Bringing us a fantastic debut in the form of 2013’s ‘Comfort’, the concept of finally receiving a new album from Splashh is truly exciting. Teasing their captive audience with last year’s ‘Pure Blue’, the further evolution of the band would come in 2016 in the way of ‘Rings.’ Dalliances with a more subdued sound clearly behind them, the track is an extroverted and abrasive number which comes charging out of the gates with authoritative riffs and an air of volatility. Teamed with drums that rattles along with militaristic precision, the track is fuzzy garage pop that isn’t afraid to demonstrate moments of introspection and thoughtfulness; with Sasha Carlson analysing the nature of this whirlwind we call life in its lyrics.
Seemingly amassing a cult following in recent times due to their incredibly catchy output teamed with just the right amount of abrasiveness, it almost seems preordained that next year will be the sight of The Big Moon’s accession up the musical ladder. One of the tracks that acted as the spark for their frequent success was ‘Cupid’, a gripping mix of stadium ready hooks and alt rock dissonance that sounds every bit as jawdropping when performed live.
A track that well and truly made an impact from the moment that it arrived, Pumarosa’s ‘Priestess’ is definitely among the greatest debut singles of the past few years in terms of making a band’s aims as clear as possible. Capable of providing the soundtrack for a moment of pure catharsis due to its atmospheric swells and beguiling vocals, the introduction of its Nile Rodgers-esque guitar lines and insistent drumming disrupt the tranquility and add a degree of potency. Spurred on by he addition of unhinged saxophone and forays into less conventional percussion leaves the listener in a state of rapture, ‘the track was the fuse that lit the substantial amount of buzz which surrounds the band and it’s safe to say that they’ve left admirers on tenterhooks as we await to see where they head in 2017.
Hailing from Denmark, there’s a lot to love about the band known as Communions. Continuously shifting their sound in a string of intriguing directions, the massive progress that the band has made is made explicitly clear on ‘Come On, I’m Waiting’. Equally brilliant and anthemic in style, it encapsulates everything we know and love about the indie-rockers; its irresistible guitar driven melodies, relentless power pop hooks and distinctively wistful vocals all anchored by an undeniably crisp songwriting ability. Perhaps more immediate than previous offerings thanks to its soaring chorus and driving guitars, there is still an underlying sensitivity and heartfelt sincerity running through Communions’ music that makes them such a compelling prospect.
A trio that’s sure to find themselves atop many a ‘bands to watch’ list as we enter the new year, London-based outfit Dream Wife have triumphed wherever they’ve roamed throughout the course of the year. Releasing their debut EP to a great deal of fanfare, every move has been executed with precision as they continue to steadily climb the ladder of success all the while remaining true to their own vision for their material. Whilst it proved troubling to pick just one of their tracks for inclusion in this list, the uproarious ‘Hey Heartbreaker’ is a stellar encapsulation of everything they stand for.
TTV had the pleasure of premiering the fantastic ‘INFATUATION’ last month; the final instalment of Roxy Agogo’s study into lust and obsession. Marking an aggressive shift in perspective, the track echoes with industrial abrasiveness and the angular sounds of post-punk; the lyrics capturing the nuances of a tortured mind through its haunted delivery. With its accompanying video, his unique creative vision surpasses the boundaries of music; visuals and track coming together to create a powerful art piece that has a lasting effect on the viewer.
Thoroughly catching our attention with the Shel Tamly produced debut single ‘Long Way Down’, Hidden Charms have had a very prosperous year which has included playing numerous festivals and embarking on a tour with the equally fantastic YAK. Continuing to hone their sound over the course of several great releases, one track which truly signified a new era for the band and a departure from the retro based sound of the past was the thunderous ‘Cannonball’. A heady mix of sinister riffs and equally alluring vocal work, it’s a true statement of intent for a band that’s got big things brewing.
An cornerstone of LA’s modern day Death Row equivalent TDE, Schoolboy Q has unfairly languished in the shadow of labelmate Kendrick Lamar whilst continually releasing stellar material that’s appealed to hardcore fans. However, 2016 was the year that it would all change for ‘Groovy Q.’ Toiling over the record for several years in order to deliver the most fleshed out end product, the resulting ‘Blank Face LP’ has proved that he can stand toe to toe with any modern hip-hop heavyweight in terms of concept, lyricism and holding a fan’s attention over the course of a full length project. One of many highlights on the record, the brooding ‘By Any Means’ is a testament to why he’s leading gangsta rap into a new era and unveils more subtle touches that make it a classic in the making with every single listen,
Forceful post punk with the power to bowl over the listener is an area in which Leeds’ Eagulls specialise. Seemingly maturing in both a lyrical and musical sense since the release of their discontented debut album, the band’s next evolution was heralded by the arrival of the fantastic ‘Lemontrees’ and hasn’t halted ever since. Thrilling from the outset thanks to pounding percussion and George Mitchell’s distinguished vocal talents, it’s a track that builds upon the foundations of their debut album and pointed the way ahead for their fantastic sophomore effort ‘Ullages’.
Tipped for greatness in 2017 by practically every music publication that you could think of, it’s no coincidence that Rag N Bone Man has found such widespread plaudits based on output such as ‘Human.’ Blessed with an incredibly soulful voice that can adapt to gravelly rock ‘n’ roll or hip-hop inspired production with ease, the hype surrounding the artist lesser known as Rory Graham has built since 2014 and refuses to subside as he preps his debut album. A deeply emotional and stirring composition which rattles with the passion in his vocals, it’s brought him to the mainstream’s attention and is even in which a change of being the first Christmas number 1 of any note since Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name.’
A group that have taken massive strides forward with every passing show over the course of the year, The Ninth Wave have ascended from relative unknowns to one of the most talked about bands in Glasgow in almost no time at all. Having released their debut EP ‘Only The Young’ at the tail end of last year, 2016 has been massively productive for the four piece as their sound has continued to evolve and stretch beyond what they’d initially conceived. The culmination of all of their hours of toil and relentless live schedule, ‘Human Touch’ is the band’s most fully realised track to date and one which is scintillating from its very first icy synth to the last immersive melody. Centering on the outstanding vocal interplay between Elena Lin and Hayden Park Patterson, it’s a track which leaves us pining for more from the band as we barrel towards the new year.
Simply put, no hip-hop supergroup can touch upon what Run The Jewels have accomplished during their time together, A meeting of the minds between Def Jux leader EL-P and insightful Atlanta MC Killer Mike, Decimating the barriers that had been put in their way by the monotony of the mainstream artists, their first two records fundamentally changed the landscape and it seems that they’re hellbent on repeating the feat with the incoming ‘RTJ3.’ Having revealed several tasters in the form of ‘Talk To Me’ and the scathing ‘2100’, the bravado filled ‘Legend Has It’ stands out among the rest for its seamless production and constant stream of impeccable lyrics. Designed to be both insightful and ludicrous in the same breath, the experimental mindset of these two artists never fails to yield phenomenal music and ‘Legend Has It’ demonstrates precisely why that’s the case.
Indigo Velvet’s sound is bright guitar licks, sprightly rhythms and buoyant vocals. Befitting of its title, it embraces all the elements of the tropical indie pop that the band have made their own in recent years, building up to an infectious singalong chorus that will stay in your head long after the first listen. Its lyrics are in contrast with its sunny contents however; tracing the fallout of a relationship when you discover someone is not all that they seem. As the track progresses and draws to a close, the band break free from their tight rhythms and melodies and go for a full rock jam; smashing percussion and heavy riffs are the go-to before that vibrant and catchy guitar line makes itself known again. More than anything, as we approach the coldest months of the year, ‘Sunrise’ will inject a dose of brightness and colour into your day and make you yearn for summer.
