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’:
The nights are fair drawing in, with SAD lights being switched on across the land, and this seems to be reflected in the first new music of Autumn. The pure pop which dominated the summer months has mostly been replaced by more reflective fare with some angular electronica, plaintive acoustics and evocative ambience all featuring below.
There’s a lot of grand visions and big ideas on show, but what else are you going to do at this time of year? It all adds up to the perfect soundtrack for autumnal stravaiging, so tune in, wrap up and get out there.
Last year we recorded a podcast with Ross Whyte alongside Alasdair Roberts as they collaborated in residence in Braemar for the project ‘New Approaches To Traditional Music’, and it’s a fascinating insight into the working methods of two very different musicians. Ross Whyte’s latest album, Kaidan, is now with us and it is a thing of great beauty and intrigue which gives you something new on each listen (and I should know; it’s been in my ears regularly over the last few days). It seems a little perverse to pick just one track as Kaidan is a complete piece of music designed to be listened from beginning to end, and that’s how it works best. Having said that, here’s a taster. This is ‘Carnival’:
Originally from Ross Whyte’s home town of Aberdeen, but now making music in Brighton, next up we have the eclectic music of Lockah, which can range from early ’80s electronica reminiscent of The Human League and Heaven 17 to the more expansive sounds of Harold Budd and even John Carpenter. Released earlier in the year, but too good not to mention, Lockah’s album It Gets More Cloudy is wonderfully rich, packed with unusual melodies and taking a wicked delight in surprising the listener at every tune. Like Kaidan, It Gets More Cloudy should be listened to as a whole to get the most from it, but you can get a taste of the whole in the first track ‘Important 2/ Hate, Meet Fate’: