Frightened Rabbit & Song, By Toad's Albums of 2016

Feature by The Skinny | 09 Dec 2016
  • Willard Grant Conspiracy at The Happiness Hotel

As the year draws to a close, a look at the best music of 2016 according to two of the leading lights of the Scottish music scene – Frightened Rabbit guitarist Andy Monaghan, and Song, By Toad label boss Matthew Young.

Andy Monaghan’s Top 5 Records of 2016

Frightened Rabbit took a left turn with fifth LP Painting of a Panic Attack this year, working with The National's Aaron Dessner on a sparse and dark collection of songs. We caught up with Monaghan to look back on a turbulent year for the band – read our interview here – and he filled us in on the records that impressed him most in 2016.

David Bowie – Blackstar
“The solitary candle at the centre of this year. A phenomenal record.”

Ultimate Painting – Dusk
“Really enjoying their output. Minimal setup, maximum hooks. They don’t give any shits.”

Tobacco – Sweatbox Dynasty
“The loose grooves and melodic detuned everythings on this record are amazing. That vocoder!”

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – Ears 
“A minimal synth beauty. Sweet melodies and dancing sonic landscapes.”

Avalon Emerson – Whities 006
“Pounding drums and floating eastern refrains that will whip up a frenzy on the dance floor.”

Song, By Toad's Records of 2016

From its early days as a much-loved music blog, Song, by Toad is now a well-oiled machine boasting numerous releases, sessions and gigs, mostly fuelled by gin and swearing. 2016 has seen Matthew Young throw open the doors to the 'Happiness Hotel', a Leith warehouse intended as "the engine room for the label". We asked him for his favourite records of the year – and once he started, he couldn't stop...

Upon asking what Young's favourite music of 2016 has been, we were met with an "oh, motherfucker – that's hard!" before the following list just rolled off his tongue.

"The Rocky Lorelei cassette (containing both the Second Spring and Cherry pi Paradise EPs), the Lush Purr album (Cuckoo Waltz), Requiem by Goat – that’s a cracking record, and it’s fun as well, which is not like me at all. Nick Cave (Skeleton Tree) is terrifying... Terra Nova is really good, the Found album! The Lomond Campbell album (Black River Promise) is really good too. The new Pictish Trail, Future Echoes, I fucking love as well.

"That would be a decent cross-section I think of massive bands, quite well known hipster-friendly bands; bands people probably don’t know but are excellent. I’m really looking forward to the new Spinning Coin. We’ve just recorded a new Passion Pusher album in here and it sounds fucking ace. He is a weirdo, but I do like him. It’s a proper lo-fi shambling guitar rock album. I really rate it, but I would do because I’ve been listening to it non stop while I’ve been mixing it."