To recklessly misquote S. P. Morrissey, “Some months are better than others”, but this month is surely one of the best music reviews we have ever offered for your pleasure. It’s a mix of new music to make the heart sing and the future seem a warmer and more welcoming place, as well as a few of Scots Whay Hae!’s favourite musicians from the last 10 years – a potent combination. Looking forward, looking back.
Edinburgh bands feature strongly this month, and we’re going to start with one of the finest. Storm The Palace’s debut album Snow, Stars and Public Transport is out now on Abandoned Love Records. Last night saw the announcement of this year’s Scottish Album Of The Year, where Sacred Paws triumphed over a hotly contested short list. But the world can’t stand still and I’m going to suggest that Snow, Stars and Public Transport should be among the contenders for that title this time next year. Reminiscent of Lorraine & The Borderlands and Modern Studies, Storm The Palace have made a record which is sheer class from Track 1 to 10. Inventive with a strong sense of the tradition in which their music sits, this is baroque and roll at its very finest. As an example of what they do, listen to ‘La Lido’:
It had to happen some time, and it has. After over four years’ worth of coming up with monthly puns, our irregular music review column has now got a permanent name, New Musical Success.
When you’re spending precious time coming up with post titles rather than listening to the music, something has to change. But not too much. This will still be a mostly monthly look at the best new music of recent times. But enough of this idle banter, here’s just that.
In our still available Best of 2015 podcast, we discussed the fact that last year saw a lot of brand new bands making the best new music as some of the better known names took a back seat. Already it seems that 2016 is going to be different, with a reformed Frightened Rabbit, Primal Scream and Emma Pollock, among others, all with albums out or imminent. That situation is reflected in this first roundup of 2016 as most of those featured have done so before in one shape or another.
First up is the debut single from Modern Studies who feature two of our favourite musicians in Emily Scott and Rob St John, joined by Pete Harvey and Joe Smillie. It’s called ‘Ten White Horses’, and is a taste of their soon to be released album, Swell To Great. As you would expect from a Scott/St John collaboration it is almost heartbreaking in its fragility and beauty. If I was putting together a supergroup of Scottish musicians these two would feature in my earliest picks – if only life was always like this:
March was the month Scots Whay Hae! started a Facebook page dedicated to music alone. This is so we have a handy place to post any music we like, but also so there was a place for the best music that hasn’t quite made the final cut for these monthly roundups, of which there is plenty.
As if to prove the point, March was packed full of great new music, from old friends and new. As you’ll know from January and February, 2015 has got off to a blistering pace in terms of great new music, and it shows no sign of slowing. That is proven as much by those who have been left out of this selection as much as those who are featured, and if you regularly check out Scots Whay Hae’s Music Page you will get an even clearer picture as to what’s on offer (as well as being able to wallow in some comforting nostalgia). Here endeth the self promotion.
We start with the welcome return of Glasgow’s Errors, and if, ‘Slow Rotor’, the single from their new album Lease Of Life (above) is any indication they are at the top of their game. It’s further example of their mastery of melodic electronica. If you like Metronomy or Summer Camp, then you’re in luck as Errors are better than both, incorporating a greater pop sensibility, and melodies which Paddy McAloon, Bernard Summner and Neil Tennant would kill for. It’s also got the best video of the month by a country mile. But don’t take my word for it: