Julie Eisenstein recommends the Yogi Yogi chai – it's the house specialty of the tea shop where she works. Although, instead of serving up hot drinks to Glaswegians, she's part way through her first UK tour with Tuff Love, the fizzing, fuzzing pop band she sings and plays guitar with. The shop's owners are, she says, pretty understanding about her taking time off, which is just as well, because Johnny Lynch – the ex-head of Fence Records who runs their label Lost Map and performs as the Pictish Trail – is doing everything in his power to draw the world's attention to Tuff Love, including sending handwritten notes to writers imploring them to listen to his charges. You get the impression he'd have them tour 365 days a year if it meant more people would hear them.
The band's debut EP, Junk, accompanied by a video directed by comedian Josie Long, is reminiscent of the indie pop of a previous generation of Scottish bands – the Shop Assistants, Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes, the Fizzbombs – but that's pretty much an accident, says Eisenstein. "Me and Suse [Bear, bassist] met through friends on the lesbian circuit, and we started to jam a little bit." At first, what they played was folky and, says Eisenstein, "quite noncommital". Then they put the diffidence behind them. "Suse said, 'Why don't we start a grunge band? Do you want to do it?' And I thought that was quite liberating," Eisenstein adds. "Then, when we started playing, we discovered it was quite melodic rather than grungy."
Those older Scottish bands actually mean nothing to Tuff Love, who are too young to remember them, but Eisenstein admits she's heard the comparisons from plenty of people – and perhaps it's because they share reference points, including 60s pop. "And Suse really likes Weezer, which might be involved."
When you get a band who formed after two members met "on the lesbian circuit", some people might think they're a political group rather than a pop group. "Given that we are both lesbians, the music is inevitably a little bit political," she says. "But we're not trying to be political, though it is important to us." And Eisenstein is wary of the current sexualisation of pop, and the media's emphasis on that side of things. "That's the way we've been socialised by the media," she says.
You can take that however you want. To me, it suggests a group very much in the lineage of indie music of the early 80s, when what you believed – as well as how you sounded – mattered. But don't think that makes Tuff Love a dour band – they're anything but. They're a pop group to cherish.
That said, Tuff Love are unlikely to be headhunted by Universal or find themselves headlining V festival any time soon – not that Eisenstein would mind if they did. "That would be amazing," she says. "But I'm really happy to be on an independent label."
Reading on mobile? Click here to listen to Tuff Love's Junk EP
• Junk is out now on Lost Map. Tuff Love are currently touring the UK. Tour details: Lost Map.