Monday 30 December 2019

Bobby Would "Baby" (Low Company)

Yesterday's more-exhaustive-than-normal favourite records of the year post is effectively rendered null and void because I forgot about one of the real heart-stealers of 2019: Bobby Would's "Baby" lp (Low Company). I know it's pathetic since not many folks read blogs by spirited amateurs like Not Unloved anymore but I do feel a sense of guilt over its omission so this post should be seen as an attempt to make amends. Bobby Would's deceptively urgent home-brewed exotica really gets under the skin the more you listen. Lying zonked-out somewhere in the overlap between the likes of Dirty Beaches, Ela Orleans, Index/The Bachs reverb-heavy garage pysch and the skewed end of 80s New Zealand pop, "Baby" has the makings of a true cult classic, ripe for being cyclically lost then found every few years. It's exactly the kind of record that was made to be happened upon by the inquisitive when rifling through a raft of mysterious-looking discs in some off-the-beaten-path second-hand record shop. Listening to it as I type, "Vicious" may be the only song I bought in 2019 to which one could conceivably jive - sweet! Bobby Would is Robert P. from weirdo punk group Heavy Metal. I like Heavy Metal but I love Bobby will, too, if you don't already!

Sunday 29 December 2019

Not Unloved's favourites of 2019

Usually, Not Unloved's pals at Monorail Music ask for our top 10 albums of the year. This year they decided they could do without us trying to up the jangly pop count on their chart so, in a break with tradition, the various lists below aren't ranked or limited to 10. 2019 was a smashing year for music (aren't they all?) so it's a shame that for a bunch of very dull reasons the opportunities to settle down and really absorb all the records that came over the threshold were fairly limited. Ah, well...I've got the rest of my life to listen to them, eh? I have a hunch that if I'd been keeping tally, The Delines and Business of Dreams records were the ones I played the most. I hadn't really been paying attention to country-influenced music over the last few years so it's a bit of a surprise just how hard I fell for "The Imperial". Seeing The Delines twice (at Oran Mor then Barras Art & Design) really fixed its songs in my affections. As ever, only records bought on physical formats are included.


The Delines "The Imperial" (Decor)
Business of Dreams "Ripe For Anarchy" (Slumberland)
Comet Gain "Fireraisers Forever!" (Tapete)
Richard Youngs & Raul Refree "All Hands Around The Moment" (Soft Abuse)
Seablite "Grass Stains and Novocaine" (Emotional Response)
Julia McFarlane's Reality Guest "Ta Da!" (Night School)
The Embrooks "We Who Are" (State)
Marry Waterson and Emily Barker "A Window To Other Ways" (One Little Indian)
Carla dal Forno "Look Up Sharp" (Kallista)
His Name Is Alive "All The Mirrors In The House (Home Recordings 1979-1986)" (Disciples)
Kim Gordon "No Home Record" (Matador)
Honey Radar "Ruby Puff of Dust" (What's Your Rupture?)
Tomaga "Extended Play 1" (Negative Days)
The Reds, Pinks and Purples "Anxiety Art" (Pretty Olivia)
Amateur Hour "Framtiden Tillhör Inte Oss" (Happiest Place)
Parsnip "When The Tree Bears Fruit" (Trouble In Mind)
Jeanines "s/t" (Slumberland)
R. Elizabeth "" (Night School)
Neutrals "Kebab Disco" (Emotional Response)
Vanishing Twin "The Age of Immunology" (Fire)


Molly Linen "Outside e.p." (Lost Map)
Elite Beat "By The Light of the Pyramids" (Research Records)
Emilia Sisco with Cold Diamond and Mink "Don't Believe You Like That" (Timmion)
Jetstream Pony "I Close My Eyes" (Kleine Untergrund Schallplaten)
Kallista Kult "s/t" (A Colourful Storm)
Failed Flowers "Faces" (Slumberland)
Fleur "Mon Amie Martien" (Bickerton)
Electric Looking Glass "Death of a Season" (Hypnotic Bridge)
Les Milous "Annie Hall" (Happiest Place)
Smiles "Gone For Good" (Slumberland)
Bill Wells "Winter Dreams" (7ep)
A Certain Smile "Bae e.p." (Kocliko)
The Oilies "Psychic Dog" (Fruits and Flowers)
Carolina Lins and Os Planatos "I Predict A Riot" (Tru Thoughts)
Public Service "I'm Gonna Kill That Man" (Anxious Music)
Current Affairs "Buckle Up" (...)
Durand Jones and The Indications "Morning In America b/w Cruisin' To The Park" (Colemine) (N.B. This is on the list for the flip!)


