Julia Mason rounds up five Scottish bands to watch out for
At Blowtorch Records we aim to capture the future sound of Ireland. We unashamedly lean to the shouty guitar side of that sound but sometimes it pays to stick to what you know. Especially when you find the likes of Turnstiles, Punching Peaches and Nixer. Our Celtic cousins in Scotland aren’t going to be left behind in this eruption of bands and artists who are taking what has been and remoulding it into what’s to be. Fortunately we have our Scottish gig goer extraordinaire Julia Mason keeping an eye on things over the water. Here’s her report on five Scottish bands to watch out for.
Five Future Favourites From Scotland
There is definitely a stirring in the Scottish independent music scene at the moment. Whether it's a response to the pandemic, the political landscape or just the cyclical nature of such things, here are five current Scottish bands to check out:
1. Bikini Body
A discovery at Edinburgh's Hidden Door festival last month, Edinburgh-based Bikini Body are direct, to the point and real in their lyrics and music. There is no mucking about here as their debut EP Pond Life demonstrated. Released early 2020, yes probably the worst possible time for new music release and subsequent promos and tours, it was packed with humour and a tongue in cheek dig at the ridiculousness of the human race and its behaviour. Fast forward 18 months and lead singer Vicky Kavanagh's shouty style may be the genre of the moment, but their self-proclaimed “family friendly post-gutter-skunk-funk” does sit well within the current crop of similar bands. The observations, clever lyrics and humour combined with funky guitars and a danceability make Bikini Body one to watch for 2022.
Where to start? Daily Mail
Glasgow based Vlure are kindred spirits with The Murder Capital. Having stepped in at the last minute in a support slot at QMU in Glasgow just before lockdown, Vlure have gone from strength to strength.
Now signed to So Young Records, they released their new single Show Me How To Live Again and have announced their first headline show at King Tuts in December.
This is euphoric dance music which fans of Working Mens Club will love, but it's live that Vlure truly shine. They played a storming set at TRNSMT Festival last month and garnered a whole new crop of fans. They followed it with a late night aftershow gig in Glasgow with The Murder Capital. That would have been something special.
Vlure are a potent blend of musicianship and a charismatic performer in front man Hamish Hutcheson. They are confrontational in their delivery but remember it's always about the music and with electronica/guitars and drums pulsating through their tracks, this band are set to soar in 2022.
Where to start? Shattered Faith
3. Dead Pony
Dead Pony combine rock, punk and pop with blistering results. They have supported The Mysterines and that is simply a match made in heaven.
The 4-piece comprise singer and guitarist Anna Shields, Blair Crichton on lead guitar and backing vocals, Liam Adams on bass, and drummer Aidan McAllister.
Their first single of 2020 was Everything is Easy which fused rock and pop effortlessly and heralded a powerful shift with a thumping bassline and infectious vocal hook. They were a well-deserved participant in Scotland Wide Days programme, showcasing emerging artists and they continue to shine live as gigs slowly return.
Where to start? 23, Never Me
4. Pretty Preachers Club
Pretty Preachers Club are a Glasgow based duo formed during lockdown. Comprised of Hannah and Martha they produce the most glorious music which instantly captivates. Full of delicious harmonies and soaring emotion, they operate in a very different sphere from the majority of music produced at the moment - and it's all the better for it. They released their debut EP Going Nowhere Fast in December 2020, donating all the proceeds from the first pressing to the Music Venue Trust, a generous gesture from a new band and demonstrating a social conscience.
The second EP Romance and Adolescence followed this year. Fun fact, Martha played violin on the Courting EP Grand National.
Where to start: Going Nowhere Fast
5. Midnight Ambulance
Technology has played a major role in allowing creatives to continue working during the pandemic. Midnight Ambulance are no exception. With guitarist Fraser in Scotland and drummer/vocalist Amelia in France they crafted music which we are now fortunate enough to hear. Their first ever gig was as support to Edinburgh's swim school at Fringe by the Sea in August and there were audible gasps of disbelief from the crowd when they announced this from the stage as it was incredible to believe from the performance.
Amelia has a glorious voice but when she moves from the lead mike to behind the drums and continues singing you know you are in for something special. Midnight Ambulance have a sound which is dense and atmospheric, with layers of drum beats, synths and guitars.
Their third single Rust is released on Friday 8 October. The song explores parallels in the feelings of isolation and claustrophobia experienced both in lockdown and in destructive partnerships. Already premiered on Vic Galloway's show on BBC Scotland, it is a passionate, powerful song with a mid-track shift in pace which demands you turn the dial up to 11.
Where to start? Black Gloves