December 8, 2013: New song stream via SoundCloud… Kith & Kin – Someone I Love.
New mini-album release via Bandcamp… Ballboy – Merry Christmas To The Drunks, Merry Christmas To The Lovers.
New video via YouTube… Angus Munro – Shooting First, taken from Shooting First EP.
Free album download via Bandcamp… Lovers Turn To Monsters – Now That’s What I Call Slit Yr Wrist Christmas.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Jack James – Florence, taken from fifth album Stopping Distance, out on February 3.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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.
I’ve been a huge admirer of Kevin Harper’s work since he was in Little Eskimos, who, apart from winning the Best Rock/Alternative award at the 2011 SAMAs, never quite got the attention they deserved. Hopefully this new direction will be the making of the man from Alloa.
Here’s an exclusive track from his new album (which is excellent, by the way) as well as the rest of the world’s favourite songs in this month’s Music Alliance Pact.
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 full 39-track compilation through Ge.tt here.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Kevin Harper – Kingdom Of Wires
Influenced by warm, fuzzy guitar bands of the American West Coast, Kevin Harper first appeared in the Music Alliance Pact in March 2011 under the guise of Little Eskimos, a solo project that evolved into a group. He’s back on his own again, not that you could tell from this talented multi-instrumentalist’s canny knack of sounding like a full band is at work. Mr Harper is probably one of the most accomplished pop songwriters in Scotland, yet he’s still little-known in his native land. If there’s any justice, his forthcoming debut solo album Kingdom Of Wires should change all that.
The Omelettes – Perfect Wave
The Omelettes’ sophomore album seeks to part from the 60s British sound of their first work and the result is something much more psychedelic and introspective. Perfect Wave is one of our favorite tracks from the new record, The Drawing & The Traveller. You can also watch a video of their song Mondays here.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Them Swoops – Too Fast For Love
Never trust a happy song, right? While Tame Impala are still trumping the globe with Lonerism and Gotye’s break-up song is STILL unfortunately stalking us everywhere, we do make mood-lifting songs here in Australia. Indie-pop ain’t a dirty word, especially when bands like Them Swoops make tracks like this. Too Fast For Love will probably sound like the first time you heard The Shins. Felt good, hey? We’re not such a sombre bunch after all.
Sex Jams – Shark Vs Apple
The alternate girl/boy singing on Shark Vs Apple and its saucy, playful lyrics make it an instant favourite. Basically, the first single from the new Sex Jams album Trouble, Honey is what Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta would have sounded like had Grease been a noise-rock musical. Half of Sex Jams also play in May 2012′s MAP band and this year’s Eurosonic favourites Mile Me Deaf.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Sambanzo – Xangô
Sambanzo is one of the projects of saxophonist Thiago França, also a member of Metá Metá and collaborator of artists such as Gui Amabis and Romulo Froes. Xangô is taken from the album Etiópia, which features some experimental music with strong influences of jazz, Candomblé, Afrobeat and rock.
CANADA: Quick Before It Melts
Barbarosa – Sinking West
The title track of Barbarosa’s debut EP calls up images of the Wild West – rugged, romantic, ruthless and without rules. Sinking West’s menacing undertone is brightened by modern pop sensibilities, and the playing is fast and fierce. The full EP is available now on the band’s website.
CHILE: Super 45
Perrosky – A Mil Millas
Perrosky, a duet formed by brothers Álvaro and Alejandro Gómez, offer a local interpretation of the music styles that gave birth to rock ‘n’ roll in the USA. Their fifth album Vivos is swarmed by distorted guitars, vocal effects and, of course, a great set of songs. Our highlight is the touching blues ballad A Mil Millas (“A Thousand Miles Away”), which depicts a man searching for himself but whose possibilities seem blocked to him.
Tengger Cavalry – War Horse
Deeply influenced by the nomadic culture of north Asia, Tengger Cavalry’s music evokes ancient times when wandering warriors, steeds and wolves danced across the great grasslands. The melody of horse-head fiddle, the rhythm of heavy drum, the echo of Mongolian throat singing and the distortion of guitar all create an expressive scene of pagan culture.
