Archive for March, 2009

Win a pair of tickets to the Hinterland festival

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Sometimes we despair about what editors think constitutes important news. Fair enough, the story about the Home Secretary inadvertently claiming expenses for the two porn films her husband ordered is the funniest scandal ever to happen in British politics, yet the lack of publicity surrounding the one event that affected every single one of us today – the clocks going forward by an hour – is nothing less than dumbfounding.

Surely the fact that TIME HAS CHANGED is just a bit more relevant than being informed Jade Goody is still dead.

While we’re on the subject of things you really ought to know (seamless link there), the HINTERLAND music and arts festival is set to hit Glasgow for the first time on Thursday, April 30 and Friday, May 1.

One ticket gives you access to over 100 live acts in 15 city-centre venues during the two days, although the organisers are keeping where each individual artist will be playing under wraps for now.

While The Fall are undoubtedly the biggest name on the bill, we’ve drawn up our own top 10 of must-sees over the two days…

Brigade………………………….. Broken Records
Copy Haho…………………….. De Rosa
Fanfarlo………………………… Eugene McGuinness
Fangs……………………………. .Foxface
Little Man Tate……………… Good Shoes
Mitchell Museum………….. Ou Est Le Swimming Pool
Pearl And The Puppets….. Paper Planes
Popup……………………………. Sons & Daughters
The Xcerts……………………. .Team Waterpolo
Tommy Reilly……………….. We Were Promised Jetpacks

Tickets are on sale just now but the generous folks at Hinterland are big fans of The Pop Cop and have kindly given us a pair to give away to one lucky reader. To be in with a chance of winning, just answer this question – which country’s flag is this:

Now email with the subject Hinterland Comp and include your name, address and answer. Over-18s only. Closing date is Sunday, April 5 at 23:59. Good luck!

4 BrigadeStunning
4 De RosaNocturne For An Absentee
4 Eugene McGuinnessRings Around Rosa
4 FanfarloYou Are One Of The Few Outsiders Who Really Understands Us
4 Good ShoesMorden
4 Ou Est Le Swimming PoolDance The Way I Feel
4 Team WaterpoloSo Called Summer

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So what’s The Goss?

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Spring is usually the time to have a clearout but we’ve decided to head in the opposite direction and make things a whole lot busier in The Pop Cop.

We’ve introduced a sexy new section on the left-hand side of this site called The Goss, in which you can expect to find regularly updated snippets on topics such as:

  • Hot gigs that have just been announced
  • Breaking news on Scottish artists
  • Last-minute ticket offers
  • The newest additions to a festival line-up
  • Informed gossip (that’s not a paradox)

In short, The Goss is the place to read about exciting things that need to be told as soon as we find them out, day or night, seven days a week.

If you know something we don’t and want to tell us about nuggets of news with a Scottish flavour then fire anemail our way.

4 Nick Cave & The Bad SeedsMore News From Nowhere
4 American PrincesWatch As They Go (for no other reason than it’s such a damn good tune)

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Picture the scene…

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

When we are interested a band, we write about them; when you are interested in a band, you listen to them; when JENNY SOEP is interested in a band, she goes along to their gig, gets out her pencil and starts drawing.

The results are startling, given that she only has about half-an-hour to get her work done and has potential obstacles such as awkward lighting, overexcitable youngsters and stray alcohol hindering her progress.

You might have spotted the 29-year-old, who is from Oban but lives in Glasgow, at one of Scotland’s music festivals sketching the likes of Bjork, M.I.A., LCD Soundsystem and the Beastie Boys, but she more regularly devotes her attention to homegrown acts and her back catalogue includes Arab Strap, James Yorkston, De Rosa, The Dykeenies and The Cinematics.

Jenny will be drawing at the first PodCart event on April 11 and is also organising a big event in October which she tells us is “hush hush”. Keep an eye out for more details on her blog, where you can also order originals and prints of her work.

And if, like us, you love the pictures at the top of this post, you’ll no doubt be keen to hear the three songs that inspired them.

4 The PipettesPull Shapes
4 The HollowaysMalcontented One
4 Emma PollockAdrenaline

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SXSW’s Tartan army

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Fifteen of the 1,800 acts playing at the SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST music convention/festival/party in Austin, Texas this week are Scottish – and only about half of that lot are decent. So let’s dwell on the good stuff.

