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!

Where’s the Content? (+Announcement)

Damn, it’s gotten quiet in here since last month…

I would have been posting more regular content on here over the past weeks, however I’ve been caught up in a ton of work, band, and other musical related matters. Sorry about that, but there should be posts and reviews coming your way next week!

In addition, I’m going to be working on a new section of Musicalist for the next few months, inspired by Scottish comedian Brian Limond’s non stop weekly tweet about Daft Punk: Sounds of the Summer – if you follow my Twitter or Facebook (*cough*click the like and follow buttons on the side of my page *cough*) you’d have seen the idea being thrown out a while back. But what will it include?

As of next week, every Friday I’ll be posting a track from an act that I feel fits in with the summer vibes we get when the sun makes its rare appearance, and give my views on it. It might be an act already featured on here, or something completely new to the page, I’m still working on my list in all honesty…

So to conclude in the words of the infamous ‘Limmy’:

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As you wish…