The Say Award

The Say Award

The Say Award is almost here, tomorrow from 8pm the ceremony will kick off at Glasgow’s Barrowlands and we are really looking forward to it this year.

I think when an idea like this continues to evolve then you will get various positives and negatives directed. There is also a shitty mentality that as something continues to do well; people try to pick more faults with it.

The people behind the award, namely Stewart Henderson have a real passion for Scotland and the music it produces. I think the important thing to remember is this is showcasing music that would not normally get as much attention. It is a given that a number of artists on the shortlist have been lucky enough to get a bigger platform to showcase on, but this brings more focus to the ones that have not. Additionally, it hopefully brings more focus to Scottish music in general.

The way I like to see it is that if people even start to investigate further what we are putting out as a country then it will increase the demand and appreciation. I know I am a fucking romantic sometimes and people will recognise a naivety in what I am saying, but as someone who tries to champion as many of newcomers and independents as possible, it makes it on occasion far more enjoyable when you see musicians played on a bigger scale. Ultimately, we want as many people to hear the music as possible.

Below are the 10 shortlisted albums and for what it is worth (to many is nothing) what I think of them in brief.

Biffy Clyro – Opposites


I am an old school Biffy fan so I was pretty late listening to this album. Even though they have hit the mainstream, I think there are still vast amounts of people that respect the band. I am not being diplomatic here; it is just not my favourite album that they have produced. For me, Infinity Land will always be number 1.

Boards Of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest


For me, one of the most important artists in my music collection. Tomorrow’s Harvest is an incredible album; its composition, feel and production are pristine. Undeniably brilliant, if this won then I think most people including the musicians on the shortlist would be happy.

Chvrches – The Bones Of What You Believe  


I am one of these people that likes to avoid the hype. I have to admit that it does put me off and I like to listen and experience things in my own time. I am effectively contradicting myself and as a blogger I am helping contribute at times to the hype, whatever the fuck that is. What I am trying to say is that I didn’t listen to Chvrches full album until later on. It is a great album, for me the track of the album is Under The Tide and it has become a bit of an anthem for me. I think that this is one of my 3 that could win the final vote this year.

Edwyn Collins – Understated


Mr Collins the icon. – this is how I am going to address him. Understated keeps that defiant nature he has always channelled in his music. I respect him as an artist, but this is not kind of music that I listen to.

Hector Bizerk – Nobody Seen Nothing


Another of my 3 albums that I think could win the award. For those that are not familiar with Hector, they are a DIY dream. The album is full of gems, incredible imagery and excellent production. It is honest, socially aware and one of the best self-released albums of 2013.

Mogwai – Les Revenants


I can see my signed vinyl from where I sit. I have been a ‘Gwai fan since Young Team, I honestly think that Stuart Braithwaite thinks I may be a stalker weirdo, but if you can sit 17 years later and say that one of your favourite bands is still releasing music then that is pretty special. Furthermore, it is not shite. Like Boards of Canada, this is a collective of composers now. Graeme Ronald from Remember Remember once said in an interview with Podcart that when it comes to instrumental music, it can cover as much Mozart as it does Mogwai, how true.

RM Hubbert – Breaks & Bone


Last year’s winner of The Say Award and Hubby has managed to secure another shortlist nomination for a whole new album. I heard this album in the early stages and the finished product is just as inspiring as his previous release. RM Hubbert for me will always be a nucleus of grass roots music. He is a true ambassador and as an album Breaks & Bone really puts to the forefront how much his inner confidence has grown.

Steve Mason – Monkey’s Mind In The Devil’s Time


Another person that has made a big dent in my music collection, from the Beta Band to King Biscuit Time and now under his own name, Mason is prodigal. This album is harmonious, peaceful and his distinctive vocals the cherry on top.

The Pastels – Slow Summits


This album is a bit hit and miss for me. I can hear the gasps already, ‘Halina! How the hell can you not like everything The Pastels have done?’ well that word ‘subjectivity’ is something to be remembered. The stand out track for me is probably ‘Check My Heart’.

Young Fathers – Tape Two


I would probably say that if I was to name my favourite 5 artists in Scotland right now then Young Fathers would definitely be one of them. There has been a bit of talk about the inclusion about this record as people have argued that it is an EP. The other discussions have indicated that people automatically thought that Dead (their latest release) was the shortlisted album. Interesting developments, as Dead has been publicised in places as their debut album. I am sure that it would not have been included if it was not covering criteria. Musically, I stated last year that they should be global, it looks like they are heading that way.

The SAY Award takes place tomorrow evening. It will be streamed courtesy of Innerear here:

For full information on all the artists longlisted and shortlisted please visit:

Last year the judges had made comments that when they were looking for a winner they were looking for a complete body of work. I think it is fair to say that several of the shortlisted artists have achieved that.

Good luck to all the participants and organisers.

Halina Rifai




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