May 28, 2014 via Pepsi
Artists to Watch: Glasgow
Glasgow may not be the official capital of Scotland, but Glasgow’s residents wouldn’t hesitate to tell you their fair city is the creative hub of the Scots. As evidence they’d happily point to the city’s myriad galleries, gastropubs, and lively clubs that have popped up in recent years. Glasgow has long played an influential, yet under-appreciated role in modern music. People assume London has the hold on UK nightlife, but Glasgow’s music scene thrives off its free-spirited creative energy. The city’s music community has no qualms acknowledging its talent, and this is reflected in the music Glaswegians make. There’s a touch of melancholy that artists from the UK seem to specialize in. But there’s also an underlying sense of liberty that you don’t always find in the stern hyper-cosmopolitan output of many London-based musicians. Influential underground artists like The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Blue Nile, Primal Scream, and more recently, Mogwai, Belle and Sebastian, and Arab Strap have all called Glasgow home. Supported by venues like The Sub Club and The Arches and record labels like LuckyMe and Numbers, today’s Glaswegian artists cover styles that span from innovative electronic music to wistful indie rock. So without any further ado, “come w’is” and check out some of the most important Glaswegian musicians around right now, and brush up on your Sottish brogue afterwards.
1. Hudson Mohawke
This signee to both Warp and G.O.O.D. Music (not to mention his affiliation with the beloved Glasgow-based label LuckyMe) started his career similarly to another highly-praised DJ, A-Trak. Both Artists were extremely young, extremely talented DJ competition finalists. And while Mohawke’s style also skews towards hip-hop, his maximalist aesthetic integrates various genres in unexpected ways, leading to collaborations with hip-hop icons Kanye, Pusha T, and Lunice on their project TNGHT. And let’s not forget his countless remixes, like the Disclosure edit above.
If any other Glasgow DJ gives HudMo a run for his money it’s Rustie. It’s hard to say if Rustie one-ups HudMo’s hip-hop wonk, but the argument could easily be made. Both deal in a psychedelic globalized idea of hip-hop with the urgency of dance music. Rustie hasn’t released a full-length since 2011’s Glass Swords which helped define a new phase of left-field hip-hop production. In the meantime he’s paved the way for up-and-coming producers like S-Type, while holding his own on a string of new tracks and remixes.
3. Camera Obscura
Formed in 1996, Camera Obscura made their rounds in the international music world. This twee-pop outfit has five albums under their belt, each praised by critics and fans. At first the group followed in the footsteps of artists like Belle and Sebastian. Over time the dove further and further into their own crisp, lighthearted sound. Their 2013 release Desire Lines was widely considered a revitalized and exciting effort from this longtime Glasgow indie torch-bearer.
Today’s Glasgow is not all DJs and clubbing. If you’re looking for proof look no further than 2013’s critical darlings Chrvrches and their fiery confessional electro-pop. The trio started as a project between Martin Doherty, a former member of gloomy Glasgow indie rock band The Twilight Sad, Ian Cook, a member of another local band, Aerogramme, and Lauren Mayberry, a vocalist and former journalist. Since the release of their debut LP The Bones of What You Believe last year, the band has toured extensively, playing sold out clubs around the world. We love them so much we featured them as Artist of the Week last year, check it out here for more.
Even though Jackmaster’s been on the electronic music scene for over a decade, his prolific mix output reflects today’s post-genre trend. The DJ is known to pair anything from deep-cut disco and boogie with techno and classic house. As a co-founder of renowned electronic music label Numbers, Jackmaster has been instrumental in spotting awesome music early, releasing tracks by artists like Jessie Ware, SBTRKT, and Jamie xx, alongside Glaswegian heavyweights like Rustie and Hudson Mohawke. Check out his eclectic 2013 “Mastermix” above for proof.
6. The Twilight Sad
With the recent reissuing of The Twilight Sad’s debut album, Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters, on Record Store Day this April, it seems more than appropriate to give props to these gloomy Glaswegians. For the trio, it’s all about dark, engrossing indie rock. Their more recent work has hinted at a move away from noisy folk orchestration towards an equally stark electronic sound. They still maintain traditional folk-influenced melodies paired with an appropriately striking Scottish brogue. Check out "Sick," on The Twilight Sad's Soundcloud here.
As one of the key figures in the early days of dubstep and the owner of the taste-making electronic music label Hyperdub, Kode9 can throw some serious weight. He began his DJ career spinning drum and bass, jungle, and garage, before experimenting blending those genres with dub, dancehall, and traditional Indian music, which would eventually evolve into his take on what would be called dubstep. Since founding Hyperdub a decade ago, the DJ and producer has had a handful of studio albums and mixes that rightfully reflect the forward-thinking aesthetics of his label. He is truly a pioneer in every sense of the word.
8. Biffy Clyro
While not as well-known outside of the UK, Biffy Clyro are rounding out a solid decade as the darling pop-rock band of Glasgow. They represent an honest, successful attempt at carrying guitar-driven anthemic rock into the present era of music. Their sixth release, a double album called Opposites, was released last year and found the trio balancing their earlier prog rock (and sometimes darker emo) tendencies with a mainstream accessibility. Click here to listen to "Black Chandelier" via Soundcloud.
9. We Were Promised Jetpacks
Screeching into the limelight at a young age, this Edinburgh-formed Glasgow-based band found their way to Fat Cat Records after opening for their local forebears Frightened Rabbit. Exploring the energy and angst of post-punk, WWPJ as they’re commonly known, most recently released a live album of their 2012 performance at the El Rey in Philadelphia, where the band performs tracks from both of their earlier full lengths.
10. Ubre Blanca
Only half joking in an interview with The Skinny magazine, this electronic duo describe their musical objective as scoring a film “that hasn’t yet been dreamed up.” These guys commit wholeheartedly to Giorgio Moroder-indebted retro synth jams on their debut EP Polygon Mountain. Fit for any sci-fi horror flick. Related Articles: Artists to Watch: Mexico City Artists to Watch: Gothenburg Artists to Watch: Tokyo