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Radar: 5 bands to watch in 2013

Edinburgh Hip-Hop crew, Young Fathers.

Edinburgh Hip-Hop crew, Young Fathers.

The Radar team run through their picks for the coming year.

YOUNG FATHERS

Scotland’s hip-hop scene has been bubbling away in recent years, without really catapulting any one artist or producer to wider fame (unless you shoehorn the likes of Hudson Mohawke and Rustie into that category). Radar has profiled several names from this underground scene, including MOG, Hector Bizerk, Stanley Odd and The Ordinary Allstars. But one of the first names we featured, and the band who always seemed most likely to make the step up, was Young Fathers.

The Edinburgh-based trio burst on to the stage in 2009 with their choreographed dance routines and quickfire quips, but it was their colourful pop prowess that would seem to be their biggest selling point. The assault on the mainstream never quite materialised, however, despite numerous festival bookings and the occasional TV appearance.

2013, however, could be their year. Having evolved their sound on the more expansive, slightly darker EP Tape One in late 2011, the band caught the attention of influential video blogger Anthony Fantano (The Needle Drop), which led in turn to them being snapped up by the highly respected Los Angeles label Anticon, who are re-releasing the EP next week. (Nick Mitchell)

• Young Fathers launch Tape One with a show at Broadcast, Glasgow, on 19 January.

THE BAD BOOKS

Since their tentative beginnings in 2011, The Bad Books have yet to do the decent thing and commit any recordings - save for a gig bootleg and a couple of low key acoustic numbers - so the chances of randomly stumbling across them on the information superhighway is currently pretty slim.

That ought to change in 2013 when their debut EP is finally released, and will reflect a building self belief over the course of 2012 which saw them move from relying on the support of pals to headlining their own gigs and backing up Kid Canaveral at a packed Electric Circus. They even struck out of their own town of Edinburgh to play gigs in places like Glasgow and, um, Cupar, so the word is clearly spreading.

So much so that we hope this is the last time it gets mentioned that guitarist Michael Morrison and fiendishly charismatic frontman Graeme Anderson are ex-members of Come On Gang and The Kays Lavelle respectively. Joined by dapper bassist Scott Finnigan and ROCK drummer Andrew Brodie, these guys are carving their own niche and could outstrip the legacy of their associated acts. God knows the tunes are there - there are significant nods to US alt rock acts like Grandaddy and Guided By Voices, with a heavier sound than you’d expect, underpinned by Brodie’s thunderous skin hitting.

Live, they’re something else. Not content with blowing away crowds, big or small, with half a dozen melodic, mangled BIG tunes, the unsettling sight of Anderson prowling through the audience with a megaphone during traditional set closer Victory Lap is a deal maker. Bear in mind this is a band that have probably not even played 20 gigs - to pull off something like that requires incredible confidence, and we think that confidence could take them, very, very far. (Stuart Lewis)

ALARM BELLS

Gone but not forgotten. You could hardly fail to recall the exploits, or indeed the name, of Dananananaykroyd. The multi-syllabic, multi-member collective burned through the nation’s venues like a firework a few years ago.

Known for their anarchic ‘fight-pop’ style, when singer John Baillie Junior wasn’t breaking limbs in stage jumps, their live shows were actually collective displays of camaraderie. Wall of cuddles, anyone?

In September 2011 they announced they were calling it a day after two albums, but last year Alarm Bells rose phoneix-like from the ashes, with five of the original members on board.

The trademark energy remains, but if anything their playful brand of post-hardcore has become even more inventive. On the EP Part One, the quintet veer from head-spinning squelch-rock (Speeding Ticket) to the measured brutality of lead single Cocoons.

Alarm Bells have already played a string of shows in their native Glasgow, so if you pine for the days of Dana... you’d better get following for the latest gig news.

The band have just posted the Part One EP online in its entirety. It’s available for £10, and all funds will go towards the recording of Part Two. Now there’s an investment. (Nick Mitchell)

GALOSHINS

Last year Django Django proved that it was possible to make music that was thrillingly esoteric and make a giant leap into the wider realm of public awareness. The band’s Mercury nomination was only one small part of this success story, and it seems like, after a spate of electro-charged names crowding the pop vanguard, there is now an appetite to see what can become of guitar music in 2013.

If all goes to plan for them, Galoshins could play a big part in this movement. The Glasgow band have been a furtive presence on the periphery of the Scottish music scene for the past few years, but now they have attracted the attention of local label Armellodie Records and have not one but two EPs due for release next month.

Recorded separately in July 2011 and April 2012, EP1 and EP2 serve as a blistering calling card for a ferocious-yet-focused trio who cram more invention into one song than most chart squatters manage in a whole album.

When he’s not pounding away on the organ, Mark Macphail is the perfect frontman, his frenzied vocals pitching him somewhere between The Hives’ Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist and The Fall’s Mark E. Smith. James Eyland’s guitar lines, meanwhile, alternate between choppy post-punk riffs and off-piste, free-willed exploration - although never straying too far from the coiled rhythms provided by drummer Ruraidh MacLeod and “unofficial fourth member and studio guru” Iain Macduff.

‘Galoshin’ is an old Scots word for ‘trick-or-treating’, and there’s an element of gothic menace to their sound. But, like the aforementioned Django Django, they know exactly how to walk the pop/freak tightrope, and it’s this skill that could see them making themselves heard to a wider audience in 2013. (Nick Mitchell)

• EP1 and EP2 by Galoshins is released on Armellodie Records on Monday 4 February. The band mark the occasion with a show at Nice’n’Sleazy, Glasgow on Friday 8 February, with support from Furhood, Paddy Steer and Battery Face.

HOLY ESQUE

Holy Esque may be young in both senses of the word - they only started out in 2011 and all members are aged between just 19 and 20 - but don’t let the lack of years fool you.

With a raspy-voiced frontman and a mysterious image, this Glaswegian four-piece are poised for a breakthrough this year.

Still unsigned, the band released their self-titled debut EP with producer Kevin Burley, who has worked with the likes of Glasvegas and Wu Lyf, last April.

The four tracks, including Rose and Ladybird Love, are brimming with talent and emotive power, via the trembling lead vocals and a dark mix of drum beats and guitar riffs.

Having just landed from a European tour supporting The Raveonettes and with tour dates lined up in America this coming year, these boys can surely only be destined for great things in 2013. (Terri Cluckie)

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