Who's making the most important music in Scotland today? Those who shift the most albums? Those who command a core following and influence the next generation to pick up a guitar? In a special five-page feature, The List names the 40 SCOTTISH BANDS and musicians

who matter most, kicking off with ldlewild. Words: Jonathan Trew, Fiona Shepherd, Peter Ross, Thom Dibdin,

Kenny Mathieson

Clockwise from top left: Bis, The Beta Band, Arab Strap, Belle And Sebastian and Aqua Bassino


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10 THE lIST 17 Dec 1998—7 Jan 1999

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Arab Strap

()pening line ‘II was the biggest cock you’d ever seen‘ set the tone for most of Arab Strap’s sec-

ond album l’lzilnplmbia. Drink-sodden tales of

social death by sexual mismlventure mumbled over a minimal backing may seem unlikely to prove popular but. for large numbers of fans. the Strap‘s grimy view of life is infinitely more real than the likes of Celine Dion's anodyne war- bling. The Falkirk duo are currently in the studio mixing a live album for the Go Beat label. lixpect to hear a new single in May. Rumours that‘s it‘s a two-minute. chirpy pop song with an hilarious chorus are outright lies. (JT)

Aqua Bassino

The deep and jazzy house man. Aqua Bassino a.k.a. Jason Robertson has had a suitably watery year ol~ it with a couple of Iil’s out on seminal French label l“-(‘om. But Edinburgh-

based Robertson is more excited by the gigs he‘s been playing Buenos Aires. Lisbon. and Dali‘s home town in Spain. lle‘s cutting down on the gigging for next year. although Tribal Funktion‘s main floor beckons on 30 January. Instead. he‘s concentrating on the half-com— pleted album for F-(‘om which will go even deeper and have more jazz with live input from the likes of Salsa (‘eltica‘s drummer and Nicola King’s sweet vocals. (TD)

Belle And Sebastian

Burgeoning bunch of sensitive (ilaswegian troubadours who have honed their delicate pastoral sound which incorporates piano. cello and trumpet over the course of three albums. They have become Scotland‘s hottest but most mysterious property. owing to their idiosyncratic approach to sell-promotion. i.e. don‘t bother with it. The band currently num—