This is my final end of the decade list, and it is of my favourite Scottish music over the last ten years. It’s not about single songs but is concerned with the bands or albums that I’ve returned to again and again. There are a couple of live clips, but the majority are videos. As usual, ask me tomorrow and they may all have changed (apart from number 10).
I’m going to start with a band who made some of the best music of the early part of the decade. Possibly inspired by Irvine Welsh, this is Ballboy with I Hate Scotland:
Next up are the sadly missed The Delgado’s who were one of the best bands to see live. I don’t want you to think this list is carefully thought out, because it’s really not. However, nicely continuing the theme of hate, this is All You Need is Hate:
Sometimes a band comes along, release a brilliant album, then, perhaps in the face of a world who doesn’t love them as they should, they split. I thought one such band was Dogs Die in Hot Cars (admittedly a terrible name), whose debut Please Describe Yourself was a great piece of pop. I’ve since heard rumours that their follow up should be on its way soon. Until then this is 2004’s Godhopping:
Continuing to make great music separately, Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton still found time to make some classic Arab Strap material before calling it a day. I could have picked lots of example of their solo stuff, Middleton’s 2002 5:14 Fluoxytine Seagull Alcohol John Nicotine in particular was one of my favourite albums of the decade. Admittedly, at least in part, to make my life easier I’ve chosen an Arab Strap song to represent both. From 2005 this is Dream Sequence:
I think the most unlikely combination of the decade would be ex-Screaming Tree Mark Lanegan pairing up with Isobel Campbell, but it worked a treat. However this is my favourite Isobel track of the decade and it is another duet. From her 2003 solo album Amorino, this is Isobel and Eugene Kelly with Time is Just the Same:
This seems as good a time as any for my inevitable Belle and Sebastian choice. They have made some of my favourite music of all time and were as important to me when they came along in the mid-nineties as The Smiths were to the teenage me in the mid-eighties. That in itself makes them remarkable. I’ve chosen I’m A Cuckoo not only as it’s a great song, but also for the cameo from the mighty Alan Wells:
One of the defining albums of the decade was Destroy Rock n’ Roll from Skye’s Miles MacInnes, better known as Mylo. Uncomplicated, fun and smart, there is not enough of this around. For a couple of years these songs were ubiquitous. Despite that the album still sounds fresh, and this is testament to its quality. This track brings together Kim Carnes and Boy meets Girl which shouldn’t work but does. I love it, it’s In My Arms:
Scottish artist of the decade? For me one clearly stands out and he is James Yorkston
. Whether solo, with The Athletes, with the Big Eyes Family Players, or with other collaborators (of which there were a few),Yorkston
is consistently brilliant. This is especially true when seen live. Rarely has a ‘folk’ musician managed to raise the roof as Yorkston
does, indeed the only guys I have seen who compare are Richard Thompson and the late John Martyn. Here is the lovely Steady As She Goes
The next two are live clips from two of my all time favourite artists. The first is Roddy Frame who released two fantastic albums in the last ten years; 2002’s Surf and 2006’s Western Skies. Sometimes there are artists who are just so consistently brilliant that people seem to take them for granted. Elvis Costello is one who springs to mind, and I would place Frame in that category. I own everything he’s ever done and any life is improved by his music. From Surf, this is Over You:
My desert island disc is The Blue Nile’s Hats, but I love every second of their music. 2004’s High runs Hats close, and I cannot give higher praise. If I could, believe me I would. If I was to recommend one album from the last ten years that every one should own it would be High. Unsurprisingly, after all this hyperbole, my best gig of the last ten years was The Blue Nile at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall. I think you get the drift; from High this is I Would Never and reaffirms to me that there is no one who moves me like Paul Buchanan can:
So that’s it for the 2000’s. Just bubbling under were Boards of Canada, Stephen Lyndsay, Monica Queen, King Creosote, Looper, My Latest Novel, Popup and Primal Scream but I was determined to stick to ten. Not that it overly matters in the scheme of things.
I’m off to play The Blue Nile and have a glass of something nice. Have a Happy New Year and a great 2010.