> SNACK Bits: May 2023 – Scotland's New Music Round-up - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

SNACK Bits: May 2023 – Scotland’s New Music Round-up

It’s not as though the Bits team has been stuck in a rut, but we know the first quarter of 2023 saw us focus on folky songs and tunes that eased you into the year. There’s nothing wrong with that; it was a case of the right songs at the right time. However, it’s May, and we need to kick things up a bit. Thankfully, there’s much more variety in store for you this month.

As fans of Chvrches and the various projects involving Scott Paterson, Bits has eagerly awaited SEEDS 1, the debut EP from Protection. ‘Still Love You’ tickled our fancy last year with its house stomp and swagger, and there’s plenty more to intrigue you on the EP. ‘Treat Me Right’ maintains the tempo while ‘Young Leaves’ twists and teases you to move. It’s not for everyone, but as an electro selection that moves from chilled out to dance floor, Protection is off to a flying start.

With ‘The Dream’ by Elisabeth Elektra, a fullyformed electro-pop banger, you can keep those vibes going. The recurring refrain draws you in, showcasing Elektra’s strong vocals, but musically it’s a synth blast that spans the decades in a concise package that bodes well for Elisabeth’s next project.

Another song with plenty to offer is ‘Golden Child’ by Nikhita. It’s a trippy little number with R&B leanings, showcasing the artist’s challenges with family values, traditional and heritage expectations, and clashes with the modern world. That’s a lot to pack in, but the fresh accompaniment and dazzling vocals of Nikhita carry it with confidence.

In the mid to late 00s, you couldn’t move in Glasgow for wiry guitar lines, wry lyrics, and tight, tight trousers. None of us needs those trousers to make a comeback, but if you yearn for the days of clever songs with whip-smart instrumental interplay, ‘Signature Look’ by Julia’s Bureau will please you. As a debut single, it’s a catchy way to draw attention, so let’s hope for more of this calibre. There’s also a song with the swing of early Strokes on offer this month, and as that is the best Strokes era, it’s always welcome here.

‘Beginner’s Luck’ by Former Champ features the vocals of Irish (but we’re claiming her) singer Martha Ffion, but the sharp and jutting guitar lines add more punch to what you’d usually expect from her. With alums from Savage Mansion, Catholic Action and Secret Motorbikes, we’re optimistic for more from this act, and optimism isn’t a colour I wear too often.

‘You Belong Here’ by Katya Mansell is a touching reach-out and reminder to those needing support, an important message backed by a shuffling rhythm and plenty of swooning and swooping moments. It’s delicate yet confident. Another pleasantly engaging track is ‘Homer’ by Theo Bleak, which is excellent in its own right and a good taster for the forthcoming EP, Iliad.

The Passing Sages bring the funk on ‘Say What You Want’, a flirty number that will give people looking for a good time exactly what they want. Then there’s Blair Davie with ‘To Miss You’, a towering track of measured pop sensibilities with the ring of a Top of The Pops hit, from when that sort of thing mattered.

Pushing the pop envelope further, this time with black eyeliner and an energetic rhythm track that leaves you chasing, ‘Always There’ by Ripley is a breathless song with many punch-the-air moments. The Zebecks also channel this energy, but with more indie guitars, on ‘Breakthrough’, which will no doubt sound excellent live.

Continuing with the live theme, May will be a busy month for Slime City, with the release of Death Club on the 19th and a headline gig at St Luke’s on the same day. It’s sure to be an exhilarating/exhausting set, with more hooks than a Peter Pan convention in a fish market. They’re clever lads who aren’t shy about sharing that point, but all with a knowing smile. If you’re looking for energy, vocals that do whatever it takes to place the song somewhere interesting and a sense of fun, they’ll do for you.

And lastly, even if the review of the new Canaan Balsam album Eternity lies within or nowhere doesn’t make it into the magazine, the Bits team has your back. Start with ‘I am Skeleton’ featuring Jack Vettriano, and immerse yourself in the rest. Loneliness has never felt so appealing, especially on the closing track, ‘Requiem for a Wolf’.

So, speaking of closing numbers, that’s us out of here. Given the number of non-working Mondays in May, there’s every chance you’re reading this at the start of the week, and if you are, go out and get it, tiger! Then again, no matter when you read this, remember, you can only do your best, and we’ll see you again in June.

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