Great news: the Edinburgh Festival is over, and we are no longer subjugated to the whims and salt and sauce threats of the capital. Sure, it’s nice to spread the love to other parts of the country through the year, but with tourists packing their bags, retailers (slightly) lowering their prices and AirBnB property owners swimming in bathtubs full of filthy lucre, it’s back to the west and normality.
First up in Bits this month is Mha Iri, a techno DJ from (checks notes…) Edinburgh. Aaah, let’s just ignore that opening paragraph, because if music like this is emanating from the city, it can’t be all bad. The artist dropped The Unexpected EP, her debut for Drumcode, on 25th August, and it went off in all the right places.
The title track is instantly familiar to those who saw her play at Rave The Planet in Berlin (there were 300,000 attendees: someone here must have been there), and to those in touch with modern techno. The mix of dark and light over a relentless backing is always welcome, but the twists and turns before the final flurry makes this unique enough to warrant repeated plays. ‘Let the Good Times Roll’ flows on neatly but with vocals to mix things up, and ‘Filthy’ is almost the dictionary definition of that name.
Also, we never got the chance to tell you about Fourth Daughter and the Hyperreal EP, so we’re doing so now. ‘Walk With Me’ and ‘Chained to Try’ are electro-pop tunes that will always get you on the dance floor, or at least casually nodding your head while sitting comfortably.
Alex Amor attempts to salvage a fading relationship with the poppy ‘Like The First Time’, and while her personal life is her business, if it results in fresh tracks with a good few hooks like this, let’s all wish her a great deal of unhappiness in love. (With a big happy ending; we’re not monsters!)
Saint Sappho are also ruminating on bad times between formerly close people on ‘You Did This’. This feels the most consistent release from the duo yet: the guitar lines perfectly counterbalance the languid vocals, capturing the mix of emotions that overwhelm many of us during times of change.
It’s good to have Martha May & The Mondays cut in with more optimism and positivity on ‘HARDCORE HAPPINESS’. It won’t have the BPMs that many hope for on seeing the title, but if you like fuzzy guitars and vocals that cut through the gloom, you’ll have a fine time here.
‘Brace’ by Dutch Wine is an intoxicating little number, from a three-piece on the up (going by tickets sold and the quality of this track). It’s atmospheric, there’s a good chorus, but it’s grounded in a gritty and honest sound that creates a track that’s provocative and exciting. Showing us that three-pieces in Edinburgh are just as capable of causing a scene, the eponymous album from PK Bats is out now, and it’s a swirling vortex of angst and shoutalongs. These are good things, as is this record.
And if it’s singalongs and scratchy guitars you’re after, Gelatine serves up the TV Dinners EP, which certainly fills a gap in a hurry, making it an aptly named release.
The soundscapes on Before The Echo by Sulci are recommended for those looking for some blissful relaxation, with ‘Cherry Lips’ a pleasing number. ‘Out Of Focus’ is more strident, while ‘Epoch’ has a brooding air about it, making for a grand collection of effortlessly produced songs that can accompany a multitude of tasks or thoughts.
At the end of September, Cortnë drops ‘Eve’ on her way to the Florescence EP release and Glad Café gig on 13th October. It’s another beautiful number that slides by with a lot of heart and pride. It all bodes well for what’s to come, while standing as an uplifting track in its own right. If you can’t wait that long for music with heart and honesty, the Home Run EP by Finn Brodie is with you now, and that’s genuinely lovely.
That’s us for this month, and admittedly, we’re barely ruffling the surface of what you’ll find in September, a lively time of year in the music scene with students returning and the major festival circuit dropping off. As always, if you haven’t found what you’re looking for here, just get out there: it will be around. All being well, we’ll see you in October.