Friday, 31 December 2021

A Not Unloved mix for Record Turnover

Krister from esteemed Swedish culture site Record Turnover kindly asked Not Unloved to contribute a mix to their guest mix series. Since Record Turnover covers both guitar music and electronic acts of all types it seemed only right to do a mix which reflects that. Of couse, there are some great Scottish-based acts (Soursob, Kubler-Ross and Gaming) and some smashing covers (Epic Soundtracks and friends taking on one of the sweetest tracks by The Monkees and Star Party's blasting take on Buba and The Shop Assistants genius "Something To Do").  From 2021 there's a wonderful cut from Bobby Lee's evocative "Origin Myths" lp and a track from Itchy Self's 12" that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Numero Group's tremendous Ork boxset. Of the electronic contingent there's Kara-lis Coverdale's stargazing "A 480" and a stomper from Bobby Flan's 2019 7". Hope you find something to enjoy!

  1. The Lizards (aka Epic Soundtracks) – I Wanna Be Free
  2. Awful Sirs – Rock the Boat
  3. Jason Henn – Carriers
  4. Itchy Self – Playin’ MTV
  5. Galore – Lydia
  6. Bobby Lee – Impregnated By Drops of Rainbow
  7. Kara-lis Coverdale – A 480
  8. Bobby Flan – Cone of Perversity
  9. Gaming – Otago Lane
  10. Angel Corpus Christi – John Cassavettes
  11. The Stray Trolleys (pre-Cleaners From Venus) – Secret Dreams of a Kitchen Porter
  12. The Lines – Single Engine Duster
  13. K├╝bler-Ross – Koss
  14. Magic Roundabout – Sneaky Feelin’
  15. Soursob – Gizmo
  16. The Staches – Crocodile
  17. Star Party – Something to Do

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Soursob

In late 2019 Soursob were one of the most exciting groups in Glasgow. Their tape on Fuzzkill was a blast which showcased a group with a real spark and just the right blend of cockiness ("Gizmo"), irreverence (the take-down of a pompous music obsessive on "Shoegaze" will never not be funny) and catchy tunes. Around that time Not Unloved saw them play some great sets at Mono and Nice'n'Sleazy etc. and was all set to ask them to do a 7" for our wee label - I'd even started dropping hints to radio shows like Dynamite Hemorrage - but learning that one of the band members had to return to Australia meant that it didn't happen. The prospect of trying to sell out the pressing with no gigs to help spread the word and a general decline in enthusiasm from music buyers for the 7" format just seemed too difficult. Shortly afterwards, the pandemic-related postal system issues and the well documented vinyl pressing woes experienced by labels made the idea of continuing to release 45s seem like an even worse idea. It was with great delight and more than a little jealousy, therefore, that Not Unloved learned via a Facebook posting last March that HoZac would be be releasing a Soursob 12". Now that it's out. however, it's just great that a wider audience has already or will in the future get to hear Soursob and fall for their cheek and charm. Here's hoping that 2022 brings a buncha new songs and a slew of gigs!

Some of Not Unloved's 2021 favourites

As the stacks of lps currently without a home bear witness, Not Unloved bought way too many records (and tapes and CDs, for that matter!) in 2021. Reviewing the situation, it would appear that a large chunk of these were gentle or instrumental or both. I guess that's, in part, due to another year of home working. Maybe unexpectedly, Bobby Lee's "Origin Myths" was the record that earned the most spins round here.

Not Unloved is no aficionado of dusty Americana but it instantly became a favourite and was easy to play on a loop. Rachel Love's gorgeous "Picture In Mind" album was up there, too, and there were days when the incredibly moving "Space" from Molly Linen's "Days Awake" e.p. was looped over and over without ever coming close to outstaying its welcome. As for reissues, Stephen's "Radar of Small Dogs" had been on Not Unloved's wants list for years so it was a genuine thrill when it was finally made available again even if I did pay well over the odds for a copy of Joyful Noise's "White Label Series" version only to see Liz Harris's Yellow Electric reissue the reissue at a much more affordable price a few months later. Still, what a record!

