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 Obsessionse.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 couple of weeks ago the lovely Monorail Music folks posted my 2018 faveson 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 Monseré'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 email@example.com" 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!
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?
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.
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!
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.
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:
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 Cadeson 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.