Sunday 30 December 2018

Cardiffian coincidences

A couple of days ago someone asked if the lettering on the cover of Not Unloved's recent Current Affairs 7" was a sly tip of the wink to that on the cover of a Current Obsessions e.p. from the early 80s. Current Obsessions was a new name to Not Unloved so some investigation work was in order. A Google image search turned up the cover in question:

There is a definite similarity in the hand-drawn lettering but I'm guessing that that's just a coincidence. The sleeve screams early 80s DIY punk so it came as a bit of a surprise to hear that the lead track from it is actually a slice of minimal jazz pop with surprisingly narked lyrics and which ends with a decidedly fluttery flute solo that may not be to everyone's taste:

Interesting, for sure. On the same day that I became aware of Current Obsessions, I finally got round to listening to Stuart Moxham's post-Young Marble Giants group The Gist's "Holding Pattern" lp (Tiny Global Productions) which I'd bought in Rough Trade East on a recent trip to London. On first listen, the track which made the biggest dent was the sparse, chirpy "Assured Energy":

A quick rummage revealed that the singer on "Assured Energy" was called Debbie Pritchard who, it transpired, had been the singer in Current Obsessions. What a cool coincidence! If I'd looked more closely, I would've noticed that there were Cardiff addresses on the Current Obsessions sleeve so it all makes perfect sense A different version of "Assured Energy" also appears on "Always Sunshine, Always Rain" (also on Tiny Global Productions), Debbie's cd with Spike - the same Spike thanked on the Current Obsessions sleeve - that was released in June, 2018. Another one for the wants list along with "Bimini Twist" (yet another on Tiny Global Productions), Spike's recent lp with the wonderful Alison Statton. Phew.

PS There's an in-depth article from September 2017 on Stuart Moxham's post-Young Marble Giant work here. (Thanks for the link, Esther!)

Records of 2018 for Monorail Music

A couple of weeks ago the lovely Monorail Music folks posted my 2018 faves on their Twitter. Yo La Tengo scooped the #1 (of course the numbers are arbitrary!) lp mainly because it had the stupendously beautiful "Shades of Blue" on it and because when it came out, I immediately put the download on my phone and listened to it constantly while working which says a lot about how and when I listened to much of my music this year. In retrospect, the lists below aren't truly representative of what I listened to most (apart from YLT) as I listened to lots of other quiet music while working such as the ace Pendant lp (aka Huerco S), Lucrecia Dalt's gem "Anitclines" and Annelies MonserĂ©'s sombre "Happiness Is Within Sight". Being prone to hyperbole and rash claims, I've told anyone who'll listen that The Goon Sax's incredibly touching "Strange Light" is Not Unloved's favourite song of 2018. Of course, I've also told the same people that Amy Rigby's unique, thoughtful "From philiproth@gmail to" is Not Unloved's favourite song of 2018 which inevitably results in me claiming the same of her husband's (Wreckless Eric) monumental "Wow & Flutter" and so on. What fun!

Long players:

1. Yo La Tengo - There's A Riot Going On (Matador)
2. The Goon Sax - We're Not Talking (Wichita)
3. Massage - Oh Boy (Tearjerk)
4. Amy Rigby - The Old Guys (Southern Domestic)
5. The Orielles - Silver Dollar Moment (Heavenly)
6. Sons of Kemet - Your Queen Is A Reptile (Impulse)
7. Clay Hips - Happily Ever After (Annika)
8. Terry - I'm Terry (Upset The Rhythm)
9. Vital Idles - Left Hand (Upset The Rhythm)
10. Miss Red - K.O. (Pressure)

Short players:

1. Hairband - Hairband (Monorail)
2. 79.5 - Boy Don't Be Afraid (Big Crown)
3. The Shacks - Follow Me (Big Crown)
4. Camelia Hartmann and The Soulful Saints - Return The Favor/Breathing Hard Over You (Dala)
5. JJ Ulius - Tander Ett Ljus (Happiest Place)
6. Music City - Pretty Feelings (Static Shock)
7. Jetstream Pony - Self-destruct Reality (KUS)
8. Art Sick - Going Down (Yr First Crush)
9.  The Jack Cades - Run Paulie Run (Dangerhouse Skylab)
10. Comet Gain - If Not Tomorrow (Tapete)

The glaring omission from the above singles list? This:

(Thanks to Did Not Chart for the reminder!)

