Here is a playlist of 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.

 

Top 100 Tunes from Scotland in 2019 Part 1 (100-76)

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

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

 

Part 3- 50-26

50 Bluebirds - First Born

 The Glasgow-Edinburgh psyche-industrial punk combo havee previously feratured on this end-of-year list before they released their debut album Where The Rain Gets In this year.  Their dark post-industrial chamber pop is at it's most inviting on this.

49 Edwyn Collins - In The Morning

Six years after his last album and five years after moving both home and studio to Helmsdale on the north east coast of Scotland the ex-Orange Juice front man released the Badbea album and this return-to-form title track was a highlight.

48 Rachel Sermanni - What Can I Do​

The singer-songwriter's first album in four years, offered a reflection on the politics of modern times and this bluesy folk noir is the cutting lead single.  

“I was lying on the floor just after Trump had been voted president, staring despairingly at the ceiling. There was also much on the news about refugees and the lack of an embrace we offer them. There was the looming Brexit vote too. In that moment I felt drawn to my mandolin to write, in a short sitting, What Can I Do.”

47 Emily Burns - Is It Just Me​

Born in Scotland this singer-songwriter has over a million plays on Spotify so far of this tortured piano-led ballad which taps into that Lewis Capaldi melancholy.  

It, like the best of Capaldi is also irresisibly singalong,  “I think we all have that one person in our lives that we still think about, no matter how much time has passed and how far we have moved past the relationship,” she says.

“The person that still appears in our thoughts at the strangest times. And when you hear their name mentioned, it still gives you that pit of the stomach dread and pain you felt as if it were yesterday that you broke up. This song is about that. Wondering if the other person still thinks about you too, or: Is It Just Me?”

46 Idlewild- Same Things Twice​

The second taster from eighth album Interview Music was a return to the fire-in-the-belly indie pop of their early period while adding some subtle psychedelic textures.

“Interview Music was becoming quite diverse while we were writing it, so when we started working with our old producer Dave Eringa, we thought we’d try and write some songs that were a bit closer to what we’d done in the past: big distortion pedals and anthemic choruses,” says Roddy Woomble. "Same Things Twice turned out to be a nice mix. The verse is in keeping with the rest of the album in that it’s quite strange in terms of the words and delivery, while the chorus comes together into a big ‘90s warm hug.

“The lyrics are pretty random. I’m shouting out loads of sloganeering and words and phrases that I thought up at the moment I was singing them. Then the chorus has a pretty optimistic message. It’s the usual celebration of vagueness.”

45 C Duncan - Impossible​

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland composition degree graduate set out to write  some big pop tunes for his superb third album and it worked while retaining the quirkiness of his multi-harmony approach. This opening track from Health tells of the difficulties of a distance relationship.

44 Steve Mason - About The Light

The wonderful title track from the Beta Band front man's fourth and best solo album - About The Light marked a change in approach for Steve.

“I decided with this album that I wanted to get my live band involved at every stage because I wanted to capture the energy that we produce when we play live shows, so this time the band and myself worked on a collection of songs over the course of last year,” he explains.

Producer Stephen Street said: “Steve explained that he wanted to make this album with his band playing more ‘live’ than on some of his previous offerings and also to augment the songs with brass and female backing vocalists. I felt this approach of first stripping back the songs to a more ‘live’ feel to create more space for the more ‘soulful’ elements to breathe in was an interesting one and we got down to work!”

43 Faex Optim - The Sea and Me 

The Edinburgh keyboard warrior's Boards of Canada leanings are to the fore in this masterfully crafted post-electro vintage synth banger featuring whispers of children's voices.

42 Elaine Lennon - She's Got You​

A heartbreakingly simple country ode to break-up, with a beautiful piano and a country feel from the Glaswegian mother who ditched a career in HR to became the 2019 Celtic Connections Danny Kyle Award Winner.  A song that oozes class from a debut album due to launch in January.

41 Cling ft Lupo - Huey P Newton

Killer underground hip hop cracker from Edinburgh about the revolutionary African-American political activist who, along with fellow Merritt College student Bobby Seale, co-founded the Black Panther Party in 1966. 

40 Declan Welsh and the Decadent West - Times

The political indie pop band from East Kilbride dedicated this stomping album closer to the late frontman Gary Watson of Glasgow-based band The Lapelles who founded the online music show The Spaghetti Factory.

