T in the Park: The ones to watch

Nick Mitchell and Bryan Duncan of Scotland on Sunday’s new music blog Radar pick the best up and coming Scottish bands to watch at next weekend’s T in the Park

Admiral Fallow

Glasgow folk-pop darlings Admiral Fallow (right) evoke the sort of reaction that warms the cockles. In 2010 they unleashed their acclaimed debut LP Boots Met My Face, which revealed frontman Louis Abbott’s knack for wrapping heartfelt couplets around a stirring backdrop of clarinets, thundering drums and guitars. This year’s sophomore effort, Tree Bursts In Snow, continues what they do best. Now armed with two LPs’ worth of anthemic, bloodlust pop songs steeped in Scottish spirit, the BBC Introducing stage at Balado seems like a perfect fit for the five-piece.

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Beerjacket

Nothing if not prolific, singer-songwriter Peter Kelly has been quietly producing album after album of beguiling alt-folk songs since 2004. But last year’s The White Feather Trail has carried him on a wave of acclaim that’s delivered the Glasgow man to the T Break stage. As Beerjacket, his finger-picked guitars and soulful vocals have drawn frequent comparisons to the likes of Elliot Smith and Bright Eyes, but we suggest you just appreciate his performance on its own merits.

Blank Canvas

With a name that gives literally nothing away, Blank Canvas are, to use a cliché, letting their music do the talking. The young Edinburgh band emerged last autumn with a double-sided single, and the momentum has carried on into 2012, with the four-piece one of the 16 acts chosen by a panel of judges to play the T Break stage. They may not have a lengthy back catalogue yet, but tracks like By The Fire and upcoming single The Wrecker reveal a band which combines post-punk references with an urgent, youthful energy to great effect.

Capitals

It’s hard to put your finger on Capitals. Two Highlanders based in Edinburgh, they seem to be able to shift from pulsing electronica to moody guitar-led indie from one track to the next. They caught the media’s attention in 2010 with the epic dance track A Spectre is Haunting Europe, which earned them radio play and a debut live outing at a Radar showcase. This year they have played dates in America, released their first – and second – singles, and won the opportunity to provide the climax to Sunday’s T Break billing.

Crusades

Post-hardcore Glasgow quartet Crusades may be young pups when it comes to the live scene, but listen to the exhilarating Pseudo Andro and they sound like seasoned pros. Guitar riffs spark around erratic time signatures, while singers Mark Higgins and Steven Murray abuse their vocal cords, albeit with passion and gusto. Signed to Glasgow label Overlook Records, they have a debut EP in the pipeline. Judging by online videos of their riotous performances, they exude an energy which has to be seen on the T Break stage.

Miaoux Miaoux

Julian Corrie (right) is a well-liked and well-respected figure among Glasgow’s musical fraternity. While he is a talented producer and remixer, and also plays in the indie-pop band Maple Leaves, his focus has always been on cultivating his electro-pop solo career as Miaoux Miaoux. Having just released his sparkling debut album Light Of The North on Chemikal Underground, this could well be his breakthrough year. Witness this brilliant multi-instrumentalist first hand at BBC Introducing.

Nina Nesbitt

Whether or not you think there are already enough kooky female singer-songwriters around, it can’t be denied that Nina Nesbitt (left) is rapidly carving out a space of her own. The 17-year-old from Edinburgh has toured with chart-friendly Ed Sheeran, her debut EP has broken the iTunes Top 10 and her YouTube channel has racked up more than one million plays. But setting the PR blurb to one side, Nesbitt is a singularly talented young artist whose vocal gymnastics and fresh, breezy sound are likely to draw a healthy crowd to the BBC Introducing stage.

Open Swimmer

If you’re yearning for the kind of baroque pop that Grizzly Bear were indulging in a few years ago then Open Swimmer may well be the answer. Having settled in Glasgow, Australian singer-songwriter Ben TD set about forming a band around his particular musical leanings, and the result is spellbinding, both recorded and live. The quartet have perfected their vocal harmonies on haunting pop gems like Nineteen and Sugar Bowl, and their pared down arrangements and distinctive drumming ooze similar quality. Forget Brooklyn, while away your Balado afternoon at the T Break stage with this band.

Randolph’s Leap

Named after part of the River Findhorn where, legend has it, an ancient chief known as Randolph saw his foe escape by vaulting the rapids, this idiosyncratic Glasgow band have made similar progress in the past few years. Formed around Nairn singer-songwriter Adam Ross, they’ve swelled in number to encompass strings and casiotone, and won over influential fans, including members of Belle and Sebastian, BMX Bandits and the Fence Collective. They are set to open the T Break stage on Saturday, and their disarming indie-pop could be an effective hangover cure.

The Machine Room

There’s a certain swagger about The Machine Room (left), especially on the swirling, dreamy single Camino de Soda. The Edinburgh group have set themselves apart in the city’s music scene with their confident songwriting, textured soundscapes and subtle electronica. Unlike some other bands to have formed around art schools, The Machine Room possess substance as well as style, and it’s no surprise they were chosen for T Break. Any Madchester disciples at T would be well advised to get in the mood for the Stone Roses with this band’s Saturday evening show.

• To check out these bands, go to our SoS Extra page on www.scotlandonsunday.com/extra>>

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