> SNACK Bits – Scotland’s Essential New Music (July 2023) - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

SNACK Bits – Scotland’s Essential New Music (July 2023)

New Scottish music is serious business, but that doesn’t mean the music has to be overly earnest. This is even more true in summer, and you’re going to love ‘Nunchucks’ by Crush Mouse. It’s a smooth blend of early 00s power guitar pop with a clever rap delivery played straight, with a knowing wink. It would be wrong to give away the best lines, but some of the lyrical puns and payoffs are extremely witty while meshing well with the melody. You’ll also have a repeated refrain to soundtrack your time in the park or back garden, so drink up and play carefully.

You can place your parties on a 90s tip with the ExtRaveRted EP from Arkley. We’ve long backed the old-school sound from this Scottish DJ and producer, and you’ll be smiling from ear to ear with this release. If you’re as old as we feel, you won’t need much explanation as to what the track ‘Wiggle It (Acid Grooves)’ draws on, and yes, it still sounds glorious. If you’re here for a good time, across all times, slip this into your mix this summer.

If you’re continuing the celebrations into the small hours, the BETA WAVES album All For You: Dance should be part of your plans. At just four songs, the collection is billed as Part 1 of the album, but the mixture of bouncy beats and downplayed vocals make for an intriguing combination. Sometimes you just need to lose yourself in dance music, and the synths and percussion will wash over you in a subtle manner. Sure, the lyrics leave you questioning yourself and your ability to manage a relationship, but as with most things in life, it’s best to face the music and dance.

Then again, dancing isn’t always the answer: sometimes you need to square up to heartache. If you are looking for something to tug at the heartstrings over the summer months, shack up with Cortnë and her second single, ‘Angel’. It’s a delicate number with emotional depth, so anyone enduring a cruel summer has another song they can indulge in. With the full EP scheduled for release in October, there’s more to come, which is very welcome with vocals as strong as they are here.

‘Crave!’ By Frankie Morrow caught us unawares. Their previous EP was a hazy number, ideal for late autumn, but this time around, the band are spoiling for a fight.

The aggression sounds good on them, with the production slapping you around the face (in a pleasant way). There’s an 80s sheen and a dark underside, and if this is a primer for the band’s next EP, count us in.

And the school break is an opportune time for Carla J Easton to round up a gang of kids from The Glad Foundation Kids Choir to propel ‘Blooming 4 U’ into a flurry of soaring sounds and sunshine melodies that would be at home with the Tom Tom Club. It’s infectious and it’ll ring in your ears all the way through to the end of the warm weather. (Which, more than likely, probably happened before our print deadline!).

Bits stalwart Megan Black is back again, and this time, she has a call to arms for women everywhere with ‘Mother. Sister. Lover.’ The driving, and at times jolting, backing track provides the platform for Megan to shift between longing stoicism and impassioned pleas that should spark kinship and action from all those who identify, and all allies. It’s no mean feat bundling these thoughts together in the guise of a classic rock track, meaning there’s an entry point for all. You’ll find Megan at Hug & Pint on 20th July if you want to stand with her.

Laying out their weighty declaration from the start, Saint Sappho return with power and poise on ‘In Your Hands’. The yearning vocals of Zoe Young sit neatly over the incessant guitar and choppy percussion, creating a song that builds astutely.

With a clutch of Glasgow shows in July, get out and show some love if 90s fuzz guitars are your thing. Before we hit the home straight, Community Swimming Pool have an indie dream scene number with ‘head in the clouds’ that leaves you looking for more, while the Firestations’ album Thick Terrain jingles and jangles in all the right places.

Ruby Gaines launches herself full force into ‘How It Looks’ with large vocals over a sultry funk strut, which suggests the Heavy Good EP, due for an 18th August release, will pack a punch.

Edinburgh’s Stuffed Animals make their way blinking into the daylight with the Know Enough To Get By EP. Opener ‘New Build’ is miserable, but in a comforting way, like refreshing rain after a sustained period of sunshine. ‘Canary’ meanders before an epic end, an approach that works so well, it’s replicated (same same but different) on ‘Big Tree’. ‘Scarecrow’ closes out the collection with poignancy and power.

Scottish rapper Probably Edible drops lines about destructive life cycles that deliver focus to a thrilling backing track from Tinderbox Orchestra, ‘Tribes’. There is genuine menace here, musically and lyrically, with the pay-off kicking into life like an era-defining Bond theme. With swirls of RATM and jazz, this is a cataclysmic collaboration that grabs you by the shoulders and shouts ‘are you in?’ You’ll find them at Edinburgh Central Library (Reference Library) on various dates in August [3rd–5th,10th–12th &17th–19th], for that Fringe thing.

On that note, at this point in time, it looks as though SNACK Bits will not return for the August issue. Yes, the grasping hands of the Fringe look set to seize this highly prized real estate and offer something short-term for tourists instead. Sound familiar? With any luck, we’ll surface as September gets underway, which is far more productive than Green Day are likely to be.

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