As the opening chords of ‘We Are All Going to Die’ begin, it becomes clear why Washington Irving is on the road to success. Written following a period of unrest between the band, ‘We Are All Going To Die’ perfectly blends an upbeat, almost frantic, tempo with an intense and meaningful choice of lyrics. Washington Irving have yet to write a song that doesn’t demand to be listened to, what emerges from this single in particular is the juxtaposition between a sense of isolation and togetherness.
‘The Sadist’ that is worth the price of admission to Ubre Blanca similarly titled EP alone. A stunning track, beyond the sometimes (let us not kid ourselves) boring 80s synth OST type groups; Ubre Blanca stand out as they venture away from the midi life crisis and more into prog/organic sounds of dare I say fusion bands. The first generation that used synths in the studio as an instrument… not everything including the studio. The track has the atmospherics part then the “banger” part. Heavy on poppers and Roxy Music guitars live they have taken the best most primal elements of the live show and successfully released them to us… the grateful listener. (Paul Choi)
Led by songwriter and producer Leo Bargery, Mt. Doubt released the beautifully atmospheric ‘SOAK’ earlier this year. The track is packed full of heartfelt melodies and the addition of indie-folk songstress Annie Booth’s gentle and charming vocals compliment Bargery’s to create captivating harmonies. The instrumentals compliment both the vocals and lyrics creating a soothing sound that continues to build throughout into a triumph finale. (Jess Lavin) (she smells)
‘Fire’ sees King Eider reach a delirious and feverish level, the track breaks down for a sparkling interlude of piano and violin before grabbing us in with a threat to topple the senses, as vocals are harmonised to startling effect. King Eider took a leap of faith with this more driven sound from their modern twist on toe tapping folk-blues and it worked.
Despite the Christmassy theme FOREIGNFOX’s latest release may not have been the jolly seasonal tune many expect to hear during the colder months; it explores relationship problems around the holidays and how they can lead to dire consequences, however the track does showcase both frontman’s Jonny Watt’s vocal range and songwriting skills as well as the band’s signature passionate and intense sound, making a favourite on my Christmas playlist. (Jess Lavin) is a goose
25 WHITE – Future Pleasures [RCA]
2015 has been a great year for WHITE’s and ‘Future Pleasures’ was the jewel at the centre of it all. A host of airplay, a profile in NME and a record deal with Sony was all fuelled by this high-octane indie-funk romp that seeks to bottle some of the rays of sunlight. You can even successfully Google them now, well to a certain extent now.
Having worked with Kanye West and had music featured in Apple adverts and Grand Theft Auto V, it’s fair to say that Glaswegian producer Ross Birchard aka Hudson Mohawke can now boast an influential, global reputation. Much like fellow Scottish export GTA, he marries American ideas such as hip-hop with an unmistakable Scottish wry sense of humour and a humble, self-awareness of his impressive achievements. ‘Scud Books’ is an NBA-ready banger with a shot of euphoria in its bright, primary-coloured chords and melody. For every Scot sniggering at the title there is someone else in the world obliviously head banging to the hallmark brass booms that Birchard has forged into his indelible signature on electronic music. This track epitomises how Hudson Mohawke has became Scottish music’s success story; instead of breaking the national shackles that hold back others, he has inconspicuously circumvented ever being tied down. (Liam Gingell)
Fiery, energetic and exhilarating, The Lapelles are able, on stage and in the studio, to encapsulate both the highs and the lows of youth, not to mention the chaos in between. ‘Seventeen’ is a sterling effort, with its impressive instrumentation and strong vocals, one can only imagine how powerful it will be when performed live. The track, and shared single ‘Snakehips’, is a striking statement of intent from a band that is rapidly building a name for themselves.
‘Anxiety’ is a track filled with ferocity from the very first riff. With lyrics that include “I don’t feel so hopeless anymore” it has everything you could want from a great punk rock song; a great drum beat, scratchy guitar riffs with the distorted guitars bringing the track to a defining close. A top class single featured on an excellent debut album, ‘Anxiety’ will make you rush to hear Stand Still and Rot in its entirety. (Lorne Gillies)
In a year where Catholic Action quite rightfully grasped their claim as one of the hottest properties in Scottish music just now, ‘L.U.V.’, from their Fuzzkill released split with Poor Things was the standout track. It finds its feet firmly in the danceable indie/alternative wave that took over the UK in the 00s, however the band’s affinity for heavier groups lives on in the crunching and wailing guitars that speckle the surface of the song. At points ‘L.U.V’ breaks out of its danceable groove to give way to more outlandish influences and even features homage to Thin Lizzy in the form of a guitar solo. 2016 looks to be Catholic Action’s year.