2017 may have been a tumult of Trump and Brexit chaos but there’s some comfort to be had in the year’s releases. Here’s a selection of some of the best music to have come from Scotland in 2017, Bella Caledonia’s tenth birthday year, with some international choices too.
[in no particular order]
Mogwai: Party In The Dark
Mogwai’s most poppy-sounding record to date, from their Every Country’s Sun album. Their homecoming gig at the Hydro was so triumphal it felt like some sort of cosmic rebalancing.
Two great female duos made waves with particularly unique sounds this year: Sacred Paws and Jenny Reeve and Jill O’Sullivan. Strident and heroic, and those vocals are just as impressive live.
Golden Teacher: Sauchiehall Withdrawal
Released in September, the first single from the acid-dub sextet’s No Luscious Life, is expansive, hugely eclectic and oddly compelling.
Eyes Of Others: I See You In The Shrubs
The opener to Bonnie Tropical 2, the second compilation from Edinburgh label Paradise Palms, I See You In The Shrubs is ample taster of John Bryden’s hypnotic “couldn’t get into the club music.”
John Maus: Teenage Witch
Fan of Gregorian-chant-inspired synth pop about the end of the world? John Maus is your man. The Minnesotan’s gig at Glasgow Art School was sublime. And we need more songs about teenage witches.
More on Pitchfork here.
Pictish Trail: Rhombus
From his Future Echoes album, I find this particularly touching. The album has a recurring theme of lifecycles, of birth and death, and I think this about a baby leaving the protection of his or her mother’s body.
Declan Welsh and The Decadent West: No Pasaran
As the far right continue to gain ground, Declan Welsh is making no compromises. If you are more offended by the f-word than fascists, skip the track, but maybe have a word with yourself too.
Annie Booth: Chasm
From her remarkable An Unforgiving Light album, this is relationship confusion as jagged, catchy and intense-as-hell pop.
Jane Weaver: The Architect
From her Modern Kosmology album, a truly unique artist.
Watch epic video here.
Alex Cameron and Angel Olsen: Stranger’s Kiss
Big Bruce balladry from Australian Alex Cameron and Angel Olsen, a woman who doesn’t appear to be impressed by guys getting shat on by eagles. Dingy but affecting. I can’t stop listening to this, though it makes me feel a little queasy.
Sacred Paws: Rest
Twisting, turning and textured, this spins around my head when I’ve got too much on. Sacred Paws say a lot of their songs come from their conversations, and it’s this intimacy and interplay that makes them both unique and personal. Well done: a much-deserved winner of the Scottish Album of The Year Award.
Happy Meals: Every Moment Is A Birth
From their Full Ashram Devotional Ceremony album, released before the cosmic duo took over Kinning Park Complex for 12 hours of meditative music, yoga and far-out tunes. A soothing balm for sore times.