Friday 30 December 2011

The Sea-ders

Prior to yesterday, the only thing which connected the words 'Lebanon' and 'music' for me was this single by The Human League. That was before Russell in Monorail played me the first 4 songs from a little cd anthology of 60s Lebanese group The Sea-ders because they "sound like The Kinks with traditional instruments".  Now, a description like that was always gonna prick up my ears!  I really liked the first 3 songs (out of 8) just fine but a minute into "I Don't Know Why" I knew that Russell had successfully teased open my wallet yet again:

I can imagine arch pop classicists like Ric Menck and Paul Chastain or The Sneetches being sent spinning by "I Don't Know Why".  After stunning reissues by Sandhy and Mandhy and Index, it would appear that the folks behind Lion Productions have impeccable taste and an enviable knowledge of global pop's back pages.  I'll be keeping an ear on what they're up to in 2012, for sure!

Not Unloved will always be a sucker for naive, romantic lyrics especially when they're paired with a simple, instantly memorable melody.  Check out these delightful lyrics from the 100% huggable "I Like The Way" (it's not on!):

I like the way you call my name
It sounds so nice, I could never explain
I like the way you hold my hand
It lets me know that you understand

I like the way you wanna kiss me
And I like the way you always miss me
I like the way (I like the way)

I like the way you come around
And cheer me up whenever I'm down
l like the way you make feel
The love we have is so very real 

I like the way you wanna kiss me
And I like the way you always miss me
I like the way (oooooh)

I like the way you kiss goodnight
It feels so good when you're holding me tight
I like the way you hold my hand
It lets me know that you understand

I like the way you wanna kiss me
And I like the way you always miss me
I like the way you wanna kiss me
And I like the way you always miss ba ba...

The 'cheer me up whenever I'm down' line is particularly great. Almost worthy of The Softies!

Thursday 29 December 2011

The Hobbes Fanclub at Glasgow Popfest 2011

For better or worse, it was the need to evangelise about The Hobbes Fanclub which persuaded me back into jotting down thoughts on music.  I'd all but given up on it as posting blogs on myspace was proving too slow and untidy and time always seemed to be short.  "Outside Myself", however, changed that.  It always sounded like a song that could be chill-inducing to hear live and so it proved when they played it at the recent Glasgow Popfest.  Thankfully, the wonderfully named Rafa Skam was on hand to film it.  Of course a YouTube clip can't convey the true extent of the brilliance of the performance but I'm still glad someone was savvy enough to record it for posterity.

Tuesday 27 December 2011

2 from Down Under

Lately, Not Unloved has been obsessing over a couple of 20 year old tracks from the southern hemisphere that have very little in common sonically.  "Into Your Arms" by Australia's Love Positions (from "Billiepeebup" on Damien Hirst's favourite label Half A Cow) is the beguiling, if brief, original of a song made famous by The Lemonheads in the early 90s.  I always liked their version, always admired its simplicity and the unembarrassed sentimentality of its lyrics but Love Positions' version is so much sparser and so much prettier.  Mind you, former The Hummingbirds bassist Robyn St. Clare's voice possesses a rare sweetness that Evan Dando was never gonna quite match.  Just how my ears have managed to dodge such a gorgeous voice in two decades of pop digging is a source of consternation round these parts.  Time to start excavating The Hummingbirds' back catalogue, I reckon.  Hopefully, Robyn handled lots of the vocal duties...

Much messier but equally beautiful in its own careering way is The Garbage and The Flowers' "Catnip". These New Zealanders made one of my favourite lps of 2011 (it was, in fact, a reissue of a cassette sold at gigs) which was subtle and intimate.  It in no way prepared me for the driving, squealing, extended grind of their 1992 single "Catnip".  The idea of a riot grrrl (Helen Johnstone - I don't know if she aligned herself with the Riot Grrrls but she sure screamed like yr Huggy Bear and Bikini Kill used to) fronting an out of control The Stooges isn't something I would've dreamed up but this single makes the case for it being a good one.  Luckily, there was a fairly cheap unplayed copy of the 7" (on Twisted Village of Cambridge, Massachussets, U.S.A.) on discogs which I bought so I can now blast it on repeat to the detriment of my hearing but to the benefit of my heart.

