As the sun shone in the summer and something like normality returned to the live music scene for much of the rest of the year, Scotland’s musicians had no shortage of platforms on which to perform – and, given the events of the last couple of years, no shortage of things to write and shout about whether personal or political. Here is our pick of some of the best of 2022’s musical offerings.

Forest Floor by Fergus McCreadie

Winner of the Scottish Album of the Year Award, nominated for the Mercury Prize and shortlisted in the prestigious Jazz FM awards – the ceremonies were all in the same week, would you believe? – it’s fair to say the Glasgow-based jazz pianist had the world at his feet in 2022. Or at his fingertips, at least. Forest Floor, his third long-player and the first for boutique jazz label Edition Records, isn’t exactly a crossover album – but the trio’s layering of folk-influenced melodies onto solid jazz foundations makes for a work which newbies will find accessible and purists impressive. Still only 25, a bright future awaits.

Unlearning by Walt Disco

They deserve plaudits for the name alone, but in blending Roxy Music glam with post-punk snap and snarl Glasgow’s swaggering art rock sextet (pictured below) also made one of the albums of the year – and were rewarded in kind with a place on the SAY Award shortlist. The NME called it “Goth-glam which doesn’t care what the boomers think.” Everybody else just looked on in slack-jawed wonder.


Blue Is Just A Colour by Georgia Cécile

A double winner at September’s prestigious Jazz FM awards – she took home the prizes for best vocalist and jazz act of the year – the Edinburgh-based singer also released this light-footed soul stomper, a single taken from her 2021 album Only The Lover Sings. Already dance floor friendly in its original form, it came with a slick remix by young, Glasgow-based disco/house producer Big Miz. As the UK’s jazz revival continues, Cécile is fast becoming one of its pre-eminent vocalists.

Chasing Sakura by Seonaid Aitken Ensemble

Polymath musician Seonaid Aitken is a broadcaster, improvising violinist and vocalist – she’s a noted interpreter of the work of Ella Fitzgerald – but for this SAY Award nominated album she drew on her time living in Japan for a concept album based around the cherry blossom (Sakura) and its status as a symbol of rebirth. Joined by a string ensemble, she charts the tree’s journey from bud to blossom and beyond. Think neo-classical with touches of everything from Michael Nyman and Philip Glass to the jazz violin of Stephane Grappelli.

Feel The Ground You Walk Upon by Lewis McLaughlin

The son of musicians embedded in Scotland’s traditional music scene, this Edinburgh-born singer-songwriter dropped his impressive debut album in March courtesy of Monohands Records, the label run by former Frightened Rabbit guitarist Andy Monaghan. That band’s much-missed singer Scott Hutchison is one of the key influences on this set of intimate and confessional songs, as are musicians such as Villagers and, from an earlier generation, John Martyn and Tom Waits. Now settled in Glasgow, you can catch McLaughlin at next month’s Celtic Connections festival when he performs on a sweet-looking double bill at the CCA with Edinburgh-based alt-pop crooner Nani (January 20).

Forget Me by Lewis Capaldi

As well as racking up over 100 million Spotify streams, this break-up song from the Glasgow-born singer (pictured below) achieved the not insignificant feat of debuting at number one in the UK singles charts on its release in September. His first single since 2019’s Before You Go, it marked a change in his sound (though not the emotional heft of his lyrics) and augurs well for new album Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent. It’s due in May 2023.


Hits To The Head by Franz Ferdinand

There is one new song on this album from the much-admired Glasgow rockers, the glam-tinged Billy Goodbye. But as the title suggests, this is actually a greatest hits package. In other words it’s a chance to remind yourself what made them such a crucial soundtrack to any indie rock club night in the Noughties and beyond. Take Me Out, The Dark Of The Matinee, Michael, The Fallen, Lucid Dreams, Right Action – they’re all here.

Black Bird by Mogwai

Not content with continually adding to their now prodigious body of work and burnishing their reputation with every new release – 2021 album As The Love Continues topped the album charts and won a Mercury Prize nomination – Glasgow’s cult post-rock outfit have also produced a slew of film and TV soundtracks over the years. This one accompanies the Apple TV crime drama of the same name, developed by author Dennis Lehane and recently nominated for three Golden Globe Awards. More ambient than their usual work, it has piano to the fore though the track used for the title sequence carries hints of that trademark sonic assault.