It’s no secret that 2019 has been a tremendous year for the Scottish Music Industry from the rise of many unsigned artists finding their feet and selling out shows to Lewis Capaldi conquering the Music Industry across the globe. There is no shortage of strong artists in the Scottish music scene so in no particular order, here is our take on ten of the artists we expect to go from strength to strength in 2020. Here’s to another year of being one of the best scenes in the world.
Hailing from both Edinburgh and Fife, The Links have been causing quite a storm in their short time in the industry. 2019 has seen the indie soaked band gain attention from a few popular and well-liked names in the Scottish scene with support slots for artists such as rising band Shambolics and trademark Scottish artist Billy Mitchell. 2019 has also seen no shortage of headline gigs for the band, after packed-out shows in Dunfermline, Edinburgh and Glasgow, to name a few. The boys’ single ‘Last Line’ released earlier this year incorporates star jangled melodies and the sort of vocals you expect from your favourite 90s indie heroes. The Links are universal but without any hint of being beige or bland. 2020 is expected to bring an even more raucous year for the boys and they are most definitely one to watch.
After erupting into the music scene in April 2016, Carousel had an impressive start which saw them sign an exclusive record deal with Assai Records for Record Store Day. The band took a brief hiatus in 2018 and 2019 has seen the return of the Dundee rockers. Carousel played their first live-show since their hiatus in October and have had no struggle in re-gaining attention in the scene with an admirable number of gigs already lined up across the country for 2020. Carousel embody much-loved traits from Scottish indie music- they’re high-spirited, rosy and have the kind of tunes you just want to chant with your pals at a festival soaked in Tennents. This year has been a building block for Carousel, a year which has taken them to a level which will only increase in 2020.
2019 has been the year of Glasgow domination from young quartet Spyres. The band take influence from many different genres which shines through in their music. From modern day punk heroes Fontaines D.C. to Australia’s indie-rock legend Courtney Barnett, Spyres fuse together anarchist passion with strong melodic vocals to create the masterpiece which is their single ‘Otherside’. With impressive support slots for artists such as The Snuts and Declan Welsh & The Decadent West, Spyres are building a solid name for themselves in the Scottish scene. During their time so far in the industry they’ve worked with 7 West Studios, gained over 100,000 listens on ‘Otherside’ and played Glasgow’s notorious Club Sabbath night at The Priory. It’s evident that Spyres have achieved a commendable amount this year and 2020 is only set to take them even further.
Rising Glaswegian star Kitti has given the Scottish scene the perfect splash of attitude after single ‘Chasing the Crowd’ was released in September. Kitti adds something different, her vocals have an edge to them, echoing the unfaltering confidence we’re used to hearing from artists such as Amy Winehouse and Jorja Smith. The young artist’s music is soulful with jazz influences and an added twist of R&B vibes. Kitti’s music as cliched as it sounds, makes you feel like you can get up and do anything and there is no doubt her music will soon inspire other young artists. Next year when Kitti’s infectious energy has become a prominent feature in the industry, I’ll be here to say I told you so.
The Roly Mo
This year, The Roly Mo have caused a stir across the country with the kind of strong punk sound generated from fellow Glasgow bands The Dunts, Rascalton and Baby Strange. Like fellow Discovery ‘Ones to Watch’ band Spyres, The Roly Mo are no strangers to a Club Sabbath performance and have performed an impressive number of support slots for bands such as Voodoos and Pleasure Heads. Tracks such as ‘I’ll Be Happy When You Die’ and ‘Fooled By You’ are enriched with strong instrumentals and mighty vocals which could get any crowd across the country stomping. The band give you visions of bodies strewn across the top of wild crowds ready to pay homage to everything The Roly Mo have given to the Scottish scene- a fresh perspective on Scottish punk which will no doubt introduce an abundance of new fans to the scene we all know and love.
Fife artist Amy Lou describes herself as ‘feisty indie pop wi a wee Scottish Growl’ which gives an insight into the rising star. One of the attributes Amy Lou encompasses which has aided her success, is her unfiltered confidence in her identity. Amy Lou and her band are strong supporters of the LGBT community in Scotland and this shines through in both her presence and her music. Track ‘Fiat Five Hunner’ was released at the very beginning of 2019 and served as a catalyst in the increased popularity of Amy Lou. The tune details identity struggles with raw and pure Scottish vocals and is a track which many people will relate to. 2020 is set to see the increased domination of Amy Lou but I’m sure her music will also inspire a new influx of artists who are unapologetically themselves and aren’t afraid to stand up to some of society’s biggest issues.
V.C.O released their debut single ‘Mercury in Retrograde’ in early December and we are certain their retro style synth tracks will take off in 2020. V.C.O are something different, they boast seven members, a number of instruments and describe their influences as “your dad’s record collection”. They also take inspiration from fellow Scottish bands such as The Ninth Wave which is evident in their style. The band played a gig at The Old Hairdressers this month and although they are fresh on the scene, they’re a refreshing addition to the industry who give a different and fun take on synth pop style tracks.
The Nickajack Men
Falkirk band The Nickajack Men describe their music as “somewhere between alternative-country and indie rock” and are influenced by bands such as The War on Drugs and The Rolling Stones. The band have been on the scene for a few years now but with their debut album set to be released next year, 2020 should see an increase in popularity for the Falkirk lads. The Nickajack Men have won awards for previous singles and have supported Scottish indie heroes The View in the past so they are set to go from strength to strength next year. With their last track ‘Changed Ways’ crashing onto the digital airwaves in 2018, we’re excited to hear the long-awaited new tracks on the album.
After entering the Scottish scene in 2018, this year has seen the influence of CRYSTAL in the industry. CRYSTAL have created a following of new admirers to the industry devoted to the powerful and chaotic punk tracks the band produce. After tracks ‘Sex Rich’ and ‘Sugar Sweet’ were released this year, the band were victorious in becoming one of the biggest new artists in the Scottish music scene. CRYSTAL tracks are inviting and almost magnetic, creating an immediate draw to the band and their music. If 2019 is anything to go by, CRYSTAL are set for industry domination in 2020.
After winning the Tenement Trail new artist competition in 2018, Scarlett Randle has only grown in the industry. The rising star is an impressive artist as her on-stage persona is feisty and a beaming icon for female empowerment in the Scottish scene but her vocals are soft and endearing- creating the perfect balance. Track ‘HER’ was released earlier this year offering a dreamy and romantic escape from some of the more chaotic tunes we see in the industry. We hope to see a lot of Scarlett Randle in 2020 and are sure her empowering stance and much-loved tracks will be essential in the scene next year.
So there it is, our ones to watch for 2020 in a nutshell. Time to bring on a new decade of music in one of the best scenes in the world.