A Letter From... Scotland #6

Tips for the year ahead...
The LaFontaines.jpg
It’s the year that the Mayans earmarked for the apocalypse. Whichever your take on this prophecy, this year has already brought us ‘bracing’ hurricane winds and the release of a film about Margaret Thatcher. If it’s the end of the world as we know it, then it’s probably best that we dedicate this one to a fantastic soundtrack. Here at Clash, we’ve written up our pick of the best new Scottish acts for you. Hold tight.

The La Fontaines
Hang onto your hats, it’s a rap collective from Motherwell. Welcome to the wonderful world of The La Fontaines. Proponents of the famously troublesome rap-rock mix, they surprisingly pull it off with aplomb. Through touring extensively (they’ve certainly paid their dues with an N-Dubz support slot) this band have built up a sizeable fan-base – even going so far as to win the ‘Best Live Act’ award at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards. This is rap, but not as we know it. Central Scottish life set to music, recounted in a heart-warmingly broad accent – referencing things that you and I live every day. What’s not to love?

Fatherson
Practically fresh from a December headline show at The Arches - accompanied by the full might of a string and brass orchestra - Fatherson are what you might call ‘a safe bet’ to hit the indie big-time. And it’s about time that their widescreen charms met a wider audience. With singer Ross Leighton at the helm, this Kilmarnock-born, Glasgow-based band offer up beautifully-crafted, beautifully-sung music with just the right amount of ambition. Tours with Idlewild and Twin Atlantic are already under their belts - it appears they’re already being coached in the ways of Scottish indie greatness. Here’s hoping there’s a lot more of them.They’ve shows coming up with Frightened Rabbit in February – go see.

Discopolis
Hailing from Edinburgh, this electronic trio take the finer parts of Boards of Canada, Fuck Buttons and Minus the Bear and serve them up in something they intriguingly describe as sounding ‘a bit like digital fucking’. Although to us, it just sounds like fuzzy, electronic lovelieness made in someone’s bedroom. From their virgin appearance at the T Break stage to the bleepy brilliance of tracks like ‘Lofty Ambitions’ and ‘Bitches All Over Europe’ – they’ve been ready-equipped with pretty production and a sense of humour. Also, amazingly, they’re apparently massive in Japan. Let their home nation take them to their hearts in a similar fashion.

Michael Cassidy
Not to be confused with the one-time star of the O.C., this Paisley native made some waves in 2011 and is certain to crash with conviction on 2012. In a scene when songwriting can sometimes fall by the wayside, it’s refreshing to hear songs as strong as ‘Everybody’s Scared’. Lest we forget, he’s brilliant live. He’s launching his debut e.p. on January 18th with fellow Scottish favourites Beerjacket and Julie & the Doogans in what is sure to be one of the loveliest nights hosted at King Tuts for a while.

Laki Mera
Glasgow quartet Laki Mera are a right musical pick’n’mix. From the release of their debut e.p. ‘Clutter’, they’ve garnered comparisons with everyone from Cocteau Twins to Portishead and the Blue Nile. With a fragility and tenderness not often seen in music of the electronic kind, they swirl together a whole sea of genres – mixing up electronica touches with folk features and the ethereal vocals of Laura Donnelly. They take serious influence from the world of film, with soundtrack scores and Darren Aronofsky cited as significant influences. Very clever. With a number of significant Glasgow gigs under their belt and the stunning debut album ‘The Proximity Effect’ out, they’ve got Scotland and latterly, the Universe at their feet. Hear they do a mean Kate Bush cover too.

Words by Marianne Gallagher

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