The best Scottish bands of the Noughties

Who was the best Scottish band of the Noughties? Here we suggest ten contenders and let you nominate your favourites, before voting for an overall winner.

Belle & Sebastian

You could argue very reasonably that Belle & Sebastian shouldn't be in this list at all; that their biggest success was contained within the 1990s. True, the critical apogee that was The Boy With the Arab Strap was two years before the Millenium, but it wasn't until 2000 that their music started to appear on TV regularly and later in the decade they had further success with Dear Catastrophe Witness (2003) and The Life Pursuit (2006).

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Mogwai have gained the kind of acclaim that's as slow-building and wide-ranging as their stately, instrumental post-rock. Having made significant headway in the late 90s, it wasn't really until Happy Songs For Happy People in 2003 that they broke through to the public consciousness. Nowadays they embark on world tours at an almost annual rate and are heavily involved in film soundtracks and their own record label, Rock Action.

Teenage Fanclub

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The Fannies, as they're affectionately referred to by Scotland's indie fraternity, are another band who had one foot on either side of the Millenium. Emerging from Glasgow's C86 scene but with a deeply melodic sound that instantly says 'California', the quartet's success waned somewhat in the Noughties, but word has it that one of Scotland's favourite bands have a new album due out very soon.


Surely no other band changed as much as Idlewild did during this decade. In 2000 they were still firmly in the grip of the frenetic punk phase with which they'd begun their career, but by 2009's Post Electric Blues Roddy Woomble & co had experienced mainstream success, mellowed with age and embraced the more sedate charms of traditional folk stylings. Nowadays they attract a mixed crowd of youthful headbangers and older folkies at their live shows, which only underlines their ongoing appeal in this country and further afield.

Boards of Canada

Without ever troubling the public-at-large, Boards of Canada steadily built an international following of die-hard fans through their ghostly, ambient electronica. The Warp-signed duo of brothers Marcus Eoin and Mike Sandison, based at a mysterious location south of Edinburgh, never give interviews, but on classic albums like 2002's Geogaddi and 2005's The Campfire Headphase, they let their music - and indeed whatever strange samples they found - do the talking.

Primal Scream

Of the ten bands we've chosen, it's ironic that Primal Scream released what has come to be seen as their finest album in the first month of the decade. Formed way, way back in 1982 and having played pivotal roles in the psychedelic and dance crazes of the 80s and 90s, Bobby Gillespie and band were already old pros when they unleashed XTRMNTR in January 2000, a work of coruscating noise and anti-authoritarian angst. It was a remarkable reinvention, and while their progression has reverted to a long-held Rolling Stones worship in the years since, they're still a thrilling live proposition.

Arab Strap

The band who gave their name to Belle & Sebastian's best record were also key players in the Glasgow music scene of the late 90s and early Noughties. Malcolm Middleton and Aidan Moffat grew up in Falkirk and formed Arab Strap in 1995, releasing their first LP The Week Never Starts Round Here on renowned indie label Chemikal Underground. Over the course of a decade they released music that was painfully honest, self-deprecatingly downtrodden but with a real Scottish sense of black humour. Since their official split in 2006 both Middleton and Moffat have embarked on solo careers.

Franz Ferdinand

Indie-pop was becoming increasingly stale and saccharine in the early years of the decade. Then along came a group of arty Glasgow poseurs at the start of 2004 with a song called Take Me Out. Franz Ferdinand dominated the next two years of British guitar pop with a host of award wins and nominations, and are now widely seen as Scotland's biggest touring band.

The Twilight Sad

After a few dormant years of experimentation, The Twilight Sad made their breakthrough in 2007 with debut album Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters. The Kilsyth four-piece indulge in unrestrained noise and Arab Strap-esque levels of lyrical darkness, yet they have still won a loyal following on both sides of the Atlantic, and last year's follow-up, Forget the Night Ahead, has been largely well received.

Frightened Rabbit

Following close on the heels of The Twilight Sad, Frightened Rabbit were snapped up by the same label, Brighton's Fat Cat, in 2007 and have gradually accumulated a large international fanbase. It was their second full-length release, The Midnight Organ Fight, which brought Scott Hutchison's frank, emotive songwriting to the masses, and with the follow-up, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, due for release very soon, The Rabbit could be the band to lead the Scots charge in a new decade.


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This list is's ten picks, and in no particular order. In compiling this list we tried to reach a balance between commerical and critical success, rather than just opt for who sold the most records.

Of course these kind of lists are always subjective, so read on to find out how to add your own nominations.


When we asked our Twitter followers on @under_the_radar who were the best Scottish bands of the Noughties, there was a big response, and some of the bands called for included Biffy Clyro, Dogs Die in Hot Cars, The Delgados, Aereogramme, The Fratellis, The View and De Rosa.

But who would you nominate?

To put forward your favourite Scottish band of the Noughties, add your comment in the thread below (registration required), or send an email to [email protected] with the subject 'Top Ten Bands'.


• The poll is now OPEN. Vote here

To listen to Scotland's best NEW bands, pay a visit to the Under the Radar blog at