Gene Clark - Gene Clark Sings For You (Omnivore)

Various Artists - Basement Beehive (Numero Group)

The above was submitted in early December so, just for fun, here are Not Unloved's fave lps bought since then:

AMOR - Sinking Into A Miracle (Night School)
Blades of Joy - s/t (Melters)
D. Rothon - Nightscapes (Clay Pipe)
Red Red Eyes - Horology (Where It's At Is Where You Are)
Ethers - s/t (Trouble In Mind)

Wednesday 26 December 2018

Blades of Joy "Be Kind"

Twitter can be a force for good. That much has always been true. Recently Glenn Donaldson (of The Skygreen Leopards among others) posted 10 records that he reckoned had slightly slipped under the radar in 2018. One of them was an lp on Melters by San Francisco's Blades of Joy. "Be Kind" from it has been almost ever present in my head and heart from the moment I heard it. Maybe it's because the intro calls to mind the winsome strum of The Lemonheads' take on Love Positions' adorable "Into Your Arms". More than likely, however, it's because the singer, Anna (no surname listed on the artwork and a solid 10 minutes of rummaging online hasn't revealed it...) has one of the most beautiful new voices I heard in 2018. The rest of the lp is packed with sublime melodic moments, though, I suspect, the younger, dourer me would have baulked at the rockiness of some of the guitars. Still, what did I know back then?

N.B.The ever astute PopLib posted about Blades of Joy in September. I must have read that post on a day when time was short so it went in one eyeball and out the other. Silly Not Unloved!

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Seadog "Yesteryear"

Brighton group Seadog's "Yesteryear" sneaked into my affections about a month ago. Some kind soul who saw it on a Guided By Voices fan page astutely figured that it might also appeal to fans of Teenage Fanclub so posted it on one of their fan pages. I'm so glad they did as I keep coming back to it. Initially, that was for the sweeping, heart-tugging organ but now it's also for the melancholy melody, the lashings of heartfelt vocals and the moment 2 minutes and 15 seconds in when a new guitar on the block announces itself with a real fanfare. "Yesteryear" features on Seadog's digital-only (for the time being?) album "Cabin Fever Blues". It's high time I got to know its other 9 tracks, that's for certain.

I Predict A Riot

In a slightly unexpected move, Tru Thoughts have seen fit to belatedly release one of Not Unloved's fave summer 2018 sounds on 7" vinyl. Now, I'm certainly not the world's biggest Kaiser Chiefs admirer (although I have no compunction in confessing that I've long considered 'Never Miss A Beat' to be a fun power pop banger), but Carolina Lins and Os Planatos's transformation of 'I Predict A Riot' into an infectious Brazilian singalong dancer is inspired. Come 18th January 2019, I'll be the first in line to buy a copy of the 45. Don't you judge me!

Tuesday 11 December 2018

19/12/2018 @ Mono: Current Affairs 7" launch gig w/ Trash Kit, Irma Vep & 2-ply

Next Wednesday (19th December) at Mono (Glasgow), Spite House presents a double celebration: get giddy as the mighty Trash Kit celebrate 10 years of being a group (how is that even possible?!) and go crazy as Current Affairs launch their storming debut single, "Breeding Feeling", which is, of course, Not Unloved Records' second release. As if that weren't delights enough, Marc Riley faves Irma Vep will bring their hang dog observations and mysterious new group 2-ply will play their first show. Bring yourself and bring a friend. It'll be great! Copies of the 7" will be available to buy on the night.

For those inclined, the Facebook event is here.

Saturday 1 December 2018

The Embrooks "We Who Are" out soon!

It may be December but there are still a bunch of what are sure to be ace records still to be released in 2018. For instance, the debut lp by AMOR isn't out till the 14th of December. Also released that day is the latest collection of fuzz-fried firecrackers from Folkestone's freakbeat faves, The Embrooks, If the teaser clip is any guide, "We Who Are" will be a worthy addition to the group's flawless discography:

"We Who Are" is coming out on the group's own State Records which recently released the insanely pounding "The World's End" by The Dirty Contacts:

I love Mr Rees's offhanded rasp and the solo halfway through scorches like it was played on a flamethrower. Essential!

The Jack Cades "Run Paulie Run"

Recently the cats behind Twitter's Psycho Sundae asked for their followers' favourite garage or psych track of 2018. Tall order, huh? After a bit of chin scratching and multiple sessions of hypnotic regression, however, it became apparent that Not Unloved's was this moody jangler (it's not all about the slammers!) by Warwick, England's The Jack Cades on French label Dangerhouse Skylab:

Volume 2 has long been my fave in the Pebbles series and "Run Paulie Run" wouldn't sound outta place or outta its depth in such revered company. Hopefully, they'll swing by Glasgow sometime soon as its sure to kill live.

Tuesday 13 November 2018

NUSONIC002: Current Affairs 'Breeding Feeling' b/w 'Draw The Line'

Has it really been 2 years since Not Unloved Records released 'My Sentiments' by Vital Idles? Unbelievably, yes. It's high time, therefore, for a second release:

NUSONIC002 has been in the works for a while now so it's no secret that it's by Glasgow's mighty Current Affairs. Current Affairs sprang from the ashes of the wonderful Seconds (Soft Power Records) in summer 2016, playing their first show at Jim Lambie's Poetry Club when Night's School's CC Dust memorably swept through Glasgow. That first gig was a real blast. Since then they've developed into one of the most powerful live groups around. January 2017 saw the release of 'Object' (Comidillo Tapes) which showcased a group with a deep affection for the darker sounds from the turn of the 80s (think Magazine/The Cure/Siouxsie) but with the skill to take that music somewhere new. 'Breeding Feeling' will be the group's vinyl debut and will be released in the next few weeks. Keep an eye on the Not Unloved bandcamp page!

Current Affairs are:

Joan - Vox & Keys
Josh - Bass
Sebastian - Guitar
Andrew - Drums

You'll love them!

Listen to samples of both songs here:

The Kick "I Can't Let Go" (Countdown, 1986)

25 years ago, during the white heat of the lo-fi era,  I would've despised this: a polished, major label-sounding 80s rendition of the cherished Evie Sands (and many others) stormer. Now, however, it sounds vital and the studio sheen isn't off-putting in the slightest. I guess that's as a result of buying a bunch of power pop reissues in the intervening years. The singer has a fine voice and, really, the only thing I would change is to tone down the Beach Boys-y falsetto backing vox just a touch. Unplayed copies are really cheap so what ya waitin' on, punk?

Monday 12 November 2018

The Torquays 'Harmonica Man (From London Town)'

The smallest things can elevate a record. In the case of The Torquays' 'Harmonica Man (From London Town)', for me, it's the line "He's a lovely lad" sung in a raspy American accent and the glorious jangling guitar that blooms 12 seconds in. I'll take that one moment over the entire careers of most groups. Details are important, I guess.

Saturday 3 November 2018

Walls Come Tumbling Down!


A few lovely things: Michael O, Art Sick, Jan Bradley & Knit Separates

Michael O (Olivares of pop heroes The Mantles) recently released a fine new 7" on the dependably ace Fruits & Flowers. The second song on the A-side is 'Haunted'; a shy-voiced delight with a pleasingly hesitant lead guitar which spirals upwards in a flurry of Paisley patterned petals. Shame I didn't post this on Hallowe'en, eh?

