The countdown is very nearly over. On the evening of the 19 June, the winner of the first ever Scottish Album of the Year Award will be announced in a highly anticipated ceremony at Glasgow’s celebrated Film City. In the run up to this event, a long list of 20 albums was selected by judges from throughout the creative industries, from which a specially selected panel of music minds picked nine to feature on the award’s shortlist, with the tenth album being chosen via public vote.
Now, ten Scottish acts are in with the chance of winning the main prize of £10,000, with each of the runners up receiving £1,000 in what’s proving to be a very interesting competition indeed. Have a closer look at the nominees below to see who you think will be in with a chance of winning the inaugural Scottish Album of the Year Award.
Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat – Everything’s Getting Older
…Their collective experience radiates from every note of every song on this album. Together, the pair achieve a brilliantly exotic yet bleak record with quirky avant-garde asides, moments of profound sadness, some drunken silliness, Glaswegian pathetic fallacy, remote ugliness and snippets of bliss all tied up in narrative packages that treat each subject with a humble reverence and restraint.
- Stephen Smith
Conquering Animal Sound – Kammerspiel
Rarely does anything seem too clear on this album and the manipulation of sounds is magical at points, with reverb drenched vocals enveloping themselves until they become slow crystalline drones, the draped guitar lines stretching out like vast orchestral canvasses. Conquering Animal Sound specialise in layering simple sounds that continually become more inextricably linked, and much more complex to decipher.
- Chris Tapley
Happy Particles – Under Sleeping Waves
Underneath velvet instrumentation and blissful falsetto cooing, Happy Particles create achingly tender soundscapes that aptly embody the gorgeous title Under Sleeping Waves. Comprising ten tracks, beset on all sides with the pattering of dewdrop percussion and humming of masterfully composed strings, the album is breathtakingly elegant and as overpoweringly surrounding as the crashing waves of the deepest, bluest ocean.
- Merlin Jobst
King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine
Diamond Mine isn’t the pair’s first collaboration. The familiarity, though, has bred brilliance. Hopkins has selected his six favourite tracks and set about reworking them to accentuate Anderson’s astonishing vocals. His role here is perhaps more subtle than what he’s been used to recently, but no less important. This album is a (quietly) roaring success.
- Finbarr Bermingham
Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
The most enjoyable moments are when the band embrace their inner kraut. ‘Mexican Grand Prix’ has a resolutely motorik beat, breathy vocodered vocals and that lovely balance between strictness of rhythm and flight-of-fancy that makes this music transcendent. Best of all is ‘George Square Thatcher Death Party’: fast and electronic with high mysterious voices offset by guitars; evocative, energetic, meaningful.
- Jude Clarke