T in the Park - what is the future/is there a future?
We should know the answer to the question hanging over the Scottish music scene by September/October; will T in the Park return in some shape or form in 2018? By that stage DF Concerts will have assessed their Glasgow Green shows (see below), along with the usual Bellahouston shows. They'll also have assessed site options and potential hoops they have to jump through, and considered if they have the desire to jump through them. The DF team will definitely miss T, however, if their Glasgow Green, Bellahouston and stadium shows all sell well then they might not miss the cash.
Will Scotland miss T? Well I never thought I would say this, but I don't think too many will. Times change and 2017 is set to be a year that emphasises that more than most.
Glasgow Green 8-10 July
Radiohead are already confirmed for one of the nights at Glasgow Green, Coldplay are rumoured to be another. Who else could come and sell out that kind of venue? I'd love to see a double bill of Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem but that is likely to prove wishful thinking - I'll settle for seeing them grace the Barrowland Ballroom again - if I can get tickets!
Electric Fields 1st-2nd September 2017
Electric Fields jumped up to 2-days with relative ease and now that T and Wickerman have been removed from the calendar this presents a real opportunity for the boutique festival to firmly establish itself. 2016 was delightful - the location and setting is beautiful, the atmosphere was exceptional and the line-up eclectic in all the right ways. Do they stick with the 5,000 capacity or look to increase?
Kelburn Garden Party 30th June - 3rd July 2017
Kelburn is another festival that could make a real statement in 2017. It has been becoming increasingly popular through word of mouth. For fellow Glaswegians it is exceptionally easy to get to, it has a real eclectic line-up and seems equally family and raver friendly.
Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival 3rd-5th August 2017
Franz Ferdinand, Sister Sledge and KT Tunstall have already been announced for the Tartan Heart Festival; 3 fantastic festival acts. The festival usually sells out and these acts are bound to ensure that happens again. Get your tickets fast if you are interested.
The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award
The SAY Award is going from strength to strength, highlighting the rich artistic talent that our small country has to offer the world. Anna Meredith won the 2016 award with her Varmints album, beating off competition from the likes of FFS, Emma Pollock, Young Fathers and Chvrches.
The likes of Meredith, Kathryn Joseph (2015 winner) and previous shortlisted contenders like Happy Meals have really benefited from the exposure generated from this award. I always look forward to the longlist being announced so I can check out loads of interesting music.
Last Night From Glasgow - Founded in 2016, LNfG had an incredible first year (even if I do say so myself). 7-inch singles by Mark W Georgsson, Emme Woods and Be Charlotte, a USB credit card album by Stephen Solo, gatefold vinyl album by TeenCanteen, USB slap wrist band by BooHooHoo and some digital releases as well! All on top of having 150 members! Our members got all of that music plus invites to launch shows all for £50 per annum.
As a co-founder and board member of LNfG I know that we have some incredible stuff planned for 2017 beginning with the release of Mark W Georgsson's stunning Faces and Places album in January. We celebrate our 1st anniversary with a show at Stereo on 30th March with BooHooHoo headlining and further guests set to be announced in the near future.
Fuzzkill Records - As the label who first released Catholic Action and Spinning Coin, fans of indie/punk/pop/grunge will be looking to see who Fuzzkill unearth next. They clearly have a great ear and good taste and I look forward to hearing what 2017 brings.
Olive Grove Records - I always keep an eye on Lloyd's label. 2016 was productive with the release of Homemade Lemonade by Ette receiving huge plaudits, including being named in the top 5 albums on Bandcamp for 2016. There were also setbacks with Woodenbox calling it a day but Lloyd's taste and nature will ensure he unearths something new - I look forward to finding out what that might be.
Geographic - read on for mentions of Spinning Coin's album and The Pastels archive project. 2017 could be a busy one for Stephen and Katrina's label.
Song by Toad - are buoyed by the return of Meursault and the success of the Modern Studies Swell to Great LP so enter 2017 in a rich vein of form.
Indie / DIY actionTeenCanteen ended 2016 by heading into La Chunky studio to record some new songs. They will hopefully be making an announcement on a release in the near future. The band had an excellent 2016 with heaps of praise on their debut album Say It All With A Kiss and if they can follow that swiftly then the momentum will continue to build.
Spinning Coin brought out their debut single in 2016 on The Pastels Geographic label and followed that by heading North to Helmsdale to record an album with Edwyn Collins. With the approval of two legends from the Scottish indie scene it is safe to say that a few people are looking forward to this release. Stephen Pastel wrote on the Teenage Fanclub forum that their debut single Albany reminded him of the feeling he got from The Boy Hairdressers as they turned into Teenage Fanclub. Their recent tour with the Fanclub definitely won them a number of fans.
