Ask a cross-section of those in the Scottish music business who’s going to be big in 2013, and the answer will usually be “Chvrches”.
The glorious Glasgow electro-pop trio are already on the tastemaking BBC Sound of 2013 list and being talked up in all the right places, and half of those we spoke to mentioned them.
Asked to dig a little deeper, their choices – not confined to Scottish artists, but almost exclusively consisting of them – revealed plenty more reasons to be excited about new music in 2013, particularly north of the Border.
Vic Galloway, BBC Radio Scotland
If I had to go for one band I’d be silly not to choose Chvrches. On the strength of two singles, some great live shows and every blog on the planet going crazy for them, they’re off to South by Southwest this year and being courted by some major labels. They’re all experienced musicians and songwriters, but they’ve got pop suss too, it’s not navel-gazing. They’ve gone for the prize and they’re a genuinely good band. Other than that, anyone with the slightest interest in Scottish hip-hop will know Edinburgh’s Young Fathers. They’ve been around for a while, but this year they’ll be releasing music on the visionary hip hop label Anticon, and it seems to be the perfect fit for them. I could choose a band from every genre, though. I don’t buy into the doom and gloom about guitar music being dead, so Randolph’s Leap and Fatherson are also worth checking out.
• chvrches.tumblr.com, www.young-fathers.com
Ally McCrae, BBC Radio 1
They were on a few tiplists last year, but I really think Discopolis from Edinburgh could do well this year. They were finding their feet musically when they first appeared and they brought out a couple of nice synth-based pop songs, but now there’s a much stronger dance element to their sound. They’re releasing a single on Axwell from Swedish House Mafia’s label, which should be big for them, and they’ve got a really fierce new female drummer too. Going the other way, United Fruit are releasing their second album this year, and there are few rock bands who can match them in Scotland, if not the UK, for passion, aggression and quality of songwriting.
• www.thisisdiscopolis.com, unitedfruit.tumblr.com
Aarti Joshi. Co-promoter and DJ, Pretty Ugly; head of PR, DF Concerts
I heard the LaFontaines do a soundcheck in King Tut’s about a year ago, and even then my head was turned. Then when I saw them support 3OH!3 I was just so impressed by the audience reaction. They were first on a three-band bill and the support they had was massive. They’re a party band who appeal mainly to a younger audience, their music’s melodic but with some rap in there too. They’ve got a singing drummer too – I always like to see that.
• Pretty Ugly is held every second Saturday of the month at the Admiral, Glasgow, prettyuglyclub.wordpress.com, thelafontaines.co.uk
Fielding Hope, Director, Cry Parrot; music programmer, Nice ‘n’ Sleazy
Golden Teacher comprises members of Glasgow’s wild punks Ultimate Thrush and analogue house outfit Silk Cut, and they make music that’s refreshingly difficult to pigeonhole. They’re part afro-disco, part funk, part acid house, part post-punk, part whacked-out experimental dub, and I’d say they remind me a bit of Dinosaur L, Liquid Liquid, 23 Skidoo and some of the Sofrito disco stuff. A few weeks ago they sent me through their demos, most of which were recorded from organic live jams, and every track blew me away. Optimo Music will be releasing their record early in 2013.
Grainne Braithwaite, Promoter, Synergy Concerts
Matthew E White is definitely someone people will be hearing a lot more from. He released his record (the album Big Inner) independently in the States last August and it was in the US Billboard Top 50 for weeks after – it’s still floating around the key radio charts over there. Musically I’d place him somewhere between Beck and Brian Wilson, although to be honest people have been making comparisons to loads of others too. But it’s still very original, the record is big, warm and melodic with lots of soulful pop and folk rock influences.
• www.synergyconcerts.com, www.matthewewhite.com