15 Great Rock Bands from Scotland

Written by on March 28, 2019

Every couple months, my KPSU radio show Six Degrees of Rockination has a theme. On March 2, 2019, that theme was Scotland. A full hour of great music from the United Kingdom’s northernmost country. What songs did I play?

Biffy Clyro – “Mountains”

This band from Kilmarnock has such a huge sound. I saw them in a tiny little club here in Portland and their sound was so full and rich, it was worthy of a football stadium. If you like this song, check out “Different People.” I think it’s my favorite by them.

The Dunts – “Witch Hunt”

This is a brand new band out of Glasgow and they’ve got a great punk sound, mixed with elements of pop and rock. Keep an eye on these kids. They could hit it big.

The Fratellis – “Mistress Mabel”

Another great band from Glasgow, these guys have a beautiful mix of pop and rock, of piano and guitar, of silliness and seriousness. My favorite by them is “A Heady Tale.”

Pyro – “Don’t Hold Back”

This two-piece from Bathgate is brand new, and just like with the Dunts, I’ve think they’ve got a chance to make it big. They’ve got a really sharp, edgy, rocking sound, with just enough pop sensibility to hook me.

Eugenius – “Flame On”

When this song came out in 1992, the band was actually called Captain America, but then Marvel comic books found out and told them they had to change their name. So this song is sort of by Eugenius, but back when they were called Captain America. That’s a complicated story, but the song’s straight up grunge awesomeness.

Catholic Action – “Doing Well”

Yet another great new band from Glasgow. What’s going on in that city? Is it something in the water? So much great music!

Static Union – “Turn Out the Lights”

This band’s sound reminds me so much of Metric, with the combination of pop and rock, and that strong synth sound. I hope they make it as far as Metric has. (And ohbytheway, yet another band from Glasgow!)

Stanley Odd – “Son, I Voted Yes”

I love how this isn’t just a good song, it’s also a history lesson on the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

Bad Mannequins – “I Hate You”

This band reminds me so much of the Eagles of Death Metal. Fun, danceable, rocking, silly. I love it so much. If you like it, check out their song “Double Denim.”

United Fruit – “Where the Sun Beats Down”

The Glasgow quarter has such a full, rich sound. I almost want to call it noisy. It hits you like a wall of sound.

Frightened Rabbit – “Last Tango in Brooklyn”

A hauntingly beautiful song by one of my favorite bands. If you like this one, check out “My Backwards Walk.” It’s absolutely heartbreaking. I love it so.

We Were Promised Jetpacks – “It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning”

I love how this song builds from something soft and pretty into a raging, screaming, howling mess.

The Spook School – “Less That Perfect”

A nearly perfect pop punk song from an Edinburgh quartet.

Teenage Fanclub – “Sparky’s Dream”

Speaking of perfect, is this a perfect pop song? I’m pretty sure it is. Listen to those harmonies. Listen to those high, clear voices. I love it. And this isn’t even my favorite Teenage Fanclub song. That would be “Baby Lee.”

Twin Atlantic – “Make a Beast of Myself”

And we finish with a song that sounds like it should be a smash hit on every rock radio station worldwide. If this Glasgow quartet isn’t world famous in five years, there’s no justice in the world.

And there you go! 15 great bands from Scotland. And guess what? This isn’t just a list I came up with. This was an actual hour-long radio show that you can listen to. Want to hear it? Here’s the link. A solid hour of world-class music from Scotland.

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