Over the years, there have been a number of essential record labels with Scottish roots that have given rise to some unforgettable bands and their music.
The list is massive but everyone must be familiar with at least one of these:
- Postcard (Orange Juice, Josef K, Aztec Camera)
- Creation (Oasis, Ride, Primal Scream, Jesus and Mary Chain, House of Love)
- Creeping Bent (Vic Godard, Secret Goldfish, Alan Vega)
- Chemikal Underground (Mogwai, The Delgados, Malcolm Middleton, Arab Strap)
And that is just scraping the surface.
Add a new one to that list – Tarbeach Records. Although NYC based, the label has Scottish roots and a number of Scottish bands on their release list.
To date they have an impressive back catalogue (see below) of releases from bands old and new – with much more to come.
I first came across the label when I bought the peerless debut album “Accelerator” by ReAction, but have since bolstered my Tarbeach collection somewhat.
In addition to the ReAction album mentioned, from a Scottish perspective, Tarbeach has been supported releases from the much touted Heavy Drapes and Glasgow’s legendary The Zips/Jonzip. These 3 bands recently played a sold out showcase gig “Kiss This” in Broadcast, Glasgow.
I asked Walt Stewart about the origins of Tarbeach…
The label started in 2016. I had recorded an album in 2007 called “Thee New York Tarbeach Recordings”. It was an Avant-garde set. I continued to record as Thee Electric Fits, or Thee E-Fits or Thee EFF-its.
The reason for the labels existence is because I felt like doing something, more concentrated, other than these abstracted projects.
So from humble beginnings, the label has worked with a range if bands to get their product out there. Walt expanded on the ethos of the label.
This label was intended to be, and has become a self-functioning collective. I hope it is about giving bands a home and appreciating their efforts by releasing their music indiscriminately. That their effort is so natural, is nothing to do with the label at all. That’s the ethos.
We don’t have a roster (of bands), whatever is coming out will be on the website. We don’t have any CAPITAL to advertise ‘n stuff, if it’s out, it’s on the website.
All the more reason for anyone reading this to spread the word far and wide. If you need any encouragement – just listen to some of the bands that have released their music on Tarbeach. (See the list of releases below). I guarantee you’ll find something you like and be impressed by.
What about the music Walt likes?
I can swing from Miles (Davis), to Buttholes (Surfers), to Sparks, To GBV (Guided by Voices), to The Fall, to Milkshakes, to Pixies, to Reaction, to Monkey Don’t Care.
But most of all, I listen to the local scene. My fave bands of late are Pepper Kings, and GIFTSHOP.
On that note, being NYC based, Tarbeach naturally supports a diverse range of New York/US based bands, including some of those mentioned by Walt.
Again, NY and Glasgow have reflected activities around showcasing the bands on the label. As well as the recent gig in Glasgow there have been showcase gigs in NY in the last few months including Monkey Don’t Care, Pepper Kings and The Bowery Boys along with Golden Axe Attack and the Rose Pedals in Gussy’s Bar, Queens in June.
A truly international label. Loved by many on both sides of the Atlantic. Tarbeach artists regularly feature on Danny Mac’s Testifying Time Radio Show. On the other side of the pond, Walt (along with ReAction’s Joe Whyte) recently appeared on DJ Rob Select’s show
The label has also been involved in supporting Sonny Vincent and family after the much publicised tragedy that befell them. This was through the release of a compilation CD (details below) of bands associated with Tarbeach with funds raised going to the support fund.
Tarbeach has a busy few months ahead with a number of releases scheduled. Look out for the following exciting releases coming in the next few months:
Halloween sees the release of the second EP from Monkey Don’t Care:
Monkey Don’t Care – “Pearl Necklace” CDEP – Tracks “She Goes Her Own Way”, “Slow But Sure Destruction”, “Lids of my Eyes” (Tar022)
3 great tracks of melodic alt-rock with distortion heavy vocals on a couple of the songs. “Slow but Sure Destruction” is a standout with its pleading opening bass over the sound of rain bringing a feeling of desolation but builds into a crashing epic song. “She Goes Her Own Way” brings the tempo back up again and is reminiscent of early REM.
