Wide Days 2019: New acts to see at this year's showcases
- David Pollock
- 5 April 2019
Chuchoter / credit: Jannica Honey
We take a look at the artists taking to the stage at Wide Days, the nation's biggest and most established music conference
Wide Days has become an annual institution on the Scottish musical calendar. The three-day event offers talks and showcases for those in the industry, those interested in how Scotland fits into the wider music business, and – in the case of both Friday night showcases – members of the public who want to see twenty-minute sets from some of the finest new artists in Scotland at the beginning of their career. With limited numbers of free tickets available to the public, and past showcase guests including the likes of Kathryn Joseph, Fatherson, Honeyblood and Be Charlotte, who knows where this year's batch might end up?
Based in Edinburgh, Chuchoter are a duo who produce a kind of highbrow electro-pop; producer Owen McAllister creates some gorgeous beats, skating between chillwave and a neon-streaked, disco-laced approximation of Chvrches, and Emily Smith unleashes a vocal with dramatic, classical stylings. Their tracks all have vaguely hymnal titles ('Gloria', 'Credo', 'Sanctus'); their name is pronounced 'shoo-shaw-teh'; and it's French for 'whisper'.
Eyes of Others
Edinburgh producer John Bryden has been wearing the self-styled 'post-pub couldn't get in the club music' brand for so long that he might just have turned it into a genre in its own right. Taking inspiration from artists including Suicide, Massive Attack and Arthur Russell, his electronic productions are dense, rich and atmospheric, and the defiantly DIY tone of his vocals gives his songs a raw edge.
Franky's Evil Party
'What happened to music that's too loud?' ask Dumfries quintet Franky's Evil Party, a band who appear serious about creating a viscerally entertaining sound, but just a bit tongue-in-cheek in their enthusiastic adoption of a sense of full-blooded rock'n'roll menace. Josh Kirk's vocals are soaked in reverb and violence, and the band's sound on tracks like 'Dolph Lundgren' and 'Blonde' is pitched satisfyingly amid no-wave disco, garage rock and the sonic catharsis of the Birthday Party or the Amazing Snakeheads.
A young singer-songwriter from East Kilbride who claims Jeff Buckley as one of her guiding influences, Airlie's music follows a similarly otherworldly path. Songs like 'After River' and 'Honey' are built on a core of solid acoustic pop songwriting, but her distinctive vocal takes them to another level through her distinctive, dextrous folk tone. She releases on Bloc Records, and performed at the SAY Awards in 2018.
Perth isn't known as a hotbed of cutting-edge musical thrills, but youngsters (literally – they're all still in their teens) Parliamo are a vibrant and exciting indie-pop group whose undoubtedly retro edge finds new life breathed through it on the strength of their simple youthful enthusiasm. In fact, on the evidence of signature tracks like 'Weekend', 'Sweet' and 'All Dolled Up', the sounds of working class Perth and Liverpool aren't too dissimilar, with Jack Dailly's buoyant, twanging vocal and Finn Freeburn-Morrison's noisily jangling guitar reminding of the La's, Cast and the Coral at their purest pop best.
Originally from Ayr but now based in Edinburgh, Rebecca 'Shears' Shearing is playing her first show under her pseudonym here, building upon her initial online success. A pioneer of the form, she gained huge attention for playing cover versions and posting them on YouTube more than a decade ago, earning 30 million views and 170,000 subscribers, although initial attempts to launch as a signed artist stalled. Now she's working with engineer Matty Green, whose credits include Ed Sheeran and Lady Gaga, and her sound is sparse and dramatic electro-pop.
Small-town duo Stuart Ramage and Ruan Ballantine make a sound rich in big, emotional brush strokes, despite pairing the former's voice with a light, electro-acoustic musical bed. They've been building a reputation in earnest over the last year, and have an EP named 'Let the Current In' on the German label Vielen Dank Records.
Wide Days 2019, various venues, Edinburgh, Thu 11–Sat 13 Apr. Showcase gigs are at Teviot Row House and La Belle Angele, Fri 12 Apr.