Glasgow has historically been a tough town, but despite its hardened appearance, Scotland’s biggest city is also one of its most creatively blessed. The Jesus and Mary Chain, Teenage Fanclub, Primal Scream, Belle and Sebastian and Mogwai are just some of the legendary names that have been unearthed from Glasgow’s never ending well of authentic sound. We took to the great Scottish city to scope out the best acts of this time: (main image: Catholic Action)
A classically trained composer born and bred in Glasgow, C Duncan creates hauntingly beautiful, intricately arranged and electronic tinged folk-pop, all painstakingly put together by himself in his home studio. We had the pleasure of seeing his exquisite set of spectral song-playing at Dot to Dot festival this year.
Led by the renowned producer and Casual Sex member Chris McCrory, Catholic Action (see main photo above) is made up of four young Glaswegian men who perfectly marry classic pop with melodic, art rock sensibilities. Since their unveiling in 2014, the band have been making positive tracks throughout the Scottish music scene with their immensely joyful pop songs.
Garage band, The Sweats, playing under the moniker Sweaty Palms, have already built up quite a following in their hometown of Glasgow. Their lo-fi, punk-esque garage sounds are promising, and having only been together for just over a year, the band are currently working with Green Door Studios for their first physical release, which will hopefully be out within the next few months.
The Van T’s
Glaswegian femme-pop duo, The Van T’s guitar scathing EP, Garçon has made quite an impression on the Glasgow scene. We’ve seen the Van Thompson twin’s progress from delicate acoustic folk to full slacker-rock, with grungy riffs and heavy harmonies to boot. Reminiscent of the likes of First Aid Kit and Honeyblood, we’re expecting The Van T’s to take the Scottish festival scene by storm this summer.
Arguably quite an established act these days, Baby Strange are one of our favourite acts to come out of Glasgow over recent years. The trio have just released a new single, ‘California Sun’, that recall notions of Jesus and Mary Chain style riffs along with 60s drumbeats and shoegazey, reverb tinged guitars.
PAWS have been lacing us with giddy, hook-laden garage tunes with a knack for anthemic chorus’ and fine deadpan humour for the past few years now. Since the release of their debut LP, Cokefloat! in 2012, the trio have released Youth Culture Forever on FatCat Records, which came with less noise and more subtlety, emotional honesty and confidence.
Snaking through the neon lit backstreets of Glasgow with slicked quiffs and upturned leathers, Jim Valentine have certainly already made grounds in their hometown of Glasgow, having supported the likes of The Amazing Snakeheads, Baby Strange and Dexters. Jim Valentine’s tales of doomed romance are a welcome arrival to fans of AM and Miles Kane.
Gorgeously understated Americana from the heart of Glasgow, Andy McBride and Drew Anderson are Panic Anchor. Having released various tracks on their Soundcloud, Panic Anchor have been constantly gigging around Glasgow, building their following over the years. Their EP, Tennessee Sundays is available to stream online:
With four hectic years of gigging around Scotland, Esperanza have honed and perfected their set. With superbly composed self-written songs along with a selection of Ska classics, Esperanza are tipped as one of the favourite live acts to experience within the mod scene. Having supported some of the biggest names in Ska and Rocksteady, including the Toots and the Maytals and the Skatalites, this quality Ska band is certainly not to be missed!
Originally hailing from Perth, alternative indie band Poor Things have been likened to Pavement and Teenage Fanclub, and from first listen it’s easy to see why. Poor Things are full of youthful exuberance, and have been playing together as a trio since their schooldays. Honest and sincere lyrics are backed with cloudy, dappled guitars that create perfect pop-rock moments.
Martha Ffion is an Irish based artist based in Glasgow whose catchy, retro-inspired pop rock is lined with a side of surf grunge. Martha’s charming, playful voice is backed by a full band who’s fuzzed out, surf rock sounds only enhance the warmth within. Think Best Coast meets Angel Olsen.
The Responsible are a four-piece band hailing from Paisley who certainly aren’t afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves. The guys have tipped hats to The Stone Roses and Kasabian, and prove the current Glasgow scene has plenty to offer in terms of variety.
The New Piccadillys
60s bubble gum pop and surf-rock springs to mind when you hear Glasgow’s own, The New Piccadillys. It’s clear where they draw their influences from - shiny suits, twanging guitars and super tight harmonies are strung together combining 60s sound with 70’s punk rock sensibilities.
Something you’ll notice immediately about Yusef Azek is the gruffness in his vocals. The sugary sweet but ghostly bellows against his incredible acoustic guitar playing are spell bounding, almost otherworldly. Yusuf brings an individual sound that’s drenched in spirituality and smoky melodies.
The Black Cat Revue
The Black Cat Revue are a blues rock and psychedelic folk band. Fairly new to the scene and having only just completed their line-up, there’s not much information about them thus far, however their track, 'Lady Strangelove' takes us in a hazy trance of shingly guitars and subversive melodies that are joyously anthemic. We can’t wait to hear more.
Comprised of Corrie Gillies and Chris McCrory of Casual Sex and Catholic Action, Pinact execute the classic juxtaposition of energetic, happy go lucky, fuzzed out pop with dark and emotional lyricism. Their attitude is alike to bands of the early US hardcore punk scene, embracing the DIY ethos by putting on their own shows, touring almost constantly in the UK as well as playing house parties and dingy, dark cellars.
Surf-punk sound with a hella sense of urgency, Halfrican are a lo-fi pop trio from Glasgow. Their sundrenched surf sounds are a welcome delight to the blistery winds of the north. Their scathing EP, Hot! Hot! Hot! is 3 tracks of high paced killer surf guitar lines laced with plenty of feedback.
Capone and the Bullets
Capone and the Bullets have a post-punk vibe to their ska rumbling sound. Possibly best described as post-ska, the Bullets combine elements of scratchy guitars, trumpets and heavy bass, to create a modernized, gritty sound with classic rudeboy credentials. You can listen to their single, Girl here:
Intensely loud, high energy trio form Glasgow who the capture heavy, chromatic-laden riffs and unpredictable tempo-shifting that is admirably indebted to retro psychedelia. Holy Mountain’s ‘Ancient Astronauts’ is a kaleidoscope of dark, titanic riffs and powerhouse drumming with distorted vocals and a carnivorous bass.
Scotland's best kept secret, Kathryn Jospeh’s hauntingly beautiful music possesses an unearthly quality, akin to the likes of Johanna Newsom but unique and soulful in every way. Overtly pretty and compelling in it’s simplicity, Joseph’s breathtaking LP, ‘Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I Have Spilled’, is below:
Any list like this is never going to be exhaustive or even comprehensive. It's testament to the fact that there are still a lot of good new bands and artists out there!
Huge thanks to all of those who made suggestions or got in touch to be involved!