Having had the opportunity to tour Scotland’s Indie scene for the past couple of years I have managed to highlight a few groups and singers that I think are truly unique and appealing: the ones to watch.
First up on this list is a band which has had a lot of buzz around it in the past couple of years and this year was named on The Sun’s ones to watch list for 2018: SkjØr. Within this group the lead singer, also their guitarist, carries her voice with a tone displaying haunting echoes, similar to that of Aurora, and yet somehow embodying the passion and vigour of a rock star. They create a comforting and almost ethereal environment within their performances which lulls the listener into a virtually dreamlike state. Although in some of their music I doubt the construction of the actual lyrics, the stunning range and quivering long notes more than make up for any doubts, cementing them in my mind as one of the greatest contemporary young Scottish talents.
Next up on this list is another major rising star in the Scottish music scene: Be Charlotte. Be Charlotte, or as she is known to her friends, Charlotte Brimner, is an incredibly distinctive singer, songwriter, musician who started out in Dundee in 2015. He sound varies quite drastically from performance to performance, sometimes she uses lots of fun electrical instruments and a rap/singing combo to create a diverse and exciting live show, while other times she pares it back and sings with a Gaelic lilt accompanied only by an acoustic guitar. Despite these numerous approaches to performance her stagecraft is always meticulously executed and her overall tone, distinctive. I have had the pleasure of seeing Brimner develop in her live stagecraft from seeing her live a couple years back to seeing some of her most recent performances and for anyone who is interested in seeing what a rap singing fusion in a thick Dundonian accent sounds like, I implore you to check her out.
The third artist on this list is slightly less well known than the previous two but has found recent success: starring on Radio Scotland, the annual Celtic festival and last year released his first album Braw Power. The artist is Yip Man. Yip Man or as he is otherwise known, Al Souter, creates music that I think whole heartedly embodies traditional indie music. His clearly fun and slightly weird image plays to the concept of Indie music and his balancing of melodic and harmonic song progression also plays to this. To put it more simply his music is interesting and nice to listen to, having been influenced in China with many of his songs carry hints towards this, some far more blatantly than others. With his second album in the works and a move to China planned I am sure we can expect plenty more fun, engaging and diversely influence music coming from Yip Man in the not too distant future.
The forth one to watch I want to mention is ONR. This is a band from Dumfries and Galloway who have been finding huge success with the launch of their recent single 5 Years Time and have a good line up of live performance in the coming year having already performed at the Big Burns Supper and featured on BBC introducing artists. They have a very mainstream appeal based sound and set up which has real potential to become a big thing in the coming year or so.
Lastly on this list is an artist who just released their first EP this month and whom I had the good fortune to see live and interview but a few month back: Aylee. Aylee describes her sound as electric pop and holds some similarities with Ella Henderson in its construction and vocals. Her vocals are unique with a beautiful soulful, almost psychedelic, tone. The production on her songs is also of a highly professional level with a fantastic use of post-production techniques, not to say that her live music is not also astounding with real stage presence.
I couldn’t conclude this article without including a few other honourable mentions including Dancing on Tables and the Van Ts.