The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award celebrates artistic endeavor with the announcement of this year’s 20 Longlisted albums. A panel of 100 expert nominators were asked to vote for their favourite new releases, with the results unveiled tonight by broadcaster and journalist Nicola Meighan at an exclusive gig at Glasgow’s King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut. The Longlist recognises artistic achievement across a wide range of contemporary music genres and provides a snapshot of the incredible depth and resonance of music being made by artists living and working in Scotland.
Now in its seventh year, The SAY Award is Scotland’s most popular and prestigious music prize. The winning artist will pick up a £20,000 prize – provided by long-term Award partner Creative Scotland – with the nine runners-up each receiving £1,000.
The SAY Award 2018 Longlist is as follows (in alphabetical order):
1. Adam Holmes and The Embers – Midnight Milk
2. BABE – Kiss & Tell
3. Best Girl Athlete – Best Girl Athlete
4. Blue Rose Code – The Water of Leith
5. Catholic Action – In Memory Of
6. Chris Stout and Catriona McKay – Bare Knuckle
7. Elephant Sessions – All We Have Is Now
8. Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending
9. Golden Teacher – No Luscious Life
10. Happy Meals (now known as Free Love) – Full Ashram Devotional Ceremony (Volumes IV - VI)
11. Karine Polwart with Pippa Murphy – A Pocket Of Wind Resistance
12. Kobi Onyame – Gold
13. Martha Ffion – Sunday Best
14. Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun
15. Neon Waltz – Strange Hymns
16. Out Lines – Conflats
17. Pronto Mama – Any Joy
18. Siobhan Wilson – There Are No Saints
19. The Spook School – Could It Be Different
20. Young Fathers – Cocoa Sugar
Listen to and learn more about each album on The SAY Award Longlist by visiting sayaward.com where there will be two featured albums every day from Monday 6th August.
Robert Kilpatrick, General Manager, Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), said:
“This year’s Longlist celebrates another 20 incredibly strong, diverse and important contemporary Scottish records. It was great to reveal these tonight at King Tut’s in Glasgow, to an audience featuring artists, industry and music fans from across the country. The announcement was set to a backdrop of incredible live performances from previously nominated acts, and we were delighted to be raising money for our Charity Partner Help Musicians Scotland. On behalf of the Scottish Music Industry Association, I’d like to congratulate all of this year’s Longlisted artists on fantastic album releases.”
Louisa Mahon, Head of Marketing, Communications and Events at Renfrewshire Council, said:
“The SAY Award is one of the biggest nights of the year in the Scottish music calendar and we are delighted to welcome the prestigious event back to Paisley for a third time.
“Hosting an event such as this has helped establish Paisley as a key destination on Scotland’s major events map, whilst celebrating the town’s rich musical heritage and thriving music scene.
“My congratulations go to all of the artists announced on The Longlist. We’re very excited to see who will make it to the Shortlist and join us for a spectacular night in Paisley Town Hall next month.”
Alan Morrison, Head of Music, Creative Scotland, said:
“The SAY Award has always shone a high-profile spotlight on new artists, providing career-changing moments for past winners such as Kathryn Joseph and Young Fathers. It is encouraging to see so many debut and second albums on this year’s list – a recognition of the fantastic new generation of talent that’s pouring out of Scotland. This award is also a vindication for independent and grassroots labels whose releases continue to overshadow the majors when it comes to sheer quality of music “.
Bruno Baudry, CEO of Harviestoun, said:
“Harviestoun are incredibly excited to be joining the SAY Award this year as a partner, supporting the very best talent in the Scottish music scene. As a proudly independent Scottish brewer who constantly experiment in pursuit of the perfect beer, using our roots as our inspiration and ingredients, we are thrilled to team up with an award with similar values to our own, which offers a remarkable opportunity for creative talent across a broad spectrum to flourish in the music industry.
We look forward to toasting the finalists at Paisley Town Hall in September, alongside all of the artists who have come together to make such an incredibly inspiring competition this year. With such a high calibre of albums to choose from it promises to be a captivating finale.“
Peter Leathem, Chief Executive Officer, PPL said
“Helping to give back to the artists who have put so much time and effort into creating such strong output is something that we at PPL are extremely passionate about. It is wonderful to celebrate a rich and diverse Longlist which provides a platform for both emerging and established artists to further their careers.
