Mogwai, contemporaries of Arab Strap, are a band that defy categorisation. Largely instrumental and indescribably powerful, their early work is characterised by loud quiet loud dynamics, long tracks (often 20 minute plus), long, menacing build ups and devastatingly loud drops. Their 1997 debut, Young Team, has become a cult classic. As their career progressed, the five Glaswegians calmed melody took more of a centre stage (especially on Come on Die Young), and the keyboard and computer crept into their work. Their most recent album Rave Tapes meshed their instrumental, atmospheric trademark with krautrock elements to stunning success. Recently they have also branched out into soundtrack work, most notably on their haunting work for French drama show Les Revenants, but still remain famous for their deafeningly loud and utterly hypnotising live shows.
7) Average White Band
In a complete change of direction from what has come already, Average White Band are a legendary funk and soul band from Dundee. Formed over 40 years ago, they still tour to this day. Finding their big break in 1973 as support for Eric Clapton, AWB moved to LA (I suppose it beats Dundee) and released a series of successful albums throughout the 70s. They are best known for of the oft-sampled number one hit ‘Pick up the Pieces’, and the legendary ‘Let’s Go Round Again’ from their album Shine.
8) Teenage Fanclub
Glaswegian post-punks with a shoegazing twist, Teenage Fanclub’s creative core is a trio of singer-guitarists who share the limelight. The band combine shoegaze-y guitars and melody, Pixies-esque alt rock and a magnetic pop sensibility to create a brilliantly shambolic sound. Their album Bandwagonesque famously won Spin Magazine’s Album of the Year Award, fending off competition from, amongst others, REM, My Bloody Valentine and Nirvana’s Nevermind. ‘Songs from Northern Britain’ and ‘Grand Prix’, from later on the decade, were also huge hits, especially ‘Grand Prix’, which came out on the legendary Creation label at the height of Britpop.
9) Hudson Mohawke
Hudson Mohawke, real name Ross Birchard, is a prodigious Glaswegian musician and producer, best known as one half of trap duo TNGHT, as well as the producer behind much of Kanye West’s recent output, including the industrially massive ‘Blood on the Leaves’. On top of his work with TNGHT, his production work with Kanye West’s GOOD Music label, and his live shows, he has released two solo albums, including Lantern, which came out in 2015.
Nine is a small number, and it feels wrong to write an article about classic Scottish artists without mentioning Gerry Rafferty or Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, or to discuss Scottish artists at the peak of their powers right now without mentioning Young Fathers or Admiral Fallow. And for that matter, mentioning Teenage Fanclub but not The Jesus and the Mary Chain, or Arab Strap but not Belle and Sebastien in detail feels like a sin. Really, any number of bands from Aztec Camera to The Delgados via The Vaselines and RM Hubbert could have and should have been featured here but were not. There is even a place in the Scottish musical canon for Runrig and Big Country, which goes to show how diverse, exciting and just bloody good our musical output has been. And yeah, fair enough, I suppose it could be argued that even The Proclaimers have one or two tunes that are not completely awful.