Before Wednesday this week I hadn't heard of Oakland, California's Art Sick. By Thursday morning I was obsessed with their adorable brand of Chickfactor-friendly guitar pop and was cheerfully breaking my hard and fast (yeah, right!) no vinyl from the US rule for fear that to dither might mean missing out on securing one of only 100 copies pressed of their debut 7".  As with the Michael O single, the song that I've played the most (on bandcamp, the vinyl hasn't arrived yet) isn't the lead track, 'Going Down', which I do love (sweet vocals, handclaps and a Tiger Trap-style rumble - *swoon*) but 'No Clue'. It's a real heart-stealer that would've made a lovely addition to the magical Four Letter Words discography. Get on it!

Speaking of songs with handclaps, a recent soul purchase has them in spades. Jan Bradley's 'Back In Circulation' has led to a serious amount of kitchen dancing of late (sorry downstairs neighbours!). Sure it's heavily indebted to The Supremes, but Jan's voice is so charming and the rhythm so perfect that it's nigh on impossible not to move when it plays. Now, when's the next soul night in Glasgow?

The Knit Separates were active in the years 1996-2001. They existed entirely without my knowledge which is a shame as they were peculiarly wonderful. Thankfully, for us latecomers there's a new cassette retrospective on Brave Mysteries Recording Co.. There's nothing I can write about The Knit Separates' music that would be more insightful than the wee paragraph on the 'Dream No Evil' release page. It's ideal music for listening to on dusk-time walks round Glasgow University's deserted cloisters.

Sunday 30 September 2018

Breathers "Did You Think"

Lately, the song that has popped up like a cheesy-grinned meerkat whenever my brain has the time to idle is "Did You Think" by Breathers. It's the only song I've heard so far by this Florida, USA group and it's a smashing example of early '80s US power pop (yeah, I know yr bored of that genre definition but it gets the message across) from its Beatles-indebted intro to its sunbleached guitars and supremely catchy melody. I'm sure I'll be singing (and clapping) along for a good while yet.

Wednesday 8 August 2018

Not Unloved presents: Real Numbers / Vital Idles / US Highball @ The 13th Note (31/08)

Not Unloved presents a soiree of boss POP! sounds featuring:

Real Numbers (Minneapolis, USA/Slumberland Records) bring their DIY spirit and pristine jangling guitars to Glasgow for the first time. Their Wordless Wonder lp was released through Slumberland Records; if they're good enough for Slumberland, that's recommendation enough for us. Television Personalities/C86 fans: be there!

Vital Idles (Glasgow, Upset! The Rhythm) are longtime crushes of Not Unloved and brilliantly inaugurated our label at the very end of 2016 (more on what's next for the label very soon!). They just released their ace debut lp, Left Hand, on label of the moment Upset! The Rhythm: 14 urgent blasts of art!pop! joy. Hell, yeah!

US Highball (Glasgow) are Calvin and James formerly of The Pooches and the best band Captured Tracks never signed, Water Wolves. This will be just their second gig. Expect melodies you’ll sing for days!

Doors: 8pm
Entry fee: £5 (all pop fans welcome - nobody turned away for lack of funds)
The Facebook event is here

Monday 4 June 2018

Sunday 22nd July 2018: The Sarah Records roadshow hits Glasgow!

I've written before about how much Sarah Records meant and continues to mean to me so it's with a heart swollen with pride that I can announce that Not Unloved will be helping make the Glasgow leg of the Sarah Records alumni tour a reality. At one stage it looked likely that the tour wouldn't be stopping-off in Glasgow which was a real shame as there were so many strong connections between Glasgow and Sarah Records (The Wake! The Orchids! The Golden Dawn! Tramway!). The tour has been timed to coincide with Emotional Response's invaluable and admirably lavish Sarah Records vinyl reissues and the line-up is top-drawer:

The customary Facebook event is here
Advance tickets can be purchased via Brown Paper Tickets here

N.B. The Old Hairdressers has a capacity of ~100 so the number of tickets is pretty limited.