One of the UK’s leading purveyors of psychedelic music since they arrived on the scene, anticipation is very high in regards to Temples’ return to the fray. Taken from their upcoming new record, ‘Certainty’ is delectable stew of whimsical, vibrant synths, silky vocals and an overall aesthetic which channels Syd Barrett’s most accessible moments through a modern filter. One of the most invigorating tracks they’ve ever released, this new mould could be what catapults Temples into the sort of crossover appeal that’s been enjoyed by bands such as Tame Impala and UMO
Exploding onto the scene with a radical outlook and a righteous fire in their bones, Cabbage have achieved a rare feat in that they’ve managed to register with all of the corporate tastemakers whilst showing an absolute disregard for the music industry’s games. Nihilistic and deranged, their material is among the most resolutely thought-provoking that’s made its way to our ears over the last 12 months. Armed with madcap vocals and a bassline that instantly coaxes you into their sordid mindframe, the defiant ‘Uber Capitalist Death Trade’ is an excellent summation of the band’s frenetic punk rock sounds and polarising lyrical themes.
A wistful and touching introduction to what was one of the biggest pleasant surprises of the year, ‘No Woman’ is a track which encapsulates everything that makes Whitney so very special. Harking back to the MOR tropes of the 1970’s and yet approaching them with a modern sensibility, the end result is a record which has meticulously produced and constructed in such a way that it feels as though it’s inhabited a place in your heart for years. Delicate keys, grandiose horn parts and sweeping guitar parts that are inherently lovable, the band’s vision for the record and what came to pass appears to correlate in a way that few can muster and no track makes this clearer than ‘No Woman.’ An ode to a conflicted period in life where your intoxicated mind ponders your life’s direction, it’s a track which may sound earmarked for the summer but ultimately holds just as much resonance when heard in the depths of winter.
Whilst tragedy may have all but eclipsed what the band accomplished during their short time together, there’s no denying that Viola Beach’s ‘Boys That Sing’ is one of the most perfectly constructed indie pop numbers of the year. Poignantly covered by Coldplay onstage at Glastonbury following the car crash which claimed the lives of the band and their manager, the track’s allusions to taking on the world and striving for more are utterly heartrending when viewed in the aftermath of that fateful night as it truly seems as though they had the potential to accomplish all that they’d planned. One of the stand-out moments on the band’s posthumously released album, ‘Boys That Sing’ allows you to bask in a gloriously joyful track which will keep their legacy alive.
It says a lot about what The XX have accomplished that their arrival back on the scene incited chaos among the world’s music lovers. Hibernating for several years whilst the trio (most notably Jamie) experimented with other projects, the group have chosen to uproot from the atmospheric minimalism that was the calling card of their Mercury Prize winning debut and ‘Angels’ in favour of a more vibrant musical direction. Featuring a fascinatingly warped sample of Hall and Oates’ 80’s classic ‘I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do), what remains consistent is the fact that their music possesses a stark beauty which lures you into a world of its own. The first taste of their upcoming third LP, we can only hope that the rest maintains this standard of excellence.
Rock ‘n’ roll in the truest sense of the word, The Temperance Movement are far more than artists paying homage to a genre’s forebearers but actually seek to push it forward at every available opportunity. This was made all too evident on their long awaited sophomore release ‘White Bear’, an album which overflowed with ambitious, bluesy sounds that are without pretension or added bluster. Whilst there are highlights littered throughout, the record’s title track is one which epitomises all that makes the band such an imposing force in today’s industry. Opening with a maelstrom of massive guitar that would make Bad Company or CCR envious, the versatility of Glasgow bred vocalist Phil Campbell allows the band to explore both the softer, more melodic side of the spectrum and launch an assault on the senses within the confines of one track.
Taking inspiration from 1960s riff-based rock music, Miracle Glass Company wear their influences on their sleeve while maintaining a refreshing and timeless power rock sound that has gained them a reputation as being one of the most exciting live acts to emerge from Edinburgh in some time. A far cry from the infectious pop hooks and unbridled energy of previous offerings, ‘The Hidden Light’ is the sprawling centrepiece of their debut album MGC1; a slow-burning piece of psych-rock full of swaggering guitar lines and tight three-piece harmonies. One of their most accomplished offerings to date, the three-piece display an effortless musicianship and raw, rock and roll energy throughout.
