Edinburgh can be like a song itself, addictive and soulful, so it’s no surprise that the city produces some incredible music acts. From thrash punk to electronic, let us enlighten you with the music acts from Scotland’s capital you should know.
The elusive brains behind Edinburgh electronic band Boards of Canada are dynamic duo Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin Sandison. These brothers grew up in a music-adoring family, and are praised for their pointed subliminal messaging, vintage sound and captivating interludes. The band’s trippy, floaty feels stem partly from a shared childhood appreciation of the warm, analogue media sounds akin to the 1970, especially the nature documentaries from the National Film Board of Canada.
Watch out for these ones! After crossing paths at 14 years old at the under-16s hip hop night in Edinburgh’s Bongo Club, this dynamite hip hop trio started making music on an old karaoke machine connected to a tape recorder. Praised for wildly energetic live performances, Young Fathers first formed as ‘Three-Style’ before settling on the name Young Fathers, thanks to all three being named after their dads! These hip-hop aficionados dabbled with production company deals before embarking on an extensive European tour, making their American debut in style at Austin’s music mecca SxSW. Young Fathers took the crown for the Scottish Album of the Year (SWAY Award) in 2014 for TAPE TWO. Since then, the awards keep a-coming.
A psychedelic pop quartet with prowess, Django Django first met at Edinburgh College of Art, only to form as a legit band in London during 2008. Their eponymous debut album, complete with previously released songs Waveforms and Default making it into the mix, hit 33 in the UK album charts following its release in 2012. From there, success blossomed into something beautiful with the likes of NME and Rolling Stone singing the album’s praises. Gamers will recognize Hail Bop from FIFA 13 and Waveforms from Grand Theft Auto V. Django Django are just one of the many amazing talents to emerge from ECA.
Edinburgh-born music man Adam Holmes has that inimitable quality akin to true musicians. This singer-songwriter conjures up harmonious lyrics that pose a knowing nod to the traditional folk genre and that speak to the souls of writers, lovers and creatives alike. His music journey began with the fiddle, before gravitating to the guitar. Adam Holmes and The Embers have received numerous nominations. Heirs and Graces, his insightful debut album, is woven with Celtic tones and folky feels and was well-received in general, so much so that it was nominated at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards for Best Album.
Charged with adrenaline-inducing speed and an unruly aggressive essence, there’s only one The Exploited. Between their brazenly bold sociopolitical lyrics, wonderfully boisterous gigs and overall anarchist mentality, this iconic punk rock band is immortal. Formed in Edinburgh in West Granton back in 1979 by Terry Buchan and Stevie Ross, the band rose to meteoric notoriety and ushered in Wattie Buchan to take the helm. Although The Exploited has seen as many band members as they have angsty moshers over the decades, lead vocalist Wattie has been the longest serving band member. As leaders in the UK 82 punk movement, their musical style has fallen under numerous categories over time — punk rock, thrash metal, crossover thrash, anarchist punk — and attracted serious cult status.