Probably the only album to make this year’s lists recorded on a mobile phone, Quebec showcases both December ’91’s musicianship and originality. Raw, simple but excellently put together December 91’s music clearly serves as an outlet for his emotions as it touches on a number of personal matters, which are delivered in an equally heartfelt manner. (Jess Lavin)
Completely unique and utterly, strangely, bewitchingly triumphant; unalbum features vocoders, discordant melodies, funk, surf guitar, jarring and angular riffs… and yet it all flows. They may as well be called Unique Pony because there’s bugger all else out there quite like this, not capable of producing such a cohesive blend from wildly divergent ingredients anyway.
Everything Ever Written encapsulates Idlewild in 2015, the Fugazi fuelled alt rock angst of 100 Broken Windows may be missing, but it more than makes up for it in melodic depth. A surprising, poetic, folk tinged collection of songs that are so well rounded it’s hard to pick a favourite. Idlewild have matured at the same rate as their fans and this record satisfies the huge Scottish rock/pop void left since Readers & Writers. (Andy McGonigle)
Admiral Fallow’s third album Tiny Rewards, is quite simply brilliant. Released three years after their second album, this new collection of songs unravels a band that has come of age. Tiny Rewards is an epiphanic record that fills you with joy; it is also tender, contemplative and intelligent. (Tina Koenig)
Fresh and eccentric, delicate and intimate, Hard To Be Around works as a sneak peek into Kyle Wood’s psyche. The album is an obscure trip down the singer’s brightest and darkest sides, mystically keeping you on the edge of your seat after every track. An absolute delight if your mainstream conscious is switched off; a rare piece of raw music, which will provoke emotions in whoever dares to listen.
With their debut LP Pinact have produced a piece of work that fully realises their significant talents. Stand Still and Rot is full of bluster and grace, exploring notions of uncertainty, joy and boredom, spiked with corrosive volume and sweetened with heartening melodies. The album is full of instantly likeable and catchy moments, loads of classy touches and tons more, including more hooks and big choruses than you can shake a stick at.
After winning the Mercury Prize for their 2014 album Dead, Young Fathers immediately travelled to Berlin to finish recording its follow up: White Men Are Black Men Too. The difference in the two albums is night and day. Whilst Dead was polished and gleamed with pop sensibility, WMABMT features lo-fi, raw production that makes use of rattling drum machines and scratchy, hollering vocals. Young Fathers may be the most innovative music group in Scotland, and go about it in a damn cool way. (Greg Murray)
Powerless. Horrible. Dark. Depressing. Makes you want to kill yourself, but that is the point. Everything is fucked so why not listen to this as you stare at the clock, waiting for it to end… (Paul Choi)
It could be said that 2015 was a rough year for Russell Whyte, aka Rustie, with the producer announcing a break from live shows due to “addition and mental health problems”, however one particular high point was the release of EVENIFUDONTBELIEVE; an album that saw him head back his raw beginnings. The album saw Rustie take full creative control, and when we say full we mean FULL; everything here was done by Rustie from the beats to the production to the vocal samples! It may not be the adrenaline pumping club effort many wanted, but it is a highly detailed maximalist release that demonstrates the producer’s prowess. Hopefully he’s not off too long.
Kathryn Joseph was undoubtedly one of 2015’s greatest success stories, with the release of Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I Have Spilled propelling her to the forefront of the Scottish scene. Produced with simplicity, honesty and an instantly recognisable vocal, this album served as a perfect introduction to an artist who we are most definitely going to be hearing a lot more from in times to come. (Ellen Renton)