Lesser known as Joshua Tillman, the artist that we’ve all come to know and love as Father John Misty has came a long way from the man on the drum stool in Fleet Foxes. Solidifying his reputation as a singer with gravitas and a lyricist that can be profound or petty whenever he chooses on last year’s ‘I Love You Honeybear’, 2016 has been a comparatively quiet year aside from the release of the wonderful ‘Real Love Baby.’ With all the hallmarks of a classic anthem in the making, it’s a track which continues to prove that romance is one area which his cynical world outlook can’t penetrate and features one of the catchiest choruses that he’s ever committed to record. Sweet yet never sickly, it’s a track to cling to in the dark moments where it all looks bleak and reminds you that there’s only one that really matters.
Brash and cocky indie rock that is absolutely incendiary when experienced live, Glasgow’s Rascalton have emerged from seemingly nowhere to become one of the most talked about groups in Scotland. Slowly but surely building their reputation as a band that well and truly deserve your attention, their material bustles with a formidable sense of energy which can’t help but overwhelm your inhibitions. Minimalistic and back to basics, the playful ‘Hey Hottie’ won’t change the world with its profound lyricism but that’s not its intended purpose. Maintaining a sound which lands somewhere between The Libertines and The New York Dolls, Rascalton are a band that will dismiss your wishes to stand nodding your head politely with a pint and will have your arms aloft, wrapped up in a refreshing take on rock ‘n’ roll decadence.
Having established themselves throughout the year as one of London’s best new live bands, Shame unveiled their highly anticipated debut single to much acclaim; its two featured tracks forming one of the most memorable introductions you’ll hear from a band in some time. Having heard the clattering sounds of ‘Gold Hole’ on one side, ‘The Lick’ came in with the right hook; embodying a dark, brooding menace from the outset with its crawling bassline and Charlie Steen’s apathetic drawl painting a horrible picture of the world around him. Fuelled by a disillusionment towards modern society, the track has all the earmarks of a punk anthem; bursting with a youthful rage and exasperation that will feel all too familiar to many in today’s current political climate.
Finally allowing him to shed the skin of Gallows and blossom into an artist with an entirely new approach, Frank Carter’s time with The Rattlesnakes has proved any critics that believed him to have plateaued wrong as he enters an entirely new plain of his career. With their debut album ‘Blossom’ registering as one of the most criminally overlooked records of 2015, Frank’s decision to once again embrace the simmering rage which resides within has yielded many great tracks including this year’s ‘Lullaby.’ Filled with some of the most unflinching riffs this side of the punk rock spectrum, it’s a track which hints towards the fact that Frank and his all-star band are reluctant to be content in the territory that they’d marked out on their debut as they look forward to the highly anticipated ‘Modern Ruin.’ One of the last few defiant figures in British music, his return to the frontlines of Britain’s hard rock and punk scene couldn’t have came at a better time.
The 1975 transformed into one of the biggest bands on the planet this year thanks to the release of their hugely popular second album back in February. As its lead single and opening track, ‘Love Me’ was the song that immediately indicated the extent of their bold new pop ambitions; initiating a seismic shift in both their sound and aesthetic. Described as an attack on modern selfie culture, it marked a bombastic return for the four-piece; its funk eccentricities and irresistible guitar melodies reminiscent of Fame-era David Bowie and its massive chorus yearning crowd participation.
Another product of Glasgow’s bustling music scene, The Van T’s built on the success of their debut EP with the release of this brilliant single back in June; arguably their most dynamic offering to date. Armed with a sleeker production, it combines mountainous riffs with fierce dual vocals from Chloe and Hannah Van Thompson; blistering with energy from the outset and hitting you with a sonic wall of epic proportions. Featured on their EP ‘A Coming Of Age’, it marks the sound of a band who have carved out their lane and blossoming in it; it seems inevitable that as they continue to develop their musicianship, so too will their star continue to rise throughout 2017.
