For a wee country, Scotland punches way above its weight in many areas, but one which is rarely acknowledged is its standing as a fertile breeding ground for music blogging. These shores can boast at least 10 established blogs, each offering a diverse, distinctive take on the best (and worst) of Scottish songmaking.
From a personal point of view, what continues to make this community so inspiring are the enterprising ways in which many of The Pop Cop’s counterparts are expanding their reach and taking what was once a geeky hobby (hmmm…. perhaps using the past tense is a little optimistic) into much more ambitious territories. Let’s call it ‘post-blogging’.
At the top of the tree of this boundary pushing is Song, By Toad, which is run by a guy who surely doesn’t sleep, since how else would he have time to record several local bands in session, do a regular podcast, DJ on Edinburgh student radio station Fresh Air and run his own label, Song, By Toad Records, which has brought out music by Eagleowl, Jesus H. Foxx, Meursault, Nightjar and Uhersky Brod. Their newest release is a split 12″ by Portland bands Loch Lomond and The Builders And The Butchers.
Another excellent Edinburgh blog with its own label is 17 Seconds and their in-house 17 Seconds Records, which represents Aberfeldy, Escape Act, Chris Bradley, X-Lion Tamer, The Dirty Cuts and, most recently, The Wildhouse.
Head north across the Firth of Forth and you’ll arrive in the welcoming bosom of Manic Pop Thrills, whose Fife-based author not only does the occasional podcast, but has also expanded into the world of gig promotion, the latest being tonight at The Westport Bar in Dundee featuring Saint Jude’s Infirmary, Kid Canaveral, Panda Su and Hookers For Jesus.
Similarly, the multi-talented man behind TheSteinbergPrinciple blog puts on concerts – at The Wee Red Bar in Edinburgh – under the banner of Trampoline. He also happens to be the singer of The Kays Lavelle, a tremendous band who you’ll be reading much more about on The Pop Cop in the next couple of weeks.
The Vinyl Villain have taken a different approach to the idea of post-blogging, memorably declaring April 6 ‘Paul Haig Day’ in a successful crusade that was supported by a number of other music websites throughout the world.
Peenko has also just launched a campaign of its own which is sure to stir plenty of interest. The blog’s Glaswegian owner has asked a plethora of web-based Scottish music peeps to send him their top 10 albums of 2009 which he will then compile into one definitive end-of-year list. It is destined to become an annual event to look forward to in the Scottish blogging calendar. Actually, if Peenko did have a ‘blogging calendar’ it would feature 12 gratuitous photos of Frightened Rabbit since the site also masquerades as a messageboard for the band’s fans!
Since this post has inadvertently turned into a beginner’s guide to music blogs in Scotland, we can’t sign off without encouraging you to pay a visit to the freshly-revamped Aye Tunes, podcasters-turned-promoters Glasgow PodcART, live review specialists Rokbun and Scotsman spin-off Under The Radar – all wonderful sites whose presence should never be taken for granted. Try finding an independent blog on the Welsh music scene, for example, and you’ll come up empty-handed.
The most important thing to remember is that if there’s a band in Scotland worth discovering, there are a heap of enthusiastic fans with keyboards just desperate to tell you first… and publishing a blog post is by no means the only tool at their disposal.
Loch Lomond – Field Report
Kid Canaveral – Smash Hits
Jesus H. Foxx – I’m Half The Man You Were
The Wildhouse – Ficca