Long Players


The Umbrellas "s/t" lp (Slumberland) / Chime School "s/t" lp (Slumberland) / The Reds, Pinks and Purples "Uncommon Weather" lp (Slumberland)

Usurabi "Remains of the Light" lp (An'archives)

Bobby Lee "Origin Myths" lp (Tompkins Square)

Maxine Funke "Seance" lp (A Colorful Storm)

Rachel Love "Picture In Mind" cd (self-released)

Monokultur "Ormens Vag" lp (Mamma's Mysteriska Jukebox)

Blue Chemise "Flower Studies" lp (BAAD)

Blackwater "Navigation" lp (Ethbo)

Vanishing Twin "Ookii Gekkou" lp (Fire)

ROCK "s/t" tape (Home Assembly)  / Downpour "Do You Remember When It Was All About The Drums? Parts I & II" tape (Home Assembly) / A New Line (Related) tape "Love In A Unitary Authority. Parts 1-9" (Home Assembly)

Dean Wareham "I Have Nothing To Say The Mayor of L.A." (Double Feature)

Spread Joy "s/t" (Feel It)

The Courettes "Back In Mono" lp (Damaged Goods)

Short Players:


The Freedom Affair
 "Outta My Mind" 7" (One World)

Magic Roundabout "Sneaky Feelin'" 7" (Third Man)

Friendly Boyfriend "Pick Up!" 7" (Happiest Place)

Molly Linen "Days Awake" 10" (Lost Map)

Omar S feat. Supercoolwicked "What's Good For The Goose" 7" (FXHE)

Laurence Le Doux/Roger 3000 "Creme" 7" (Lexi Disques)

Real Numbers "Brighter Then" 12" (Slumberland/Meritorio)

Taqbir "s/t" 7" (La Vida Es Un Mus)

Michelle David and The Gospel Sessions "Yes I Am" 7" (One World)

The Pastels/Sonic Youth "Play The New York Dolls" 7" (Glass Modern)

Soursob "s/t" 12" (Hozac)

Reissues and Compilations:


Pub "Single" lp (Ampoule)

Stephen "Radar of Small Dogs" lp (Joyful Noise/Yellow Electric)

Various Artists "Choctaw Ridge" lp (Ace)

Tangled Shoelaces "Turn My Dial" lp (Chapter)

Shizuka "Paradise of Delusion" lp (An'archives)

The Clean "Tally Ho" 7" (Merge)

Various Artists "Cameroon Garage Funk" lp (Analog Africa)

Lilys "The 3 Way" lp (Sundazed)

The Ultimates "Gotta Get Out" 7" (Brewerytown)

Jose Mauro "A Viagem das Horas" lp (Far Out)

Moonlove "May Never Happen" lp (Concentric Circles)

Seefeel reissue programme (Warp)

Female Species "Tale of My Lost Love" lp (Numero Group)

Linda Smith "Till Another Time: 1988-1996" lp (Captured Tracks)

Monday, 20 December 2021

Let's Get Shiny!

Shamefully, Not Unloved neglected its duty to share (the sole point of this thing!) for a large chunk of 2021. One of the records (it's actually a cd...no format snobbery here!) that deserved to be shared but wasn't was "Let's Get Shiny!" (Melotron Recordings) by Shiny Times. Shiny Times is the home recording project of Kim Weldin of Tape Waves (whose recent "Bright" album for Emotional Response is a dreamy pop smash) and on the evidence of "Let's Get Shiny!", Weldin's neighbours won't feel compelled to call the cops to report a noise nuisance any time soon. All 6 songs are beautifully sung in a hushed, comforting manner and even the fuzzier guitars are never abrasive or harsh. I tried and failed to decide upon a favourite track to post here but "So Alone" achieves Rose Melberg levels of prettiness and has Not Unloved yearning for the days of photocopied fanzines and mixtapes so it's a good ambassador for the cd. With "Let's Get Shiny!" Kim Weldin has added to the sum total of good things in the world and for that I thank her. Let's hope 2022 brings more Shiny Times!



Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Myrna Summers & The Interdenominational Singers

Maybe it's because the gospel music featured in the tremendous Summer Of Soul was such an unfettered joy, but Not Unloved has been banging its tambourine along with the Lord's music a fair bit of late. Finding a cheap (it's never that expensive) copy in nice condition (it's a cutout but I can deal with that in 2021), of "Tell It Like It Is" by Myrna Summers & The Interdenominational Singers (Cotillion, 1970) in an actual record shop was a real treat. The feel of this lp is great. There's so much energy and such an irresistible (holy?) spirit that even the dourest naysayers will be clapping along in seconds. The beat on "Witness" whips up the proceedings to quite a frenzy and the keyboards add some unexpected drama. Look out your Sunday best and get on the goodfoot!

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Ryan Kidd aka The Human B-Side

When it wasn't possible to actually visit record shops last year, Not Unloved did the next best thing and watched a tonne of record shop (ok, 'store' as they were mostly America-based) review videos. This excellent short clip from 2015 on Permanent Records in Chicago was what started it off and remains a favourite. Somewhere along the line one thing led to another, links were followed and Ryan Kidd's YouTube channel unexpectedly became a must-watch. Being a nosy sort, Not Unloved has watched a fair few Vinyl Community YouTube channels over the years but few of the other hosts are as charismatic, curious or as infectiously enthusiastic as Kidd. His predilection is for high energy rock'n'roll of all types with snotty punk and power pop being particular passions. He talks about the records with such evident joy - at points there's something of the old time preacher about his delivery - that it's hard not to get swept along with the result that you find yourself Googling the availability of Dutch punk records that you never knew were missing from yr life. There's nothing pretentious or needy about The Human B-Side and that's key to his charm. There's also no posturing or smug one-upmanship, just a need to evangelize about the good stuff.  Everyone's invited to pull up a chair, bust open a Bud and to "Ride with the Kidd!" and to "Be Somebody!"


A few years back Kidd was the guitarist and lead singer in The Disconnects. His list of favourite records is the tops and provides a handy guide as to where their music was coming from.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Creme/Caramel

It's not always the BIG statements or grand gestures that linger longest in the memory. Sometimes the whispered lines are the ones that strike a chord. "Creme" by Lawrence Le Doux and Roger 3000 (Lexi Disques, 2021) is a case in point. There's no sledgehammer riffing, no polemics are delivered just, well, easy to love soft exotica sounds that massage the temples and whisper in your ear that everything is gonna be alright. There's not a single aspect of it that I'd change. I love the way the recording starts as if the performance had been going on for quite some time before someone remembered to hit record and I love the way it runs out of puff at the end as if lulled by its own dreaminess into a warm, welcome torpor. One of the most adorable pieces of music to grace one side of a piece of 7" vinyl in 2021 to Not Unloved's ears. "Caramel" on the other side is equally lovely but introduces elements of wide-eyed radiophonic wonder to the mix. It's surely destined to soundtrack a short nature documentary about tiny organisms. Seek it out if you like pretty things!

Monday, 22 November 2021

Dalton, James & Sutton "One Time Around" (National General)

Not Unloved's musical path was largely set by the gift of a "The History of The Byrds" cassette some time in the mid-1980s. Not many of the Rickenbacker*-toting groups who've tried to over the years have come close to matching their best work for quality and beauty. Dalton, James & Sutton's 1970 b-side, "One Time Round", is about as close as I've heard anybody get to evoking the spirit of Gene Clark, Roger McGuinn and co. at their peak:


I'm sure some (most?) folks will dismiss "One Time Around" as a mere facsimile but in Not Unloved's view it has enough emotional pull of its own for it to transcend such easy dismissal. Also, it has a lovely, if brief, "Feel A Whole Lot Better"-style ceilidh of a guitar solo. Unplayed copies of this 45 are still kicking around for a decent price but they all seem to be made of the more easily worn styrene rather than the hardier black vinyl.

