WELCOME

Welcome to Musicalist! Through this site I aim to uncover and review some of Scotland’s hottest unsigned acts, and hopefully you shall uncover your next favourite band or song! Or not, but it’s worth a try…

Reviews can be found on the right hand side of the page, ad if you want to hear more from the acts featured, then click on ‘Playlist’ just underneath the top of the page.

A little bit about me: I am 20 year old musician that has been gigging for five years now. I’ve always enjoyed listening to music and take great joy in finding a new band or artist to listen to. My taste ranges wildly from heavy rock to acoustic to funk / soul, so there’s nothing I won’t listen to at the very least. I find there’s no feeling better than seeing someone taking the time to listen to, and then write about a song you helped create, and now it’s my turn to pass that feeling on.

If you want to feature on the site, feel free to drop an email at unsignedonlinescotland@gmail.com and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

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2016 – Top 5 Releases

2017 is just under a week in, so there’s still time for a look back on the previous year right? Well, it’s happening anyway. This probably won’t feature the usual big hits and artists that generally feature on Top 5 lists, but is instead is made up from an assortment of albums and singles that caught my attention throughout the mess that was 2016. There are so many more artists that I could mention, but then I’d be writing forever, and five is a nice number anyway. So, in no particular order, let’s get started!

 

1. WHITE – Cuts That Don’t Bleed

This was probably the latest entry that I considered, with this EP being released at the tail end of the year. Every track differs slightly from each other, but still retains an overall vibe that I can’t get enough of – with penultimate track ‘I Liked You Better When You Needed Me’ just edging it as my favourite. The mixture of synth, guitar and multiple vocals that feature give off a unique sound that you won’t easily find from any other band. That, paired with the energy and passion that WHITE give off from their live performances, made sure that they were a name to recognise and remember, with bigger things coming this year for sure.

2. Mt. Doubt – In Awe of Nothing

If you’ve looked through Musicalist before, you’ll know I’ve already talked about how much I liked the second album from Edinburgh based project Mt. Doubt. The instruments and vocals mix together seamlessly, and Leo Bargery’s voice delivers his lyrics in a manner that catches attention everytime. 2016 was a year to remember for Mt. Doubt, with appearances at T in the Park’s T Break Stage and as on BBC Scotland’s Quay Sessions. They perform on January 16 as part of King Tut’s New Year Revolution at the infamous Glasgow venue, and I’ll be making sure I’m there.

3. Vulfpeck – The Beautiful Game

Okay, this is a break from the normal artists featured on here, as Vulfpeck aren’t a Scottish act. But I couldn’t stop listening to this album upon its release, and I still haven’t. There’s something about Vulfpeck that just makes any of their tracks enjoyable and fun, and this album is no exception. From the effortless grooving on ‘Dean Town’ to the Jackson 5-esque feel on ‘Animal Spirits’, each track is a joy to listen to. If you’ve never listened to these guys, most of their music is freely available online so WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! You’re missing out, and you’ll come out with a smile on your face.

 

4. Fatherson – Lost Little Boys

When I first discovered Fatherson’s ‘I Am an Island’ a while back, I absolutely loved it and the band immediately. Cut to February of 2016, and YouTube informed me that a new video had appeared on their VEVO channel. With high expectations, i clicked on the link which led me to this track, which did not disappoint. The chorus had me hooked, and ‘Lost Little Boys’ has become one of those songs that makes me stop and listen whenever it comes on. I was gutted to miss out on their Barrowlands show last month, but I’m sure I’ll catch them this year at some point.

5. The Lapelles – Grab Life By

No list of Scottish music in 2016 would be complete without mentioning this band. With slots with Last Shadow Puppets and at T in the Park, 2016 was the year for The Lapelles, and everyone knew it. Sadly though, the career of this band was cut far too short. There’s not much more to say, except that this song is brilliant. So just listen.

The Scottish Music Scene, and Its Network

(Not everyone will agree with points made in this, but bear in mind this is just an opinion; therefore yours is welcome too)

Last Friday (the 16th December for those reading long after this is posted) I headed through to Glasgow to catch Baby Strange, WHITE, The Ninth Wave and The Cut at the O2 ABC. The show itself was incredible, with each act putting in fantastic performances, and it was easily one of the best shows I’d seen in the past few years. But there was something else that caught my attention throughout the night. Almost every time I looked around the venue, there would be a face I’d recognise that was connected to Scotland’s music scene. Promoters, artists, bloggers, and of course fans of Scottish music were all crammed in to be a part of an amazing night of music. And it wasn’t just me who had noticed; a few friends who were attending were also pointing out others that they recognised.

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What a show this was, by the way.

On the train home afterwards, and the following day, I was still thinking about how many members of the countries music scene had turned out to show their support. And then I realised that, although not always as obvious as it was at that show, this has always happened. At almost every show featuring Scottish artists that I had attended, big show or small, there would always be others connected to Scottish music there as well. And it doesn’t stop at turning up and watching; between and after sets, these people would strike up conversation with each other and get to know them better. Acts sharing event bills would have a chat that goes beyond the generic “nice set mate”/ “cheers”. Even online this amiable attitude can be seen, with twitter accounts sending support and congratulations back and forth over gigs and new releases. Personally, I try to make as many shows as I can, and attempt to speak to the performers and others who are also there. This kind of support leads to artists being exposed to new audiences, and helps to reach new areas to perform in. When I first started playing live shows this kind of support from older, established bands was invaluable, and years later it still is to those entering the Scottish music scene. Its an opportunity to learn how to get the most out of music, and what to do to make a step up.

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The Phantoms with a packed out crowd @ King Tut’s – January 2016

Scotland’s music seems to be as strong as ever and still getting stronger, and part of it is down to the network between bands/promoters etc in my eyes. Need proof? Just look at Tenement Trail, King Tut’s Summer Nights and New Year Revolution, and gigs like Baby Strange and White’s. Packed venues, large audiences, and support from act to act. One can only hope all of it gets even bigger next year.

 

Back At It Again

Boy it’s gotten quiet round here, huh?

Musicalist has been inactive for a while now for a number of reasons, some of which are down to me, whilst others are out of my hands. But I’m back, and hopefully Musicalist will be busier than ever, with new artists, songs, and new content – which will be announced soon…

New reviews will be coming in as of next week, and from then on as often as possible. In the meantime, here’s my band Indigo Sixteen‘s newest single ‘Come and Go’ – check it out and give our other songs a listen too!

Mt. Doubt

No Sounds of the Summer this week unfortunately. Partly my fault, partly other factors, but hey ho.

This week I feature Edinburgh based project Mt. Doubt who I mentioned briefly in my last post on T Break performers. This time I go into a little more depth and have a look at new album ‘In Awe Of Nothing’, check it out here. And here’s single ‘Afterglow’ to get you interested – Enjoy!

Sounds of the Summer: T Break @ TITP

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This weekend quite a few people are gathering in a field somewhere in Scotland to drink a lot, and enjoy a couple bands. This event has been going for a wee while now, and some of you might have heard of it: it’s called T in the Park.

Whilst a large number of this year’s attendees will be focusing on the main stages and world famous artists for their fix of music and entertainment, there is a much smaller stage that to me is much more important, as it hosts the up and coming acts from across the country – the T Break Stage. The acts performing this year are looking exceptional, so I’m going to pick out a few to focus on.

Let’s start with Friday shall we? Early performers THE NINTH WAVE are sure to be one to catch, with some catchy indie/synthy/pop tunes and interesting vocals. Also on Friday are alt/rock group The Telermen, whose recent EP ‘Organic’ brings back the sound of Britpop from years gone by, a welcome return to my ears. Friday also sees the massive sounding Bloodlines take to the T Break stage, with their hard hitting rock songs. I don’t doubt that their set will be loud, so I’d prepare earplugs or some form of ear protection, just to be safe.

 

Moving on to Saturday. Mt Doubt will be sure to give an ear-catching (is that a thing? It is now…) performance, with tracks from his new album ‘In Awe of Nothing’ sure to fit into a live scenario perfectly well.  In addition, Mt Doubt will be appearing on this page again at some point very soon, so go and give him a listen now for context. Saturday also sees VANT appearing on the bill. These guys have supported the likes of Royal Blood on tour and have a new EP on the way next month, so are definitely one to check out, its sure to be a high energy performance. Miracle Glass Company are another band Saturday’s line up features, and the rock and roll trio, and if their online catalogue is anything to go by, then there’s sure to be a song for most fans of guitar based music. My final pick for Saturday’s is Paisley based art/pop-rock four piece The Vegan Leather. These guys have been producing upbeat tunes that you simply can’t help but dance to. Their most recent release ‘This House’ could feature on Sounds of the Summer on its own, and could well do in the future.

 

Finally, we come to Sunday. Edinburgh’s Indigo Velvet feature with a well deserved appearance at T in the Park. They’ve been building up to this with a string of well received singles and releases, as well as much talked about live shows which led to the inevitability that they would be asked to play Scotland’s largest festival. Onstage on Sunday as well is Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5. I’m not entirely sure I can properly describe this group; if you know of them you’ll understand why, and if you don’t, then Google them and find out for yourself. I won’t say anymore except you must see them if you can. Previous feature band The Lapelles take to the T Break Stage on Sunday; I’ve pretty much said all I can about the five piece, and I would like to think no one needs more encouraging to get along to their set if they know the East Kilbride band. Foreignfox are another to feature on Sunday’s programme of bands, and their alt rock style is sure to entertain. Their recent single ‘Monsoon’ has an atmospheric feel to it, be sure to check it out. My final pick for my T Break focus is Glasgow band Sweaty Palms. These guys always give an energetic performance complete with sweating, as the name suggests. Their fuzzy brand of indie is sure to be one to stick around for.

 

So there we go, a few of the lesser known bands that I’d be going to catch this week if I was stuck in the middle of a (hopefully not too) muddy field for the weekend. Unfortunately however I’m not, so I’ll just have to hope I can find a few performances online in the weeks after.

For the full T Break line up, as well as the other stages, check out the official line up poster here.

 

Sounds of the Summer: ‘1993’

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Check out Retro Video Club’s ‘1993’ if you get the chance. Sound of the summer.

I’ve mentioned this song before when I covered Retro Video Club in a previous feature, highlighting it as a stand out track for me (see the full post here) and there’s a reason I think that way. From the simple riff to introduce the song, to the build up to an almost anthemic chorus, ‘1993’ grabs hold of you and hooks you in. Talking of old romance and relationships, it wouldn’t be out of place on an episode of The Inbetweeners or other similar adolescent TV series. The vocals are powerfully delivered, and the lead guitar provides subtle melodies behind, before launching into a soaring solo.

As I mentioned earlier, this song has the feel of a potential indie anthem that’s still to be discovered, and could be something massive – it certainly deserves it, and so do the band. Have a listen and make up your own mind: