Scottish Albums of the 2010s: Industry Picks

We asked some of our music industry pals for their favourite Scottish album of the decade, and while nobody could agree on one album, there was a lot of love for the first half of the decade, with 2014 being a standout year

Feature by The Skinny | 16 Jan 2020
  • Albums of the Decade: Industry Picks

Rustie – Glass Swords
[Warp, 2011]
Rustie's debut album came out the year I started Uni so it definitely soundtracked a very particular time in my life, which makes it all the more special. Glass Swords is the ultimate peak-time dancefloor record; it's theatrical and colourful but at the same time, impressively complex and carefully pieced together with undeniable bangers. It's a record that will forever be representative of how incredible electronic music is and always has been in Scotland. [Arusa Qureshi, Editor, The List]

eagleowl – This Silent Year
[Fence Records, 2013]
I've spent the majority of this decade living in Edinburgh and eagleowl have always represented everything that is good about the DIY music scene here. They've been key players in some of the most joyous and memorable moments... Dune: The Musical anyone? The eight heartachingly beautiful songs on This Silent Year remind me of all that, while simultaneously making me feel like I might burst into tears at any moment. A perfect combo. [Kate Lazda, Lost Map Records

CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe
[Glassnote Records, 2013]
I love massive pop hooks and I’m a pure emo, so it’s this record. It soundtracked what was a blur of somehow finding myself as a Radio 1 DJ in my early 20s, as I watched some good humans find their voice. Since then, this record has acted as a regularly-deployed, euphoric kick up the arse. I take it as a call to be a better man; to be bolder, to be less of a dick, to aspire, to adventure, to check my fucking privilege, and I guess, believe in that. [Ally McCrae, Producer, BBC Music]

Mogwai – Rave Tapes
[Rock Action, 2014]
I think this has actually become my favourite Mogwai record. They've been around for such a long time I wasn't sure where it would go musically, but it's perfect. Rave Tapes is a really eclectic summation of everything they've done before, and a brilliant offering to their fans old and new which illustrates that they are still very much a force to be reckoned with, and without a doubt, one of Scotland's finest musical exports. [Gráinne Vedamanikam, Synergy Concerts]

Young Fathers – DEAD
[Big Dada, 2014]
I've loved all their recorded output, but DEAD put the Edinburgh trio on the map. It balances their own unique take on pop and soul with avant-garde and industrial textures, proving how original they are, and demonstrating how diverse and vital Scottish music has become. With lyrical dexterity, off-kilter melodies, oddball production and an avalanche of ideas, DEAD is extraordinary and set the bar high for what they continue to do. [Vic Galloway, BBC Broadcaster, Author, Journalist and Musician]

The Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads
[Domino, 2014]
When the Glasgow band released Amphetamine Ballads it fuelled all my conversations and all my thoughts. The much-adored Dale Barclay tragically passed away in 2018 and I was devastated. Dale made you feel something alien when you saw him live; sometimes these songs are just too much to take, they cause you too much discomfort and emotion. But that’s what I long for in a debut. Thank you Dale for this perfect snap of genius that we’ll never forget. [Nadine Walker, Director, TENEMENT TV and TENEMENT TRAIL Festival]

Kaddish – Thick Letters To Friends
[MTAT/Black Lake Records/Barely Regal/Boslevan Records, 2014]
From immiseration comes desperation, the need for catharsis and the need to expel demons. One of the most important documents in the Ecossemo canon, Kaddish’s Thick Letters To Friends may be the genre-defining LP of the decade. There is no emo like Ecossemo; bleak black-metal influenced hardcore from the grim north-east. Invigorating, vital, essential listening. [Derrick Johnston, Make-That-A-Take Records]

We Were Promised Jetpacks – Unravelling
[FatCat Records, 2014]
What a hard decision! However, my favourite Scottish LP in this period would have to be We Were Promised Jetpacks’ Unravelling. I know their debut gets all the plaudits but I think this record is hugely underrated, flawless in its production and songwriting and I still listen to it on repeat. [Steven Milne, Aberdeen Performing Arts]

Young Fathers – White Men Are Black Men Too
[Big Dada, 2015]
People often wonder if an artist who has made such a cultural impact on their lives is able to continue their legacy but Young Fathers have managed to do that while still standing out from the crowd. White Men Are Black Men Too created a shift for me and felt like a complete work of ancestral interpretation, dynamic fervour, rich production and vocal sublimity. Nothing else was touching it in terms of creative vision and that continues to this day. [Halina Rifai, Podcaster and Music Writer at Podcart]

The Spook School – Try To Be Hopeful
[Fortuna Pop!, 2015]
The Spook School are a testament to Scotland’s music scene, and no better is that displayed than on this poignant but hopeful record. Socially imperative, politically challenging and catchy songs that both move people and bring them together. Dreams of a boy in the back of my brain. The Spook School forever. [Robert Kilpatrick, General Manager, SMIA / SAY Award]