Sunday, 22 September 2019

Unknown Postcard Pleasures


 "Orange Juice, London, Willesden Green. On the morning of their first Peel Session (21/10/1980). That's Grace Maxwell and Scottish photographer Harry Papadopoulos [on the left]." ©Peter McArthur


For the past week or so Scots Post-Punk has been posting some amazing Peter McArthur photos from the early days at Postcard Records in Glasgow. All the photographs -many previously unseen before (well I've never seen most of them)- date from the 1979-1980 period when Postcard was just about to take over the indie recording world.

Well, in the end, it was only a wee bit of that world but it did at least have a huge influence, before its rapid decline, on a lot of people. Not only fans of the label but even more so numerous bands and musicians which would follow in its footsteps over the next 4 decades.

All photos ©Peter McArthur.  Descriptions by the photographer.



 "Orange Juice at Paisley Tech: 1980 - Edwyn, David McClymont, and Brian (BabyHoney) Taylor of The Pastels." ©Peter McArthur


 "185 West Princes St. 1980: One interesting thing about Postcard, is who was around, but Alan* did not sign. Here on Alan's bed Drew & Rose McDowell (Rose - later of Strawberry Switchblade) of The Poems. Drew is now a New York based avant-garde composer." ©Peter McArthur

*Alan Horne; Postcard supremo.


"Glasgow - West Princes Street 1980: Alan Horne (going out on the town?) and Steven Daly. That's "Nico" sitting on top of the wardrobe." ©Peter McArthur

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I'll maybe add a few more of Peter McArthur's photographs in a second post but if you want to see more right away, I advise you to check out the excellent Scots Post-Punk's Twitter timeline.





Saturday, 7 September 2019

Josek K • The Scottish Affair (Pt 2)

 Josef K • The Scottish Affair (Pt 2) • Les Disques du Crépuscule

Crepuscule presents The Scottish Affair (Part 2), a vibrant live album by iconic Scottish guitar group Josef K recorded at the historic Beursschouwburg arts centre in Brussels on 8th April 1981.

Best known for their association with Postcard Records, Josef K also recorded two singles for Belgian indie Les Disques du Crepuscule (Sorry For Laughing; The Missionary), and also taped studio album The Only Fun In Town in downtown Brussels. The group first performed in the city on New Year's Eve 1980, playing a riotous show with Orange Juice and Marine at legendary warehouse venue Plan K, and resumed their 'Scottish affair' with Crepuscule the following April, cutting their album in a matter of days and performing at the Beursschouwburg as well as a small youth club in Lier three nights later.
At the Beurs show Jokay rattled off 10 songs in just half an hour, with journalist Bert Bertrand noting "several good reasons to get excited" about the visiting quartet. Adds guitarist Malcolm Ross: "We played four dates in Holland on our way to Brussels and then recorded the album in about five days. So we were pretty tight and Paul was in good voice."

Recorded from the mixing desk, all 10 songs have now been newly re-mastered for issue as a vinyl only album, The Scottish Affair (Part 2). Pressed in a limited edition of 1000 copies in clear vinyl, the sleeve features original 1981 poster artwork by designer Jean-Francois Octave printed in black overlaid with metallic gold pantone. The inner bag includes period flyers and images, as well as quotes by Paul Haig, Malcolm Ross, Alan Horne, Michel Duval, Annik Honore, Allan Campbell and Bert Bertrand.*


*Text courtesy of Les Disques du Crépuscule


LP tracklist:
A1. Fun 'N' Frenzy
A2. 16 YearsesE
A3. It's Kinda Funny
A4. Crazy To Exist
A5. Forever Drone
B1. Revelation
B2. Citizens
B3. Chance Meeting
B4. Sorry For Laughing
B5. Final Request

Available as a clear vinyl album (with digital download) or digital copy (MP3).
Release date November 2019. Cat. N° TWI 019

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Alan Horne's Swamplands

(James King & The Lonewolves, Memphis, Alan Horne photos by Peter Anderson)

Well, well. Two posts in three days. This Swamplands post has actually been a draft in the SoYS vaults for a couple of years. A draft which I've finally got around to posting. I'm not too sure about all of the details. So, if anybody wants to rectify any particular fact, I'm willing to correct what's noted below if it's wrong.


Launched in Scotland in 1980 and closed the following year, Postcard Records emerged from the fallout of the 1970s punk explosion. Two of the label's Scottish bands managed to continue in the music business directly after the label broke up and went on to release several discs with some success.