39 Editors - Cold (Blanck Mass Recording)​

The Edinburgh-based artist cast songs from Editors Top 10 album Violence in a new  electronica-infused light, offering a more fascinating approach than the original offering.

This song is given a more dramatic and frostier edge through harsh percussion and robotic directness. 

38 Malka - Tiny Fires

Glasgow's Tamara Schlesinger has written songs for TV shows and films such as Skins and 127 Hours after first making waves as frontwoman of acclaimed alt-folk collective 6 Day Riot. This new cunningly constructed light-and-shade single is an ear-openingly inventive indie-pop delight.

37 Sacred Paws - How Far

The London-meets-Glasgow two-piece returned with their second album Run Around The Sun and this beautiful afro-influenced DIY pop was a refreshing highlight. 

36 Chlobocop - 999

This intoxicating R Rated trap-twister details a brush with the law at the end of 2015 at the age of 17.   ​“We were driving home, like one minute from my house, and we got pulled over and searched,” she says. ​“It was horrible.I was losing the plot because I didn’t know what was happening."

The video was filmed in the Dennistoun area of Glasgow she calls home.

35 Broken Chanter - Should We Be Dancing?​

Spine-tingling four minute folk influenced epic that exposes vulnerability and longing from the self-titled debut from Kid Canaveral’s David MacGregor.  

"It's a first date song," he says. "It's a worn-out cynic making a meal of having a Damascene moment and unleashing their inner hopeless romantic. It's a slightly demented waltz. It's almost a love song."

34 The Boy With The Lion Head - Blind​

With more than obvious nods to the likes of Frightened Rabbit and Twilight Sad, this is a blissfully tender taster from the Hawick five-piece's forthcoming LP A Half Remembered Dream. 

33 Andrew Howie ft Rachel Sermanni - I Gently  (One-man-mission Remix)

Former prison music tutor from Stirling who used to release music under the moniker of Calamateur sprinkles epic synth, bleep and guitar magic dust to provide an earpopping transformation to a 2016 track by the Strathspey folk musician.

32 Foggy City Orphan - Cheer Up

The title track from the latest album from the Glasgow combo is a sonic preacher man LCD Soundsystem-with-loud-guitars magnificence. 

31 Casual Drag- Isolation Island ​

The exciting Edinburgh garage-rock trio's debut single is "a wee homage to one of our band heroes, Iggy Pop, and his song Nightclubbing" and it is really rather super.

30  Maranta - Radiate

The electronic duo from Edinburgh featuring Callum Govan and Gloria Black create an enticingly quirky synth-pop gem on their debut single. "I think this track embodies everything we love about making music," Govan says.

=29  Flynn's Ego- When You Grow Up

Out of Edinburgh comes an underground bedroom laptop artist "channeling confusion and fear into a sickly limp repetitive craft". This playfully crazed three minutes mashing up punk, metal and techno creating the sound of rock consuming itself sums up the sheer inventiveness at play inside a mind that refuses to obey any kind of convention.

=29 The Twilight Sad - Shooting Dennis Hopper Shooting

The video for this glittering highlight from the Kilsyth alt-rock band's fifth studio album It Won/t Be Like This All the Time was filmed in an old abandoned swimming pool from the 1920s.

28 Steg G ft Solareye - Scatterd Seeds and Deep Roots

Steg G,  the big daddy of Scottish hip hop teams up with Stanley Odd front man Solareye on this socially aware grime-y standout from the collaborative The Air In Between album.

27  Us - Never Get Over

The kind of epic, sweeping synth drama that Depeche Mode became famed for is encapsulated in this heavenly heartbreak paen from the promising debut album of the Sweden-based duo featuring the soaring vocals of Andrew Montgomery, the front man of Scots 90s indie combo Geneva.

26 Biffy Clyro - Balance, Not Symmetry

An unexpectedly explosive and angular cracker of a title track from the movie of the same name from the Scots rockers. It features stomping Rage Against the Machine-esque riffs which gives a harder unexpected edge to their rock-pop formula and features Simon Neil at his lung-busting breast-beating best.

Top 100 Tunes from Scotland in 2019 Part 1 (100-76)

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

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

This is the Spotify playlist.

This is the YouTube playlist.