The Scottish Album of the Year sits at the heart of the Scottish music industry and we are proud to support these Awards which provide genuine inspiration to countless artists throughout the country.”
Suzanne Miller, Head of HMScotland said:
"Help Musicians Scotland is honoured to be the SAY Award 2018 Charity Partner. We look forward to a night which spotlights Scotlands amazing talent across all genres. Good luck everyone!"
Once again, ‘Live at the Longlist’ allowed music fans, artists and industry to come together and celebrate the incredible strength and diversity of Scotland’s musical landscape. Now in its second year, the event highlighted the Scottish Music Industry Association’s commitment to championing Scottish artists and their output. Attendees were treated to an exclusive collaboration between Stina Tweeddale of Honeyblood and Carla J. Easton of TeenCanteen, who teamed up to perform tracks from each of their previously SAY Award nominated albums. Emma Pollock then gave a powerful performance featuring songs from her album ‘In Search of Harperfield’, which was Shortlisted for The SAY Award in 2016, and classics from her vast and well respected repertoire. Following the announcement, Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite provided an expansive DJ set to close the event.
All proceeds from ‘Live at the Longlist’ were donated to Help Musicians Scotland, The SAY Award’s charity partner for 2018.
The Longlist will be whittled down to a Shortlist of 10 albums – one chosen by music fans via a 72-hour online vote on sayaward.com (20th- 22nd August), and the other nine chosen by a panel of independent judges.
The SAY Award Shortlist will be announced on Thursday 23rd August, before the award ceremony itself takes place on Thursday 6th September in the elegant surroundings of Paisley Town Hall, with support from Renfrewshire Council.
All ten Shortlisted artists will also receive an exclusively designed, commemorative award, created by the winner of The SAY 2018 Design Commission.
The SAY Award is produced by the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), in partnership with Paisley Is, Renfrewshire Council, Creative Scotland, Harviestoun, TicketWeb and PPL. The SAY Award is delighted to be supporting Help Musicians Scotland in 2018, as the award’s official Charity Partner.
Launched in 2012, The SAY Award celebrates, promotes and rewards the most outstanding Scottish albums released each year. Respected by artists and valued by the industry, it is responsible for a surge in musical discovery and an explosion of impassioned debate on social media. Previous SAY Award winners are Sacred Paws’ ‘Strike A Match’ (2017), Anna Meredith’s ‘Varmints’ (2016), Kathryn Joseph’s ‘Bones You Have Thrown Me And Blood I’ve Spilled’ (2015), Young Fathers’ ‘Tape Two’ (2014), RM Hubbert’s ‘Thirteen Lost & Found’ (2013) and Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat’s ‘Everything’s Getting Older’ (2012).
Notes to Editors:
Adam Holmes and The Embers ‘Midnight Milk’
After a debut album of classic singer/songwriting, followed by a second album of tight Celtic soul, Edinburgh artist Adam Holmes decided that his third album, ‘Midnight Milk’, would be no holds barred. Reasoning that his Macbook had more technology in it than The Beatles had available on Sergeant Pepper, he determined it would be a widescreen affair with guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion, a brass band and a choir (almost) all recorded in his bedroom.
“Cant believe it! Am absolutely honoured to be longlisted for this year’s Scottish Album of The Year considering the other amazing artists that were also eligible. Really hoping that the phrase ‘third time lucky’ comes true for us in September. Thank you!”
BABE ‘Kiss & Tell’
BABE, Glasgow’s premier secret party band, are back after a two year absence with new album ‘Kiss & Tell’, the follow-up to the often unclassifiable, yet class, 2014 debut ‘Volery Flighty’.
The band, made up of singer-leader Gerard Black, guitarist Thomas Ogden, bassist Amaury Ranger (Francois and the Atlas Mountains) and new drummer/producer John Baillie Jnr (Bossy Love) have regrouped and refocused to deliver a record as much for the quiet hours as it is for the house party.
“I just want to do my best for the team. Wait, what sport is this?”