Founder Alan Horne, besides Josef K, signed both Orange Juice, featuring Edwyn Collins, as well as Roddy Frame's Aztec Camera to Postcard. Regrettably, the departure of both acts to major labels led to the company's demise in 1981, after releasing just a dozen singles and one album.
In 1992, Horne reactivated Postcard and released an Orange Juice compilation album, alongside new releases from Paul Quinn, Vic Godard and The Nectarine No. 9, formed by Davy Henderson (Fire Engines, WIN). Lasting a wee bit longer than the original Postcard, the label came to an end in 1995.

In between those two incarnations of Postcard, Horne formed the Swamplands label. Like Postcard, the label would have a feline motif for a logo. Also, like the Louis Wain, drumming kitten label, it wouldn't survive very long.

Set up by money from London Records with the promise of his own label plus an office at Polydor in London, Horne came out of "retirement" to put Swamplands together. This would be a label "not full of 50yr-old farts" Horne would say.

Sizable funds for marketing and recording were provided to launch the label. Alas, despite the quality of the recordings -particularly by WIN- sales were poor. Diminishing returns led to Horne leaving Swamplands in 1985 and the eventual demise of the label.

In his opinion, Horne considered the groups on Swamplands all better than those on Postcard. Something which can be disputed; but that's all down to subjectivity. From my own viewpoint, the only really good band was WIN. Then again, I never really got into any of the other discs besides the Paul Quinn / Edwyn Collins joint Velvet Underground cover. Like Fire Engines, WIN should have been huge. But that's another story.

Swamplands bands:
• WIN (featuring a couple of former Fire Engines including Davey Henderson)
• Paul Quinn (backing singer in Jazzateers, frontman for Bourgie Bourgie)
• James King And The Lonewolves
• Memphis (James Kirk, formerly of Orange Juice)

Only 6 singles were released on the label and 2, despite getting catalogue numbers, one of them featuring Johnny Thunders (gulp!), never saw the light of day:  

SWP 1 • Paul Quinn and Edwyn Collins – "Pale Blue Eyes" (1984)
SWP 2 • Patti Palladin and Johnny Thunders – "Crawfish" (1984) (unreleased)
SWP 3 • James King and The Lonewolves - "The Angels Know" (1985)
SWP 4 • Memphis – "You Supply The Roses" (1985)
SWP 5 • Win – "Unamerican Broadcasting" (1985)
SWP 6 • Paul Quinn – "Ain't That Always The Way" (1985)
SWP 7 • James King and The Lonewolves – "Flyaway" (1985) (unreleased)
SWP 8 • Win – "You've Got The Power" (1985)


Saturday, 17 August 2019

Orange Juice • 'Falling & Laughing' Cover Shoot



Hi, all.

I haven't updated this blog for about 18 months now. Most of any action concerning any posts that should have been posted at the Sound of Young Scotland blog has been taking place at my Twitter account. So, if anyone want's to catch up on anything that might concern this blog you'll have to patiently trawl through my Twitter posts for anything that might be of interest to you.

I'll try and update a wee bit more but my interest for this blog has somewhat waned over the past couple of years.

Anyhow, there's been a huge upsurge in interest on the whole Glasgow music scene of the late 70s & 80s and there's plenty of information available through several books and films. Books and films all easily available from several sources and which can be found with a quick Google or two.

Today's post is a photo from the Orange Juice 'Falling & Laughing' single cover shoot. Photograph courtesy of the inexhaustible source of documents that is Scots Post-Punk .

Cover session photography by Peter McArthur; who has this to say about it:

“Taken in Brian (Superstar) Taylor's* bedroom, 185 West Princes St. Edwyn (Collins) said, I should use a flash, but I knew better, besides I didn't own a flash. Steven Daly had left by then to join The Backstabbers.”


*Former member of other Glasgow bands The Pastels, and The Radio Sweethearts

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Some Candy Talking



It's been so long since I posted anything here. Tend to pass much more time at Twitter nowadays; where I also tend to post a lot of SoYS related stuff.
Anyhow, for today, we have some documents featuring that ever-smiling couple, Jim and William Reid of the Jesus and Mary Chain. From Smash Hits (16-29 july, 1986) we have some great pics, a 2-page interview, the front cover, and the lyrics from their then latest release, 'Some Candy Talking.'

The Mary Chain have been enjoying a comeback for the last couple of years and released their belated 7th album, 'Damage & Joy' some 19 years after their previous album, 'Munki' -which appeared in 1998. Must say that I don't really like that 2017 release.
Still, it appears to appeal to lots of fifty-somethings; whom I imagine are on a nostalgia trip; desperately trying to relive their long most youth in some way.Their recent (comeback) tours have been highly successful audience-wise too. I saw them a couple of times in their heyday but I really wouldn't bother going to see them today.
When I first heard the album, I pointed out to a friend that I thought that the lyrics on 'Damage & Joy' were incredibly naïve. Sounding as though they'd been written by angst-filled teenagers. He replied that the JAMC lyrics have always been like that! Well, at least that proves I pay more attention nowadays to that sort of thing. Also proves that I'm not an angst-filled teenager anymore.

