One of the best moments of Lost In France, Niall McCann’s stellar, sepia-toned documentation of the Scottish indie music scene in the early 90’s, comes from the mouth of a Frenchman, David Sosson.
It was David who invited a large chunk of the bands that made up Glasgow’s DIY music scene over to his hometown of Mauron in France in 1997 for a music festival, one that serves as a focal point for the documentary.
A scene that he had fully immersed himself in while studying in Glasgow. Out with stints working as a chef in a restaurant on Byres Rd, David spent his free time wisely, attending gigs at the old 13th Note on Glassford St. And his love for the city and its music is perfectly encapsulated during Lost in France when he speaks of the fact that “almost everyone on the street carried a guitar with them.”
And while this outsider image of Glasgow may contain elements of romanticism through French eyes, the reality is that, given the sheer number of bands plying their trade across the city in 2017, his words strike a chord now more than ever.
And thanks to the magic work of labels such as Fuzzkill, Last Night From Glasgow, LP Records, Hot Gem and the Glasgow public’s celebrated, insatiable appetite for live music, where once factories and shipyards represented the heart of the city in the industrial era, today it’s places like Mono, Tuts, Stereo, Broadcast and The Hug and Pint that really represent centres of ‘Made in Glasgow’ output.
With that in mind, here’s a list of 41 current Glasgow bands that are, as the title denotes, the opposite of shit. Some who are already well known or have recently found themselves thrust into the limelight, some still in their infancy. The 41 connected by virtue of the fact they are all killing it.
As tight and multi-talented a band that Glasgow has ever seen, the crowd chewed up their Saturday night set at Old Hairdressers. With a video in the pipeline via the hand of celebrated San Francisco artist Alexis Anne Mackenzie, the Muff are, without doubt, ones to pull out the dance shoes for.
After a cracking set at Oran Mor as part of the BBC 6 Music Festival fringe, Lucia followed it up last night with another sublime show at The Berkeley Suite in support of new EP ‘Best Boy’. And with three dates in support of Honeyblood across Scotland next week alongside a show at Stag and Dagger at the end of the month, there appears to be little let up as she continues to go from strength to strength.
A band that are so loud they might break the sound barrier, bouncing floors and crowd surfers, and a whole lot of sweat, are staples to any Shredd live show. Having just launched single ‘Cobra’ to a packed Old Hairdressers, the garage/fuzz rockers are one of the strongest bands on Fuzzkill Record’s arsenal.
Featuring Frightened Rabbit guitarist Simon Liddell among their ranks, Swimmers shows are sporadic in nature, but definitely worth catching, as their January show for Celtic Connections with Broken Records attested to.
The duo have flown the flag for Glasgow in the likes of Russia, The Azores and, most recently, Texas, where, at SXSW, reports say they ripped it up. 2017 looks set to be a big year for ex French teacher Suz and partner Lewis, especially with a slot at Optimo’s 20th birthday bash.
Following a super intimate show in Edinburgh to launch their 7 inch single ‘At Least We Got A Song Out Of It’ (via Gerry Loves Records) alongside West Princes and a support slot for The Orelles at The Hug And Pint, the three piece have cemented a place for themselves within the Glasgow wide music psyche. Ones to go check out for sure.
Another band who smashed it out the park at SXSW, its a wonder how Pinact aren’t yet one of the biggest bands in the country, such is their knack for producing crackers like ‘Up or Down’ and ‘Anxiety’, both to be found on debut album ‘Stand Still And Rot’. And with their new material sounding ace, there’s hope yet.
Nearing the end of a mammoth North American tour off the back of SXSW, no one knows the US circuit like PAWS do. With 2016’s Mark Hoppus produced third album ‘ No Grace’ (via Fat Cat) the band continued the quality level of output visible on previous releases Cokefloat! and Youth Culture Forever, having cemented their status as a great live band with support slots with the likes of The Cribs and We Are Scientists.
THE VAN T’S
What bigger a baptism of fire, and vindication of talent, than their upcoming support slot for the one and only The Jesus And Mary Chain at Amsterdam’s iconic Paradiso venue next week. Totally deserved for Dundee born twins Chloe and Hannah. Kudos.
With recent single release ‘Wet Bark Is A Slug’ released to rave reviews (via Jim Lambie’s the VOIDOID imprint), the quartet are bringing a touch of the tropical to the city with their eclectic, breezy sound that you can’t help let wash over you at their live shows. Go see them soon.
