midwinter indie-pop cheer: the january pop!south column;

Your Pop!South correspondents have been quiet of late, but it’s been a busy couple of months behind the scenes.

On Halloween, two of Pop!South got married in a lovely ceremony at the Govanhill Baths. You can read a bit about it in an article at TYCI. As your intrepid writer here was the bride, that took up most of my time.

Lest you think the rest of the gang was resting on their laurels, there’s been the small matter of the Pop!South All Day-and-a-half-er to organize. What in the heck is an All Day-and-a-half-er you ask? Our biggest and bestest gig ever! We’re taking over the Glad Cafe on the second weekend of February. It’s a grey, dim time of year, and we thought it could use a bit of indie-pop cheer. We’ve got an all-dayer planned for the Saturday; a big blow-out with 8 bands, starting at 3:30. To help ease everyone’s hangovers the next day, there will be a slightly shorter, all acoustic day on Sunday. While we haven’t announced the full line-up yet, there’s already a great group of bands we can tell you about.

Headlining on Saturday we have local darlings, the Just Joans. Their sugary-sweet tunes belie the bawdy undercurrents in songs like “If You Don’t Pull”, “Virgin Lips” and “Some Guys (Are Bigger Than Others)”. They have released a string of acclaimed recordings on the WeePOP! label, most recently giving us the EP 6.9 Love Songs. They’ll have people dancing and laughing the last of the night away.

There’s a great line-up of bands backing these guys up. From south of the border, we’ve got Martha from Durham and the Sweet Nothings from Sheffield. Martha have been getting lots of attention lately with their DIY sensibilities and infectious, energetic, indie-pop-punk songs. Some of Pop!South got to see them at Indietracks this past year, and the rest of us are really looking forward to catching their set. Here’s a little taster:

The Sweet Nothings played Indietracks a few years ago too, and since then have toured with Math & Physics Club and Very Truly Yours among others. They like pretty sparkly tunes and big loud noise, and play songs that run the gambit and cover topics as diverse as peace, love, international socialism and railways. This will be their first trip to Scotland, and we hope to give them a warm welcome.

From closer to home, TeenCanteen are a five girl powerhouse who promise sunshine pop and girl-group harmonies and that’s exactly what they deliver! Listen for their 6 music session with Marc Riley coming up on Jan 15th. “Honey” is their current single, and as sweet as the name implies:

And it wouldn’t be a Pop!South party without our pals from the The Spook School. They played for us twice this year, and get better every time. Infectiously fun and full of more energy than a barrel of badgers, their debut album Dress Up has rightly been getting lots of plaudits. Niall will bring the love and sweaty hugs, as always. Who knows, love may be in the air, depending on how Love Letter #16 goes down with Teen Canteen. (We’re quite proud to have made it into the big compilation love letter “Get Lost”.)

When the night is done, come into town with us, as we dance until late with the gals and guys of All the Rage at Blackfriars. We’re hoping Sunday’s line-up will soothe your savage headache after all that fun.

MJ Hibbett (and Steve) will be performing the two-man rock opera Total Hero Team in its entirety for us. Hibbett and his band The Validators, have been making fun, catchy indie rock since 1999, first coming to many’s attention with the viral hit “Hey Hey 16K”. This is the third musical that Hibbett and Steve have created for the Edinburgh Fringe. The first of these was Dinosaur Planet, which was eventually recorded as a full album. Have a listen here:

Randolph’s Leap front-man Adam Ross has been playing a few solo shows of late, and we’re happy to have him on our acoustic half-day. He manages to strip back songs crafted for up to eight instruments to their melodic core and make them into something wonderful and different. One of the great artists in Lost Map‘s stable of Scottish talent, Randolph’s Leap too have been recording for a 2014 release.

We’ve seen A New International put on quite a show opening for Haiku Salut back in August, and it should be really interesting to hear them strip it all back for an acoustic set. They’ve been in Sheffield recording their first album under their post-Starlets moniker, and should be in good form come February.

David Leach not only sings sweet songs and plays a mean ukulele, but can also be found selling his knitware at the merch table after the show! Pop!South love a good crafter almost a much as we love good choons. With a big mouth and a ukulele David can turn the ordinariness of everyday life into a wry, witty and slightly magical pop tune. His songs are Strongbow-fuelled nostalgia trips, with the odd joke to keep you interested.

Dundonians The Strangers Almanac play indie-folk songs about the world around them: traveling, growing, discovering, living. With just a guitar, violin and some drums, they create a sparse, melodic world that is reminiscent of the Low Anthem’s quieter, more thoughtful moments. Have a listen to the title track of their 2013 album Those Tremendous Mountains

We’ll be announcing the last few acts over the next couple of weeks over on the Facebook event page, so keep your eyes peeled – and grab a ticket!