Why write an intro yourself when you can borrow from Gerry Love, making yourself sound far more enigmatic in the process? Not that we want to assassinate December, but at times, we want to flick its ears. The month is cold, you’re forced to be sociable, and usually, new music grinds to a halt.
However, for some reason, there’s still a lot going on in the Scottish music scene right now, so let’s hold off on the crackers and crack on with the reviews.
‘It’s You’ by Susan Bear is far more of a bop than you might expect, and while it’s not for the festive dancefloors, it’s an engaging and thoughtful tune that should encourage low-key dance moves on carpets, rugs, and linoleum across the country.
The same is true for SHEARS, whose ‘Made to Move’ continues a run of strong form that stretches back further than this column can recall. Admittedly, that would be more emphatic from a person with a reliable memory, but please take this as another ringing endorsement for this producer!
Song titles like ‘Inferno’, ‘Behemoth’, ‘Widowmaker’ and ‘Horror Show’ suggest that Glasgow-based Northern Irish rapper Jack Bashful isn’t messing about on new EP Dredd. Thankfully, his dark beats and clean lines live up to the billing. A blend of genres and cultures create a compelling theme which might only be for those who appreciate this musical style, but it’s right on track for those who do.
This is a time of year where a drop of sentimentality goes down a treat, and Nick Shane has delivered this with ‘Én Riverside’. Scheduled for release on 15th December, this is a smooth and pleasant track, with a mild bite, that serves as a taster for 2024’s album, Silence/Golden.
If you want something charming right now, check out ‘Could Have Been’, the debut track from Archie Topp. It’s a toe-tapper with neat guitar lines, making it a very welcome introduction to the artist, and it’s all about the emotional wrangle of not shooting your shot. Which is fair enough, but remember, kids: the combination of mistletoe and wine at the work Christmas party isn’t always your friend!
Indie rock fans should dig into The Kaves, whose ‘Prevalent’ manages to sound fresh while naggingly familiar. That’s a good place for a relatively new band to be, and the soaring moments suggest this will be a song that takes off when played live. Give it a few spins, and make sure you spend one revolution focusing on the drumming.
Jon Bercore drops the Open Fields & Steel Skies EP on 15th December, and if you want to piss off your aunt on the big day, give this a spin before the turkey is plated up. It’s glitchy, infectious, and packed with enough off-kilter rhythms to have out-of-touch relatives wondering what ever happened to music. It’s a festive tradition, and ‘Follow Your Intuition’ is sparkling enough to match the already-popped prosecco or Pomagne.
Of course, this isn’t the time to fall out with people, and Daytime TV’s day-glo pop offering, ‘Waves’, will get everyone back on side with its clean production and upwardly reaching melodies.
If you’re after something that will put a smile on everyone’s face at the table, Kirsteen Harvey’s Unpredictable EP, released on 8th December, should do the trick. From relatives who are fans of that Amy Macdonald lassie to those who yearn for summer vibes soundtracked by trumpets, offering a laid-back atmosphere, this is a crowd-pleaser. There’s an easygoing manner to Harvey’s vocals that should secure her a place on festival bills, enticing newly found fans into interaction.
At this time of year, there’s always an unexpected guest. For us, it’s Anna Sweeney with ‘Precocious’, arriving as the sleigh is heading off the printers, but we’re glad she did. It’s a bittersweet number, reflecting on a lost loved one, but it’s delivered beautifully. When the time comes to remember those no longer with us, this will be an apt little number.
And that’ll be that for this month, and year! Hope you enjoy yourself whatever you do or don’t do, and see you all in January, bright-eyed and brimming with optimism for 2024.