Insides "Euphoria" (Beacon Sound)
The Society "You Girl" (B-W/My Mind's Eye) (N.B. From the 60s but a first issue)
Various Artists "Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures Volume 5" (Kent)
Karen Marks "Cold Cafe" (Efficient Space)
Michael O'Shea "s/t" (AllChival)
Barbara Howard "On The Rise" (Colemine)
Various Artists "A Short Illness From Which He Never Recovered" (Blackest Ever Black)
The Springfields "The Singles 1986-1991" (Slumberland)
The Pooh Sticks "The Pooh Sticks" (7" box setOptic Nerve)
Kizza Ping "Först River Man Allt" (Fördämning Arkiv)
Dolly Mixture "Other Music" + "Demonstration Tapes" (Sealed)

So far this is the only 7" I've bought from the Dave Godin compilation...

Some quiet, elegant songs

Winter 2019 has been almost comically manic so the time to listen to music has been in short supply. Maybe for that reason the songs that have hit the hardest and sunk in the deepest have largely had comparatively sparse arrangements and clear, emotionally direct vocals that leave space for contemplation. Gavin Laird (formerly of Telstar Ponies among others) teamed up with various friends on the Cup And Ring project (Glass Miniature). His former bandmate Rachel Devine contributed a heart-stopping vocal to "#1":

I love it and feel it in the same way that I loved and felt All About Eve's "Martha's Harbour" when I was a schoolkid or This Mortal Coil's sublime reading of Tim Buckley's "Song To The Siren" when I was a student. Whole hours have passed with nothing but "#1" playing. Laird's guitar line was made to be looped and Devine's elegantly un-histrionic vocal only gets better and more emotionally resonant with repeated listens. Truly stunning. Equally stunning is Richard Youngs and Raul Refree's "All Hands Around The Moment" (Soft Abuse). Each of its four songs clock in at around the 8 minute mark and each of them could happily go on for hours as far as Not Unloved is concerned. Again, the arrangements are un-fussy and beautifully judged to showcase Richard's heartfelt, world weary but nevertheless romantic words to great effect. There's a line on "Nil By Mind" that is amongst the most memorable of 2019:

"I've been watching webcams of the Arctic Circle
To see your freckles come out in the sun"

If this lp had been released earlier in the year it would surely have found itself near the top of many a year end list. My guess is that Youngs and Refree don't really care about such things and are more than happy to just produce great art.

Another of Glasgow's true musical heroes, Bill Wells, recently released the "Winter Dreams" cdep (7ep Records). Its 12 songs may only add up to around 12 minutes but it makes its mark in the gorgeousness stakes. Bill's characteristically crisp and moving piano and keyboard parts are given even more emotional weight through Audrey Bizouerne's (Gift Horse/Rev Magnetic/Alex Rex etc.) gorgeous singing. Swarovski themselves haven't produced anything so crystalline and perfect as the 12 little pieces on "Winter Dreams".

Molly Linen's debut 10" on Lost Map is yet another quiet wonder by a Glasgow-based group. Comparisons to much-missed Bristol group Movietone by friends quicker on the uptake than me suggested that Not Unloved was more likely than not going to love them and so it proved. "Away" is an appropriately subtle celebration of shyness. Here's hoping that there's a whole lp of Molly Linen songs coming in 2020.

Monday 25 November 2019

Cinéma Lumiėre "Love"

By all accounts Filipino newcomers Cinéma Lumiėre are huge fans of Sarah Records. Smart kids. On the evidence of their just-released single (digital-only...for the time being?), "Love", they also have an understandable fondness for the sophisticated charms of the prime Cherry Red/Él Records groups of the mid-80s. There's something of Tracey Thorn's downbeat classiness to the gorgeous vocals. Have you ever wrapped your cold ears in a warm towel lifted straight from the tumble dryer? That's the sensation I get from listening to "Love". If money were no object and if I were convinced that 300 people would buy a copy, I'd ask to release "Love" on 7" vinyl via Not Unloved in a heartbeat. With things the way they are politically right now, the world needs music (and visuals - check the adorable video) this beautiful.