Anyway, back then, when this magazine came out, and at least for a couple of more years, the Jesus & Mary Chain were indeed the dog's bollocks musicwise. Might well be, to a certain extent, the best thing in Scottish rock for their first five-six years or so before their eventual decline and split in the late 90s. In the end, no matter how they sound today, I'll still cherish all their early vinyl and look to them as one of my favourite bands of yesteryear.

/



Documents : source & © - Shane Marais

Photograph : ©japanese forms







Sunday, 12 November 2017

"Everything in the charts is rubbish."


Follow-up to yesterday's post with more on Orange Juice from the November 11th, 1982 issue of Smash Hits. An article wherein we learn that not everything is up to Edwyn's tastes and standards. In the article we get to hear from Edwyn how the band came about as well as his opinions on the (then) state of affairs of the indie music industry. A sorry state indeed if you believe Edwyn; "It's a really bland time" he quips. I tend to disagree but everyone has a right to an opinion, n'est-ce-pas? He also goes on to say that work of graphic designers such as the Peter Saville isn't his cuppa either nor the (then) current music scene for that matter; "It's the same with music. It's all just seems really gutless and spineless at the moment."

Well, I imagine that many would, like myself, beg to differ on those points of view as well. Still, looking back retrospectively though, I understand his sentiments that not everything was as good as some made it out to be, but, as I mention above, everyone has their own opinion and feelings of how things are/were.
Orange Juice was a band that I really liked at that time but I also enjoyed a lot of the music and graphic design that might not have found favour with Edwyn.

Maybe he never heard the Associates 'Sulk' album, Cabaret Voltaire's '2x45', the Cure's 'Pornography' album or Felt's 'Crumbling The Antiseptic Beauty', to name a few, and which were all released that same year in 1982.

Anyhow, if you click on the image and zoom + you'll be able to read all of the interview and make what you like of it yourself.

Trivia: There's a typo in Zeke Manyika's name in the caption beneath the photograph.

Documents courtesy of and © Brian TV

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Remembrance Day










A youthful Edwyn Collins on the cover of Smash Hits on the November 11th issue, 1982. That's all of thirty-five years ago!

This photo has been in my archives for quite a while but I might have more on the band from this issue when @Brian TV updates his wonderful Smash Hits archives this weekend. As he usually does.










Below we have another excellent artefact which consists of a previously unpublished photograph of the band taken by Peter McArthur in their early days.


The photo is a wee bit damaged and as Peter explains: "That nice psychedelia at the bottom is bacteria eating the negative's jelly film - one day it will be no more."
Bit sad realy but at least SoYS was able to get a copy from the ever-excellent @ScotsPostPunk treasure trove for all to enjoy.

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Original photo of Orange Juice ©Peter McArthur / Courtesy of @ScotsPostPunk

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Saturday, 4 November 2017

I'm Going To The Darklands

https://twitter.com/japaneseforms

It's quite hard to believe that it's over thirty years since the Jesus And Mary Chain released their second album 'Darklands.' Time goes so fast when you look back retrspectively. I always liked this album more than 'Psychocandy' -their first brilliant album- as well as anything else the band ever did. Even though, in my opinion, they released their finest records over the ten years or so that saw the band at their best and particularly in the 1985-1988 period. The recent, comeback, 'Damage & Joy' album (March, 2017) sounds really pale in comparison to what the band achieved with their early albums and singles.
Stiil, I suppose a lot of diehard fans and nostalgics will have found it to their taste.

I picked up all three versions of this single when it came out -was a big fan back then. I also luckily managed to get to catch them live on three occasions in their early days as well. Nowadays, as I'm really not into nostalgia, and as with a lot of reformed bands, I wouldn't even bother to go and see them.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/japaneseforms/4730049090/


Anyhow, today's documents come courtesy of the one and only @BrianTV from his treasure trove of Smash Hits archives. Included in the 4th of November, 1987 issue of Smash Hits were an ad (top left) for the 'Darklands' single as well as a page with the lyrics to the very same song (top right). Nice pic, by Paul Rider, of a rather winsome looking Jim & William accompanies the lyrics.

Documents courtesy of and © Brian TV

Photo : ©japanese forms




Sunday, 10 September 2017

That'll be £640, please.


