Sunday, 5 July 2020

7"s! (Ribbon Stage / Lost Cat / Romero)

Things are looking up, finally. By looking up, of course, I mean a bunch of ace new 45s have appeared or are imminent. Not Unloved's pals at Monorail Music did the intros to New Yorkers Ribbon Stage yesterday. On the evidence of "Favorite Girl" (from their contribution to  K Records' IPU series), lovers of amped-up guitar pop that's not over-worked or over-wrought (hey...that's me!) have a new crush to set their hearts racing.

Outro Records has been busy over the last couple of years cranking out a slew of fine throwback garage punk records (The Premonitions, The Night Times, etc.). Their latest 7" to land at UK distros is the mighty fine "Don't Need A Man" by Lost Cat. The lead track makes me miss The Bobbyteens but "He's Gone" on the flip is moodier and stands up to repeated plays. I'm pretty sure you could you could sneak it unnoticed onto an early volume of Girls In The Garage without too many listeners filing a complaint with their MP.

Julian at Drunken Sailor does sterling work keeping on top of what's going on in the worlds of punk, hardcore, trash, power pop etc. so lazy lumps like Not Unloved don't have to.  For example, Australian group Romero's debut single, "Honey" (Cool Death), has been out since February but only landed with a bump in my world when Julian stocked it. It's a zesty concoction comprised of Blondie-worthy guitar lines and impassioned vocals that is clinically proven to cause fist-pumping and the shouting of "What happened at the discotheque?" . It's somewhere between Sheer Mag and The Strokes but less rock than the former and way more fun than the latter. Turn it up!

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Freedom Rides

When I was 11 years old I was obsessed with football and biscuits (especially Bourbon Creams). I certainly wasn't writing and recording blasting power pop anthems with killer hooks. Dennis Harte, on the other hand, was and "Freedom Rides" (Roundtable, 1967) by his group Pure Madness is something special:

"Love has died
  Freedom rides
  Love has died
  Freedom rides
  I don't love you
  I don't need you
  I don't want you...
  Because you're not mine" 

From what I've read, this his been mis-categorised as a girl garage number which is understandable given Dennis's pre-teen voice. I reckon the young Kim Wilde could've knocked out a cracking version of it in 1981.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Ups And Downs

Not Unloved is way too disorganised to our alphabetise 7"s. Should lockdown-induced boredom ever make it seem like an attractive proposition, however, the U section will be pretty thin. There will be a few cracking Urusei Yatsura singles , that stupendous Umpteens 45 and a couple of superior quality janglers by 80s Brisbane then Sydney-based group, Ups and Downs1986's "In The Shadows" sounds like a perfect 80s radio hit. Maybe it was in Australia. Passionate vocals, clean production and, above all, a singalong chorus. "The Perfect Crime", from the previous year (if Wikipedia is telling the truth), is a notch darker and starts off with strong echoes of R.E.M.s. earliest recordings. Again, it has immaculately recorded guitars aplenty and the kind of melody just begging to be sung by serious teens in cardigans as they dance round their The Smiths and The Go-betweens poster-lined bedrooms. These weren't acquired at the time - I was too busy kicking a football on any available patch of grass to know anything about Australian pop! -  but some time in the early 2000s (from the stock of the legendary but by then closed, Minus Zero) after a kind soul included an Ups and Downs song on an all-Australian mix CD-R. I'm glad he did.

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Journey To Tyme

Thanks to an, er, 'administrative error' (guess which chump put a decimal point in the wrong place on a speculative ebay bid), Not Unloved became the custodian of a nice promo copy of this long admired 60s psych/punk slammer:

There aren't many snarlier, snottier vocal performances in the Not Unloved 7" boxes and I reckon it outdoes most other 60s Texan punkers in terms of sheer guitar heft and its frenzied ending approaches Love's almighty "7 and 7 Is" for drumming power. A banger, for sure. The phrase "Journey To Tyme" was borrowed in the early 2000s for an enjoyable series of garage bootlegs (?), volume 2 of which provided Not Unloved's introduction to the brilliant Faine Jade.

Friday, 1 May 2020

Looking for something to watch?

Record Safari follows Alex Rodriguez, the vinyl buyer for Coachella festival's record store, on a buying trip round the States hitting local record stores along the way and chatting with store owners and collectors. Some of the people he meets are well known (WFMU's legendary girl group collector Sheila Burgel, Nuggets compiler Lenny Kaye etc), others less so but everyone has a cool reminiscence or record or two to share. Some of the shops seems to have just ridiculous numbers of second hand lps. It's hard not to be a bit jealous of the folks who get to rifle through those boxes and shelves of dusty records on a regular basis. Alex, himself, is a low-key, amiable fellow with a penchant for vintage band t-shirts so spending an hour and forty minutes in his company is easy and there's always the fun of trying to spot cool records in the background e.g I'm sure I spotted a 7" in a generic 13 O'Clock Records sleeve and a little corner of that legendary Savage Resurrection lp.

Icky Boyfriends is the kind of band that Not Unloved should have known about 25+ years ago but, somehow, didn't. Scrappy, slightly juvenile loser punks without an ounce of fidelity, they must have been fanzine gold in their day. "I'm Not Fascinating - The Movie!", their contribution to the history of no-budget cinema, is an enjoyably rough and ready (think that ace first Redd Kross film) tale of a band on the rise who get signed and then trashed by an unscrupulous music industry exec. Sure it's, basically, a bunch of pals having a bit of knowing fun but they did have some help from some pals with some solid underground credentials: I spotted the name Aaron Dilloway in the credits and the director, Danny Plotnick, was one of the crew behind 80s/90s zine, Motorbooty (thanks for the scoop, TQ!), who also directed a few other short curios that are well worth a few minutes of your time, especially if you dug The Loud Family.

Sunday, 26 April 2020

A horror film

Sending and receiving records through the mail can be a fraught business. Anyone who buys significant numbers of records online will have their own horror stories of parcels gone missing, inadequate packaging, seams splits, badly dinged corners etc.. A couple of months back a Mint- copy of one of the best garage pop 7"s to hit Not Unloved's eardrums - The Reasons Why "Tell Her One More Time" (Amy) - came up for sale so I stumped up the pennies and waited excitedly/nervously for the postal system to do its work. What a record! :

When it finally arrived, however, the parcel was damaged; it looked suspiciously like it had been stood on. Despite being well enough packaged, the vinyl was cracked and unplayable. Argh! In more than two decades of buying records I had never had that happen before. The seller was very understanding so I got a full refund and moved on mourning yet another one that got away. I hadn't really thought too much more about it until I stumbled upon this horror clip on Friday:

Imagine paying 9000GBP for one of the rarest soul records ever only for it to be run over by a truck - *shudder*. It sure puts my comparatively meagre loss into perspective.

Friday, 24 April 2020

The Mice "Little Rage" (What Goes On)

It can't be that often that the mighty Yo La Tengo get upstaged on a split 7" but on 1987's split with Cleveland, Ohio's The Mice (What Goes On Records), I reckon that's exactly what happened. "Little Rage" by The Mice - lifted from their "Scooter" lp - is a cascade of jangling guitars, youthful vocals, melody and even the odd blast of trumpet. Not Unloved bought this for the Yo La Tengo side (the fairly fried"House Fall Down" from "New Wave Hot Dogs") but ended up only having ears for "Little Rage".  Such is the way of things, however, I got distracted and never did dedicate the time to explore the group's other work. Lockdown 2020 seems like just the time to do it, eh?