Archive for June, 2010

Music vs art at the Kelburn Garden Party

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Music and art. It’s no real surprise the two go hand in hand so often, both disciplines borne of brains which buzz with creativity and a constant desire to make something new.

The festival scene is an open expanse where liberal, infinite imagination thrives and the KELBURN GARDEN PARTY at Kelburn Castle near Largs is a prime exponent of such free-spiritedness – graffiti painting is as much a symbol of what the weekend stands for as guitar strumming.

Band-wise, it’s one of the most eclectic festivals in Scotland, with hip-hop, reggae, samba, indie, electro, dubstep and jazz all covered in the line-up. Broken Records and Meursault are probably the biggest draws on a 35-plus band bill, while another of The Pop Cop’s favourites, Panda Su, is high on the must-see list.

The Kelburn Garden Party takes place this weekend, July 4-5, so there’s not much time left to snap up one of the 500 tickets on sale for the summer spectacular. If you’re still swithering, try to avoid looking here and just remember that both the organisers of these smaller festivals and the acts who appear at them usually suffer financially for their art (Broken Records frontman Jamie Sutherland, for example, admitted in a recent interview for TheSteinbergPrinciple that he has “not made a penny” from the band), so these do-gooders need your spare change more than most.

Panda Su – Pot Kettle Black

Broken Records – A Leaving Song (live)

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No news is bad news

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

If you were a pre-June 2010 reader of The Pop Cop, you might be suffering withdrawal symptoms from the absence of The Goss – the blog’s much-loved (so I’m told) news feed that revealed something new and exciting about the Scottish music scene (almost) every day.

You’ll be pleased to know that you won’t have long to wait until the feature is restored to its former glory at the top of the site as part of The Pop Cop’s sexy revamp which is coming this week. But rather than try to pretend that nothing newsworthy has happened in the past six weeks, I’ve done a round-up of the most interesting nuggets of goss to keep you in the loop.

A new all-day festival called COMMERCIAL ALTERNATIVE takes place at Mono on July 4 and seems to be a carbon copy of Hey You Get Off My Pavement, which ran at the same venue from 2006 to 2008 with respective headliners Arab Strap, The Aliens and Camera Obscura . Acts on show this Sunday include The Phantom Band, 1990s, Remember Remember, Spectrals, Girls NamesAstral Planes, Peter Parker, Comet Gain and Golden Grrrls. Tickets are available here.

Scott Hutchison (Frightened Rabbit), Ross Clark (Three Blind Wolves) and Jonny Sellar (My Cousin I Bid You Farewell) will play solo sets at Stereo on July 13 in aid of the A-T Society charity. Tickets on sale here.

Scottish gig promoters DF Concerts have started up a new pseudo-festival called ROCK ‘N’ ROLL DAMNATION, which lumps various rock-orientated shows under the one banner in late August. The event sees the likes of Limp Bizkit, Lostprophets and Bad Religion play the city’s larger venues, while several of the more heavy local bands will take to the stage at King Tut’s.

Of much more appeal from King Tut’s is SUMMER NIGHTS which runs from July 15-30. On first glance it looks like the venue has simply invented a new way to rebrand a fortnight of their gig listings but the difference seems to be that a) all 75 artists on show are Scottish, and b) the bookers have lined up some of the finest talent around. Highlights include The Boy Who Trapped The Sun & Lou Hickey (July 19), Kitty The Lion & The Second Hand Marching Band (July 20), LightGuides & Oliver Stays (July 22), GalleriesAstral Planes (July 24), Admiral Fallow & Three Blind Wolves (July 26), Tango In The Attic & Bwani Junction (July 27), The Xcerts & Bronto Skylift (July 28), The Seventeenth Century & Washington Irving (July 29).

The ONE CREATIVE SCOTLAND team are filming a TV pilot for a new programme which hopes to highlight Scotland’s music and visual art scene and is described by the organisers as Later…with Jools Holland meets The Culture Show. Filming takes place on July 31 in Tollhouse Studios, with eight music artists on show (no details on who they are yet) and the ubiquitous Jim Gellatly on presenting duties. To be part of the studio audience you need to buy a ticket costing £5.80 from here.

Finally, just in case you need reminding that the Barras is better, Frightened Rabbit (December 3) and Godspeed You! Black Emperor (December 8) are both playing the Barrowland Ballroom at the end of the year. Yay!

After the success of last year’s Charity Baw, the organisers are holding the sequel, CHARITY BAW II, on July 17. Appearing at the Roxy Art House will be King Creosote, Ballboy, Found, Three Blind Wolves, The Sexual Objects, Panda Su, Maple Leaves and Over The Wall.  Tickets are available here with proceeds going to the charity Artlink.

THE EDGE FESTIVAL returns to the capital from August 5-31 with over 40 gigs – I would end up with RSI if I tried to list them all individually so you’ll just have to check out the official website. The good and the great are all covered with the likes of Stornoway (Aug 5, Liquid Room), Villagers (Aug 6,  Sneaky Pete’s), The Unwinding Hours (Aug 6, Capital), Amy Macdonald (Aug 18, Corn Exchange), Plan B (Aug 20, Picture House), We Were Promised Jetpacks (Aug 21, Liquid Room), Beirut (Aug 22, Picture House), Kassidy (Aug 23, Electric Circus), Mika (Aug 23, Picture House), Eels (Aug 25, Picture House), Broken Records (Aug 28, Liquid Room), Phoenix (Aug 28, Picture House) and Modest Mouse (Aug 29, Picture House) among the highlights.

Fence Records are organising yet another festival. The inaugural HAARFEST runs in August in the label’s hometown of Anstruther. Tickets are available here and the full line-up is as follows:
August 16 (Hew Scott Hall): Admiral Fallow, Adem, Silver Columns
August 17 (Hew Scott Hall): The Oates Field, Inspector Tapehead, Pictish Trail
August 18 (Hew Scott Hall): OnTheFly, Seamus Fogarty, Eagleowl
August 19 (Hew Scott Hall): Lonepigeon, Pip Dylan, HMS Ginafore, Gummi Bako
August 20 (Cellardyke Town Hall): Found, Withered Hand, Meursault
August 21 (Cellardyke Town Hall): King Creosote, Kid Canaveral, Smackvan

A bunch of teenagers were given a wad of lottery cash to start up a new arts festival in Stirling and they’ve done a pretty good job of picking some decent music talent (see below) in amongst the theatre, comedy, film and dance on show at mFEST. The event runs from July 30 to August 2 at various venues in the city. Although it has been organised by youngsters, all ages are welcome to attend. Tickets for all shows are on sale here.
July 30 (Albert Halls): Hadouken!New Young Pony Club, Unicorn Kid, Darwin Deez
July 31 (Albert Halls): Tinchy Stryder, Pearl And The PuppetsDaisy Dares You
July 31 (Tolbooth): The Pains Of Being Pure At HeartAstral Planes, Three Blind Wolves

The ONE CREATIVE SCOTLAND team are filming a TV pilot for a new programme which hopes to highlight Scotland’s music and visual art scene and is described by the organisers as Later…with Jools Holland meets The Culture Show. Filming takes place on July 31 in Tollhouse Studios, with eight music artists on show (no details on who they are yet) and the ubiquitous Jim Gellatly on presenting duties. To be part of the studio audience you need to buy a ticket costing £5.80 from here.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven

Modest Mouse – Float On

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Scottish songs covered: who gets your vote?

Friday, June 25th, 2010

A worthwhile cover version is such a rare thing. Most artists play it straight and turn the whole exercise into a wedding band performance, while others try to stamp their own personality on a cover and end up completely eroding what it was that made the original song special in the first place.

When I heard that one my favourite Belle & Sebastian tracks had made it onto American husband and wife duo Mates Of State’s new covers album Crushes, it seemed like as good a reason as any to whore the internet for other foreigners covering Scottish songs (sadly not Foreigner covering a Scottish song) and roll out a reader poll to find out which one you like best.

Since the role of judge and jury is in your hands, I won’t attempt to sway your choice by commenting on the quality of any of the 20 tracks below, but rest assured it’s a varied cast taken from all manner of sources such as B-sides, album tracks and Radio 1 Live Lounge sessions.

Some Scottish acts have the honour of making multiple appearances as the list includes three wildly differing versions of Franz Ferdinand’s Take Me Out, two versions of The Proclaimers’ and Eurythmics’ most famous singles, and a couple of Teenage Fanclub and Calvin Harris songs. Oh, and Snow Patrol sneaked their way on here as they’re 40% Scottish, not because it provided an opportunity to stick a picture of Diana Vickers on the blog.

AutokratzSwastika Eyes (Primal Scream)

Bat For LashesSweet Dreams (Eurythmics)

Cara DillonGarden Valley (Dougie MacLean)

Dashboard Confessional ft Juli – In A Big Country (Big Country)

Death Cab For CutieStart Again (Teenage Fanclub)

Diana VickersJust Say Yes (Snow Patrol)

EditorsAcceptable In The 80s (Calvin Harris)

Glen CampbellSing (Travis)

GuillemotsTake Me Out (Franz Ferdinand)

Manfred Mann’s Earth BandNothing Ever Happens (Del Amitri)

Marilyn MansonSweet Dreams (Eurythmics)

Mates Of StateSleep The Clock Around (Belle & Sebastian)

Maximo ParkI’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) (The Proclaimers)

Mumford And SonsI’m Not Alone (Calvin Harris)

Saint EtienneEverything Flows (Teenage Fanclub)

Scissor SistersTake Me Out (Franz Ferdinand)

SpungeI’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) (The Proclaimers)

The FeelingDoctor Pressure (Mylo)

The Magic NumbersTake Me Out (Franz Ferdinand)

U2 & Green DayThe Saints Are Coming (Skids)

Which is your favourite cover of a Scottish song?

View Results

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T Break 2010: The chosen ones

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Unsigned artists have been given the opportunity to play at T in the Park for all but the first two years of the festival’s 17-year existence. The T BREAK stage is where Scotland’s chosen morsels get to strut their stuff to crowds of between 5 and 500, depending on who they have the misfortune to be clashing with on the bigger stages.

Here’s The Pop Cop’s guide to who might be worth dragging yourself away from Scouting For Girls for…

BE LIKE PABLO (Friday, July 9)

They’re the Scottish Weezer so what’s not to like? Especially since Weezer have long since forgotten what it was that made them so much fun in the first place.

Be Like Pablo – Julianne

FRENCH WIVES (Friday, July 9)

This lot remind me a lot of Tindersticks. Unfortunately I can’t stand Tindersticks so French Wives are giving me bad thoughts.

French Wives – Give Him America

FRIDGE MAGNETS (Sunday, July 11)

It’s shiny happy electro-rock, although Fridge Magnets have missed the revival by at least a year.

Fridge Magnets – Andy Kane

KITTY THE LION (Saturday, July 10)

Twee acoustic folk with all the testosterone removed. Really like the singer’s voice – like a less waspish Pearl And The Puppets. Jaunty!

Kitty The Lion – Split Ends

KOBI ONYAME (Friday, July 9)

Kobi’s rapping is decent enough but Sixpeopleaway sound scarily like OneRepublic on this track and it all seems to lack depth. Nice mixture of styles, though.

Kobi Onyame – Inner City Lights featuring Sixpeopleaway

LIGHTGUIDES (Sunday, July 11)

This is much more like it. All the best bits of Biffy Clyro, Twin Atlantic and The Xcerts in one wholesome rock package. Their MySpace has a heap of good tunes which certainly deserves further investigation.

LightGuides – The Lion And The Pocketwatch

MAKE SPARKS (Friday, July 9)

Make Sparks take themselves far too seriously. Let’s agree that bands should only put exclamation marks in song titles if the track contains at least one comedy element. For example…. Danger! High Voltage, Help!, Now The Action Is On Fire!, You! Me! Dancing!, Hey Ya! God! Show Me Magic, Chips Ahoy!.

Make Sparks – Hey Kid!

MITCHELL MUSEUM (Friday, July 9)

Graduates of the Mercury Rev and Flaming Lips school of psychedelic pop. The kind of music that Pitchfork would give a glowing 7.4 review.

Mitchell Museum – Tiger Heartbeat

MOPP (Saturday, July 10)

If anyone is looking for the new Calvin Harris (please don’t, one is plenty) then MOPP would be that man. I really didn’t think I’d like this but I’ve failed miserably. Beth Wilmhurst’s guest vocals steal the show.

