With a Radisson RED penciled in to open in Glasgow we ask Glaswegian music journalist Chris McCall to talk us through what’s on his playlist this January. If you like the beats, follow us on Spotify and you can also hear the whole playlist there too.
JAMES BROWN: Talkin’ Loud And Sayin’ Nothing
Everyone knows James Brown – or Mr Dynamite as he liked to be known – and 10 years on from his death his music sounds as vital as ever. This hard-funk workout captures Brown and his legendary J.B.’s backing band at their absolute peak – the groove is so great you could listen to nothing else for hours on end.
BOSSY LOVE: Wind Me Up
The most exciting new band in Glasgow right now. Bossy Love’s live shows are like being invited to a secret party where everyone is celebrating their birthday at the same time. Fronted by the inimitable Amandah Wilkinson, the duo serve up irresistible alt-pop smashes that deserve to be heard by as wide an audience as possible.
GZA: 4th Chamber
GZA, or The Genius, is one of the celebrated members of the Wu-Tang Clan the timeless rap legends from Staten Island. His second solo album, Liquid Swords, is a landmark hip-hop record full of austere beats and razor-sharp wordplay. 4th Chamber is the record’s undeniable high point – thanks in part to memorable cameos from Ghostface Killah, Killah Priest & RZA.
NEON WALTZ: Dreamers
Hailing from John O’Groats in the remote north of Scotland, Neon Waltz have emerged as one of the hottest-tipped new bands from anywhere in the UK. Listening to Dreamers, their dreamlike new single, it’s not difficult to hear why. Those chiselled pop hooks and psychedelic swirls couldn’t be made by anyone else.
FRANK OCEAN: Pink + White
Frank needs no introduction, having released Blonde, arguably one of the best albums of the decade, just a few months ago. Anyone that’s still wondering what the fuss is all about is advised to check out Pink + White, a stunning pop piano ballad that showcases the man’s singular vocal talent. A soul legend for the 21st century.
BE CHARLOTTE: Machines That Breathe
Record companies are reportedly falling over themselves to catch one of Charlotte Brimner’s live shows, desperate to discover if this songwriter from Dundee really is the stick-on pop-star-in-the-making so many say she is. One listen to Machines That Breathe suggest the hype is real.
THE FALL: Touch Sensitive
Having released no less than 31 studio albums as of 2015, The Fall are a band many music fans struggle to comprehend. But ignore the legends surrounding frontman Mark E Smith and look to this pop gem for an understanding of why this band have survived – in numerous different incarnations – since 1976. Touch Sensitive is a gloriously upbeat number for a band famed for being ever so slightly intimidating.
KRAFTWERK: Trans-Europe Express
Following the indulgence of Christmas, January is the month many people optimistically sign-up for gym memberships or take up jogging. For inspiration to get off the couch, is there any better track than this 1977 electro classic? You can’t sit still when that mechanised rhythm kicks-in.
PARQUET COURTS: Human Performance
Parquet Courts follow a long-line of spiky, sardonic art-rock bands from New York City – the kind of guys you’d like to know if you could only understand their reference-heavy conversations. But the real stand-out of their sixth album, released last year, was its surprising title track – an emotionally honest and at times vulnerable lament on break-up.
AMY WINEHOUSE: Back to Black
It’s saddening to think it’s been almost six years since Amy Winehouse, the siren of Camden Town, died in such tragic circumstances. The release of a critically-acclaimed documentary of her life has fuelled renewed interest in her wor. The title track of her best-selling album loses none of its power, despite repeated plays on commercial radio and in karaoke bars around the world, and reminds us why we all cared in the first place.