Even As We Speak: A rare chance to catch Sydney, Australia's pop geniuses. Not content to fit in with any janglepop orthodoxy, they've incorporated influences as diverse as country and Philly soul. 2017's 'The Black Forest' e.p. was a real joy. It's great to have them back.

Action Painting!: By marrying frenetic guitars with heartfelt lyrics sung with real feeling and a few nods to The Jasmine Minks and Buzzcocks along the way, AP! crafted some of the most vital music released on Sarah. Sure to be a blast live! 

Boyracer: Boyracer took any perceived notion of a single 'Sarah sound' and exploded it in a mess of passion and joyful guitar noise. Their post-Sarah output is a vast thing of wonder! 

Secret Shine: With lashings of guitars through banks of effects pedals, Secret Shine always whipped up a considerable sonic squall. But there were lovely melodies, too. Again, their impressive post-Sarah records should be sought out immediately.

In addition to the live music we're chuffed to have DJ selections from The Wake. The Wake's wondrous records grace the catalogues of some of the finest independent labels ever: Factory, Captured Tracks, LTM and, of course, Sarah. Expect to hear The Fall!

Please tell your pop-loving friends and, if you can, come along. After all, there's very little likelihood of most of these bands playing in Glasgow ever again!

Saturday 2 June 2018

2 new post-punk purchases

Every now and then YouTube's algorithm is so on-the-money that I have to begrudgingly admit that big business sometimes gets it right. A couple of years ago the name Disturbed Furniture showed-up on that site's 'Up Next' sidebar. From the first few seconds of "Information" I knew that I was destined to become obsessed with it. Just listen to those ridiculously fast funk guitars and that insistent, spongy bassline not to mention the strident vocal. The Rapture and the rest of their punk/funk ilk in the early 2000s would've made a pact with the devil to sound this brilliant. If discogs is to be believed, the group only made one single but lead guitarist Phil Shoenfelt went on to release an e.p. for Mark E Smith's Cog Sinister label before releasing records on Paperhouse (The Pastels, Teenage Fanclub, Half Japanese etc.). A few unplayed copies came up for sale recently. They'd been used in an exhibition of punk art at the MoMA in New York. There may be some left - check ebay.

Ski Patrol's "Everything Is Temporary" was comparatively cheap and looked interesting so I took a punt on it. It's a beguiling mix of angry lyrics, dub vocal effects and clanging guitars that at times achieve real momentum. There's a lovely bit around 2 minutes in where the bass goes for a wee wander. Turn up the bass and listen, indeed.

Saturday 26 May 2018

Thee Lakesiders

Not Unloved was, as is so often the case, slow on the uptake when it came to the classy soul/pop output of Big Crown Records. It was only when Lady Wray released her majestic "Queen Soul" lp in 2016 that it became unavoidable. Since then, of course, The Shacks have soundtracked an iPhone ad and released an ace debut lp (not to mention a run of wonderful 7"s, especially this charming li'l dancer), Paul & The Tall Trees released the sparse, brooding "I Explained It All" and Sunny & The Sunliners releases became mainstays of soul sections in the classier independent record shops. The quality of Big Crown's releases shows no sign of dropping-off any time soon if the debut 7" by Thee Lakesiders is any guide. Their name may hint at 60s garage orthodoxy - 'thee' is usually a giveaway, ain't it? - but "Parachute", the b-side of their debut single, is far more subtle and nuanced than that. A recumbent, floating affair with a sublime vocal and an undulating rhythm, it is tailor made for soundtracking warm summer evenings spent contemplating. The top side, "Si Me Faltaras Tu" is a far peppier affair. Sung in Spanish (duh!), it zips along in the verses before the multi-tracked vocals of the chorus crank things up a notch. Grindhouse film-makers need look no further for their next house band.

