Now this is a good idea. Take a whole bundle of Glasgow underground bands – no indie rock three chorders to be found here – and posh them up with a nice deluxe box set to celebrate, I hope, the fact that Glasgow isn’t as painfully unimaginative as you had been led to believe.
There are no less than 22 songs here featuring the kind of bands that you’ve probably never heard of unless you are vegetarian. First out of the traps were Tut Vu Vu. Distinctly more accessible than I remember them, their three songs were still left of centre but curiously catchy nonetheless with the self named “Tut Vu Vu” working a particularly hypnotic magic. Following in their footsteps were the adorable Palms. Like good girls pretending to be bad, they drew as much from The Slits as they did Ingrid Michaelson for their three songs of jaggy bunnet post punk girl on girl guitar pop.
Meaner and moodier in the mascara department were Organs of Love. The past was the present as their lo-end synth pop took me on a time travelling trip to a basement in the eighties with “Queenie” being a knife wielding little charmer of a song that must surely have escaped from the circus. Likewise, Gummy Stumps must have been on the run from a spirit possessed ringmaster featuring, as they did, left of field vocals and a curious aversion to creating an actual song.
Rather more skilled in the appropriation of guitar rhythms were Sacred Paws. They managed to elevate a bit of call and response to something akin to happy smiling faces whilst remaining resolutely lo-fi. “Postcards” seemed as good a clue to their inspiration as you would need. Someone had to fuzz up the guitars and The Rosy Crucifixion did a right fine job of just that and damn near stole the show with the murky weirdness of “Don’t Water Dead Flowers”.
If weirdness is your game then Muscles of Joy are the band for you. There is nothing particularly innovative about them but they have this knack of making all their songs sound like square pegs that have been forced into round holes. That said, you can smell the intellect and appreciation for beauty behind their music and that is no bad thing in these press the button and respray it days.
Finally, we get to the case of Jacob Yates and The Pearly Gate Lock Pickers. In something approaching surprise, I had to note that the two songs here are the first evidence that I have seen that this band should be spared the lash. Crawling throws Nick Cave territory on their way to visit Mojo Nixon, “Bits of Glass” was nothing less than the distilled essence of late night buses, post cigarette regret and too many plates of vodka soaked Weetabix.
A word or two about the retail packaging – two LPs , a CD, some art and a booklet written by some guy who used to manage Belle & Sebastian (wonder if that fact ever got him laid?). That sounds like grade A smack for the vinyl junkie to me.