happy birthday to us: the pop!south column;

It’s Pop!South’s first birthday! To celebrate one whole year of bringing the best in indiepop to the Southside, we have two July shows lined up at The Glad Café: Friday 18th of July has The Very Most, Duglas T Stewart, Yakuri Cable and Bodyheat and the Tuesday 29th of July line-up is Tuff Love, The Spook School and How To Swim.

Like our first batch of shows in July 2013, they feature bands from both near and far booked to play the incomparable Indietracks festival. We’ve learned our lesson from that first exciting week of shows, though, and have booked two shows in a fortnight either side of the festival rather than three shows in 8 days…

This is especially sensible since for our pre-Indietracks show two of our very own Pop!Southers; Jo and Chris, will be playing with The Very Most, forming part of main man Jeremy’s backing band. This will be Jeremy’s first Glasgow show in 5 long years so to say we’re excited is an understatement.

This video of “Wond’ring” from their most recent EP, “Things Too Obvious to Sing”, will help explain why (made by our very own Chris, as there is apparently no end to his talents. It’s disgusting.)

Hailing from Boise, Idaho, TVM have over a decade of experience in crafting delicious, delicate pop songs about love, changing seasons, and all the best bands being from Scotland…

Including, as fate would have it, Duglas T. Stewart of BMX Bandits! (Duglas also happens to be a patron of The Glad Café, making this already incestuous affair border on the obscene.) Duglas has had an exceptional and lengthy career, working with some of Scotland’s most revered bands and artists. Members of Teenage Fanclub, The Vaselines, Belle & Sebastian and Bill Wells have all been involved over the years, contributing their own touches to Duglas’ melodic, romantic and downright joyous oeuvre. More recently Duglas has used his considerable influence to promote the works of two bands that played our very own All-Day-and-a-Halfer, TeenCanteen and Randolph’s Leap.

On top of backing Jeremy in TVM, Pop!South’s Jo and Chris will be playing in their own band, Yakuri Cable, alongside bandmates Andy and Ross. Formed in Glasgow in 2012, Yakuri Cable released their first EP, “Beginnings”, the following year, trading in heartfelt, synth-laden and anthemic pop, as seen in “Adventures in 1986″.

Incredibly, Jo will be pulling a triple shift for our pre-Indietracks show as she also plays in self-styled “pop music band for pop music fans” Bodyheat. Their trademark Lemonheadsesque hooks and pop sensibilities are on show in Silhouettes.

For our post-Indietracks show, we’re lucky enough to have gotten hold of ”makers of dazzling, sun-streaked guitar pop” Tuff Love just before they get massive. (I would say you heard it here first, but I’m certain I’m not the first to tip them to go far.) The Lost Map signings have just played Glastonbury and have festival dates lined up at T in the Park and Wickerman before this one but hopefully they won’t be too burned out. (Yup, that was a fire pun right there. Maybe this is why Kat normally writes these.)

This show also sees the triumphant return of The Spook School, fresh from conquering the east coast of the United States, and straight from, presumably, utterly destroying Indietracks. The Spook School have played more Pop!South shows than anyone else and when watching the ridiculous video for “I’ll Be Honest” it’s easy to see why.

We’re all in love with their infectious silliness and the juxtaposition of their fun, simple harmonies and more complicated lyrical matter, taking on gender identity, societal roles and, um, not trusting any man who thinks Matt Damon is really cool.

Glasgow stalwarts How To Swim round out our second July show of 2014. While not yet quite matching Duglas T Stewart’s longevity in the Glasgow music scene, Gregor Barclay has managed an impressive 14 years with How To Swim. They probably have around the same number of ex-members as BMX Bandits, though. Changing members and instrumentation over such a long period has lead to the HTS sound changing and evolving over the years, but Barclay’s wit and distinctive voice have provided a constant. Here’s “A Little Orgasm of Disappointment” from 2006’s The Littlest Orgasm EP

and “Bacterium” from this year’s Niagarama album. The new album is getting lots of love (including 4 stars in the Daily Express!?)