October. It’s a peculiar month. Some take impetus from cooler temperatures and darker nights; others feel the year is starting to wind down.
This has also long been an excellent month for new music. Unis are back, summer festivals and big outdoor shows are over, and there’s so much more taking place. This is why, even though it’s what we do every month, SNACK Bits is doubling down on the great new Scottish music around us.
So much so that we’re already regretting wasting so much time on this intro; let’s get to it.
The Blue Parrot Backpackers Hostel EP by Frankie Morrow is delightful. It has that woozy and hazy feel which is perfect for autumnal days and sheltered nights. It’s a good collection, but the measured manner of most songs means the moment where it all takes off is much more impactful. We’ll leave that track name as a surprise, so it doesn’t wholly take the magic away when lift-off occurs.
With a Glasgow gig on the cards for late November, you have enough time to familiarise yourself with the folky smoothness on offer.
And talking about Glasgow gigs in November, Declan Welsh & The Decadent West are taking over the Barrowlands Ballroom.
The band have been on social media worrying about what songs they need to drop from their setlist, but they’re still releasing new tunes! ‘Mercy’ should be with you now, and its driving guitars, pleading (and pleasing) singalongs and big finish mean it’ll likely go down well on the night and most other occasions.
We now interrupt this round-up to bring you the latest edition of ‘Have you listened to SHEARS yet?’ ‘Neighbourhood’ is another low-key electro smash, upping the infectious pleasure the artist has bestowed on us in recent months. Do yourself a favour: stick them together on a playlist and have yourself a party.
Taking us in a completely different musical direction is NEEV with ‘Seawall’, which is charming. It’s lazy to say you can allow the strings to wash over you, but it’s an apt description. Also, where NEEV picks up the pace is rather refreshing: the ideal (short-term) antidote for anyone who has made the mistake of engaging with the news of late.
If you need a bit more to soothe you, and no one would blame you if you do, Emma Miller’s ‘Meet Me On The Lake’ beckons. It’s got a darker edge, turning words of love, when written down, into something more haunted yet pleasant.
An activity which is haunted and unpleasant is DIY, and this next band is billed as a Glasgow DIY supergroup. Sadly, Hound aren’t a band hailing from the big B&Q in Darnley, but with ‘Take Off’, they’ve nailed that American power-pop punk vibe. It’s fun, uplifting, and lasts about as long as my enthusiasm for building a bookcase or wardrobe.
Lewis McLaughlin’s Rollin’ On EP is ideal for those who like their Scottish folk singers to have a warbly voice and a hazy feel. The repeating steel guitar-like licks take the title track to a higher level. For those who want their music to be understated with electro glitches, the Slim Wrist album Closer For Comforting should make pleasant listening. ‘The Soft’ is beguiling, and ‘Threads’ is anthemic without breaking out of a casual stroll. To be honest, this album feels like a grower, so give it time over a few listens.
Alexandra Shrinivas serves up ‘A Woman and Her World’, a jazzy interlude showcasing plaintive vocals and a wish list to make this world less tiring. Alexander Romance returns quickly to SNACK Bits with ‘Never Alone’, and it’s an intriguing one, feeling fast and slow at the same time while also being neither. It’s worth a listen or two, though. As is the Wurlitzer-infused ‘Heart-Shaped Jacuzzi’ from Logan’s Close, who are bringing arch personality back to pop music.#
The Whim single ‘Scrolling’ features more soft rock than a sweet shop on the Royal Mile, bringing a 70s and 80s vibe to a modern problem.
‘Bad Dream’ by Josephine Sillars has the disorientating feel the song title deserves, the repeated mantra swirling around alongside piercing stabs and shuffling rhythmic steps. It won’t be out of place on a Halloween playlist, or your normal listening cycle. Just like the ‘Monster Mash’.
The Dale McPhail McPhailure album is going to split opinions, but in serious times, there’s occasionally a need to take things lightly. Sure, it’s twee, but it’s wholesome, even on challenging topics, and it has that country twang which is as at home on the West Coast as self-deprecation and Vitamin D deficiencies. Also, even if it’s not for you, at least one person in your social circle thinks this is the best music they’ve heard all year.
Pizza Crunch is also very popular in the West Coast, although the band is yet to live up to the billing of the greasy, beige wonder. Mind you; an actual pizza crunch never tastes as good as you’d imagine. ‘Young Excitement’ has an Undertones feel, which is never a bad thing, and ‘Romanticised Past’ has a glorious 80s flourish. There are some slower moments on the EP, which will no doubt connect with some listeners, but for many, their presence will only reinforce how energetic the band are when they turn up the tempo. So, something for everyone there.
And hopefully, there’s been something for everyone with SNACK Bits this October. You don’t need us to tell you there’s great music coming out in Scotland every month, but we’re more than happy to do so. Have a great one, add layers to your daily wardrobe, and we’ll see you in November.