A master of reinvention and capable of foraying into any genre or medium that facilitates his vision, Donald Glover is one of the most fiercely creative minds in today’s media landscape. Musician, actor are all hats that he’s donned over the years but his work as Childish Gambino has never been as authoritative or fleshed out as it is upon new album ‘Awaken! My Love.’ Despite the fact that it was initially a moniker he used to deliver insightful and honest rhymes, ‘Bino has now transformed into a fully fledged soul crooner with an incredible vocal range at his disposal. Among the best compositions on his new record is the fantastic ‘Me And Your Mama’, a track which initially begins as a slow burner before making the transition into a bombastic, blues rock tinged number which sees Glover at his most feral and raw. A track with the power to dispel the critiques of anyone that felt his hip-hop to be inauthentic or asinine, this is emotionally charged soul at its most potent.
An artist who has been tipped for great things throughout 2016, Lucia Fontaine certainly lived up to expectations when she released her debut track ‘Lose My Mind’ back in July. A brooding exercise in perfectly paced garage rock, the song inhabits a nostalgic lo-fi quality that gives it a seventies rock ‘n’ roll vibe. Full of reverb-drenched guitars and soulful vocals from Fontaine, it was an effortlessly cool debut from the singer-songwriter which stirred a great deal of excitement far and wide.
Boosting a track that was already brimming with funky rhythms, irresistible melodies and exciting beats, Warpaint unveiled an updated version of ‘New Song’ last week that had been reworked by none other than Belgium’s Soulwax. Never deviating from its core elements to any great extent, what the beloved Dembele brothers add to proceedings is a deeply transfixing version which leans on its more ethereal moments to absolutely tremendous effect.With its affecting chorus still resonating as hard as ever amid their groove-filled interpretation, this new take on their lead single from the excellent Heads Up appealed to Warpaint and Soulwax fans alike.
Declan Welsh & the Decadent West are ready to top off a hugely memorable 2016 with the release of their new single ‘No Pasaran’. Easily their best offering to date, the track comes armed with a strongly worded message that holds a striking resonance in the current climate; that we must stand up to fascism and its attempts to divide us. Not only does ‘No Pasaran’ pack a punch lyrically, but it also marks a shift in sound; showing that the band have seriously upped their game this year as a four-piece. Fuelled by an incessant punk energy, Welsh’s spitfire delivery comes together with menacing riffs to create an impassioned call-to-arms that has been known to receive a rousing response at their live shows.
A group that have became a fixture of our end of year lists ever since we first tipped them for big things back in 2014, London’s alt blues outfit Palace capitalised on their early potential with the fantastic debut album ‘So Long Forever’. Garnering rave reviews from essentially everyone that came into contact with their first full length project, the album made for a tantalising listen and its greatness was signposted from the very beginning with opening track ‘Break The Silence.’ Burdened with deep seated emotion and yet still allowing its beauty to shine through, its greatest strength lies in the fact that its pulse-racing guitar lines and percussion are juxtaposed with the soothing nature of frontman Leo Wyndham and gives them a distinct sound which couldn’t be recreate by another band. Where many bands wilt when faced with the seemingly insurmountable task of bettering the buzz worthy tracks that brought them to the world’s attention, Palace have surpassed all expectations and have earned their place among the UK’s best young bands.
Opening with a throbbing electronic pulse and teasing synth riffs, things burst into life with Leo Condie’s resounding vocals backed by haunting, cult-like chanting. Continuing on from previous release ‘I Liked You Better When You Needed Me’, there is a dark, post-punk energy which engulfs the track; the prominent bassline and Kirstin Lynn’s steady percussion anchoring the stomping tempo with a foreboding atmosphere. From here, a sudden burst of energy occurs on the chorus with more upbeat guitar riffs coming to the fore along with a rabble of vocals. Time and time again, WHITE prove themselves to be a band who will always keep you on your toes with the polished production maintaining the track’s dynamic live energy. A hulking and muscular number which refuses to budge from the forefront of your attention, the track features an all-star cast of backing vocalists including the late Gary Watson of The Lapelles among other artists such as The Ninth Wave, Lucia Fontaine, The Cut, Baby Strange and more.