Catholic Action had an excellent 2016 with the re-release of L.U.V and the follow up Rita Ora. Teenage Fanclub also took this band out for a few dates and an album must surely be in the pipeline.
Gerry Cinnamon certainly hasn't rushed his debut album, but does he need to? Demo's and videos of songs from live shows are ensuring the word of mouth buzz surrounding him continues to build. Gerry sold out the ABC at the end of 2016 and I wouldn't bet against him headlining the Barrowland in 2017. We will hopefully get the album though - the demand is there!
Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 have already played the Barrowland and ended the year by also selling out the ABC. They are my favourite live band in Scotland due to the sheer positivity and good feeling they generate. The band and crowd become one and you are guaranteed to leave a live show with a smile on your face. I hope to be recording a guest podcast with the Colonel and his loyal lieutenant in the near future.
Major Breakthrough?A number of Scottish acts have signed for major labels over the last few years; White, Kloe, Model Aeroplanes, Fatherson, Neon Waltz..... none have broken through. Two (White and Neon Waltz) have been dropped. Fatherson are in for the long haul and Kloe and Model Aeroplanes are young enough to still do something if they are given time write (or be given) a song(s) to break them. Think of the way Chvrches exploded on to the scene with a string of singles.
Will any Scottish acts snapped up by a major in 2017? It is becoming increasingly difficult, not only to get signed, but to break through. Who are the contenders?
Saint PHNX - seem poised for a deal after Radio 1 airplay, the use of their songs in major sporting events including the CL final, a publishing deal for singer Stevie Jukes, crazy Spotify action and by making all the right moves including securing a fantastic managerial team. I've been singing the praises of Stevie Jukes as a major label writer and star for some time. Will 2017 be his breakthrough year with Saint Phnx? If so he is ready.
Be Charlotte - there has been a load of hype about Be Charlotte - an incredibly talented young 19 year old from Dundee. I spoke with Charlotte at the launch of her Machines That Breathe single and was impressed with her down to earth attitude, work ethic and her talent. At one point she stepped to the front of the stage and sang acapella - it was stunning. Charlotte is sassy, stylish and she has time on her side and also an ever increasing stockpile of songs. I expect 2017 to be another busy year and more forwards progression for the youngster.
K V A S I R - the debut EP by K V A S I R was the most sublime release by a Scottish artist in 2016. I know that he has much more recorded. I wouldn't be at all surprised if a major label or highly established indie came in to give him the platform his music richly deserves. He plays King Tut's on Thursday 5th January.
More from2016 was a productive year for a lot of bands I have been following for a long time, that looks set to continue in 2017, with 5 long term favourite Scottish bands of mine set for releases and touring throughout the year
TFC follow up the success of the Here album by continuing to tour in promotion. After hammering September-December, the Fannies return after a festive break with a European tour followed by a jaunt to Japan and Australia. Norman Blake has also promised West Coast of America dates and a number of festivals have been confirmed. Will they play a Scottish festival? Or make a welcome return to Kelvingrove Bandstand? Watch this space...
Jesus and Mary Chain
JAMC follow their reunion and Psychocandy shows with a new album Damage and Joy, due for release at the end of March. This will be the Reid brothers first album since 1998. Expect shows, festivals and lots of media if Alan McGee has anything to do with it.
Belle and Sebastian
The Belles have been recording and from Stuart Murdoch's tweets and online diary it sounds like it will be released via a string of EP's rather than an album. This points towards a prolonged burst of activity but at a pace controlled by the band. I expect some secret shows, special shows and lots of great stuff. The band have already announced a show at Chelsea Royal Hospital in June, so expect a release before or around then with other dates to come.
I've been so busy lately that I haven't been into Monorail for ages! Last year Stephen Pastel informed me that he was working on an archive project for the band. This involved sourcing a lot of old recordings and confirming who owns what. The Pastels have a rich catalogue of material crying out for a reissue and reappraisal. Fingers crossed they can get the paperwork/legal stuff sorted and we get some releases, press (Stephen's musical taste and knowledge really comes across) and shows.
I was fortunate to spend a lovely sunny afternoon with Duglas last summer and also met him at several shows and events after that, so I know that he has been recording with Stuart Kidd amongst others. I look forward to hearing what they have come up with and to seeing them with TeenCanteen as part of Independent Venue week in January when they play the Bungalow in Paisley on January 23rd. EVENT INFO HERE