Scottish Releases Round-up: October 2020
We take a look at some of the artists releasing music in Scotland this month, and highlight some of the September releases you might have missed
October is usually one of the busiest months in the gig calendar but that, obviously, won’t be the case this year. It is, however, still an incredibly important month for Scottish music, and this year more than most due to it housing the SAY Award, where one deserving winner will receive the coveted accolade of Scottish Album of the Year, and a cash tip of £20k, for what would be a career-defining moment for most.
But the SAY Award isn’t all that’s worth shouting about in Scottish music this month, as a quartet of wildly disparate albums is set for release. SAY Award longlist recipient Su Shaw, aka SHHE, is releasing Re:, a reworked, reimagined and remixed version of her eponymous debut. Due for release on 9 October via One Little Independent Records (fka One Little Indian), Re: adopts the same running order as SHHE and is still very much a SHHE record. However it comes with a different energy due to collaborative reimaginings of SHHE's tracklist from Sophia Loizou, Alva Noto, rRoxymore, Black Taffy, and closer to home, Makeness and Tommy Perman. Filled with pleasing noises and grooves galore, Re: is an exquisite companion piece to Shaw's stunning debut.
On 1 October, Scottish harpist Ailie Robertson, who performs under the moniker Adenine, is set to release her self-titled debut album. A thing of sheer understated beauty, its five tracks – some of which clock in at almost ten minutes long – are filled with intricately played harp, ambient drones, heart-melting strings and thoughtful field recordings. The track titles pleasingly borrow their names from Scottish words for types of rain, from a light drizzle (Smirr) to a coastal mist (Haar), as the album deftly explores our relationship to nature. It's the perfect soundtrack for chilly evenings hiding from the world, wrapped up in a blanket on the couch. Something most of us will likely be doing a lot this autumn.
If you like your indie guitar music with a psychedelic spaghetti western edge, then Order of the Toad’s second album, Re-order of the Toad, could be just the thing to scratch that itch. Set for release on 2 October via Gringo Records and Reckless Yes, Re-order of the Toad features the singles Lady’s Mantle and Do It With Feeling, the latter of which the keen-eared among you may have heard recently on Marc Riley’s BBC 6Music show. Toad’s Theme, which also features on the record, might be the most fun/bonkers (delete as appropriate) thing you’ll hear this October. Turn it up loud and have a dance around your kitchen, you’ve earned it.
From one toad to another, Edinburgh label Song, by Toad is officially back after what appears was just a bit of a hiatus. Following the release of the new Fair Mothers album, In Monochrome, back in August, it’s now the turn of Falkirk’s highly prolific Adam Stafford as he releases his umpteenth record, Diamonds of a Horse Famine, on the label on 30 October.
How Stafford can make lyrics like ‘Nailed down my death mask and fashioned it into a dildo’ (Erotic Thistle) and ‘What kind of a man’s gonna want me / With an anus like a wizard’s sleeve’ (What Kind of Man) sound so pretty is something we’re not sure we'll ever understand. Suffice it to say, Diamonds... is a beaut in the Stafford canon. Staffy die-hards will also be pleased to hear that as well as this new release, he’s recently uploaded most of his back catalogue to Bandcamp, including from his former band Y'all is Fantasy Island. Making us aware of this via email, he quipped: “If you fancy staring at a wall for 80 hours straight listening to abrasive experimental and folk doom pop, or are just a masochist in general, I'd recommend it!”
Elsewhere, Glasgow singer-songwriter Cara Rose releases Urges, her debut EP on 2 October. Produced by Matt Ingram (Lianne La Havas, Laura Marling), Urges is a neat five tracks of heartfelt, stripped back piano pop, with Rose’s rich soulful voice deservingly placed front and centre. When it comes to singles, Becca Starr’s 8-bit/pop/dub/rap hybrid First Step is out on 2 October; Andrew Bates releases the dancefloor-ready My Love on 16 October, and after 15 years away Arab Strap release The Turning of Our Bones on 23 October, available on 7” vinyl via Rock Action.
September releases you may have missed...
Here are a few September releases in case you missed them. Glasgow alt six-piece Pelts released their long-awaited debut album A Little Less Lost on 18 September, while on the same day Glasgow performance android Kleopatra released Machina, a four-track EP combining industrial, pop and electronica. Zoe Graham released her Gradual Move EP; Glasgow pop duo HYYTS released their latest single Lonely People; Stanley Odd released KILLSWITCH, their third single since the start of lockdown; Megan Airlie released Cardamom, her debut single as Ruby Gaines; Malka's Moving Together got a remix makeover courtesy of lau.ra; and NOVA released No Way, a collaborative track with Charlton Russel as part of a Black Lives Matter compilation put together by Edinburgh collective Volens Chorus.