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.