Tag Archives: Best Girl Athlete

Best Girl Athlete – Best Girl Athlete [Fitlike]

Katie Buchan, otherwise known as Best Girl Athlete, has returned with her new self-titled album, which includes an eclectic mix of tracks displaying her strength in producing a strong and diverse range of music.

The album opens with ‘Baby Come Home’, one of the strongest tracks on the album.

It is a hauntingly dark song with elements of folk and rock, however it also includes a surprising section of rap from Jackill, which brings a very modern edge to the track.

Songs such as ‘Cigarette Dreams’, ‘Silver City’ and ‘Lucy’ carry on this eerie element to the album due to their dreamy musical interludes and meaningful lyrics.

However, Buchan does include more upbeat tracks such as ‘In the Morning’, ‘Join The Masons’ and closer ‘Sometimes’, all of which display her ability to alternate between acoustic based tracks and more pop/indie based songs.

Best Girl Athlete’s debut album Carve Every Word was released two years ago and it is important to consider how much Buchan has grown musically, and lyrically, in that time.

The album is stronger and sounds a great deal more confident as Buchan plays around with an interesting mix of genres and styles.

It is also noticeable in terms of the lyrics on the album that Best Girl Athlete has moved into a more mature and complete space, through her alluring vocals and striking lyrics that shape each track.

The most powerful tracks on the album are undoubtedly ‘Cigarette Dreams’ and ‘Lucy’ as they highlight what the entire album is focused around – mystery and heightened emotion that are mirrored by a number of musical crescendos.

However, although some tracks are stronger than others, this album is exceptionally well shaped and shows Buchan’s growing strength as an independent artist, promising impressive things to come in the future.

Words: Orla Brady

Tracks of 2017 (50-41)

50. Stillhound – ‘X, Y & Dread’

‘X, Y & Dread’ is a very stylish song, which is very sparing with its sound, never over-doing anything, with electronic sounds range from punchy and in your face – perhaps even discordant – to subtle, nuanced and quiet. Stillhound have a distinct style, which this release suggests is developing into maturity.

49. The Great Albatross – ‘An Evening’ [LP]

‘An Evening’ saw light of day before The Great Albatross’ superb full length, Asleep In The Kaatskills, and gave us a taster of what to expect through a warm, tender beauty of a track that draws influences from songwriter Wesley Chung’s American indie rock past and his new home of Glasgow, while the addition of backing vocals from Jo Mango are a delight in themself.

48. Meursault – ‘Klopfgeist’ [Song, by Toad]

Much like a few tracks on this list picking picking a track from an album proved difficult, in this case Meursault’s sublime I Will Kill Again. ‘Klopfgeist’ is a hypnotic track that builds from a ghostly opening to a warm piano line and Neil Pennycook’s impressive vocals. It’s a shiver inducing track when heard by itself, but do yourself a favour and listen to it as part of the bigger picture.

47. Reverieme (Louise Connell) – ‘Ten Feet Tall’

As soon as the opening drum fill kicks the track into life, ‘Ten Feet Tall’ sounds as massive as it’s title would suggest. It wouldn’t sound out of place on Ryan Adams’ earlier work, with thunderous guitars crashing over a piercing organ wail as Reverieme’s, aka Louise Connell, gorgeous vocal flutters between tender beauty, and soaring grandiosity.

46. K Anderson – ‘Cluttered’

In a track that focuses on the cloudy section of relationship where you can’t quite tell if it’s something substantial or just a fling K Anderson has taken a step away from his regular material with a track that oozes pop sensibilities , while maintaining his wry witticisms. It’s an undeniably catchy affair with bassy squelch and plucky guitars that digs right in and has you tapping your feet without even knowing it.

45. Best Girl Athlete – ‘Cigarette Dreams’ [Fitlike]

It was difficult to pick a standout from Best Girl Athlete’s self titled second album, but in the end we’ve plumbed for the cinematic 90s acoustic dreamy pur your heart out along stunner  ‘Cigarette Dreams’. Katie Buchan’s soulful voice is hear accompanied by sweeping strings to give as good a taste as any of this fantastic release.

44. Bystandereffect – ‘Old Cramps T Shirt’

Bystandereffect is, if nothing else, unique, and ‘Old Cramps T Shirt’ is a haunting, bizarre, dream-like experimental single. Filled with unusual production techniques and effects, this single is rhythmic, versatile and enjoyable, whetting the appetite for any releases suggesting the “electronic sludge” outfit – as they refer to themselves as – has a lot of ammunition. Not showy or contrived but loose and airy, as creepy vocal work cascades over the unusual electronic elements nicely, generating something seldom heard.

43. Pictish Trail – ‘Strange Sun’ [Lost Map]

‘Strange Sun’ is almost objectively original; in terms of lyrics, atmosphere, theme and the use of instruments, this is a mature and out of the ordinary effort. A dreamy, creeping and sprawling piece, this is a bold single that wanders lovingly through decades of influence; packaging together something simultaneously light and dark, jovial and serious. This is the basis for art and – love it or hate it or something in-between it – should be respected in the music industry.

42. Sun Rose – ‘Smirk’ [Last Night From Glasgow]

Sun Rose emerged out of the ashes of Nevada Base this year with debut single ‘Smirk’, a rejuvenation of 80s synth with a nice Glaswegian twist. The track is so characteristic of 80s electronic synth its like a flashback, a friendly nostalgia that brings on inadvertent toe tapping and head nodding; it’s difficult to stay still when you hear this one play. At first ‘Smirk’ appears deceivingly simple, but in fact offers a much more interesting and complex weave of musicality; a spectacle to behold.

41. Jonnie Common – ‘Restless’ [Song, by Toad]

Questioning, dissatisfaction with the milieu and poking at working life are all themes of this single from Jonnie Common. A master of word play and poetic prowess, Common meanders through ideas about the world and dreams of what could be; it’s a light-hearted soundtrack formed around some deep ideas. The track starts like a laidback stroll on a Sunday afternoon, the soft drum brushes paint a calmness that juxtaposes the ‘Restless’ sentiment of the tune itself. Arpeggiated chords frame sweet melodies that feature electronic blips, this neat addition makes everything that little bit more playful.

Albums of 2017 (30-21)

Albums 30-21 – 20-11 – 10-1 EPs 30-2120-1110-1

30. ULTRAS – ULTRAS [Hello Thor]

The brain child of Over The Wall’s Wav Prentice ULTRAS’ debut record caught our ears through its wide ranging influences, colourful tones and Prentice’s ever enthusiastic impassioned delivery.

29. Sun Rose – The Essential Luxury [Last Night From Glasgow]

The band formerly known as Nevada Base finally got round to putting out an album in 2018 and it’s one that was worth waiting for, it’s an emphatic display electronic pop music that shines with a vital energy that we have now come to expect from LNFG releases.

28. December ‘91 – Starin’ At The Freaks

We’ve come to accept December ’91 as a warm and traditionally folky artist, with a dark and subtle back hand that creeps around a lot of the songs, and some embarrassingly if not upsettingly frank lyrics. Starin’ At The Freaks is much lighter in tone than his previous releases and has a little less crude lyricism, delivering the artist’s best work to date This album seems like a step in a more commercially viable direction for the artist, but this comes without a sacrifice of quality and integrity. There are meaningful twangs of Americana, a well balanced mixture of classical and contemporary elements and a lack of seriousness – with some swearing, morbidity and crassness thrown in for good measure.

27. State Broadcasters – A Different Past [Olive Grove]

Glasgow’s State Broadcasters third record, A Different Past is a record that tries on everyone’s clothes from Teenage Fanclub’s buttoned down power-pop shirt to King Creosote’s rain-lashed greatcoat to the glossy sheen of Dear Catastrophe Waitress era Belle and Sebastian. There’s the sense that each track is part of a wider project, serving to highlight a different facet of the whole, that despite their disparate styles and influences there’s a sense of a common project here and it lends the record a thoughtful feel despite its more outré stylings. A Different Past comes with a manifesto: “embrace the world we live in today rather than revisiting and revising memories of our youth and trying to convince ourselves it really was all great fun,” with State Broadcasters, at least you’ll know there is always something fresh and new around the corner.

26. Washington Irving – August 1914

Folk rockers Washington Irving returned with another album of emotional highs and lows, this time delving into the bloody battles of WWI as inspiration for a set of songs that seek to catalogue love, misery and dread. Having played with Glasgow’s kings of anthemic melancholy Frightened Rabbit as well as the likes of Titus Andronicus and Wintersleep, the gang know how to match their miserabilism to rollocking tunes and August 1914 is certainly their heaviest and least folk-inflected set to date. Appropriately given the newly beefed up sound, August 1914 may well also be the group’s darkest set of material so far, from shout along first single ‘We Are All Going to Die’ to the stormy ‘Petrograd’, and when the tracks spark to life there’s a fiery intensity that few current Scottish bands can match, most notably on the brilliant and righteously angry ‘Faslane Forever’. To make August 1914, Washington Irving travelled to New York seeking new horizons; we’re lucky to have them back.

25. Siobhan Wilson – There Are No Saints [Song, by Toad]

Siobhan Wilson’s There Are No Saints starts off with its titular track, a saintly track that sets the scene beautifully and topically for a particularly nuanced, bold, intelligent and endearing album. What it does extremely well is meld contemporary and classical elements with respect, restraint and understanding; delivering one of the best debut albums we’ve heard recently. For such a highly artistic album, it is not alienating or difficult to engage with; there is no sense of snobbery here. There is nothing about this album that occurs in a particularly linear, predictable or boring way, it is exceptionally progressive and evolving.

24. Campfires In Winter – Ischaemia [Olive Grove]

Campfires In Winter debut album took some time in coming, as such it came at a time when the Croy four-piece are familiar faces on the Glasgow indie rock scene. Ischaemia, the follow up to a multitude of singles and EPs over the past few years, is an interesting synthesis of the sounds they have tried on over the last half a decade. Campfires have built a reputation for emotional live performances that blur the line between windswept folk rock and soaring shoegaze, on Ischaemia they brush up against these constraints with a record that pushes their sound in some more experimental directions, in a record that thrives on brains and a dark humoured outlook on the world.

23. Blue Rose Code – The Water of Leith [Navigator]

We were late to the game for Ross Wilson, aka Blue Rose Code’s acclaimed new album, and as a result maybe it wasn’t given a fair roll of the dice. Still, on the short time we had to spin in was an enchanting experience as Wilson sheds his past and looks to the future in true beautiful terms.

22. Fuzzystar – Telegraphing [Satelite Sounds]

Fuzzystar is the moniker of Andy Thomson and friends, an Edinburgh based gang trafficking in buzzy indie pop; Telegraphing is their debut record and it’s a ten track, tune packed blast that delivers reverb stricken off-kilter  indie pop at it’s best. At points the guitar is big and crunchy at others it’s sleek, while Thomson’s weary vocals lead the way, Telegraphing is a layered, fuzz  packed beauty that will have your heart captured in no time.

21. Best Girl Athlete – Best Girl Athlete [Fitlike]

Katie Buchan, aka Best Girl Athlete, followed up 2015’s Carve Every Word with her new self-titled album, which includes an eclectic mix of tracks displaying her strength in producing a strong and diverse range of music displaying real growth both musically, and lyrically. The album is stronger and sounds a great deal more confident as Buchan plays around with an interesting mix of genres and styles. Best Girl Athlete has moved into a more mature and complete space, through her alluring vocals and striking lyrics that shape each track and with this exceptionally well shaped album shows Buchan’s growing strength as an independent artist, promising impressive things to come in the future. 

Albums 30-21 – 20-11 – 10-1

Wide Days Showcases ft. Be Charlotte, Best Girl Athlete, Elle Exxe, Tongues, The Van T’s, Scumpulse

Having not made the conferences during the day due to work commitment I arrived at Wide Days for, well, the best bit.

Let’s face it people talking about the music industry can be very interesting and entertaining, and there were some topics on this year’s agenda which I would have very much like to have seen discussed, but it doesn’t beat seeing a top live act and this year there’s six on the bill across three venues and all for the wonderful price of nothing.

Arriving at The Pleasance just as one of Wide Days’ founders, Olaf Furniss, is finishing introducing the wonderful Be Charlotte; I’m equally as relieved not to miss her as I am surprised to see the act that I considered to have the most commercial potential on the bill on so early.

From the start young Charlotte Brimner possess a likeable swagger and her output oozes quality, whether it’s smashing a glimmeringly modern take on the pop song or mesmerising the crowd with a breath-taking accapella cut.

Granted the all-seated venue doesn’t suit the Be Charlotte sound, but she does herself more than justice, and had she been placed in a more fitting venue this set would be a real showstopper.

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Following on from Charlotte is another impressive young talent in Aberdeen’s Best Girl Athlete; last year’s Carve Every Word album was a beautiful crafted, emotionally powerful piece of work that elevated it to number two in our end of year lists, so finally seeing these songs live is a treat.

Fronted by Katie Buchan would teams up with a full band, including her father, Scottish folk musician CS Buchan, who helped compose the album, Best Girl Athlete sound pretty emphatic, despite Katie looking a touch on the nervous side, but for the teenager, who’s dad just bought her her first pint in a pub today, this will come as she grows into her live show.

All in all she deals with the set brilliantly, sounding much more composed than I could imagine many high schoolers would in her position; she even deals admirably with some awkward, yet amusing dad chat.

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A short jaunt over to La Belle Angele for London based popstress Elle Exxe, the third of four female fronted acts on the bill, something which has been made quite a lot of, and while admirable for giving a spotlight to some of the many great female fronted acts in Scotland stating you’re doing it does dim it somewhat; regardless, I can vouch that girls on this bill are here on merit and not just a token gesture.

One thing’s for sure Elle Exxe doesn’t hold back on her performance, at points her vocals seem to get lost in the mix, but so full on is this girl’s spiralling, riotous presence that you can’t tell if it’s intentional, just a poor mix or that she’s that into the performance that the mic isn’t quite making it to her mouth properly.

A London based musician, who already seems to have a solid footing in the industry seems an odd choice for Wide Days, but regardless of this Exxe, who seems much more genuine and lovely than her onstage pop diva persona may hint at, gives a performance that’s pure in-your-face theatre, over the top dancing and dirty pop beats that could be huge with the right breaks.

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Next up are Tongues who certainly have the knack for a catchy synth hook, they also deliver their material with such an engaging pop tinged attitude that they have the potential to skyrocket.

If this Glasgow-based four-piece can muster enough songs to match the best they deliver tonight then there will be no stopping them; there’s enough soaring “woahs” to keep the chart touting indie fans howling along and plenty of interesting touches to their song-writing and arrangements, who knows where they’ll end up next.

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Things start to blur into one once we arrive at Electric Circus, people have by now had enough beers to make the networking flow that much easier, still I’m delighted that The Van T’s are only just getting started when we arrive.

The band, we have been championing since very early on, show just why they’re getting all the attention, with a full on rock show filled with surfy goodness and the ever impressive harmonies of the Van Thompson twins, despite being severely dulled by the murky sound of Electric Circus.

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It’s safe to say that Scumpulse are the showcase wildcard and the black metal act soon have the younger, hipper members of the crowd heading towards the exit, or at least the bar.

That’s not to say they’re not good, they technically are excellent delivering easily the most complex set of the day with ounces of punk energy that goes down as well with their diehard fan as it does those that give into their relentless power for the evening; I resisted the urge to mosh or buy a t-shirt… quite a few didn’t.

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Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Jannica Honey

Albums of 2015 (10-1)

20-11  –  10-1  –  Tracks & EPs

2 Hector Bizerk - The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry10 Hector Bizerk – The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry

If there is one thing Hector Bizerk are always on hand to offer, it is something new and for the Glasgow hip-hop act it perhaps doesn’t get more boundary-pushing than writing the soundtrack for Crazy Jane, a play about a 19th-century Paris mental asylum. But that is exactly what The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry is – an undeniably ambitious project, but one which the duo pull off magnificently. Throughout experimental sounds and true-to-form storytelling brilliance of Louie’s lyrics, the album manages to touch upon powerful imagery and serious mental health stigmas – this isn’t just a soundtrack for playing in the background of a stage play, it is a genuine work of art as a standalone album, which has a very clear and deep message. (Jay Henderson)

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10 CARBS - Joyous Material Failure9 CARBS – Joyous Material Failure [Save As]

Not quite a hip-hop record but far from anything else Joyous Material Failure is the creation of Jonnie Common and Jamie Scott released under the moniker CARBS. Consisting of slouchy beats and loose-tongued rapping the album’s subject matters range from Resident Evil, pizza and ice cream as the duo offer an insight into the millennial era by using witty puns that encourage listeners to chuckle though-out. (Jess Lavin)

9 Miaoux Miaoux - School of Velocity8 Miaoux Miaoux – School of Velocity [Chemikal Underground]

A bit disco, a bit techno, and more than a bit joyous electro-pop, Julian Corrie’s School of Velocity is nothing short of an incredible balancing act between simple, pure song writing and soaring, euphoric production. From hooks formed of towering synth stabs to its solid, but playful, underpinning grooves, School of Velocity perhaps surprises most in its impressive lyrical depth and ingenuity – an oft-maligned aspect of contemporary pop. It’s a progression not a revolution for Miaoux Miaoux, but is nonetheless a collection of ten more or less bulletproof tracks. School of Velocity is clever, but honest, and oh-so-easy to love. (Michael Mavor)

8 Poor Frisco - Sheep’s Clothing7 Poor Frisco – Sheep’s Clothing

Poor Frisco hail from East Kilbride, the very same unassuming west of Scotland town that brought us the great Jesus And Mary Chain and these guys are doing a fantastic job of carrying on the noisy pop gauntlet with Sheep’s Clothing. The melodies and harmonies are overtly pop, yet work so well with the interesting and sometimes angular guitar riffs. Sheep’s Clothing has elevated Poor Frisco into real contenders for most exciting band in the city; every track brings something new to the table while maintaining the rough charm that only Poor Frisco can pull off. (Andy McGonigle)

7 Errors - Lease of Life6 Errors – Lease of Life [Rock Action]

Everything from glittering arpeggios to mythical, almost Celtic nuances, each track of Lease of Life is unique, but they all share an ethereal quality. Yet much of what features is reminiscent of 80s new wave, echoing Soft Cell and Depeche Mode. There’s something very solid and secure about each track on this album, making it a truly accomplished piece of art. (Rachel Cunningham)

6 C Duncan - Architect5 C Duncan – Architect [FatCat]

Representing Scotland in the 2015 Mercury Prize, C Duncan brings a surprisingly original, dreamy and warm vision of the country through the bedroom window. Fittingly, Architect feels physically crafted and while the modern indie and pop influences are evident, it is Duncan’s atavism, channeling Palestrina and the choral origins of written western music, that defines his sound and make Architect the most intriguing and incongruous of Scottish releases. (Liam Gingell)

