There's a recession on out there, don't you know? Here at UnderSong we're always thinking of you, so here are some great Scottish tunes you can get your paws on for the princely sum of 0 pounds and 0 pence. Go spend your hard-earned cash on daily essentials like beer and cigarettes instead.
Crusades - Pseudo Andro
Riffs! Noise! Shouty bits! Hurrah! Pseudo Andro is the first track from new Glasgow based band Crusades. They describe themselves as post-hardcore - that would explain the noise, then - and that's about as much as the enigmatic foursome are prepared to reveal about themselves on popular social networking sites. They recently played on the same bill as Citizens, Shapes and Blacklisters and seem to be gathering quite a hardcore following (ha, 'hardcore' - see what I did there?) if the aforementioned social networking sites are anything to judge by. Fans of At The Drive In and Every Time I Die will appreciate the melodic heaviness and impressive riffage of Pseudo Andro. Keep an eye out for their debut EP, Golden Throats, due for release later in the year.
Father Sculptor - Ember / Blue
Like Crusades, I found it difficult to glean much information from the interwebs about Father Sculptor, other than that they're also from Glasgow. There the similarities end. Both tracks on this debut single have a comforting familiarity about them, a sound that's neither new nor original but is confident in what it does nonetheless. 'Ember' shimmers with reverb, sounding like a hybrid of The Smiths and Simple Minds that builds to a pounding finish. It's refined, melancholic rock with an assertive vocal and although it's like stepping back into the 1980s, it's done with such atmosphere and self-assurance that it's impossible to dislike it for treading old ground. 'Blue' is the bleaker yet poppier of the two tracks, proving that Father Sculptor are more than just a one trick pony. The single has already been featured on BBC Radio One - not bad for a band that only played their first gig in February.
Father Figure Records Compilation
This ten track compilation from Father Figure Records features music from Three Trapped Tigers, Tall Ships and Trapped in Kansas plus numerous others (well, seven others). Father Figure Records only work with music that is licensed under Creative Commons. This enables fans to remix their artists' work if they so desire and share it however they like without fear of being criminalised. It's an exciting idea that promotes creativity and the spread of new music, art and culture. Basically, if you don't download this compilation you're a bit of a silly. Get it here now.
At the tender ages of only 16-18, Dundee five-piece Seams have been causing quite a stir in the Scottish music world recently. In their short history they have already supported bands such as Flood Of Red and The Dykeenies, an impressive feat considering they were playing Battle Of The Bands competitions just two years ago. In a market that is saturated with indie-pop clones Seams are refreshing, not just for their enviable musical skills in ones so young, but also because of their delicate, intricate songs that bands twice their age would be happy to call their own. There are three tracks available to download on their Soundcloud page - 'Gorilla', '8' and 'us pt. 1' - and each showcases the exceptional clarity and range of singer Katie Lynch's voice. While I'm not usually one to jump on the hype wagon, I think that in Seams' case it might be justified. I'd be interested to see them live and find out whether they can stand up to their recordings.
Smoothiesforme - New Beginnings EP
Speaking of young artists with sickening talent, here's another one. Smoothiesforme is a 17 year old singer-songwriter from Edinburgh who in 2010 made it to the finals of The Forth One To Watch Awards. Since then her self-produced, charmingly lo-fi acoustic tunes and breathy tone have won her many fans and are refreshing to listen to in an industry where all too often songs are polished by producers to within an inch of recognition. New Beginnings is Smoothiesforme's most recent EP, consisting of six tracks and serving as a taster for her full album Road To Happiness. The theme is of love both unrequited and lost - a brave subject to tackle for such a young songstress, yet coming across with surprising maturity. Smoothiesforme has also gathered quite a following on her YouTube channel, on which she regularly posts covers of other artists.
Lonely Tourist - 'I Live Where You Are'
Lonely Tourist is Bristol based Glaswegian singer-songwriter Paul Tierney, formerly of Glasgow band Odeon Beat Club. 'I Live Where You Are' is a toe-tapper of a tune that manages to cram a lot into its two short minutes without ever slowing down. It's spirited folk-rock that begs you to play it again, reminiscent of The Mountain Goats or even Johnny Cash with its intelligent lyrics and fast, twangy guitar. Let's hope it's a reliable indicator of Tierney's second album that's planned for the middle of the year. Lonely Tourist has supported amongst others Pete Doherty, Malcolm Middleton and Admiral Fallow. He will be playing dates in Bath, Bristol and Swindon throughout May and June.
Six Storeys High - 'Ghosts'
Not technically free as you have to post a message to Twitter or Facebook in exchange - but that's all you have to part with in order to download Six Storeys High's single as recorded live in session for Jim Gellatly. As it's live, it's stripped back and acoustic so you don't get a proper sense of the polished pop-rock hookiness of the full version, but it should still be enough for you to judge whether you'd like to hear more. The Edinburgh band have been steadily building a fan base across the country with support slots for the likes of We Were Promised Jetpacks and The Xcerts. A brand new EP is planned for June along with a nationwide tour. Six Storeys High seem on paper like the perfect rock band - thumping drums, catchy sing-a-long choruses, beefy riffs and effective use of the loud-quiet dynamic thrown in for good measure (a prerequisite of every successful indie-rock band these days) - but will they prove to have anything that sets them apart from the crowd? Let's hope so.