The Sound Of Young Scotland: A Bluffer’s Guide

By: Todd Hutlock

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Posted 02/07/2005 - 09:22:55 AM by hutlock:
 See also: The Bluebells, Jazzateers, Paul Quinn & Bourgie Bourgie, etc.
Posted 02/08/2005 - 11:12:46 AM by Mikhail:
 How can you make this list and leave the Trash Can Sinatras off of it?
Posted 02/08/2005 - 12:56:41 PM by hutlock:
 Easy -- they weren't even remotely part of the whole Postcard/Sound Of Young Scotland scene that ran from approx. 1979 to 1983 or so, which is clearly the focus of this list. Trash Can Sinatras formed in 1987 and their first album didn't come out until 1990. That's quite a bit removed from the era in question, and as such not relevant, even though they are in fact Scottish and play some dynamite pop music ("Cake" is a total forgotten classic IMHO.) Sorry for not spelling out the dates in question in the intro, I thought it would be clear from the individual entries. My bad.
Posted 02/08/2005 - 06:24:58 PM by davidgabriel:
 What about (the?) Associates?
Posted 02/08/2005 - 09:18:47 PM by hutlock:
 Again... yes, they are Scots. And they operated during the era in question. But they are not a part of this "movement" and never were. The article is about a particular set of bands that all had ties one way or the other to Postcard Records and/or a certain "sound." The Associates are not part of the deal. They fit the time/place qualifications, but were never a part of this particular scene sylistically. Just as you wouldn't categorize Autechre with Blur just because they were both British and started releasing records around the same time, if that makes sense...
Posted 02/08/2005 - 10:31:59 PM by davidgabriel:
 I would argue that there are definite parallels of style and context between the Associates circa '79-'80 and Josef K, as well as Orange Juice. Granted, they were based in Dundee/Edinburgh, not Glasgow, but from what I've read, the British music press at the time most definitely lumped them in with the Scottish post-punk indie-pop 'movement'. A more direct connection to the Postcard enclave is that Alan Rankine was a major contributor to Paul Haig's post-Josef K works.
Posted 02/09/2005 - 09:28:18 AM by hutlock:
 Sure, you can make that argument. I just happen to disagree with your take -- not that you are wrong, I just look at it differently and I didn't think they belonged. But the Associates are most definitely a worthy band (everyone should own "Sulk") and all, and their exclusion here (or my debate with you) should not imply that they are anything but excellent. Think we can just agree to disagree here?
Posted 02/09/2005 - 02:50:26 PM by Mikhail:
 I totally agree with you not including the Associates on the list because yes they were scottish, but no their sound doesn't fit in here. the Trash Can Sinatras sound however completely fit into this article even if their debut was a few years too late. It was a great album then, and still is. I understand they are caught in that Flux between the heyday of scottish pop and the revival in the form of say Belle & Sebastion. But they deserved a mention. Good article none the less. I really wish someone would put the Fire Engines back in print! LTM do you hear me?? Get it and put it into print, and while you're at it get Los Microwaves sole album finally released on CD as well. Sorry to go off on a tangent.
Posted 02/10/2005 - 12:01:54 AM by the_public:
 I think the impulse to contest this article's authority is reasonably forgivable. Everyone will likely have an idea of what the Sound of Young Scotland constitutes, simply because there has been a notable lack of writing about this excellent scene. That said, I feel this article is a good starting point as it is -- both for its recommendations (which are excellent) and for the clear-headed prose and well-structured approach taken by the author (something Stylus editors would do well to stress more highly among their writers). Mr. Hutlock displays some real initiative here -- the most exciting aspect of following pop music closely is trying to figure out how different elements of the past will reconfigure themselves in the present (and when they do, trying to figure out why). Yes, let's have more articles like this.
Posted 02/10/2005 - 09:33:42 AM by hutlock:
 Sincere thanks for the kind words -- you made my week, no kidding. I should point out that I am in fact one of those Stylus editors though...
Posted 02/10/2005 - 04:55:54 PM by messycolin:
 As a late 30's Scot, it is easy for me to take all the above bands for granted. They shaped my teens. It is a testament to all the above mentioned bands that the recommended ouptut still sounds great (yeah, it sounds of its time but then so does Elvis). You even managed to mention The Fire Engines without mentioning Franz Ferdinand!. See also: Friends Again, Blue Nile, Love And Money, The Bathers, James King (every band he was in)...hell, the list could go on for ages.
Posted 02/11/2005 - 12:29:39 AM by hobokenrock:
 Great read. Edwyn Collins gave me a brief history of Orange Juice from his perspective when I interviewed him in 1997. See the bottom third of this page:
Posted 02/11/2005 - 09:30:17 AM by hutlock:
 Thanks for the link -- great read! I saw Edwyn on that tour and he was just totally brilliant. Opened with a short solo acoustic set in which he played a Rod McKuen tune (!) and then took a shouted request from my friend Betsy in the audience for his finale, which ended up being "Consolation Prize." Amazing.