Best new Scottish music you need to hear in June 2016
Highlights include Belle & Sebastian, Tom Walker, Nightwave, Mairearad Green and Fatherson
As The List’s Scottish albums round-up gets older it learns new tricks, so this month we’re expanding to take in more singles from Scottish bands and labels, and concerts happening this side of the border which you really, really should know about. It’s all down below, but meantime let’s introduce you to In Awe of Nothing (●●●), the really quite impressive debut album from recently-installed T-Break act Mt. Doubt, aka Edinburgh’s Leo Bargery, which fuses a charming Edwyn Collins baritone with flavours of The National’s anthemic mid-life trepidation and Springsteen’s way with an everyperson guitar riff and chorus. That it’s somehow less than the sum of those components is no shame on its creator.
There are two releases coming up this month from Glasgow’s frankly wonderful Optimo stable. A project devised by Karlsruhe’s Rainer Buchmuller, Fred und Luna is (are?) happy to self-describe as either ‘Elektrokraut’ or ‘Krautelektro’, even they can’t decide. It sums them up well, though, because the lead track of the 4-track Gluck Auf EP (●●●●) on Optimo Music is as gloriously melodic and insistent as Neu!, with a clean, sensual electronic production. Over on Optimo Trax, meanwhile, the dark, jacking syncopations of Underspreche's Jefe (●●●), the Italian duo’s first full EP. The lead track has a mean kick to it, but the flipside tracks ‘Liaison’ and ‘Mikea’ are even more rewarding as journeys into an evocative kind of after-dark drama.
Another of Glasgow’s finest is Nightwave, whose new single on her Heka Trax label ‘Lotto’ (●●●●) calls itself a ‘cheeky girl power anthem’ and features Major Lazer and Kreashawn MC Chippy Nonstop on sassy bubblegum vocals, declaring ‘if you’re with me / it’s like you won the lotto’ in a lip-smacking Princess Superstar holler over an exuberant, bouncing beat. In a very different vein indeed is Fuzzkill Records’ latest from The Bellybuttons, their Nostalgia Factory EP (●●●●), led by the lip-petted Sonic Youth grind of ‘Why’ and featuring heavy hints of Dinosaur Jr, The Velvet Underground and The Jesus & Mary Chain throughout its five strong tracks.
A collaborative effort between members of Edinburgh’s Night Noise Team and Collar Up, Shards have recorded an understated but lovely piece of icy electronic balladry in ‘If You Wait’ (●●●●), which is out on Errant Media. We’ll also give some honorary mentions out to dubby Mancunian hip hop bloke Tom Walker, because he was born in Scotland and because he has a six-date north-of-the-border tour happening this month and former Scars singer Robert King, whose debut single ‘Super 8’ is out on Rubber Taxi – although we haven’t heard it yet. Mairearad Green also releases the ambling, tenderly folksy ‘The Island’ (●●●●) from her album named after her sometimes home in the Summer Isles, and celebrates with a small tour..
In the most recent issue of The List (out Wed 1 Jun) you’ll find some more in-depth writing about new albums from Rick Redbeard and Adam Holmes & the Embers, alongside hype about Edinburgh’s Shvllows and that mighty three-night stand by Belle & Sebastian in intimate surroundings. Other shows we’re ridiculously excited to recommend include the gothic electro of Zyna Hel with support from Hausfrau and Zorya and a great triple bill from power-pop contingent PAWS with support from The Spook School and Adam Stafford.
Beard-wielding indie rockers Fatherson play a big headline show in the west, and eternally engaging psychedelic alt.folk contingent Trembling Bells are also on stage this June. Staying in Edinburgh, we also want to draw your attention to the strong local music offerings at the last weekend of the Hidden Door Festival – namely Delta Mainline, Law Holt, Callum Easter, Neon Waltz, The Son(s) and Delighted Peoples on Fri, in association with Limbo, and Raza on Sat’s bill – as well as the LeithLate16 Afterparty with Nice Church and Carbs.