Check out Jim’s 10 for 2012 podcast at www.radiomagnetic.com
Fresh from the release of their debut album ‘Fully Cocked’, Bwani are certainly a band on the rise. The Edinburgh based outfit even managed to paint the Forth Bridge blue! Their headline slot on the BBC Introducing Stage was one of my T In The Park highlights.
The Easterhouse singer-songwriter proved on her recent tour with The View, that’s she’s a superstar in waiting. Carly’s got an incredible voice, with the songs to match it. She’ll be unleashing her debut material through the legendary Atlantic Records in the next few months.
Their single ‘Lofty Ambitions’ ranks as one of my favourite debuts of the year. Indie-electro at its best, they were invited to support Friendly Fires at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.
These guys have been floating around the scene for a while now, and get better every time I see them. Most recently I introduced them onstage in Glasgow’s George Square as part of the Glasgow Loves Christmas event. That’s the performance that gave them the edge over other acts I was considering for this list. I lost count of the number of people in the audience approaching me to find out more about them. Indie pop with a backdrop of Latin rhythms, The Imagineers clocked up some high profile appearances in 2011, not least a stack of support slots with Kassidy.
One of the most exciting live bands I’ve seen this year. The truth is, if I’d caught them just a few days earlier, they’d have been in my 10 for 2011 list. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake again. Occupying a musical territory somewhere between The Clash and the Mary Chain, I can’t wait for their debut release.
Amusingly suffixed as “(pronounced John Wayne)” south of the border, the Uddingston indie quartet were one of the first names on my list. Their debut single ‘Desperate Dan’ found its way onto some key radio shows despite being a low-key release. The follow-up ‘New York Doesn’t Love You’ is currently in production and should further enhance the band’s reputation. One of a handful of Scottish acts adopted by the UK wide Live Nation initiative Live Connection, they recently recorded 3 showcase tracks at the Islington Academy in London.
I’ve been a fan of these guys for a while, but I was never sure whether it was a bit of a joke, or something to be taken more seriously. Actually, all that matters is that they are great fun, and an amazing live act. As winners of Best Live Act at 2010’s Scottish Alternative Music Awards, frontman Kerr Okan’s acceptance speech involved reading out the thank-yous from the sleeve notes to Jay-Z’s Black Album! A Glaswegian rap and rock crossover might not be everybody’s cup of tea… indeed, a friend of mine who’s a well-known BBC DJ actively dislikes them! For the record, I love it, and going by the response when they supported Twin Atlantic at the Barrowland, music fans get it as well.
Winning the inaugural In:Demand Unsigned Act Of The Year at the Young Scot Awards 2011, which I helped select, has played a key part in Little Eye’s progression. It was at the April ceremony that they first met singer and Strictly judge Alesha Dixon and her Glasgow based manager Malcolm Blair. They hit it off, and now Alesha and Malcolm co-manage Little Eye! They’ve been building an online following by posting cover versions on YouTube, but their own songs are just as good. Singer Allan Sieczkowski’s been sending me music for some time now, and it’s been a delight watching them develop.
I only came across the Edinburgh teenager a few months ago when I introduced her in front of 10,000 at the SECC. Thankfully the build-up I gave her was more than justified. With just guitar and vocals she more than matched the big names on the bill like Jessie J and Pixie Lott, despite them having all the big production. Since then I’ve seen Nina several times, and she’s gone on to support Ed Sheeran and Example, as well as grabbing herself a major publishing deal.
Fronted by fiery vocalist Janine Shilstone, the Ayrshire band are one of Scotland’s hottest rock prospects. Though described as “a fight against Skunk Anansie and Rage Against the Machine”, it’s far more than just belting out noisy numbers. I caught them doing some acoustic tracks at a creative industries careers event I was hosting in Dumbarton a few months back. The real quality of songwriting can often be exposed when you strip it right back, and Vukovi’s performance was no exception.
If you were wondering what Jim picked in previous years…
Jim’s 10 for 2011: Any Color Black / Capitals / Dot JR / Julia And The Doogans / Midnight Lion / Mopp / Saint Kilda / Rachel Sermanni / Shambles Miller / Weather Barn
Jim’s 10 for 2010: Ambulances / The Boy Who Trapped The Sun / Erland & The Carnival / French Wives / Alex Gardner / GoGoBot / Grum / Kassidy / Kid Adrift / Kitty The Lion
Jim’s 10 for 2009: Alto Elite / Healthy Minds Collapse / Mr Kil / Paper Planes / Pearl And The Puppets / The Phantom Band / Punch & The Apostles / Sugar Crisis / The Velcro Quartet / We See Lights
Jim’s 10 for 2008: The Fire And I / Broken Records / Urbnri / Fangs / Glasvegas / Big Face / Kizzy Star / The Vivians / Twin Atlantic / Attic Lights
Jim’s 10 for 2007: Drive-By Argument / Flood Of Red / ElectricBoyShock / Ghosts / The Law / The Envy Corps / Sixpeopleaway / Low Vs Diamond / Sergeant / Crash My Model Car