Spotted by Brian Forbes on a recent vist to Japan among some other "mega rare" pieces was this "UK Original, 1980" 'Falling & Laughing' single by Orange Juice.
Although it purports to be an original copy -including postcard & flexidisc- it's on sale for the quite ridiculous price of ¥90,000 (that's around £640 or 710€ or $850). Rather expensive but prices are quite steep for this ultra-rare single in mint or near-mint condition. 
Anyhow, if you keep your eyes open you could pick up a copy for a lot less. Though, be aware, there are apparently quite a few counterfeit copies knocking about. Some of them even as red vinyl, double singles!

Image courtesy of and ©Brian Forbes

 



Sunday, 27 August 2017

The Third Reich 'n' Roll


Marcel Duchamp once said, when talking about his art, contemporary art in general, and criticism of it: "Everybody hates it today but in forty years everyone will love it." Or, at least, something like that. Unlike Warhol's more celebrated quote: "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes" -though Warhol wasn't too off target- Duchamp's quote seems more accurate. Well, to me anyway. This more so with anything attached to the various music scenes of the past 40 or so years. Of course, you could put it all this current flurry of interest down to the nostalgia of an ageing generation with a desire to return to its own past.

Last year we had the the British Library’s punk exhibition in 2016; "celebrating the 40th anniversary of this unique and exciting musical phenomenon." Then, again last year, another celebration of the 40th Anniversary of punk with a major exhibition at the Museum of London. An exhibition which focused more on the ordinary punks on the street with their handmade mixtape artwork, their roneoed DIY fanzines, and the radical punk-chic clothes available in shops along the King's Road in London. Not forgetting the numerous other events, concerts, films, talks, exhibits and more celebrating 40 years of punk heritage. All of this visited and swallowed whole by many who probably thought, back then, that punk was a load of dreadful bollocks. Which, to be honest, like a good few cultural movements, a lot of it was.

Otherwise, we've also had several minor and major exhibitions celebrating Manchester's finest label, Factory Records; notably graphic designer Peter Saville's work for the label. For any fan of Factory who can get the chance the True Faith exhibition (ending September 3rd) is one not to miss. It was the label for many fans and a lot of its product is highly collectable if only, in some cases, for the artwork alone.

From a personal point of view, punk was something I never got into at all; it would be the post-punk scene and bands that would capture my attention. Bands like Wire, Joy Division, This Heat, The Pop Group, Cabaret Voltaire, etc. and then whole new sound coming out of Scotland from Postcard Records and Fast Product and later the newer generation with The Pastels, The Vaselines, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Teenage Fanclub, Primal Scream, etc. etc.

Like "Punk" the Scottish music scene from the early 80s to mid-90s has also recently been enjoying a healthy revival of interest thanks to people like the Grant McPhee directed and Erik Sandberg co-produced documentaries: 'Big Gold Dream' -telling the story of the Scottish indie labels Fast Product and Postcard Records- and 'Teenage Superstars' -which looks at the bands from the alternative pop music scene in Glasgow from the mid 80's to early 90's. Of course, there was also the wee exhibition a few weeks back tracing the history of Scottish pop music from the 60s to the present day organized by Kevin Buckle of Avalanche Records at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh. Not exactly the MoMA, the Guggenheim or the Whitney but we're getting there.

Which brings me back to this week's post; before I lose the plot and wonder off on another digression. Today it's a couple of items from his personal collection which world-renowned, contemporary visual artist; and one-time member of pre-Teenage Fanclub band The Boy Hairdressers, Jim Lambie has allowed me to use to illustrate this selfsame post.



Jim apparently is one of the few (?) people to have collected many of these now rare and indeed museum-piece artefacts from the alternative pop music scene in Glasgow from the mid 80's to early 90's. A time when so many of the bands and people featured in the 'Teenage Superstars' film first came on the music scene. Looked on as worthless, throwaway bits of paper by many back then these artefacts of a prime musical era in Scottish indie are documents of great cultural and historical interest today.

One day, I'm sure, a lot of them will find their way into some worthy exhibition or maybe even a coffee-table art book. Something like Sonic Youth's 'Sensational Fix' book would be fabulous. After all, there has been a whole spate of recent publications tracing that era, but a well-documented and illustrated book is sadly missing from any future publications list. *sigh*

Anyhow, at the top of the page we have the Jim Lambie designed poster for one of The Vaselines' very early gigs. Their second ever show if I'm correct (circa '86). Now, I've no idea what 'Pink Swastika' was all about but have the notion that it was somehow connected to or in support of the LGBT community. Then again, it might not at all have been. Someone who knows otherwise would have to fill me in on it.

