Pretty Green

Four Great Bands From Scotland

“It’s SHITE being Scottish!” or so says Trainspotting’s star, Renton. But perhaps we shouldn’t trust someone riled up on heroin, Ewen McGregor or not. After all, all these bands are Scottish:

Frightened Rabbit

This band was first described to me as writing “folk ballads for alcoholics” which is still the most accurate description of their languid, morose songs. They spin dreary tales with their heavy accents and causal use of expletives, crooning with all the desperation and misery of someone whose life is falling apart, but with the vibe of someone who’s too lazy or apathetic or drunk or hopeless to do a thing about it. They formed in Selkirk in 2003 and have four albums to their name. Recommended tracks: Fast Blood and Music Now.

Primal Scream

One of the most popular and influential Madchester acts, this hazy, drugged up psychedelic rock band is based out of Glasglow. Fronted by Bobby Gillespie [who once played drums in the Jesus and Mary Chain], they have 10 studio albums spanning from 1987 to one being released some point this year, but are best known for the memorable 1991 release “Screamadelica”, which embodied a jangly, trance-like garage rock like vibe. Recommended tracks: Movin’ On Up and Higher Than The Sun

Belle and Sebastian

These twee darlings hail from Glasglow. Their first EP, Tigermilk was released on their college in-house label, Electric Honey, in 1996 and they’ve been making bouncy indie pop ever since. While not making it big commercially, they remain idolized by music nerds everywhere, their lyrical and sometimes moribund songs fit in nicely on a playlist for spring or wedged between Smiths tracks on a mixtape. Recommended tracks: If You’re Feeling Sinister and Piazza New York Catcher

Boards of Canada

With a name that could easily led one to believe these brothers come from Canada, they actually call Edinburgh home. Their name came from the public access nature films they would see on TV, all brought to them from the “Film Board of Canada”. Famously elusive, they recently led fans on a numerical treasure hunt that ended in the announcing of their 4th full-length album. Their understated IDM is downright theatrical, using drum machines and samples to create a sound as enigmatic and mysterious as the band themselves. Recommended: Davyan Cowboy and Music is Math.