COLOMBIA: El Parlante Amarillo
La Pulpafonic – Camelia
Jam for the ears, that’s how we can describe the sound of La Pulpafonic. A project born in Bogotá, it aims to present Colombian folklore within a new context and a new flavor: the taste of the fruit pulp. Electronic sounds literally extracted from fruits, mixed with an eclectic explosion of dance rhythms from this century. From their first work released in 2012, we squeeze out the song Camelia.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Freja Loeb – W.O.M.D.
Earlier this month Freja Loeb followed up her 2011 debut album Odyssey with the release of a new EP titled W.O.M.D. Where the album stood on the shoulders of the 1980s pop scene, the EP finds its sources of inspiration in the same decade’s rock scenes. Here’s the title track as a MAP exclusive.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: La Casetera
Las Acevedo – Cena En La Terraza
Love is still in the air, after a Valentine’s Day full of fresh romantic tunes brought by several Ibero-American bands. Las Acevedo, the hippie twin sisters of folk, present this breezy love song about dining in terraces, chasing fireflies and packing away your significant other inside a trunk with flowers in their hair. Download the complete Valentine’s mixtape for free here.
ECUADOR: Plan Arteria
Marley Muerto – Dorado Salmon Violeta (featuring Frances Possieri)
Marley Muerto is led by Daniel Pasquel, a musician and producer who was born on the same day that Bob Marley died. This project sees him play with a range of electronic sounds and collaborate with some important local artists. Pararmar is his debut album released while his band, Can Can, takes a break.
ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
GNOD – Visions Of Load
Taken from GNOD’s forthcoming album Chaudelande (released on February 25 by Rocket Recordings), Visions Of Load captures neatly – that is to say, powerfully and sprawlingly – the krautrockin’, shoegazin’, prog-metallic sludginess of this Salford band at their most freakily magnificent. “It recalls Can’s ga-ga go-go music while the singer yelps like Alan Vega doused in even more echo,” said our New Band of the Day writer, who nevertheless promised that, notwithstanding the far-out sonics and instrumental melee, you could still dance to it. He just didn’t specify what type of shoes you might need.
Candy Empire – Lucky
Candy Empire is a new band founded late 2011 by restless multi-instrumentalist Ervin Trofimov of acclaimed experimental rock band Opium Flirt. Trofimov has previously recorded in various genres such as instrumental prog-rock, acoustic folk and electronic pop, but Candy Empire’s sound can be described as a futuristic version of Blondie with Neil Young on guitar. They have unveiled their new single Lucky with a colorful animated video.
Hexvessel – Woods To Conjure
Inspired by the mysticism of Finnish nature, Hexvessel mixes an acoustic folk vibe with psychedelic and electric doom sounds, creating dense, spaced-out atmospherics. Woods To Conjure is included in the band’s second album No Holier Temple. Hexvessel will be heading to the SXSW festival in Texas in March.
Pollyester – Concierge D’Amour
The most advanced band in Munich’s music scene is Pollyester. Although Polly Lapkovskaja and Manuel da Coll play in several other groups, the duo found a unique and remarkable style on their latest record Earthly Powers. Relying heavily on a groovy rhythm section with drums and bass, the rediscovered synths and Polly’s vocals add up to something between disco and New Wave, and has been met with critical acclaim.
Morgan Kane – Nine
Nine is a song about a guy trying to get to a girl to tell her that she was right and strong, when he was wrong. Morgan Kane’s songwriting is influenced by Serge Gainsbourg.
Apu And The Dentist – No Messages For Rumi
Apu And The Dentist is the experimental rock project of Mumbai-based duo Saurabh Roy and Achint Thakkar. With this track, which also features local musicians Suraj Manik, Jeremy D’Souza and Krishna Jhaveri, they have created a psychedelic rock soundscape. A debut EP is slated for release in 2013.
Backwood Sun – Seven Shadows
Backwood Sun is one of the most promising indie acts in Jakarta. The band are often described as an Indonesian version of Fleet Foxes, but even if they are heavily influenced by them, it doesn’t stop Backwood Sun making humble, honest music.
