Thursday, 17 December 2009

"Hey, let's fuck over Scottish music"-BBC Tastemakers

So last week the 'BBC Sound Of' longlist was posted. This is what it looked like;

Daisy Dares You
The Drums
Everything Everything
Gold Panda
Ellie Goulding
Joy Orbison
Marina and the Diamonds
Owl City
Two Door Cinema Club

Now, I'm not saying the list is bad, predictable perhaps, but not terrible (with exception of the woeful Postal Service rip-offs Owl City). The thing that annoyed me about this list is the lack of Scottish bands represented by these so called 'tastemakers'. As The Pop Cop rightfully pointed out, only 1 out of the 65 'tastemakers' is based in Scotland. Now I may not be a mathematician, or an accountant, or anyone else who counts things...but I do know that this is pretty disproportionate for the amount of great music that comes out of Scotland.

Over the years Scottish bands have been overlooked time and time again, yet prove to be the real 'tastemakers'. For instance, look at Jesus and the Mary Chain, generally overlooked in their hay day but have spawned several copy-cat bands, two of which being England's The XX and The Big Pink who had massive success this year. Bands such as Frightened Rabbit and Twilight Sad have had to cross the Atlantic to gain recognition from the much more musically open minded Americans (can hardly believe I just said that). The problem with British media is that there is still an overbearing 'style over substance' agenda. The NME still strives to be painfully cool only choosing to acknowledge bands like Frightened Rabbit and Twilight Sad when they have gained a sizable fan base, keeping it safe. The London media tend to focus on certain trends and fads in music, such as the whole Yorkshire explosion a few years ago with Arctic Monkeys sound-a-likes. The London folk scene with the brilliant Mumford and Sons and Laura Marling has led the media searching for more sound-a-like bands. Perhaps that is where Scottish music scene falls down in the eyes of the Southern media, no two bands sound the same. The 'scene' is so diverse and interesting that it cannot be pigeon-holed and that seems to be too fucking complicated for publications such as NME to comprehend, preferring to focus on the-and I quote- 'cool as fuck' Brooklyn Scene. Sigh.

Let's look at some of the Scottish bands which should have been on the list, I would post pictures of the bands but lets, for once, make this about the fucking music;

Meursault- Possibly the best live band I have seen all year. They never stop astounding me. With their debut 'Pissing on Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues' viscerally creeping into my brain this year, and their 'Nothing Broke' extended play showing how great they are even when stripped back to acoustics rather than their Casiotone For The Painfully Alone-esque electronica. With a new album being released in March, I hope they finally get the praise they deserve.
Meursault-Red Candle Bulb

The Phantom Band-With every single person in the blogosphere going crazy for Animal Collective this year, it is hard to understand why a band like this were so criminally overlooked. Bringing a sound which is so difficult to describe that I won't even bother. Perhaps had their big year this year, but still, they demonstrate how overlooked pioneering bands from Scotland are.
The Phantom Band-Halfhound

There Will Be Fireworks- The Sound Of list usually likes to pick up on already successful unsigned bands, this years being Joy Orbison. You will be hard pressed to find an unsigned band who sold as many copies as TWBF's self titled album this year, and with a new release next year it is impossible to see them slowing down their momentum. Just wish they would tour more.
There Will Be Fireworks-Foreign Thoughts

eagleowl-eagleowl are a band so achingly beautiful that they seem like you have known them forever. They should release a full-length soon, and if their E.Ps are anything to go by, it will be superb.

Perhaps some one of these bands will be successful this year, and just wait and see how the media will finally pounce on them and stick their claws in when they do. Also, perhaps the next time the BBC makes one of these lists they sound remember what the first letter of their acronym stands for.

Post script; I am not a nationalist!


  1. I am literally one hand clapping right now.

    Speaking to people, many of whom are English, they seem to like Scottish bands. Interesting the media don't seem to have picked up on it. Hmm.

    Still don't like There Will Be Fireworks though.

  2. I think There Will Be Fireworks are a band who would appeal to the masses though. Which is what this list often aims at.

  3. I reallyreallyreallyreallyreally like that There Will Be Fireworks song. It's gorgeous.

  4. Well yeah is not bad at all, i wonder some people tolerate this behave some other don't but this is most a cultural thing that something that society says.