ANOTHER big week for releases in Scotland sees the long-awaited arrival of The Ninth Wave’s debut album, new VanIves, Zoe Graham, Mark Sharp & the Bicycle Thieves, Retro Video Club and more. Check them all out below.
The Ninth Wave ‘Infancy’
The Ninth Wave’s debut album is one we’ve all been waiting for and today it has arrived in all its fully-fleshed glory. The duo teased us with the first six tracks of ‘Infancy’ earlier this year and have now rounded it off with ‘Part 2’, effectively bringing the audaciously released record to a triumphant conclusion. It’s an album that refuses to be contained, effortlessly sweeping through an amalgamation of genres while remaining entirely coherent from start to finish. 80s influences lend a certain kind of nostalgia but it’s their combination of large, swelling choruses, hypnotic dual vocals and electronic flourishes that stands them apart, carefully oscillating between quiet, introspective moments and epic stadium-sized bangers. From the swaggering ‘Imitation’ to the heart-breaking ‘Human Behaviour’ to the sprawling and bleak ‘Unspoken’, it’s a diverse and varied record that offers an honest and at times deeply moving portrayal of modern life and all its complexities. If Part 1 set out the blueprint then Part 2 has solidified it, confirming everything that we already knew – that The Ninth Wave are a band to be cherished. Look out for our full review of the album soon.
After previously attesting to their ability to do heartache and the halcyon days of a love affair with similar poise, VanIves’ latest offering sees them dabble in the unremitting chaos of longing. Resplendent in the delicately realised instrumentation that they’ve garnered so much praise for in the past, their latest outing sees Stuart Ramage’s soul-baring vocals transfigured and manipulated in a way that recalls the poignancy that Frank Ocean extracted from the same technique on 2017’s Blonde.
As the splendour of the arrangement emphasises his every word, VanIves deliver one of their most stunning refrains yet as Stuart opines, “I’d smoke the sunsets if you torch the gardens that grow.”
Zoe Graham ‘Gradual Change’
‘Gradual Move’ has seen Zoe Graham emerge as an entirely new artist with a revitalised sound; bold, confident and with an irrepressible desire to explore new avenues. While her flare for storytelling is still present and correct, the folky acoustic sound and hand-picked melodies of yesteryear are replaced by brooding electronics, expansive drums and a rousing guitar line. It’s like a meeting of the past and present; her voice and lyrical approach are familiar but sonically she pushes well beyond the confines of our expectations. The shift in her sound is paired with a feeling of reflection that permeates the song as she reflects on the ongoing changes in her own life, citing her move away from home, the end of a relationship and the death of her dog as lyrical inspiration.
Boy Azooga ‘O Silly Me’
Following the release of their much-loved debut album ‘1,2 Kung Fu’ last year, Boy Azooga are back and in fine form on their brand new single ‘O Silly Me’. The band’s new track is a dreamy, heartfelt ode to the worriers of the world. With soft vocals delivered over a tender, hand-picked guitar melody, it’s a charming return from a band who are known for their kaleidoscopic approach to style and genre. They say: “O Silly Me” is a song about worry: written when worried that might hopefully ease some worry for other worriers. Hope you enjoy it (no worries if not)
Liverpudlian trio The Mysterines left a lasting impression at Tenement Trail last month and now they’re back, making an almighty racket with the release of their new single ‘Who’s Ur Girl’. Inspired by a David Lynch character, the track is all thrashing, fuzzy riffs, menacing vocals and incessant rhythms; a sharp jolt of garage rock that demands your attention. Capturing the band’s frenzied live energy in all their glory, you can just imagine the moshpits opening up as singer and guitarist Lia Metcalfe confronts the listener head on.
Retro Video Club ‘Youth’
On the cusp of selling out their Christmas show at the Assembly Rooms on the 27th December, Edinburgh’s Retro Video Club have topped off a momentous year with the release of the euphoric ‘Youth’. A song about “hope and escaping a routine life”, ‘Youth’ is a surging piece of anthemic indie-rock that urges the listener to grab life by the scruff of the neck. It’s a welcome blast of energy and spirit that we all need at this time of year; a dynamic and instantly catchy track that’s testament to the band’s own ambition and irrepressible desire to succeed.
swim school ‘too young to know’
Set to support The Xcerts at King Tut’s next month, Edinburgh’s swim school have added ‘too young to know’ to their increasingly impressive repertoire. Having introduced themselves earlier this year by way of the dreamy and instantly addictive ‘sway’ and ‘take you there’, the quartet have been compared to the likes of Alvvays and Pale Waves with their wavy, melodic indie-pop sound. ‘too young to know’ finds them flexing their songwriting muscles once again, matching their glimmering sound with thoughtful ruminations on what it is to be misunderstood by the older generation. Featuring their heaviest chorus to date, there’s a shift towards a more driving, anthemic sound as they fight against the tide, looking to right the wrongs of those before them. The track ultimately sees itself out in stirring fasshion with the uplifting message ‘I know we can make it out’.
The Lathums ‘I Know That Much’
With the melodic jangly charm of DMA’s and the confident swagger of Richard Ashcroft and other indie heroes, The Lathums have gone from being relative unknowns to one of the UK’s most promising young bands this year. Currently on tour with Gerry Cinnamon, the four-piece have a run of sold-out dates coming up next year and are set to stop off in Glasgow for a show at The Garage on 6th January. In amongst all the excitement, the band have shared a sweetly melodic new track called ‘I Know That Much’ today and it demonstrates exactly why they’ve struck a chord with the new indie generation. Sounding as if it has come straight out of the 90s, it’s a reflective offering delivered via swaying melodies and jangly guitar lines.
Jake Bugg ‘Kiss Like The Sun’
‘Kiss Like The Sun’ is the track we’ve been waiting on for some time from Jake Bugg. Heralding in the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the singer-songwriter, Bugg has teamed up with esteemed producer Andrew Watt (Post Malone) for his forthcoming album, his first on RCA Records. ‘Kiss Like the Sun’ is a driving country stomper; one that sees his bluesy influences come to the fore while reintroducing that raw raucousness of his earlier material. It’s clear that Bugg is clear to shake things up once again, taking a more light-hearted approach with a slide guitar riff that will stay in your head for days.
Mark Sharp & the Bicycle Thieves ‘Moonshine’
With sold-out gigs at The Garage and King Tut’s as well as a memorable support slot with Lewis Capaldi at Edinburgh Summer Sessions already under their belt this year, Mark Sharp & the Bicycle Thieves’ rapid ascent to the forefront of the Scottish indie scene has been impossible to ignore. With a rapidly growing word-of-mouth following, the band have seized the hearts and minds of the nation’s music fans with their trusty combination of pounding dance beats and upbeat indie melodies. Their latest outing ‘Moonshine’ is a typically anthemic number swathed in synths and featuring sun-kissed tropical rhythms, swaggering basslines and another massive chorus. It’s the latest indication that the five-piece have all the ambition and prowess required to follow in the footsteps of their West Lothian counterpart and old school friend Capaldi. The band play Saint Luke’s on 28th December.