IRELAND: Harmless Noise
Girl Band – Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage
Few could predict a post-punk version of a techno track that took its vocal sample from a hip hop song. This cover version, however, was recorded for the third and final Quompilation album of Irish bands’ favourite songs. Blawan’s original Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage is a psychotic, six-minute stamp through disturbia and the four males of Dublin’s Girl Band managed to eke out almost two extra minutes, using that time and their canny production values to flesh out and reanimate bare bones, breathing life through a spirited reiteration of the vocal hook.
Brothers In Law – (Shadow II) Leave Me
Brothers In Law is a young three-piece band from Pesaro, on the always surprising Italian east coast. The dirt of the sea has sneaked dirty sounds into their songs. File under: dream-pop bandits, C86 catchers, Captured Tracks lovers. Brothers In Law just released their debut album Hard Times For Dreamers and they have been invited to play at next month’s SXSW. A dream coming true.
JAPAN: Make Believe Melodies
Hotel Mexico – A.I. In Dreams
Hotel Mexico, hailing from the historic city of Kyoto, have been one of the most chirped about bands in the Japanese indie scene for several years now. Many cite them as the first chillwave group in Japan, but that label does them a disservice. A.I. In Dreams, taken from new album Her Decorated Post Love, is laid-back but never lazy, the guitars creating a lush sound while voices dart by in the back. It is a song rich in detail, something this outfit excels at.
MALTA: Stagedive Malta
The Suburbanite – Blow My Mind
The Suburbanite is the project of Maltese-Canadian Robert Pisani, backed by a floating collective involving a number of other local band members who have helped shape their sound. A Field Guide To The Suburbanite is a seven-song collection which embraces the spirit and naivety of the past; a frolic on the beach, the first love, Saturday nights indoors… all with hummable melodies. Listening to that debut EP is like taking a walk through Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, without the Oompa-Loompas chanting those annoying moralising ditties.
MEXICO: Red Bull Panamérika
60 Tigres – Picoso
One of the country’s best live acts, 60 Tigres started as a six-piece in 2005 in the northern city of Monterrey and has had many member variations since then. They mix Latin grooves with great melody lines, sparkling keyboards and the heritage of early-90s strident indie guitars. Take a chance with their anthemic, danceable new single Picoso.
APRIL – The Rise And Fall Of A Beautiful Bird
Last year I had the privilege to witness APRIL’s first ever gig. Amidst the seedy rock ‘n’ roll crowd this enigmatic duo generated plenty of attention – both frontwoman and man rockin’ high heels while channelling Bowie-esque vibes like it was nobody’s business. On stage it soon became clear that their originality did not stop at their taste in fashion, combining drum computers with reverberant guitar melodies, groovy basslines and intricate, contrasting vocals. With their new single, due to be released on February 23 via Subroutine Records, APRIL has replaced their drum machine for a real drummer and their melodramatic side for a sound that embodies the same confidence they project in a live setting.
Rafo Ráez – Los Regalos Del Viento
Rafo Ráez has been creating songs since high school, with his catchy compositions making him one of the most beloved musicians in Peru. With eight albums under his belt, Rafo’s music has gone through rock, trova, punk and Peruvian folklore. And with a penchant for poetry, they have also been part of theater plays.
POLAND: Łukasz Kuśmierz Weblog
Południce vs. Liquid Molly – Dolina, Dolinuszka
Południce are a female vocal group who sing traditional, folklore, Polish and Ukrainian (sometimes Belarusian) songs. On their album Południce / Elektronice, they couple these with modern electronic productions from guest musicians – Dolina, Dolinuszka features heavy bass beats from Liquid Molly. If you think about it logically it should result in disaster, but it is in fact majestic.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Little Friend – Sunken Low
John Almeida is not a freshman as a musician or a composer. Before this first solo single, he played with some major Portuguese indie artists (The Weatherman, We Trust) who, as a sign of friendship, have returned their gratitude by appearing on his first solo record. The video for Sunken Low was directed by Lewis Arnold and has Jo Hartley (This Is England, Dead Man’s Shoes, The Young Victoria) as the protagonist.