MOPP – Hold On featuring Beth Wilmshurst

NIGHT NOISE TEAM (Sunday, July 11)

Funky. Never a good thing. The band photo really isn’t doing these guys any favours. Next.

Night Noise Team – You Won

STANLEY ODD (Saturday, July 10)

Clever-clever rhymes, the boy Stanley’s clearly got talent. Shame the backing music is so repetitive as makes the whole thing sound dated.

Stanley Odd – Ten To One

THE DRAYMIN (Saturday, July 10)

If you’re not a fan of The Enemy and The Courteneers then not only do we have something in common, you’re not going to like The Draymin. Oh well!

The Draymin – Hold Your Position

THE RAY SUMMERS (Saturday, July 10)

They sound like The Zutons but even worse. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?! Arggghhhh!

The Ray Summers – Crazy World


Salvation at last. Intelligent arrangements, beautiful restraint, genuinely interesting lyrics and the singer has an exceptional voice.

The Seventeenth Century – Gregorian Calendar

THREE BLIND WOLVES (Sunday, July 11)

I know it’s petty but I refused to listen to Ross Clark And The Scarfs Go Missing because their name offended me on so many levels. Three Blind Wolves is much more palatable and their music has a countryish rockabilly vibe.

Three Blind Wolves – Hotel


If you go to T in the Park to drink beer in plastic cups, roll around in the grass and dance on the spot then Washington Irving are your band. By far the best thing to be heard on the Sunday. On any stage.

Washington Irving – Sisi

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Music Alliance Pact – June 2010

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Here is this month’s Music Alliance Pact, which somehow managed to be the only regular feature on The Pop Cop which wasn’t a casualty of Googlegate.

If you’re a new reader, here’s how it works: each MAP blog picks a song from their own country which is then made available as a free mp3 download on all of our individual blogs. Since MAP’s inception in October 2008, it has been my job to take charge of the organising, editing and diplomacy, but because of youknowwhat, my colleagues in Romania, Babylon Noise, took over the reins.

We do this on the 15th of every month so have a helping of what we picked for July, starting with some very likeable Scottish pop upstarts…

Kid Canaveral Good Morning
Kid Canaveral offer a free return ticket to the mainstream indie-pop sound of the 90s, favouring the irrepressible joy of melody ahead of racking up cool points. The frantic chug of Good Morning takes in some typically Scottish themes – drinking and going out – to give a welcome indication of what to expect from KC’s forthcoming debut album Shouting At Wildlife, which is released on July 5.


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Everything continues

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

When The Pop Cop blog was shut down, I was tempted to call it quits there and then. The truth is I did… for a couple of hours anyway. Then the campaign to get my archives back from Google began.

That fateful night on May 14, a farewell Twitter message became a call to arms; a Get The Pop Cop back online Facebook group was set up by a reader I had never met. The next day I posted a detailed account of the turn of events that had led to the blog’s deletion, which prompted more comments of support, more strangers taking up the cause on my behalf.

Whether you sent an email to me or Google, or joined the Facebook group or tweeted a message of support, or wrote something about the campaign online, or even just talked about The Pop Cop with friends, you played a part in not only bringing the blog back, but persuading me it was something worth bringing back, and that this fight would not be fought alone.

It was therefore fitting that the solution would be provided by one such supporter, namely comment #19 on the original post. A reader by the name of Ah Fong discovered that a website called Google Reader (oh, the irony) had archived all three years of posts from the original blog’s RSS feed. All I had to do was copy and paste 435 posts, one by one, reformatting the HTML code in the process. A hellish job, yes, but in the absence of a response from Google to the campaign, it was the only one that could be undertaken.

The end result is that every word which was written on from June 13, 2007 now exists on, although it will probably take a few days for the layout to get a much-needed makeover, so excuse the lack of colour.

As for the promise of a “music blogging revolution”, this is something that will be put into action within the next week or so. Hopefully you’ll stick around to check it out.

The Save The Pop Cop campaign video at the top of this post will be a permanent memory of a lost, crazy month and couldn’t have been created without the tireless efforts of the blog’s supporters and video editor Gillian Morrison of Thought Out Media.

Thanks to you, The Pop Cop’s 3rd birthday can be celebrated today… many happy returns.

GalleriesEverything Continued (right-click to download)

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