Tuesday, 27 December 2016

3 old songs that sent me loopy in 2016

Songs like "You're My Lover" are so great as they prove conclusively what a know-nothing blowhard I was in in the past when I argued that there was very little or no good music made before punk in the 70s. It's such an urgent, touching tune that it never becomes background music.  There were evenings this year where this was the only song I listened to.  It's still  available (why it didn't sell out in minutes upon its release is a mystery) on 7" via France's Pop The Balloon Records here.   Pop The Balloon also sells on discogs so finding a copy couldn't be easier.

The Australian group Terry not only made one of Not Unloved's favourite lps of 2016 but they also introduced me to this stunning Dion and The Wanderers version of a Tom Paxton song by including it on the free mix CD that came with initial copies of their lp when ordered via Monorail Music.  In the days that followed hearing it for the first time I bored anyone foolish enough to linger in my presence for more than a second that it was exactly what I'd always hoped Bob Dylan would sound like. The La's would have walked barefoot over broken glass for its intro and timeless melody.  For a few days I was the proud owner of a (supposedly) Mint- copy of it but then the discogs seller had to admit that they couldn't find it and a full refund was issued. Shame.

When a friend shared"Losing You" on social media after hearing it again (he's more in touch with popular culture than me!), I wasn't looking for a new obsession.  I had plenty obsessions to be going on with, thank you very much.  But it did become an obsession and if YouTube clips deteriorated through overuse as old VHS tapes used to, the clip above would be unwatchable for everyone else by now. Thanks to another French discogs seller, I can luxuriate in the 12" till the vinyl wears thin.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Toulouse "Checks and Credit" (Tinseltones)

Back in my Tinseltones days I put out Toulouse's "Checks and Credit".  I was so proud of how it turned out: dazzling/dizzying tunes, gorgeous sleeve (more than a hint of Belle and Sebastian's art style, ahem!) and heavyweight Czech vinyl.  I just noticed that it was shared on Soundcloud:

Nearly two decades on it still sounds fresh and vital (ha!) and I feel proud all over again.  If only I still had a bunch of copies.  I'd give them to people who would love them.  Still, it''s pretty cheap on discogs.  Go on treat yourself...it's Christmas!

P.S. Note the note on the discogs page:

"remember the lost bands who never had a hope: "checks and credit" by toulouse, it was scratchy, it was great"
(comet gain: "the ballad of a mix tape")

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Release day! / where to buy the Vital Idles 7"

Despite the gloomy state of record sales for wee labels, Not Unloved is still chuffed and proud that today the Vital Idles single was finally released.  Thanks to everyone who has already pre-ordered/ordered the single.  Thanks, too, to everyone who has written about (Did Not Chart, Poplib, Ski Pie Rage, I Left Without My Hat, Polaroid etc.) or played it on their shows (Rocker at Dandelion, Futures & Pasts, Alan Godsell at Radio Saltire, Dana Katharine at WPRB etc.).  The record is distributed via Cargo in the UK and is available from these fine places:

Not Unloved's bandcamp
Monorail Music (a 'Staff Pick' and a wonderful write-up - thanks folks!)
Norman Records
Rise Music
Tome Records (in store in London)
Rough Trade
Coda Music (in store in Edinburgh)
Assai (in store in Dundee)
Sone Records (online and in store in Hamamatsu, Japan)
Good Press Gallery (online and in store in Glasgow)
Pebble Records (online and in store in Eastbourne)
Jigsaw Records (Seattle, USA)
Florida's Dying (Orlando, Florida, USA)
Goner Records (Memphis, Tennessee, USA)
Piccadilly Records (Manchester, England)

Happy days!

Monday, 28 November 2016

Playlist from Hard Left gig

Any show with the combined brutal talents of Anxiety, Kaspar Hauser and Hard Left is a Saturday night show if ever I saw one.  Despite being on a Sunday night, all three groups whipped up a storm
and amply rewarded the hardy souls who were in attendance.  Unfortunately, I dropped my pen into the dark recesses of The 13th Note so was unable to write down what I played but what made it from my little 7" box to the decks was as follows but I can't vouch for the order being accurate:

Fatal Microbes Violence Grows
The Nightingales Paraffin Brain
Bush Tetras Too Many Creeps
Tesco Bombers Hernando's Hideaway
The World It Takes 2
The Mekons Where Were You?
Buzzcocks Love You More
The Quads There Must Be Thousands
Wild Billy Childish and The MBEs Thatcher's Children
The Avengers We Are The One
Royal Trux Waterpark
The Muffs Big Mouth
The Zeros Main Street Brat
Lungleg Maid To Minx
Primetime Pervert
Momus Hairstyle of the Devil
CC Dust New Ways
Molly Nilsson Ugly Girl
Crash Bright Colored Lights (in honour of Mike from Hard Left's old group)
The Rain Parade You Are My Friend
Memphis You Supply The Roses

A big thank you to David from Ski Pie Rage for telling me about that Quads 7" a couple of years back.  It's a real topper and, for once, doesn't cost a fortune on discogs! 

Friday, 25 November 2016

10th December 2016: Vital Idles 7" launch at Titwood Bowling Club, Glasgow

Celebrate the launch of the debut 7" by Vital Idles (out 09/12/2016 on Not Unloved Records) with a knees-up in a bowling club!

When? 10/12/2016 (a Saturday!) between 19:00 & 23:00
Where?  Titwood Bowling Club (take the train from Glasgow Central to Pollokshields West - the first stop! - and it's about a 4 minute walk!)
How much? Only 4 quid on the door.

Joining Vital Idles will be:

Current Affairs: Strident, utterly compelling post-punk from the dark side whose members can also be seen tearing it up in Shopping, Anxiety and Kaspar Hauser.

Sham Gate: Niall's performances teeter on the edge of total collapse and total euphoria. Expect complete in-the-moment musical freedom!

Pig's Nest: Talked about in hushed tones, these cats are rarely seen live. Musho and David are 40% of the mighty Mordwaffe, the other 60% being 75% of Vital Idles.  Yeah!

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Hard Left at The 13th Note (27/11/2016)

Glaswegians!  There's a rare chance to witness Hard Left's oppositional '77 punk barrage downstairs in The 13th Note a week on Sunday.  Come along and pay your respects to Mike Schulman and Stewart Anderson and thank them profusely for all those incredible Slumberland Records and 555 Recordings/Emotional Response releases that have illuminated the last quarter century.  Two of Glasgow's most abrasive and exhilarating groups will be sharing the bill with them: Kaspar Hauser and Anxiety.  Between the mayhem, I'll be playing some records and endeavouring not to kill the vibe.  It'll be ferocious but that seems like a suitable response to how 2016 has panned out.

There are Facebook events for the Glasgow gig as well as the Demand The Impossible tour.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

The Sticks "No Sustain e.p." (Market Square Recordings)

Paul Messis's Market Square Recordings has, for Not Unloved's money, released some of the most consistently enjoyable singles of recent years.  Its latest missive is a fantastic four-tracker of prickly, but adorable when you get to know it, post-punk by Brighton's The Sticks.  It's good to have The Sticks back on vinyl. I'd assumed them defunct as a few years have passed since I bought their M'Lady's Records single and their name hasn't cropped up all too much since.  Any of the tracks on "No Sustain e.p." would hold its own among the myriad astute picks on Dynamite Hemorrhage or Futures and Pasts playlists.  Those with a fondness for The Fire EnginesThe Pheromoans and groups of that ilk should enjoy pulling awkward Anglepoise lamp-style shapes to The Sticks.  MSR 14 is released in an edition of only 300 so swift purchasing action is in order!

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Planet Jazz "New To Try" (Crocodile Records)

Two years ago the reactivated Crocodile Records released an ace 7" by The Phrogs which earned a few hastily tapped words on Not Unloved.   Next up for Crocodile is a fizzing 4 tracker from Cornwall's skinny tie/shaky leg merchants Planet Jazz.  "New To Try" bursts out of the traps with youthful vigour and never lets up for two minutes.  It's sure to lift the spirits of those who remember the prime powerpop of the turn of the 80s and anyone who treasures their #1s 7"s as much as I do.  Keep an eye out for it!

Out November 1st (pre-order up soon)

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Some recent favourites

Los Cripis show up in Glasgow way more frequently than you would expect for a group from Argentina.  Their latest show with Current Affairs, Still House Plants and (Brighton's) Mortgage in the roasting basement of the Transmission gallery was another pleasing kick to the shins.  They still do slightly stern art pop better than most and their latest 7", "Restaurant" (Glad Fact), has already elbowed its way to the front of the recent purchases pile on a fair few occasions.

Somehow I completely lost touch with what Hozac Records was up to.  It was only when The Jeanies 7" landed in Monorail Music recently that I was reminded of their existence and went poking around on their Soundcloud page where I found faithful adherents of the early 80s Paisley Underground sound, Soft Candy.  Without doubt they have a fondness for The Rain Parade and who can blame them?  "Bixarre Luv Pyramids" won't earn itself any column inches in The Wire but you can bet your Chelsea boots that, should they hear it, Shindig! will flip their Brian Jones wigs over it.

Foolishly, my copy of Lady Wray's debut lp is still in the to-be-listened-to pile, its shrinkwrap intact .  On the evidence of the "Do It Again" 7" (Big Crown), however, it will be bursting with production detail, melodies to get you through the day and a voice that goes through the gears as easily as a vintage Jag.

I've pestered the good folks at Rubadub three times this week to no avail for a copy of the latest Omar S 12",  "Sky Train" (FXHE), which boasts an unexpectedly soulful vocal by Nite Jewel.  If there's a more uplifting, soul cleansing track around just now, it's yet to reach these ears. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

NUSONIC 001: Vital Idles - My Sentiments b/w The Garden (teaser!)

Finally, the time has come to share the teaser for NUSONIC 001 with the world!  I've loved Vital Idles since witnessing their first gig in May, 2015 - I wrote about it here - and that love has only increased with each successive gig and with the release of their demo tapes.  If ever a band was suited to 7" vinyl it's Vital Idles so Not Unloved is super-excited to be able to help them onto their rightful format.

Tell the world!

Here's the blurb:

Vital Idles are Jess, Nick, Matthew and Ruari. In 2015 they leapt fully formed from the fertile intersection of Glasgow's visual art and music undergrounds. Their early live shows were a revelation, all ecstatic dancing and incisive tunes that betrayed an affection for the pioneering run of 7"s from the dawn of Rough Trade and the more pop slanted sounds from the worldwide DIY boom that followed. NUSONIC 001, the first release on Not Unloved Records, marks their vinyl debut following two stirring demo tapes and highlights a group equally adept at abrasive postpunk ("My Sentiments") and saucy pastoral pop ("The Garden"). Fans of Kleenex, Primetime and The Smiths are urged to take note!

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Still stuck on 7" singles!

In the 80s I loved Crackerjack. The best bit was when somebody got gunked (as happens 39mins 35secs into this clip).  I've bought so many records but gone to so many gigs of late (there's been quite a run in Glasgow in recent weeks: Terry/Woolf/Anxeity, Moritz von Oswald, The Goon Sax/Boys Forever/Spinning Coin, Cavern of Anti-Matter, Colleen Green/Cassie Ramone/The Pooches, Bill Orcutt/Okkyung Lee etc. etc.) that on those rare evenings when I do actually sit down to listen to them it feels akin to being sat in a Crackerjack gunking booth, voluntarily pulling the cord and getting soaked to the skin by new music.  At the most recent gunking these are the 7" singles that widened Not Unloved's eyes the most:

What a heart melting slice of bounce-pop!  Tangible Excitement! have tremendous pop pedigree, being a collaboration between Scott Stevens, (singer with The Earthmen, Summer Cats), Stewart Anderson (Boyracer and a million other fab groups) and Mark Monnone (The Lucksmiths, Monnone Alone etc).  For good measure Louis from The Zebras/Bart and Friends guests on guitar, too.  On the flip there's an irresistibly fizzy cover of Tiger Trap's much cherished "Puzzle Pieces" that rivals the original in terms of sheer joy.

I don't think I'll be hearing from any lawyers if I say that The Jeanies have a fondness for the records of Big Star and Milk'n'Cookies.  That, of course, is no bad thing and when they can craft melodies as instantly memorable as "Amilee", they'll earn admiration for more than just having fine record collections.

At a recent gig a friend declared that they were officially over the 60s garage sound and never needed to hear or see another group so fixated on that period ever again.  It being 2016 and hence a whole five decades since the bulk of the touchstone records of that ilk were released, I could see their point.  Then I heard the latest blast of downer garage jangle from Hamburg's The Wrong Society's and knew I wouldn't be turning my back on that sound anytime soon.  The sombre "Don't Know Why" on the flip is particularly beguiling and would earn its place among the greats on any one of my favourite volumes of the Teenage Shutdown series.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Playlist from the We Love Soft Power! gig

Last night's farewell to Soft Power Records was a largely blasting affair, high on intensity and gut churning intensity.  It was brilliant!  Here's what made it from my stuffed 7" box to the decks (ineptly, as usual - there was a wee issue with one of the turntables which lead to sticking records and dead air):

September Girls Gay Bar (Bachelor)
Bent Skeleton Man (Moontown)
The Wake Of The Matter (Factory)
The Mekons Where Were You? (Fast Product)

> Blood of the Bull live

CTMF Song For Kylie Minogue (Damaged Goods)
Shopping Straight Lines (Fat Cat)
Veronica Falls Teenage (Bella Union)

> Current Affairs live

Broadcast American Boy (Warp)
CC Dust New Ways (Night School)
Primetime Pervert (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Vital Idles My Sentiments (Not Unloved)