5 Prehistoric Friends - Prehistoric Friends4 Prehistoric Friends – Prehistoric Friends [Yetts Yeti]

Multi-instrumentalist Liam Chapman and violist Nichola Kerr’s self-titled debut album comes with bold choruses, dynamic instrumentals, heartfelt vocals and an overall atmospheric sound. The album, which was released as a limited number of handcrafted fossil plaster casts with a download code hidden inside, is just as unique as the format it was released on. (Jess Lavin)

4 Ela Orleans - Upper Hell3 Ela Orleans – Upper Hell [HB]

Upper Hell saw Orleans temporarily move away from the “movies for ears” tagline and the result is a collection of strong songs that stand together in a coherent structured LP. Upper Hell bounces around in a more confident manner; it’s still slightly cold, but here it’s more ceramic than icy. The cinematic narrative is defined, but the thread linking the songs results in the feeling of watching a high definition version rather than an old 35mm print; highly emotive and highly deserving of the praise it received.

3 Best Girl Athlete - Carve Every Word2 Best Girl Athlete – Carve Every Word [Fit Like]

Katie Buchan, aka Best Girl Athlete, saw her debut album, Carve Every Word, never leave the teenager short of praise. The album itself perfectly shows that, although she is young, Buchan can write powerful and intriguing tracks, which showcase emotional depth both lyrically and musically. Carve Every Word is a beautifully crafted album that can be listened to repeatedly and guarantees success will continue on from 2015.

1 Hudson Mohawke - Lantern1 Hudson Mohawke – Lantern [Warp]

For a record that seems stylistically and tonally to be all about confounding expectations, Lantern fulfills those aspirations and just keeps pushing. With evident influences from Mohawke’s immensely heterogeneous background in the very disparate worlds of EDM and rap production, Lantern is an expertly formed demonstration of invigorating, no holds barred electro-pop… and yet can’t be summarised by that alone. The record as a whole possesses an edge of experimentation and is certainly no stranger to risk in its construction, but still manages to remain astonishingly enjoyable from commencement to conclusion. (Michael Mavor)

20-11  –  10-1  –  Tracks & EPs

Tracks of 2015 (10-1)

30-21  –  20-11  –  10-1  –  EPs & albums

10 Martha Ffion - No Applause10 Martha Ffion – No Applause [Lost Map]

Offering a sweeter take on 60s rock Martha Ffion has managed to grab a lot of attention this year since we first caught her support Jessica Pratt in April. Blending lo-fi fuzz guitar, sleek vocals and poetic lyricism ‘No Applause’ offers the both raw edge and maturity some acts have spent years trying to perfect. From this single alone it is clear why Ffion’s originality has received so much praise during preceding months. She also filled in for Sugarhill Gang at Wickerman; quite the year. (Jess Lavin)

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9 Halfrican - Life Is Hard9 Halfrican – Life Is Hard [El Rancho]

Halfrican, the band that were best known for their matching shorts and mixing together fuzz, garage and 60s pop released their first official single ‘Life is Hard’ during the summer. Halfrican’s powerhouse guitar pop really packs a punch and forces the listener to give it their full attention, whereas the track’s surf-rock twang adds further depth to keep you interested. (Jess Lavin)

8 Le Thug - Basketball Land8 Le Thug – Basketball Land [Song, by Toad]

The elusive Le Thug re-emerged at the start of the year with their first formal release on Song, By Toad Records, though each of the 6 tracks on the EP is just as mesmerising as the one before, ‘Basketball Land’ is a clear standout as it really showcases Clio’s enchanting vocals, which match beautifully with the mix of pulsing drones and electronic flourishes. The track has a real dreamlike quality and is both extremely gripping and powerful without being forceful – never begging for your attention, but capable of engrossing you in its sound. (Jess Lavin)