Camera Obscura’s new album, My Maudlin Career, is a beauty and could quite possibly be the one that takes the twee Glaswegians out of the underground. Twin AtlanticWe Were Promised Jetpacks and Dananananaykroyd are all familiar names on Scotland’s live circuit, although we have been reluctant to write about the latter of that trio given that they tend to make the kind of racket you’d only put on to annoy the hell out of your parents.

Come On Gang!Nacional and The Pictish Trail straddle the traditional indie/folk fence but it’ll take something extra special from them to make large audiences fall under their spell. Those in the ‘not our bag, baby’ category include Alex Smoke with his minimalist techno, electronica group Found and hardcore band Flood Of Red. Bringing up the rear are Glasvegas.

My Latest Novel’s debut album didn’t quite live up to the hype and the Greenock band will probably live or die by its forthcoming follow-up Deaths And Entrances. Here’s hoping it does them justice. Primal Scream and The Proclaimers are curious SXSW choices given that they already enjoy established careers and are fabulously wealthy, but we’re sure the Yanks won’t be complaining.

Sandi Thom is also a curious choice for the simple fact that the music she makes is beyond shit. But what’s most hilarious is her reaction to finding out she wasn’t one of the 11 acts invited to play at the Scottish Arts Council’s SXSW showcase. This provoked an outraged Sandi to have a rant on her MySpace blog yesterday, claiming she wasn’t allowed on the bill because she lives in England. However, the Scottish Arts Council responded in heroic style by confirming that residency didn’t come into it… only ability. That’s gotta hurt!

So that’s the Tartan army then. As for the other 1,785 or so foreigners at SXSW, we have two must-hear recommendations.

First up is a relatively little-known but incredible band from Arkansas called American Princes. They remind us a lot of The National and The Smiths. Cruelly, we only discovered the greatness of their 2008 album Other People after we’d compiled The Pop Cop’s end-of-year ‘best of’ list, otherwise it would have been a certainty for the prestigious No.6 slot.

So gutted were we on their behalf that we felt compelled to email American Princes with an apology, promising to make it up by writing a piece about them on this very website if they had any Scottish ancestry. We got this reply from the band’s singer, David Slade: “I’m apparently the descendant of Robert Burns’ cousin, so yes. And I’m also friends with Alexander McCall Smith, so that sort of counts. But Scotland is, quite literally, my favorite country and the minute that I can move there, I will.”

Our second and final non-Scottish tip is Hockey, whom we raved about at the start of the year long before every other scenester had discovered them and subsequently ensured there would be no space for The Pop Cop to squeeze into their recent gig in Glasgow. Just as well the funky Oregon dudes are coming back in May then.

4 Camera Obscura – The Sweetest Thing
4 Come On Gang! – Wheels
4 Dananananaykroyd – Black Wax
4 My Latest Novel – All In All In All Is All
4 Nacional – You Wear It Well
4 The Pictish Trail – I Don’t Know Where To Begin
4 The Proclaimers – Life With You
4 Twin Atlantic – Audience And Audio
4 We Were Promised Jetpacks – Keeping Warm (Popmorphic session)
4 American Princes – Don’t Ever Promise
4 Hockey – Learn To Lose (XFM session)
b May 6, Studio 24, Edinburgh (supporting Friendly Fires) (tickets)
b May 7, QMU, Glasgow (supporting Friendly Fires) (tickets)

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Music Alliance Pact – March 2009

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Once a month the Music Alliance Pact brings bloggers around the globe together and, by heck, that time is now.

The number of countries in MAP stands at a record high of 24 after we tempted ambassadors from Denmark (All Scandinavian) and France (SoundNation) to join our gang with the promise of riches beyond their wildest dreams.

