Scottish New Music Round-up: June 2024

This June we're enjoying follow-up albums from some of our favourite Scottish acts, on top of a few delightful debuts

Feature by Ellie Robertson | 29 May 2024
  • Walt Disco

Let’s go over what we missed in the May column. There were new albums from Blue Rose Code, TRAAPS, and Xan Tyler as well as a mixtape from Crush Mouse, with Grayling's latest EP Cardinal Fire landing at the end of the month. Singles were served by acts like Barry Can't Swim (Kimbara), Lloyd’s House (Ah), Maz & the Phantasms (Es Lo Que Hay), Constant Follower (Turn Around For Me), Neev (Dianne), Zerrin (Spring Cleaning), Be Charlotte (Rainbows In the Dark), Modernistic (Black Velvet), IndianRedLopez (Obstacles) and Buffet Lunch (Worth (Confirmed)), among others.

This month, master producer Susan Bear’s third album releases via Lost Map (28 Jun). Algorithmic Mood Music opens with euphoric techno-ballad Three Dimensional, a sonic cosmology of heavenly chimes and divine affirmations by a Microsoft SAM-soundalike. AMM renders Bear’s talents in far more than three dimensions; Glass Tunnel shows us Bear’s rollicking guitar work, playing out the summer in breaks and bridges. Bear then DJs their dream rave in Drift, and composes dance track Shake (Say Yes) on old Atari hardware. Bear’s vastly varied output is united by lively composition and joyous lyrics, perfect for any summer plans you might have. We hope the sentiments in Wet Dry World, their love letter to Glasgow, will be reciprocated.

There are follow-ups from other faves too, like Walt Disco. Where the ultra-glam outfit’s previous Unlearning personified the panache of a West End musical, The Warping – due via Lucky Number on 14 Jun – dances about in time and place. Following a very Walt Disco overture, Gnomes juxtaposes orchestral strings with trilling Moogs. Come Undone invokes Bowie's Berlin Trilogy, with occasional glimpses down disco and hard rock avenues. It’s not all roaring 80s; Pearl is smooth and smoky, and Black Chocolate ends in a very industrial playout. It’s loud, it’s operatic, it’s obscene, and it’s sexy.

Seasoned songwriter Adam Stafford is back this month with his twelfth record, Daylight Slavings (28 Jun). Out via Gerry Loves, the atmospheric keyboard-driven LP sees Stafford crawling across the scales, with eerie, echoing notes slowly swept up in shuddering sound effects and rare glimpses of some otherworldly distortion. It’s like a liminal soundtrack to some Weird Fiction horror story – very chilling and very well-made.

For a dazzling debut, see Expectations of a Lifetime (14 Jun) by harpist and folk composer Esther Swift. Opening the record by inviting listeners to 'Run away with me and get out of the city', Swift transports us with pastoral, even mythic, orchestrations, bringing traditional Celtic instrumentation together with spontaneous, jazzy pianowork. Collaborators include Fergus McCreadie and all-female string quartet Vulva Voce.

Susan Bear. Image: Laura Meek.

PAWS frontman Phillip Jon Taylor’s new album De Nada (Wish Fulfillment, 28 Jun) comes to us from Dornoch in the Scottish Highlands. Taylor works as studio engineer and multi-instrumentalist, contemplating his move from Glasgow five years ago. The indie-rock/pop anthems really shine, and cover Taylor’s musings on everything from Love In Plague Time to the local HAAR.

For shorter listens with as much kick, female and non-binary songwriting collective Hen Hoose release EP1 (5 Jun), the first of three EPs. Each track is a collaboration between two esteemed artists; soft rock opener The Lucky Ones comes from Lucy Parnell and Djana Gabrielle, Ray Aggs and Kathryn Williams come together for slow-burn dance hit Night Is Calling, and Shears and Xo team up for bassy beat Let It All Go. It’s a monumental start to a new collection of works from Hen Hoose.

Proper punks should check out Bootlicker (21 Jun), the debut EP by Doss, who delighted hardcore Clydesiders last year with anti-gentrification anthem The Mullets are Moving In. Tearing up his own tracks with pounding percussion and droning, earache embellishments, Doss gets in your face in all the right ways. The chant of opener King of the Castle, 'This is me / This is my shrine / From my arse the sun does shine' is just a portion of the profanity on offer. 

The following week, queer art-rock band Junk Pups release Ball and Chain (27 Jun). These cool cats (or diamond dogs) deliver four punky, bluesy tracks, centring sizzling guitar work and the animalistic howls of lead singer Jack Faulds. The flair of producers Jocelyn Si and Finlay McCarthy (singer and synths for Walt Disco, respectively) give the rockers that larger-than-life sound.

Elsewhere, flip back a page for our review of Dundee alt-rockers Red Vanilla’s debut EP, Days of Grey (7 Jun). On 14 June, vinyl lovers should seek out the exclusive press of Everything There Is (Deluxe Edition) by Day Sleeper (Assai Records, 14 Jun), or Bonnie Tropical 7, a compilation of tracks from 16 different dance/techno artists from Paradise Palms Records, the label of the eponymous Edinburgh venue. For singles, Statue Made of Stone by Joe Hearty, Tomorrow by Marky Wildtype, The Experience by Leah-Brooklyn, D LAW by Nü Cros and Where We Begin by Alx Romance are all out on the 7th, while the end of the month sees Health and Beauty release PIKTRED (25 Jun), and Eve Simpson release More of You (26 Jun).

Listen to our Music Now: New Scottish Music playlist in the player above – follow on Spotify, updated every Friday