Sunday 24 November 2019

Brown Paper Bag "Something Tells Me"

"Something Tells Me" by Texan garage rockers Brown Paper Bag ranks as one of the finest 60s b-sides - 1967 according to the internationalnetwork - to soothe Not Unloved's ringing ears. All the elements necessary for obsession are there: the gentle voice, the moody/haunting sound, the downer lyrics, the tremendous drumming etc.. When you add to all of that some stupendous swirling keyboards and a Shangri-la's-style talky interlude, well, I could EXLODE.

Friday 15 November 2019

Sarah Bethe Nelson "Too Rich"

There's been something of a deluge of lovely, countrified pop songs in 2019 and one of the dreamiest is, in Not Unloved's opinion, the swooning "Too Rich" from Sarah Bethe Nelson's tremendous third lp, "Weird Glow" (Burger). Sarah Bethe's vocals are so endearingly sweet and the melody so moreish that whole hours have passed recently without another song nudging it from the top of Not Unloved's playlist. From experience, it makes an ideal soundtrack to staring out the window watching late autumn breezes take the leaves from the trees.

A Certain Smile "Cherry Bomb"

2017's "Fits and Stars" by A Certain Smile was a huge hit chez Not Unloved (this song from it still sounds like a bona fide classicand their new single, "Bae E.P." (Koclicko), has already cheerfully barged its way into our affections big time. The lead track, "Cherry Bomb" (no, not that "Cherry Bomb"!), is a sparky number propelled by a superbly bouncy bassline and the kind of abrasive guitar that can exfoliate at 100 yards leaving everyone in the vicinity rosy-cheeked and beaming. Were someone to play "Cherry Bomb" at an indie disco where I was lurking sullenly in the shadows, I'd be knocking over drinks-laden tables in my haste to get to dancefloor to bounce around like a loon. There are only 100 copies for Europe so don't dilly dally...

Failed Flowers "Faces"

Slumberland Records is 30. Apart from that being a ridiculous fact, it is cause for POP fans the world over to a) thank their lucky stars that Mike Schulman was put on this planet to do good works and that he ain't no quitter and b) to celebrate wildly. At any celebration, of course, you need music and, helpfully, Slumberland always has us covered: "Faces" , the new single (released as part of Slumberland's 30th anniversary singles club - get subbin' if ya haven't already!) by Ann Arbor, Michigan's Failed Flowersshould have any POP party bouncing in seconds. Anna Burch, Fred Thomas and pals have crafted one of the most clear-eyed, instantly lovable fuzzy pop songs of recent years. It would have melted Not Unloved's frosted-up heart at any point in the last 30 years. Way to go Slumberland!

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Fleur "Mon Ami Martien"

Not Unloved loves a cheery Francophone pop song and even more so if it starts and ends with a few blasts of Martian-speak. Fleurs's irresistible "Mon Ami Martien" (Bickerton) is Sixties catchy and has more hooks than yr average 2019 album not mention a superb Joe Meek-style keyboard solo that'll have you reaching for your copy of "Skyman"The flip's no slouch, either, with its wild guitar and frantic keys. In short, this 7" is a mandatory purchase!

Spain's Bickerton Records has a great ear for a melody. In a fair world Not Unloved would, in summer 2017, have crawled over broken glass to evangelise about The Safes' certified perfect "Hometown" single, the video for which (take a bow Partick Oleksy) was an uncommon treat:

Tuesday 3 September 2019

The Prime Mover "When You Made Love To Me"

A hot contender for the Best Record Purchased By Not Unloved In 2019 garland is The Prime Mover's "When You Made Love To Me" (Sock-o, 1967):

Just listen to that arrangement - it has everything: glockenspiel (shouldn't every song?), groovy bassline, driving guitars, wonky guitars, soft, echo-ey voices, tempo changes. If yr band is only going gonna cut one 7"and disappear for good, might as well throw everything at it, eh?