7 The Van T’s - Growler7 The Van T’s – Growler [Bloc+]

In the summer of 2013 I caught an acoustic folk duo by the name of The Van T’s at the ABC – little did I know that by the end of 2015, they’d be amongst my favourite current Scottish bands. Nor did I realise the acoustic folk patter would be patched in favour of an incredible, raucous rock reminiscent of the likes of the Pixies and the Raveonettes. ‘Growler’ is perhaps the seminal moment of what has been a fantastic year for the Van Thompson twins – a ferocious track that perfectly purveys The Van T’s sound though its outstanding riffs and atmospheric lyrics. It’s an unstoppable force of a song that rightly deserves a place in any end-of-year list and reinforces the inarguable fact that the duo will be well worth watching in 2016 and beyond. (Jay Henderson)

6 Miaoux Miaoux - Luxury Discovery6 Miaoux Miaoux – Luxury Discovery [Chemikal Underground]

An unapologetically-catchy, impossible-not-to-dance-to electro-pop track that exists as the crowning glory of an album that will likely be reflected upon as one of Scotland’s finest of 2015. Put simply: you’d have to try really hard to not love it, and even harder to forcibly extract it from your brain. (Michael Maver)

5 WOMPS - Live A Little Less5 WOMPS – Live A Little Less [Damnably]

We have been covering the output of Ewan Grant for a long time at Rave Child, and the truly pleasant chap seems to finally be getting his deserved credit. Rising from the ashes of noisy and productive rockers, Algernon Doll, WOMPS have had an excellent first year playing shows across the globe and recording their debut single ‘Live A Little Less’ with garage production legend Steve Albini. The single has gone on to receive a vast amount of praise and it’s clear why as it perfectly mixes fuzzy, turbulent garage with meaningful lyrics and melodic harmonies. The duo seems to have found their road and is now hitting it at full pelt; expect big things from them in 2016. (Jess Lavin)

4 Kathryn Joseph - The Bird4 Kathryn Joseph – The Bird [Hits The Fan]

‘The Bird’ is a perfect example of how strong indie-folk can be – and not just in Scotland.  Kathryn Joseph is without doubt one of the diamonds among the plethora of unconvincing, pseudo-emotional acoustic-y acts that have been badly waltzing around the internet hay barn since Justin Vernon brilliantly set the pace with Bon Iver in 2008, and she does so in a way that gently reminds us all that art needn’t (or maybe shouldn’t) be a forced experience. Mixing metaphors aside, ‘The Bird’ blends familiar and melancholic piano tones with uniquely compelling rasped vocals to hugely emotional effect, and is a must listen. It helped her win a SAY award, too. (Greg Murray)

3 TeenCanteen - Sister3 TeenCanteen – Sister

TeenCanteen’s ‘Sister’ is captivating, it showcases the band’s ability to come out with a fighting spirit through an intense and driven sound. In 2015, the band also raised £3456.72 for Scottish Woman’s Aid at their ‘Girl Affect’ event, therefore it is easy to see that last year has been a successful year for the girls. They have much to be proud of from it, and ‘Sister’ can definitely be considered a highlight.

2 Best Girl Athlete - Seven Seconds2 Best Girl Athlete – Seven Seconds [Fit Like]

2015 was a pivotal year for the precociously talented Best Girl Athlete with a string of both local and far-flung gigs including a tour of North America, and the release of her album, Carve Every Word, which received an overwhelmingly positive critical response. ‘Seven Seconds’ is a highlight of the record, with its charming combination of upbeat pop, lyrics written with a twist of melancholy, and a lifted final section that catches the listener off guard. (Ellen Renton)

1 Hector Bizerk - Rust Cohle1 Hector Bizerk – Rust Cohle

In a year where Hector Bizerk were prolific as ever it was this number that shaded their almost as wonderful ‘They Made a Porno On A Mobile Phone & Everybody Laughed’ featuring Pronto Mama’s Marc Rooney. While the fanbase and the seaming mutual adoration between the two groups drove that track pretty far, it was the sheer sneery, hook of a sing-along of ‘Rust Cohle’ that made it the true standout in another successful year from Scotland’s best hip-hop act. The track named after Matthew McConaughey’s character in last year’s, equally as gripping, season of HBO drama True Detective, is darker than a lot of Hector’s previous material as an Americana guitar riff gives way to sharp synths, while Louie’s couplets are as well thought out as ever. Absolute beast of a track live too!

