WHILE some of Scotland’s finest emerging artists are busy making their mark at SXSW this week over in Austin, Texas, it’s been business as usual over on these shores with an influx of new material arriving from all corners of the UK. It has been a particularly exciting week for Scottish music though and as seen below, this week’s New Music Radar has a strong focus on homegrown talent; spanning all sorts of genres from electro-pop to indie to rock to hip-hop to dance.
DRIFT ‘The Isle Of’
A luxuriant follow-up to the dreamy, atmospheric vibe of ‘Baby Maker’, ‘The Isle Of’ effectively builds on its predecessor with richness and depth while carefully retaining DRIFT’s signature style. Built around a subtly hypnotic hook that drives the song and bubbling with deep house influences, Linzi Clark delivers another magnetic vocal performance; augmented by Andrew Quinn’s secondary harmonies on its deeply intimate refrains before breaking off to soar in incredibly skilful fashion. Inspired by a trip to the Isle of Arran and written during a transitional period of Clark’s life, it’s a song that evokes lust, love and freedom; yet it’s delivered through a beautifully intimate lens.
Fauves ‘Blank Eyes’
Entering 2019 with a reconfigured lineup and a tank full of creative inspiration, Fauves recently demonstrated their mounting ambition by announcing their biggest headline shows to date at Glasgow’s G2 and Edinburgh’s Mash House on 26th and 27th April. A band who are not afraid to be meticulous in their approach to both songwriting and production, their relentless hard work has once again paid off on latest single ‘Blank Eyes’. Bathed in a warm, soulful aura and steeped in romance, the band’s smooth blend of funk, indie and soul is harnessed deftly in this vibrant, melodic number. And while they don’t lose the infectious sense of fun that has prevailed in all their work thus far (see the gang chants at the end of the track), ‘Blank Eyes’ displays an attention to detail that cannot go unnoticed; from Ryan Caldwell’s distinct falsetto to those funky guitar tones to those all-important dexterous basslines.
The Ninth Wave ‘Used To Be Yours’
Currently busy making a name for themselves over in Austin, Texas, it is no surprise that The Ninth Wave have been attracting massive crowds to their debut shows at SXSW this week. What will surprise many people though is their latest single ‘Used To Be Yours’. Shifting the focus from distinguished frontman Haydn Park-Patterson to fellow vocalist Millie Kidd, the track brings a different kind of nuance and dynamic to their repertoire that we’ve not quite heard until now. More restrained and introspective than the cavernous post-punk we’re used to hearing from the outfit, ‘Used To Be Yours’ finds its strength in subtle rhythms, circling guitars and the deeply intimate performance between its two vocalists. A track that emotes and yearns in all the right places, it might just be their most intriguing offering to date.
Retro Video Club ‘Addicted’
Known for the kind of highly infectious, anthemic indie-rock that has already seen them support the likes of Bastille and The Vaccines, 2019 is shaping up to be a momentous year for Edinburgh outfit Retro Video Club. A series of massive singles have paved the way for the band who are about to head out on a European tour with Courtney Barns before returning to the UK to support The Hunna, a run that will see them play the Brixton Academy aswell as the Barrowlands. The band’s growing success has been no fluke though; a fact that has hit home with the release of brand new single ‘Addicted’. Appropriately named and setting them up for a busy few months, it’s exactly the kind of youthful indie anthem we’ve come to expect from the quartet with its powerhouse guitars, propulsive rhythms and singalong chorus.
Nearly three years after the release of her 2016 debut album ‘Nothing’s Real’, Shura has returned with a sumptuous synthpop single called ‘BKLYNLDN’. A song which demonstrates growth both lyrically and sonically, the track sees her attempt to navigate her way through a long-distance relationship before making the decision to move to Brooklyn to be with her girlfriend. In the track’s opening stages, there is an overwhelming sense of lust and desire with the atmospheric, almost feverish production reflective of her conflicted state of mind. It’s her cool, soothing voice that continues to shine though before the track takes a completely unexpected, emphatic turn and we are left safe in the knowledge that Shura is exactly where she should be. It’s a hugely exciting development from a truly original artist with details of her second album still to be announced.
Anderson Paak ‘King James’
Set to play an eagerly anticipated sold-out show at Glasgow’s O2 Academy on Monday night, Anderson Paak has dropped a brand new single from his upcoming album ‘Ventura’. And if ‘King James’ shows us anything, then the upcoming album is going to be more than tinged with a watermark of funkiness. Brimming with charisma and sunny, upbeat vibes, the track features one of his trademark bubbly basslines and a ridiculously slinky groove. Throw in the whistles, handclaps and call and response vocals and we’re left with another massive tune from the Aftermath signed singer/rapper.
The LaFontaines ‘All In’
It has not even been two years since The LaFontaines released their second album ‘Common Problem’ but the Motherwell outfit are already back with news of its follow-up. Said to feature their “best work to date”, the trio have emerged from the studio with the announcement that their new LP titled ‘Junior’ will be released on 14th June via So Recordings and have previewed it by way of brand new single ‘All In’. Opening in dark and brooding fashion, it’s immediately clear that the band have no desire to retreat into the shadows; Kerr Okan is typically direct and magnetic over a formidable rhythm section before another impassioned chorus. A song that addresses the “eternal conflict of the unsettled mind” particularly in relation to the anxieties of connecting in today’s fragmented society, it’s a compelling insight into the band’s mindset ahead of the new album.
Jade Bird ‘My Motto’
With her self-titled debut album slated for arrival next month, Jade Bird has shared a powerful new single called ‘My Motto’. Known for her deeply personal and soul-bearing lyrics, the song sees the singer adopt a more tender and intimate approach as she mulls over the painful cycle of moving on from a relationship. Fast becoming one of the UK’s most treasured young prospects, ‘My Motto’ will sit in the middle of her debut album which arrives on 19th April.
Friendly Fires ‘Lack of Love’
Friendly Fires have shared an intoxicating cover of ‘Lack of Love’ by Charles B & Adonis. A song that is said to hold a very special place in the band’s heart, it’s another massive dancefloor filler from the trio that slaps from start to finish. With its squelchy synths, big colourful acid house vibes and emotive vocals, it sees the band extend their rich vein of form as they continue to deliver one of the most exciting comebacks of the year. We can only hope that a new album is arriving sooner rather than later. They said “We wanted to cover one of our all time favourites as a little palate-cleansing exercise; try and make it faithful to the original but also carry off into somewhere new. Thanks to Adonis & Charles B for making the original all those years ago, it continues to inspire us.”