The clocks have moved forward more than the Bits team has managed recently. It’s been a long month, but with spring upon us, let’s hope life is less of a grind and more uplifting. Music always helps, and rather than elongating this intro in a way that would make you think we were getting paid by the word, let’s talk about the best new music from Scottish artists.
It’s obvious Silvi owns a stunning voice and a powerful and imposing style that can stop you in your tracks at 40 yards, but the absolute joy in Silvi’s music isn’t just in her vocals; it’s in how the standard of song behind and around the lyrics matches the singing. In ‘Don’t Wanna Love Again’, the artist dazzles across a lurching, stabbing, and twisting accompaniment, cutting loose on occasions to maximum effect. The mixture of fragility and commitment encapsulates the narrative of love that so many of us know too well. Even when things are running smoothly, it’s human nature to question what will go wrong. Big statements and grandeur are back in music (if they ever went away), and once heard, this will stick in your mind. One of the most impressive things about so many of the new artists in Scotland is the quality of their output, covering songwriting, production, vocals, and raw emotion. Technology helps, but that alone wouldn’t provide the platform for many artists to create engaging music that connects to hearts and minds. Right now, we’re not short of fascinating talent, but Silvi is making music that is well worth championing.
The same applies to Kohla, who features in Bits for the second consecutive month. Look, if Scottish artists keep releasing great songs, they can remain here for as long as they like. ‘Bedroom’ glides beautifully, a sweet slice of gospel pop, an unashamed hymn praising sex, love, and commitment. The piano-driven chorus is lovely, sashaying confidently, an ideal soundtrack to step into spring with.
In a different setting musically, but no less beguiling, is ‘Known’ by Daisy Harris. The strumming guitar waltzes throughout, with Harris’s cooing making you feel like this is a place you can settle. The Forest Girl Rock EP was released at the end of 2022, but a new video for ‘Known’ gives us the perfect excuse to highlight the track. Anyways, music should never be time-barred.
And music should fit you. Plenty of people will love the songs listed above, but for others, they’ll lack energy and sneer. If you’re looking for something more raucous, the Man Up EP by Big Girl’s Blouse delivers a shot in the arm. ‘Sharks’ rattles along at breakneck speed while ‘I’m Scared Of Men’ has a loose swing, a big chorus, and a message that shouldn’t need to be said in 2023 – but by God, it should be played from vans patrolling the streets, booming out to spread the word.
You’ve probably (hopefully) got better things to do than stick with us wittering on, so let’s race through some songs we’ve liked in the past few weeks. ‘A Slick One’ by Psweatpants is a cultured and well-crafted track showcasing why he’s one of the hotly-tipped acts of the UK rap scene. Dahlia returns with the glitchy ‘Keep Running’, swirling the goths, ravers, and curious into the mix. It works, even if no one will ever know why!
Day Sleeper has a debut EP readied for June, and ‘Everything There Is’ acts as a handy teaser and a synth-infused understated pop number to soothe your head and soul at the end of a long day. The chorus of ‘Into The Puzzle’ from The Fort Rhythm Section by Locked Hands is delightful, steering a path between Bowie and Talking Heads that no one asked for, but many people will want.
‘Flashlight’ by MALKA is a cool electro number, with the artist’s vocals commandeering the spotlight with purpose. Cloth are a bit more understated, but on ‘Never Know’ they display a growing maturity and assuredness that bodes well for new album Secret Measure.
With a sense of urgency befitting the topic matter, Blue Rose Code turn their attention to child poverty on ‘Thirteen Years’. With proceeds going to Children 1st, the nation’s children’s charity, it strikes a poignant note about finding money for coronations but not for the development of kids, and nurses on picket lines, while we have money for bombs and wars. The sax and guitar solo sear, and the song bristles with a justified sense of indignation.
And on that note, that’s enough from us for one month. Take care of yourself, take it easy, and take it away until we see you in May.