XpoNorth Playlist 2015
As over 60 acts get set to shake the Highland Capital during XpoNorth 2015, we highlight 12 that are not to be missed.
KLOË / KLOËLABEL: / CONTACT:
KLOË is an 18 year old pop artist from Glasgow, Scotland. With an EP set for release in summer 2015, KLOË has already shot up the Hype Machine, sold out her debut show and opened eyes worldwide with her debut track ‘Grip’ and follow-up ‘Feel’. With support coming from BBC Radio One’s Zane Lowe, Huw Stephens and Phil Taggart, and blog support from Neon Gold, Pigeons and Planes and DIY, we are at the start of a very exciting year for KLOË.
CATHOLIC ACTION / CATHOLIC ACTIONLABEL: / CONTACT:
Catholic Action are four young men from Glasgow. Led by 24 year old songwriter and producer, Chris McCrory. The band marry classic pop songwriting, art rock sensibilities and glammed up, melodic guitar playing - before squeezing it all through a slacker-pop filter and making a sound utterly their own. Gestating in the studio, writing, recording and honing their music before playing a live show - they finally appeared on stage in late 2014 where they immediately sold out their debut EP on their first Scottish tour. 2015 has been very kind to Catholic Action so far. Starting off with numerous 'ones to watch' list inclusions the band then put another successful tour and sold out record under their belts before hitting the studio to work with The Coral's Bill Ryder-Jones. And, with more new music, another Scottish tour and a summer full of festivals planned - it's clear to see that Catholic Action are a hard-working band, clearly worthy of the buzz.
MONOGRAM / MONOGRAMLABEL: / CONTACT:
Working from a small cabin studio in the remote Scottish Borders, Monogram is a true DIY artist. As well as writing and playing all instrumentation, he also self- produces and designs his own artwork and videos to create an all-encompassing experience. His raw, heartfelt vocals sit against an expansive sound of pounding keys and unrelenting beats, culminating in emotion fuelled, post-pop anthems. With releases already dropped on Killing Moon’s ‘New Moon III’ and Kitsune’s ‘New Faces 2’ Monogram is definitely one to watch this year.
GARDEN OF ELKS / GARDEN OF ELKSLABEL: / CONTACT:
Garden Of Elks were spawned from the mind of Highland born songwriter Niall Strachan in 2012 and they have been on a path of love/destruction ever since. Self-releasing a number of well received EP's and singles (which all sold out) they signed to Song, by Toad Records and unleashed their debut record (A Distorted Sigh) in April 2015 to widespread critical acclaim and fantastic support from BBC 6Music.The album was produced by Marcus Mackay (Snow Patrol, Frightened Rabbit) in Glasgow at his Diving Bell Lounge Studio. Elks have played a number of shows and gained a reputation as an exciting live band and are looking forward to festival season to take their self-titled brand of thrash-pop to as many people as possible. Garden Of Elks have their antlers pointed at the USA for later in the year and are working in new material as we speak.
NIEVES / NIEVESLABEL: / CONTACT:
Nieves are an alternative four-piece from Glasgow comprising of Brendan Dafters (vocals/guitar), Herre de Leur (keys) Martin Murray (Guitar) and Ross Forsyth (Drums). They started playing together in December 2013 and quickly accumulated a collection of tracks that ended up on their self-titled debut EP, which was released in November 2014. The EP included the tracks ‘Winter’ and ‘Straight Line’, which have accumulated almost 100,000 plays between them on Soundcloud. They played their first ever gig in September 2014 as a support band at King Tuts in Glasgow, the reaction was so strong they were asked to headline King Tuts in January 2015. The gig ended up selling out with 2 weeks to go. The band have been recording their follow up EP at Chem 19 Studios in Glasgow which will be released later this year.
TIJUANA BIBLES / TIJUANA BIBLESLABEL: / CONTACT:
Rising Scottish four-piece Tijuana Bibles released new single ‘Sunchaser' on March 2nd taken from forthcoming EP "Ghost / Dance / Movement", ahead of a new European tour and festival dates including Isle of Wight Festival and Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival with many more to be announced. Sunchaser is a drive-in soundscape stomp evoking David Lynch and James Ellroy noir, dripping in psychedelia and one of the dirtiest guitar lines you’ll hear this side of Tom Waits or Queens of The Stone Age. Born and bred in Glasgow, but with more in common with the swampy blues of Louisiana, Tijuana Bibles are a mix of grungy sludge-based riffs and groove-laden rhythms which has saw them win support from the likes of NME and Q Magazine. After releasing their ‘Wild River EP’ in late 2013, the band played a slew of shows in 2014, selling out The infamous King Tuts; appearing at T in the Park, Wickerman and Belladrum festivals; supporting the likes of Deap Valley, Alabama 3 and the View and released two follow-up singles – ‘Crucifixion’ and the free download ‘Toledo’
THE BONGO CLUB / THE BONGO CLUBLABEL: / CONTACT:
Swedish four-piece The Bongo Club don’t need computers, backtracks or DJ’s to deliver hit songs and a wild performance. These youngsters just knows how to write tunes with great hooks, deadly melodies and a really tight beat. But they don’t know how to save any energy what so ever when on a stage. Their debut album ”Be Careful Not To Stare” was released in March and now the band got the product to take the next level, to back it all up. It’s indie rock and it’s about music. It’s about being young and it’s about the weekend. It’s nothing complicated.
SPRING BREAK / SPRING BREAKLABEL: / CONTACT:
Spring Break are a vaguely outrageous, psychedelic 3 piece folk funk outfit, hand crafting screwball anthems deep in the Highlands of Scotland. Amalgamating a wealth of experience in vocal performance and musicianship, whilst fusing the hip hop languages of scratching, beat- boxing and lucid lyricism with the foibles of apathy and the implied abuse of aquatic life. The understated yet exacting playing of musical director Ben Hesling is expertly crafted and instantly absorbed, whilst the powerful control of Emily Mackinnon’s vocals is grippingly emotive, yet embossed in subtlety. Butterscotch’s painstaking personal raps pepper the songs with a graceful intensity amidst a smattering of turntablism. All the while production mastermind Thelonious Rumpus oversees the proceedings atop his plush dental throne, with a broad technical expertise and cask conditioned understanding of music.
KATHRYN JOSEPH / KATHRYN JOSEPHLABEL: / CONTACT:
Prodigiously talented and criminally underrated; Kathryn is one of Scotland's best-kept secrets. Her voice possesses the other-worldly quality comparable to Ms Newsom and Björk; but she is by no means of an ilk. Better compared with Anthony Heggarty; she is an artist in every way; unique and soulful, and at the core a beautiful unnerving truth. Written in a period during which life took Kathryn between northern bothies, east coast beaches, the forth bridges and ultimately the east end of Glasgow where she recorded the album predominantly live in a week with acclaimed producer Marcus Mackay at the diving bell lounge.
HECTOR BIZERK / HECTOR BIZERKLABEL: / CONTACT:
Hector Bizerk is a hip-hop duo comprising the creative, versatile drumming of Audrey Tait and the poetic social commentaries of Glaswegian rapper Louie. Debut album Drums.Rap.Yes received glowing reviews. Storming performances at Wickerman, and T In The Park have elevated Hector Bizerk’s reputation as one of the most exciting, diverse and original live acts in Scotland.
MAN OF MOON / MAN OF MOONLABEL: / CONTACT:
Edinburgh based Man of Moon have been one of Scotland’s best kept secrets for the last 6 months or so, but with nothing committed to tape that secret has been kept to the swelling numbers who have witnessed the duo's incredibly immersive live show. That's all about to change though with the release of their debut single and double a side 'The Road / This World' on Melodic this July. Formed in college, the 19 year-old duo of Michael Reid and Chris Bainbridge have discovered an alchemy almost by accident, flung together for a class recording session but soon realising they were on to something special, they both almost immediately decided to quit college. Wisely choosing instead to spend their time honing a lock-tight intensity that festers at the pit of their psychedelic tinged spatial post-punk. Subsequently Man of Moon have found fans in The Phantom Band, who became such big fans that they took them on tour; ditto The Twilight Sad. Frightened Rabbit’s Andy Monaghan liked them so much, that his production credit lies on their stunning debut 7”.
PINACT / PINACTLABEL: / CONTACT:
A lot of bands are compared to the likes of Sonic Youth, Nirvana and Dinosaur Jr., but very few are capable of living up to the billing. Enter Pinact, whom has harnessed the spirit of Glasgow’s music scene incredibly. Despite being small in numbers, the two-piece combines experimental, turn-it-up-to-11 guitar sounds with outstanding melodic awareness. Comprised of Corrie Gillies (guitar/vocals) and Chris McCrory (drums), Pinact is unique in a landscape full of duos. Imagine if you will, Lou Barlow having the guitar sound of Lee Ranaldo. Imagine if The Vaselines listened to Lightning Bolt. An intensely chaotic sound that wraps sheer pop song writing in Melvins-esque fuzz, a kiss and a punch.