The Hot 100 2019: Music

EH-FM, Callum Easter and Sean Shibe are among our favourite cultural contributors this year

It's safe to say that 2019 has been a mammoth year for creativity and innovation in Scotland. From award-winning albums to groundbreaking theatrical works, we cover it all in our annual countdown of the figures who we feel have made the greatest impact on arts and culture in the country throughout the year. But The List's Hot 100 has a twist this time: we've got a Top 19 for 2019, though beyond that we're celebrating everyone equally because as we head towards 2020 and reflect back on the past decade, we feel that the Scottish cultural landscape is as healthy, bold and exciting as it's ever been.

Tiny Changes

The Hot 100 2019: Music

A year after the passing of Scott Hutchison, the Frightened Rabbit frontman's family founded Tiny Changes, a charity aimed at supporting young people affected by mental-health issues, while encouraging everyone to (in Scott's own words) 'make tiny changes to earth'. (MF)

The Vegan Leather

The Hot 100 2019: Music

Paisley's perennial pop grafters The Vegan Leather have been knocking on the door for a while now, and with a string of Radio One approved hits and critically acclaimed debut album Poor Girls / Broken Boys, it appears ready to swing open for them. (DP)


The Hot 100 2019: Music

Comfort's Not Passing takes on anti-trans toxicity in an exhilarating blast of electronic punk defiance. Live, the sibling duo of Natalie and Sean are more exciting still, as barbed vocals ring out over demented synths and propulsive drums. (SS)

Heir of the Cursed

The Hot 100 2019: Music

credit: James Gourlay

Beldina Odenyo Onassis has had another productive year, starting with a stunning headline set during Celtic Connections before stealing the show at Kelburn Garden Party and Doune the Rabbit Hole. Plus she's made strides in theatre, writing music for Leonie Rae Gasson's Death Becomes Us. (CA)

Blanck Mass

The Hot 100 2019: Music

Now that Benjamin John Power, formerly part of Fuck Buttons, lives in Edinburgh these days, we get to claim him as our own. Which is lucky, because his fourth album Animated Violence Mild was a fierce collision of rave, trap and electro which conjured the spirit of the times. (DP)


The Hot 100 2019: Music

credit: Trisha Ward

She may have played her debut show this year at Wide Days, but Rebecca Shearing is anything but a newcomer, having amassed an early following and sold out her first headline show in June. As one of the most exciting young voices about, SHEARS is ready for her dark pop to be unleashed onto the world. (AQ)

Siobhan Wilson

The Hot 100 2019: Music

credit: Gemma Dagger

Possessor of a sublimely ethereal voice and a profound talent for songwriting, Siobhan Wilson followed up her 2018 Scottish Album of the Year nomination with The Departure, a beautifully haunting and atmospheric record inspired by the singer's nomadic tendencies. (MR)


The Hot 100 2019: Music

Cal Donnelly's sextet released their debut LP after being one of the most talked about bands in the country for two years. Inspired by Devo, Talking Heads and cult Manchester band Duds, Carnage Hall is a masterclass. (CA)


The Hot 100 2019: Music

credit: Alix McIntosh

Founded in summer 2018 by Jamie Pettinger, Andrea Montalto and Matt Belcher, Edinburgh's Summerhall-based community radio station has grown to accommodate a roster of 80 shows. Although the programming is varied, the emphasis is on music from local DJs and promoters. (DP)

Still House Plants

The Hot 100 2019: Music

credit: Hannah Burton

Reimagining song through skewed repetition and free improvisation, Still House Plants are one of Glasgow's most original bands. Featuring collaborations with dancer Shade Therét and free jazz saxophonist Mette Rasmussen, their February residency at London's Cafe Oto was a joy. (SS)

Callum Easter

The Hot 100 2019: Music

credit: John Mackie

Callum Easter released a phenomenal debut album in Here or Nowhere and wowed audiences across the UK with a magnetic live show. He plays solo with an accordion, an instrument he seems to have learned on a whim. Easter gigs a lot, and leaves audiences stunned each time. (CA)

