Tuesday 2 January 2024

2023 in live music

Jetstream Pony being ace at Mono on Hogamany

2023 continued where 2022 left off with bands and artists playing out of their skin night after night. It's impossible to be nostalgic and trot out the the old "gigs were better in my day" cliches when so many musicians both young and old are continually proving otherwise. Venues like The Glad Cafe and The Old Hairdressers, in particular, hosted an insane number of wonderful acts. Those venues do things right with great sound and wonderful staff who treat people well. More power to their elbows! It would be impossible to pick a favourite show but special mention must be given to Wreckless Eric for being, frankly, inspirational and genuinely moving as he gave it *everything* in both Coatbridge and Glasgow. His latest album is a triumph and, in "Standing Water", features one of the greatest songs of 2023 for Not Unloved's money:


Glas-Goes Pop! was an absolute treat again with The Loft being unbelievably brilliant which, when you consider that the group that isn't a going concern, almost makes you question the laws of physics! Barbara Manning, too, was a revelation playing her songs and those of others (The Verlaines! Richard Thompson! etc.) with real conviction and fire, in the process winning many hearts. On the other hand, Ana Roxanne played one of the year's subtlest gigs. It was also one of the most soul-nourishing with an incredibly respectful audience remaining almost completely silent during the quiet, fragile songs. It was a real joy to witness Linda Smith and Nancy Andrews play songs from their magnificent "A Passing Cloud" record up close and The Declining Winter's emotional heft cemented their place as one of 2023's most compelling groups. Oh, and it was a real thrill to witness the Glasgow audience turn out in great numbers to witness The Clientele's long overdue return. 2023 really was quite a year for live music.

31/12 Norman Blake / Jetstream Pony / Homework @ Mono
21/12 Civilistjavel @ The Old Hairdressers
20/12 Richard Youngs playing "Advent" in full @ The Old Hairdressers
17/12 Current Affairs (last ever gig) / Dancer @ Mono
07/12 Linda Smith & Nancy Andrews / GNAC @ The Glad Cafe
24/11 The Declining Winter / Epic 45  / GNAC @ The Old Hairdressers
19/11 Tara Clerkin Trio / Chizu @ The Glad Cafe
18/11 Kirk Barley / Semay Wu @ The Old Hairdresser's
15/11 YL Hooi / Silzedrek / Noble Leisure @ The Glad Cafe
14/11 Wreckless Eric / Iain Shaw @ The Rum Shack
13/11 Colleen Green / Hound / Clay Rings @ Stereo
12/11 Wreckless Eric @ The Georgian Hotel (Coatbridge)
10/11 Dali Muru and The Polyphonic Swarm / Susannah Stark @ The Glad Cafe
09/11 Bills Wells aka The Sensory Illusions @ The Glad Cafe
06/11 Snooper / Hotline TNT @ The Hug and Pint
03/11 The Clientele / Nightshift @ Stereo
02/11 Richard Youngs / Raymond MacDonald @ The Old Hairdressers
01/11 Chris Stamey / Warren McIntyre @ The Glad Cafe
27/10 Jim Ghedi & Toby Hay @ Gulliver's (Manchester)
25/10 Kid Congo and The Pink Monkeybirds / Louise McVey and Cracks In The Concrete @ Room 2
21/10 Amelia & Rob (house gig)
12/10 The Telescopes / no support @ Nice'n'Sleazy
10/10 Blues Lawyer / Dancer / Maz & The Phantazms @ The Glad Cafe
08/10 The Popguns / Homework @ The Hug & Pint
07/10 The Make-up / Lung Leg @ Room 2
05/10 Sir Richard Bishop / The Sound Priestess / Burnt Paw @ St. Vincent's Church (Edinburgh)
03/10 En Attendant Ana / Nightshift @ Broadcast
30/09 Russell Haswell / Hyppia / Cru Servers @ The Old Hairdressers
29/09 Robert Henke (Monolake) @ Tramway (as part of Sonica)
28/09 Trees Speak @ Broadcast
16/09 System Exclusive / Brenda / Dancer (missed 'em) @ The Old Hairdressers
15/09 Free Love / R.Aggs / Isa Gordon @ The Rum Shack
14/09 The Vaselines / The Cords @ Mono
10/09 The Bevis Frond / Dragged Up @ The Old Hairdressers
09/09 The Yummy Fur / Es / Memorabilia etc. @ The Old Hairdressers
05/09 Damon (actually Richard!) & Naomi / Richard Youngs @ The Glad Cafe
02/09 Matana Roberts / T.R.I.P. @ The Old Hairdressers
30/08 AttackRelease night (Everyday Dust / Dohnavur / Faex Optim / Mike E Smith) @ Bloc
27/08 Nightshift / Lawsuit / Radio Banter @ The Old Hairdressers
26/08 Dragged Up @ Some Great Reward Records
21/08 Escape-ism @ Broadcast
20/08 Kubler-Ross / Body Maintenance / Memorabilia @ The Old Hairdressers
17/08 Alasdair Roberts @ Bru
11/08 Michael Head and The Red Elastic Band @ Summerhall (Edinburgh)
09/09 Rebecca Gates (Manidiscimmia) / Daphne X / Ybalferran @ The Old Hairdressers
08/08 Sacred Paws @ George Square (UCI Cycling World Championships)
05/08 Dancer / Small Gauge / Essen @ Stereo (missed Essen, unfortunately)
03/08 The Miki Berenyi Trio @ Mono
30/07 Barbara Manning / Gerard Love @ The Glad Cafe
28/07->29/07 Glas-Goes Pop! @ GUU Debating Chamber
27/07 The Glands of External Secretion feat. Barbara Manning / Puppet Midnight / Lovely Honkey @ The Fruitmarket Gallery (Edinburgh)
22/07 The Thurston Moore Group / R.Aggs @ Mono
21/07 The National Jazz Trio of Scotland @ The Glad Cafe
20/07 Powerplant / Current Affairs / Gamma / Memorabilia / Kute @ Stereo
17/07 Kate Clover / In The Plughole @ The Flying Duck
28/06 Laura Cantrell / Doug Levitt @ St. Luke's
25/06 Tashi Dorji @ The Glad Cafe
25/06 The Boo Radleys @ The Hug and Pint
25/06 The Go Steady @ McChuills
22/06 Ribbon Stage / R.Aggs @ The Glad Cafe
17/06 Andrew Wasylyk / Siobahn Wilson / Loris S Sarid @ Futtle (St Monan's, Fife)
15/06 Adela Mede / Dialect / Man Rei @ The Glad Cafe
11/06 The Chills / Rats On Rafts @ Mono
09/06 Mun Sing / L / Susannah Stark @ The Flying Duck
03/06 Flasher / Nightshift / The Pink Pound @ Mono
02/06 Delphine Dora + Sophie Cooper / Pefkin @ The Glad Cafe
31/05 Pram / Pearling @ The Old Hairdressers
22/05 Loop @ Room 2
20/05 The Primitives @ Broadcast
19/05 Heavenly / Panic Pocket @ Bush Hall (London)
18/05 Soundlab @ Iklectik (London)
16/05 Sylvie / Anna St. Louis @ Broadcast
05/05 Barrence Whitfield and The Savages @ The Rum Shack
29/04 Cindy / J Mahon / Simone Antigone @ Mono
28/04 David Jaycock / AliShaSha @ The Glad Cafe
23/04 Death and Vanilla / RVG / Modern Studies @ The Hug and Pint
22/04 Dancer / L / The Bluebells @ Mono
20/04 Shonen Knife / Run Into The Night @ Summerhall (Edinburgh)
15/04 Mary Lattimore / Instruction Manual @ The Glad Cafe
07/04 Milky Wimpshake / Count Florida @ The Glad Cafe
06/04 Nina Nastassia @ Broadcast
03/04 The Courettes / The Three'n'Eights @ Nice'n'Sleazy
31/03 Adam Matschulat / Mark Vernon @ The Old Hairdressers
30/03 So Sner (feat. Stefan Schneider of To Rococo Rot)  / Miki Yui / Ailie Ormston @ The Glad Cafe
26/03 Ana Roxanne / Chantal Michelle @ The Glad Cafe
25/03 The Thanes / The Screamin' Kick / The Pharisees @ The Old Hairdressers
24/03 Gina Brich @ The Hug and Pint
23/03 GNAC/ The Orchids @ The Glad Cafe
18/03 The Go! Team / Baba Ali @ SWG3
16/03 The Serfs / Memorabilia / Kute @ The Old Hairdressers
11/03 The Dream Syndicate / The Rain Parade @ Hug and Pint
09/03 Coby Sey / Cru Servers / Comfort @ Stereo
04/03 Free Love @ Hug and Pint
01/03 Robyn Hitchcock / Jessica Morgan @ Mono
19/02 Ex Void / Headcleaner @ The Old Hairdressers
17/02 Dry Cleaning / Dehd/ Thus Love @ Barrowland
11/02 Marina Allen / Kacey Johannsing @ Hug and Pint
10/02 Lande Hekt / R.Aggs @ Hug and Pint
29/01 Tongue Depressor / Pefkin / Dome Riders @ Old Hairdos
23/01 Peel Dream Magazine/ Wild Cabin / Loris S Sarid @ Broadcast
21/01 The Cool Greenhouse/ Water Machine / Former Champ @ Stereo
19/01 12th Isle presents: Ronald Langestraat / Devon Rexi / Nicolini @ Old Hairdos
05/01 Florist / Carsick Charlie @ Mono

