THE National readers who are heading to Belladrum Festival at Beauly in a few weeks should definitely add Nieves to the list of bands to check out.

This Glasgow quartet have previously released more folk-driven material, recalling the likes of Frightened Rabbit, but it is Twin Atlantic that more obviously come to mind on new single Black Tie.

Building on a minimal drum pattern and moody piano chords, the song morphs into a stunning soft rock ballad thanks to the tender vocal delivery by Brendan Dafters and interweaving guitar melodies.

Though such a proposition may sound cynical, Nieves may discover that their prospects are brighter on this more accessible path.


We covered 1980s synthpop revivalists GUNSHIP in these pages only a few weeks ago, but the English trio are already back with a single worth shouting about.

Revel In Your Time is another exercise in glossy synthwave production, abundant in retro synths and drum machines, but this time there’s a more discernible contemporary indie influence.

The compressed vocal hook isn’t just catchy and attention grabbing, it also exemplifies why GUNSHIP stand out in a sub-genre that is usually instrumental. Imagine MGMT covering the Drive soundtrack and you’ll have an idea of what these guys are getting at.

Their debut album Horsie in the Hedge was released yesterday.


An interesting characteristic of newer hip hop acts of the past few years has been the often dreamlike, more atmospheric style of production. “Cloud rap” pioneer Clams Casino has practically launched a career off creating lo-fi minimalist beats for up-and-coming rappers.

California rapper Vince Staples has clearly been paying close attention because recruiting Clams for his track Norf Norf (a reference to his north side Long Beach home) has resulted in the best hip hop single of the year so far. Clams is back to his best with minimalist percussion and a hypnotic bass loop, but Staples more than holds his own here, to his credit.

Though there’s a degree of humour and tongue-in-cheek to his juvenile lyricism, when he repeats his mantra “I ain’t ever run from nothing but the police”, he does so with conviction.