Just had an update (Monday 28th August, 11.05 am) on this from TeenageSuperstars on Twitter. Apparently the poster was made for the club 'Pink Swastika' which Jim Lambie and Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub) used to run back in the day in Glasgow. According to Blake, and Duglas T. Stewart (BMX Bandits), about 10 people attended this early Vaselines gig. "Really, there was no one there." (Norman Blake) See and hear more here in an extract from the forthcoming 'Teenage Superstars' film.

The name 'Pink Swastika' derives, I would imagine, from a book by Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams entitled 'The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party' first published in 1995. A book in which the authors argue that homosexuality in the Nazi Party contributed to the extreme militarism of Nazi Germany. It has drawn much criticism from historians. Indeed, the whole theory appears to be doubtful to say the least given the punishment meted out to homosexuals under the Nazi regime. Then again, leading Nazi Brownshirt leader, Ernst Röhm and many members of the S.A. were homosexuals so there might be some truth in it. Will have to get a copy of the book and see for myself.

Also, there might be more to it than meets the eye. If you care to have a keek at psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich's 'Mass Psychology of Fascism'. A book written in 1933 (the year Hitler became Reichskanzler ) and in which the Reich explores how fascists come into power. Explaining their rise as a symptom of sexual repression Reich eventually had to flee to New York in 1939.

Following on on the homosexual theme; the chap featured on the poster is the  famous English playwright and author Joe Orton. Orton, at the height of his fame in 1967 was murdered in a fit of jealousy by his lover Kenneth Halliwell. Spread over a brief period (1964-1967) "he shocked, outraged, and amused audiences with his scandalous black comedies." Most will know of him or have heard of him through John Lahr's biography of Orton, entitled Prick Up Your Ears or probably more through Stephen Frears 1987 cinema adaptation of the book with Gary Oldman as Orton and Alfred Molina as Halliwell.

The second artefact is a flyer for an early Primal Scream gig in Glasgow (date anyone?). Artwork features a still from Lindsay Anderson's 1968 British drama and satire of English public school life, 'if...' starring Malcolm McDowell in his first screen role. The girl is the late Christine Noonan who starred alongside McDowell in what was once an X-Rated film. *gulp!* Must have been too shocking for the Establishment, dearie!

Hope to see and post some images of likewise documents soon.

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Documents courtesy of and ©Jim Lambie

• • • • • • • • • •

Trivia: The title for today's post is borrowed from The Residents album of the same name.




Thursday, 24 August 2017

Orange Juice - Rip It Up (artwork in progress)



Some very exciting images of original artwork for a few Orange Juice releases were forwarded to me by Scots post-punk a few months back. I've already posted one shot here but I promised that there would be more. So here we are today with a 'work in progress' shot of the artwork for Orange Juice's 1982 album 'Rip It Up.' Lots of handwritten messages; like "Rough guide to finished appearance only" around the cover sleeve photograph that was to be used. I imagine that these would be instructions for the printer or whoever was responsible for the fabrication of the sleeves.

This original document belongs to one Steve McNamee who picked it up for a song (indeed!) at an auction a few years ago. Amazing artefact!

Design for the 'Rip It Up' album' by the band; layout by Pete Watson, and typography by Rod Sopp. Band photography by the late Eric Watson; famous for his work with Pet Shop Boys as main photographer and video director for several years.


Friday, 18 August 2017

Primal Scream : Give Out But don't Give Up

https://www.flickr.com/photos/japaneseforms/36250642630/

While rummaging through some boxes looking for an elusive Associates single I came across this album: Primal Scream's 'Give Out But Don't Give Up'. I'd forgotten that I actually had this -though I do possess a fair amount of Scream discs. I'd forgotten as it's certainly the Scream album that I like least. Maybe I should slot it alongside 'Sonic Flower Groove' in that category as well. I recall getting this almost for the artwork alone. A double album which comes in a gatefold sleeve and includes a print of the front cover art. Front cover which is a cropped image of William Eggleston's 'Troubled Waters' photograph of a neon sign confederate flag. Troubled Waters indeed if you go by recent events in the USA where segregation and race hatred still cause a lot of civil unrest like the recent Charlottesville White Supremacist Rally as well as the ensuing furore caused by it.

Anyhow, this was Primal Scream's fourth album and the follow-up to the hugely successful 'Screamadelica.' To say it was a letdown for a lot of the band's followers would be an understatement. It's a complete departure from the 'Screamadelica' sound and is nothing like the previous album; more a classic rock and blues, turgid Rolling Stones rip-off than anything else. No doubt the Scream album I've the least played. In fact, my copy is stil in pristine condition. Might make owning it worthwhile by getting the Eggleston print under glass and finding a place to hang it.

