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Scotland's for Me: Top Five Scottish Bands

by Andy Brown Rating: Release Date:

You don't have to think about it too long before you realise that Scotland is responsible for a wealth of excellent music. From 80s Edinburgh based indie-popsters The Shop Assistants to Glasgow's hype inducing Glasvegas, there's hit songs and cult classics and everything in-between. But who would your top five Scottish bands be? It isn't an easy question when you consider the possibilities.

Off the top of my head I'd have to consider; Belle & Sebastian, The Delgados, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Arab Strap (as well as Malcolm Middleton on his own), Orange Juice, Idlewild, Cocteau Twins, The Shop Assistants, Ballboy, DeSalvo, Mogwai, My Latest Novel, Primal Scream, Sons & Daughters, Camera Obscura, The Twilight Sad, Franz Ferdinand, The Vaselines and Teenage Fanclub. Phew.

Many of these bands are connected too. The Delgados set up the wonderful Chemikal Underground label, which includes Arab Strap and Mogwai on its roster, and then Mogwai set up the fantastic Rock Action label with bands including Scottish punk/metal mentalists DeSalvo. Belle & Sebastian named their biggest hit after their friends Arab Strap and Aiden Moffat has been known to turn up on the occasional Mogwai tune. It must be like one big happy family, Stuart Murdoch making tea for everyone, with Roddy Woomble telling fireside storys as Aiden Moffat drinks all your booze and sleeps with your wife...Hmm, maybe not then...

It's a tough decision but here're my top five Scottish bands and no there isn't going to be any Snow Patrol or The Proclaimers in there. Feel free to disagree...

Belle & Sebastian
Not giving the number one slot to Stuart Murdoch and Co. would feel like cheating on a childhood sweetheart with a girl you know you have nothing in common with...if that makes sense. They're built into the fabric of who I am and have influenced my music taste as well as my life over the years. Tigermilk and If You're Feeling Sinister are two of the most beautifully melancholic indie-pop records of all time too. Favourite tune: 'Judy and the Dream of Horses'.

Idlewild
Like Belle & Sebastian, there's an element of nostalgia that comes with my choice for the number two slot. Memories of sitting in a rubbish club as a teenager but with Idlewild's 1998 album Hope is Important playing in the downstairs room; this was joyous, angry and literate indie punk and it seemed to strike a chord. They were a band I watched grow up and in turn grew up with, from the noise and confusion of the Captain EP to the grand gestures and soaring melodies of The Remote Part, they've refined their sound over the years. I think it was on 2000 album 100 Broken Windows however that they found the perfect balance between restraint and release. Favourite tune: 'Little Discourage'.

Orange Juice
Referenced and adored by indie-pop bands the world over including Comet Gain, Belle & Sebastian and Teenage Fanclub, where would we be without Edwyn Collins and his post-punk, indie-pop heroes? When I heard Edwyns 'A Girl Like You' back in 1994, I didn't even know who Orange Juice were. I'm glad I found out. It's well known that orange juice is good for you - so is this band, now drink up! Favourite Tune: 'Simply Thrilled Honey'.

Mogwai
Mogwai are less of a band and more like a force of nature. Their last record, The Hawk is Howling, was one of their most satisfying albums to date and with any luck they won't be stopping anytime soon. Mogwai know when to sooth, when to soar and when to get very, very loud. From the melancholy sigh of 'Cody' on 1999 album Come On Die Young to the riff-a-rama of 2008 single 'Batcat' - Mogwai haven't disappointed. One of Scotland's most unique, powerful and intriguing acts. Favourite Tune: 'I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead'.

Sons & Daughters
A fantastically underrated band. Debut EP Love the Cup and 2005 album The Repulsion Box were two of the most tense, sinister and original indie records I'd heard in a long time while second full length album, This Gift saw them become a band which by all accounts should be a household name with hit records and celebrity admirers. Oh well, for now they're all ours. Favourite Tune: ' Red Receiver'.

Comments (21)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Ha ha ha. So a drunken conversation in the pub becomes a proper article about music. Well done. But I can't believe you didn't include TFC in your top 5, you montser!

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Have to agree. The Fannies and Cosmic Rough Riders would make it in there too for me! Nice list though

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Great thread Andy, its a difficult one, but here is my definitive five:

1. Frightened Rabbit
2. Jesus & Mary Chain
3. Teenage Fanclub
4. The Twilight Sad
5. Aereogramme

I would of put Simple Minds in there 20 years ago, before I discovered...

Great thread Andy, its a difficult one, but here is my definitive five:

1. Frightened Rabbit
2. Jesus & Mary Chain
3. Teenage Fanclub
4. The Twilight Sad
5. Aereogramme

I would of put Simple Minds in there 20 years ago, before I discovered Indie.

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The Jesus & Mary Chain above anyone else. Ii know they basically took Suicide and added a wall of sound 60s thing to it but Darklands is an amazing album. Primal Scream have to be one of the most overrated bands ever, Screamadelica is great...

The Jesus & Mary Chain above anyone else. Ii know they basically took Suicide and added a wall of sound 60s thing to it but Darklands is an amazing album. Primal Scream have to be one of the most overrated bands ever, Screamadelica is great but I can't help but think Andy Weatherall had a lot to do with that. Nothing wrong with early Simple Minds either, only the early stuff though.

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Teenage Fanclub would have made it into a top ten, obviously a great band...to be honest I'm most regretting not putting Arab Strap in there though...

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Beta Band, anyone? Boards of Canada?

You've also not mentioned The Pastels. Not a massive fan myself but they're alright.

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Agree with Bob on the mary chain. My list wasnt in a particular order but looking at it again the Reid brothers would take top spot for me. Darklands is in my ten fave albums of all time.

Beta band also a good shout, but their lack of consistent...

Agree with Bob on the mary chain. My list wasnt in a particular order but looking at it again the Reid brothers would take top spot for me. Darklands is in my ten fave albums of all time.

Beta band also a good shout, but their lack of consistent quality output counts against them. The 3 EPs was their best piece of work and the other 3 albums i have by them are somewhat indifferent.

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Hm, just found out that Snow Patrol are actually from Northern Ireland...still rubbish though....

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Snooze Patrol are one awful band wherever they're from. I saw the Proclaimers live a few years back supporting the Coral and they were alright, could have been the drink though!

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Used to really hate that '500 Miles' song when i was younger, every crap 'disco' at the weekend playing it near the end of the night...come to think of it, I'm not a massive fan now either....booze certainly helps blot out the bad memories though...

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