Another Year Over, A New One Just Begun: It’s The New Music From December…

December is often a slow month for new music as people release ‘best ofs’, compilations, seasonal specials, etc, but the dying days of 2012 bucked that trend. There are two special collections which bookend a welcome return from two of Glasgow’s finest, one of the best albums of the year, an EP from a band I’ve been trying to catch up with for some time and a welcome piece of agit-pop.

I’ve been wanting to get a hold of Some Songs Side-By-Side for some time, and Christmas morning saw a large square box in the toe of my sock. It’s a collection of songs by various Glasgow bands including Muscles of Joy, Organs of Love, Tut Vu Vu and Sacred Paws put together by Watts of Goodwill, RE:PEATER Records and Stereo. For a crisp £20 note down at Mono in Glasgow (prices may vary elsewhere) you get two pieces of 12″ vinyl, a CD, an accompanying booklet and some art work from the great David Shrigley, but most importantly it’s 8 bands, 22 tracks and over 70 minutes of wildly varying but always interesting new music. City samplers such as this, although rarely as beautifully packaged, were a regular thing when I were a lad and I hope there’s more of this sort of thing. Here’s just a sample of the wares:

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=783379334/size=venti/bgcol=FFFFFF/linkcol=4285BB/

One of the best nights out in Scotland remains any bill where Miss The Occupier feature, and they are at last back with new recorded material. To my shame (and I am ashamed) I haven’t seen them since they added keyboards to their already robust sound, but on new track Smoke and Mirrors you can hear that this has added a new dimension to the music. Take a listen and keep ’em peeled for the next time they appear near you. You won’t regret it. (If the player doesn’t appear on your browser click here):

Now for an album which, unless it’s the festive cheer talking, is one of the best of the year. It’s incredibly atmospheric, it suits my mood at the moment, it reminds me of some of my favourite bands, yet sounds brand new. It’s called Wulver, it’s by Evil Hand, and it’s just terrific:

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=80607687/size=venti/bgcol=FFFFFF/linkcol=4285BB/

A band who had one of the most interesting 2012s was A Band Called Quinn. They were involved in film, theatre and various multi-media shenanigans, collaborated with other musicians and finally managed to release an album, Red Light Means Go, one which is as eclectic as we have come to expect. A Band Called Quinn are never likely to rest on their laurels, and the songs move from electronica to shimmering guitar taking in the full spectrum between light and shade along the way, and all featuring the recognisable torch vocals of Louise Quinn. This is the video for Oh Jackie, and it is a great thing:

Next is a band who were recommended by none other than ScotsWhay Hae’s own Ian Gregson. They are The Imagineers and I’ve always managed to miss them live. They’ve just released an EP called Karma Soundcheck: Part 1, and the first track is the excellent Shackles,  which has an excellent video, which is this one, (great drums, by the way):

Sometimes something drops in my inbox that is as unexpected as it is welcome. When PoP Campaign got in touch about their song Maggie’s Farmers I had no idea what to expect. What I got was a wonderful piece of electronic pop and a video that took me back to the days of Gang of Four, The Redskins and Chumbawumba. Like those bands it lifts me up while making me mad as hell, never a bad thing:

Back to the beginning. I mentioned two special collections that you can buy, and the second is the album and book which came out of this summer’s multi-art collaboration, Whatever Gets You Through The Night which was the brain child of Cora Bissett, David Greig and Swimmer One. Limited to only 1000, if you buy the book, which features Alan Bissett, Annie Griffin, Kirstin Innes, Alan Spence and others, then you get to download the album. And a special album it is, featuring musicians such as Withered Hand, RM Hubbert, Eugene Kelly, Emma Pollock and The Errors. You can learn more about it here but in the meantime here’s the trailer:

In summary, 2012 was a very good year. Can’t wait to see what happens next…  

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