All in all, unlike the music, the packaging and the artwork are really great. Wonderful band photography by Grant Fleming as well. Back cover features a photograph of funk musician Eddie Hazel who played lead guitar with Parliament-Funkadelic.

In any case, after this flop; and much to my relief, the Scream returned to form with the follow-up dub, ambient, dance, krautrock inspired 'Vanishing Point' album plus it's Adrian Sherwood (On U-sound) produced 'Echo Dek' remix side project. Both albums near the top of my fave Scream discs and certainly more worth having than 'Give Out But Don't Give Up.'

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Orange Juice : Coals To Newcastle (artwork)



 Artwork used to illustrate the Orange Juice 'Coals to Newcastle' boxset that was released by Domino Records in 2010. The artwork, layout, and design for the box set was done by Paul Kelly -known for his artwork for Saint Etienne and as a musician himself in the band East Village. For these two pieces he's relied heavily on a lot of the artwork used at Postcard Records for their original Orange Juice releases such as the 'Falling And Laughing' and 'Simply Thrilled Honey' singles.

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Anyone interested in this boxset will be glad to know that it was recently reissued by AED Records and is available to buy at their website.


Monday, 7 August 2017

Postcard Records Kitten Tattoo!


I've been, as per usual, sort of busy since my last post (all of 6 weeks ago) but I should get round to adding a couple of things this week or so. Maybe a things that I've already posted on Twitter; I'll see what's worth posting. Anyhow, today we have a photo of a Postcard Records, drumming kitten tattoo. Generously and courtesy of the lovely Bea Dewhurst. You can catch up with vintage clothing archivist and researcher Bea's recent adventures in Paris at her photoblog (and at Flickr) and follow her, as well as more of her "cats", on Twitter.

Photo: Courtesy of & ©Bea Dewhurst.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Deltiology - Arab Strap


Arab Strap can be rightly considered as one of Scotland's most infuential bands. From 1995 to their split in 2008 the band released a whole series of excellent singles and albums -mostly on Glasgow indie label, Chemikal Underground but also a few like the 'Cherubs' EP and the Elephant Shoe album on the Go Beat! label. In today's post we feature 3 promotional postcards that were printed by Chemikal Underground to tie in with the releases: Philophobia (1998), The Red Thread (2001), and the Here We Go / Trippy single (1998). Very nice items indeed.
Arab Strap recently reformed (2016) to play a couple of gigs to mark their 20th anniversary. They'll also play a string of festival dates during the summer of 2017 though no new recorded material from them has been forthcoming so far.

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Click on images to see larger versions.

Philophobia artwork / graphics : Marianne Greated / Adam Piggot
The Red Thread artwork / graphics : Gavin Moffatt / Adam Piggot


Images courtesy of and ©David Bonney





Saturday, 8 July 2017

Tap Your Winklepicker To This!





The recent, exciting exhibition tracing the history of Scottish pop music from the 60s to the present day organized by Kevin Buckle of Avalanche Records at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh appears to have been quite succesful. Kevin put on show lots of original artefacts (like the one pictured here) that had been kindly donated / loaned by various collectors such as Glenn Gibson, Scottish Post-Punk, and collectionneuse extraordinaire, Caroline Binnie among others.

Pictured left is an original postcard for Postcard Records, featuring the iconic Louis Wain drumming kitten, done by James Kirk (Orange Juice) in the early days of the record label.

Photo : Courtesy of & ©Graham Purnell


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Sunday, 11 June 2017

The First Year Plan


Ad that appeared in the 1979 music press for the compilation album, 'The First Year Plan' from Fast Product. Features the first six singles issued by the label in 1978 and 1979.

Artwork for the album by Bob Last, Malcolm Garrett, and Helena Zakrzewska-Rucinska.



Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Only Fun In Town - Exhibition


If anyone out there is in Edinburgh on Friday 16th to Sunday 18th of June don't miss out on this exciting exhibition tracing the history of Scottish pop music from the 60s to the present day. An exhibition organized by Kevin Buckle of Avalanche Records.
Features : artwork • memorabilia • original artefacts.


More details:
Open Fri 16 11–7pm. Launch 5–7pm, all welcome.
Sat 17 and Sun 18, 11am–6pm. Free Entry.

"We are hosting the first pop-up exhibition of the latest project from Avalanche Records. This history of Scottish pop music will showcase rarities, memorabilia and music from Scotland’s rich musical past brought to you by its musicians, record labels and fans. A journey through the 1960s, post-punk and indie bands of the 1980s up to the modern day where you can pick up some exclusive finds."

This forms part of Open Out – a week of performance, film and music at The Fruitmarket Gallery.


Saturday, 13 May 2017

Be Part of the Amazing Teenage Superstars!


