New Edinburgh record label, OK Pal, got off to a flying start with a launch gig-cum-party at Leith’s Bar Brig last Saturday. The bar’s basement, increasingly important as a venue with the axe hanging over nearby Leith Depot (remember to #saveleithwalk), offered standing room only as people crammed in to see label bosses, Hailey Beavis and Faith Eliott, and pals perform crowdpleasing sets.
Proudly DIY, the label also does a nifty line in zines, posters, badges, all of which adorned tables to the back of the room. Judging by the label-promoting capes in evidence and the colourful cloth backdrops to the stage, they know their way around a haberdasher’s too.
The evening opened with a set from Mario Cruzado of Song, By Toad alumni, Plastic Animals, who trades under the name Blue Tiger for his solo work. His mellow, shoegazey sounds are built around guitar and laptop.
Hailey Beavis uses tech wizardry to turn herself into a one-woman band, with layers and loops underpinning a fragile vibrato reminiscent of Buffy Sainte-Marie. It’s a very effective combination, especially when reverse loops bring her set to a climactic end.
Her partner-in-crime, Faith Eliott (pictured) is another with the Song, By Toad label on her CV. Hers will be the first music heard on the new label with an album release planned for spring 2019. Expect to be soothed by contemplative, finger-picked anti-folk.
“Like my EP Insects, it will comprise folky, lo-fi songs and creature-themed lyrics,” says Eliott of the planned release. “However, it also includes some full band material and features a cast of Soviet space dogs, an ancient sea-sponge, and Neil Degrasse Tyson.”
Coming up next for the label is a festive affair taking place at new venue Skylight on Sat 8 Dec. Expect a grotto, market stalls run by some of the label’s favourite visual artists, and bands to be announced soon.
As for the label name – is OK Pal meant in threat or friendship? On the evidence of the launch gig they definitely come in peace.