The ten best Scottish albums this century
- The List
- 31 October 2012
(2000, Creation Records)
If the Scream’s 1991 classic Screamdelica was a night out clubbing, XTRMNTR was the acid-fried come down. An overtly political, aggressive rock assault packed with searing electronics, paranoia and guitar fuzz. Sadly it was also the last LP ever issued by iconic British indie label Creation.
For one tantalising moment, these Glasgow art school new wavers looked like they would take over the world. Their Mercury Prize-winning debut looked to have pretty much sealed the deal with ‘Take Me Out’s majestic schizo-pop, the melodically marching ‘Matinee’ and the delightfully ambiguous ‘Michael’.
After a couple of merely excellent releases, Mr Beast comes along and proves that the ’Gwai do textured and tough, rich and rugged, beauty and ballsy like few others. While ‘Glasgow Mega-Snake’ bashes tendons in two, ‘Friend of the Night’ will snap your little heart asunder.
(2007, Fat Cat)
They may not yet have acquired the fame of label/touring mates Frightened Rabbit, but the Sad’s debut outstrips the Selkirk band’s work for rawness and sheer epic melancholy. Their swelling, troubling mix of creepy lyrics, white noise and dark melodies cemented their spot on the Scot-rock Walk of Fame, if such a thing existed.
(2008, Rock Action)
A danceable, satisfying follow-up to the mathy brilliance of their first EP, ‘How Clean is Your Acid House’. The electro-rock debut from the Glasgow boys showed the rest of the world just why Mogwai fell for them and took them under their label wing.
(2009, 14th Floor Records)
If Puzzle was the moment Biffy went ‘mainstream’, this was the Ayrshire trio honing their skills, juxtaposing soaring melody with their cacophonous rock roots. Still delivering a visceral gut punch, they added a collision of strings, electronics and thundering riffs. Instantly accessible yet satisfyingly complex.
Beautifully celestial spooky pop from Scotland, Kammerspiel went on to win the duo of Anneke Kampman and Jamie Scott a nomination for the inaugural Scottish Album of the Year award. Lacing together tape hiss, ethereal vocals, bleeps, glocks and toys on tracks like ‘Bear’ and ‘Giant’, it was a heavenly debut.
(2011, Chemikal Underground)
Put together the bawdy, bittersweet storytelling of Mr Aidan Moffat with the lush jazz arrangements of multi-instrumentalist Bill Wells and what do you get? Some very excellent mournful, filthy and playful laments – and winner of the first Scottish Album of the Year award in 2012.
(2011, Rock Action)
A bit krautrock, a bit ambient, sort of cinematic, sometimes whispery and twinkling, other times driving and insistent … behold the wide-ranging LP from six-piece Remember Remember, fronted by the multi-talented, sometime Harmonia and Fuck Buttons support act, Graeme Ronald.
(2012, Virgin Records)
The bequiffed Aberdeenshire singer-songwriter was the breakthrough act of 2012. After writing hits for Tinie Tempah and Cheryl Cole, she released this album of her own smart, acoustic guitar and piano-led songs, big beat-driven soul ballads and stirring anthems – all sharing that soaring, powerful, sophisticated voice.