Thursday, 15 February 2018

The Hipshakes "Shot" (Nerve Centre)

Sub-two minute blasts of punkin' garage pop are ten a penny these days. There's so much of it around that it's tempting to look elsewhere for kicks (there's a lot of fine electronic music around at the moment, that's for sure) to save spending what seems like an eternity sifting out the lumps. One 7" that made a dent recently was the latest 45 by The Hipshakes. Pleasingly, it's unafflicted by that rodeo announcer vocal effect that the lesser groups of their ilk use to disguise the lack of a melody or any discernible vocal ability. "Shot" breezes along perkily and in the past would've had the kids down the youth club pogoing merrily. Great backing vocal swells and a lovably wonky guitar solo that disappears as quickly as it appeared enhance the air of uncomplicated fun.

The Yearning "Do You Remember?"

The Yearning is a group who could have been designed by focus group to appeal to Not Unloved's sensibilities. Take "Do You Remember" from their latest 10" for Elefant, its catchiness is undeniable, its production as classy as anything around just now and Maddie Dobie's voice is as beautiful a sound as I've heard in 2018. It wouldn't sound out of place on the soundtrack to any number of Nouvelle Vague movies. I worry that they'll slip under the radar and not get the acclaim they deserve. Here's hoping the new 10" succeeds in finding the right ears. Now, where did I put all those elegant looking and sounding Siesta CDs I bought in the '90s? 

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Dreamin's For Free

With 7"s being released in ever smaller pressings and becoming pricier by the year, it's impossible to be on top of every good label, or cherished (micro)genre so, inevitably, a lot of gems slip between the cracks and when they do, it's always a downer to see just how expensive they've become. After Did Not Chart shone a light on The Flying Stars of Brooklyn NY's sublime "My God Has A Telephone", I followed a bunch of sidebar links and found myself smitten with Benjamin and The Right Direction's ultra-romantic "Dreamin's For Free" (Palmetto St. Recording Co.):

Sure enough, a quick check on discogs revealed that it is now a £100+ record. Not for the likes of me, then. Ah well, at least YouTube-in's (almost) for free.  Benjamin and co.'s 7" was released on Palmetto St. Recording Co., which seems to be a sub-label of the mighty Daptone Records whose garage imprint, Wickjust unleashed the zesty new Mark Sultan single. "Let Me Out":

It's sure to have people in highly flammable clothing frugging wildly at retro-themed dance parties the world over. Mark Sultan is scheduled to play both Edinburgh and Glasgow in March, 2018. Let me in!

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Best of 2017 lists for Monorail Music

Most years, there's nothing I like better than to be asked what my favourite records have been. This year, however, it was a little tricky as, although I bought a lot of (okay, way too many) records, I didn't always find the time to listen and absorb them so a lot of what I listened to was whatever made it onto my phone which is a bit silly when virtually everything I bought was on vinyl. Enough excuses, though; here are the lists I submitted when Monorail Music kindly asked for my thoughts a few weeks ago. There are some shameful local omissions e.g. AMOR's two 12"s for Night School or Golden Teacher's self-released lp. That's what happens when you use the first thought=best thought approach to compiling these lists, I guess.


1. The Clientele "Music For the Age of Miracles" (Tapete)
2. Kelly Lee Owens "s/t" (Smalltown Supersound)
3. The Luxembourg Signal "Blue Field" (Shelflife/Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten)
4. A Certain Smile "Fits and Starts" (My Lil Underground)
5. Mope Grooves "Joy" (See My Friends)
6. Sacred Paws "Strike A Match" (Rock Action)
7. Spinning Coin "Permo" (Geographic)
8. Rat Columns "Candle Power" (Upset The Rhythm)
9. The BVs "Speaking From A Distance" (Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten)
10. Ekin Fil "Ghosts Inside" (Helen Scarsdale Agency)


1. Spinning Coin "Raining On Hope Street" (Geographic)
2. Corner Boys "Just Don't Care" (Drunken Sailor)
3. The Luxembourg Signal "Laura Palmer" (Shelflife)
4. Wallflower "Nowhere" (Fastcut)
5. The Flying Stars of Brooklyn NY "My God Has A Telephone" (Colemine)
6. UV-TV "Go Away e.p." (Emotional Response)
7. Mick Trouble "It's The Mick Trouble e.p." (Emotional Response)
8. The Love-Birds "Filled With Hate" (Empty Cellar)
9. Omar S feat. Nite Jewel "I Confess To U" (FXHE)
10. Davy Kehoe "Short Passing Game" (Wah Wah Wino)


1. Dion "Kickin' Child: The Lost Album 1965" (Norton)
2. Look Blue Go Purple "Still Bewitched" (Captured Tracks)
3. William C Beeley "Gallivantin'" (Tompkins Square)
4. Jackie Shane "Any Other Way" (Numero Group)
5. 14 Iced Bears "s/t" (Optic Nerve)


"I Won't Have To Think About You: Compiled by Bayu and Moopie" (A Colourful Storm)


Monday, 2 October 2017

The Trend "Band Aid"

Don't you love studio chat on records? Thinking back, I'm pretty sure the reason why I love it so much can be attributed to Paulie Chastain's endearing "Hey, Mr. Engineer man" at the start of  his adorable "Raining All Day". There's a fine example of studio chat on the astounding "Band Aid" by The Trend where the young guitarist starts playing the wrong song. Something about his response to being corrected doesn't ring true, suggesting it might be scripted. Whatever the truth, it's a fine way to start a track. "Band Aid" is a knockout punch of a song, full of bite and lovable ineptitude (the brief guitar solo shambles along like a shopping trolley missing a wheel). "Band Aid" was a YouTube recommendation and I fully expected to pay 20 quid for it on discogs. A quick search, however, revealed that it was a $1000+ single. It just goes to show how little Not Unloved knows about punk! Thankfully, Rome's Hate Records reissued it in 2016. Turning up a copy proved to be tricky, Hate having long since sold out of it, but Slovenly's online store eventually came up trumps. Now to play the a-side...

Monday, 15 May 2017

Don and Bobby (and The Pooches!)

At a Darren Hanlon gig what seems like aeons ago, a couple of friends* recommended Don Lennon's music to me. I made the usual mental note which was promptly misfiled in my brain so I never found my fingers typing his name into a search engine. Wind on a few years and another friend recommended Lennon's first group, The Umpteens, to me. This time I took the hint and discovered just what a fool I'd been for not listening to his music sooner:

"Party All The Time" is somnambulant soul pop for the Chickfactor generation. A heavenly, late-night studio match-up of Jens Lekman at his peak with the Timmion Records house band at their most suavely recumbent. Unbeatable, really.

On the subject of Finland's cherished Timmion label, have you heard Bobby Oroza's "This Love" on its Stylart offshoot? If at any point in the last couple of months you had bumped into me on Argyle Street, there's a fair chance that I would have bored you senseless with my unquantifiable love for its warm, gently impassioned charms. If Bobby never makes another great record, he will forever be a giant in Not Unloved's eyes for "This Love" alone.

The picture sleeve version appears to be long gone and, as expected, is already getting pricey on discogs but the repress in the generic sleeve is still available for a sensible price if you look hard enough (I got mine from Jazzman). Get on it!

* - these friends now make up half of The Pooches who recorded a lovely version of Don Lennon's "Songs" for a charity tape:

Mope Grooves, The Fireworks & Omar S feat. Nite Jewel

Mope Grooves "Z" (from "Joy", See My Friends)

Portland, Oregon (USA) has a produced a bewildering list of dandy groups over the years. To that list I'd cheerfully add Mope Grooves. Their recent "Joy" LP boasts a whole heap of things that would've turned my head at any point in the last 25 years: scrappy songs beamed from lost Television Personalities rehearsal tapes, jangling guitars that duck and dive as if play fighting and the odd crayon scribble of noise. This is music made by the kids who drew cheeky cartoons in the margins of their science books. Maximum possible joy!

The Fireworks "Dream About You All Day" (Shelflife, USA/Opposite Number, UK)

Not Unloved has always felt big love for The Fireworks, going back to their first 7".
Not Unloved has always felt big love for Beth Arzy, going back to her first 7" with Aberdeen in those fondly remembered Sarah Records days.
Not Unloved feels big love for Beth Arzy fronting The Fireworks.
Not Unloved couldn't love "Dream All Day" any more if it tried.

Omar S feat. Nite Jewel "Confess To U" (FXHE)

In October 2016 Not Unloved danced self-consciously even when no-one was looking to Omar S and Nite Jewel's first collaboration, "Nite Train". The assumption at the time was that this was a one-off deal. There was much rejoicing, therefore, when news of a second release from the pair appeared in February. "Confess To U" is the most annoying record to play being a one-sided 12" affair with 2 concentric grooves - a vocal mix and a Hamtramck remix - on the playing side which play from the inside out. Argh! All of that's forgotten, however, when the summertime vocal hooks kick-in. It's the sound of summer 1989 and should, by rights, be booming obnoxiously from the tape decks of Ford Escort cabriolets the nation over.