Om Frightened Rabbit
If you want rock stars, go to England. If, however, you crave quirky cult acts, head north to Scotland. Ever since the rise of post-punk in the early '80s, the land of Scots has produced many of the United Kingdom's most beloved underdogs, including Fire Engines, the Pastels, Teenage Fanclub, the Vaselines and Belle & Sebastian. As with all these groups, Glasgow's Frightened Rabbit fuses art school indie pop and stripped down folk-rock, while filtering its influences -- everything from Interpol to Joe Jackson to Thin Lizzy -- through a fragile tenderness and naked earnestness that seems to be uniquely Scottish. While stuttering, manic rhythms and neo-Edge guitar buzzzz fly about his head, Scott Hutchison mumbles very few words that don't take five spins to understand. The dude's thick accent is partly to blame, but Hutchinson also sounds as if he's afraid to make himself easily understood. This only makes sense considering his mom used to call her shy little child a "frightened rabbit" because of the way he would cower in social situations. Obviously that's something Hutchinson has addressed; in 2007 the quartet signed to the ever-hip Fat Cat imprint, also home to Animal Collective, Blood on the Wall and Mice Parade.