> Dora Maar (Andrew Hill solo) live

The Royal Sitars Eloise (Agitated)
Scars Horrorshow (Fast Product)
The Fall It's The New Thing (Superior Viaduct)
Tommy James and The Shondells Hanky Panky (Philips)
Billie Davis Billy Sunshine (Decca)

> Witching Waves live

Bikini Kill I Like Fucking (Kill Rock Stars)
A Certain Ratio Do The Du (Peel Session version) (Soul Jazz)
The Frowning Clouds All Night Long (Saturno)
Sugababes Overload (London)
Marnie The Hunter (Soft Power)
Sandra Plays Electronics Her Needs (Minimal Wave)
X Ray Spex Identity (EMI)
Babes In Toyland Handsome and Gretel (Insipid Vinyl)

> H. Grimace live

The Raincoats Fairytale In The Supermarket (Rough Trade)
Patience The Church (Night School)
Carol So Low (Weyrd Son)
David Bowie Rebel Rebel (RCA)
Maureen Tucker Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? (Trash)

> Kaspar Hauser live

Alternative TV Action Time Vision (Deptford Fun City)
The Brats Be A Man (Hozac)
Gary Walker You Don't Love Me (Columbia)
The Diaboliks Hangover Head (Vinyl Japan)
The Sorrows Take A Heart (Pye)
Psychic Dancehall A Love That Kills (Art Fag)
CC Dust New Ways (Night School - played again for Seb from Current Affairs)

Hearing "Hangover Head" louder than I've ever heard it before was a real treat:

"New Ways" by CC Dust (7" coming soon on Night School) seemed to fit the mood of the evening perfectly:

Monday, 22 August 2016

We Love Soft Power! (27th August 2016, The Old Hairdressers)

It's always sad to see a favourite record label call it a day.  It's doubly sad when that label is run by friends.  When Bek and Graeme announced earlier this year that there were going to be no more Soft Power Records releases it gave me a bit of a jolt as I hadn't seen it coming.  After the inital surprise, the memories came rushing back. I remembered the sweet nights spent listening to amazing POP music at neighbourhood feud-starting volume at their house in Livingston.  I remembered, too,  all the great records I had bought from them and, for that matter, all the records they so kindly gave me for cheap or free from their ace and much-missed Soft Power Vinyl distro.  I remembered the heart-quickening thrill of hearing Marnie's "The Hunter" before it came out and I remembered just how chuffed I was when they told me that they had taken the plunge and were going to release a single by Glasgow's Aggi Doom, who at that stage were fizzing with ideas and vitality.  I have so many great memories connected to Soft Power Records.  It's so great, therefore, that another of the label's friends, David Barr (himself a passionate supporter of less heralded music - check out his Ski Pie Rage blog), has taken it upon himself to organise a celebration of all things Soft Power with a night at Glasgow's The Old Hairdressers.  It's this Saturday and is sure to be a blast with Witching Waves and H. Grimace making the trip north where they will be joined by Kaspar Hauser, Blood of the Bull, Current Affairs (the latest fab group featuring Joan and  Josh who graced the label as part of Seconds) and Dora Maar from Soft Power's Scottish contingent.  I'll be playing a few tunes between bands, too.  Bek and Graeme are two of the most enthusiastic, warm-hearted, generous and genuine people I've had the privilege to know so, if you can, please come along on Saturday to thank them for fighting the good fight for the past 6 years and to give their label the righteous send-off it deserves.

Remind yourself of just how much wonderful music Soft Power Records released by listening to the David Barr compiled We Love Soft Power Compilation which can be streamed HERE

Read more about the We Love Soft Power gig HERE

Buy a bunch of brilliant Soft Power Records records and tapes HERE

Buy tickets (only 7 quid!) for the We Love Soft Power gig HERE

Dance giddily around your bedroom to Marnie's perfect-in-every-way Soft Power Records single, "The Hunter":

Monday, 11 July 2016

The Garbage and The Flowers "The Deep Niche"

"Eyes Rind As If Beggars" by The Garbage and The Flowers occupies a unique place in my heart.  Seldom has a record come from seemingly nowhere (somehow I missed all the reviews which must have been stellar and none of the music obsessives that I hung around with mentioned it even in passing upon its first release in 1997) had such an impact on me.  Excitingly, Grapefruit Record Club has a new collection of pre-"Eyes Rind..." material due for release this week (thanks for the tip, G!).  "The Deep Niche"  features the choral nursery rhyme sweetness of "Sandy Skies" which approaches their own "Love Comes Slowly Now" for sheer love-inducing prettiness:

The fidelity and feel are perfect and lend it the magical air of some long lost acetate of Vashti fronting The Velvet Underground that some lucky soul chanced upon in a flea market or garage sale.  I'm purposefully not listening to any more of "The Deep Niche" in advance of hearing the vinyl to keep the moment special.  If only Volcanic Tongue were still around to ensure that it came to Glasgow.

