Ian Rankin

MUSIC: Spotify Sunday – North of the Border

MUSIC: Spotify Sunday – North of the Border
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Ian Rankin is quite rightly renowned as one of Britain’s leading novelists – but, as anyone who follows his Twitter feed will know, he deserves equal fame as one of our leading music obsessives. We are thrilled and honoured to publish his Spotify Sunday selection of the best Scottish albums of 2010. – Scott Jordan Harris

It’s that time again: emails from newspapers and magazines asking me to contribute to their Books of the Year round-ups.  Sadly, I’m seldom asked about my favourite albums of the past year, yet I spend a lot of time pondering this annual list.  And this year, the majority of music I’ve really liked has come from north of the border.  Okay, so I would also throw in the latest albums from I Am Kloot, Robert Plant, Sufjan Stevens, The National, and Danger Mouse / Sparklehorse… but how about the following contenders?  All would feature in my top 20; all have a certain Celtic rough-hewn charm.

Let Me Come Home – Broken Records

Lazy description: Bryan Ferry fronts Arcade Fire. It works. Chosen track: ‘A Leaving Song’.

The Winter of Mixed Drinks – Frightened Rabbit 

Catchy tunes from junkyard dogs. Chosen track: ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’.

Side Show – The Burns Unit

No sideshow this, as new-folk stars mix it up with blistering results. Chosen track: ‘Send Them Kids to War’.

Special Moves – Mogwai  

Live ‘best of’ album from aural assassins. Chosen track: ‘Glasgow Megasnake’.

Write About Love – Belle and Sebastian 

Charming return of the literate janglers. Chosen track: ‘Write About Love’.

The Beggars Opera – A Band Called Quinn 

Soundtrack update of classic theatrical work. Chosen track:  ‘We Are the Scum’.

The Unwinding Hours – The Unwinding Hours 

Men with beards win hearts and minds. Chosen track: ‘Little One’.

The Wants – The Phantom Band  

Swaggering sophomore album. Deserves to fill stadia. Chosen track: ‘A Glamour’.

Hawk – Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan 

The voice of innocence meets the growl of experience.  Happiness ensues. Chosen track:  ‘Snake Song’.

Come Down With Me – Errors 

If Kraftwerk were Scottish…  Chosen track: ‘A Rumour in Africa’.

Tiger Suit – KT Tunstall

Not afraid to show her roots.  Chosen track: ‘(Still A) Weirdo’.

Yes And Dance – Silver Columns 

Stalwart of Fence Collective goes disco-electro.  Chosen track: ‘Cavalier’.

Losing Sleep – Edwyn Collins 

Bruised battler’s reports from the front line.  Chosen track: ‘Searching for the Truth’.

There you go.  A talented bunch of cults.  What surprises me is how few of these feature in the recent Rough Trade list of the year’s best.  Whether it can be called a ‘scene’ or not, some amazing left-field music is coming out of Scotland right now.  Have I forgotten anyone?  Almost certainly.  As for my favourite album of the year… Burns Unit, Phantom Band and Broken Records are all in the running, alongside I Am Kloot.  Here’s to 2011….

You can listen to the playlist HERE.

Image credit  'Sea Music Flow' by Mary Morrison