The longlist for the second SAY Award – that’s the Scottish album of the year – will be announced later this week.
The inaugural event’s winning record, ‘Everything’s Getting Older’ by Aidan Moffatt and Bill Wells (review), is still something of a Clash favourite – and as a company with tremendous Scottish roots, we’re excited by the return of this valuable award.
Inspired by revisiting some of our favourite Scottish records from the award’s eligibility period*, here’s a wee assortment of albums that Clash HQ considers worthy of making the longlist.
- - -
Meursault – ‘Something For The Weakened’
Released in July 2012, this Edinburgh outfit’s third studio set is an obvious contender. Strong critical reception across web and print supported what long-term fans have known for some time: this is a special band going about its business in a fairly fantastic fashion. Read the Clash review here.
Errors – ‘Have Some Faith In Magic’
Rock Action-signed electro-rockers Errors have always been purveyors of quality riffs and beats. ‘Have Some Faith In Magic’ found the Glasgow trio refining their existing formula, almost bumping against prog’s adventurous dynamics while retaining a warm immediacy. Read the Clash review here.
Conquering Animal Sound – ‘On Floating Bodies’
This lovely second set from Chemikal Underground’s avant-electro duo manages to balance an almost Björk-like creativity with accessible moments akin to those of fellow Glaswegians CHVRCHES. CAS probably deserve comparable recognition to the latter parallel, presently enjoying no little hype. Perhaps a SAY nod will set them on their way. Clash covered ‘On Floating Bodies’ here.
Auntie Flo – ‘Future Rhythm Machine’
Sometimes, it’s a challenge knowing where to begin a succinct summary. Brian D’Souza’s barely-half-an-hour debut album as Auntie Flo packed into its short run time a multitude of stylistic diversions. Defining it as simply a bass record is doing the end product a disservice – but wherever D’Souza journeys for inspiration, his souvenirs are always worth dancing to. Read Clash’s interview with Auntie Flo here.
PAWS – ‘Cokefloat!’
Glasgow-based PAWS is Joshua, Matthew and Philip, and the music they make is the sort that’s of instant-win appeal if you’re a listener raised on the raucous yet melodic rock of Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement. It mightn’t be the most original set to have come out of Scotland lately, but there’s no denying this trio’s infectious energy. A great live band, PAWS contributed a tour diary to Clash earlier this year – read it here.
Young Fathers – ‘Tape One’
Being an EP, and technically a re-release, we’re not sure if ‘Tape One’ is eligible for the SAY Award. But Clash loves what Young Fathers are becoming to the extent that we’ll stick our collective hand up for the rap trio at any given opportunity. With shades of De La Soul and Shabazz Palaces across these eight cuts, ‘Tape One’ comprises amazing foundations for its makers’ forthcoming release, the rather-obviously-titled ‘Tape Two’.
The Pictish Trail – ‘Secret Soundz Volume 2’
He’s a mover and a shaker supreme in the Scottish scene, is Fife’s Johnny Lynch, aka The Pictish Trail. Co-founder of Fence Records, and long-standing supporter of the best of his country’s folk-inclined innovation, he’s both cheerleader and star quarterback in his field. The BBC review of ‘Secret Soundz Volume 2’ called Lynch a “maverick folk artist from outer space”. We’ll steal that and call it our own opinion, thanks. Read an interview with Lynch here.
Soosh – ‘Colour Is Breathe’
Beat-maker and remixer extraordinaire, Soosh is one of those radar-nudging artists who is surely due a breakthrough soon. Real name Soroosh Khavari, Soosh is Iran-born but Scotland-raised (which we’re pretty sure makes him eligible). ‘Colour Is Breathe’ came out in February 2013 through the Error Broadcast stable, and matched rushes of euphoria with studious arrangement savvy. Imagine Nosaj Thing with an appealing burr, or Hudson Mohawke with the gas tank running a little cooler, and you’re halfway there. Find a Smoosh track of the day here.
Paul Buchanan – ‘Mid Air’
The slow-burner: when it connects, it’s often for life. The Blue Nile frontman’s long-overdue solo debut, ‘Mid Air’ didn’t seem like much at first. Too subtle, too slow to stand out. But then: got it, like it, love it. ‘Mid Air’ is certainly a keeper – but perhaps it’s too similar of appeal to ‘Everything’s Getting Older’ to stand a winner’s chance in 2013? Read our chat with Buchanan about all things Blue Nile here.
- - -
Which of these, if any, will make the official longlist when it’s announced? What about The Twilight Sad, or Django Django, or that one nobody’s heard of, Emeli Sandé? Will any make it through to the final cut, and which album will emerge victorious? Has anyone voted for Calvin Harris?
Time, readers: only that will tell. So be sure to spend some of it relistening to these great albums (and more), and keep a beady one on the official SAY Awards website, as well as right here (as we’re bound to have something to say about the longlist).
(* Edit! Since publishing this, Clash got the good word that only albums released up to December 2012 are eligible, so a few of the above will come into contention next year. Apologies for the confusion, everyone.)
- - -
Get the best of Clash on your iPhone - download the app