You’re likely already aware that ex-Creation and Poptones head honcho Alan McGee is back with a new label called 359 Music, a joint venture with long established independent Cherry Red, which he’ll be running from the bedroom of his Hay-on-Wye home on his Blackberry and MacBook with help from Cherry Red’s London based Iain McNay, who McGee has been pally with since he was a young band member himself on the lookout for a record label deal.
In May, McGee invited MP3 submissions from unsigned bands, declaring that he would listen to each and every submission. Maybe if he’d known in advance that he’d be inundated with music from around 2,500 acts he might not have made that promise but he maintains that this wasn’t any kind of chore, claiming instead that hearing all those demos reminded him of just how much he loved new music.
So far he’s has signed over two dozen new acts with more to come and the first raft of releases have been announced with albums by John Lennon McCullagh (his real name and not a McGee invention), Chris Grant and Mineral all coming out in October and then a second batch of albums by Pete MacLeod, Gun Club Cemetery and Tess Parks following on in November. Interestingly, MacLeod, a Glaswegian singer/songwriter is the man credited with helping persuade McGee to get back into the business.
Radio Clyde’s Billy Sloan and Radio Scotland’s Janice Forsyth have been saying very nice things in recent weeks about him and if you fancy seeing what the fuss is all about he’s going to be playing at Glasgow’s ABC2 on the first of November.
Don’t expect 359 to be a Creation Mark II as Alan’s been keen to stress that he isn’t going out of his way to find another act that can replicate the success of Oasis (I’d far rather he found a My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream or Jesus and Mary Chain myself anyway). ‘I’m doing this for me more than anybody else,’ he told the Daily Record earlier this week. ‘I think people will like them [the artists] but I have no idea if people will buy them because I haven’t put a record out since 2006. All I can say is the quality is high and I have only ever put out what I like. If that happens to hit the zeitgeist, brilliant.’
If you’re wondering about the name, 359 works on several different levels. 359 is one degree less than a complete revolution, Christmas falls on the 359th day of the year, and maybe most significantly for the man who has spent much of his spare time in the past few years studying the occultist Aleister Crowley, 359 is also, so I’m told, the secret name for the Egyptian God Horus according to Crowley’s The Book of Law.
Alan is additionally launching a regular 359 night in Liverpool’s District Club and the first of these is scheduled for the sixth of September.
Expect more on the man and 359 here in the run up to the label’s first releases and the publication early in November of McGee’s autobiography Creation Stories on Pan/MacMillan.
And finally, doesn’t that 359 logo remind you just a wee bit of this, the Postcard logo which itself is based on an illustration by famous Victorian cat artist Louis Wain.