Big Crown, it would appear, are also releasing the debut lp by Bobby Oroza in 'late 2018'. In the meantime, they've had the good sense to reissue Bobby's stunning "This Love" single that got Not Unloved hot under the collar in May, 2017. A mandatory purchase for those who missed it first time round!

Thursday 10 May 2018

Clay Hips

Recently, Annika Records shared a couple of videos heralding the imminent arrival of the debut Clay Hips album. Dating back to his time in The Fairways (thanks to Kris from Record Turnover for the hint all those years ago!), Not Unloved has carried a torch for the work of Kenji Kitahama. His disarmingly gentle voice never fails to move and his way with a soothing, winsome melody is a rare gift. The vinyl is pretty darned limited - 300: 150 copies on grey vinyl (which have sold out) and 150 more on black vinyl - so if the videos below charm your soul, spark up yr PayPal and head here to order before the rest of the world cottons on.

While Kenji is in my thoughts, it's worth remembering that his group with Swede Erik Hanspers, The Young Tradition, combined the adorable sparkle of prime Choo Choo Train with the heart-swelling brass of Love to create one of thee all time great pop moments that, had it been released on vinyl, would have been one of the finest 45s in the history of that medium (a bold claim, but undeniably true!):

Friday, 1st June 2018 in Glasgow

As the years advance, I've become less and less able to make decisions. For example, choosing which record(s) to buy on any given visit to a record shop (or website, for that matter) has become increasingly difficult. The same applies to gigs. In Glasgow, there are often a couple of options to choose from on any given night and I struggle to decide which one to go to right up to doors open time. Given this, choosing what to go to on Friday, 1st June 2018 will be pretty tricky. I mean, just how does a self-confessed ditherer with my musical loves choose between the following?

The Pastels + Modern Studies + Andrew Wasylyk @ The Mackintosh Church
The Shacks @ Broadcast
The Scientists @ Nice'n'Sleazy
Vital Idles (album launch!) + Irma Vep + Current Affairs + Order of the Toad @ Mono

Each of these shows will be special and on any normal evening would be my gig of choice. The Pastels are my favourite group ever so I've seen them many times before (though not enough for my liking!) and they're playing in a beautiful, non-standard venue. That's the obvious choice. The Shacks, however, are fabulous and I've never seen them before thanks to their gig with Khruangbin at the CCA earlier this year having sold out before I was even aware it was happening. It's at Broadcast, mind you, which is not the best venue in town. The Scientists, of course, are garage legends and, being Australian, are far less likely to roll through town again anytime soon. I suspect they'll be a riot in downstairs in Sleazy's, too. Ah, but Vital Idles have a truly special place in Not Unloved's heart and their Mono show is the launch party for their debut lp (out via the smart kids at Upset The Rhythm). They've assembled a great lineup, too. Argh! In terms of dilemmas, it's a nice one to have but it'll take some sorting. If I were deciding purely on the posters, The Pastels show would surely win out as Annabel Wright has created this gorgeous piece of art for it:

P.S. How fab is the latest Vital Idles song and video?

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Camellia Hartman & The Soulful Saints "Return The Favor" (Dala)

Rejoice! Camellia Hartman and The Soulful Saints are back with a soulful stroller to caress away our cares. "Return The Favor" is another classy, nuanced affair with enough 60s sunshine pop embellishments to warm the heart. The lyrics are endearingly sweet e.g.

"Hold me nearer
Kiss me sweeter
I'll be sure to return the favor
Love me tender
Always remember
That I'll be sure to return the favor"

For now, "Return The Favor" is available only as a download but there's talk of it being paired with Camellia's certified smash from 2017, "Breathin' Hard Over You", on a 7" in the near(ish?) future. Just sit back and watch the soul DJs and Shacks fans elbowing each other outta the way to snap up a copy!

