Watch out for these talented music-makers
You might already be familiar with many of Scotland's fine musical exports but as a country with so many exciting bands and musicians making innovative and interesting music all the time, there are always new discoveries to be made. To give you a head start on your own journey through the wide and varied spectrum of Scottish music, we assembled a crack team of writers to offer their insights into the acts that you should be listening out for in the next year.
Electronic / experimental
One of the most striking new voices from Glasgow's vibrant underground music scene, Cucina Povera is the solo project of Fenno-Karelian musician and artist Maria Rossi. Named after the Italian culinary concept which emphasises the use of a few simple ingredients, Cucina Povera conjures gorgeous, otherworldly songs about 'nourishment and precarity' from layered vocals and electronics. Live, her music unfolds beautifully, as beguiling melodies emerge from harmonic drones and looped phrases. This autumn sees the release of her debut album on Glasgow's peerless Night School Records, and there are also plans to issue a tape through GLARC (Greater Lanarkshire Auricular Research Council), the pseudo-academic body that is releasing some of Glasgow's most inspired young acts. (SS)
Siobhan Wilson is hardly a newcomer on the scene, but her signing this year to Song, by Toad – a label renowned for being generally interested in thought-provoking and high-quality acts – has brought her back to the forefront of Scottish indie folk. Her new album, There are no Saints was released in July – a Gallic-inspired exploration of faith and love that's vulnerable and deeply emotional. She needs to be seen to be believed, however: her voice – live – is so beautifully pitch-perfect, it feels autotuned. Wilson is such an honest performer, unafraid to broach difficult subjects like mental health and the actual realities of heartbreak, and I feel like she's got so much more to give. (KS)
Though involved in the music scene in Scotland for some time, Kobi Onyame is carving a new space for himself with the release of his new album Gold. The Ghanaian-born Glasgow-based rapper offers an alternative take on the genre, blending his West African upbringing with the stylings of contemporary hip hop to create a sound that is buoyant, confident and highly engaging. The characteristics of Ghanaian highlife are clear in the brassy instrumentation and diverse rhythms but what makes Onyame truly special is his ability to pen intelligent lyrics and combine ideas, sounds and influences from both his past and present. Scotland's hip hop and grime scenes are gradually gaining prominence but Onyame succeeds in setting himself apart with this new release. (AQ)
Scottish supergroups tend to be fairly low-key affairs when they happen, but the wealth of talent and styles of music in the country means that all manner of exciting and unlikely collaborations can happen. Here's one of them; a new trio on Mogwai's Rock Action label comprising the elemental vocals of 2015's Scottish Album of the Year Award winner Kathryn Joseph and James Graham of post-rock monoliths (and The Cure's support band of choice), The Twilight Sad, marshalled by producer and musician Marcus Mackey. The first single 'Buried Guns' reveals a kind of post-folk sound, with a keening accordion complementing both voices perfectly; October's debut album Conflats will tell us more. (DP)