On the radar: Popolo

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Aside from forays into electronica, post-rock and metal, this blog has swayed towards bands with acoustic and/or folk tendencies.

This hasn't been any deliberate strategy on our part; it just so happens that some of the best new bands around these parts (and especially Edinburgh) are using folk elements in especially forward-thinking ways.

But there's another kind of music gaining traction in Scotland, one that can be heard in the slinky electronica of Errors or the disciplined dynamics of Galchen. However you want to describe it, it's music that aims not to soothe but to jolt, unsettle and excite.

Popolo's short, sharp guitar jams extend this style of unnerving dance-rock in another new direction. The quartet - based between Dundee and Glasgow due to work committments - accept that the reason they make music isn't to set the listener at ease, but neither are they aiming to blow minds.

Guitarist /synth player Tom Ogden: "We're playing music mainly because we're all good friends and thoroughly enjoy challenging music which is easy enough to swallow. It's a convenient way of hanging out as well as creating something worthwhile that hopefully people will enjoy."

Together since January last year, Popolo are now being name-checked across the country as a band to watch, winning notable fans including artist David Shrigley, who gave them their very own logo

The cartoonish, pop-art style suits a band with a sense of humour, and Popolo, who cite their influences as "all forms of techno, pushing the boundaries of fast food intake, post-gig-drive-home-sing-songs, 'Iron Man' by Black Sabbath and Fast Times at Ridgemont High" evidently like a laugh.

While the tracks posted above exude Popolo's almost robotic, no-nonsense essence, Ogden expects upcoming material to be a significant leap forward.

"We have very high hopes for the next batch of songs which will form our EP," he says. "We've started working on a couple of songs, one of which was demo'd in February, and it's coming along really well. The overall sound is far more powerful and as such everything that our earliest songs hinted at is exposed and exploited in a bigger way."

And Popolo are equally optimistic about the scene they're threatening to break out of.

"The Scottish music scene will almost always be at the vanguard in terms of the wider British scene and I think that's definitely true right now," Ogden says. "Bands like Findo Gask, The Ballad of Mable Wong, Errors and Copy Haho are pretty obvious examples of how strong it is right now."

Like what you hear? Catch Popolo live at the Captain's Rest, Glasgow on 19 Sep with Boycotts, and check their MySpace for future gig action.

Under the Radar: showcasing the best new music in Scotland

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