Not so long ago, I covered the entire British Isles (here and here), in a brief effort to ensure not everything was getting rooted in this big ol' city that I now call home. It's a wonderful place to exist, though it can become easy to forget that there is so much going on musically outside all the opportunities across the 5 boroughs. In the last couple of weeks, Scotland's Frightened Rabbit have once again prompted me to break from the bubble.
One of the beauties of this band - and many other indie-rock outfits hailing from North of the border - is the emotive Scottish brogue, employed so effectively by singer Scott Hutchison. Eschewing the need to Americanise every other syllable is sometimes difficult enough for British pop and rock singers, so to actually sing in a sharp Scottish accent is really hiking off to the opposite end of spectrum trail. Despite this, the trait has become quite a warmly familiar aural tone in recent years, with anyone from burgeoning international rockers Biffy Clyro to rising indie bands like We Were Promised Jetpacks favouring their natural tongue. It adds a sense of honesty and background to the music as well as, for anyone who has visited Scotland, a pleasant reminder of some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK. Even if not, that has to be a preferable image for the tourist board than that of the heroin-addled lunatics in Trainspotting, non?
So then, first and foremost this is a chance to showcase the wonderful Frightened Rabbit, whose careful blend of plaintive indie rock with subtle keyboard tones has so enraptured me recently, on the most recent album 'The Midnight Organ Fight'.....another missed from '08, but we are no longer straying there, goddit? Furthermore, though, it gives a chance to nod to their peers. To shine the spotlight on the cities and Highlands - if indeed any of the bands come from there.....though I doubt it - breeding this emerging talent. Granted, Biffy have been playing this game for the last decade, but people only recognised their glory recently so the loose tie still applies.......oh yes it does.
MP3: Frightened Rabbit - Head Rolls Off
Taken from 'Midnight Organ Fight' - Buy
MP3: The Twilight Sad - That Summer At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy (courtesy of Insound) and, my personal fave for the lyrical work, Cold Days From The Birdhouse
Taken from 'Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters' - Buy
Video: We Were Promised Jetpacks - Quiet Little Voices
From forthcoming album 'Four Walls' - Preorder
Moving away from my audio obsession with the Scottish vocal twang, even more musical wonderment can be unearthed. As well as my passion for the late, lamented Aereogramme - who created anything from lush, intricate ballads to immense walls of noise - there are older bands as diverse as The Jesus & Mary Chain or Idlewild, mixing it up with the newer school, such as the superbly monickered Dananananaykroyd. With enough time and inclination, one could create a labyrinthine playlist of great Scot music spanning the decades. Alas, the time pup has been snapping at my heels for the last few weeks and shows no signs of letting up soon, so this will have to suffice.......for the moment.
MP3: Aereogramme - Concious Life (courtesy of Insound)
Taken from the ESSENTIAL 'My Heart Has A Wish That You Would Not Go' - Buy
As a final note, Frightened Rabbit visit US shores for a FREE show at the Siren Music Festival in Coney Island, Sunday July 18th. As if that isn't enough....and it most certainly is.....a stellar line-up including Built to Spill, Future of the Left, and Spank Rock, should be more than enough to attract enough the most agoraphobic of indie music fans. Lace up those vintage lookin' Chucks and hit the F train, kiddos.
Now playing: Biffy Clyro - Justboy