoticed, with the local Fence mafia quickly taking her into their collective bosom. Her stage name is pronounced “Lid” in case you were wondering.
Pinact (Facebook/Twitter) (Glasgow)
Made up of one-time Aberdeen school pals Corrie Gillies (guitar and vocals) and Lewis Reynolds (drums), Pinact take the best bits of PAWS and Foo Fighters and turn up the power-fuzz. Their early recordings are understandably rough ‘n’ ready but they display more than enough boisterous potential to suggest a bright, noisy future awaits.
Prehistoric Friends (Facebook/Twitter) (Glasgow)
Liam Chapman is a familiar face in the Glasgow music scene through his drum work for Friends In America, Quickbeam, Blochestra and probably several other bands I’m not even aware of. Prehistoric Friends, however, sees him tug at the heartstrings on his otherworldly solo project, dabbling with keys, drums, guitars and strings. Sometimes he favours instrumentals, sometimes he lends his own distinctive voice to the mix. Either way it’s a mellow joy.
January 19, Glad Cafe, Glasgow (free)
TeenCanteen (Facebook/Twitter) (Edinburgh/Glasgow)
Take a cutely coy all-girl group, add a healthy chorus addiction and throw in the occasional pop culture lyrical reference and you have TeenCanteen’s charm offensive masterplan. Everything I’ve heard by them has been first-class which bodes well for their debut album Say It All In A Kiss, due out this year.
January 26, 13th Note, Glasgow
January 27, Broadcast, Glasgow (tickets)
Trusty And The Foe (Facebook/Twitter) (Ayr)
I have the lovely Siobhan Wilson to thank for turning me on to fingerpicking duo Trusty And The Foe (aka Barry Carson and Paul Thomson) a couple of weeks ago. I was promised soothing, hymnal tones along the lines of Kings Of Convenience and Simon & Garfunkel and they don’t disappoint.
January 11, Gaiety Theatre, Ayr (tickets)
Very Well (Facebook/Twitter) (Edinburgh)
Led by former Chutes singer Daniel Abercrombie, Very Well have a tuneful, amiable driving indie-rock sound that calls to mind the likes of Travis and Crowded House. Their bio claims they take influence from “the fun misery in being Scottish” which everyone from this country should be able to relate to. Keep an eye out for the band’s soon-to-be-released debut EP.