A few months ago, The Pop Cop published a ‘day in the life’ feature on Bronagh Monahan which touched on the frustrating scenarios that unsigned musicians commonly encounter when striving for recognition. With Bronagh and her career about to experience a change of scenery, now seems like a good time to introduce her to new fans through the Music Alliance Pact network of blogs and their readers. Help yourself to the exclusive free download of Wait, taken from the Flicker EP released earlier this summer under her Bronagh & The Boys guise.
Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 21-track compilation through Dropbox here.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Bronagh Monahan – Wait
Scotland has long been an embracive, inclusive place to live. When looked at in the context of the music sector, both performer and population reap the benefits. Bronagh Monahan is a wonderful example of this. Since moving from Belfast to Glasgow in 2008 she has given so much to her adopted home, immersing herself in the local music scene, hosting live nights for fellow songwriters and showcasing her sultry piano-pop and striking vocals in weekly residencies. Such drive and enthusiasm can’t be contained, though, and the next stop in Bronagh’s search for stardom is London, where she’ll no doubt dazzle another city.
Putting on a music festival in Scotland just two days before the calendar flips to September takes some courage. Had the clouds emptied on the inaugural Electric Fields, its al fresco main stages would have offered zero protection for sodden punters.
No such worry. The 1,500 who filled the grounds of Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries & Galloway were drenched in sunshine, serenaded by an almost exclusively Scottish cast of musical talent, with lush greenery beneath their feet and well-above-average festival grub (German bratwurst with chill ‘n’ cheese? Take my money) in their bellies.
Co-founders Chay Woodman (booker for the Solus Tent at Wickerman) and Alex Roberts (Comlongon Rocks) have been savvy enough to cherrypick some of the more user-friendly practices to be found at festivals.
That manifested itself at Electric Fields in free car parking, an effective token system that virtually eliminated bar queues and, most intriguingly, side-by-side main stages that allowed one band to play while another set up and soundchecked, thus ensuring live music boomed out pretty much continuously for 12 hours.
The problem – if you can call it a ‘problem’ – was that there was next to no time to have a pee/chat/drink before compère Jim Gellatly introduced the next act. Given how insanely strong the evening line-up was, it made for a relentless cavalcade of highlights.
There was Rebecca Shearing’s staggeringly soulful vocals for Stanley Odd in her last performance with the politically charged hip-hop group as maternity cover for Veronika Electronika. The swell of pro-independence feeling was in fact highly visible throughout the day, with flags and Yes badges adorning many fans and musicians such as Honeyblood’s Stina Tweeddale.
Other notable high points included the spectacle of band-of-the-moment Prides pulling the biggest crowd of the day for their celebratory synthpop. There was the welcome reminder that We Were Promised Jetpacks have been responsible for some of the most electrifying indie-rock moments of the past five years. There was the party-starting antics of The LaFontaines as temperatures plunged at nightfall. And there was the instant appeal of the new, untitled song aired by Fatherson, offering a tantalising glimpse of their future.
First impressions do last, and Electric Fields made ones I’m already looking forward to reliving in 2015.
With festival appearances at this year’s Brew at the Bog and Stag & Dagger, Skinny Dipper have already made a splash despite not having any recorded material to show off. That’s about to change, however, as they gear up for the release of their debut EP.
Skinny Dipper are made up of members from an array of Scottish groups including singer Alex Kenzel (Blochestra), bass player Vicki Cole (Randolph’s Leap) violinist Heather Thikey (Randolph’s Leap, Kill The Waves), trumpet player Ali Hendry (Randolph’s Leap), keyboardist and vocalist Gillian Higgins, violinist Cat Calton (Aerials Up), Ruth Campbell (Aerials Up, Quickbeam), Monika Gromek (Quickbeam) and Iain Symes-Marshall (Trapped In Kansas).
Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 22-track compilation through Dropbox here.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Skinny Dipper – Hospital Bed
Idyllic pop is the name of the game for Glasgow-based newcomers Skinny Dipper and their medley of members (eight girls and one guy), all of whom have noteworthy pedigrees in other bands in the Scottish music scene. We have the honour of bringing you an exclusive introduction to their first recorded material in the shape of the genteel Hospital Bed, taken from their debut EP Masks, which will be released through Olive Grove Records on September 8. It’s an immersive listen, showcasing Skinny Dipper’s flawless harmonies and soothing string work.
September 12: Stereo, Glasgow (with Call To Mind and Chrissy Barnacle)
October 11: Pleasance, Edinburgh (with Call To Mind, Woodenbox and The Moth & The Mirror)