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Jerry Naylor "City Lights" (Kent)

One of the down sides of labels such as Kent using generic sleeves for their releases (or, more accurately, their various series of releases) is that middle-aged dumplings such as Not Unloved can forget which ones they already have when rifling through the 7"s at their local record shop. Thankfully, the lovely staff at Monorail Music ensured that Jerry Naylor's effervescent "City Lights" reissue didn't pass me by as would have been the case had I been left to my own devices. It's irresistibly upbeat with a great production (trumpets!, strings! etc.). If anything can lift the gloom of spring, 2018, "City Lights" can. It came as something of a surprise to learn that Naylor was one of Buddy Holly's backing group, The Crickets.

Kent have paired "City Lights" with Johnny Praye's strident"Can't Get Too Much Love". Another winner, it  had Not Unloved (unwisely) dusting off the old falsetto to sing along with the backing vocals - not pretty!

Monday 2 April 2018

still buying 7"s

It may not be the most cost-effective way of consuming new music in 2018 but the 7" is still Not Unloved's preferred format and there really are some ace 45s around at the moment. New Zealanders The Shifting Sands released a mighty fine lp on Fishrider a few years back but their new single is even better. "Zoe" - also through Fishrider - is all languid jangles and recumbent twangs that waft from 1967 on a warm psychedelic breeze. What elevates "Zoe" above majority of the stoned psych-outs around at the moment are its heart and its emotional content. Essential.

Polytechnic Youth is a fine label even if it does have a slightly manic release schedule which means that keeping up with its output is nigh on impossible unless you've got the disposable income of Elon Musk. From the recent batch of three 7"s, The Detox Twins 45 is the one that tugged at Not Unloved's purse strings the most. It's a prime slab of what those with The Knowledge called Dark Wave or Minimal Wave but which sounds to me like 80s Goth. It'll sound ideal blasting out in dingy basements in Berlin.

Sergeants Mess recently unleashed their meaty second single, "Well That's Another Fine Mess" (Spinout Nuggets) in February. "Couldn't I Be Yours" is a pitch perfect explosion of mid-60s British Mod that thunders along (thanks in no small part to Wolf Howard who has drummed for many a Billy Childish group) obliterating everything stupid enough to get in its way. If it doesn't pack dancefloors at Mod nights the world over I' to my MP. You best believe it!

Keeping with the Mod theme, Crocodile Records' latest transmission is ANDRÉ M's cool-struttin' "Kenzy's Choice". It's a pleasingly concise Hammond-led instrumental which stomps along like a bunch of shady gangsters on their way to smash up an East End pub. Anyone who has ever happily tapped their loafers to Kent's tremendous Mod Jazz series of lps should seek it out immediately!

> Samples of both sides are here
> Get it here

Thursday 15 February 2018

The Hipshakes "Shot" (Nerve Centre)

Sub-two minute blasts of punkin' garage pop are ten a penny these days. There's so much of it around that it's tempting to look elsewhere for kicks (there's a lot of fine electronic music around at the moment, that's for sure) to save spending what seems like an eternity sifting out the lumps. One 7" that made a dent recently was the latest 45 by The Hipshakes. Pleasingly, it's unafflicted by that rodeo announcer vocal effect that the lesser groups of their ilk use to disguise the lack of a melody or any discernible vocal ability. "Shot" breezes along perkily and in the past would've had the kids down the youth club pogoing merrily. Great backing vocal swells and a lovably wonky guitar solo that disappears as quickly as it appeared enhance the air of uncomplicated fun.

The Yearning "Do You Remember?"

The Yearning is a group who could have been designed by focus group to appeal to Not Unloved's sensibilities. Take "Do You Remember" from their latest 10" for Elefant, its catchiness is undeniable, its production as classy as anything around just now and Maddie Dobie's voice is as beautiful a sound as I've heard in 2018. It wouldn't sound out of place on the soundtrack to any number of Nouvelle Vague movies. I worry that they'll slip under the radar and not get the acclaim they deserve. Here's hoping the new 10" succeeds in finding the right ears. Now, where did I put all those elegant looking and sounding Siesta CDs I bought in the '90s?