MACHINES IN HEAVEN
With the inclusion of 2016’s ‘Phenomenology’ on the long list for this year’s SAY award, the genre-bending three piece continue to carve out a unique space in the Glasgow music scene with their experimental ethos. Joined by new member Lorna Mackinnon, they will no doubt continue to keep pushing the envelope in 2017.
Currently on a 24 date UK tour run in support of new album ‘Babes Never Die’, the band have definetly turned it up a gear with respect to their debut self-titled release, thanks in no small way to Cat Myre’s pounding percussion. A band who despite their minimal set up, project a live sound thats bold, assured and full bodied – one that has seen them merit, and earn, fans all over the world.
Shouts of ‘Up The Rapid’ were heard far and wide off the back of last year’s debut EP ‘Wonderful Special’ – and the majestically titled single ‘Spicy Govan’. Having debuted new songs last month during a live session for Cumbernauld FM, the Tan are one’s to keep an eye on. Rapid.
Having just announced a double header at Tuts in June, the Bibles are decimating ears and grabbing folk by the throat with their raw, frantic sound and energetic live shows – as their recent show in support of Twin Atlantic at St Lukes illustrated. 2017’s gonna be a big one for them.
THE VEGAN LEATHER
The Paisley art-pop four piece have not long premiered debut single ‘Shake It’, and its a belter. One of many releases scheduled for this year to build up momentum while they record their debut album, in the meantime the band are playing Widedays later this month in Edinburgh, where they graced the stage in support of fellow ‘buddy’ Paolo Nutini at his new year shows, alongside Frightened Rabbit.
Signed to newly formed Glasgow label LP Records (founded out of the record store of the same name in Kelvinbridge), the guys put down a cracking show at Oran Mor as part of BBC 6 Music Festival Fringe. They’ve just released their second EP ‘Sky Hooks’, which has found distribution in North America thanks to 6131 Records. Awesome.
LAURA ST JUDE
The singer songwriter has been quiet of late since releasing AA single ‘Misery/Sit Down, Friend’ alongside ex The Amazing Snakeheads frontman (and current member of her band) Dale Barclay last year (via Black Sheep Records). Let’s see what the rest of the year has in store for the balladeur.
Signed to Mogwai’s Rock Action label, the utterly infectious Paws of the sacred kind knocked it out the park with their performance at the BBC 6 music festival show in St Lukes. Having already developed a cult following way back in 2015, the release of debut album ‘Strike A Match’ back in January of this year has seen their stock rise exponentially, with songs such as ‘Everyday’ becoming permanent fixtures on radio stations up and down the country.
Perhaps the best named and visually astute band in the city, HolyEsque’s music more than matches these other strings they have in their bow. With the follow up to ‘At Hope’s Ravine’ expected in the near future, catch them at The Classic Grand on Record Store Day.
Officially the band with the most difficult name to find on social media, White hasn’t let that stop them grab the throne of the city’s foremost party starters. With their debut album ‘One Night Stand Forever’ out on the 21st April and subsequent 8 date European tour kicking off in May, the next few months will no doubt see the spotlight shine on them as bright as frontman Leo Condie’s wardrobe colours.
With debut album ‘Into The Light’ out next month via label Last Night From Glasgow, we will be seeing and hearing a lot from Ian Mackinnon’s men this year – and deservedly so, with shows already announced at Kelburn Garden Party and The Voodoo Rooms and Kraft Brew festival in Leith to name but a few.
Currently knuckled down in the studio in Clydebank, the kings of the vintage sixties sound produced the album of 2015 (and conquered Spain) with their Summer Rain compilation LP, released on Pretty Olivia Records. Hoping to hear the fruits of their labour soon.
Self described music maker and booty shaker, Emme’s raw been making waves since her transition from her Something, Someone moniker. with a WideDays showcase, Phil Campbell (The Temperance Movement) support slot and show at The Great Escape festival filling up her calendar, she will no doubt continue to win legions of new fans this year.
THE NINTH WAVE
After a fantastic show last night at The Berkeley Suite alongside Lucia to launch their new AA vinyl ‘Human Touch/Nothing Is Certain’ (via Glasgow’s Dead Beet Records) the band make the trip to Manchester later this week before a return to Scotland to play WideDays in the capital. A fresh and welcome addition to the city music scene.
Those who made it along to December’s St Lukes show know few bands come close to CC in a live setting, and their recently announced first show of 2017 at Broadcast in May (a late night show) will surely have folk hanging from the ceiling. With slots already pencilled in for Carnival 56 and Electric Fields in the summer, its not hard to imagine a swell in the number of their faithful.
The indie/soul sextet will pronto be adorning our ears with new music as they release highly anticipated debut album ‘Any Joy’ on the 5th May via Electric Honey. With an incredible 18 shows pencilled in between now and July across the UK, there’s no excuse not to catch them soon.
