“Cheap Regrets” – The Districts
Looking through my Liked Songs playlist in Spotify and my iTunes library, I don’t know that I’ve ever listened to this band. Apparently this song is a departure from their usual sound. I really dig its blend of modern dance, classic disco, and indie rock.

“It Helped” – Yakima
When I think of Scottish music, I generally have a particular sound in my head. While not all Scottish acts fit that sound, they often butt up against it. Yet there is a strong power/jangle pop tradition in Scottish rock. Here is the latest band to sound more like they’re from California in the ‘60s than Glasgow today.

“All Compasses Go Wild” – Close Lobsters
Coincidentally, here is another Glasgow band that has a much brighter sound than traditional Scottish rock. My first guess would have been that this band is Australian. There’s a strong early 90s vibe to this track.

“Patterns Prevail” – Young Guv
Holy curve ball! I discovered Young Guv via an “Artists you may have missed last year” article this month. Young Guv is Ben Cook, guitarist for hardcore band Fucked Up. So his debut EPs, now collected into one LP, absolutely blew my mind. They are filled with songs that sounded straight off a classic Matthew Sweet or Teenage Fanclub album (TF is from Glasgow, tying this all together!). Beautiful, bright songs to cheer you up on cloudy, freezing winter days.

“Tom Sawyer” – Rush
I’m sure most of you heard that legendary Rush drummer Neil Peart died last week. I was never a big Rush fan, but I knew a lot of guys who were way into them. There was a roommate in the 90s who blasted Rush, Dream Theater, and bands of that ilk from one side of our house, while three of us blasted our alt rock from the other side. And I’ll never forget the kid who rode my middle school bus and often wore a “Neil Peart Fan Club” t-shirt. I didn’t know who Peart was yet, but I figured he must be pretty cool if this kid was in his fan club.

I think I liked 4–5 Rush songs as a kid. I listened to those songs last weekend during a workout. I was shocked that “New World Man” was the only Rush song to hit the US pop top 40 chart. It’s a good song, but I would have guessed either “Tom Sawyer” or “Spirit of the Radio” would have been bigger pop hits.

Even though I wasn’t a huge fan I can respect Peart’s immense game. RIP.