Thursday, 25 November 2021

Creme/Caramel

It's not always the BIG statements or grand gestures that linger longest in the memory. Sometimes the whispered lines are the ones that strike a chord. "Creme" by Lawrence Le Doux and Roger 3000 (Lexi Disques, 2021) is a case in point. There's no sledgehammer riffing, no polemics are delivered just, well, easy to love soft exotica sounds that massage the temples and whisper in your ear that everything is gonna be alright. There's not a single aspect of it that I'd change. I love the way the recording starts as if the performance had been going on for quite some time before someone remembered to hit record and I love the way it runs out of puff at the end as if lulled by its own dreaminess into a warm, welcome torpor. One of the most adorable pieces of music to grace one side of a piece of 7" vinyl in 2021 to Not Unloved's ears. "Caramel" on the other side is equally lovely but introduces elements of wide-eyed radiophonic wonder to the mix. It's surely destined to soundtrack a short nature documentary about tiny organisms. Seek it out if you like pretty things!

Monday, 22 November 2021

Dalton, James & Sutton "One Time Around" (National General)

Not Unloved's musical path was largely set by the gift of a "The History of The Byrds" cassette some time in the mid-1980s. Not many of the Rickenbacker*-toting groups who've tried to over the years have come close to matching their best work for quality and beauty. Dalton, James & Sutton's 1970 b-side, "One Time Round", is about as close as I've heard anybody get to evoking the spirit of Gene Clark, Roger McGuinn and co. at their peak:


I'm sure some (most?) folks will dismiss "One Time Around" as a mere facsimile but in Not Unloved's view it has enough emotional pull of its own for it to transcend such easy dismissal. Also, it has a lovely, if brief, "Feel A Whole Lot Better"-style ceilidh of a guitar solo. Unplayed copies of this 45 are still kicking around for a decent price but they all seem to be made of the more easily worn styrene rather than the hardier black vinyl.

* - If like yr pal Not Unloved you think that a) the Rickenbacker is just about the greatest sound-generating device devised by humankind and/or b) you believe that the music made by Martin and Paul Kelly in East Village (repress of their "Hotrod Hotel" album available NOW via the saints at Slumberland Records!) to be something truly special, the chances are you'll want to invest in a copy of the pair's divine-looking book on Rickenbacker guitars, "Out Of The Frying Pan Into The Fireglo".

Available now in soft cover and (pricey!) deluxe versions now via Phantom Books.

There's a smashing Instagram page for the book here.

Pop banger #1: "Caterpillar"

German (Berlin) group Laura Lee & The Jettes landed in Not Unloved's pop orbit via BBC 6Music a bit back. Adult life then conspired to ensure that only a hefty session of hypnotic regression could conceivably bring back the memory of them. Roll on a few months and Gideon Coe, also on 6Music, played the glorious "Caterpillar" from their imminent "Wasteland" lp (out December, 3rd 2021). If anything their second first impression was even better than their first. It's fabulous post-Stereolab propulsive pop with periodic effervescent starbursts:




La Floreria Primavera Con Los Hermanos Flores "Culebrita" (Mango Hill)

 


Back when I was a teenager and knew very little about anything worthwhile I couldn't see the point of instrumentals. I remember thinking it was such a waste of a good tune when an artist "couldn't be bothered to write a song". Oh, those lazy musicians! Of course, the young Not Unloved was entirely wrong. A recent vocal-free number to earn repeated spins round these parts is "Culebrita" by...deep breath...La Floreria Primavera Con Los Hermanos Flores. Trebly, antiquated keyboards like the kind you find on yr fave tracks on Teenage Shutdown compilations vie with a wandering, heavily effected guitar for your attention while the bass and percussion whip up a rump-shakin' Latin rhythm. The best bits are when the twangy guitar plunges unexpectedly to a low, almost Link Wray-worthy rumble. It's easily Not Unloved's favourite Latin instrumental since The Kevin Fingier Collective's thumping (has anyone ever hit a cowbell so hard?) "Latin Dynamite".

The Ultimates "Why I Love You" (Valentine/Brewerytown)

 


There will always be a sizable place in Not Unloved's heart reserved for girl group soul form the slightly more ramshackle end of the spectrum. Sure I like the well-produced, slicker stuff, too, but there's something even more appealing about the recordings that didn't benefit from a huge budget or the services of big name producer. It was inevitable, therefore, that Brewerytown's recent public service reissue (it has never been sold on discogs so you know it's ridiculously rare!) of the incredibly endearing 1971 "Why I Love You" (Valentine Records) single by The Ultimates was going to be an essential purchase. It's brimming with youthful romance, girl-group harmonies and lo-fi charm. "Gotta Get Out" on the b-side is a total rammy that starts out like a back woods garage 45 then turns into a recorded live-in-the-studio soul shaker full of passion and heart. Seek it out before the reissue itself commands a hefty price!

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Denise James "It's Never What You Say"

2020's evening project to fill the live music void was to finally use all those download coupons that came with records. Pleasingly, a surprising number of them still worked. 2021's project has been to get reacquainted with all those CDs I bought when I didn't have a decent turntable. A fair chunk of those CDs, mainly from the early 2000s, were never released on vinyl. Take for example Detroit's Denise James, none of her three full length albums ever came out on vinyl. I suspect, therefore, that there's very little clamour for her releases on discogs or ebay which is a real shame as they're all brilliant 60s-infused pop records that show a fine ear for melody and an appreciation of the works of Opal"It's Never What You Say" - from her third album, 2006's "Promises" on Rainbow Quartz - has been something of an obsession of late. Carried along by a strident beat, it really showcases Denise's terrific vocals, especially on the chorus which positively blossoms at around the 1 minutes 30 second mark. By the time Matt Smith's (Outrageous Cherry) trumpet comes in towards the end Not Unloved is daydreaming of reissuing it on 7". Who knows?...maybe someday a smart, pop-minded reissue label like Sundazed (they did just reissue Lilys "The 3 Way" on vinyl for the first time, after all) or Omnivore (remember their ace round-up of early Bangles recordings?) will shine a light on Denise's work and maybe even see fit to press it onto good ole black vinyl.



Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Magic Roundabout "Sneaky Feelings"

Unexpectedly, Third Man Records has released a fun slice of lost 80s indiepop in the form of Magic Roundabout's "Sneaky Feelings" which bears all the hallmarks you could wish for (dual tambourine action! Moe Tucker/Bobby Gillespie thump! roughed-up guitars! insouciant vocals!) from a mid-80s, Manchester-based collective who supported some of the greats such as The Pastels and My Bloody Valentine in their day. The provenance of this release is great: the 2 songs on the 7" (the other's title and lyrics name-check Gerard Langley of The Blue Aeroplanes for added period colour) were turned up by Ian Masters of Pale Saints and then reworked for release by His Name Is Alive's Warren Defever. Tonight's mission is to locate a copy of the 7" as it seems to have sold out at a bunch of the usual UK places - it was only released less than a fortnight ago - as is so often the case in 2021. In the spirit of recent posts on Not Unloved, there's a VHS-res (actually, upon reflection, it's better than that) video of "Sneaky Feelings" to enjoy: