Edinburgh Spotify Music
A Spotify playlist of Edinburgh music compiled by my colleague Shale Bing, with her comments.
“In compiling this list I had to decide ‘where does Edinburgh end? ‘ I consulted some uni colleagues. One colleague argued it should not include any bands furth of the boundaries of the City Of Edinburgh Council, but that would knock out Midlothian, Dunfermline, and Falkirk, so like someone told they had only months to live, I sought more opinions. A physical geographer argued it should be the river Forth watershed, while a social geographer argued that it should be the “Edinburgh travel to gig area”, but that would include Glasgow. So in the end this is music either from, by people from or about Lothians, Fife and Falkirk (I wasn’t going to miss out Arab Strap and Cocteau Twins). Listening to it all back-to-back I realise how unremittingly down it all is. I don’t think this is my subconscious taste; the ,music of Edinburgh is mostly down. Maybe this is because a city so beautiful breeds a feeling of ontological dissappointment in its residents: everything looks wonderful but actually life is as pointless as it is in Dundee, Oklahoma or Mumbai. The cheeriest song on this list is Heliopolis by Night, but considering their history this is probably ironic. A curious proportion of the songs refer to bad weather, so I end with two songs refrering to the haar: the wall of cold fog that rolls in like a concrete wall off the North Sea. Many the day I look out the window before I head out and think ‘Here comes a metaphor, I’ll get my coat’ Idlewild: formed in Edinburgh in 1995, finally running out of momentum in 2010. Garbage: formed in Madison, WI in 1994, with Shirley Manson, who was born in Edinburgh and ex of Goodbe Mr Mackenzie. Orange Juice: post-punk band that rose from the mean streets of Bearsden in the late 70s, but led by Edwyn Collins, who was born in Edinburgh. Goodbye Mr Mackenzie: the band that gave Shirley Manson to the World. Scars: THE quintessential Edinburgh New Wave band. Missed the first wave, rode the second wave with a vengeance, then when faced by the choice between being a Scottish Spandau Bullet and a Caledonian Joy Division flirted with the first and had too much serotonin for the second. Paul Research now works in IT: many’s the morning I hear him scraping ice off the the car, whisling “adultery” and heading off to implement smart monitoring in the homes of some colonial outpost. Far too little of their ouevre on spotify… TV21: a fine Edinburgh band from the 80s, finally killed off by having to support the Rolling Stones (five succubate egos that suck the creative energy out everthing they touch). Norman Rodger is an all round nice guy around the uni, who definitely sort of works in IT, so I may be biased. The Vaselines: formed in Edinburgh in 86, went West to Glasgow, then split up. Big Country: founded in 1981 by Stuart Adamson from Dunfermline, ex of the Skids. Developed a distictively Scottish style of rock. Karine Polwart: from Stirling but used to live in Edinburgh and now lives just outside. Cocteau Twins: timeless arty band from Grangemouth, with Elizabeth Fraser. Mike Scott: born in Edinburgh and founding member of The Waterboys. Aberfeldy: founded in Edinburgh in 2002. Incredible String Band: famously the answer to the pub quiz question “Which was the only Scottish band to play Woodstock?” Gerry Rafferty: born way too far west in Paisley, but I assume Royal Mile is about Edinburgh. Josef K: another band from the efflorescence of Edinburgh post-punk bands around 1980. The Waterboys: led by Edinburgh born Mike Scott. Jethro Tull: led by Edinburgh born Ian Anderson. King Creosote: from Fife. Laura Hird: great Edinburgh novelist and short-story writer. Marillion: lead singer in their pomp was Fish, born Dalkeith now living in Haddington, which is progress. The Proclaimers: every December thousands from around the World pour into Edinburgh for the traditional hogmanay: standing in Princes Street, getting groped by some drunk from Danderhall, listening to Paulo Nutini (other nutty spreads also avaialble). Meanwhile across the city the New Year rolls in for the sheery drinking riff and the lager sinking raff: the neighbours rolling in with the black bun, reminiscences of the war, children creeping down the stairs, the fear of what the New Year will bring, the bells, and as the Drambuie kicks in, the asperger’s spectral widower from down the street shuffles through the records and pulls out the Proclaimers and puts on Sunshine On Leith. Your aunt and uncle then roll out into the night looking for the next free libation, with everyone singing along, giving it laldy: “Your beauty and kindness; Made tears clear my blindness; While I’m worth my room on this earth I will be with; while the Chief, puts Sunshine On Leith; I’ll thank him for his work, And your birth and my birth.”. And they mean it. Lemon Jelly: Shouty Track is based on a sample of Scars. Isa & the Filthy Tongues: a band out of Good Bye Mr Mackenzie, so ahead of the zeitgeist they have no wikipedia entry (actually they were a damn fine Goodbye Mr Mac/U2 mashup); Skids: one great ego and one great guitarist kicking their way out of the soggy paper bag of post-new-wave conventions; Edwyn Collins: born in Edinburgh, moved to Glasgow, then to London…. suffered from this moving further and further into the provinces, but Girl Like You one of the great tracks; Ballboy: sort of wistful, always seen as the next big thing, a role they slipped into so well, they never got to look back as the last big thing. Pilot: one of the earliest Edinburgh chart band. David Paton went on to Alan Parsons Project, Camel and, if you believe wikipedia, played guitar on Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights. Nazareth: from Dunfermline. A sensitive heavy metal band, which is very much a relative concept. Read somewhere they are famous for covering Joni Mitchell, but in what I can’t remember. Telegram is a great track, bombastic and cosmopolitan, but the album version descends into extended whimsy. Fortunately they realised this for the live version, else they would have had a stadium of people realising all at once they had three minutes to get to the bar or loo… a clear safety risk. Bay City Rollers: sadly Edinburgh’s biggest ever chart band. You watch Slade videos from the period and they look like four blokes trying to break down the walls, but watch Rollers videos and they look like rabbits trapped in the existential despair that the cord has them round the ankle and the more they struggle, then the more they suffer. When I was a wain my mother would push me down Traquair Park West and we would turn round at Les McKeown’s house. A nice but ordinary 1930s bungalow. Years later I went to Graceland and, as is almost an expected tradition, my friends said “Ohh, this house is so small… so domestic”, and I was transported back to Corstorphine and thought “if you think this is small….”. On the other hand, according to my Mum, his wife was Japanese, which is cool. Arab Strap: genius. James Yorkston: according to wikipedia he is a “scottish folk singer”, but really he is way more than that. So many of his songs make you think “I was there, I have been like that”, and then you greet.