Thursday 28 December 2023

Some favourites from 2023

Not Unloved only deals in facts (and speculation and hyperbole, of course!) and it's a fact that in 2023 I bought more records than I could possibility assimilate in the what little time there was left after workin' for a livin', going to a crazy number of gigs (it was a GREAT year for live music in Glasgow!), attending football matches, listening to music-related podcasts (hiya That Record Got Me High!) and watching copious videos of "Old men talking about records" (copyright J) on YouTube. The inevitable consequence of this was that lots of brilliant records didn't get enough spins which is madness given how expensive a lot of records are these days. Of course, I'll make a resolution to address this unsustainable situation in 2024 and then break it within a fortnight when the first batch of new releases winks at me from from the "Just In" bins. As ever, the only rule for the lists below was that they were bought on a physical format.

N.B. All titles are links to the various records so please check 'em out if you don't know 'em!

Albums:

The Clientele "I'm Not There Anymore" (Merge)
Linda Smith & Nancy Andrews "A Passing Cloud" (Grapefruit)
The Declining Winter "Really Early, Really Late" (Signal)
Purelink "Signs" (Peak Oil) / Intertoto "Thermal Shadow" (Intertoto)
Hotline TNT "Cartwheel" (Third Man)
Man Rei "Health" (Somewhere Press)
Maxine Funke "River Said" (Disciples)
Yo La Tengo "This Stupid World" (Matador)
TKB "Dream Nightclub" (Where To Now?)
seablite "Lemon Lights" (Mt. St. Mtn.)
Pia Fraus "Evening Colours" (Seksound)
GNAC "The Echoes On The Departure" (Vertical Horizon)
Famous Mammals "Instant Pop Expressionism Now!" (Siltbreeze)

E.P.s/singles:


Tara Clerkin Trio "On The Turning Ground" 12" (Tough Love)
Emilia Sisco with Cold Diamond & Mink "Trouble" 7" (Timmion)
Wet Tuna "PARTY PHONE extended play" 12" (Feral Child)
The Laughing Chimes "The Best of The Laughing Chimes E.P." 7" (Slumberland/Prefect)
The Hazmats "Skewed View" 7" (Static Shock)
Quad 90 "Le Blanc" 12" lathe cut (Last Night From Glasgow)
The Prize "First Sight" 7" (Drunken Sailor)
Rain Parade "Last Rays of a Dying Sun" 7" (090)
Lightheaded "Good Good Great!" cassette (Slumberland)
Wild Billy Childish & CTMF "Traces of You" 7" (Spinout Nuggets)
Chime School "Coming To Your Town" 7" (Slumberland)
Thee Marloes "Midnight Hotline" 7" (Big Crown)
Odd Nosdam "End Is Important" 7" (Where To Now?)

Reissues/Compilations:

Wild Carnation "Tricycle (Remastered/Expanded Edition" 2xlp (Delmore)
Ivy "Apartment Life (25h Anniversary Edition)" lp (Bar/None)
Voices From The Lake "s/t" 4 x12" (Spazio Disponibile)
The Particles "1980s Bubblegum" lp (Chapter Music)
The Woods "So Long Before Now" lp (Dot Matrix)
Shizuka "Heavenly Persona" 2xlp (Black Editions)
Hydroplane "Selected Songs 1997-2003" (World of Echo)
Byard Lancaster "It's Not Up To Us" lp (Superior Viaduct)
Primal Scream "Reverberations (Travelling In Time)"  lp (Young Tiki)
Dolly Mixture "BBC Radio Sessions" lp (Sealed)
Air Miami "Me, Me, Me (Deluxe Edition)" 2xlp (4AD)
Hal Blaine "Psychedelic Percussion" lp (Jackpot)
Experimental Audio Research "The K├Âner Experiment" lp (Space Age Recordings)

One more fact: the most exciting second hand record to find its way into Not Unloved's box of most cherished 45s was this heartfelt slice of  60s Michigan guitar pop:


Haha...looking back on this post it would appear that I was suffering from temporary amnesia. There are so many wonderful records that I didn't recall in the moment. Sigh.

Friday 8 December 2023

Mix for Linda Smith & Nancy Andrews / GNAC show at The Glad Cafe


Last night's Linda Smith and Nancy Andrews set at The Glad Cafe was utterly charming from first note to last. The "Gorgeous Weather"  7" (Harriet Records, 1990) was one of the first records Not Unloved bought by Linda Smith. Unfortunately, the Glasgow weather was anything but gorgeous last night with the rain lashing down in a wholly unacceptable manner beforehand. That was forgotten, however, when the music started. GNAC served up half a dozen elegant instrumentals enhanced by compelling visuals while Linda and Nancy were a gentle joy; a much-needed escape from the work stress and the 24 hour news barrage. Note to self: read more poetry.

There was another Not Unloved mix for the occasion which can be streamed here

1.  Maxine Funke - Call On You
2.  Rose Melberg - Take Some Time
3.  The Cannanes - Lamington Lane
4.  Dear Nora - Ghost In My Head
5.  Cheri Knight - Prime Numbers
6.  Karen Marks - Cold Cafe
7.  Trembling Blue Stars - Frosting
8.  The Durutti Column - Messidor
9.  All Girl Summer Fun Band - The Only Ones
10. Dumb Things - Crash Barrier
11. Siouxsie and The Banshees - Spellbound
12. Rodriguez - You Can't Get Away
13. Tangled Shoelaces - The Biggest Movie Ever Made
14. David Kilgour and The Heavys Eights - Christopher Columbus
15. Nikki Blu - (Whoa Whoa) I Love Him So
16. Juniper - Dawn Stole My Guy
17. The Daughters of Eve - Help Me Boy
18. The Monochrome Set - Jet Set Junta
19. The Siddeleys - Bedlam on the Mezzanine
20. Stereo Total - I Love ONO
21. Robin Saville - An Outdoor Planetarium And...
22. Minimum Chips - Goodbye
23. Summer Snow - Flying on the Ground is Wrong

Saturday 25 November 2023

Linda Smith & Nancy Andrews in Scotland (and England)!

Linda Smith's "Till Another Time: 1988-1996" (Captured Tracks) lp was one of Not Unloved's favourite records of 2021. At that point, it didn't seem likely that Linda would be travelling from her Baltimore home to play in the UK anytime soon but roll on a couple of years and Linda is, indeed, playing some UK dates. It is Not Unloved's good fortune to be based in Glasgow and, happily, she is scheduled to appear at The Glad Cafe on Thursday, December  7th. She will be joined by old friend and former Pinky bandmate, Nancy Andrews. The pair will surely be playing the bulk of their tremendous recent "A Passing Cloud" collaboration which saw a vinyl release on Simon Joyner's astutely curated Grapefruit:


"A Passing Cloud" comes highly recommended to anyone with a penchant for atmospheric, slightly eccentric homespun guitar pop and ranks highly on Not Unloved's list of favourite lps of 2023. In addition to playing The Glad Cafe, the duo is stopping-off in the East Neuk of Fife (aka The Promised Land!) at Futtle Organic Brewery on Tuesday, December 5th. Futtle is a really interesting space which combines a small record shop with the brewery. Earlier this year it played host to Andrew Wasylyk, Loris S Sarid and more at the Spots On My Apples (named for a Joni Mitchell lyric, I hear) festival.

Anyone within striking distance is advised to make the effort to see Linda and Nancy on either date as this could be your only chance to see them in the Scotland, well...ever!

Some highlights from Linda's career:

Sundazed-affiliated label Dot Matrix just released a compilation of Linda's early group The Woods:


Harriet was/is once more a smashing imprint!




Let's not forget that Linda released an early 7" on the mighty Slumberland Records
N.B. How is this 7" still available? I urge you to buy it now!


This 2021 lp of instrumentals is a total joy!



Folks south of the border can catch Linda and Nancy along with the admirably cranky Russell Walker (of The Pheromoans, The Lloyd Pack etc.!) and poly-rhythmic pounders Rattle at Upset The Rhythm's 20th Birthday Party at the wonderful Cafe Oto in Dalston on Sunday, December 9th. Full details here. Maybe Not Unloved should make a rare foray south for such an auspicious occasion!

In summary:

Tuesday, 5th December @ Futtle (St. Monan's, Fife) - tickets here
Thursday, 7th December @ The Glad Cafe (Glasgow) - tickets here
Sunday, 9th December @ Cafe Oto (Dalston, London) - tickets here

The Declining Winter & friends / mix

The Declining Winter sound-checking

"To lighten the mood, here are a couple of songs about death". Some quality gallows humour from Richard Adams of The Declining Winter last night. Their set was, indeed, sombre but also beautiful and powerful. It was certainly worth the three and a half year wait following a Covid-19 postponement! Enhanced by violin, keyboards and clarinet, they played tracks from 2023's gorgeous "Really Early, Really Late" (Home Assembly Music/Rusted Rail). For their part, epic45 brought the emotional swells and dynamic range to send the post-rock and shoegaze fans as well as the more pop-minded (Not Unloved has a foot in each of these camps...hahaha) listeners home happy. Stirling's GNAC played first and was as charming, gentle and classy as ever. A smashing evening, therefore, and one where the audience played its part by respecting the fragility of a lot of the music and keeping the Friday night chit-chat to a minimum. Of course, there was a mood-setting Not Unloved mix for the occasion. For a short while it will be available to listen to here. The songs played were:

1.  Naomi Yang - East Boston Is Not An Airport
2.  B12 - Kaxia-80
3.  The Hardy Tree - A Garden Square In The Snow
4.  Tara Clerkin Trio - Marble Walls
5.  Bobby Lee - Gnostic Loners
6.  ESP Summer - Sticky Sun
7.  The Left Outsides - Leaving The Frozen Butterflies Behind
8.  Connie Lovatt - Lines
9.  The Notwist feat. Angel Bat Dawid - Into The Iceage
10. King Khan - The Nature of Things
11. Robin Saville - A Fail All Girl (Loscil Flagra Flagri Mix)
12. Bill Wells & Maher Shalal Hash Baz - Tipsy Cat
13. Berntholer - My Suitor
14. Richard Youngs - The Future Is So Different Today
15. Future Conditional feat. Bobby Wratten & Beth Arzy - Demolitions
16. Black Marble - Emma's House
17. Horse Lords - Rundling
18. Yo La Tengo - Shades of Blue
19. Cat Power - Stay
20. Lee Hazlewood - The House Song 

Sunday 12 November 2023

The Declining Winter / Epic45 / GNAC @ The Old Hairdresser's, 24th November 2023

Back in the spring of 2020, The Declining Winter was scheduled to play at Glasgow's The Old Hairdresser's. Stuart Braithwaite of the mighty Mogwai had agreed to play, too. Unfortunately, it was one of the first shows to be cancelled due to the C***-19 pandemic. Roll forward to November, 2023 and The Declining Winter is finally hitting the road (full tour dates, below!) and, happily, they're stopping-off in Glasgow on Friday, 24th. The bill has been put together with great care with like-minded souls GNAC and Epic45 also due to play:

 

Hood was unquestionably one of the great British groups of the 1990s/early 2000s which released essential records on seminal labels such as Slumberland and DominoThe Declining Winter is the most recent creative outlet for that group's Richard Adams so it's no surprise that their catalogue is a formidable one. 2023's "Really Early, Really Late" (Home Assembly/Rusted Rail), in particular, is a stunning piece of work from start to end and stands up there with the best records Not Unloved has heard in 2023 or, ever, really. In "How To Be Disiullusioned", Adams has crafted one of the most moving, beautiful pieces of music in years that somehow, despite being 10 minutes long, manages to leave you wanting more. If they play it on the 24th, Not Unloved will most likely expire then and there!

 


Over the last couple of decades, Epic45 has amassed a sizable catalogue of gentle, elegant music, sometimes with hushed vocals and sometimes instrumental, informed by minimalism, ambient music and the quieter ends of indiepop and postrock. If most recent album, "Spring" (Wayside & Woodland Recordings), is any guide, their set will be a balm for the soul in these turbulent times:


GNAC (pronounced like the second half of the word 'cognac', I hear) is the pseudonym of Mark Tranmer formerly of The Montgolfier Brothers (the best band Alan McGee signed after Creation Records, according to the venerable Not Unloved) and Sarah Records group St. Christopher. GNAC's lambent instrumental music and sumptuous visuals are always a treat to experience up close. 


Tickets are available >> here *

* as of 12/11/2023, however, there are only 9 tickets remaining so if you fancy it, you better get on it!

Wednesday 2 August 2023

Kickstand

 When was the last time someone mentioned the group Kickstand in your presence? I'll hazard that it wasn't yesterday which is a real shame as in the mid-90s they were one of the best pop bands around for Not Unloved's money. Unfortunately, neither of their albums - 1994's "Kickstand" (Queenie Label) and 1997's "Autostrada" (Little Teddy) - was released on vinyl so modern day collectors who eschew the lowly, unloved CD format are unlikely to seek them out. Both albums are treasures troves stuffed with sweet, unassuming pop that takes its cues from Young Marble Giants (they faithfully covered "Colossal Youth" on their debut) and the K Records school of endearing naivety. Kickstand comprised the Colichio twins, Torry and Tammi, and Half Japanese member and chronicler, Jeff Feuerzeig (who went on to greater fame when he made 2005's brilliant "The Devil And Daniel Johnston"). They collaborated with some real heavyweights of the 90s independent scene with Jad Fair, Dean Wareham and Hamish Kilgour (R.I.P.) donating their talents at various points. Kilgour's appearance on the second album came as no surprise as they had covered The Clean's"Tally Ho" on the first (Not Unloved's introduction to that absolute classic  - cheers, Kickstand...I owe ya!). Unusually for the time, Kickstand didn't leave behind a raft of 45s on an array of small but brilliant labels. Again, that's a shame as they had so many songs that would've made perfect a-sides and some great covers (Felt! The Undertones! Daniel Johnston!) that would've made ideal b-sides. Over the years, one song above all has kept Kickstand somewhere near the front of Not Unloved's memory at least on the 31st of December every year (I post it on Twitter most years):

"New Year's Day" was a proper mixtape staple at the time. For some reason, Kickstand were keen on flying saucers (Torry was even a member of the group Flying Saucer):



Every now and then I daydream of reactivating Not Unloved Records to restore this music to print although, realistically, a label like World of Echo would probably do a much better job and reach a wider audience having established a track record through recent reissues of Kickstand's contemporaries such as The Shapiros, The Cat's Miaow and, in the near future, Hydroplane. For the time being, the curious are urged to hold their nose and snap up the shiny lil discs.