From the makers of 'Big Gold Dream' comes the story of the The Fall of Postcard and the Rise of 53rd & 3rd Records, 'Teenage Superstars'.

 
"Big Gold Dream: Scottish Post Punk and Infiltrating the Mainstream. Teenage Superstars picks up where we left off with Big Gold Dream - the demise of Postcard Mk. 1, along with Fast Product shutting up shop."

After the brilliant BGD this time Grant McPhee and his team will be telling the story of the second wave of great Scottish, indie bands that appeared from the early to late 80s. Bands like The Pastels, Shop Assistants, The Vaselines, Simple Minds (oops!), The Jesus And Mary Chain, Primal Scream, Teenage Fanclub, etc. etc.

For the time being the film is still in the post-production stage. So far the lads have made a great effort in managing to complete the film and licence the music for it but, to complete their post production process, they need some financial support. They need your assistance to pay for things like archive clearances (footage of Nirvana costs a lot more than a sausage roll from Greggs!), and the likes of insurance, and marketing.

So, go ahead, Punk! Send in a couple of £s, $s, €s, and Make Their Day !

If you want to help crowd fund the film you can make a donation here.

Here what Bill Drummond (KLF) has to say about the film here.

Teenage Superstars - Trailer


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The Psychedelic Etchings of the Smooth



 One of the many documents and original pieces of memorabilia you'll be able to see at the upcoming exhibition, organized The Scottish Music Centre, at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh on the 16th to 18th of June this year. 

So, if any of you are in Edinburgh, on those dates, take time to check out the exhibition.

One of the items on show is this nifty little 'Postcard Communique'. Something that James Kirk (Orange Juice) put together in the early days of Postcard Records in 1979. Features the wee 'Drumming Kitten' from an original Louis Wain drawing that was used as the Postcard logo. 

Document source: @HistoryofSMC

From the Glenn Gibson collection. ©GlennGibson





Sunday, 30 April 2017

Background Beat For Active People


Thanks to the Big Gold Dream documentary I've been digging out any Fast Product / pop:aural discs that I've had ever since they were released way back in the day. This one is the legendary, Fire Engines 'Lubricate Your Living Room' album. Sounds as good today as it did back then. BTW the 'Room' in the title is singular and not plural as stated in the ad for the disc above.

I've no idea how many copies of this disc were originally pressed but I can't imagine it being more than a thousand or two. Reached N° 4 in the Indie charts. Hugely influential on the Scots post-punk, indie-music scene, Fire Engines were one those great bands, in their day, that never quite made it beyond cult status. They were gone before most realised they'd been around.

Born from the same literary art-punk scene as other Edinburgh greats, Scars (Fast Product) and Josef K (Postcard Records), the shortlived band broke up, less than a year after this was released, in 1981.

Images: ©japanese forms

Fire Engines Wiki


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Pulling A Fast One



Well, the other week I finally got to see the Grant McPhee documentary, 'Big Gold Dream.' A wonderful insight into the early days of the Scottish indie, post-punk music scene (Fast Product, Postcard Records, Josef K, Fire Engines, Scars, The Associates, etc. etc.).

The documentary particularly centres on Bob Last's, Edinburgh labels, Fast Product and pop:aural; with Bob and various people, who were part of the music scene back in the late 70s early 80s, giving us the lowdown on how things were as well as how Fast Product and pop:aural came about.

An altogether fascinating documentary which I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed.

Anyhow, the whole got me looking out any discs that I still have from the Fast/pop:aural era, giving them a spin and posting some pics of the artwork and graphic design work that Bob Last came up with for both labels.

Also, by way of the documentary, you get to realise just how much Tony Wilson's Factory Records owes to Bob Last. The large part played in influencing the great Manchester label when it comes to graphic design, marketing, etc. is really quite astonishing.

One of Last's ideas was to use the image of an old ad for Silva Thins cigarettes (a brand which once sparked controversy for its sexist tagline: "Cigarettes are like women. The best ones are thin and rich" in an 1970 ad) to illustrate the plastic pop:aural bag which enveloped initial copies of the Fire Engines' 'Lubricate Your Living Room' album when it was released in 1981.

No idea of this appropriation caused anything of a stir back then or if pop:aural ever had any problems about it. Then again, I can't imagine anyone in Scotland, or even the UK for that matter, ever smoking Silva Thins cigarettes.



Special thanks to Austen Harris for reminding me of Silva Thins-pop:aural link.

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©japanese forms

Saturday, 22 April 2017

The Glummest Group In The World


Two minutes of hate 30 years ago today from the Jesus And Mary Chain in Smash Hits, April 22, 1987 issue.

