Eerie harmonic vocals combine with jangling rhythmic guitar to produce elusive lo-fi sounds in ‘Duke’, arguably the pick of the tracks featured on two wondrous EPs fro Tuff Love in 2015. The lyrics are meshed in amongst distorted melodies, the chorus is catchy, but not so infectious that you won’t want to set your player to repeat. What’s most impressive with Tuff Love is their ability to craft expert musicality and sophistication while sounding like a comforting dream-cloud and ‘Duke’ is prime example of this. (Rachel Cunningham)
SACRED PAWS deliver short, sharp blows in the offbeat ‘Vince’, which feels a little raw, but this only adds to the band’s charm and personality. The girls mix cross-rhythms and shimmering guitar to create an energetic melody, which they impressively manage to not only keep up with, but also delicately arrange, multi-layered vocals that end in superb harmonies. The track’s post-punk, poly-rhythmic approach to percussion really packs a punch! (Jess Lavin)
The dreamy passages of Louise Connell aka Reverieme’s Or Else The Light EP was a hauntingly wonderful depiction of love and loss and the strummed ukulele of ‘Plankton’ shone out at the release’s standout. You can’t help but be arrested by the expression in Connell’s voice, a heart wrenching juxtaposition of defeat and hope. Her declaration that the song’s afflatus is “…so much like a planktonic woman” is a devastating indictment aimed to show how passivity can be as damaging as jealousy and similar emotions within any relationship.
It may have came out early in 2015, but as with the majority of Adam Stafford’s releases ‘Atheist Money’ stayed in the memory well up to the end of the year and will continue this with its feature on 2016 full length Taser Revelations. Stafford is always one for the finer details and this is no different, ‘Atheist Money’ is full of the all the wonder and beauty you’d expect as churning loops build up to spectacular heights and soar back down; powerful, powerful stuff.
The opener and stand out track on Cal Donelly aka Youngstrr Joey’s Cheerleader, release earlier in the year, ‘Michael’ possesses rumbling lo-fi guitars and a chorus that will be stuck in your head for days. It’s not entirely clear who exactly Donelly’s Michael is, but that’s the beauty of it – everyone has their own version of Michael who they want to show them “how to be cool”.
It’s no surprise that HudMo’s ended up with two tracks in this list, Lantern was positively hoatching with potential bangers and ‘Ryderz’ could easily be the pick of the bunch, as Birchard builds on a D.J. Rogers soul cut and lets it be, well for a minute or so, before he demonstrates just why he’s one of the best maximalist producers out there right now, bringing out every tool in his electronic box to produce a piece of wonder that drops perfectly out of nowhere and has you screaming “watch out for the ryderz” at the top of your lungs.
Never would I have thought “Mr. Whippy” and “Margaret Thatcher” be paired in a sentence. This is just one of the many elegantly constructed lines in ‘Stick a Flake in Me (I’m Done)’ that has been cased in a re-worked version of an old ice cream van theme tune. The child-like perspective pairs well with the Gameboy-style melody, which is magically presented in a series of syncopated beats and pleasing harmonies. CARBS’ single is a playful gem that will take the edge of any bad day and give you a wee education in ice cream to boot. (Rachel Cunningham)
‘Cold Shoulder’ presents a sleek, fresh and futuristic pop sound; essentially the antithesis of most things Scottish. Regardless, Jill and Jenny sing with their accents proudly on show like weird, Caledonian android sisters (despite one of them having a noticeable, yet beautiful American twang). It begins with minimal percussive drum machine elements bouncing around under crunchy power chords before sprawling into a distant and expansive chorus section that conjures the imagine of Neo-Glasgow invented in the mind of a manga artist. While the vocal harmonies are notably affecting and effective, the single’s standout feature is its marriage of raw analog guitars with clean and clinical digital production; this painterly sound choice creates interesting dynamics above the simple song form. BDY_PRTS have a sound unlike any other band this year and ‘Cold Shoulder’ exemplifies this achievement. (Liam Gingell)
At the tail end of 2014 we caught Man of Moon for the first time, playing to a smattering of people as the opening act for Merchandise at Stereo, even then their intelligent slow burning grooves and guarded yet gritty vocals were impressive. This year they seem to have come on leaps and bounds and debut single ‘The Road’ is the jewel in the band’s year, the building instrumentals crash into huge noise, in as catchy and addictive a way as possible and has us eagerly waiting for more in 2016.
‘Goldenrod Cigar’ is completely symbolic of what Dune Witch Trails do so well. The loose off kilter guitars lay the foundation for the equally as slack vocal delivery. Clocking in at just over two minutes, it captivates you in its organised mayhem and simplicity. Dune Witch Trails are one of the most exciting guitar bands out at the moment and ‘Goldenrod Cigar’ is the perfect introduction.