Today is St. Andrew’s Day, a 24 hour celebration of all things Scottish.
Perhaps Clash has more reason to celebrate than most – after all, the title was founded in Scotland and we retain extensive links to Caledonia.
Thankfully, there’s no reason for patriotism for intrude on our editorial – Scottish music has maintained a near unbroken standard of excellence for some time now, and we see no signs of that receding.
In the spirit of St. Andrew’s Day we thought it only right that we gather some of the best albums Scotland has ever produced into one place…
- - -
Bert Jansch – 'Bert Jansch'
A remarkably talented guitar, Bert Jansch was able to match his supreme technical ability to songwriting that walked on the dark side of the road. Heartache, homelessness, and heroin all resound on his 1965 album, arguably one of the most important UK folk records of that or any other decade.
Astonishingly lo-fi – it was recorded direct on a reel-to-reel recorder in a matter of hours – ‘Bert Jansch’ set a template that countless others would follow. Stark and deeply affecting, those concise vocals are underpinned by dazzling guitar that would fire the imaginations of everyone from Jimmy Page to James Yorkston.
- - -
Orange Juice – 'You’ve Can’t Hide Your Love Forever'
Due to an archaic ban from the city council touring punk bands largely bypassed Glasgow during the late 70s. In their stead, though, a remarkable scene of independent-minded musicians collected, a poetic, challenging, witty, and urban bunch who set about producing the template for what would become known as indie.
Orange Juice were at the forefront, a band whose sheer unforced cool still resonates in each and every press shot. After a scattering of seminal singles on Postcard the band released debut album ‘You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever’ – pure, intense, and refreshing, it still feels like a spirit unleashed. Little wonder they put those soaring dolphins on the cover, then.
- - -
Primal Scream – 'Screamadelica'
Primal Scream were always rebels. The band wore leather trousers during the fey height of indie pop, adding a deliciously evil streak to their chiming guitars. When rave culture touched down in London, then, Primal Scream’s ears immediately pricked up.
Andrew Weatherall stepped in to remix one of their singles, ripping apart their Stones-esque bluster to almost single-handedly kick off the indie-dance crossover.
Recorded in a year dominated by sun, Ecstasy, and musical revolution, ‘Screamadelica’ accidentally summed up the euphoria of the age, leaping boundaries without ever looking back. Not 100% Scottish in personnel, then, but 100% Scottish in attitude.
- - -
Mogwai – 'Young Team'
Released in 1997, Mogwai’s ‘Young Team’ seemed to walk a singular path. Recorded in a studio just outside Hamilton and released on Chemikal Underground, it stretches the definitions of guitar music to the limit, with its quietLOUD template shattering all before it.
Constructed to echo the sheer bulldozer quality of their live shows, ‘Young Team’ has an emotional impact that is all its own. Just listen to ‘R U Still In 2 It?’ – with guest vocals from Arab Strap’s Aidan Moffat – to find out exactly why it was so important.
- - -
Boards Of Canada – 'Geogaddi'
At first little to nothing was known about the personnel of Boards Of Canada, yet there’s something about their music that feels intimately Scottish. Perhaps it’s the sheer expanse, that broad sweep of composition, or perhaps it’s the lingering, drifting nostalgia, a feeling that ghosts lurk around every corner.
Famously 66.6 minutes long, ‘Geogaddi’ is one of the most complete aesthetic statements Warp Records have ever released, a mighty feat that left entire genres – step forward hypnagogic pop, sit down chillwave – in its wake.
Listening to it now, ‘Geogaddi’ still feels astonishing fresh; an ageless feat, something that can never truly belong to any one time.
- - -
Rustie – 'Glass Swords'
Glasgow’s thirsty rave culture has always been a bastion of underground creativity. A one time techno citadel, Glasgow hosted a number of club nights about a decade ago where literally anything went, where dubstep, left field hip-hop, Underground Resistance, and more were sluiced into an incoherent yet totally inspiring whole.
It’s from this nexus that producers such as Hudson Mohawke emerge, but we’ve picked Rustie’s electrifying debut as the pick of the bunch. Stark, neon-plated futurism that kicks hard, ‘Glass Swords’ is a rush of sheer adrenalin, a head-long charge into the unknown.
Rewarded with the first ever Scottish Album of The Year Award, it’s one of the most singular records to be released in the past 10 years.
- - -
Young Fathers – 'Dead'
Leith is one of Scotland’s most diverse areas, a melting point of colour, religion, and culture, all getting along with life, and learning from one another in the process.
Young, mixed race, outspoken, and cool as f*ck, Young Fathers released a pair of astonishing mixtapes before debut albim ‘Dead’ dropped through Big Dada in 2014.
A blistering, uncompromising creative vision, ‘Dead’ occupied its own realm, even smashing into the Top 40 in the process. Stealing away that year’s Mercury Prize, Young Fathers refused to let the hype get to them – truly, a band for the age.
- - -
Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.