Get it from midheaven

Monday, 4 July 2016

Here come the NUSONICs: Not Unloved Records

Things are slowly taking shape.  NUSONIC 001, that is; the first release on Not Unloved Records.  As 2015's embers cooled, I saw a group live.  I'd seen them play a bunch of times and knew that they were great but on this night they were especially brilliant.  The kind of brilliant that gets you carried away and giddily making plans and doing sums in your head.  It's been 18 years since I last released a record so I assumed that I would never do so again but this group's songs deserve to be immortalised on vinyl.  This group deserves to have their single take its place in the continuum of great 45s that stretches back 60 or so years.  I'm under no illusions as to how tricky it will be to actually sell records, especially 7" singles, in 2016 but this group is worth it.  Once Not Unloved Records had solidified into something more concrete than a whim, it didn't seem right that it should exist to release just one record so there will be a NUSONIC 002 but let's not get ahead of ourselves, let's focus on making NUSONIC 001 a success.  All the usual 2016 stuff will follow soon: Twitter accounts,  bandcamp pages, Facebook pages, pre-orders etc.. Keep yr peepers peeled!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

4 noisy songs and 1 quiet song

Somehow, between fretting over the UK's political situation, going to amazing gigs (The Pastels and Saint Etienne on one bill!, CC Dust and the Current Affairs etc. etc.) and cramming in as much football watching as possible, there's been some time left over to listen in awe to the creativity of others.  More than any other single of late spring 2016, Carla dal Forno's "Fast Moving Cars" (Blackest Ever Black) has nagged away at me the most.  Carla's detached, slightly robotic delivery suits a song about choosing fast machines having grown bored of nature.  If only she'd recorded it before "High Rise" needed a soundtrack.

Primetime's second single (La Vida Es Un Mus) is a real gem, the group's sound located in the overlap of the Medway bands' primitive thump and the strident punk of the Swiss Rough Trade groups of the late 70s.  "If I'm a pervert then you're a stain on my dirty mind" is surely the best first line of 2016 so far.

Primetime contribute a suitably snotty take on "Dumbhead" to "Typical Girls"Emotional Response's thrilling overview of female-voiced pop circa 2016, which bursts outta the blocks with Earth Girls' succinct, fizzing "OLand" which had me reaching for Parasites lps afterwards in a bid to keep the momentum up.  The two singles I have by them are tremendous, too.  Grave Mistake recently put their "Wanderlust" lp up for pre-order. Get on it!

Maybe recklessly, I've been going to gigs for two and a half decades without wearing earplugs.  After being brutalised by Anxiety's exhilarating hardcore onslaught four times in a fortnight at the turn of 2016, however, I hastily purchased a set.  La Vida Es Un Mus have done the smart thing and had 9 Anxiety songs seared onto vinyl.  "Trapped Shut" always slays live so I approached the recorded version with a hint of trepidation but I needn't have worried as it's as ferociously disconsolate as ever.

I first saw The Flexibles tear up the much-missed Volcanic Tongue shop a couple of years back.  They were like The Dead C played at child-friendly volume.  In those days Sorley (Youngs, son of Richard) must have been only 7 or 8 and sang through an effects mic/unit that lent his voice the characteristics of a young Darth Vader.  On "Pink Everything" (Night School), Sorley has ditched the vocal effect but the music stills scorches.  There's a fair chance that this lp will prove to be Not Unloved's sound of early summer 2016.    

Saturday, 28 May 2016

California Snow Story "Some Other Places" (Shelflife Records)

Before the trashy garage punk records, before all the Northern Soul compilations, way before the dalliances with techno and electronic music, before everything else there were the gentle guitar pop records.  For years they were all I wanted and needed.  Listening to California Snow Story's new lp (Shelflife download for now, other formats to follow), I'm made acutely aware that I still need them.  That "Some Other Places" exists came as a pleasant surprise as their cherished earlier releases date from so long ago that I'd assumed the group to be defunct.  It's such a joy to luxuriate in Sandra Belda Martãnez's beautiful voice again.  For Not Unloved, she's up there with Katrina Mitchell and David Skirving's former bandmate, Traceyanne Campbell.  As if that weren't treats enough, Lupe Núñez-Fernández of Pipas/Amor de Dias and Mel Whittle from the also missing-in-action-for-years The Hermit Crabs make telling vocal contributions that complement David's own tender, understated voice.  The feel of this record is so right: soft but never sickly sweet.  The guitars are immaculately recorded with each note having a life of its own.  In a just world, "The Solitary Age" would be the single that sold the album.  It's as fine a pop tune as I've heard this year: a winner from its first brittle beat and downbeat jangle.  This sounds like music made by thoroughly agreeable human beings; the kind of people who don't swagger or push themselves forward but who quietly get on with crafting beautiful music with pride.  There is a one hundred per cent chance that, come year end, "Some Other Places" will be numbered among my very favourite records of 2016.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Music for dancing to

