Looking back, as is everyone’s wont at this time of year, two things in particular are striking about 2016 in music. There was the continued rise and success of the independent record label, especially Last Night From Glasgow, Song, by Toad, Olive Grove Records and Errant Media, and it was a year of classic albums, from the triumphant return of Teenage Fanclub, Mogwai, King Creosote and Kid Canaveral, through the mostly excellent SAY Award nominees, to those released by the artists below.
These are our choices for the 10 best songs reviewed on these pages this year. As ever, it’s a list which focuses on individual tracks, but if you like what you hear you should investigate further as most of them are to be found on equally awesome albums.
If you aren’t sated by what follows you can discover more of the new music we covered on Scots Whay Hae! by listening to our Best of 2016 Spotify list.
But enough preamble, here’s the countdown listed in chronological order and what we thought about them at the time, with a few relevant updates…
Errant Boy – Black Dress, Black Cab
Errant Boy are another who have recently featured on those pages. That’s because we like to be surprised and delighted, and it appears that the ability to do both is in Errants Boy’s DNA. This is their latest single, ‘Black Dress, Black Cab’, and it demands repeated listenings as it takes you to different places every time. The song moves from menace to magic and back again in a single line, with layered acoustics and vocals which seem to pull you in opposite directions. It reminds me of The Woodentops in the sense that what you are listening to is way more complex than you initially believe, and that’s a great thing. I feel I could write a short essay on this song. I’ve been listening to it a lot. Can you tell?
I’ve never really thought about how the changing seasons affect the music you listen to, but one of the interesting things about following the year through Scots Whay Hae!’s Tracks Of The Year Spotify list has been to see what the 2016 trends have been, and how they change.
It does seem that as the year has progressed the upbeat has slowly been replaced by more reflective and contemplative fair. I could try to come up with a clever reason for this, but the truth is this is the sort of music I like to have accompany me on cold, dark nights. So there’s melancholia as well as melody in this roundup of reviews. There’s even a mention of “mortification”. However, there’s also one tune which will be essential at any self-respecting Christmas night out. You’ve got to have an exception to prove the rule.
We begin with something magical and moving. it is something to have been is the new EP from Olive Grove Records, and features songs from Jo Mango (‘Wisps Of Something’), The State Broadcasters (‘I Am This’), The Son(s) (‘Mississippi’) and Call To Mind (Hole In The Heart’). Available on download and on beautiful green vinyl, it’s a reminder, as if you needed it, that the name Olive Grove has long been a guarantee of quality. They simply refuse to release anything other than the finest music, and, although each track on it is something to have been works individually, together they make one of the most significant and memorable releases of the year. Olive Grove’s Lloyd Meredith has gathered a fine family of artists around him, and it is fitting that this EP honours the memory of his late father as it’s the perfect summation of where Olive Grove have come from, and how strong they stand today. Buy a copy for someone you love. They’ll thank you for it, perhaps more than you’ll realise:
God Bless us, Every One. In case you have a moment in the day between new socks, brussel sprouts and Peter Capaldi where you don’t know what to do with yourself, here’s Scots Whay Hae!’s favourite songs of the last 12 months to offer an alternative soundtrack to Christmas time.
There’s little point messing about, so I’ll keep it simple. Below are 10 greats tracks for your pleasure. There are links to the original posts if you want to learn more, but right here, right now, it’s just the hits. Gather round your Christmas tree and let’s rock…
Night Noise Team – The Enemy, Time