A few people already know this story, but I make no apologies for sharing again what for me was an epiphanous moment. May 7th 2013, and I’m at the O2 ABC in Glasgow to see the only band worth seeing, the only band I really care about, The Fall. I’ve got the usual trepidation any Fall fan gets before a gig. You know it’s going to be an event, you know it’s going to be outstanding, it doesn’t matter how drunk or incomprehensible he is, or how much time he spends on stage. It’s The Fall, that’s all that matters. This time was different though. This time, The Rosy Crucifxion walked on stage, and when the first distorted feedback drenched note reverberated around the venue, I was hooked. Where did this come from? People don’t make music like this any more, do they? Obviously they did, but not in my comfy little 47 year old suburban life. I’d got lazy, I found music by watching Soccer AM on Sky, and if I liked it I didn’t buy it. What sort of fool would do that when Pirate Bay was available? And nobody releases records any more so what’s the point, it’s all digital crap. Call it mid life crisis if you like, plenty have, but I was back to the young me, the teenager who listened to John Peel every night and recorded most of the shows, who spent most of his time at school covering his books with as many band names as he could find, whether I’d actually heard them or not. If they were independent, they were okay by me.A few searches on the internet later (which was quite difficult, there wasn’t much out there about The Rosy Crucifixion) and I found out they were about to have a split lp released with The Wharves, on Soft Power Records. I had to get it, it was a limited edition of 250, and I was going to be working away when it came out! NOOOO! In my mind, records sold at roughly the same rate as they did in 1979, and this band were brilliant so obviously they’d sell out really quickly. (Note I’ve now realised that isn’t quite the case nowadays, but I still like to be in there early – just in case!) A few messages back and forward and I’d arranged to buy it the moment it went “live” on Bandcamp
That’s how Soft Power Records came into my life. A bit more research and I’d found Monorail Records in Glasgow, and they had a copy of SOFT001 – Divided by Theoretical Girl. I bought it, took it home, and reveled in it’s beauty. It had a few wonderful little postcards inside too. Only thing it didn’t have was a download so I couldn’t play it in my car, where I spend most of my time. No problem for Soft Power – they sent me a cd and a few extra postcards. For free. That’s the type of people Bek and Graeme are. Not only do they possess a seemingly infallible radar for what’s good – really really good – about a band or artist, whatever the genre may be. They’re also just very nice people, who care. Which is just as well, because I’ve bothered and pestered them pretty much every week for the last few years since we first met.
My first purchase was SOFT019, the aforementioned Wharves/Rosy Crucifixion split. Since then, it’s been a privilege and pleasure to buy SOFT020 to 035. Every release a little different, every release packaged and presented with care and love and an attention to detail that you can only get from people that are as much fans as they are label owners. SOFT021 – the impossible not to dance to Chalk And Numbers compilation cassette. SOFT022 – the first release on Soft Power by Witching Waves, a band that went on to release 2 albums, a mini cd and contribute to a label sampler. SOFT028 – Mama’s Boy by Wolf Girl – as perfect an indie pop ep could ever be. The dirty/pure rock & roll of SOFT032, Heavy Flow by Holy Motors (now The Crossmakers). So many great records in such a short space of time.
On August 27th SOFT036 is released. Dora Maar, a band I’ve known and loved for a few years, release their second cassette (the first was self released), Flights. Is it any good? Of course it is, it’s amazing. It’s a Soft Power release. Which is why it’s sold out on Bandcamp already, 3 weeks before the actual release date.
And then that’s it. Soft Power are leaving us for now, maybe to come back later, maybe not. Only time will tell. When I started writing this post, it was actually months ago, I can’t remember how long ago. The plan had been to do special features on labels I knew and loved, and Soft Power were always going to be the first. We were meant to do an interview, but for whatever reason – more than likely those annoying things life and reality getting in the way – it never happened. I stopped writing full reviews and the blog wasn’t my main focus any more, and subsequently this post has sat for months in draft form.
I’m incredibly proud to call Bek and Graeme friends, and equally proud to be hosting We Love Soft Power – The Gig in Glasgow on the day of the Dora Maar release. 6 Soft Power bands will be helping us celebrate – Blood Of The Bull, Current Affairs, Dora Maar, H. Grimace, Kaspar Hauser and Witching Waves. There’s a link to the event page below. It’s also somebody’s birthday the very next day, but I won’t say who…………… Does anyone remember that bloke who release Mellow Gold? I think he was called Beck? Something like that.
But enough of the melancholy. It’s about the music, always has been, so sit back and listen to a track from all 36 releases, and love them like I do.