Electric Looking Glass "Death of a Season" (Hypnotic Bridge)

Although I've never had the gumption to go whole hog on the 60s throwback clothing (my unfortunately chunky thighs put paid to all hopes of looking good in that gear), I've always had a sneaky admiration for those who do. After all, there's not much in life that's better than being in a roomful of people in brightly patterned, flammable garb frugging extravagantly to sweet 60s garage/psych sounds. On the evidence of the video below, LA's Electric Looking Glass don't share my retro clothing reticence. Their music, too, has all the familiar elements of mid-60s soft psych but in "Death of a Season" they have produced a song so surprisingly soulful that it renders any accusations of past-aping meaningless. It's no faded facsimile, that's for sure. Without doubt it features one of my favourite vocal melodies/performances of 1967...sorry, 2019.

The flip is a perkier but equally adorable number with a great arrangement and more cheerful hooks than lesser groups manage in their entire career:

If you've ever enjoyed an issue of Shindig! magazine, you NEED this 7" now!

Doug Tuttle "Twilight"

It's got to the stage where it's almost 100% certain that any record that bears the name Doug Tuttle will find a happy home at Not Unloved. Unusually for 2019, I don't even bother sampling them online before buying. I know - crazy! His latest lp, "Dream Road", came out at the very end of May on Burger Records but only recently showed up in Glasgow. "Twilight" from it has a really beautiful video that perfectly suits the softly psychedelic music. Interestingly, "Twilight" never quite builds to the expected singalong chorus and the more predictable fuzz guitar solo is eschewed in favour of a more subtle flute-like backwards guitar interlude; it's all the more memorable for such thoughtfulness. It may have come out in late spring but on this dark, damp evening, autumn seems like just the right season during which to get to know "Dream Road" better.

Sunday 28 July 2019

Rocky Lorelei "He Said, She Said"

Last Wednesday, Not Unloved's good pal Tara Quinn played a recently uploaded Rocky Lorelei (of Hairband and Spinning Coin) song on her essential fortnightly radio show on LP Radio. "He Said, She Said" is a beautifully sung slice of post-Softies pop heaven with a skippy little guitar solo and some endearingly romantic lyrics e.g.

"Teeth stained with red wine
Honey, you are so divine"

If the hushed majesty of The Cat's Miaow or Galaxie 500 ever raised the hairs on the back of your neck and made the world feel like a more welcoming place, this song is for you.

October 8th - Amy Rigby "Girl To City: A Memoir"

This October Amy Rigby releases her memoir, "Girl To City" (Southern Domestic). On the evidence of her incredible songs and her self-effacing but winningly astute blog, it's sure to be an entertaining, sharply-written document of a fascinating life. Over the last few years, through some genuinely moving shows (yeah, there have been unexpected tears) and perceptive/touching records Not Unloved has come to regard Amy as one of the greatest songwriters, well, ever. There are very few writers whose songs are so emotionally direct without ever being awkwardly confessional. She's a real talent, that's for sure and I hope the book is real success - she deserves it. Here's the trailer (what a song!):

If amazon's your thing, it's available pre-order in kindle and paperback versions.

The Motions "For Another Man" (Havoc, 1965)

There's a tiny little guitar figure, just a few notes, that announces the end of each line in the verses of The Motions' heart-melting, "For Another Man", which is so perfect that I'd happily take it over the entire careers of most alleged axe heroes. Its economy, placement and sheer beauty make it worthy of admiration. It's so much more than the sum of its notes; pure alchemy. That it's allied to an almost perfect downer melody makes it all the more powerful. Luckily for me, "For Another Man" is available digitally so I can listen to those few notes over and over and over without trashing a beautiful 54 year old 7".

Les Milous "Annie Hall"

Not Unloved took a shine to Swedish label Happiest Place when it released JJ Ulius's stellar debut 7" in 2018. When this was followed in February by the intriguingly unreachable Amateur Hour lp, sneaky affection blossomed into love. It's no surprise, therefore, that their latest 45 is another smash. "Annie Hall" by Les Milous successfully combines elements of Eddie Cochran, The Cannanes, Young Marble Giants and even 70s glam pop into a cohesive whole that rattles along thrillingly for a couple of minutes before checking out with a definite full stop. Adorable!

