Rounding up the best sounds of 2015

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Ok! You’ve had a total of three-hundred and sixty four days and here it is, once again and last minute, you’re still doing your Christmas shopping…

Well, for the music lovers in your life, give the gift that keeps on giving, all year ’round. Give the gift of music.

Here’s some of my fave local releases from 2015, in their approximate release date order.

Roddy Huggan’s ‘Medazzled’ ep https://roddyhuggan.bandcamp.com/album/medazzled

This features the vocal talents of Andy James and is five tracks of classic, brooding, New Wave, electro-synth Pop, but with a majestic, slightly Bowie-esque feel on the title track ‘Medazzled’.

Andy makes a living as a Bowie/Robbie Williams tribute act.

Roddy said: “Both Andy and I are huge Duran Duran fans (Medazzled is about Duran’s Medazzaland album), so Andy was the obvious choice and there was a real good synergy in recording it with him.”

You should also check out the excellent video for opening track ‘Solar Eyes’ (www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcbS4I-F1zg&feature=youtu.be)

Eleanor Nicolson’s third ep ‘White Noise’ is a dramatic expansion of her talents as a songwriter.

Opener ‘It’s Complicated’ is all delightfully swirling sounds that gives it a rather dreamlike quality, early tune ‘Sticks and Stones’ co-written with Colin Macleod has been re-vamped, re-imagined and re-recorded to great effect followed by title track White Noise and it finishes with a live version of the superb ‘Whispers in the Rain’ - top acoustic Pop! (available from amazon, iTunes, etc.)

Iain Morrison’s ‘Eas’ (www.iainmorrison.bandcamp.com/album/)

Eas sounds and feels like a conceptual piece just because the nine songs work together so well, but the ones that really walloped me as standout tracks were the lilting and dramatic ‘A Flame of Wrath for Patrick Caogach’, ‘Crackle’, ‘To The Sea’, ‘Too Long in This Condition’ and the rousing closer ‘You’re My Letting Go’.

The production on every track is just first class and after repeated spins it’s proved to be a wonderful and totally uplifting listening experience and one of Iain’s very best.

Calum Martin’s new album ‘Frayvn’ is an eclectic blend of his musical influences over the past 50 years, from Traditional Gaelic Psalm Singing and Piping to Rock, Folk, Blues and Americana all of which have been absorbed into his musical compositions and presented on this recording in his own unique and original style (www.leummusic.com/).

My faves are ‘Math gu lèor leam fhìn’ with it’s nice Americana ‘The Band’ feel to it, the Rock of ‘Chi mi ‘n Geamhradh’ and ‘Earrach air an Eilean’ (which features Willie Campbell on vocals) and Country tune ‘That’s alright with me’(with Nashville singer Adam Cunningham).

Plus there’s loads of great Trad tunes, the production and mix is just top notch, overall a really well made recording.

Neosa’s ‘Penny’ ep was released to coincide with a charity gig he organised for Macmillan Cancer Support, and opens with a great version of ‘Looking For Love’ a ‘Neosa setlist staple.

This is followed by a live cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m on Fire’, there is also two new tunes, title track ‘Penny’ and the moving ‘I Miss You’ written as a fundraiser for the event, four slices of perfect Pop.

‘Snow Fled’ from Vapour Night a.k.a. local artist Ali Murray (https://vapournight.bandcamp.com/album/snow-fled) is nothing short of amazing, a brilliant and seamless distillation of all his influences, favourite genres and playing styles - what a collection of songs, his best yet!