Archives for posts with tag: Scotland

HairbandHere’s another new song from that excellent charity fundraiser album “Glasgow Nights”, released as a fundraiser for anti-poverty charity Money Advice Scotland. Hairband are new on the Glasgow music scene and “Flying” is a delightful gravity-defying slice of loping melodic guitar pop.

“Flying” is built on a kind of rhythmic lead bass part which, in its own strange way, is vaguely reminiscent of the playing of Derek Forbes of Glasgow stadium rockers Simple Minds in their early 80s heyday.

Over top there’s a the gentle push and pull of guitar with a keyboard melody, all of which is also weirdly reminiscent of the feel of of another 80s Glasgow band – Orange Juice – during their later pop phase.

But everything on “Flying” is assembled in its own unique and loose DIY way, and topped with a swaying, lighter than air vocal musing on the (meta)physics of flight without the help of powered aircraft. It all adds up to perfect leftfield pop.

There’s rumours of a first release of their own on the way from Hairband. On the strength of “Flying” PopLib will be all over that when it appears.

[UPDATE: Glasgow record store Monorail Records release Hairband’s debut EP on 19 October 2018.]


Spinning Coin_Albany_8mm stillGlasgow guitar pop band Spinning Coin have their first single out on Geographic Music. It’s called “Albany” and it’s from the gentler section of their already impressive songbook.

Having seen them play live in Glasgow last year I’m keen to hear a full album from them. They were supporting Joanna Gruesome at Glad Cafe that night so pulled out a set-list of their noisier rattlers. It was wonderful to behold – a heady mixture of wistfully melodic jangling psychedelic guitar pop and noisy string-bending guitar skronk.

The video for “Albany” – filmed on 8mm film by Roxanne Clifford (Veronica Falls, The Royal We, Baggy Attitude) – fits the song perfectly. Timeless, faded, personal, nostalgic and conveying the physical and psychic geography of the bands’ home city.

Geographic Music is a label run by Stephen McRobbie and Katrina Mitchell of The Pastels under the umbrella of Domino Records. The video for The Pastels “Crawl Babies” single features the same foot-bridge – the South Portland Street Suspension Bridge – spanning the Clyde river which runs through Glasgow.

That provides a perfect excuse to share the “Crawl Babies” video below too. In the interests of, well, geographic synchronicity, or something. Anyway…

The 7″ single of Spinning Coin’s “Albany” is out in April and can be pre-ordered from Domino Records.



Summer Isles from Achiltibuie, on the Coigach coast of North-Western Scotland.

There’s not much traditional folk featured PopLib, but there have been a few examples ambient soundscape music featured. The atmospheric “A Tanera Talisman” from Scottish folk composer and multi-instrumental musician Mairearad Green works just as well as an evocative soundscape as it does a haunting example of neo-classic Celtic folk.

“A Tanera Talisman” is from a new album out last week called “Summer Isles”.

If you get up past Ullapool on the North Western coast of Scotland (and not many people do) and turn left down a single track road you’ll eventually come to the end of the road at Achiltibuie and look out over the Summer Isles.

It’s a magical place, usually wet, cold and windy, but occasionally looking as it does in the photo above and on this video for the song:

Mairearad Green is from Achiltibuie but lives in Glasgow. The journey between the two places was the inspiration for her multi-part composition “Passing Places” written for performance at the 2009 Celtic Connections Festival.








Casette tapes

I read this report summarising MTV research findings on young people’s music ‘demands’ today.

My first reaction – as someone running a small scale label and struggling to justify the rationale for continuing at times – was a typical ‘the end of the world is nigh’ despondency.

I was initially saddened that young people would think that music should be free but that musicians should share the intimate details of their lives with them, in the hope that the youngsters took pity on them and/or respected them enough to eventually pay for some of their music.

I am not a young person. But I have been a young person. In fact I am still that same young person, just with more experience.

Once I thought about these findings for a few minutes I realised that, other than the technology, nothing much is different. You could change a few of the words in these findings and the same would be true of my generation’s relationship with music in the 1980s. When I think back to my own youth, and how I got into this lifelong addiction to music and on-going relationship with the people who make music, the terminology may be different but the concepts and the fans’ ‘needs’ are much the same.

For anyone born after 1990 it may be hard to imagine a world without the internet & smartphones (or any kind of mobile phone). No Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, LastFM, and radio was broadcast within a limited terrestrial range. If you lived in a backwater (like I did in the 1980s), you had a choice of listening to BackwaterFM.

You did however have TV that was yet to be taken over by (un)‘reality TV’ & cooking shows. And that TV (here in NZ and overseas) tended to have some kind of alternative music shows. Not sure how that happened, but they seemed to be an accepted – and popular – part of TV here (Radio With Pictures, Frenzy etc.) and overseas (SNUB TV, Rapido, The Tube etc. in the UK).

You also had a healthy music print media culture that ranged from local fanzines (often exchanged internationally by mail, many with cassettes, flexi-discs etc.) through to music weeklies (NME – which was great once, and my weekly fix) and monthlies. That was our indirect ‘direct contact’ and third-party ‘zero-distancing’ through a proxy of a music writer.

You also had the humble cassette tape. Cheap, easy to use, easy to record, copy and swap. Throughout the 80s and most of the 90s I was lucky to be the recipient of regular cassette tapes of radio shows from the UK – John Peel, Andy Kershaw on BBC, plus Peter Easton’s ‘Rock on Scotland’ and ‘Beat Patrol’ on BBC Scotland. I’d also send them copies of my favourite NZ releases – the slow and expensive equivalent of a fan today sending a DJ a Soundcloud or Bandcamp link via social media or e-mail.

Every so often I’d find myself exchanging cassette tapes of strange music with people I didn’t know in the UK and Germany. I have no idea now how I connected with these people at all without the internet, but it happened somehow. A mysterious person in England sent me some cassettes of Yeh Yeh Noh. I can’t remember how they got my address. I sent them cassettes of The Bats, The Clean etc. which I presume they also shared around their circle of friends. We exchanged cryptic smart-arse letters in which we hid behind our imaginary personas (a bit like hand-written versions of Twitter posts or Facebook status updates really). I know other music-obsessive friends had similar experiences and contacts around the world.

I would sort through those cassettes I received and every month or two compile the best on to one C90, make a few copies and hand or post these on to a few friends I knew like similar music to me. They might reciprocate with a cassette of their recent discoveries. So our music was also ‘on shuffle’ in the sense that listening was often by way of ‘mixtapes’ (and the FF>> button on the cassette deck).

I would consume every word in those NME and fanzine articles and sort out what I was interested in hearing from reading about a band and their life (‘zero-distancing’). Anything I loved from a tape I would try to track down any time I was in a record store. If I was desperate I would write overseas – to a label, a friend, to a mail-order record shop.

I can’t remember ever thinking ‘music should be free’. But clearly much of what I heard was ‘free’. “Home taping is killing the music industry” was the slogan at the time. I resented that and laughed at it because I knew that home taping and sharing those tapes was actually what helped music sell – particularly the kind of alternative music I liked that would otherwise not be heard.

So, when I look at that piece of research and think about it, really all that has changed is the technology and the speed and ease with which this all happens now.

Exchanging MP3’s (or links now rather than attached files) has replaced cassette tapes; streaming music, podcasts, online radio have extended radio’s reach; YouTube & Vimeo have become ‘on-demand’ TV music programmes with an added discovery element; blogs and music websites have all but replaced music magazines; Facebook & Twitter (& e-mail still) have replaced letter writing as a way of exchanging music.

Rather than get depressed at the ‘music should be free’ generation, I’m happy to accept that nothing much has changed really except the technology which enables the young (and older) to discover music. And it makes it easier for more people to be involved in sharing music with friends.

We still need to trust that enough people will ‘do the right thing’ and make the ethical choice and pay something for the music they love the most, as I did (and still do) when I received it ‘free’. There is a much greater opportunity for doing that directly with the band or small label now too via online stores and Bandcamp.

As musicians and labels we can help by (a) not giving up just yet, (b) still creating and releasing music that has magic, and (c) still presenting it in formats that people value and desire.