A guide to Scotland's best bands and gig venues in 2012
Bands include Hostage, Siobhan Wilson and We Are the Physics
The best venues and promoters in Edinburgh and Glasgow
‘Though she be but little, she is fierce!’ Shakespeare once said. The same is true for Scotland’s music scene. Its live venues range from anthem-rocking stadii (Murrayfield and Hampden have hosted Madonna, Take That and Bruce Springsteen in the past) right down to divey little bars where you can check out art school bands who only formed a few weeks earlier.
Those seeking local, grassroots talent should keep an eye on Electric Circus or the Wee Red Bar in Edinburgh, or King Tut’s, Bloc and Nice’n’Sleazy in Glasgow, while the best of the touring bands tend to stop in at the Queen’s Hall, Usher Hall, Sneaky Pete’s or Liquid Room in the east and the Arches, Barrowland, Stereo, the Berkeley Suite and O2 ABC in the west. As well as players such as DF, Regular and PCL, it’s worth keeping an eye on excellent local promoters Cry Parrot, Braw Gigs, Detour and From A Stolen Sea, who’ve put on gigs in churches, parks, warehouses and even toilet blocks. (CS)
The best emerging bands
Gav’s debut solo album The Invisible Hand came out in late 2012 on Instinctive Racoon. Heartfelt songs aplenty delivered with a Frank Turner kind of passion and lyrics that it’s hard not to relate to. Raise a glass and shout along.
Paisley’s Carnivores give a crap about the world and saving it from average rock music. Socially conscious lyrics coupled with the odd 90s pop culture reference are spat out to thunderous QOTSA-sized riffs and some infectious hooks akin to Twin Atlantic.
Quality EP releases on Black Butter have caught the attention of big-time DJs like Mista Jam and Annie Mac. He’s demon live and his remixes are of the highest order, check his mix of Nina Nesbitt’s ‘Boy’. He doesn’t just toy with beats – he mutilates them.
Just check this dude’s Soundcloud – it’s filled with some of the most innovative hip hop beat making around. Swirling, squelching sounds can take your mind miles away in a matter of seconds. He’s leading the next wave of Scottish producers.
Electro pop doesn’t come more direct and catchy than this band formed by Aereogramme and the Unwinding Hours’ Iain Cook, The Twilight Sad’s Martin Docherty and Blue Sky Archives’ Lauren Mayberry. Live, it’s as shimmering and engaging as on record.
Wilson, originally from the Highlands, now in London via France, has a voice with a range that reaches from dark, haunting undertones to some delicate, impossibly high moments – that alone deserves some love.
Immaculate Emotion Engines
The roster of net label Black Lantern Music is an education in all things left-field – their latest offering is the free download album from IEE. Deep, dark, sometimes disturbing tracks await you, with some scathing bars and intense beats.
Relatively new to the Scottish hardcore music scene are Crusades, their ferocious intensity is captured perfectly in the debut Golden Throats EP. Their live show . . . well, the first one was cut short as the guitarist bludgeoned himself due to excessive riffing and had to hit the hospital. Standard.
We Are The Physics
The Physics have really stepped things up a gear this summer with two dynamite new singles and talk of an album coming soon. Live they are a compelling watch – it is utterly bonkers rock music with stupidly tight fight-pop riffs and dance moves like the Scissor Sisters at a Dananananakroyd reunion show.
Watching people stand up and take notice of Hector Bizerk’s brand of rap was one of my favourite things about 2012. We got them to T in the Park on the BBC Introducing stage and in session on my Radio 1 show – a show that the Mercury-tipped indie kings Alt-J heard, subsequently falling for the bold, totally unique sound summed up by their fairly descriptive motto: ‘Rap. Drums. Yes.’
Scot-hop sounds from Hector Bizerk, a stripped back drum and rap duo. Fun, rhythm-filled times. Or as the band itself so eloquently puts it: 'DRUMS. RAP. YES.'
Passion Pit, Chad Valley, Churches
The band from Cambridge, Massachusetts, led by singer-songwriter Michael Angelakos, performs synth-laden electropop and indie-rock to promote the album Gossamer.