Scottish New Music Round-up: October 2021
October is another stacked month for new Scottish music, with releases continuing to arrive at a rate that's hard to keep up with, but we’ll do what we can. Here goes.
Following a longlist nomination for the 2021 Scottish Album of the Year Award for Landform, his album with Marta Salogni, Erland Cooper is back this month with Never Pass Into Nothingness. It's a collaborative project with photographer and filmmaker Alex Kozobolis and singer-songwriter Kathryn Joseph that arrives on 15 October via Mercury KX. Also on the SAY longlist this year for their eighth studio album A Celebration of Endings, Kilmarnock three-piece Biffy Clyro release a surprise ninth album – The Myth of the Happily Ever After – on 22 October via Warner Music.
On the same day, Lomond Campbell's LŪP gets a physical release via One Little Independent Records. Taking its title from the tape looping device Campbell built and consequently used to make the record, it’s a fascinating story that you can learn all about in our full feature on our October issue. In September’s magazine we spoke to Honeyblood’s Stina Tweeddale about her new solo project under the name Stina Marie Claire. Her debut EP, A Souvenir for a Terrible Year, is out now via ICEBLINK LUCK – click here for our full review which likens the release to Kathleen Hanna’s Julie Ruin record.
Formerly of alt-pop band Kid Canaveral, David MacGregor is back this month with album two as Broken Chanter. Set for release on 29 October via Olive Grove and Last Night from Glasgow, Catastrophe Hits very much starts where Broken Chanter left off, but everything feels brighter, with crisp percussive and electronic elements that really make the songs pop. And after learning of MacGregor’s desire to learn Gaelic around the time of the last release, it’s thrilling to hear him singing in the language on Ith Làn Do Bhìth, not to mention super soothing too.
Despite being recorded during the pandemic, and the album being called Catastrophe Hits, MacGregor is aware that music is meant to be an escape. “I didn’t want to have an album that spent it’s entire running time reflecting on the past year and a half,” he says. “Folk need a lift. They don’t need to relive the pandemic, and the associated trauma, right now.” And it really doesn’t feel like an album born out of a global pandemic, but the chorus of ‘Hold onto your friends, hold onto your friends’ found on Extinction Event Souvenir T-Shirt hits hard – it’s euphoric and cathartic and we’ll be singing it for some time to come.
Due for release on the same day via Reckless Yes is Kvetch Sounds, the debut album from Glasgow noise-pop duo Japan Review. Following on from the release of their Juno EP in 2019, Kvetch Sounds is sonically more experimental, exploring shoegaze, lo-fi electronica, post-rock and more. While the genres might not be massively consistent across this record, the soundscape and world created by the pair is; piercing synths, fuzzy electronics and programmed drum beats keep the whole thing in check.
Let's move from noise-pop to ambient neo-folk. Following their inclusion as one of this year’s Wide Days showcase acts, Constant Follower release their debut album, Neither is, nor ever was via Shimmy-Disc and Joyful Noise Recordings on 1 October. Shimmy-Disc label founder Kramer takes up co-production duties alongside Constant Follower frontman Stephen McAll. Neither is, nor ever was is a gorgeous and spacious exploration of the inevitable passing of time, captured beautifully in this heart wrenching moment found on Spirits in the Roof Tree: ‘You know I’ll never leave you / What’s my life without you / I know we’ll always be’. Each of the tracks on Neither is, nor ever was will also be accompanied by its own short film by a different artist, with each being the artist's own response, offering a truly unique way to experience this record.
Following on from the success of last year's debut EP, When You’re Around, Becca Shearing, aka SHEARS, has been taking the time to work on her skills as an artist and producer. With three exquisite pop singles – Pick Me Up, Afterthought and Face – under her belt already this year, it seems all the hard work is paying off. Add two more songs into the mix – The Fault and Say It To Me – and you have her brand new EP, Mind In Decline. Set for release on 27 October, it’s surely one of the most perfect pure pop releases of the year. Our only gripe is that it's not twice as long.
Another release we’re really enjoying this month comes from relative newcomers, Glasgow’s Blush Club, whose debut EP – A Hill to Die On (29 Oct) – is a jangly, jaunty, indie-pop joy. Also, expect more new music this month from Karine Polwart & Dave Milligan, The Joshua Hotel, Loup, Yoko Pwno & Acolyte, Midnight Ambulance and loads more – plenty to get your teeth into.