Cucina Povera

The Hot 100 2019: Music

credit: Ryan Johnston

Otherworldly and spare, with echoes of Finnish folk and minimal synth, the music of Cucina Povera – aka Maria Rossi – is a quiet marvel. Rossi followed her second album, Zoom, with a collaborative session for BBC Radio 3's Late Junction. (SS)


The Hot 100 2019: Music

Hailing from Glasgow's East End, this genre-blending rapper's style amassed major hype with her second EP and tracks like 'Narcotics' being performed during her main-stage TRNSMT slot. Chlobocop can now be found on line-ups next to the likes of Skepta and Octavian. (BC)

Faith Eliott

The Hot 100 2019: Music

The Minneapolis-born artist made the excellent Impossible Bodies, understated DIY recordings exploring big ideas. It was released on OK Pal Records, which Eliott formed and runs with Hailey Beavis, putting on gigs and events that have a community focus, and an emphasis on art as well as music. (CA)

Carla J Easton

The Hot 100 2019: Music

credit: Brian Sweeney

Carla J Easton's second solo album, Impossible Stuff, was a dreamy mix of symphonic pop that made the Scottish Album of the Year shortlist for 2019. Easton and her band also provided the live score to National Theatre of Scotland's ambitious production of Them! (HN)

The Twilight Sad

The Hot 100 2019: Music

James Graham's consistently melancholic band released their guitar-heavy fifth album, It Won/t Be Like This All the Time, to widespread critical acclaim, charting at number one on the Scottish Albums Chart. The band also play their biggest-ever headline show at Usher Hall on St Andrew's Night. (MF)

Karine Polwart

The Hot 100 2019: Music

Scottish Songbook went Top 40 and found Karine Polwart presenting her own interpretations of Chvrches, Biffy Clyro, Deacon Blue, Big Country, Frightened Rabbit and more. Laws of Motion was nominated for Scottish Album of the Year while she won Best Original Track at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. (HN)

Sacred Paws

The Hot 100 2019: Music

credit: Katherine Rose

Rachel Aggs and Eilidh Rodgers – 2017 Scottish Album of the Year Award winners – returned with Run Around the Sun. Also released on Mogwai's Rock Action label, it consolidated their skill for dreamy indie-pop anthems with a subtle West African influence. (DP)

Kathryn Joseph

The Hot 100 2019: Music

credit: Andy Catlin

After winning the Scottish Album of the Year Award in 2015 and creating the soundtrack to Cora Bissett's Room, the singer-songwriter's follow-up album was anxiously anticipated. Thankfully, From When I Wake the Want Is was recognised with another SAY nod. (KG)

James Yorkston

The Hot 100 2019: Music

credit: Ren Rox

After the success of his collaborations with Jon Thorne and Suhail Yusuf Khan, James Yorkston returned as a solo artist with The Route to the Harmonium. The Tae Sup Wi' a Fifer series, which Yorkston hosts and programmes at Kirkcaldy's Adam Smith Theatre, is consistently one of Scotland's most interesting nights out. (CA)

Sean Shibe

The Hot 100 2019: Music

credit: Ren Rox

Blending old Scottish lute tunes with the likes of Steve Reich's Electric Counterpoint, Sean Shibe's SAY-longlisted softLOUD is a beautiful and inventive merging of acoustic and electric guitar. The rich and eclectic fusion proves exactly why he's considered a rising star in classical and contemporary worlds. (AQ)

Matthew Whiteside

The Hot 100 2019: Music

credit: Julie Howden

Composer and sound designer Matthew Whiteside capped a busy year of commissions and collaborations with his second album Entangled, a collection of string quartets. As director of The Night With… Whiteside helps bring new music to informal spaces across Scotland. (SS)

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