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5 Edinburgh student bands you should know


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Edinburgh is clearly not Glasgow.

There is no SECC, no Hydro, no O2 ABC or even King Tut’s. However, you’d be surprised at the number of bands with Edinburgh roots that have since gone on to greatness. Honeyblood, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Young Fathers and Idlewild – all internationally renowned – call the Scottish capital their home.

Auld Reekie’s music scene is comparatively small, but it’s that inter-relatedness and lack of intimidation that fosters a diversity of up-and-coming acts. Without further ado, here are five that should be on your radar for 2019:

Blind Circuits

Multi-instrumentalist Jon Owen and guitarist Rob Rannard are originally from Cheshire. They’ve been in various bands together since secondary school.

Image courtesy of Blind Circuits

With the pair both embarking on higher education in Edinburgh, they quickly set about trying to work out how to gig within the limitations of a duo without sounding too stripped back.

Their current set is a 50/50 mix of tastefully arranged pop covers and original material, which they hope to record and release in the new year. Blind Circuits are influenced by the bombastic riffs of artists such as Muse and Royal Blood but combine this with the pop sensibility of bands like Nothing But Thieves or Walk the Moon. Catch Jon behind a bulky Moog synthesiser and Rob laying down some accomplished licks with his signature white axe at ever-larger Edinburgh venues in the future.

Dinosaur 94

Imagine if the philosoraptor meme made rock music. Well, if you take the dated pop-culture reference but continued self-ironizing currency of the former and applied it to a band then you wouldn’t too far off what Dinosaur 94 are aiming at.

A four-piece punk outfit whose name originates from little more than a shared love of ‘terrible lizards’, Dinosaur 94 has a classic kind of sound. They’ve been able to flourish in the tight-knit Edinburgh scene where they might have been booted out in bigger cities, which has given them the confidence to say, “We know we’re sick.”

With an impressive array of decidedly lo-fi recordings available on Soundcloud with witty lyrics and interesting samples ('Elephant Dreams'), they’re certainly ones to catch if you’re a fan of authentic, unapologetic guitar bands.

The Motion Poets

Alt-rock, blues-tinged Edinburgh Napier formed quartet The Motion Poets hope to fuse the Apollonian with the Dionysian in their incredibly tight take on the sounds that have helped their spiritual predecessors The White Stripes or Arctic Monkeys top the charts.

Already boasting extensive gigging experience across the central belt, including a show at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut (a venue that has fostered so many legendary artists) and securing a support slot for The Sherlocks, The Motion Poets are well on the way to establishing themselves on the Scottish stage.

To date, they’ve released two singles – the catchy ‘One Too Many’ and the moodier ‘Girl Like This’, which has an atmospheric accompanying music video.

The Motion Poets play The Mash House, Edinburgh on 14th December.


Wonderboy has been a staple of the Edinburgh scene for a couple of years now and brings its irresistible charm and infectious sense of humour to every show it plays.

Every one of the band members sings, and in their own accents at that, adding to the authenticity of a band that doesn’t try to hide behind the latest trends. It’s pop rock at its best – the kind that’s not averse to a kazoo or two and doesn’t take itself too seriously. You can discern the Eels and Belle & Sebastian influence in the diverse and leftfield instrumental palate, which includes a healthy dose of saxophone. Below is the latest from side-project Deep Sea Creature.


Describing their distinctive sound as “trumpet-rock”, Spylaw already have one EP under their belt (2016’s I don’t think they had this in mind) and are looking to record and release another next year. Currently, they are looking to complete a permanent line-up with a drummer before embarking on a Scotland-wide tour and prospective summer festival slots.

Image courtesy of Spylaw

Spylaw plays an interesting fusion of hard rock and brass-band parping that defies ridicule for its audacious execution.

Catch them at venues across Scotland in the new year.

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