An obituary penned by a man that was acutely aware that his demise was on the horizon, Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker is a meditation on love, loss, mortality and coming to terms with the trials and tribulations that life throws our way. Introducing us to its inherently melancholy yet often witty world, the album’s title track is a gripping affair that sees the late singer/songwriter/poet grapple with religion and mortality as he’s attempted to throughout his career. Filled with brooding atmospherics and allusions to the kind of choral music that’s more akin to churches than the realm of folk that Cohen basked in for much of his career it’s a fittingly wry send off for a man that never failed to surprise and inspire us.
Coming out of the gate swinging, Saint PHNX have been one of the biggest revelations of the calendar year for music lovers in Scotland and further afield. Managing to maintain a sound which is at once radio friendly and yet seems resolutely uncompromising, the world was put on notice with the release of the charismatic ‘Reload.’ A Glasgow based two piece that have took the time to cultivate a sound which instantaneously hooks anyone that encounters their material, their opening gambit is as strident an introduction as anyone could ask for in an environment where bands are apprehensive to step outside of their comfort zones for fear of treading on anyone’s toes. Built upon mighty riffs that hark back to classic rock in their unabashed delivery, the band’s opening gambit is one which galvanised an enviable amount of support across continents and sets them up well for what’s to come in the next 12 months.
The band whose rise to prominence over the course of the year is nothing short of awe-inspiring, Blossoms’ triumph is exemplification of the fact that rock ‘n’ roll can still triumph in this diluted era. Eventually grabbing the number one spot with their debut record, their unimpeded rise began with the release of the gripping ‘At Most A Kiss’ in January of this year. Enduringly interesting despite frequent radio airplay, the track served as a true statement of the band’s intention to conquer all they saw before them with its stadium ready chorus and new wave inspired synth leads.
Ready to put Snakeheads firmly in the past and move onto fresh beginnings, Dale Barclay’s new outfit And Yet It Moves emerged from a mixture of rather fortunate timings and relatively unlikely conditions. Recorded at Glasgow’s Green Door Studios and released via Black Sheep Records, ‘No way Back to Lunch’ builds into a 12 minute epic, ambitious debut sending you on an intense journey through a cacophony of noise. Far from the straight up rock and roll that we have previously heard from Barclay, the track is all-encompassing and refuses to adhere to any form of genre limitations. Beginning with the ominous buzz of feedback, it bursts into life with the introduction of methodical, plodding percussion and those distinctive spitting vocals from Barclay; it is just then you realise how much we have missed his searing lyrical observations. Continuing to build in intensity, the song then transcends into an unusual section of background noise with the faint sounds of a saxophone and piano as Barclay sneers at the world around him, utterly captivating in his delivery. A sense of urgency takes over in the final two minutes and it explodes with heavy guitar riffs and crashing percussion as the track propels itself towards a dramatic finale. Utterly genre-defying in style, ‘No Way Back to Lunch’ is 12 minutes of haunting intensity which will leave you wanting more.
‘Semi-Automatic’ follows ‘Heavens Above’, unveiled earlier this year, and is another offering from their recording session with Pulp’s Steve Mackey over the summer. Luring you in with a strangely dreamy opening with layers of repetitive guitars and random spurts of chiming keys, the track bursts into life with the typically roaring vocals from frontman Oliver Henry Burslem who commands the track over punchy riffs with notions of cutting yourself off, building walls and forming divisions. Described as a “simple and direct response to what is current and what we have seen, read and been part of over the period since the band started touring”, there is an inkling that the band have looked to Donald Trump for this latest offering and they pull no punches. Gaining more intensity as it progresses, layers of dirty guitar riffs, clattering percussion and prominent keys create something direct and emphatic as Burslem urges everyone to ‘get it together’.