Nestling in the 7" racks of Monorail Music yesterday was the new single from Sally Shapiro.  I made a mental note to listen to it online when I got home and promised myself that if I liked it I'd go back for it.  Of course, I promptly forgot it even existed thanks to tape dubbing fun at Good Press followed by yet another late night spent in The Old Hairdressers being pummelled by LOUD music (the ferocious Kasper Hauser who were launching their Soft Power tape).  Luckily, Unpopular had the good sense to include the A-side of Sally's 45 on their latest mix so I was reminded to give it a whirl. What an adorable slice of gently euphoric Euro-pop! Soft voices are the best voices. 

Get it from the Fika Recordings shop if you're not lucky enough to have a shop as astute as  Monorail Music nearby.

The fifth volume in Kent Records' excellent Northern Soul's Classiest Rarities CD series is one of its strongest and opens with the dramatic group soul of The Avons' "When The Boy That You Love Is Loving You":

Sensibly, Kent have also released it on 7" vinyl, the label of which says: "A previously unissued Bob Holmes production." . It's a wild thought that such a fabulous record remained unreleased for five decades.

Guitar overdose!

Not Unloved's favourite guitar pop records of the moment:

"Ariana" by Mercury Girls (Slumberland 7")

Yet another classic single from Slumberland.  It's unimaginable that there will ever come a time when  a record such as "Ariana" won't be met with rejoicing in these quarters.  Now that the sun has plucked up the courage to come out in Glasgow it sounds even more lustrous.

"Your Boyfriend's Girlfriend" by Pale Spectres (self-released cdep)

Pale Spectres played one of my favourite Indietracks sets ever with each song seemingly more charming and boasting a more memorable guitar line than the last.  "Your Boyfriend's Girlfriend" makes good on the promise of that set.  It's just a shame that National Pop League is no more as it would have sounded glorious at volume in of the Woodside Social as the condensed sweat of a hundred dancers dripped down the walls.

"Buy This Record" by Nic Hessler & EZTV (Captured Tracks 7")

There seems to be an exponential decline in the goodwill of record shop regulars towards Record Store Day but I'll be happy for it to continue if at least a few of the future exclusive releases are as great as Nic and EZTV'S Milk'n'Cookies covers 7" or Burger Records' public service vinyl compendium of the slim but joyful output of early 80s group The MnMs.  It would appear that neither record made it to the UK in any significant numbers so there was a wee windfall for the Post Office when it became apparent that I needed both.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

That’s Life! / A day of duplicating and frolicking! (Good Press from 30/04/2016)

In September 2013 Glasgow's Good Press gallery/art collective presented the A History Of exhibition.  Conceptually sound, it was wonderful, hands-on celebration of cassette culture and music sharing which Not Unloved embraced fully.  Spool forward to 2016 and as part of Glasgow Zine Fest 2016 they're dusting off their high-speed tape duplicator to present That's Life! A day of duplicating and frolicking!.  There's an admirable cast of contributors this time including Roxanne Clifford (isn't her forthcoming Patience single for Night School a POP gem?!), Russell Walker of astute chroniclers of modern life The Pheromoans in the guise of The Teleporters and Good Press's own Jess, Nick and Matthew.  The Glasgow underground is well represented with Sean Armstrong of Spinning Coin/The Yawns, Happy Meals, Rob Churm, Michael Kasparis among many others contributing who knows what.  It's sure to be a blast!  The exhibition runs from 30th April to 19th May. Get involved!

Full details here.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Some Things To Look Forward To

Spinning Coin "Albany" 7"

A year and a bit after I flipped like a giddy teenager for Spinning Coin's adorable "Albany", Geographic Music's 7" version is finally imminent.  Did Not Chart summed it up perfectly here.  It's still a thrill to hear those plaintive opening chimes coming from my radio.  It's great that  BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio Scotland among others have taken note.  Roxanne Clifford's sweet video for "Albany" premieres tomorrow on Clash Music.

DIÄT + Anxiety + New Values @ Nice'n'Sleazy on 23rd March

Last year DIÄT's "Positive Energy" came out of nowhere and bulldozed its way into Not Unloved's affections and landed a coveted (ha!) place in our Top 10 lps of 2015.  They're sure to be blazing live.
Anxiety are a hot-wired monster truck on the rampage.
New Values are another group, and as yet unheard by Not Unloved, to feature the talents of Ruari from Golden Grrrls, Vital Idles etc..  This will be their live debut.  Obviously, they'll be great!

Tickets HERE

"The Jerk" by Manchester's Irma Vep remains one of the great 45s of the last decade.  This is a rare full-band Glasgow performance.  Unmissable.
Vital Idles are one of the best groups to spring fully formed from birth outta Glasgow's DIY scene in forever.  Much more on them in the very near future!
Anxiety are a runaway streamroller,

Chump have by stealth become contenders.  Their set in support of Trembling Bells the other week was subtle and powerful yet full of warmth and self-deprecating charm.  If this was 20 years ago and Chump were American, Matador and Teen Beat would be arm-wrestling to see who got to sign them.  As dynamic as prime Versus.

Youth of America "Night of the Comet" 7"

Members of the aforementioned Trembling Bells and the fondly remembered Lucky Luke team up for a single on the maverick Great Pop Supplement label (who, coincidentally also released Irma Vep's "The Jerk") which will be released this spring.  It was premiered on Finlay Macdonald's Alternative Folk Show in January and it was added to my shopping list a few seconds later.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Additions to the U Section: Unloved & Uranium Club

Thanks to the fizzing recent lps from Uranium Club and Unloved, the U section of Not Unloved's impeccably alphabetised (yeah, right!) record collection has had a much needed injection of new blood. Uranium Club's "Human Exploration" (Static Shock Records) is a jagged, jittery listen that quickens the heartbeat but leaves nails bitten and nerves twisted.  Sonically, it hovers above the thrilling intersection of Diat's immense "Positive Energy" and the bug-eyed Devoisms of The Coneheads' "L.P. 1 a,k.a. 14 Year Old High School PC​-​Fascist Hype Lords Rip Off Devo for the Sake of Extorting $​$​$ from Helpless Impressionable Midwestern Internet Peoplepunks L​.​P​.".  It never flags and if there's any justice in the world, parents around the globe will be knocking on their kids' bedroom doors threatening them with grounding if they don't turn that racket down NOW.

Thanks to the Julian House artwork and the Monorail Music endorsement, Not Unloved was always going to love Unloved and so it transpired.  Like a noir version of Cat's Eyes they evoke a grainy world where cigarette smoke curls upwards and well-groomed sophisticates in polo necks debate the merits of Sartre and Godard.  It's not a new world but it's an attractive one.  A day flicking through old  magazines immersed in the music of Unloved, Broadcast, the aforementioned Cat's Eyes, Death and Vanilla, The New Lines, The United States of America and Candie Payne sounds divine. Let's do it!

Les Mystics "Mon Père Est Millionnaire" (Vedettes)

Sometimes I pity the poor folks around me.  Ever since I heard "Mon Père Est Millionnaire" by Quebec mid-60s dandies Les Mystics yesterday morning, I've wittered on about very little else.  How to find an as close to mint as possible copy of it was the first thing I thought of when I woke up this morning (the copies I've found online so far don't sound quite pristine enough).  It's an obsession, for sure.  Last week,   "Cryptique" by The Karovas Milkshake proved a timely reminder of just how great Francophone pop can be so YouTube couldn't have nudged me in the direction of "Mon Père..." at a better time.

 What a voice! Those 'aaah, aaah, aaah, aaah's, too - sublime.  Thanks YouTube algorithm, you're a pal!

Groovie Records (Lisbon, Portugal)

(apologies for the wonky photo...seems I lost my balance on the cobbled street)

Even in 2016 when record shops are thinner on the ground than they've ever been, it's hard not to judge a city by the quality of its record shops.  It's just as well for Lisbon, therefore, that it has Groovie Records; if there are any other great shops, I didn't find them.  It occupies a small space near the fab Time Out Mercado but has a commendably high density of top garage punk lps and 45s.  Of course Groovie's own output was prominently displayed including the hot new lp from Russian 60s stylists The Karovas Milkshake whose "Cryptique" has to be the best Jacques Dutronc homage/facsimillie since the great man's heyday: 

"Allez les saxophones!"

As well as bagging a few of Groovie's lps (very reasonably priced they were, too!) I took the opportunity to pick up some thumping Get Hip singles including this hyper-ventilating monster from 1988 which was surely recorded at the bottom of a reverb-enhanced garbage can:

All in all a solid Not Unloved thumbs up for Groovie! 

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Michael Head in Glasgow this Wednesday (24/02 @ Oran Mor)

Michael Head and his group The Strands were responsible for Not Unloved's favourite reissue of last year.  "The Magical World of The Strands" still sounds every bit as timeless and as romantic as it did on its first release in the late 90s when I bought it on CD and played it an absurd number of times.

The reissue was beautifully realised: accurately mastered, crisply pressed (I bought the vinyl this time) and nicely packaged.  Michael and his latest group, The Red Elastic Band, appear at Oran Mor this Wednesday and, all being well, Not Unloved will be playing some records between bands with Bobby Bluebell (yes, one of the folks behind this chart topper and this sublime pop moment).  It's a real honour to be asked to contribute in a small way to such a cool event.  I'll mostly be playing recent-ish purchases such as this fine cover of one of the greatest garage groovers of all time by France's The Missing Souls:

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Teenage Moods "Select Buds" (Tenorio Cotobade, 2015)

"Select Buds" - named thus, I'm guessing, because it features 5 tracks culled from Teenage Moods' "Rosebuds" tape - is such an unpretentious, fun (without ever approaching wacky) listen that it will come in handy for lifting the spirits during the damp, grey gloom of January.  Teenage Moods call Minneapolis, USA home but their sound fits in well with a lot of the gentler guitar pop that has emanated from Australia over the last half decade.  "Get It Right", the 12" e.p.'s closing track and the one that Not Unloved craves the most, is as sprightly as your favourite Twerps track and just as sweet and features a cool, wobbly jelly guitar effect.  Teenage Moods are another great find by Madrid's loveliest label, Tenorio Cotobade.

Glaswegians: Your chums over at Monorail Music have copies for the remarkably reasonable price of £6.99. Get on it!

Look! A video for "Rosebuds":

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Recent Emotional Response split 7"s

For the last few weeks I've searched once a day on Norman Records, Rough Trade, juno.co.uk etc. for the new UV-TV/Shark Toys split 7" on Flagstaff, Arizona's Emotional Response (yeah, the label who released my favourite 7" of 2015). Unfortunately, it hasn't appeared on any of the UK sites so I've had to break my flimsy 'Don't make the US postal system rich' rule and order it direct from the label.  It's a shame that none of the UK sites have seen fit to stock it (yet?) as it deserves to be heard and to be available in however small a way over here.  UV-TV deliver the freshest, zestiest take on the glorious Shop Assistants sound for many a year.  Both songs make me beam.  On the flip, Shark Toys spit out 2 songs of breathless, rattling DIY pop that will set the hearts of Swell Maps/Messthetics lovers to 220 bpm.  A thrilling coupling!

As 2015 melted away, Emotional Response was on a scorching streak, their UV-TV/Shark Toys release following hot on the heels of a couple of blazing split 7"s by Enemy Anemone/Cougar Vox and Linton and Stewart/The Aisler's Set.

Enemy Anemone are a heavenly bunch of Girls At Our Best scholars (featuring label boss Jen Turrell) hopped-up on the various flavours of UK DIY circa 1981 while Cougar Vox play gloriously scrappy rrriot pop that makes you nostalgic for the days when Skinned Teen and Comet Gain first hit vinyl.  Another absolute winner!

Slumberland/Suicide Squeeze alumni The Aislers Set need no introduction. "Big Ocean" (which dates from 2008) finds the group in reflective, acoustic mode.  It features a banjo which laps at your eardrums like those little shoreline waves do so tenderly for roughly 3 days in the Scottish summer.  For their part, (Amy) Linton and Stewart (Anderson, the label's other boss) toss out effortless-sounding, revved-up scooter POP! nuggets.  The duo's second hookup is another treat.

While I'm getting all evangelical about the recent Emotional Response output, it should be mentioned that Boyracer's "Pete Shelley e.p." from summer 2015 is the best thing they've produced in quite a while.  "The Kind of Man You Really Are" administers a stern rebuke to a dud father who doesn't respect his daughter.  It feels like a from-the-gut response to a real event witnessed with horror.  It's yet another belter from a label on fine, fine form.  Let's hope that in 2016 it enjoys significantly better distribution in the UK and beyond and that record buyers don't take it for granted...

Important Note: If you can't find Emotional Response vinyl in your local record shop, Jen and Stew would rather you bought them from jenandstew.com rather than the Emotional Response bandcamp page.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The Pooches "Heart Attack"

"Heart Attack" by Glasgow's The Pooches is as cute and exquisitely crafted as, say, a Pintachan poster, a Tatty Devine "Dog On Wheels" brooch or one of those adorable Asking For Trouble polymer stamps.  For just over two minutes it makes the world just a little bit softer, a little bit cheerier.  It also boasts one of the prettiest, least overblown guitar solos to burst from my speakers in ages.  I hear there's an lp due later in the year.  It's sure to be an understated marvel.