There are only 250 copies so get bandcamping before it's too late!
UK folks can secure their very own copy from the continually searching folks at Low Company.

Thursday 31 January 2019

NUSONIC003: Tight Knit - 'Too Hot' b/w 'Want You'

It took all of 30 seconds for Not Unloved to flip for Melbourne, Australia's Tight Knit. Looking to play some shows in Glasgow in summer 2018, they dropped-off a CD-R in Monorail Music and on hearing it, our friend Russell (thanks - we owe ya big time!) got in touch to say that he'd heard Not Unloved's new favourite band. Boy, was he right! Ange (guitar, bass and vocals), Caitie (guitar, bass and vocals) and Jamie (drums) craft the kind of endearingly romantic pop that reminds you what your heart is for. The two gems which grace NUSONIC003 highlight different aspects of Tight Knit's music. The catchy 'Too Hot' on the a-side amps up the insistent guitar scorch whereas 'Want You'  on the flip is more considered until the huge chorus kicks in at which point it becomes an anthem for the yearning. In a just world that chorus would be chanted, arms aloft by weary but happy punters on the final night of the next Indietracks. Tight Knit should be clutched to the chests of those who pored over the hallowed pages of Chickfactor eager to learn what was next on Slumberland or K Records. Tight Knit are something special. Prepare to fall in love!

Due February, 2019
320 copies
7" black vinyl (w/ bandcamp download code)
Risograph sleeve by Sundays Print Service (Glasgow)
Available from the Not Unloved Records bandcamp soon!

While Ange and Caitie were in Glasgow they filmed a coupla songs for The Artsy Vice show in the cool performance space of The Old Hairdressers. Their songs are from ~11mins 40secs onwards but be sure to watch the rest of the show as Rocky Lorelei et al are ace, too.

Tight Knit on Instagram
Tight Knit on Facebook

Wednesday 30 January 2019

Mikah Wilson "Sunshine Grooves" 7"

"Sunshine Grooves" (You Are The Cosmos Records) came out last summer and takes the superior sunshine pop of the 1960s (The Beach BoysThe Yellow Balloon, Jan & Dean etc.) as its starting point and adds a generous dusting of icing sugar, a heaped teaspoonful of Creamola Foam and a handful of Rainbow Dust with predictably tooth-bothering results. Not Unloved, of course, has always craved the sweet stuff so fully endorses Mikah's recipe for making the world a brighter, gentler place. Whichever register (helium or counter-helium) he's singing in, Mikah's voice is a thing of wonder. Sometimes wholesome pop is the best pop!

Tuesday 29 January 2019

Emilia Sisco and Cold Diamond & Mink "Don't Believe You Like That"

In 2019 it's not news that the presence of the words 'Timmion Records' on a record's label are as close to a guarantee of quality as the record industry can manage and, thankfully, their most recent 7" does nothing to dispel that. Emilia Sisco teams up with Timmion's regular backing group, Cold Diamond & Mink, for a haunting (check the ghostly waft of the backing vocals!) but sweet number that is so addictive in a dead of night Amy Winehouse way that Not Unloved is seriously contemplating the purchase of another copy for when our first copy wears through. 

Sunday 27 January 2019

3 songs on repeat chez Not Unloved

"Cheer Up, Charley. You ain't always been as big a mess".

So starts the first track on The Delines' latest lp, "The Imperial" (Decor). It sure sets the tone for a terrific album of sombre vignettes of lives/relationships gone a bit wrong somewhere along the way. The arrangements, the playing, the production and, above all, the wearied singing is just beautiful. Luckily, they're playing Glasgow tonight. I'll be the one blinking back the tears during "Cheer Up, Charley".

The good folks behind the Janglepophub Twitter account have teamed up with pals and started a label called Subjangle. Their first release, "Best Laid Plans", comes from Portsmouth's Lost Ships who, as befits a group on a label with 'jangle' in its name, know their way around a memorable jangling guitar line:

There's something of The Lucksmiths in Lost Ships' overall sound but they're that bit more strident. It's good stuff.

Reading the single reviews in the latest issue of Shindig! magazine (Billy Childish cover), I learned that The Spookies had sneaked out a second 7" (on Spain's Bickerton Records) while my back was turned. Scottish garage maven Lenny Helsing gave it the kind of review that must have had the be-fringed Nuggets/Pebbles lovers scrambling, all fingers and thumbs to the Bickerton bandcamp page.

"Please Come Back" positively glows with vitality. It's a euphoric listen that is up there with the recent lp by The Embrooks in terms of purpose, energy and the sheer quality of songwriting and hooks. Good times in the garage, that's for sure!

Saturday 12 January 2019

Lucy and The Rats "Melody"

Lucy - of Australian Ramones-lovers The Spazzys - teamed up with a bunch of delinquent leather boys, The Rats, to produce an endearingly wide-eyed summertime pop classic that's liberally dosed with hand-claps and the kinda pure-voiced singing that never fails to lift the spirits:

I wish I'd heard it on its release in spring 2018 when the weather in Glasgow was untypically hot as it would've made the ideal soundtrack. Thumbs-up to The Next Big Thing for ensuring that Lucy and The Rats didn't pass me by completely.

Thursday 10 January 2019

Public Service announcement

Mary Anne Hobbs just finished her 6Music show with Public Enemy into Public Image Ltd. Unfortunately, Shaun Keaveny didn't pick up the baton and start his with Glasgow's Public Service. Talk about a missed opportunity to give yr audience a jolt! "I'm Gonna Kill That Man" is the first 45 by Public Service and inaugurates Glasgow's newest, fiercest label, Anxious Music:

Public Service are a fearsome prospect live; all screams, marauding and lacerating guitars. It's hard to capture that level of ferocity in a studio but this 7" makes good on their live promise and certainly pulls no punches. If you dug Not Unloved's recent Current Affairs 7", you're gonna need this 45 immediately. Glasgow sure is coming up with the goods right now!

There's a launch for the 7" this Saturday (12th, January) at Glasgow's, Old Toll Bar on Paisley Road West. Full details here.

Tuesday 8 January 2019

Yet more reasons to love Australia

January ain't so bad. Why, just this week we've had the announcements that:

a) "Whoosh!", the debut full length lp by The Stroppies, is due on Tough Love in March. If "Cellophane Car", below, is any guide, it'll be a bubblegum (those keyboards!) treat:

b) French label Future Folkore Records is set to release "Hip Blister", a split 12" on which the ever effervescent Parsnip duke it out with the reliably twisted The Shifters for the title of most adorable Australian band of February, 2019:

c) February also sees the digital release of the latest 4 tracker from the splendidly spiky Display Homes. They may not be as cuddly as the bands above but "Block" comes on like a chunkier Vital Idles with an angry Fay Fife on vocals which is a fine, fine thing to hear:

As if all of the above weren't treats enough, Not Unloved's postman just dropped-off Normie Rowe's lip-curling, slicked- back hair combing cover of Johnny Kidd and The Pirates' "Shakin' All Over". From September '65, it's just so cool (don't be fooled by the square 'do in the pic, below!). Definitive:

Thanks Australia. You're the best!

Tuesday 1 January 2019

The Salvation Army "Mind Gardens" (New Alliance)

Around Black Friday last year (2018 - yikes!) I saw a bunch of Stateside folks posting the cover art of an lp featuring The Dream Syndicate, The Bangles, Rain Parade and The Three O'Clock covering each other's songsHopefully, it'll show up at some point in UK-based record shops (there's no way I'm handing over next month's pay cheque to the US Postal Service to get a double lp sent across the Atlantic) as the concept behind it is sound. Reading the name The Three O'Clock again gave me the wee jolt I needed to finally pick up a copy of the sole 7" by that group''s precursor, The Salvation Army. "Mind Gardens" (New Alliance, 1981) zips along at skatepunk speed while Michael Quercio, masquerading as Ricky Start, sings in a cute, interestingly-accented manner (the way he sings is 'goes' and 'grows' is so endearing!). I love it for all the same reasons I love early Redd Kross or that first lp by The Descendents

The surprisingly poignant b-side is equally great and possibly even more sing-along-able: