Though Celtic and Gaelic sounds may have been rife in Scotland’s past, the music scene today is vastly different year to year. With ever changing technology and a saturated market that begs experimentation, today’s musicians have to do something extraordinary to break away from the crowd. Luckily just like iconic Scots that have long since past, many musicians from the UK’s north don’t plan on being conventional. Here are just a handful of Scottish groups that have crafted memorable and recognisable music over the years.
Though they have permeated the charts on several occasions, this guitar driven group from Scotland wasn’t always as popular as they are today. Though they formed not long after the millennium, it wasn’t until their release of album Only Revolutions in 2009 that the band started to receive its well-deserved credit. With hits from the release such as the bouncy ‘Bubbles’ and the truly anthemic ‘Mountains’ its no wonder that listeners on the end of every radio were jotting down the odd (and yet unexplained) band name. Though they straddle the line of powerpop gracefully, those who have attended live shows will know that at heart they are nothing but a rock band and an unconventional one at that. Clever guitar work, irregular effects, non-pop breakdowns, timings and effects all make “The Biff” sound different from the other ‘guitar pop’ in the top 40.
Formed in Glasgow back in 1995 these guys have become iconic for their guitar work which even today is seen as highly leftfield. With dynamic shifts, heavy effect laden solos that surface from otherwise ambient tracks, what they do to the landscape of their songs is completely unpredictable, which is probably why they took fans by storm so early on. With so much emotion and driving force their music is ideal for soundtracks and so unsurprisingly the band has put their hand to scoring several feature films.
A trio of Scots who create a fairly difficult to categorise sound which incorporates pop, hip hop, funk and low-fi electronics while sustaining a level of afrobeat. Getting a big break after supporting huge trip-hop group Massive Attack on a world tour, their triple threat of vocals, rap and out of the ordinary beat making continues. After appearing in Danny Boyle’s long awaited sequel for Trainspotting, it seems the group are about as exposed as they could get which will hopefully lead to more releases soon.
Boards Of Canada
Unquestionably the most bizarre on the list, these brothers from Edinburgh have been sculpting mind bending electronica since the 90’s. Always high on the list of any all time ambient music, the soundscapes these two create range from the truly blissful to the down right weird, which is fantastic for anyone who wants a taste of something different. Associated with the dark and unnerving ever since animator David Firth put their track ‘Beware The Friendly Stranger’ behind his creepy internet show Salad Fingers, this pair of Scots aren’t particularly bothered about how you feel about their sounds. Truly masters of dreamy downtempo and ambiguous ambient, Boards Of Canada are pioneers of new and leftfield music.