Rita Ora’ sees the band deliver a farfetched and tongue-in-cheek ode to the pop starlet over a series of extravagant riffs that provide one ingenious focal point after another. Ramping up the intensity of the 70’s strut of previous single ‘LUV’ to a level which would leave the staunchest of punk purists unashamedly bobbing their heads, it’s a track which serves as a testament to their unconfined originality in every way. Its accompanying video is a fun-loving affair which acts as an ode to the longstanding tradition of fan art both crude and inventive. Intersected with the band striking their best rock ‘n’ roll poses as they tear through the track, the images were collated after a call to their fans on social media and it’s safe to say it’s provided some fantastic results. The only way is up for Glasgow’s Catholic Action.
Garage rock that bustles with infectious energy, the Hinds musical manifesto is simple but effective. Jangly guitars, unkempt melodies and vocals that show their exuberant personalities, the band’s debut album ‘Leave Me Alone’ propelled them to bigger stages than ever before due to its ability to sweep the listener off their feet. While tracks such as ‘Bamboo’ had been firm fan favourite since their earliest incarnation as ‘Deers’, the group ensured that there was no shortage of new tracks which captured the spirit of their sound throughout the record’s duration. One perfect example of what they’re capable of at the peak of their powers is the rambunctious ‘Warts, a track tailormade for intoxicated days basking in the sunshine and one which displayed their sound in a way that is irrepressibly alluring.
Crash Club have had a hell of a year. Playing festivals up and down the country in the summer including Isle of Wight, T in the Park and Belladrum, they’re appearance at Tenement Trail in October served as a perfect warmup for their massive headline show earlier this month in Glasgow’s St Luke’s. Landing themselves in our Top Records list this year as well as our top tracks, Crash Club are well on their way to being crowned Scotland’s foremost purveyors of exciting and forward-thinking dance music. Whilst managing to incorporate an invigorating dose of rock ‘n’ roll into proceedings, the Glasgow/Ayrshire based outfit have firmly staked their claim. ‘Pennydrop’, was the first track to be taken from their new EP, melding strutting guitars with intricate electronic mastery and a powerful rhythmic backbone. With a fervent vocal performance from Medicine Men’s Ian Mackinnon, its a full blown anthem in the making and exudes the effortless decadence of acts such as The Rapture, Cassius and The Juan Maclean. Proving that the chemistry between the band and frequent collaborator MacKinnon is nothing short of electric, the track lays out Crash Club’s manifesto of invigorating dance teamed with a rock ‘n’ roll heart to absolute perfection and is sure to have arms aloft at their upcoming.
For the popular and immensely hard-working trio that we’ve came to know and love as Glasgow’s very own Baby Strange, it seems that that all the puzzle pieces have been falling into place this year. Attaining substantial Radio 1 airplay, playing sold out shows across the UK including support slots with Slaves and Jamie T, the band have also dropped their debut album to rave reviews in 2016. ‘Want It Need It’ is becoming an anthem which epitomises their distinct brand of sleaze-tinged and impassioned punk rock which has grasped hold of the attention of music fans since the band’s arrival nearly three years ago.
Known for their irrepressible work rate and prolific output, Australian psych-rockers King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard recently unveiled the storming lead single ‘Rattlesnake’ from their forthcoming album Flying Microtonal Banana, set for release on 24th February 2017. Known to be wildly experimental, the track is an eight-minute slow burner full of rollicking rhythms, incessantly catchy lyrics and a bizarre harmonica solo. Accompanied by typically mind-bending visuals, the track embodies everything you’d expect from the band and more as they show signs of experimenting with eastern melodies; a feature that is said to greatly influence the upcoming album.
Taken from their new album ‘Babes Never Die’ which also finds itself sitting nicely in our top records of 2016 list, ‘Ready For Magic’ sees the duo drop a punk-laden belter, pulsing with a catchy rock ‘n’ roll riff and reverb-drenched licks. Honeyblood have turned it up this year, they’re fresh from selling out gigs up and down the UK and playing a US tour following the album’s release. This is without a doubt one of the band’s finest pieces to date. A true Scottish success story.
