POP

Middlesborough-born Chris Corner, aka IAMX, has always found that his gothic take on synthpop translates better on the European continent.

His latest single Happiness is hardly a departure from his previous material, exploring isolation, nihilism and faux-eroticism over three minutes of intense bassline and piano gongs.

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As on his previous material, Corner’s voice is the real stand-out here. He evokes the high-end quivers of Muse’s Matthew Bellamy or Placebo’s Brian Molko, but conveys his dramatics much more sensually: through whispers and tremoring vibrato.

ROCK

Who’d have thought that Krautrock could sound so modern and fresh? Glasgow quintet Outblinker will divide listeners with their newest official single Pink.

At its core, the track is indebted to the progressive approach of Neu! and Tangerine Dream, with synthesisers whizzing over a motorised rhythm. The frantic drums flip the track on its head entirely though, leading the listener down a rabbit-hole of endless left turns.

It’s unsurprising that several of the band’s members are members of other Scottish post-punk projects though.

For all the electro stylings, Outblinker still seem primarily focused on building on a catchy groove, and Pink has certainly been given a belter.

TRAD/FOLK

Nothing can prepare you for the otherworldly vocal harmonies and atmospheric sound of Iain Morrison. Quite how he’s gone unnoticed for so long is a mystery and Eas, Gaelic for “cascading waterfall”, is a track that deserves to be heard.

The Isle of Lewis songwriter is well known within the Scottish traditional scene, but his scope is more far-reaching here. Inspired by a melody from an ancient piping tune, Morrison manages to capture such instrumental intricacies with the use of little more than his nuanced vocals. The arrangement is undeniably stunning too, though. Arpeggiated guitar picking and shifting drum patterns mesh with gorgeous strings counter-melodies, make for a dense folk masterpiece.

HIP HOP

London act The Four Owls proved they had the skills to go toe-to-toe with America’s best when they drafted in the legendary DJ Premier on their latest album Natural Order.

The latest single, Assassination, solidifies the group’s status with classic jazzy production and fired-up verses from each of the respective “owls”. Each of the emcees has their own distinct flows and styles, but creative imagery is a common trait among all four.

In a month where Scottish rap acts have repeatedly broken new ground – notably Hector Bizerk headlining the Transmissions stage at T in the Park – the Four Owls are showing that the English scene is also in fine fettle.