Would-be winners of best ‘merch’ on the planet with their Trump/Hijab tee, the band have promised and delivered over the past 2 years, since the release of EP ‘Hollywood Wax’. With belters such as ‘Captain Of The Rugby Team’ and ‘Pretty Poor For A Posh Boy’, any gig is guaranteed to be a hoot.
No list would be complete without them. Perhaps the band at the forefront of Glasgow’s DIY scene, the band have been launched into the limelight thanks to an incessant drive and determination – and a plethora of pop gems such as ‘Rita Ora’, ‘Breakfast’ and ‘Doing Well’. With their debut album to come this year via ModernSky, the world really is theirs for the taking.
Another SXSW attendee this year, the band have recently released 7” single ‘Raining On Hope St’ via Stephen Pastel’s Geographic label. As central a band to the city’s DIY scene as any other, April and June will see them venture south of the border for shows in Cardiff, Leeds and Brighton.
DECLAN WELSH AND THE DECADENT WEST
The young whippersnapper has channelled his talent as a spoken word poet into a group that has generated its fair share of buzz within the city, thanks to a heady brew of punk and pop sensibilities and direct, no fucks given attitude – as displayed on single ‘No Pasaran’. With a show at WideDays on the way and an EP coming soon, the summer is looking positive for the band.
The moniker of ex White member Hamish Fingland, Roxy has been producing output since way back in 2014. Elusive and enigmatic in equal measure, Roxy celebrated his first physical release last month with ‘Prebirth’, billed as a ‘collection of stories of frustration, anger and sex’. One to go see at Stag and Dagger for sure.
A late addition to the list, the band really made an impression at Lylo’s single launch in Mono last Friday, with an alluring blend of electro vibes and guitar licks. Ones to catch at a party near you in the weeks and months to come, especially given their charitable side in the form of donating half their cut to good causes.
After a strong 2016 with composing credits, support slots with the likes of Shield Patterns and Lets Eat Grandma and a show at the Havana Glasgow Film Festival under her belt, Julie Fern Crawford follows up debut Pale Slopes release with EP Nuclear BB, out on the 21st April via Hot Gem. One to keep an eye on for sure.
After their debut live show at The Rum Shack back in September of last year, the mysterious electronic outfit have whipped up something of a small storm with their live shows to date – which showcase a New Order type feel backed by frontman Shandy’s Ian Curtis like presence. With no social media presence, keep your ear to the ground for more info.
Featuring frontman Craig Angus alongside members of Catholic Action and Rapid Tan, the band’s sharp rise saw them open for Frightened Rabbit at The Barrowlands last year alongside PAWS. With an upcoming support slot with Happyness and a AA single launch show in the pipeline in May (via LostMap) at The Hug and Pint, they are certainly keeping themselves busy.
Winners, hands down, of Glasgow’s sharpest looking band, there’s bags of substance where there is style. With new track ‘Motormind’ whetting appetites prior to the release of 6 track EP ‘Extended Play’ in the summer and a show at the upcoming Stag And Dagger all-dayer, it’s as good a time as any to jump on the Baby Strange bandwagon (if you haven’t done so already).
Featuring the greatest use of saxophone since Brian Ferry’s Roxy Music, Lylo brought the house down last weekend at their Glasgow/Edinburgh shows to launch their new single ‘You Have Your Father’s Eyes’ (El Rancho Records). Ones definitely to keep an eye on.
The hardest working band at this year’s SXSW – playing around 25 shows – the punk duo have just released new single ‘Darling’, one that found them on Spotify’s list of hot new bands. Worth picking up a copy of last year’s fantastic debut LP ‘Our Fertile Forever’ to add to the collection.
It’s a big night for the psychedelic four-piece tomorrow night, as they support Tame Impala’s Cameron Avery at Tuts alongside All The Franklin. Featuring producer and multi-instrumenalist Wuh-Oh on guitar, the band are promising to showcase some new material they have been working on at the gig.
Continuing a rich vein of form since the launch of their self titled album in September last year, the band released a new single, ‘Rats & Rats’, back in February. And as a recent addition to Indietracks festival in Derby in July, the four-piece have built up a solid reputation that saw them go down well at this year’s SXSW.
Another prized asset from the Fuzzkill stable, the band have released two EPs to widespread acclaim in the form of ‘Play’ and ‘Nostalgia Factory’. With recent sets at the Freakender Spring Fling and at Mono supporting Lylo on Friday night, its a band whose bubble gum garage rock charm continues to impress.