WITH Celtic Connections only a month away, we in The National music team are dusting off our dancing shoes for the dozens of ceilidhs and free shows hosted by the festival.

But the new single from Ballad of Crows, above, reminds us that there are numerous Scottish acts just as influenced by folk acts from across the pond.

Unburden Love, taken from the band’s self titled album, is a delicious slice of Americana that evokes Crosby, Stills and Nash. The harmonies are pleasant and the lyrics are packed with imagery, but it also has the driving pulse that makes it a toe-tapper.


EAST coasters Errant Boy are a band that would seem eccentric if they weren’t from Scotland. And yet, with their contrasting twee guitar verses and off-beat choruses, their sound isn’t miles away from Belle & Sebastian’s more angular work.

Their new single Black Dress, Black Cab also sees vocalist ‘The Errant Boy’ warble his way over light-hearted and sinister chord progressions in a manner that Alex Kapranos (Franz Ferdinand, FFS) would be proud of.

With an album expected in early 2016, Errant Boy have already found their niche in the indie pop market.


LIVINGSTON rapper and producer Ill Az is relatively new to the map, but his new material suggests he’s been studying the oldies.

New promo Guest House features a bass-heavy Boom Bap beat, giving the track a raw old-school feel.

As an emcee Ill Az lacks the wit or charisma of Loki or Hector Bizerk’s Louie, despite his clean flow and strong rap delivery. He makes up for any deficiencies with a distinctively slurred vocal style that compliments the gritty approach of the track.

Not everyone will buy into some of the provocative lyrics, but the best hip hop is often intended to provoke.


IT’S easy to get lost when navigating the world of Scottish house music, considering the endless stream of remixes and club mixes released by even small-time local producers.

So, when a quality producer like Milton Jackson drops an official release, you sit up and take notice.

Your Love, the title track from his new EP, suggests the Glasgow DJ has attained a melodic edge since his last record. Though the track starts with a relatively low-key groove, it really takes off when a syncopated riff on keys kicks in. Scottish club-heads will be all over this one.


IT speaks volumes for a reggae act that are able to feature legendary Jamaican dancehall singer Johnny Osbourne on a tune, and that’s exactly what Mungo’s Hi Fi have done on Osbourne’s classic cut of Ice Cream Love.

This re-recorded version is slightly more boisterous than the original version, tastefully incorporating Mungo’s drum and bass influences. Still, with the help of Osbourne’s vocals, the Glasgow sound system manage to conjure the spirit of the original cut.

The track is further evidence that the Scottish collective’s international reputation has never been higher.