My Favourite Scottish Bands & Butcher Boy

We have a strict policy here at the Northern Line. We call it the “Grandma’s” rule. Basically if we can find nothing nice to say about a band, a book, a club, an event of any sorts then we say nothing. Last night I saw Butcher Boy. This morning I am writing a feature that I have planned for a while. It’s called “My favourite Scottish bands: From Orange Juice to Admiral Fallow and beyond”. I have loads of ideas floating round in this thing I call a brain, my mind, whatever. My favourite record labels, best train journeys, favourite northern authors, pub of the year, favourite things to do on a Sunday morning before Match of the Day comes on armed only with a hangover and a laptop!!!!! So in no particular order of importance and with no definite number here goes……..

ORANGE JUICE
“I wear my fringe like Roger McGuinns” The first real indie band. Mixing pop with sherbert dib dabs. Edwyn Collins and James Kirk made a sound that few can match although sadly many have tried!!!

AZTEC CAMERA
Another Postcard Records band. The boy wonder Roddy Frame made one of my favourite ever albums; High Land, Hard Rain. Down the Dip, Mattress of wire, Just like Gold, Orchid Girl………. I wanted a jacket like Roddy’s but never found one. I don’t know if I’d have gotten away with wearing it in Cramlington though!!!

JOSEF K
Named after the star of The Trial by Franz Kafka they set a template that many have followed. Without them there would be no Franz Ferdinand. Is this a good or a bad thing? Paul Haig could have made this list twice but his solo stuff makes me want to find my old copy of The Only Fun in Town and play that instead.

FIRE ENGINES
Get up and use me indeed. Fast, frantic, covered in raw meat. A metaphor for their sound I suggest? Davey Henderson could have made this list three times but Win were only good for a few singles and I never quite got the Nectarine No. 9 so once is all it is.

ASSOCIATES
I love Billy MacKenzie. His voice, his whippets, his silly hats and the sadness of his demise. Panic in the back gardens of Dundee. A true star.

THE SKIDS
Classic singles; Working for the Yankee Dollar, The Saints are Coming, Masquerade and Into the Valley. Richard Jobson’s crazy dancing and even crazier hair. Dunfermline’s finest.

BIG COUNTRY
Stuart Adamson is the first person to make this list twice but not the only one. I did hum and har about their selection but listened to Chance again and Angle Park and they were in.

THE JAZZATEERS
Now some of you may not have heard of these but they were superb. They split up just as they released their debut album. It is one of my all time favourites. (called simply The Jazzateers) A compilation came out years later including their debut and an un-released album. (I shot the President on Marina Records) Get it if you can. Download Show me the Door to see why they’re in.

BOURGIE BOURGIE
Arrived from the ashes of The Jazzateers but with the vocals of a great lost talent; Paul Quinn. Quinn was originally in the Jazzateers but didn’t sing lead on either of their albums. He does add some backing vocals to a few songs. He has a great voice. His version of Pale Blue Eyes with Edwyn Collins is a classic. Bourgie Bourgie only released a couple of singles but for Breaking Point (their debut) they deserve to be included.

THE CLOUDS
A raggle taggle bunch of nutters. When I was a rock star we played support to them at the Woosh Club in Newcastle. They turned up from Glasgow on a National Express. No equipment, with only half the band and only an hour or so before they were due on stage. I was extremely disappointed as I wanted the complete rock version of “Get out of my dream”. I had to be content with an acoustic mish mash. But the very fact they did things like this makes them legendary, as well as that classic song I wanted to hear so dearly back in 1988. I don’t think they did more than a couple of singles but its quality not quantity.

THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN
Riots, feedback, drugs and sibling rivalry. Long before Oasis Creation Records had a band of brothers smashing up the world. The brothers Reid “the vile of East Kilbride” released some brilliant stuff as well as creating headlines for their off stage and on stage antics!

