Poster Paints Have Built A Glasgow Indie Pop Road Map

Carla J Easton and Simon Lidell write for Clash...

Poster Paints have a sound rooted in life, and experience. The work of two musicians with well-worn catalogues behind them, their songwriting is framed by a sense of the classic, matched with a yearning to locate something fresh.

Chiming jangle pop elements intermingle with evocative songwriting on Poster Paints’ debut album, built in tandem by Carla J Easton and Simon Liddell. Out now on Ernest Jenning Record Co. & Olive Grove Records, it taps into that great Glasgow indie pop lineage, while also adding something new, and unexpected.

Out now, Poster Paints celebrate the release with a special show at Glasgow’s The Glad Café venue on October 22nd, marking a home city date.

With this in mind, Clash asked Poster Paints for a Glasgow indie pop road map, and the duo kindly obliged. Note: these are personal picks, not an authoritative timeline – so, some of your favourites don’t make the cut, but be prepared to soak up some lesser-heralded gems, too.

The Vaselines

I was 13 when I stole my brothers CD copy of ‘The Way Of The Vaselines: A Complete History’ and 24 years later I’ve never given it back.

I used to have an old stereo system above my bed when I was a teenager so I could plug in my headphones to my own personal heaven above and listen to music through the night when I should have been sleeping. I can’t describe how GOOD it felt to hear Frances sing the words ‘the sun shines in my bedroom when you play’ and hear a voice that sounded like mine! Unashamedly Scottish. I hadn’t heard that before. I hadn’t heard a women’s voice in my accent on record.

Deliciously raw and DIY – that was it! That was my calling card to making music. I declared myself a Teenage Jesus Superstar and started writing songs. I love Eugene and Frances songwriting and ethos so much. I hope a fourth album happens. (Carla)

Life Without Buildings

Never fitted the typical indie pop mould, but Sue Tompkins unmistakeable vocal created their own identity. They split up pretty swift after their debut album because they couldnae be bothered with success, but weirdly had a second wind last year after ‘The Leanover’ went viral on TikTok (so I’ve been told…) – Simon

The Royal We

Another relatively short lived band, never really got the recognition they deserved outside Glasgow. Members went on to form Veronica Falls, Sexy Kids amongst others. I had this track playing on repeat for about five years solid. (Simon)

Strawberry Switchblade

Strawberry Switchblade began life as a four piece band – Rose McDowall, Jill Bryson, Janice Goodlet and Carole McGowan. Rose and Jill would go forth as a duo and dominate the charts and the world with ‘Since Yesterday’ – synth perfection with glorious harmonies. They are still the only ‘girl band’ from Scotland to make the Top 30 never mind the Top 10 and that was in 1985 which is the year I was born.

I love them so much. Their one album has been such a direct influence on my songwriting and sound that I don’t know what I’d have done without discovering it. I love the early demos that was released recently. It’s the sound of four girls in a garage making music together and it’s glorious. (Carla)

Lungleg

There was an explosion of ‘girl bands’ in Scotland in the early to mid nineties. A lot of them would release music via the Vesuvius label owned by Pat Laureate from ‘girl band’ Melody Dog which also featured a young Katrina Mitchell would would go on to join The Pastels.

Pat’s label released music by Hello Skinny and Sally Skull but the band that would go on to have the most impact was Lungleg. Jane ‘Egypt’ McKeown, Annie Spandex, Maureen ‘Mo Mo’ Quinn and Amanda ‘Jade Green’ Doorbar were the Leaders of the Pack of a new crop of Girl Bands in Scotland in the Nineties, that sucked you in with sickly sweet melodies and a gang like defiance.

‘Maid To Minx’ is one of the greatest indie pop songs to have come from Scotland. (Carla)

Sophisticated Boom Boom/ His Latest Flame

Sophisticated Boom Boom were an ‘all girl band’ active in the early eighties in Glasgow. They recorded three sessions for John Peel on BBC Radio 1, toured the UK and recorded an unreleased album.

Made up of members Libby MacArthur, Laura Mazzonlini, Jacquie Bradley and Trish Reid. Trish Reid is the best songwriter from Scotland that you’ve never heard of. Indie pop perfection, SBB were considered part of the Postcard Set, rehearsing and recording at the infamous Hellfire Club.

Libby would eventually be replaced by Moira Rankin and the band changed their name to His Latest Flame, signing to a major and releasing one album before disbanding. His Latest Flame are Scotland’s answer to The Bangles. (Carla)

Camera Obscura

Perfect combination of summery tunes and super melancholy vocal. Picked this tune for the nod to legendary Glasgow club night The National Pop League which was an indie pop mecca in the 2000’s. (Simon)

Teenage Fanclub

One of the first Scottish bands I became completely obsessed with as a teenager. I was amazed that guys from Bellshill could make music that sounded like it was written in Laurel Canyon. Our first Poster Paints shows were supporting Teenage Fanclub and we were happier than a dog with two dicks. (Simon)

Orange Juice

Probably influenced every (decent) Glasgow band to have formed since. (Simon)

Sacred Paws

We supported Sacred Paws earlier this year and their set was a thing of beauty. Sheer joy with none of the snobbery that Glasgow bands sometimes fall victim to. (Simon)

Succession

Dark synth pop perfection from the early eighties. Pure poetry. Eugene Kelly’s big brother Charlie was in them for families making music in Scotland. I think I discovered their album ‘A Dark Enchantment’ when I was about 19 and instantly became hooked. Some of the production has somewhat dated but the songs are so good you don’t care. Michael is an absolute banger. My favourite is ‘Ocean Blue’ which keyboardist Carole sings. It’s so beautiful and sad yet hopeful. (Carla)

Photo Credit: Craig McIntosh

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