30-21  –  20-11  –  10-1  –  EPs & albums

Best Girl Athlete – ‘Seven Seconds’ [Fit Like]

Katie Buchan, better known as Best Girl Athlete, returns with new single ‘Seven Seconds’, taken from her album, Carve Every Word, which was released in March this year.

The Aberdeen born folk/pop singer demonstrates her ability to write melodic, peaceful music, which is highlighted throughout the single.

It is very delicate; with the gentle vocals from Buchan alongside subtle fiddle and acoustic guitar, achieving a soft, folky sound.

This may be a surprising choice of track to release as a single when listening to the album as a whole, it is not as lively or energetic as some tracks on there, however as a single, it portrays Buchan’s strength in structured and deep songwriting both through the lyrics and the music.

‘Seven Seconds’ successfully shows Best Girl Athlete’s talents and will undoubtedly encourage many to experience her album in its entirety.

Words: Orla Brady

Best Girl Athlete – Carve Every Word [Minty Fresh/Fitlike]

Listening to the new Best Girl Athlete album, Carve Every Word, it is difficult to believe that behind it all is 15-year-old Katie Buchan.

It is difficult to believe because this album contains sounds, which compliment each other and mature lyrical content alongside strong vocals.

Opening with ‘Winter Sun’, we are introduced to the mix of pop and indie, which Best Girl Athlete combines throughout the album, with also some traditional folk thrown into the mix.

‘Winter Sun’ is a warm and bright track with a simple guitar riff repeated throughout and also crescendo at the chorus, which introduces the more traditional, folk sound.

‘Hills’ and ‘He’s Calling Me Over’ are similar, both containing darker lyrics, complimented by Buchan’s haunting vocals.

My mother told me not to go out to the hills/ theres nothing that will come of it she told me so

‘Hills’ conveys a different side to the album, leaning towards acts like The Cure and The Twilight Sad for inspiration.

‘All That’, ‘On My Own’ and ‘Which Way To Turn’ are relatively stripped back allowing Buchan’s vocal ability to be showcased over dreamy and spacious sounds.

Closer, ‘This Time’ combines all Buchan’s strongest aspects into one track; her clear and delicate vocals alongside strummed acoustic guitar accompanied by eerie violin solos, which appear frequently throughout the album.

Carve Every Word does not reflect the age of the person who is behind the name of Best Girl Athlete; it is extremely diverse and includes moving and memorable songs, which promises an exciting future.

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Words: Orla Brady

Best Girl Athlete – ‘Leave It All Behind/Best Girl Athlete in School’ 

Close your eyes and take a second to embrace the subtle tones of Best Girl Athlete (aka Katie Buchan) who at the young age of 15 has managed to execute and produce quite a charming debut double single.

‘Best Girl Athlete in School’ is a soft, laid back piece, that conjures memories of slow Sunday mornings, it is contemplative and considered in it’s construction; growing up with her father, musician CS Buchan, Katie may have benefitted from the exposure to the music industry but this debut release is an accomplished piece in its own right.

‘Leave It All Behind’ is musically varied but lacks substance when it comes to lyrics, although this is potentially reflective of her age and stage in her career so doesn’t detract from what is a very pretty composition containing guitar, (what appears to be a) glockenspiel and smooth backing rhythms on drums.

The most impressive part about both tracks is the level of maturity and skill in Katie’s vocals, which could rival many established singers on the indie scene, if this is what she is capable of now, you may be left with an itching anticipation as to what future productions could bring.

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Words: Rachel Cunningham