‘Spit It Out’ was the lead single from Slaves sophomore record Take Control, released in September of this year and it marked an aggressive shift in direction for the Turnbridge Wells punk duo. Taking the blistering formula of debut record Are You Satisfied? and improving upon it with even more vigour and force, the track includes one of their most chaos-inducing choruses to date alongside those huge signature riffs from Laurie Vincent. ‘Spit It Out’ marked the welcome return of the raucous punk outfit.
Backed by the luscious, deeply dramatic sound that has became a staple of their repertoire and Alex Turner’s typically enticing croon, both video and track compliment each other wonderfully and are a further indication of how much of a stranglehold the two have over every aspect of their carefully constructed image. With Alex and Miles playfully stating that the track is about either a yoga instructor or a fictional wrestler, ‘Miracle Aligner’ features an immensely rich sound which not only recalls the captivating sound of their debut album but the warm and vibrant musical tapestries of Arctic Monkeys’ Suck It And See.
Man of Moon have enjoyed the kind of year that would make most bands envious. The enigmatic duo have established themselves as one of Scotland’s finest emerging talents, gaining plaudits from all corners of the industry for their ambitious compositions and unique musical synergy. Featured on their ‘Medicine’ EP released earlier this year, ‘Sign’ is the track that exhibits what they’re capable of as a duo; the motorik rhythms increasing with intensity alongside psychedelic guitar rhythms and vocal harmonies. Finely crafted in every sense, its progressively trippy soundscapes build beautifully towards a dreamy ending.
Pioneering with their sonic adventures ever since the release of their astounding debut Howlin’, the demand for its follow up has never subsided and is finally just around the corner. Following the trend established by the enrapturing ‘OB1’ and ‘Give Me A Reason’, ‘Slipping’ sees the group continue to expand their horizons and grasp for further innovation whilst maintaining the traits that fans loved about their debut.
Another triumphant year for rock ‘n’ roll trailblazers Fat White Family was confirmed last week by the announcement of their signing to Domino Records. ‘Breaking Into Aldi’ was the first dose of new material from the outfit following the release of their second album Songs For Our Mothers back at the start of the year. Co-written by a team featuring Sean Lennon and Cole Alexander of Black Lips, it is a typically rambunctious affair defined by biting vocals, musical dissonance and a comical chorus. Providing a post-apocalyptic vision of a barely united United Kingdom bereft of quality German supermarkets and their insipid low prices; Breaking Into Aldi is the anthem that never was, a call to arms for the senselessness of our future futility, an overcrowded shadow begging for a rerun, a sell out by sell outs for sell outs.
2017 has undoubtedly been a massive year for one of Scotland’s brightest stars, Be Charlotte. Having released her fantastic debut single ‘Discover’ earlier on in the year, she followed it up with the equally brilliant ‘Machines that Breathe’; proving that she has the material to match the surrounding fanfare. Effortlessly bringing together a range of different influences and genres with catchy pop hooks and thought-provoking lyricism, this wonderful composition indicates the unique creative vision that has made her a force to be reckoned with in Scotland’s thriving music scene.
‘Grab Life By’ is a fucking tune. And a fitting gift from frontman Gary Watson who tragically passed earlier this year. Those who ever crossed paths with Gary knew how special he was. The Lapelles were really on the cusp of something big. Watching their recent set on the T Break stage at T in the Park this summer, they were a cut above the rest. The stage presence, the energy between the band, the great, catchy little tunes. It all worked so well. And it was all those credentials that saw the band support the likes of The Last Shadow Puppets, Blossoms on tour. It’s with no question The Lapelles’ grab the top spot in our ‘Best of 2016’. The Scottish music scene has been dented by a superstar that unfortunately never got the chance to feel the full effect of his success. But we’re lucky enough to have been treated to tunes like this. Turn it up loud. Forever in our hearts, Gary Watson.