THERE is a strong contingent of up and coming Scottish acts in this week’s New Music Radar with new releases from Catholic Action, stmartiins, Ba Hombres, SNASH and more to check out below. And with the festive season well underway, fans will be pleased to know there’s no shortage of new music to get acquainted with from all corners of the globe. Check out our favourites below.
Catholic Action ‘People Don’t Protest Enough’
After making an urgent and frenetic return with ‘One of Us’ back in October, Catholic Action are back with a scintillating new single ‘People Don’t Protest Enough’. Continuing in the same politically charged vein as its predecessor, the track is another stroke of defiance from a band who are using their amped up art rock and upcoming second album to square up to the political elite. ‘People Don’t Protest Enough’ is a vibrant call-to-arms for the politically marginalised, a stirring reminder to get off your seat and make your voice heard. It also happens to be one of their most inventive singles to date as they deliver their message against a vibrant concoction of driving krautrock rhythms, rousing vocal harmonies and soaring guitar tones. With more than a hint of 70s glam heroes Sparks thrown in for good measure, it’s another tantalising insight into their new album ‘Celebrated by Strangers’ which is slated for release on 27th March
Topping off what has undoubtedly been their most prolific year to date, stmartiins have struck gold once again with their brand new single ‘Melvin’. Over the course of 2019, the duo have perfected the art of creating deeply alluring art-pop, carefully crafting their own magical sonic world that lyrically oscillates between the dream-like and hyper-specific in truly hypnotic fashion. However, ‘Melvin’ marks an interesting deviation for the duo – one that features punchier melodies and a more insistent rhythm section, all while retaining that signature hazy, dream-like feel. It’s a shift that allows Katie Lynch’s thoughtful lyrics to shine. ‘This year I’ll be something, I know you’d love nothing more” she sings while addressing a lost loved one. With hints of melancholy, it’s a track crafted with love and care and you can’t help but feel every word. “Not long from now I’ll join you in the ground” she ruminates.
Hinds ‘Riding Solo’
Hinds have unveiled their first piece of new music since their second album ‘I Don’t Run’ came out in April 2018. New single ‘Riding Solo’ sees the year out in cool swaggering fashion with distinct echoes of M.I.A’s ‘Paper Planes’. Still full of that gritty, burning Hinds attitude we all know and love, garage rock riffs reach a crescendo with a singalong chorus ‘I’ve been ridin’ solo/Ridin’ solo’. It’s a song about feeling lonely and being perpetually on the move, moving from place to place as a musician and feeling far from home but in spite of the melancholic subject matter, it still manages to feel light and fun.
Khruangbin & Leon Bridges
After heading out on a joint North American tour last year, retro-soul singer Leon Bridges and instrumental psych-funk trio Khruangbin, both Texas natives, have teamed up for a collaborative EP called ‘Texas Sun’. Leon Bridges is soulful and nostalgic over a magical backdrop, his homesick lyrics sitting warmly against Khruangbin’s psychedelic grooves and dusty beats.
Scottish alt-rock trio HVSK teamed up with producer SAW (PAWS, Echo Machine, Broken Records) to record their debut EP in a former church based in Galashiels. Title track ‘Descending’ is a bone-shaking opening if ever there was one, fuelled by colossal riffs and a grinding, industrial rhythm section. Anchored by a mammoth chorus, a strong emotionally charged lead vocal is softened by accompanying harmonies in what is a powerful and ambitious introduction to the Perth-based outfit.
SNASH ‘Mind Control’
SNASH pull absolutely no punches on their latest single ‘Mind Control’. Having emerged uninhibited from the ranks of the city’s flourishing DIY scene in 2017, the band have shown time and time again their willingness to take on all corners with their muscular, unfiltered brand of punk rock. ‘Mind Control’ marks a significant step up though; one that finds them thrashing through just over two minutes of frenetic riffs, incendiary vocals and menacing basslines with more ferocity than ever before. Loosely structured and instinctively primal in execution, the band continue to deviate from their Glasgow-based counterparts in enthralling fashion as they make way for an exciting 2020.
Bad Hombres ‘Half Cut’
Politically driven, self-aware punk four-piece, Bad Hombres, turn their attention away from pop icons and towards the fear, being skint and a lack of hope on ‘Half Cut’.
“The tune is basically about not being able to say no to going out with your mates for a few jars in spite of the fact you’re absolutely hingin, got no money, no motivation and no hope. Before you know it yer half cut wondering how you’ve been dragged back into it. We’re all in the same boat and although we know it’s at our detriment, we’ll all do it again. It can sometimes feel that alcohol consults every decision you make and it oppresses you, and Half Cut is about dealing with the ramifications of that realisation.”
One thing that never fails to strike audiences about this band, both live and on-record is the sense of brutal honesty conveyed in every tune, leaving every part of their conciseness and thought process in just over 3 minutes on ‘Half Cut’.
Twin Atlantic ‘Barcelona’
After turning heads with their futuristic synth-rock comeback track ‘Novocaine’, Twin Atlantic have unveiled the latest excerpt of their new album ‘POWER’. ‘Barcelona’ continues in the same vein as its predecessor – a menacing synth buzz sets the tone as Sam McTrusty delivers an emotionally wrought vocal against icy electronic beats, tussling with feelings of loneliness and . The band’s knack for producing a mammoth chorus shines once again though as they hit hard with soaring synths, pounding rhythms and anthemic vocals. It’s a rousing insight into their new album and the new synth-heavy, lyrically open approach the band are taking on their upcoming album.
Kali Uchis ‘Solita’
Following the success of her 2018 debut album ‘Isolation’, Colombian-American singer Kali Uchis has shared a sultry new track called ‘Solita’. After demonstrating her omnivorous approach to genre on that record, the bilingual ‘Solita’ allows her experimental flare to shine once again as she returns to her familiar theme of isolation. Announcing she’d rather be alone than be with anyone who hurts her, her pined vocals are delivered over a reggae-like beat, synth echoes and sultry grooves. An ode to independence, it feels like an appropriate return from an artist who is tackling the world on her own terms.
Now a member of Tenement Trail’s esteemed alumni after a memorable showing at this year’s festival, MEMES are back with a brand new single called ‘J.O.B.S’. Described on BBC 6Music as a “punky Parklife”, the track possesses the same swagger, charisma and spoken-word delivery as the legendary Blur track but delivers them with a distinctively Glaswegian flare. Said to have been “written with a red pen, whilst we should have been working”, ‘J.O.B.S’ is a fast and furious return from the dynamic duo which dreams of a simpler life beyond the tedium of jobs and application forms.
Soccer Mommy ‘Feed’
Alongside a stellar group of artists including Mitski, girl in red, Kali Uchis, Courtney Love and Alison Mosshart, Nashville’s Soccer Mommy is contributing to the all-star soundtrack pieced together for new film ‘The Turning’. It’s a caustic return from the inimitable songwriter that sizzles with 90s influences and a strangely menacing yet irresistible pop melody. With the film itself set in the 1990s, it’s a stirring contribution that is certainly strong enough to stand alongside the rest of the singer’s back discography. She said “I’ve always wanted to do a song for a horror movie so I loved getting to write Feed. It’s a song about letting a demon feed off your body. It was really fun to get to write something a little more imaginative than my other songs.”