PUERTO RICO: Puerto Rico Indie
Los Pepiniyoz – Entre Las Paredes
Los Pepiniyoz have been making their brand of high-energy, melodic punk for more than a decade now – writing songs that reach for the heart without losing any attitude. Throughout the years the band has served as a sort of workshop for a lot of local rockers and now, after a long hiatus, have returned to the boricua scene with a new line-up and a solid three-song EP. Entre Las Paredes is the catchiest tune of the bunch and will probably make you lust for new material from Los Pepiniyoz.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Subumbra – Good People Are Rainbows
Subumbra started like an art audio-video project, a punk band made up of three brothers who recorded their lo-fi songs in a poor home studio. Recently, the project took a new direction as they began to use more electronic instruments and sampling. Subumbra is about taking the core of punk music and merging it with contemporary influences such as chillstep, dubstep and hip hop.
RUSSIA: Big Echo
Dasha Shults – Kite
Dasha Shults, a 16-year-old wonder from Saint-Petersburg, has taken her first steps from covering her favorites by Ellie Goulding and Laura Marling to making her own simple, beautiful songs. She sings about kites, nightmares and, of course, love.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Halcyon – Building With Sticks
One of the artists we’ve got on our radar this year is Halcyon (Zhong Ren Koh), who’s managed to come out just a little more broken in Singapore’s cookie cutter society. We love the singer-songwriter, and we love even more that Halcyon has broken out from that particular mould to become an emerging multi-instrumentalist. His arrangements are delicate and achingly heartfelt – sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t, but it’s more real than most of the crap out there.
SOUTH KOREA: Korean Indie
From The Airport – Colors
Electro rock duo From The Airport formed in 2012 and they’re not afraid to throw other genres in the mix. Second single Everyone’s Alright was released last month but here we get to hear them as they first came out with electro-pop debut single Colors, which brought the two producers plenty of positive attention when it was unleashed in October.
Megaafonía – Señor Gutiérrez
Formed in 2005, Megaafonía have been active until this month, when they decided to split due to creative differences, although they will remain friends. They released two albums, Despechado and Tutto, and we will certainly miss their fresh pop (influenced by the likes of ELO, Xavier Cugat and Bom Bom Chip) and their irreverent and highly ironic lyrics.
SWEDEN: Ja Ja Ja
Dödens Dal – Bakom Stjärnor, Bakom Tiden
Dödens Dal is a duo with a fingertip feel and fondness for gloomy, instrumental and really rather mind-boggling electronica. They first came to our attention last year with their brilliantly dark debut single Det Står Skrivet, and now they’re back with the pitch-black follow-up Bakom Stjärnor, Bakom Tiden. Both tracks come from the album Gå Ensam Förbi Horisonten, released this month via Flora & Fauna.
Last Leaf Down – Fake Lights In The Sky
Last Leaf Down is a shoegaze outfit from Solothurn. Heavenly, ethereal sounds and distinct, dreamy vocals make them deserving of your attention. Here’s their new track Fake Lights In The Sky.
Baykuş – Gel Yeter
Baykuş (once known as Kaotik) comes from the grey city of Ankara where our grunge acts always sprout fertile. Anatolian tunes bound up with post-grunge styling are common but Baykuş succeed in making their sound more solid and more garage-like. Gel Yeter is catchy enough to start a pogo party on its own.
UNITED STATES: We Listen For You
The Long Wives – The Hollow Fin
The Long Wives’ standout track The Hollow Fin is deceivingly gentle. The softly-plucked guitar and the eased restraint of the vocals invite the listener to get close to the speaker and its warm, wispy, radiant sounds. But there’s more to this track than meets the ear. Like most great pieces of art that explore the juxtaposition between surface appearances and the evils that can lurk below, the power comes from an unidentifiable element onto which the listener just can’t seem to put their finger.
VENEZUELA: Música y Más
Los Paranoias – No Hace Falta
After almost two years of absence, Los Paranoias return to the scene with No Hace Falta, a single released last month and the first cut of their next studio album Que Se Activen Las Alarmas, scheduled to come out in the coming months.