The Glaswegian label Bubblegum Records was founded earlier this year, and I must say that they really have kickstarted their business, with five releases in just a few months! So far, there has been four EPs and one album, all housed in colourful digipak sleeves, and all largely by bands based in Scotland’s biggest city.

Except for the first one. It is a 5-track EP called 'Better Set Your Phasers to Stun' by an American duo called Hyperbubble, a duo that certainly has got one or two Helen Love album at home, and they are likely to be close to worn out. On this EP they have worked with their idol, as Helen Love wrote the title track, and also allowed them to sample on it her old classic, 'We Love You'. Apart from the three versions of that song that appear on this EP, we also get two new Hyperbubble song and they are all pretty good, even though I can’t help but think that Helen Love is so much better on her own.

The second release, 'Flesh and Paper', is by Glasgow quartet Lean Tales, which formed two years ago with a shared love amongst its members for bands like Young Marble Giants and Dolly Mixture (You can’t accuse them for having bad taste in music!). And the first track, 'The Taste of Superglue' is really good, with a good dash of the aforementioned Dolly Mixture thrown into the mix, while the second track, 'Penny on the Floor', recalls a rugged Cranberries, which is not a good thing in my world. But it gets better on the third song, 'Money Smile', even though the final track, 'Days are Quick', sadly brings back those Cranberries associations again. But I will definitely keep an eye, or ear, open for their debut album when it comes.

For their third release, 'Pop! Volume 1', Bubblegum has put together a 4-track compilation with contributions from Snye, Your Elders, Electric Needle Room and Mammoth Life, all of whom have a more or less electronic sound. Of these four bands, I must say that the American band Electric Needle Room sounds most promising to me (Their song, 'Oleaver‘s Pub Won‘t Let Us Play There Anymore', has very funny lyrics, and the intro also reminds me of an old computer game called 'It Came from the Desert'), while the other acts are all good, but not much more than that. I’m not sure what the future looks like for these bands on the label, but I will be checking out Electric Needle Room's previous albums, which have been released on US labels.

Starshy is a Glaswegian one man band, and according to the Bubblegum Records website, he enjoys writing songs in various musical directions, which is very audible on his EP for them , 'Short + Sweet'. The first song, 'Yimmer Yammer', sounds a lot like the Stone Roses (which just is just as bad as the Cranberries to my ears), but then it changes from song to song, and some of them are quite good, especially 'O Apostophe C'. Sure, I enjoy musical diversity, but sometimes it gets a bit too much. I wish Starshy could stick to the acoustic indiepop that can be heard on some tracks here. Then a forthcoming album could be really good. If he will continue to explore the pop music landscape, I will be prepared , however, with my remote control…

And I saved the best for last. Bubblegum’s fifth release is an album with Tesco Chainstore Mascara, a name for a band that must be the best one in ages! And the music is just as good, actually! The fact is that since I got the album, 'Good Foundations', a few weeks ago I have almost worn out my copy!

My first impression of this duo was that they sound like a light version of the aforementioned Helen Love, with a bit of ELO in there somewhere. It might sound like a weird match, but it works! Trust me! The album kicks off with 'Writer’s Block', a song that they also made a fantastic video for (just search for Tesco Chainstore Mascara on YouTube), and then we are off for another ten songs, with fine harmonies, great tunes, and very good lyrics. This is probably one of the best albums of 2009, and I’m really looking forward to their next one!

So, to sum this up: Bubblegum Records is without doubt a very good label, and I will follow them with interest in the future. We need ambitious indie labels like theirs! And it’s also nice to hear that not every band from Glasgow has to sound like Belle and Sebastian.

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