Famous bands from Glasgow

Famous bands from Glasgow

Glasgow's musical output seems to be far too great for its size, with many of these bands spearheading a new sound or even a completely new genre. Take note of these bands, as Singing Lessons Glasgow guides you through the biggest acts to come out of the musical nursery that is Glasgow.

Biffy Clyro are a band who truly encompass the phrase "meteoric rise"; from their humble beginnings with a relocation to Glasgow where frontman Simon Neil went to University, to the now crowning glory of being probably one of the biggest rock bands in the UK. The band have since released six studio albums and one live album, with their most recent three albums reaching the top five in the album charts. All this popularity is not to say that Biffy Clyro is an uninteresting band musically, quite the opposite. Building on the quiet-loud dynamic of many grunge bands before them, Biffy Clyro has transformed from an almost hardcore rock band into the stadium rock gods that they are today. Their oeuvre includes something that everyone can appreciate. Their early albums switch seamlessly between the heaviest guitar riffs imaginable coupled with harsh and aggressive vocals, and ballads bordering on the simply beautiful. As they hit mainstream success, the aggressive vocals were set aside, not exactly a bad thing, considering now Neil's true vocal abilities are able to shine through. The riff-heavy guitar-driven sound remained, though, and attend any Biffy show and you can see the raw energy that goes into these songs. Scotland born-and-bred, Biffy might be Glasgow's greatest export, and with numerous awards under their belt, you only have to listen to their already-admirable back catalogue to agree with the critics.

Franz Ferdinand is Glasgow's answer to the Arctic Monkeys, with their catchy guitar-laden hooks selling over three million albums worldwide. Launching onto the scene with their début album back in 2004, the band had a string of huge singles, spearheaded by the catchy-to-the-point-of-being-infuriating 'Take Me Out'. After their second album and even more hits, Franz Ferdinand made no appearances to slow down. Having just announced their fourth album after a lengthy delay, Ferdinand is set to penetrate the radio and charts once more. A critic's favourite, Franz Ferdinand has won numerous awards, including those from NME, as well as the Mercury Music Prize in 2004. Aside from their hook-laden guitar pop, Franz Ferdinand is a culturally diverse band, taking their name from a little-known historical figure whose assassination initiated World War I and their album covers and music videos being taken directly from avant-garde art movements. This has led them to be compared to similar art-school rock bands like Roxy Music and Blur, who all had equal amounts of impact on British music. Franz Ferdinand was at the forefront of the indie-rock surge during the early 2000s, so look no further for a truly Glaswegian musical innovation.

The Fratellis played off the burgeoning indie-rock scene in the UK that the above Franz Ferdinand helped to initiate, and followed in the footsteps, literally, of their fellow Glaswegians. Having released two albums to date, they are perhaps best known for their début, 'Costello Music', featuring the immortal song 'Chelsea Dagger'. Known for fast, staccato guitar riffs and mastery over the singalong chorus, the Fratellis were a force to be reckoned with in the UK charts during their height, with these record sales adding to the fame of their energetic live shows, even featuring a three-piece horn section. In 2009, the band entered an indefinite hiatus, having just announced (at the time of writing) that a new album can be expected towards the end of 2013. After keeping the formulaic yet justifiable sound of UK indie-pop for their first two albums, whether or not the band can keep up their craft of the current UK music scene's sound for their new album remains to be seen. Either way, the band will surely be remembered for showing the world the new side of Glasgow's music scene in the mid-2000s.

Travis are a band who will surely be legendary in years to come, for their sculpting of the Britpop sound into a new form, almost unrecognisable, but shrouded in great melodies and just solid songwriting. Meeting at the Glasgow School of Art, the band have released six albums to date, with an always self-awareness of their songwriting craft, and how to best alter their sound to keep it interesting. It is widely accepted that Travis invented Coldplay's sound before Coldplay, and to listen to any of Travis' albums is to definitely hear this. The soaring melodies mixed with basic yet interesting guitar work completes the package in the soft-rock formula. Although it is a formula, it is a formula this band can be credited with the creation of, so this is definitely not a disadvantage. The band often see themselves as having famous songs yet not being famous themselves, and this is true to an extent, regardless of their fame rocketing after an infamous incident of Glastonbury weather just as they began to sing "why does it always rain on me?". However, needless to say, that the band put their heart and soul into their songs, and these will certainly be remembered in years to come, with Coldplay's Chris Martin even proclaiming himself as a lesser-version of his Glaswegian counterpart.

Glasvegas are a truly Glaswegian band, from their vocals that incorporate their heavy Scottish accent, to the name that unifies their city with that of the infamous showbusiness capital of the world. Their sound is unmistakable, seemingly drawing upon the icy and dreary atmosphere of their home city, the vocals are consumed in emotion, while the instruments are drowned in reverb, giving them a sound similar to that of the XX, but long before the latter rose to fame. Their début the album was very well-received, immediately spawning hit singles and putting their soaring emotion on the map. The subject matter of their songs is decidedly close to home, with frontman James Allan taking every day and injecting it with such power and energy that you cannot help but take note. Their sophomore album was more polarising, with the radical departure from the previous sound taken as both a positive and a negative aspect. With an album on the way, Glasvegas are certain to keep us interested, whether they evolve even more or return to the tried and tested sound, keep your ears peeled! 

Photography: Christian Bertrand

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