PRIMAL SCREAM
Bobby Gillespie gets in the list twice. Partly for drumming with the Jesus and Mary Chain, partly for Screamadelica but mostly for Velocity Girl and Sonic Flower Groove.

THE CLOSE LOBSTERS
Paisleys finest. Going to heaven to see if it rains. Giving their name to a great indie label in Germany. (Firestation Towers Records. They dropped the “Towers” for fear of being sued) Let’s make some plans.

JESSE GARON AND THE DESPERADOES
Named after Elvis Presley’s dead brother. Splashing along George Square to the sound of Adam Faith.

THE ORCHIDS
My favourite Sarah band by a mile. Well, a little in front of the Field Mice. Beautiful tunes, massively over looked and better than The Nivens, allegedly. (I haven’t forgotten Bob Stanley!!!!)

BELLE AND SEBASTIAN
For Tigermilk, If you’re feeling sinister and Boy with the Arab Strap. A few choice tracks since, A modern rock song, but mainly for the only time I’ve seen them live. In Leeds, City Varieties Theatre, in 1998 with Elliot Smith in support. And I bumped into Dave Gedge. Fantastic.

ARAB STRAP
For everything they’ve ever done. And I could put both Aidan Moffatt and Malcolm Middleton in for their solo work but I’ll restrict it all to the umbrella of Arab Strap. Great name, great band. Lewd, crude but beautifully crafted songs of lust and pity.

THE VIEW
“The View, The View, The View are on fire”. Exploded on the scene with some brilliant singles, drugs bust ups with Pete Doherty, accents so strong you needed sub-titles when they appeared on Soccer AM. But the’re still at it and they’re still great. Their last album is as good, or even better, than the first. Largely ignored by the media and no longer this weeks big thing but they’re still great.

WOODENBOX WITH A FISTFUL OF FIVERS
Well we’re onto the home straight now. The last few bands I like to put together under the banner “The Sound of Young Scotland”. This was Postcard Records tag line back in 1981. 30 years later we’ve come full circle. Woodenbox are a must see live attraction. And the records not half bad either.

THE LAST BATTLE
Edinburgh’s last tattoo. Man the life boats, climb up Arthurs Seat, wear a silly bonnet with false ginger hair, get drunk on Irn Bru but don’t ignore this great wee band.

WASHINGTON IRVING
One of my favourite bands at the moment. I’ve seen them 4 times in recent months and am genuinely excited about the 5th coming up soon. (The Westgarth on the 26th of October) Dear Liza is a nailed on, bucket fixing classic.

MITCHELL MUSEUM
Got album of the year here at The Northern Line last year. Brilliant live. Like Flaming Lips on Buckfast!!!

ADMIRAL FALLOW
Probably my favourite band at the moment. Their album gets an airing on a daily basis. Saw them at the Deershed Festival and they were wonderful. Admiral Fallow I love you.

Well that’s it. All 23 of them!!! Have I missed anyone out? Should somebody not be in? Let me know; peter@thenorthernline.com. Better still why not write your own feature. On anything you like really. As long as its Northern in flavour then its got a chance of making it. You may have noticed Buthcher Boy didn’t make the list. Enough said.

By peter on October 16, 2011


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4 Comments » RSS Comment Feed

  1. Two bands that most certainly should be up there, for me anyway, Idlewild and Teenage Fan Club

    Comment by Andrew Storey — October 17, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

  2. To name but a few more in no particular order…some up and coming bands out there gigging and making it happen….others whose days have been and gone… The Pastels, BMX Bandits, For Abel, Errors, Teenage Fanclub, The Delgados, Mogwai, Sons and Daughters, How to Swim, The Phantom Band, Aerogramme…

    Comment by Tom — October 18, 2011 @ 12:34 pm

  3. how can the proclaimers not get a mention…

    Comment by Kevan — October 22, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

  4. No Blue Nile or Trashcan Sinatras????

    Comment by Dave — October 29, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

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