As Scotland’s representatives, The Pop Cop has something very special from We Were Promised Jetpacks to share with the rest of the world…

4 We Were Promised JetpacksShips With Holes Will Sink
We Were Promised Jetpacks ought to be one of the biggest stars of this year’s SXSW. They mix sweeping, sonic brilliance with a melodic accessibility that has made them Glasgow’s most talked-about band since Frightened Rabbit. Indeed, they have followed in the footsteps of their city chums by signing to FatCat, who will release their debut album These Four Walls in June. Until then, here’s a teaser from it to whet the appetite.
b June 9, Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh (tickets)
b June 10, Doghouse, Dundee (tickets)
b June 15, King Tut’s, Glasgow (tickets)


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Live review: Jack’s Mannequin @ Academy 3, Manchester

Friday, March 13th, 2009

So here we are, two Glaswegians in Manchester to see JACK’S MANNEQUIN, one of the greatest bands of our generation. To kill two birds with one stone, we’re also going to do our bit to improve cross-border relations after Rangers fans rampaged through the city and beat up policemen last year.

As we sit down for a pre-gig meal in a downtown pub we overhear the familiar sound of a Scottish eejit abroad. “I’ll rip your head off your body and tear it in two. Just give us another drink.” It looks like The Pop Cop’s hopes of repairing some of the damage (metaphorically at least) is going to be much harder than first thought.

We hop on the No. 42 bus to Manchester University, where our Californian piano-rock chums are due to play the final date of their current tour. Jack’s Mannequin’s first-ever visit to the UK doesn’t include a Scottish date, hence the 450-mile round trip, but at least we were fortunate enough to avoid having to fork out £130 for golddust tickets on eBay.
The rammed Academy 3 has already turned into a sweat box by the time these four Americans bound on to the stage. There’s no mistaking the adoration of the crowd who have waited years to see them as the opening bars of Crashing brings shrieks of delight.

For a band that is used to playing to audiences in the thousands, Jack’s Mannequin could easily have sold out the 400-capacity venue several times over, but they have to be commended for wanting to keep this rare appearance on these shores such an experience intimate.

With no front-of-stage security staff or even a barrier, frontman Andrew McMahon relishes the opportunity to banter with his devotees, teasing a couple for snogging through Bruised and expressing mock outrage at a fan’s homemade message which reads: “I waited five years to see this man and all I got was this crappy poster”.

Despite being chained to a piano stool, Andrew doesn’t let that stifle his enthusiasm, thumping the keys with gusto and grinning madly to his bandmates. Andrew declares Swim one of his personal favourites from The Glass Passenger and it provides an emotional, slightly calmer moment in a night of unbrildled energy. But it’s the material from Jack’s Mannequin’s remarkable debut album Everything In Transit that provokes the biggest singalongs and Andrew can’t resist jumping onto his piano during a barnstorming performance of Dark Blue, one of countless highlights.
As the 90-minute set comes to a close, Andrew thanks the crowd for making the last night of the tour so special and his announcement that they hope to be back soon is done with crossed fingers held aloft.

After dragging ourselves away from the merch stall (£40 for a hoodie… maybe not), we leave the venue, outside which dozens of fans are already milling around in the hope of meeting their heroes. Guitarist Bobby Anderson is the first to emerge and he patiently poses for photos and signs autographs before heading off.
About 10 minutes later The Pop Cop does likewise, stopping off at a local pub called Big Hands where we bump into none other than Bobby, who is sipping a thoroughly deserved pint at the bar. He graciously accepts our offer to buy him a drink (a shot of Jagermeister) and invites us to pull up a pew.

When we tell him we’re from Scotland, his eyes light up. It turns out that Bobby’s dad loves all thing Scottish even though he’s not sure if Anderson is actually a Swedish name. He talks about his love of classical music and how he took a trip to Leipzig during a gap in the band’s German tour because Bach spent most of his life there.

Bobby’s mobile beeps at 11.15pm with a text message which he shows us: “Ready to roll. Come now.” Alas, it’s time for our drinking buddy to go.

The Pop Cop stays for another five minutes to finish our beverages before heading to the bus stop outside the venue where we spot Andrew going the other way. It turns out he and his wife, Kelly, are leaving England to visit Paris then Florence for a short break.

He not only agrees to pose for a picture, he takes our camera and says, “I’m actually quite good at this” before executing an inch-perfect self-portrait. And with that this memorable night in Manchester comes to an end.

4 Jack’s Mannequin – Bruised (remix)
4 Jack’s Mannequin – Kids (live MGMT cover)

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Live review: Silent Rave @ Central Station, Glasgow

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

As promisedThe Pop Cop went along to Central Station to witness Scotland’s first-ever Silent Rave. The authorities tried to ban it, but Glasgow doesn’t pass up the opportunity to dance in public that easily. Here’s what went down…

13.55: We walk into Central Station from Union Street, there are about half a dozen police officers in yellow jackets on the stairway, shooshing folk as they walk in. This is supposed to be a ‘silent’ rave after all. Who says the cops don’t have a sense of humour?

14.00: There is a tangible sense of anticipation as the clock strikes 2pm, but nothing is happening, other than lots of kids standing around looking at each other waiting for someone else to make the first move. Lots of comments of “This is shit”.

14.03: People are getting ready to leave when one brave guy in a white and blue sports top starts dancing wildly, almost breakdancing. He gets a huge cheer for effort. (See first video)

14.05: Encouraged by the reaction, another guy starts dancing, then another, then another. Soon we have a proper moving throng underneath the clock. This is really happening! Ladies and gentlemen, Glasgow is raving! (See second video)

14.06: The cops move in. There’s some booing but the kids offer no resistance to being moved along, and indeed do so in a sort of conga style. Nice one.


4 Travis – Central Station
4 Catatonia – I Am The Mob

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X marks the spot

Friday, March 6th, 2009

We’re all for saving the planet from imminent self-destruction but why is the environment being used an excuse to get away with abusing people’s good intentions?

The UK airline Monarch now ask paying passengers to dispose of their litter in colour-coded recycling bins before getting off every flight – a duty that used to be in the job description of the cleaner.

Even worse is the irresponsible actions of protest group Plane Stupid. Earlier this week they thought it would be a good idea to force Aberdeen Airport to grind to a halt, ruining the plans of holidaymakers and delaying an air ambulance crew taking a paediatric team to attend to an ill baby. Don’t worry, guys, it’s not as if the security staff need to be busy looking out for terrorists at Scottish airports…

So when we tell you that we go to enormous lengths to dissuade record companies from sending CDs to The Pop Cop HQ through the post, rest assured it has absolutely nothing to do with minimising carbon footprints. Instead, it highlights our aversion towards any physical entity that takes up more space in our surroundings than an mp3 file.

Despite all that, we still couldn’t bring ourselves to turn down an invitation to get our hands on the new single by Aberdeen rock tykes THE XCERTS – and it’s a belter.

Crisis In The Slow Lane has the swagger of one of Jimmy Eat World’s lingering epics and the heart-on-sleeve angst of Biffy Clyro. Consider our appetite suitably whetted for The Xcerts’ debut album, In The Cold Wind We Smile, which comes out at the end of the month.

4 The Xcerts – Do You Feel Safe?
4 The Xcerts – Weather Warning
b March 6, Madhatters, Inverness
b March 7, Skinandis, Thurso
b March 8, King Tut’s, Glasgow (tickets)

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FLASH! Ahhhh-ahhhhh!

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

The date is set. This Saturday – March 7, 2009 – all are invited to be a part of a flash mob that will descend under the clock in Glasgow’s Central Station at 2pm for a 15-minute silent rave. The wheels were set in motion by an anonymous Bebo user and news of the event has been spreading like butter around the usual social network sites and message boards.

Now we know what you’re thinking. A random bunch of Scots dancing to music on their headphones isn’t going to have the same grace as the choreographed T-Mobile advert at Liverpool Street Station but, hey, you can’t argue with a bit of organised chaos on a Saturday afternoon… unless, of course, an impenetrable wall of disco is standing between you and the 14:00 train at platform 15 bound for Prestwick Airport.
If this doesn’t sound like your idea of complete hell but you’re kicking yourself because you can’t make it along to partake in this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle then fear not. In a first for us, The Pop Cop will be going on location to blog direct from Central Station. Expect video footage of happy kids and irate security.

In the meantime, we recommend you gear up for this social dancing extravaganza by following our pictured step-by-step guide to some classic moves that never fail to impress.

EDIT: According to BBC News, the police aren’t happy. We’ll let you know what happens on Saturday…

4 Queen – Flash
4 Buddy Holly – Rave On
b March 7, Central Station, Glasgow (2pm)

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