Saturday, 12 January 2019

Lucy and The Rats "Melody"

Lucy - of Australian Ramones-lovers The Spazzys - teamed up with a bunch of delinquent leather boys, The Rats, to produce an endearingly wide-eyed summertime pop classic that's liberally dosed with hand-claps and the kinda pure-voiced singing that never fails to lift the spirits:

I wish I'd heard it on its release in spring 2018 when the weather in Glasgow was untypically hot as it would've made the ideal soundtrack. Thumbs-up to The Next Big Thing for ensuring that Lucy and The Rats didn't pass me by completely.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Public Service announcement

Mary Anne Hobbs just finished her 6Music show with Public Enemy into Public Image Ltd. Unfortunately, Shaun Keaveny didn't pick up the baton and start his with Glasgow's Public Service. Talk about a missed opportunity to give yr audience a jolt! "I'm Gonna Kill That Man" is the first 45 by Public Service and inaugurates Glasgow's newest, fiercest label, Anxious Music:

Public Service are a fearsome prospect live; all screams, marauding and lacerating guitars. It's hard to capture that level of ferocity in a studio but this 7" makes good on their live promise and certainly pulls no punches. If you dug Not Unloved's recent Current Affairs 7", you're gonna need this 45 immediately. Glasgow sure is coming up with the goods right now!

There's a launch for the 7" this Saturday (12th, January) at Glasgow's, Old Toll Bar on Paisley Road West. Full details here.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Yet more reasons to love Australia

January ain't so bad. Why, just this week we've had the announcements that:

a) "Whoosh!", the debut full length lp by The Stroppies, is due on Tough Love in March. If "Cellophane Car", below, is any guide, it'll be a bubblegum (those keyboards!) treat:

b) French label Future Folkore Records is set to release "Hip Blister", a split 12" on which the ever effervescent Parsnip duke it out with the reliably twisted The Shifters for the title of most adorable Australian band of February, 2019:

c) February also sees the digital release of the latest 4 tracker from the splendidly spiky Display Homes. They may not be as cuddly as the bands above but "Block" comes on like a chunkier Vital Idles with an angry Fay Fife on vocals which is a fine, fine thing to hear:

As if all of the above weren't treats enough, Not Unloved's postman just dropped-off Normie Rowe's lip-curling, slicked- back hair combing cover of Johnny Kidd and The Pirates' "Shakin' All Over". From September '65, it's just so cool (don't be fooled by the square 'do in the pic, below!). Definitive:

Thanks Australia. You're the best!

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

The Salvation Army "Mind Gardens" (New Alliance)

Around Black Friday last year (2018 - yikes!) I saw a bunch of Stateside folks posting the cover art of an lp featuring The Dream Syndicate, The Bangles, Rain Parade and The Three O'Clock covering each other's songsHopefully, it'll show up at some point in UK-based record shops (there's no way I'm handing over next month's pay cheque to the US Postal Service to get a double lp sent across the Atlantic) as the concept behind it is sound. Reading the name The Three O'Clock again gave me the wee jolt I needed to finally pick up a copy of the sole 7" by that group''s precursor, The Salvation Army. "Mind Gardens" (New Alliance, 1981) zips along at skatepunk speed while Michael Quercio, masquerading as Ricky Start, sings in a cute, interestingly-accented manner (the way he sings is 'goes' and 'grows' is so endearing!). I love it for all the same reasons I love early Redd Kross or that first lp by The Descendents

The surprisingly poignant b-side is equally great and possibly even more sing-along-able:

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Cardiffian coincidences

A couple of days ago someone asked if the lettering on the cover of Not Unloved's recent Current Affairs 7" was a sly tip of the wink to that on the cover of a Current Obsessions e.p. from the early 80s. Current Obsessions was a new name to Not Unloved so some investigation work was in order. A Google image search turned up the cover in question:

There is a definite similarity in the hand-drawn lettering but I'm guessing that that's just a coincidence. The sleeve screams early 80s DIY punk so it came as a bit of a surprise to hear that the lead track from it is actually a slice of minimal jazz pop with surprisingly narked lyrics and which ends with a decidedly fluttery flute solo that may not be to everyone's taste:

Interesting, for sure. On the same day that I became aware of Current Obsessions, I finally got round to listening to Stuart Moxham's post-Young Marble Giants group The Gist's "Holding Pattern" lp (Tiny Global Productions) which I'd bought in Rough Trade East on a recent trip to London. On first listen, the track which made the biggest dent was the sparse, chirpy "Assured Energy":

A quick rummage revealed that the singer on "Assured Energy" was called Debbie Pritchard who, it transpired, had been the singer in Current Obsessions. What a cool coincidence! If I'd looked more closely, I would've noticed that there were Cardiff addresses on the Current Obsessions sleeve so it all makes perfect sense A different version of "Assured Energy" also appears on "Always Sunshine, Always Rain" (also on Tiny Global Productions), Debbie's cd with Spike - the same Spike thanked on the Current Obsessions sleeve - that was released in June, 2018. Another one for the wants list along with "Bimini Twist" (yet another on Tiny Global Productions), Spike's recent lp with the wonderful Alison Statton. Phew.

PS There's an in-depth article from September 2017 on Stuart Moxham's post-Young Marble Giant work here. (Thanks for the link, Esther!)

Records of 2018 for Monorail Music

A couple of weeks ago the lovely Monorail Music folks posted my 2018 faves on their Twitter. Yo La Tengo scooped the #1 (of course the numbers are arbitrary!) lp mainly because it had the stupendously beautiful "Shades of Blue" on it and because when it came out, I immediately put the download on my phone and listened to it constantly while working which says a lot about how and when I listened to much of my music this year. In retrospect, the lists below aren't truly representative of what I listened to most (apart from YLT) as I listened to lots of other quiet music while working such as the ace Pendant lp (aka Huerco S), Lucrecia Dalt's gem "Anitclines" and Annelies MonserĂ©'s sombre "Happiness Is Within Sight". Being prone to hyperbole and rash claims, I've told anyone who'll listen that The Goon Sax's incredibly touching "Strange Light" is Not Unloved's favourite song of 2018. Of course, I've also told the same people that Amy Rigby's unique, thoughtful "From philiproth@gmail to" is Not Unloved's favourite song of 2018 which inevitably results in me claiming the same of her husband's (Wreckless Eric) monumental "Wow & Flutter" and so on. What fun!

Long players:

1. Yo La Tengo - There's A Riot Going On (Matador)
2. The Goon Sax - We're Not Talking (Wichita)
3. Massage - Oh Boy (Tearjerk)
4. Amy Rigby - The Old Guys (Southern Domestic)
5. The Orielles - Silver Dollar Moment (Heavenly)
6. Sons of Kemet - Your Queen Is A Reptile (Impulse)
7. Clay Hips - Happily Ever After (Annika)
8. Terry - I'm Terry (Upset The Rhythm)
9. Vital Idles - Left Hand (Upset The Rhythm)
10. Miss Red - K.O. (Pressure)

Short players:

1. Hairband - Hairband (Monorail)
2. 79.5 - Boy Don't Be Afraid (Big Crown)
3. The Shacks - Follow Me (Big Crown)
4. Camelia Hartmann and The Soulful Saints - Return The Favor/Breathing Hard Over You (Dala)
5. JJ Ulius - Tander Ett Ljus (Happiest Place)
6. Music City - Pretty Feelings (Static Shock)
7. Jetstream Pony - Self-destruct Reality (KUS)
8. Art Sick - Going Down (Yr First Crush)
9.  The Jack Cades - Run Paulie Run (Dangerhouse Skylab)
10. Comet Gain - If Not Tomorrow (Tapete)

The glaring omission from the above singles list? This:

(Thanks to Did Not Chart for the reminder!)

Gene Clark - Gene Clark Sings For You (Omnivore)

Various Artists - Basement Beehive (Numero Group)

The above was submitted in early December so, just for fun, here are Not Unloved's fave lps bought since then:

AMOR - Sinking Into A Miracle (Night School)
Blades of Joy - s/t (Melters)
D. Rothon - Nightscapes (Clay Pipe)
Red Red Eyes - Horology (Where It's At Is Where You Are)
Ethers - s/t (Trouble In Mind)

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Blades of Joy "Be Kind"

Twitter can be a force for good. That much has always been true. Recently Glenn Donaldson (of The Skygreen Leopards among others) posted 10 records that he reckoned had slightly slipped under the radar in 2018. One of them was an lp on Melters by San Francisco's Blades of Joy. "Be Kind" from it has been almost ever present in my head and heart from the moment I heard it. Maybe it's because the intro calls to mind the winsome strum of The Lemonheads' take on Love Positions' adorable "Into Your Arms". More than likely, however, it's because the singer, Anna (no surname listed on the artwork and a solid 10 minutes of rummaging online hasn't revealed it...) has one of the most beautiful new voices I heard in 2018. The rest of the lp is packed with sublime melodic moments, though, I suspect, the younger, dourer me would have baulked at the rockiness of some of the guitars. Still, what did I know back then?

N.B.The ever astute PopLib posted about Blades of Joy in September. I must have read that post on a day when time was short so it went in one eyeball and out the other. Silly Not Unloved!