Not only do they hate everything and everyone but they're also, as William says, "such lazy bastards". And who are we to disagree? I mean, it only took them about 18 years to release their recent 'Damage & Joy' album.

Anyhow, if you want to read all of the interview; just click right on the image and on the + to enlarge for your reading comfort.

Document source & ©Brian TV

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Campione!


Cutting from the NME (circa 1985, I reckon) featuring Edwyn Collins in the 'Portrait of the Artist as a Consumer' section. Edwyn gives us the lowdown on his favourite sounds, drink, books, etc. as well as other things that he dislikes.
Otherwise, in the Hot Tips bit Edwyn mentions then fairly unknown bands, Pride of the Cross and Sonic Youth. Pride of the Cross only lasted the length of one single release before a couple of the members split to join The Pogues. Wonder what happened to Sonic Youth?

Document source: GC's Punk & New Wave




Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Big Gold Dream - Saturday 15th April, BBC2 Scotland


When the late, great, American journalist Hunter S Thompson wrote: “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.” It fast became an overused sentence to describe the music industry because its sentiments in brevity (exactly 140 characters, coincidently) describe pretty succinctly what the music biz represents for many indignant musicians around the globe, current and past. It’s almost become a bit of a clichéd phrase, but it’s also important to note - and let’s chime with one of the points made in Michael Hann’s departing piece as Guardian music editor; yes, musicians don’t make fortunes from their endeavours - but neither do producers of feature length music documentaries. Malcolm Ross of Josef K, Orange Juice and Aztec Camera: “It’s art, not commerce. We always wanted to be independent.”

Punk changed all that. No longer enthralled to the major corporations, Independent labels were sprouting up all over Scotland and then The White Riot Tour arrived May 7th, 1977: “It was a real year zero moment.” Davy Henderson, singer, arch agitator with Fire Engines, muses in Big Gold Dream: Scottish Post-Punk & Infiltrating the Mainstream. The feature length documentary that finally sees a public broadcast on BBC2 Scotland come Saturday night almost 40 years to the day when The Clash, The Jam, Buzzcocks, The Slits and The Subway Sect crammed into Edinburgh’s Playhouse.

 Directed by Grant McPhee, Big Gold Dream centres on Edinburgh’s greatest record label of all time, Fast Product: A precursor to Manchester’s Factory, a curious influence and competitor to Alan Horne’s Postcard across in Glasgow, Fast Product’s short life time spanned two glorious years as it released records by some of the period’s most enduring groups.

 Almost 40 years since its inception, founders Bob Last and Hilary Morrison’s label Fast paved the way for “indie” music, as we know it now. Such was the popularity of Fast they were knocking back tapes from the Cramps and Joy Division (the latter appearing on one of the Earcom compilations, Morrison rightfully uncomfortable with Curtis’ band name of choice). It brought us The Mekons, Gang of Four, The Scars and The Human League. For too long Fast has lived in the shadow of the rather flamboyant, west-coast timbres of Orange Juice and Postcard Records – Daly, Kirk, McClymont, Collins, and the hermetic Horne et al – still an absolute obsession of mine. Big Gold Dream corrects this and in doing so puts to bed the 2008 documentary Caledonia Dreamin’ which sadly ended up as a promotional film for Scottish Independence.

Albeit parallels in spirit and philosophies what Big Gold Dream documents is the antitheses of Postcard and Fast. Innes Reekie rightly points out that The Glasgow School were listening to the Byrds, The Velvet Underground et al. The Edinburgh cognoscenti: Television and Pere Ubu.

It was the Buzzcocks’ Spiral Scratch single that really started it all for Fast Product. Hillary Morrsion, co-founder of Fast bought the 7” for her then boyfriend Bob Last, who were both at the time working on tour with The Rezillos. The aspiring impresario, Last, immediately acquired a £400 bank loan, whilst drawing on “Mao’s military strategy” to push his vision forward and as the Australian narrator on Big Gold Dream describes - Robert Forster, singer with The Go-Betweens and Postcard alumni: Fast Product was born.

What Big Gold Dream achieves with its national broadcast is finally what Fast Product, Morrison and Last deserve: mainstream recognition. Consolidating on the relative success of Fast – Last finally gets the hits he’s been craving with The Human League - managing them, signing them to Virgin - Dare selling 9m records in the process and Don’t You Want Me topping the charts on Christmas day, 1981. Orange Juice hadn’t even released their debut album yet.

©Erik Sandberg

Big Gold Dream, Saturday 15th April, 9pm on BBC2 Scotland.

Watch the trailer here.

Many thanks to Erik Sandberg @Kiltr for giving me permission to publish his article here at SoYS.