(The) Meghan Taylor (fronted) quintet (GIFTSHOP) specializes in CBGB’s style punk mixed with 21st century pop hooks. GIFTSHOP’s dynamic live shows have earned them prime festival slots.
GIFTSHOP – “Despicable”/”Dontcha Know” – AA blue vinyl 7” (Tar020)
“Despicable” with its driving guitars and plaintive vocals is a straightforward fuck you to an asshole who thinks he does “the things that make him likeable”, but is really just ”despicable”. A fantastic 3 and a half minute romp. “Dontcha Know” shows a softer side to the band – more ballad like and with a real 50’s feel to it. Definitely not aimed at the subject of “Despicable”. Brilliant.
Pepper Kings – “Pepper Kings” debut CD album (Serial No TBC)
I want to say the Pepper Kings are quirky. I can’t think of a better word to describe them, their sound is unconventional and often eccentric (Hoot Owl).
It would be difficult to pigeon-hole Pepper Kings. While not necessarily sounding like them – the band are off the wall in the way bands like XTC, Devo and Talking Heads are – doubtlessly a good thing.
The vocals at times reminiscent of varied vocalists like Jello Biafra, Calvin Johnson and Fred Schneider. Like Dead Kennedys, there is a serious side to the songs too, with “Casinos Mean Jobs” making a deliberate political statement.
You will categorically not be bored listening to Pepper Kings. I’ve only heard a selection of the songs from the album, but I look forward to hearing more.
(Date – TBC):
ReAction – “Out of My head” b/w “Crystallised Radio” 7” white vinyl (Tar013)
ReAction are a phenomenal band both live and on record. The energy from Big Carson is second to none and the song-writing and music is sophisticated and varied. The 2 tracks here showcase different sides to the band with “Out of My Head” being an in your face punk rock romp. ”Crystallised Radio” on the flip side is a dub remix of Accelerator album track “Crystal Radio” and follows on from Fireball in Dub (Warped Plan Remix) on the album.
I am excited for the future of Tarbeach and hope to see many more releases coming from the label continuing with the variety of music styles as they have to date.
Thanks to Walt and all the bands for the time and effort they put in to get their music out there to the masses.
I’ve linked to bands Facebook pages/websites throughout where possible.
Tar002 – Electric Fits – Opposable Thumbs (album) CD/DL
Tar003 – Electric Fits – Sonic Metamorphine b/w Being One (single) DL only
Tar005 – ReAction – Accelerator (album) – CD/DL
Tar007 – ReAction – Hey Patty Hearst/Heavy Drapes – Into the Blue AA split 7” red vinyl
Tar010/ Tar010CD – Heavy Drapes – Should I Suck EP – amber vinyl/Heavy Drapes – Should I Suck EP – CD/DL
Tar011 – Double pack of Tar007 & Tar010
Tar012EP – ReAction – Old School Rules EP – CD/DL
Tar013 – ReAction – Out of My Head – single – white vinyl – Final Release date TBC
Tar014/Tar014CDEX – Jonzip/The Zips 19 Forevva/Barbara Wire AA split 7” green vinyl/Jonzip/The Zips – CD EP with 2 extra hidden tracks – different colour sleeves
Tar015 – Triple Distilled – pack of Tar007/Tar010 & Tar014
Tar016 – Tarbeach Compilation – No Animals Were Harmed During Any Recordings – CD/DL
Tar018 – Monkey Don’t Care – “I Hear What You’re Saying But I Just Don’t Care” 3 Track EP – CD/DL
Tar019 – The Bowery Boys – “EP#1” 5 track EP – CD/DL
Tar020 – GIFTSHOP – Despicable/Don’t’cha Know – AA single – blue vinyl (released 17/11/2017)
Tar021 – The Pepper Kings – “EP#1” 4 track EP – CD/DL
Tar022 – Monkey Don’t Care – “Pearl Necklace EP” – CD/DL (released 31/10/2017)