Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bubblegum Snow

The Bubblegum Winter night in Glasgow will probably have to be called a failure, since The Hidden Cameras weren't able to play, and instead just sat upstairs in Stereo. It wasn't a huge disappointment to me though, since I haven't kept in touch with the Cameras for two albums or so. And it was certainly a very well-organised night, with more than enough food and goodies to go round. It was great to meet the man behind it as well, Gary who runs Bubblegum Records since early 2009. He has already put out six records and he makes music himself as well, as Starshy! The latest Bubblegum release is a massive compilation called Pick 'n' Mix which features, amongst others, Leaving Mornington Crescent and A Smile and a Ribbon. LMC was the band I'd come to see at Bubblegum Winter more than any other, but I also really enjoyed Lean Tales. A Glasgow band who appeared last year if my memory serves me right, and since then they've put out an ep on Bubblegum. The band who ended up headlining the night was Pale Man Made, who are from Newcastle I'd learned the previous night when I was in Newcastle. They played well too, their biggest advantage being having two female Rickenbacker-owners in the band. Brogues likened them to The Delgados, but they sounded perhaps a bit too much UK 90s for my taste that particular night. Jennifer of Colour Me Pop played some fine records from stage as well, and we were about four people dancing after the last band.

The definite highlight in the Bubblegum shop (which makes up for what it lacks in design with pure love) is the brand new debut from Tesco Chainstore Mascara. They are a drum machine-backed power pop duo from the tiny Stone, outside Stoke-On-Trent. We first discovered them on Myspace many moons ago, around the same time as their pal Laz turned up with his Bubblegum Lemonade/Strawberry Whiplash juggernaut. The album, called Good Foundations, includes all the hits from back then: "Writer's Block", "Just the Weight You Are", and "The Sun's Shinin' For You" which reaches the same standard as a Teenage Fanclub number. Dave and Katie share vocal duties, and there are some brilliant backing vocals on this record. They've created a full sound and avoid the common trap of the live-guitar-over-backing-track effect. Hopefully they can be coerced to play live soon, which I don't think they have done so far!


jb said...

Tesco Chainstore Mascara?

Do you remember, as a student of indie pop history, Reynolds' complaint in 'against health & efficiency' about the inward-looking self-referentiality of the scene (in 1986, not 2009)? He added, I think: "PWEI's 'Kiss' is a very *small* joke".

I'm reminded of this, though it's not really quite the same thing, by the band name you cite - and how it reminds me of lots of other indie band names. I know that at this stage in history most of the names have been taken. But I'm not sure that's a good reason for naming not just a song or a 45, but the whole band, in this jokey fashion - usually with a bad pun or three on something else. I'm sure there are a whole bunch of these on the indie pop scene. You could list them a lot better than I.

What's the problem with it? I guess it diminishes the music and what the band's trying to do; it says from the outset, we're a joke. And it has something of that involuted scenester quality that Reynolds was complaining of.

None of this has any bearing on Tesco Chainstore Mascara's actual music - for all I know they could be the missing link between the Byrds and the Sundays. And I should admit also that I can see how such names convey a kind of fondness for the everyday. But I think the bad joke element probably outweighs the positives.

The Boy and the Cloud said...

at least it's better than Pop Will Eat Itself, or their equally annoying acronym.