Sunday, 1 March 2015

Spinning Coin "Albany"

Sometimes you go to a show and there's an unfamiliar new local band on the bill and you're not really expecting too much of them so you're chitting and chatting but then they play a song and it stops you mid-witter.  That song then plays in your head on and off for days so you get fired-up with evangelical zeal, hellbent on telling the world, only to remember that it's 2015 and that unless you can let people hear the song in question, it'll be forgotten in the time it takes to read 'View 4 new Tweets'.  The last time that happened?  When I heard 'Albany'" by Spinning Coin at Audio last December.  Helpfully for evangelists, it has now been posted to Winning Sperm Party's  - they're releasing the group's tape - Soundcloud page:

What an endearing slice of weed-dazed, vulnerability! A friend astutely mentioned the name Further on hearing them. To that I'd add Tomorrow's Tulips. I suspect that the Burger Records' collective hearts will pogo when they hear it. If the rest of the tape is as affecting it'll be a must purchase.  From the two times I've seen them live, however,  I know there are at least two or three more stunners, one of which is in the vein of Teenage Fanclub's unageing, untouchable "Everything Flows".


Sean Armstrong, one of the singers in Spinning Coin, has just made available his solo version of "Albany" and it's a dreamy, Alex Chilton-like affair.  Plain lovely.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Marshall Scott Etc.

For many years now, Saturday mornings have started with sleep-listening to Brian Matthew's Sounds of the Sixties on BBC Radio 2.  As with Peel's show, he plays such a wide range of material that I never like everything but every once in a while he'll play something new (to me) that cuts through the haze and has me scurrying to the internet.  This week it was romantic beat merchants Marshall Scott Etc..  Unusually, my search turned up a great British Pathe video in which the group step Mr Benn-style straight out of a gentleman's outfitters - check the guitarist's tartan trews! - into the grounds of Woburn Abbey to mime their tender 'Same Old Feeling' single:

Looks like the drummer went to the Ringo Starr school of larking about and smiling!  With its easy charm and sun-steeped melody, it's hard to believe that 'Same Old Feeling' wasn't the handiwork of a bunch of tanned Californians.  Now to find a copy on 7"...

Thursday, 12 February 2015


A trip to a record shop just isn't complete without at least one 7" sneaking into your bag is it?  The other week it was a new Vampisoul release which pairs a Colombian original by Elia Y Elizabeth with a cover another of their songs by Elefant Records' Single.  'Alegria' by Elia Y Elizabeth is beautifully constructed: verses of gentle, sunny day funkiness that slip with ease into a chorus of brassy exuberance.  It's just so endearing!  Vampisoul's parent label, Munster Records, has released this fine looking item by the sisters which, should it find its way into, say, Monorail's racks (hint!) will find a willing purchaser...

Single's take on 'Soy Una Nube' on the reverse is a more beat-driven affair that skulks somewhere between the brilliant bri-nylon pop of Saint Etienne circa "Nothing Can Stop Us" and a US 70s cop show theme.  An unexpected ESG sample seeps in around halfway through and pops up again at the end by which point you've already reached for the modern tools of evangelism.

Single is a duo (ha!), both of whom - Ibon Errazkin and Teresa Iturrioz - were in the eternally elegant Le Mans whose 90s records for Elefant were things of gentle wonder, especially their double 10" "Saudade" which still gets semi-regular spins on the Not Unloved turntable.  It's great to be reminded of their music and good to hear that they're still making lovely records (which sometimes have freaky covers!).

Glaswegians: As of 2 days ago Monorail had at least one copy of this essential 7" left.  Get on it!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Honey Radar "Chain Smoking on Easter" (Third Uncle/Treetop Sorbet)

In true Not Unloved fashion, I feel the need to outline the typically haphazard way in which the outstanding Honey Radar lp "Chain Smoking On Easter" came into my life.  A while back my pal R asks if I follow (fanzine/podcast) Dynamite Hemorrhage on Twitter.  I say 'no' but duly rectify that.  DH then tweets with pride that one of the Ugly Things writers has listed it among their favourite things of 2014.  Being nosier than is decent and an obsessive digester of favourite things lists, I scour the aformentioned 'The Best of 2014 According To a Bunch of Ugly Things Writers' page and let out a little gasp when my eyes alight on this description:

Honey Radar Chain Smoking on Easter (Third Uncle) LP

Kitchen-sink psych-punk (ala Swell Maps, Television Personalities) using economy as a calling card, interspersed with ‘60s licks, noisy bits and a harmonious instrumental interplay. An assault of sixteen tracks blasts forth in a mere 21 minutes, and brings to mind the earliest moments of Pavement.

Maybe 32 seconds into streaming the album's arresting opener on bandcamp I was manically searching for a UK distributor.  Luckily Rough Trade had the smarts to stock it so a costly and fraught airmail experience was avoided.  There isn't a wasted second or the semblance of something I'd change given half a chance to across the entirety of this record and I certainly wouldn't be plum crazy enough to wish it had been recorded in a plush studio and not in the Richmond, Indiana home of Jason Henn.  At around 1 minute and 47 seconds, I used to believe Primal Scream's "Velocity Girl" to be the ultimate short duration pop song.  Then I heard The Charlottes' even shorter "Are You Happy Now?" and realised it wasn't.  At 47 seconds, however, "Alabama Wax Habit" makes the pair of them look like ponderous prog epics.  It makes its point and makes off with your heart in just 47 seconds.  Its tinnitus inducing (only in the left ear if you listen on headphones, mind) ultra-high pitch jangle is a sound beamed straight from my dreams.  In three decades of jamming Robert Pollard never happened on a more succinct but fully realised meeting of sound and melody.  "Birds Reunion" is the loosest, free-est recent rendering of the classic early Flying Nun Records sound.  In summary, "Chain Smoking on Easter" is pure orange sherbet and the most easily lovable missive from the US underground I've heard in years..  Thinking back, I don't recall being so concussed or made so madly evangelical about a record since "Eyes Rind as if Beggars" by The Garbage and The Flowers jump-started my heart and flooded my brain till it couldn't take anymore.  The new Twerps lp, the Go-betweens box set, those Pip Proud reissues etc. will have to wait to earn my love as Honey Radar won't be budging from my turntable any time soon.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Ringleaders "Grin and Bare It"

Secret Stash Records of Minneapolis, USA have been poking around in the archives of  the 1960s Chicago based One-derful! family of labels for a 6 disc compilation series.  In the process they've happened upon some tremendous hitherto unissued soul gems which are now taking their rightful place on 7" vinyl.  "Grin and Bare It" by The Ringleaders is a crisp, horn-filled beat-stepper that'll make a welcome addition to any Northern Soul DJ's box.  "I've Got To Find My Baby" on the flip is far mellower group soul fare which again features some wonderfully soulful horn lines and a few moments that would have made lovely samples for Wiggs & Stanley in the early 90s.  Two top quality sides and easily the best unreleased soul cuts to reach these ears since that sensational Up Tights 7".

Hear lengthy samples and buy it here (US) or here (UK).

Saturday, 24 January 2015

The Wrong Society "To Be Free"

Once again I find myself hugely indebted to Higher State chap Mole.  His keen ears and knowledge of the current garage scene make his m.brooks m.porium ebay store a smashing resource for helping lazy lumps like me to keep up with what's out there.  The latest smash to hit the m.porium's virtual shelves is a 7" by Hamburg's The Wrong Society:

What a fizzing tune!  That guitar solo is pure desperation and do you hear the slightest tang of Martin Phillips (The Chills) in the way the singer pleads "Set me free!", too?  "To Be Free" could be slipped without any qualms onto any of those vintage Teenage Shutdown downer jangle comps.  With Denmark's The Youth, France's Les Grys-Grys and now Germany's The Wrong Society, European garage punk is in a right good state.  My self-imposed mailorder embargo was never gonna last, not with 45s of the quality of "To Be Free" screaming for attention.  I just didn't think my resolve would crumble so soon!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Missing, presumed lost

For the second time in three years my Christmas present from me to me has been 'lost in the post'.  This comes hot on the heels of my first copy of The Luxembourg Signal's phenomenal lp being 'lost in the post' and a consignment of 7"s from Groovie Records allegedly meeting the same fate.  The sellers have been really good about it all: Groovie Records sent replacements, I got a refund on the LS lp and I'm sure the person from whom I bought an original copy (Mint-, by all accounts) of The Romancers' sublime "She Gives Me Love" will do like likewise but it's killed my enthusiasm for buying records by post.  Music and buying records is supposed to be fun, not fraught, and those around me are heartily sick of hearing me moan about the postal services of the world so, for the time being, my PayPal account will get a much needed rest, my postman won't have to cart records up 3 flights of stairs and (in a small way) it'll be a boom time for the bricks and mortar record shops of Glasgow.

"She Gives Me Love" is, for me, one of the standout cuts on Outta Sight's wondrous "East LA Soul - Rampart Records 1963-1971" cd.  It would've been such a thrill to own a well preserved copy of it on vinyl.

* - 'first' as I bought a second copy from a different seller - the original seller had none left - with my refund which in total cost in excess of 30 quid and arrived bashed despite being packaged well.  Yet another thing that's chipped away at my enthusiasm for buying mail-order.