Over the past few months I’ve heard a few folk making the claim that Scottish music is more vibrant and diverse than ever before; a current ad for Vic Galloway’s radio show says something along these lines, while the blog Radical Independent Music recently ran an article asking ’Has Scottish Indie Music Ever Been In Ruder Health?’
Now, almost inevitably being in my late teens when Simple Minds, Orange Juice, Josef K, Scars, The Associates, Fire Engines, Aztec Camera and others emerged in the late seventies and early eighties, I will likely always think of this being the best era for new Scottish music.
Saying that, there is undoubtedly a more diverse range of acts on offer in Scotland today, many that I have featured over the last year or so: Young Fathers, The Sexual Objects, Honeyblood, _Linden, Natalie Pryce, The Moon Kids, The Cathode Ray, Port Sulphur and Lola In Slacks as well as the two acts I cover below, C Duncan and Kathryn Joseph.
This is undoubtedly an eclectic and very talented bunch and I could add a couple of folkies or even some shiny synthpop and electronica acts and reggae sound system Mungo’s Hi Fi for good measure to better demonstrate the spectrum of what is happening across the country.
C Duncan, if you don’t know, is a Glaswegian whose recently released album Architect certainly sounds more Laurel Canyon than Castlemilk or Kinning Park. Released on Fat Cat, Architect is a meticulously crafted piece of work which C (or Chris if you prefer) wrote himself and recorded entirely in his bedroom, playing every note of music on each of the twelve tracks. He also designed the cover artwork and spent several days at a record manufacturing plant helping to press vinyl copies of the album.
Okay, I did make up that last part.
This is music to daydream to with Fleet Foxes being the obvious influence but think also Talk Talk, The Beach Boys, sunshine psychedelia and even French Impressionist composers such as Ravel and Debussy. Chris incidentally has a classical background, having studied at what is now rather pretentiously known as the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland although it might still have been the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama when he was a student there.
Everything seems to be moving in a positive direction for Chris. Architect was named an album of the day on BBC 6 Music, where he recorded a session for Lauren Laverne; together with his live band he has recently supported Belle and Sebastian at Somerset House in London, made an acclaimed appearance at Latitude and sold out a show at Glasgow’s CCA.
From the album this is Garden:
Architect will be a major contender for next year’s SAY Award, believe me – and I did tip Young Fathers and Kathryn Joseph to win the last two awards, so I might just know what I’m talking about. For a change.
Kathryn Joseph is, I think, the finest Scottish female vocalist to emerge since Elizabeth Fraser, or in the words of one listener to Marc Riley’s 6 Music show earlier in the week (which showcased a session from Kathryn and musical partner Marcus Mackay), she is ‘Dolly Parton’s younger, gothy sister.’
See what you think, from her album bones you have thrown me and blood I’ve spilled, this is the stunning new video created by Scottish Ballet and shot in sunny Irvine for her new single The Bird: