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Spotlight on Scotland’s Emerging Artists

Guest article by Robert Duffy and Stephen Archibald

It often seems as though cities like London, New York and Los Angeles dominate the new music landscape, with young and hopeful artists flocking to these industry hot spots to make a name for themselves. However, as the music business becomes increasingly strained, these emerging acts are now looking for alternatives to the traditional urban epicenters and old school corporations. Immediately, our thoughts turned to Scotland, a country that appears to be leading this new music revolution with homegrown record labels and a burst of up-and-coming native talent.

Here we look at an incredibly diverse collective of Scottish acts hand-picked by two local curators, Robert Duffy (otherwise known as the one-man A&R team The Indie Curator) and Stephen Archibald (who promotes Scottish discoveries through Jumping The Shark PR).

KLOE

Chloe Latimer had been gigging under her full name since her high school days, however, the Clydebank lass hooked-up with Lewis Gardiner (the drummer of Glasgow synth-pop band PRIDES), seeking a different direction from her acoustic background. This decision to take a more electronic path under the new moniker of KLOE saw the youngster hit the ground running with debut single “Grip”, a brutally candid, moody and repeat-worthy pop-banger. Since then, she has been featured by the HumanHuman community (on the back of Yne's discovery) and released her debut EP, Teenage Craze. This coming-of-age EP is based on her own life experiences - from lusting after her favourite band to falling for an older man and all wrapped in inspiration from the Buckfast-fuelled Glasgow nightlife. It’s an extremely well crafted and stylish first offering. KLOE's edgy & infectious pop will propel her towards becoming one of Scotland's biggest pop artists, and beyond. - RD

KLOE - Touch (Official Video)

Sega Bodega

If synthesised beats and custom made sportswear are your thing, then Sega Bodega just might be for you. Discovered on HumanHuman by SelfBlown a whole three years ago, this find first catching my attention in 2013 with his dark and brooding single “Konerak”, a six-minute track of ominous samples and relentless rhythm. The Glasgow-based Salvador Navarrete has since released his Sportswear EP via the Activia Benz label. The EP delivers a collection of icy electronics and washed out vocal samples, all with the option of purchasing a limited edition white tracksuit (which is sadly now sold out). - SA

sega bodega — konerak

Kathryn Joseph

Enchanting Aberdonian Kathryn Joseph released her remarkably poignant debut LP Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled in 2015; the making of which took 17 years and an uneasy journey. At the age of 23, this singer-songwriter turned down Sanctuary Records, stating that “I was very aware that I was a very young female with no one to help me, no manager, no advice, and it just felt a bit weird.” She spent over a decade unable to find the confidence to pursue a career in music, however, after relocating from Aberdeen to Glasgow, Kathryn found her neighbours were Marcus and his wife Claire Mackay of Hits The Fan Records, who later went on to produce and eventually release that debut record. That memorable year was topped off by outrunning Belle & Sebastian and Paulo Nutini to land outstanding Scottish Album Of The Year Award. - RD

the bird by Kathryn Joseph

Tuff Love

Tuff Love's Julie and Suse make self-described “apologetic pop music” that has been lapped up by the likes of DIY Mag and The Guardian, who characterized their music as “something fuzzy and lovely from Scotland, brought to you by the man behind Fence Records”. Tuff Love’s “Slammer” is a definite standout, but I also recommend “Duke” and “Carbon”. These tracks are full of intoxicatingly dreamy vocals and crunching guitars - a sound that is definitely worth keeping an eye on. - SA

Tuff Love - 'Slammer' (Official Video)

White

Following the demise of alt-rock band Kassidy, remaining members Hamish Fingland, Lewis Andrew and Chris Potter decided to take this opportunity to focus on material that the trio had been collectively writing. They later recruited former Low Miffs frontman, the exuberant Leo Condie and "hard-hitting" drummer Kristin Lynn to complete the line-up and form the band White. Having spent months locked away in the studio, writing and crafting their style, the five piece emerged with "Living Fiction". It wasn't long before it turned the right heads. Signed to Sony, WHITE disappeared for a short time (online), and Oblivious Pop's discovery had triggered discussion here on HumanHuman about music being stripped by major labels from SoundCloud. Despite this, the band quickly gained a reputation for their high octane live shows and soon returned to the internet in spectacular fashion with the dynamic debut single "Future Pleasures" through RCA. Currently embarking on a huge UK tour and recently re-releasing 'Living Fiction' (with a wonderful stop-motion clip from Scottish filmmaker Ciaran Lyons) WHITE are confirming their status as the hottest emerging band in the country. - RD

Rudi Zygadlo

Rudi Zygadlo has been around for a few years now, in fact he was picked up by discoverer Bert Bossaert three years ago, but it's only in the past 12 months that he's really come into his own. The Dumfries musician, who now resides in London, creates beautifully textured electro-pop epics which are full of modulated vocals and sweeping synths in tracks like “Sympathies Scrapbook”, “Slow Carz” and “Lily”. There's not much information online regarding his plans for 2016, but let's hope there's a boat load of new music on the way. For now we’ll have to put up with the unabashed bangers ‘Sympathies Scrapbook’ and ‘Slow Carz’. - SA

A-L-X

Rising Glasgow artist A-L-X is another exciting young talent. Discovered by detailsofmylife.net 2 years ago, he made an instant impact on the blogosphere with the slow-burning debut single "Beautiful Criminal". He quickly gathered support from Zane Lowe and the BBC’s Huw Stephens, which subsequently saw him playing Radio 1's Big Weekend Festival. This singer-producer has only released one EP since dropping his debut two years ago, proving that it’s all about quality over quantity for this up-and-coming artist. Listening to the EP, the standout song is title-track "Timebomb", a rugged indie-R&B jam showcasing his dark and soulful vocal tones. Recently, he's been busy writing, perfecting his live shows and flexing his production chops for the likes of Liv. We also heard him popping-up on Pablo Nouvelle's sensual "You Don't Understand". There's so much potential here for A-L-X to become a huge deal, he really has it all, and it's going to be interesting to hear what he's been working on. - RD

A-L-X - Timebomb

The Bellybuttons

Glasgow has always been a bit of a hotbed for lo-fi guitar music, with the city's Fuzzkill Records at the forefront, who have put out a string of great cassette and vinyl releases since their conception all the way back in 1969. A personal favourite is the Play! EP by The Bellybuttons. Although the members all originated south-of-the-border, the band who now call Glasgow their home echo some of the city's best loved exports such as Teenage Fanclub and BMX Bandits, with the vocals delivered in a lackadaisical drawl reminiscent of The Jesus and Mary Chain. - SA

The Bellybuttons - Solar Envy by FUZZKILL RECORDS

Leon T. Pearl

We’ve been keeping an eye on Leon T. Pearl for a while now. While studying at university he was invited to spend a few months working with Nicolas Jaar, after the electronic whiz was sent a demo of Pearl's work via a mutual friend. That experience, plus a brief stint in Tokyo, motivated the Edinburgh lad and gave his music a sense of direction. It wasn't long before he made quite an impression with first single "Take You To Market", a bouncy piano-driven, pop-tinged garage burner. Signed to Disclosure's imprint Method Records, Leon T. Pearl's forward-thinking sound, ability to carve infectious pop hooks and a healthy dose of Scottish sarcasm flowing from his lyrics, makes him a definite one to watch. Gearing up to release a new batch of two-step wonders with forthcoming Pearl Productions EP, SelfBlown's almost-featured discovery is right on track. - RD

Mungo's Hi-Fi

Glasgow may not be the first place that comes to mind when it comes to dub sound systems, but Mungo's Hi-Fi have went some way to break that mould. Selling out shows across the country as well as regularly packing out their residency at the venerable Berkeley Suite, the outfit have been consistently producing forward thinking reggae music for the past decade. Check out “Did You Really Know” for the perfect introduction to their Glaswegian take on the genre. - SA

SCOBLP001 D13 - Mungo's Hi Fi - Did You Really Know feat. Soom T by Scotch Bonnet Records

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