Wednesday, 2 August 2023


 When was the last time someone mentioned the group Kickstand in your presence? I'll hazard that it wasn't yesterday which is a real shame as in the mid-90s they were one of the best pop bands around for Not Unloved's money. Unfortunately, neither of their albums - 1994's "Kickstand" (Queenie Label) and 1997's "Autostrada" (Little Teddy) - was released on vinyl so modern day collectors who eschew the lowly, unloved CD format are unlikely to seek them out. Both albums are treasures troves stuffed with sweet, unassuming pop that takes its cues from Young Marble Giants (they faithfully covered "Colossal Youth" on their debut) and the K Records school of endearing naivety. Kickstand comprised the Colichio twins, Torry and Tammi, and Half Japanese member and chronicler, Jeff Feuerzeig (who went on to greater fame when he made 2005's brilliant "The Devil And Daniel Johnston"). They collaborated with some real heavyweights of the 90s independent scene with Jad Fair, Dean Wareham and Hamish Kilgour (R.I.P.) donating their talents at various points. Kilgour's appearance on the second album came as no surprise as they had covered The Clean's"Tally Ho" on the first (Not Unloved's introduction to that absolute classic  - cheers, Kickstand...I owe ya!). Unusually for the time, Kickstand didn't leave behind a raft of 45s on an array of small but brilliant labels. Again, that's a shame as they had so many songs that would've made perfect a-sides and some great covers (Felt! The Undertones! Daniel Johnston!) that would've made ideal b-sides. Over the years, one song above all has kept Kickstand somewhere near the front of Not Unloved's memory at least on the 31st of December every year (I post it on Twitter most years):

"New Year's Day" was a proper mixtape staple at the time. For some reason, Kickstand were keen on flying saucers (Torry was even a member of the group Flying Saucer):

Every now and then I daydream of reactivating Not Unloved Records to restore this music to print although, realistically, a label like World of Echo would probably do a much better job and reach a wider audience having established a track record through recent reissues of Kickstand's contemporaries such as The Shapiros, The Cat's Miaow and, in the near future, Hydroplane. For the time being, the curious are urged to hold their nose and snap up the shiny lil discs.

Tuesday, 1 August 2023

Playlist form the Barbara Manning/Gerard Love gig

Of course, one of the best things about putting on a pop show is the opportunity to inflict your music taste on a fairly captive audience via a mood-setting playlist. Last Friday morning was spent picking tunes and compiling them into a playlist on my laptop (no 'original vinyl only' policy here!). Unfortunately, it turned out not to be time well spent as you couldn't really hear the music before, between and after the artists. I did ask for a wee volume boost or two but to no avail. Ah, well - next time! So, for no other reason than posterity, here's what made the air molecules in the room vibrate just a little (all song titles are links):
  1. Tia Blake "Wish I Was A Single Girl Again"
  2. Yo La Tengo "Polynesia #1"
  3. The Umpteens "People Ride Their Scooters"
  4. Carolyn Sullivan "Dead"
  5. Hortense Ellis "Can I Change My Mind"
  6. Irma Thomas "Two Winters Long"
  7. Summer Snow "Flying On The Ground Is Wrong"
  8. The Happy Couple "Another Sunny Day"
  9. Clydie King "Missin' My Baby"
  10. Lee Hazlewood "The House Song"
  11. Dino, Desi and Billy "The Rebel Kind"
  12. The Sequins "He's A Flirt"
  13. Tight Knit "I Want You"
  14. East Village "Cubans in the Bluefields"
  15. The Springfields "Sunflower"
  16. Oh-OK "Choukoutien"
  17. The Siddleys "Bedlam on the Mezzanine"
  18. The Foggy Notions "Need A Little Lovin'"
  19. Birdie "Folk Singer"
  20. Club 8 "A Place In My Heart"
  21. Rachel Love "Down The Line"
  22. The Cookies "Wounded"
  23. Linda Smith and Nancy Andrews "A Passing Cloud"
  24. Aluminum "Solar"
  25. The Tills "One Sided Love"
  26. The Umbrellas "Near You"
  27. Seablite "Breadcrumbs"
  28. Chime School "Love You More"
  29. Buzzcocks "Sixteen Again"
  30. Tammi Terrell "I Gotta Find A Way (To Get You Back)"

Summer Snow's ultra-gentle take on Buffalo Springfield's divine "Flying On The Ground Is Wrong" has been something of an obsession of late. It appears on this fine mix of Capitol Records' sunshine pop/pop-psych output. On the evidence of it, The Guess Who's beautifully-sung rendition and The Sneetches' slightly more rollicking verison, it's a song that seems to be done well by everyone smart enough to cover it.

Friday, 23 June 2023

Juniper "She Steals Candy"

Nearly 3 years ago, Not Unloved flipped for Juniper's star-studded debut lp. Earlier this year Juniper's second record sneaked out and, unsurprisingly, it's as lovely as her first. Again, a host of  great collaborators provide instrumentation and backing vocals: April March, Amy Rigby, Chris Geddes, Ira Kaplan etc.. All 16 songs are covers but the choice of material is impeccable with songs by The Bangles, The Muffs, Amy Rigby, The Go-Go's etc.. A few are from the pen of Delbert McClinton; a new name round these parts. There's even a brilliant song written and recorded by Bread's David Gates that was released in the mid-60s under the name Del Ashley. "Little Miss Stuck Up" is impossibly perky and foregrounds Juniper Shelley's pure, fresh vocals; it's a real swinging scene! The vinyl is out now via FABCOM! Records / bandcamp. A must for the discerning pop fan!

Sunday, 30 April 2023

Not Unloved presents: 30/07/2023 - Barbara Manning & Gerard Love @ The Glad Cafe (Glasgow)

Exciting news: Not Unloved is putting on a show at The Glad Cafe (Glasgow) featuring two of our favourite artists!

Barbara Manning 

Barbara has released music on some of the greatest labels of the indie-rock era (Matador, K, Siltbreeze etc.) both solo and with an array of fabulous groups (San Francisco Seals28th DayWorld of PoohGlands of External Secretion etc.) and collaborated with some of New Zealand's finest. She also had the ultimate honour of gracing the cover of an  issue of esteemed indie zine/lifestyle guide, Chickfactor. I've written before about my love for her sublime "Optimism Is Its Own Reward" but there is so much to love across her stellar back catalogue including this sonically inventive ode to The Fall's 80s power pair, Mark E Smith and Brix, from her crucial debut lp "Lately I Keep Scissors":

This song is so great!

It's been many years since Barbara played shows in the UK so this is an incredibly rare opportunity to catch her in Glasgow. If you still need convincing, check out this cool Chickfactor interview from a few years ago. Anyone who dreams of writing a song for Kendra Smith is fine by me!

Gerard Love

Gerard Love needs no introduction having written and played on some of the most era-defining music of the last three decades with Teenage FanclubThe Pastels and, most recently, with his group LightshipsI penned a few words that didn't quite do justice to the sheer loveliness of Lightships' "Electric Cables" upon its initial release in 2012 (wisely, it was restored to print on vinyl late last year). When Gerard returned to the stage in July, 2022 Not Unloved waited expectantly in the queue outside Glasgow's Stereo. Of course, his set was nothing short of beautiful. A subtly stunning return!

This is a thrilling version of one of the most brilliant songs to be released in my lifetime:

While I'm at it, how gorgeous is this Moondog cover?

Keep an eye out for the all the usual stuff like posters, Facebook events, ticket links etc. in the next wee while.

When: 30th July 2023 (N.B. That's the Sunday night after Glas-Goes Pop!, POP fans!)
Tickets: TBA

Wednesday, 5 April 2023

Priced outta the game wishlist!

Whilst idly rummaging on discogs for bargains the other day, I noted with interest that one of my favourite tunes from the brilliant "Teenage Shutdown, Vol. 9: Teen Jangler Blowout!" comp. - The Jackson Investment Co.'s rollicking "Not This Time" - had sold for 1,200 GBP in February:

Prices for the most sought-after garage rock 45s seem to be going the way of Northern Soul 45s with prices spiraling upwards at a wild rate in recent years. That got me wondering about what Not Unloved's money-no-object 60s garage/pop/psych/freakbeat 7" wishlist would look like and how much each record would cost by discogs past sales/current listings. After way too much deliberation the other day, this was my list*:
  1. The Selfkick "Gosh, I'm Your Woman and Not Your Wife" (640.00 GBP) The wildest Dutch single of the 1960s?
  2. The Whatt Four "Our Love Should Last Forever" (391.26 GBP) The best US Yardbirds-style rave-up to blast Not Unloved's ears!
  3. Tracy Rogers "Baby" (150.00 GBP) The Toughest 60s Brit-girl 45 to hit these ears.
  4. The Harbinger Complex "Sometimes I Wonder" (320.00 GBP) One of the coolest singles ever. The vocal is just perfect for us folks who came of age during the Sarah Records heyday!
  5. Tol Puddle Martyrs "Time Will Come" (257.72 GBP) The intro reminds me a little of "Rock Lobster" by The B-52s. Brilliantly restrained.
  6. The Gentlemen "It's A Cryin' Shame" (1200.00 GBP) The quintessential guitar cruncher with shredded vocals. Everyone knows this!
  7. The Foggy Notions "Need A Little Lovin'" (799.99 GBP) Effortlessly cool vocals and some of the most memorable guitar bits...ever.
  8. The Zoo "Sometimes" (never sold on discogs) The weepiest moody teen garage sounds - adorable.
  9. Him and The Others "She's Got Eyes That Tell Lies" (429.53 GBP) One of the heaviest 60s UK cuts - a wall-shaker but also singalong-able.
  10. Flash and The Memphis Casuals "Uptight Tonight" (never sold on discogs) Sounds like The Rolling Stones hopped-up on adrenaline cruising for a bar brawl.
It could've been worse, I guess! I'm sure that if Not Unloved were a DJ with an eye on getting feet moving on a dancefloor this list would have been very different.

* Of course, on another day this list would have The Dovers, The Fly-bi-nites, The Shades of Blue, The Stoics etc etc on it.

N.B. These listings haven't been included (13K for The Fly-bi-nites? 8K+ for The Gentlemen etc.)

Friday, 31 March 2023

The Hergs "Style of Love"

Everything I know about Adelaide, Australia's The Hergs was gleaned from this Garage Hangover article. "Style of Love" is the a-side of the group's sole contribution to the avalanche of great 45s released in the mid-60s. It's an admirably snotty, vaguely psychedelic rammy that takes a trip to the twilight zone. Singer Eddy McPherson could teach Liam Gallagher a thing or two about drawn-out, sneering delivery but he's also surprisingly precise when it comes to enunciating his t's and d's. The slow bassline married to frenetic guitars is a great trick with the overall effect that the listener is left a bit battered and bruised when its 3 minutes are up. Being a bit of a masochist, Not Unloved gleefully places the needle back to the start of the groove in anticipation of another ear bashing.