Best Girl Athlete ‘Best Girl Athlete’
Best Girl Athlete has been born out of the non-conventional manner in which many people now consume music - collecting individual offerings, rather than whole albums. Consequently, each song here stands alone as a single offering with lyrically intriguing, musically accomplished depth that will draw on audiences from across the board.
“Making the SAY Award Longlist completely validates what we have tried to do with this album and to have some critical recognition from within the music community is so gratifying.”
Blue Rose Code ‘The Water of Leith’
Underlining the sense of movement and place in Ross’ work and ‘The Water Of Leith’ is rooted in his return to his Scottish homeland. There, he reconnected with the stellar musicians who were to become an integral part of the new album’s sound: award-winning singer Julie Fowlis, celebrated Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes, BBC Folk Award Winner, Ross Ainslie, 2017’s Scottish Jazz Awards’ winner Konrad Wiszniewski, leading violinist Seonaid Aitken. Grammy-winning American singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman features on the opening track.
“I am delighted that ‘The Water of Leith’ has been included in the Longlist of such a prestigious award as Scottish Album of the Year. A testimony to the hard work put in to the creation of ‘The Water of Leith’. I am grateful for the talents of this group of amazing Scottish musicians.”
Catholic Action ‘In Memory Of’
Glasgow’s Catholic Action arrive hot-off-the-heels of the release of debut long- player In Memory Of, via Modern Sky Entertainment. A vibrant collection of guitar-pop anthems, In Memory Of shines with pop-smarts, clever hooks and confidence rarely seen in a new act. Their breakneck paced punked up art-rock, typifies Catholic Action’s penchant for penning instantly memorable pop nuggets, with a sardonic and knowing sense of self.
“We are really proud to be part of the SAY Award Longlist. Scottish music continues to punch above it weight in its creative output and this year’s longlist is no different.”
Chris Stout & Catriona McKay ‘Bare Knuckle’
‘Bare Knuckle’ is a raw, uncompromising and truthful account of these two artists, Chris Stout and Catriona McKay, composing and performing together. Their music draws on the exposed, rugged land and seascapes of the East coast of Scotland and the Shetland Islands to the north. It also tells the story of the people who inhabit these places. A celebration of strength and vulnerability in equal abundance.
“We are honoured to be long listed as part of this year’s SAY awards and among such great company!”
Elephant Sessions ‘All We Have Is Now’
‘All We Have Is Now’ is the eagerly anticipated second album from award-winning neo-trad quintet Elephant Sessions. Their music draws upon influences from their highland traditional roots as well as electronic, rock and funk to create a sound that is truly unique. This album pushes this sound further, giving the music an infinitely more dark and brooding maturity, whilst still maintaining the raw excitement of the visceral live shows the band have become both loved and renowned for.
“Delighted to be included in this year’s Longlist. It’s an honour to be recognised not just within folk music, but in Scottish music as a whole.”
Franz Ferdinand ‘Always Ascending’
A triumphant recasting, Franz Ferdinands ‘Always Ascending’ is as exuberant as it is euphoric, bursting with fresh ideas born of what Alex Kapranos calls “aggressive sonic experimentation”. With the help of producer Philippe Zdar (Cassius, Phoenix, Beastie Boys), Kapranos and co. took a knife to their old canvas, producing an album that is so foreign in its familiarity it could only be current. A sound that the singer refers to as "simultaneously futuristic and naturalistic”.
Golden Teacher ‘No Luscious Life’
After blowing minds, bodies and souls through a plethora of critically acclaimed 12"s, direct live performances and celebrated DIY ethos Golden Teacher drop their album: straight out of Glasgow’s now legendary Green Door studio these seven cuts show the sextets impossible-to-pigeonhole sound. A range of distinctively spacey, dubbed-out tracks that variously touch on post-punk disco, skewed electrofunk, freshly baked dub, African rhythms, spaced-out boogie, experimental electro-jazz and much more besides.
"After releasing a whole bunch of EPs it’s great to be nominated with our debut album which were extremely proud of.”
Happy Meals (now known as Free Love) ‘Full Ashram Devotional Ceremony Vol IV-VI’
The inaugural release on Optimo Musics new ‘So Low’ imprint is from Glasgow’s much-loved Happy Meals, a duo comprised of Suzanne Rodden and Lewis Cook, and is their second album release after 2014’s acclaimed ‘Apero’ on Glasgow’s Night School label. They realise their Full Ashram Devotional Ceremony, banishing demons, devils and ill will. While the album is comprised of individual tracks segueing into each other, for full salvation it is recommended to be listened to as one continuous session.
"Very humbled to discover the ways people have connected with the music on this record and to be nominated for the SAY longlist is a true honour for us."
Karine Polwart With Pippa Murphy A Pocket Of Wind Resistance’
‘A Pocket Of Wind Resistance’ is the studio adaptation of Karine Polwarts award- winning theatre show which premiered at Edinburgh International Festival in 2016. From the first note to the final, pulsing heartbeat, it is not merely an album of songs but an hour of music, field-recording, song and spoken word. It won The Scottish New Music Award For Innovation In Music and was chosen as Best Album of 2017 by Songlines Magazine and BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction.
“For me, the SAY Award Longlist is a brilliant way to discover new music made in Scotland. I fall in love with new artists every year as a result. Me and Pippa are delighted to be on there for what’s essentially an old-school concept album, co-written and co-produced by us as a single sitting piece. Because sometimes an album does what a single can’t."
Kobi Onyame ‘Gold’
‘Gold’ sonically takes the listener on a journey, mashing Kobi’s Ghanaian heritage with hip-hop undertones. Kobi wanted to capture the feel of traditional highlife and afrobeat rhythms of the 1960’s and 70’s using percussions and brass melodies. The call-and-response structure of the songs demand the listener to be a part of the experience. The verses can be choruses, the choruses are chants. He wanted the album to feel as authentic as possible in content and texture. It’s an almost wistful echo of a yearning for home and originality that somehow has its roots in the past and present simultaneously.
Kobi says: “I am truly humbled and completely gassed at the same time to be included in this year’s SAY Award Longlist. This wasnt the easiest album to record but was the most honest and to have it amongst the Longlist is such an honour. Im delighted the album has been able to touch people the way it has and it means the most when others can relate to my truth. A definitive vim moment for me!”
Martha Ffion Sunday Best’
Raised in Ireland and based in Glasgow, Martha Ffion’s debut album ‘Sunday Best’ is her most adventurous and accomplished work to-date. Lush instrumentation brings her detailed lyrical vision to life through a series of gleaming guitar-pop songs that drift between soft-centred balladry an something more cutting and forceful. A cast of characters drift in and out of focus, each examining Ffion’s own thoughts on what it means to be “good” in a society that has such determined expectations.
“Its a huge honour to have been selected for the SAY Award Longlist, especially with so many amazing other albums released in the past year! ‘Sunday Best’ was written and recorded entirely in Glasgow, which has always been my creative home. Finally releasing my debut album has been an amazing experience, topped off by this!”
Mogwai ‘Every Country’s Sun’
‘Every Country’s Sun’ is Mogwai’s 9th studio album giving them their 2nd Top 10 Album Chart placing. The recording saw them reuniting with producer Dave Fridmann for the first time since 2001’s acclaimed ROCK ACTION LP; Fridmann also worked with the band on Come On Die Young (1999). It was recorded at Fridmann’s Tarbox Road Studios in Cassadaga, New York.
Neon Waltz ‘Strange Hymns’
‘Strange Hymns’ is the debut album from Neon Waltz. Released in 2017 it is a record that perfectly represents the environment in which these six Scottish lads grew up. With melodic songs that are infused with psychedelic and ‘60s rock which undoubtedly inform their collective songwriting process.
“’Strange Hymns’ is an album that is very dear to all our hearts. It took a little time to get it out there, but we wanted it to sound right and stay true to our sound as a band. The reaction so far from everyone has been amazing, as this shortlist displays. So as a band we could not be happier.”
Out Lines ‘Conflats’
Singer, songwriter & musician Kathryn Joseph, James Graham of The Twilight Sad and long-time musical partner of Kathryns, Marcus Mackay came together for ‘Out Lines’, a project based on conversations they had with visitors to Glasgows Platform. The outcome the stunning album ‘Conflats’, a gorgeous set of songs inspired by stories of hardship and sorrow, redemption and hope.
Pronto Mama ‘Any Joy’
Pronto Mamas debut album takes the form of ‘Any Joy’. It was released by Electric Honey Records on their 25th anniversary. It brings to an end the first chapter in the bands life, a representation of all the elements that made Pronto Mama what it was up until that point. Subsequently the band produced an accomplished full length, that stakes a claim as one of its generations great Scottish albums.
“I can say that ‘Any Joy’ has actually brought this band a tonne of joy, thankfully. To have our debut record included in the SAY 2018 Longlist adds to this again, and we couldnt be more proud.”
Siobhan Wilson ‘There Are No Saints’
Written, arranged and performed by Siobhan Wilson (vocals, electric guitar, piano, cello) and recorded by Chris McCrory (Catholic Action) in Bishopton, Renfrewshire, ‘There Are No Saints’ featured extensively in the UK’s underground music press ‘best of’ lists for 2017 and earned rhapsodic reviews from BBC 6 Music to Rolling Stone. Sparse arrangements of electric guitar, piano and cello lay bare dreamlike vocals and lyrical honesty.
“It’s epic to be long-listed for the SAY Award for my first proper album. I put so much of myself into ‘There Are No Saints’ and have been touring these songs as much as I can since its release. There are so many great things happening in music in Scotland right now it’s humbling to be included.”
The Spook School ‘Could It Be Different’
If a debut LP is an artist’s introduction to the world and their sophomore release is their now or never moment, their third is their most cathartic. Glasgow, Scotland’s indie pop optimists The Spook School, despite personal and political obstacle, made it out, and their latest full-length ‘Could It Be Different?’ is here.
It’s been a journey of self-discovery and feel-good realism; modern, dance- friendly indie pop fuelling the fun.
“Its lovely and surreal to see ‘Could It Be Different?’ nominated. We make music for ourselves and for people to find something they can connect to in what we do is truly touching.”
Young Fathers ‘Cocoa Sugar’
Formed in Edinburgh in 2008 by Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and Graham G Hastings. In 2012, they released their introductory mixtapes, Tape One and Tape Two. The trio then signed to Big Dada and released debut album, ‘Dead’, in 2014. Following an extensive world tour the band begin work on their sophomore album, ‘White Men Are Black Men Too’, which was released in 2015.
Notes to Editors:
Imagery and SAY Award Logos available via Dropbox
May 1st The SAY Award 2018 campaign launched with The SAY Award website accepting submissions of eligible albums
August 1st ‘Live at The Longlist’ – The SAY Award Longlist Announcement at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut
August 6th - 19th The SAY Award Longlist Promotion
August 20th - 22nd The SAY Award Public Vote
August 23rd The SAY Award Shortlist Announcement
August 27th – September 2nd The SAY Award Shortlist promotion
September 6th The SAY Award Ceremony
The SAY Award is a prestigious and exciting arts prize produced by the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) and supported by Creative Scotland, Renfrewshire Council, Paisley.is, TicketWeb, PPL and Help Musicians Scotland (Charity Partner). Boasting a lucrative £20,000 prize for the winner and nine runner-up prizes of £1,000 each, the award celebrates, promotes and rewards the most outstanding Scottish albums released each year.
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For the last 35 years, our independent brewery has been obsessively experimenting in the pursuit of perfection and our story is one of continuous innovation. We have always challenged expectations, driving us to create category defining beers. From maturing our beers in world-famous whisky casks in the foothills of Scottish mountains, to sourcing wild local ingredients.
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Founded in 1934, PPL is the UK music industry’s collective management organisation (CMO) for tens of thousands of performers and record companies. We license recorded music in the UK when it is played in public (shops, bars, nightclubs, offices etc.) or broadcast (BBC, commercial radio, commercial TV etc.) and ensure that revenue flows back to our members. These include both independent and major record companies, together with performers ranging from emerging grassroots artists through to established session musicians and influential festival headliners. PPL’s public performance licensing is now carried out on PPL’s behalf by PPL PRS Ltd, the new joint venture between PPL and PRS for Music.
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