The Scottish music scene is one that is often derided by (predominantly English) critics for being too small and dominated by the same old faces. But this country is far more than the standard 500 Miles covers and sweaty three-in-the-morning singalongs of Loch Lomond by hideously drunk university students. Among our ranks, we have superb folk bands, brilliant progressive rock acts and so, so much beyond. This list is far from exhaustive but should make a good start for any foray into the rich tapestry of Scottish music.
Alright, so this folk supergroup is not entirely Scotland born and bred: however, this band are no bunch of part timers. Playing traditional instruments and singing almost exclusively in Gaelic, one would argue that whilst you may not fully understand the band’s lyrics, Daimh’s music is certain to inspire your feet into a jig, or inspire you into a Gaelic language course at the earliest possible convenience. The band have endeavoured to keep the line-up as full of Gaelic language talent as it can possibly be, with the addition of Ellen MacDonald on vocals being just one of many additions to the extended Daimh family, termed “Daimhmor”. With the group picking up awards like nobody’s business and gigging all around the world – including over twenty Scottish islands – there’s no excuse not to go and see them.
I found out about this band completely by accident whilst heading for a drink at one of my favourite Aberdonian venues, Krakatoa. I caught the middle and end of the set and became almost transfixed on the space-age, heavily echoed progressive rock that was heading at some speed towards my ears. Wishing I’d caught the beginning of the gig, I took headily to Facebook to find out what the Solar Sons were all about. It transpired that this Dundonian band formed in 2014, but did not release an album until early 2016, The Great Blue Divide. By all accounts, it was worth the wait. Whether you’re appealed to by the Iron Maiden-esque licks on Twisted Mistress, or the Mastodon-like behemoth that is Penumbra, I would highly recommend going to see this band live in the future.
Kilmarnock has spawned a few things in its time. A mediocre football team. Colin Mochrie off of Whose Line Is It Anyway. And now, Fatherson. Formed as a three-piece, they are perhaps the indie equivalent of one Biffy Clyro: regardless, they look as if they’re heading to Biffy’s levels of success in the future. Vocalist Ross Leighton has a rather diverse vocal range, and that weapon in Fatherson’s arsenal of sound is well backed up by instrumentalists Marc Strain and Greg Walkinshaw. From indie to stadium rock, they do it all, and are sure to grow into a band with the stature of Snow Patrol or the aforementioned Biffy Clyro.
Formed in 2007, this band is probably best known for having their song “Squealing Pigs” featured on NBC’s Chuck at the turn of the decade. Whilst their most prominent album “Boots Met My Face” is certainly worth listening to, it is Admiral Fallow’s less celebrated works that are perhaps the greatest gems in the collection. 2015 saw the release of “Tiny Rewards”, a subtle little album which, it can be argued, heralded a musical evolution for the band. With dates in Scotland this October in cosy venues, the perfect chance to catch Fallow on tour is just around the corner.
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