Monday 19 December 2011

Not Unloved's favourite things of 2011

Albums of 2011

  1. Amor de Dias "Street of the Love of Days" (Porcini Music)
  2. Crystal Stilts "In Love With Oblivion" (Fortuna Pop/Slumberland)
  3. Veronica Falls "s/t" (Bella Union/Slumberland)
  4. Sea Lions "Everything You Wanted To Know About Sea Lions But Were Afraid To Ask" (Slumberland)
  5. The New Lines "All That We See and Seem" (Great Pop Supplement)
  6. Motion Sickness of Time Travel "Luminaries and Synastry" (Type)
  7. The Bats "Free All The Monsters" (Flying Nun)
  8. Girls Names "Dead To Me" (Tough Love)
  9. Sea Pinks "Dead Seas" (C/F) / Former Bullies "Golden Chains" (C/F)
  10. Sweet Bulbs "s/t" (Blackburn)
  11. Dum Dum Girls "Only In Dreams" (Sub Pop)
  12. Comet Gain "The Howl of the Lonely Crowd" (Fortuna Pop)
  13. Real Estate "Days" (Domino)
  14. Still Corners "Creatures of an Hour" (Sub Pop)
  15. Big Troubles "Romantic Comedy" (Slumberland)
  16. The Garbage and The Flowers "Stoned Rehearsal" (Quemada)
  17. PJ Harvey "Let England Shake" (Island)
  18. Hong Kong in the 60s "My Fantoms" (Proper Songs)
  19. The Babies "s/t" (Shrimper)
  20. Chain and The Gang "Music's Not For Everyone" (K)
(There are a few lps on my Christmas list that I'm sure would've made the 20 but since I haven't heard them yet,they're not included!)

Singles of 2011

  1. Veronica Falls "Bad Feeling" (Bella Union/Slumberland)
  2. Golden Grrrls "New Pop" (Night School)
  3. Terry Malts "Something About You" (Slumberland)
  4. Real Estate "Green Aisles" (Domino)
  5. On Fell "Untitled" (the first one!) (Moteer)
  6. The Motifs / The Zebras "split" (Knock Yr Socks Off)
  7. The New Lines "Please Fall In Love" (self-released)
  8. Snails "She'd Like An Hour" (Great Pop Supplement)
  9. Bleached "Carter" (Art Fag)
  10. Wax Idols "All Too Human" (HoZac)
(e.p.s/12"s of the year may follow soon!)

Reissue of 2011

Penny and The Quarters "You and Me" (7", Numero)

Gigs of 2011

  1. The Pastels at The Platform (Eastern Promise 2011)
  2. Hollie Cook at Glasgow Afro Caribbean Centre
  3. Korallreven at Nice'n'Sleazy
  4. The Hobbes Fanclub at Heavenly (Glasgow Popfest 2011)
  5. Tyvek/The Pheromoans at The Captain's Rest
  6. Ducktails/Big Troubles/Julian Lynch at The Captain's Rest
The Pastels' performance at The Platform really was something incredibly special.  I tried to write a review of it for Not Unloved at the time but somehow the right words didn't come in the right order and I couldn't do it justice.  But then, how do you express in words that feeling in your heart when Stephen Pastel nonchalantly swigged his beer then used his bottle as a slide before casually turning his amp to blissful on "Baby Honey"?  The whole group was together and you could see from their smiles and the looks they exchanged afterwards that they, too, knew they'd been part of something memorable and way beyond the ordinary.

Tuesday 13 December 2011

The Paragons "Abba"

In the autumn Monorail Music announced via Twitter (@Monorail_Music) that they'd added a bunch of garage cds to their second hand racks. On went my coat and I was there within 25 minutes.  (I'm convinced the staff were working me by remote control!)  I dithered and hummed and hawed about which ones to buy so (recklessly! profligately!) bought all the ones I didn't already have; 13 discs in total.  It's taken a while to fully digest such a bounteous haul but with uncommon certainty I can now say that this song from "Teenage Shutdown: Nobody To Love" was the best of the lot:

With a killer intro and a joyful, almost gospel refrain of "I saw Abba late last night!" it's catchy to the point of madness. There's some wise advice amongst its lyrics, too: 

She said git your hair cut boy
Come on and get it outta your eyes
Stop your drinking and smoking boys
And tellin' all of them lies

The little Bobby Gillespie fade in the singer's voice on 'eyes' is a magical detail. Even the squarest of the squares must've punched the air with delight when they heard "Abba" at the college dance!  It sounded great across the PA in Heavenlythe other night but would've totally killed at 15 times the volume.

Read more about The Paragons on Beyond The Beat Generation.
As expected, original 45s are stupidly rare and hence command quite a price.

* - Apologies to anyone unfortunate enough to hear me wailing it and, er, to anyone who witnessed my air punching. Like I said, even the squarest of the squares....

Monday 12 December 2011

Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy!

Glasgow Popfest 2011 at Heavenly was a total treat from start to finish.  So many of the bands sizzled.  Hopefully a good night's sleep will have me awake enough (3 late nights in a row...jings!) to jot down a few words on the subject but in the meantime, here's what made it from my Jumpdrive and into Virtual DJ through the magic of drag and drop:

Group: Baffin Island

The Go-betweens - Lee Remick
The Airfields - Nowhere Left To Go
Strawberry Fair - Why Won't He Answer

Group: Lenzie Moss

The Chills - Pink Frost
The Bobcats - Can’t See For Looking
#poundsign# - Michigan
Cudgels - Joybang!
The Dentists - I Had An Excellent Dream

Group: The Electric Pop Group

The Sea Urchins - Summershine
Dino, Desi and Billy - The Rebel Kind
The Gifted Children - Favourite Things
The Pussycats - I Want Your Love
The Sequins - He’s A Flirt
The Aislers Set - Mission Bells
Candie Payne - One More Chance

Group: Maple Leaves

Lisa Mychols - Listen To The Bells Ring
The Revolving Paint Dream - Flowers In The Sky
Pop Art Toasters - What Am I Gonna Do?
The Bootiques - Did You Get Your Fun?
The Pooh Sticks - I Know Someone Who Knows Someone Who Knows Alan McGee Quite Well
The Osaka Ramones (aka Shonen Knife) - The KKK Took My Baby Away
The Flatmates - Happy All The Time
Talulah Gosh - Beatnik Boy
The Adorables - Ooh, Boy
April March - Mon Ange Guardien

Group: BMX Bandits

The Gentle Touch - Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy
The Third Wave - Got To Get You Into My Life
The Wake - Crush The Flowers
Saint Etienne feat. Tim Burgess - I Was Born On Christmas Day
McCarthy - Keep An Open Mind Or Else
Reading Rainbow - Can’t Stand It <-- I'm pretty sure this is the best The Velvet Underground cover I've heard!
The Paragons - Abba
The Parallelograms - Papageno
Candy and The Kisses - Are You Trying To Get Rid Of Me Baby?
Crystal Stilts - Through The Floor
Fabienne Delsol - Le Roi des Foumis
Felt - September Lady
Heavenly - Our Love Is Heavenly
Primal Scream - All Fall Down
The Hobbes Fanclub - Outside Myself
Bubblegum Lemonade - White Noise Christmas
The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa - What’s
The Charlottes - Are You Happy Now?
Veronica Falls - Misery
The Clean - Tally Ho!
My Bloody Valentine - Strawberry Wine
Jesse Garon and The Desperadoes - Splashing Along
Allo Darlin’ - The Polariod Song
The Innocence - Do You Believe In Magic?
The Chiffons - Stop, Look And Listen
Pulp - Babies

Thanks to Gary Bubblegum / Heavenly for being kind enough to let me be part of such a smashing event!  This cheery little number seemed the best way to follow a particularly sweet and charming BMX Bandits set:

Thursday 8 December 2011

Lisa Mychols "Listen To The Bells Ring"

Another majestic Christmas tune by another Lisa M, this time Mychols.  I was lucky enough to win her "Lost Winter's Dream" cd nearly a decade ago in a competition on the Rev-ola website. It's not a perfect album but there are a clutch of dazzling, soul lifting productions that share a sound and approach similar to a lot of the fantastic "Grace Of My Heart" soundtrack.  Time to do some digging into Lisa's other records I reckon!  

Monday 5 December 2011

Playlist from the CCA (4/12/2011)

Thoughts on "Lawrence of Belgravia" and "Take Three Girls" will follow once I've had a nice long sleep. In the meantime, here's what I fairly ineptly played at the CCA after the films and James Kirk had spun some gems:

Memphis "You Supply The Roses" (Swamplands) <-- I asked James Kirk if he was ok with me playing it and like a gent he said 'yes' :)
Lisa Miller "The Loneliest Christmas Tree" (Canterbury) <--- see below!
The Sneetches "She Does Everything For Me" (Bus Stop)
The Hollies "Bus Stop" (Parlophone)
Fargo "Sunny Day Blue" (Capitol)
Lali Puna "Remember" (Morr Music)
Cosmetics "Black Leather Gloves" (Captured Tracks)
The Flamin' Groovies "Shake Some Action" (Sire) <--- because it got a mention in the Dolly Mixture film!
The Velvet Underground "Foggy Notion" (Sundazed reissue) <--- because Lou Reed is Lawrence's idol
Epitome of Sound "You Don't Love Me" (Go Ahead reissue)
Jay and The Techniques "Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie" (Smash)
Comet Gain "An Arcade From The Warm Rain That Falls" (Fortuna Pop)
Bush Tetras "You Can't Be Funky" (ROIR reissue)
Chain and The Gang "Detroit Music" (K)
Veronica Falls "Bad Feeling " (Bella Union)
Barbara Mercer "Hey" (Golden World)
Dot Allison "Mo' Pop" (Heavenly)
Real Estate "Green Aisles" (Domino)
The Dentists "Strawberries Are Growing In My Garden And It's Winter Time" (Spruck)
Sea Lions "Let's Groove" (Yay! Label)
The Research "I Think She's The One I Love" (This Is Fake DIY)
The Checkerboard Squares "Double Cookin'" (Villa facsimile issue - bootleg?)
Crystal Stilts "Shake The Shackles" (Slumberland)
The Tyde "Strangers Again" (The Track & Field Organisation)
The Zeros "Main Street Brat" (Last Laugh reissue)
Home Blitz "Perpetual Night" (Almost Ready)
The Modern Lovers "Roadrunner" (Beserkely)
Ninian Hawick "Scottish Rite Temple Stomp" (Grimsey)
La Sera "Never Come Around" (Hardly Art)
The New Lines "Off Axis" (Great Pop Supplement)
Crocodiles "Sleep Forever" (Fat Possum)
Sterling Roswell "Kicks" (ROSCO)
The Mantles "Raspberry Thighs" (SDZ)
Janie Grant "And That Reminds Me Of You" (Parkway - probably a 70s bootleg)
Bubblegum Lemonade "Caroline's Radio" (Matinee)
Edwyn Collins "Losing Sleep" (Heavenly)
Scars "Horrorshow" (Fast Product)
Dum Dum Girls "Jail La La" (Sub Pop)
Golden Grrrls "New Pop" (Night School)
Helen Love "Joey Ramoney" (Damaged Goods)
The Magnetic Fields "100,000 Fireflies" (Harriet)
Gary and The Hornets "Baby, It's You" (Smash)
Pale Saints "Kinky Love" (4AD)

It was a real thrill to hear my new favourite Christmas song at giddy-making volume: