2019 proved to be a surprising and yet another exhilarating year for bands and artists from Scotland.

Shock of the year goes to Lewis Capaldi, that guy from Bathgate with the silly YouTube videos whose songs of break-up and lack of self worth captivated not this country, not just the UK, but the world. There did not seem to be a country where Somebody You Loved was not number one.

It was that everyman persona that has catapulted Castlemilk lad Gerry Cinnamon into our consciousness, and he showed this year that there was more to THAT party hit Belter.

There were surprises when the Afro-futurist Radio Highlife by Glasgow DJ and producer Auntie Flo, also known as Brian d'Souza, won this year's prestigious Scottish Album of the Year Award. 

It was certainly a "huge surprise" to him, as was playing a live set at Skye Live Festival and dishing champagne out to the crowd as he was announced winner.

Here is my annual playlist of what I considered to be the essential 100 (or so) tunes to come out of Scotland.  

This best of Scottish soundtrack for 2019 is an diverse  journey into hip hop, alternative, dance, house, electronica, indie, punk, post-grunge, post-rock, nu and old folk, even hints of classical and often a combination of some or all. 

It's a mix of the known, little known and the unknown, leftfield and mainstream,  immediate pop anthems and challenging experimental projects.
This list has been whittled down from a not very shortlist of nearly 300 compiled throughout the year.

And we start with...

Part 1 - 100-76 

=100 The Kidney Flowers - Closed

The Animal Mothers, stalwarts on the underground Glasgow psyche live scene recommended this crazed trio and their debut album full of buzzsaw guitar anthems does all the things I would want from rock, manic pop thrills, screaming riffs,  and screaming blue murder.  Sensational.

=100 Faex Optim - Wilderness Pattern

There's no doubting post-electro masters Boards of Canada are the inspiration for this swirling downtempo soundscape from the Edinburgh producer aka Wesley Macdonald. It features on the soundtrack to Adventures in Nature a short film by Chris Cox.

99 St Indigo - Ghost

Up and coming Edinburgh-based rapper aka Bailey Ellis aimed high with his Garage Band-produced mix tape Azulkaya and hits the spot with this R Rated beaut.

98 E Marvellous - Never The Mental Health

Scotland-based rapper with a smooth flow and an infectiously funky backing track bringing mental health awareness

 97 Gallus - Actual Factual

Riotous Glasgow combo with a ripsnorting guitar riff meltdown and a saxophone (yes an actual saxophone) overlaying a run about the InfoWars.

96 Catholic Action- One of Us

The SAY Award-nominated Glasgow quartet Catholic Action's lead single from forthcoming album Celebrated by Strangers is a fuzzed-out glam racket of a tune.

 Lead singer and guitarist Chris McCrory says:  "One of Us was written as a direct response to what I see happening in the UK – a country ravaged by poverty and a disintegrating social fabric of increasingly isolated and intoxicated people. A neglected group spun in circles by an uncaring billionaire-owned media, (mis)led into pointing the finger at one another as opposed to those truly responsible for this situation.

95 Pictish Trail - Turning Back

Isle of Eigg's Pictish Trail's synth-heavy corker Turning Back is from incoming album Thumb World due out on February 2020.

94 Star Rover - Here We Go Again

Three-piece Edinburgh guitar-pop combo's earworm third single taken from their second album Minor Miracles which was recorded and produced at Chamber Studio in the capital.

=93 Youth Team - Routines​

Standout from Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape, the third album from 27-year-old ambient electro whizz Angus Upton from Braemar who describes it as a soundtrack to a movie that if it did exist "would have been directed by John Carpenter, starred Kurt Russell, made between 1982 and 1986 and well, you can figure the plot out".

=93 Siobhan Wilson - April

The Scots singer-songwriter is at her best on this message of empowerment from latest album The Departure. 

"It's a song I've written for my teenage self,” she says, a call to “smash up the ideal way of existing, and promote the idea to create your own existence”.

92 The Wild Places - Crime of the Century

First single from the forthcoming debut album by the Radiohead-nodding Glasgow trio  is a four minute surf rockin aural journey through a forgotten Tarantino movie.

91 Calvin Harris ft Rag 'n' Bone Man - Giant​

This infectious earworm from the Dumfries superstar DJ-producer was all over pop radio and peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart for five consecutive weeks. It was kept from the top by Scot Lewis Capaldi's Someone You Loved which maintained its peak for seven consecutive weeks.

90 Flynn's Ego - Grand Edgelord Overture [Pubertus Noctum]

From a debut album 'It Hates You! .​.​.​but not quite as much as it hates itself' comes this experimentally hilarious sample-heavy style convulsion of metal, electronica,  and what sounds like a Greek bouzouki, out of Edinburgh topped off with burps and comedian Stewart Lee.  You won't have heard anything like it.

89 Damn Dirty Duke - Total Organisation​

What started off two years ago as an art installation created by Colette Dryburgh and Detroit Law using synths and props against a backdrop of self-shot film footage turned into a gothic electronic monster. This warped art-punk highlight from their debut Multi Muscle Disciplinary is an ugly beautiful part sneered, part sung peach.

Top 100 Tunes from Scotland in 2019 Part 2 (75-51)

=88 TNGHT -  Club Finger​

An absurdist rave culture aping jam with a bass to blow brain cells and one of the many highlights on the freaky new EP from the collaboration between Glasgow’s Hudson Mohawke and Montreal’s Lunice.  

=88 Sinister South- FTW​

A brutal no-holds-barred R Rated 'no future' view of the world from the fiercesome hip hop Glasgow foursome. 

87 Cloth - Felt​

Sparse, atmospheric and melodic, this new single from the alt-rock Glasgow-based combo, provides a subtle veneer of the best of The XX.  The band consists of twins Rachael Swinton (vocals, guitar), Paul Swinton (guitar) and Clare Gallacher (drums).

86 Savage Mansion - Three and Half Thousands Cheetahs (Big Cats)​

Ripsnorting standout from the debut album from Perth-raised singer and guitarist Craig Angus and friends, which has a stoner Pavement feel with an epic pop sensibility.  And surely the greatest tune made about cheetahs.

85 Zoe Bestel - Moment of Madness​

A new song from the Dumfries and Galloway nu-folk songstress that she says was written in a different way - this time it is personal.   And one of the most effortlessly beautiful voices around suitably soars.

84 The Snuts - Maybe California​

Rising West Lothian indie crew's infectious Americana-influenced anthem offering a tasty tease to their highly-anticipated debut album. The band consists of long-time friends Jack Cochrane, Joe McGillveray, Callum Wilson and Jordan Mackay.

=83 Declan Welsh and the Decadent West - The Dream​

The song further hints at Welsh’s leftist beliefs, mentioning names such as Rosa Luxemburg and Thomas Sankara.  Then there the fact:"I raise a flag that's red and quote the works of writers dead".  And he also sings: "Marx and Sartre came to me in a dream."

=83 Slime City - Dial-Up Internet Is The Purest Internet

Glasgow-based nerd-punks tackle today’s obsession with always being connected to the internet in three-minutes-and-thirty seconds of enjoyable ... hold on, the wifi's down.

82 C Duncan - Pulses and Rain

The once Mercury-nominated Scottish multi-instrumentalist returned with one of the albums of the year in Health and this is one of a host of catchy hook-laden art-pop epics, always spiced with that unmistakable trademark layered harmonic.

81 PinballSpider - Circuit  Breaker​

Exciting Glasgow producer with an experimental minimalist approach from his debut EP which marries unconventional dance beats and twisted bass to industrial flecks and Kraftwerk-ish bleepery to create an ear-popping dark house tapestry 

80 Chlobocop - Narcotics​

A cute Spanish guitar strum underpins this woozy R Rated blend of sultry rap and R&B from the exciting 21-year-old who has been making music for little over a year. 

79 Snow Patrol - Made Of Something Different Now​

A new song with quietly sweeping synth textures reminiscent of classic The Blue Nile from the band who were formed at the University Of Dundee. It is taken from their new Reworked album which features different takes of some of their best known songs.  “It’s one of my favourite tracks we have done in ages,” says front man Gary Lightbody.

78 Midi Paul - Tokyo Joe (MPC Mix)

Edinburgh-based producer aka Phil McBride produces a pungent and pounding mix including house, funk, acid and disco inflections into a spacey,  layered electronic instrumental for the brain and feet from his debut EP Old Future.

77 Siamese Cat Twin - Limbs​

A monstrous moshpit-crushing two minutes that sounds like Soundgarden on speed from inventive Kirkwall metallers' ingenious first LP Extended Cuts. "Just an alternative metal project that should've been around in 2003 but wasn't old enough to start a band then," they say.

76 Cling ft ABillz - Remember Me

Edinburgh duo produce a smooth underground grime and drill rap nugget.

Top 100 Tunes from Scotland in 2019 Part 2 (75-51)

Top 100 Tunes from Scotland in 2019 Part 3 (50-26)​

Top 100 Tunes from Scotland in 2019 Part 4 (25-1)​



This is the Spotify playlist.

This is the YouTube playlist.