THE nominees have been announced for the sixth Scottish Alternative Music Awards on October 8, celebrating a diverse music scene that has produced 42 candidates over seven categories.

The SAMAs show, held at the Garage in Glasgow, will feature performances by previously successful acts Crash Club and Holy Esque.

“The shortlist is extremely strong this year, with nominees from every corner of Scotland,” said SAMAs founder Richy Muirhead. “There is a huge surge in nominations for new bands which goes to show that Scotland is forever churning out new and exciting talent.”

Best Rock/Alternative

Power pop collective We Came From Wolves are the most recognisable act in this year’s rock category with new material that is their most ambitious yet.

Catholic Action get the nod for their snappy indie-pop, although their lack of official releases may hinder them.

Other nominees include experimentalists Dear John and Monogram, as well as riffy propositions Huxtable and SchnarffSchnarff.

Best Newcomer

In possibly the most diverse category, Edinburgh’s Man of Moon produced one of the tracks of the year in The Road, but they face stiff competition in fellow duo Bella and the Bear. The latter’s traditional acoustic sound will garner a fair few votes.

Indie acts White Baer, from Dundee, Inverness’s Lionel, and Alphas from Aberdeen are also among the nominations. Irish songwriter Martha Ffion’s distinct retro/grunge approach makes her the dark horse.

Best Hip-Hop

It’s hard to see past veteran Glasgow emcee Mog for this one. He could easily have won this award several years over, but his latest project, Nomads Land, sees him at his nihilistic best.

Cross-genre collective Spring Break are in the mix, as are beatbox and rap duo Bigg Taj & Spee Six Nine for their Verses 2. Delighted Peoples, DJ Yemster & Hextasy and The ill Collective all get the nod too, demonstrating the diversity in Scotland’s rap scene.

Best Electronic

Crash Club are on the list for the second year running in the electronic category, while it seems experimental synth pop act Our Future Glory are finally starting to gain traction.

Bdy_Prts, the exciting electro-pop coalition of Jill Stephenson and Jenny Reeve, are a newer proposition but deserve their nomination. Elsewhere, noisy techno producer Sequel and house practitioner DJ Clyde Rouge are also nominated. For sheer artistry, Lockah has arguably earned this award for his magnificent sophomore LP It Gets More Cloudy, a fascinatingly progressive interpretation on funky electro.

Best Acoustic

In July we referred to C Duncan as a fascinating bedroom artist, yet that description only touches the surface. In fact, Duncan’s inclusion in the “acoustic” category almost undermines his crossing of lo-fi indie pop with more sophisticated classical techniques.

It’s to the SAMAs’ credit that they haven’t simply gone for the straightforward nominations. Best Girl Athlete is a 16-year-old who has a developed a sound far beyond her years, while male-and-female duo The Jellyman’s Daughter utilise both guitar and strings, often in a quite unorthodox way. And Dr Wook imparts an earthy Americana, via Inverness.

If none of those are your bag, then perhaps the highly talented Sean C Kennedy and Stella Reilly, who are in the traditional singer-songwriter mould, would be more up your street.

Best Live Act

SAY award-winner Kathryn Joseph’s inclusion here proves that it’s not only energy and volume that makes a good live show. Similarly, fellow SAY nominees Errors possess a live show that is designed to impress as much as invigorate.

Rock acts Neon Waltz, Ded Rabbit and Copper Lungs are all exciting live performers in their own right, but funk/rock ’n’ roll collective Colonel Mustard & The Dijon Five may have the strength in numbers here. Representing the phenomenal DIY “Yellow Movement”, their fans are literally considered by the band to be members – also known as the “Sixth Dijon” – leading to a carnival atmosphere at their shows.

Best Metal

Last but not least, Scotland’s heavy metal community continues to build and diversify. This year’s nominations cover everything from technical post-rock (Mountains Under Oceans) to classic hard rock (The Amorettes) to post-hardcore (Divides).

Meanwhile, psychedelic trio Holy Mountain sound more influenced by Jimi Hendrix than Iron Maiden, though their bluesy undercurrent is tempered by blistering heavy parts that justify their inclusion.

Still, it’ll be interesting to see whether a more extreme act triumphs in the public vote. Melodic death five-piece Seed of Sorrow and thrash metallers Blackened Ritual are criminally underrated.

The public vote for each category opens soon. You can learn more at Tickets for the awards are available now via Eventbrite.