* - If like yr pal Not Unloved you think that a) the Rickenbacker is just about the greatest sound-generating device devised by humankind and/or b) you believe that the music made by Martin and Paul Kelly in East Village (repress of their "Hotrod Hotel" album available NOW via the saints at Slumberland Records!) to be something truly special, the chances are you'll want to invest in a copy of the pair's divine-looking book on Rickenbacker guitars, "Out Of The Frying Pan Into The Fireglo".

Available now in soft cover and (pricey!) deluxe versions now via Phantom Books.

There's a smashing Instagram page for the book here.

Pop banger #1: "Caterpillar"

German (Berlin) group Laura Lee & The Jettes landed in Not Unloved's pop orbit via BBC 6Music a bit back. Adult life then conspired to ensure that only a hefty session of hypnotic regression could conceivably bring back the memory of them. Roll on a few months and Gideon Coe, also on 6Music, played the glorious "Caterpillar" from their imminent "Wasteland" lp (out December, 3rd 2021). If anything their second first impression was even better than their first. It's fabulous post-Stereolab propulsive pop with periodic effervescent starbursts:




La Floreria Primavera Con Los Hermanos Flores "Culebrita" (Mango Hill)

 


Back when I was a teenager and knew very little about anything worthwhile I couldn't see the point of instrumentals. I remember thinking it was such a waste of a good tune when an artist "couldn't be bothered to write a song". Oh, those lazy musicians! Of course, the young Not Unloved was entirely wrong. A recent vocal-free number to earn repeated spins round these parts is "Culebrita" by...deep breath...La Floreria Primavera Con Los Hermanos Flores. Trebly, antiquated keyboards like the kind you find on yr fave tracks on Teenage Shutdown compilations vie with a wandering, heavily effected guitar for your attention while the bass and percussion whip up a rump-shakin' Latin rhythm. The best bits are when the twangy guitar plunges unexpectedly to a low, almost Link Wray-worthy rumble. It's easily Not Unloved's favourite Latin instrumental since The Kevin Fingier Collective's thumping (has anyone ever hit a cowbell so hard?) "Latin Dynamite".

The Ultimates "Why I Love You" (Valentine/Brewerytown)

 


There will always be a sizable place in Not Unloved's heart reserved for girl group soul form the slightly more ramshackle end of the spectrum. Sure I like the well-produced, slicker stuff, too, but there's something even more appealing about the recordings that didn't benefit from a huge budget or the services of big name producer. It was inevitable, therefore, that Brewerytown's recent public service reissue (it has never been sold on discogs so you know it's ridiculously rare!) of the incredibly endearing 1971 "Why I Love You" (Valentine Records) single by The Ultimates was going to be an essential purchase. It's brimming with youthful romance, girl-group harmonies and lo-fi charm. "Gotta Get Out" on the b-side is a total rammy that starts out like a back woods garage 45 then turns into a recorded live-in-the-studio soul shaker full of passion and heart. Seek it out before the reissue itself commands a hefty price!

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Denise James "It's Never What You Say"

2020's evening project to fill the live music void was to finally use all those download coupons that came with records. Pleasingly, a surprising number of them still worked. 2021's project has been to get reacquainted with all those CDs I bought when I didn't have a decent turntable. A fair chunk of those CDs, mainly from the early 2000s, were never released on vinyl. Take for example Detroit's Denise James, none of her three full length albums ever came out on vinyl. I suspect, therefore, that there's very little clamour for her releases on discogs or ebay which is a real shame as they're all brilliant 60s-infused pop records that show a fine ear for melody and an appreciation of the works of Opal"It's Never What You Say" - from her third album, 2006's "Promises" on Rainbow Quartz - has been something of an obsession of late. Carried along by a strident beat, it really showcases Denise's terrific vocals, especially on the chorus which positively blossoms at around the 1 minutes 30 second mark. By the time Matt Smith's (Outrageous Cherry) trumpet comes in towards the end Not Unloved is daydreaming of reissuing it on 7". Who knows?...maybe someday a smart, pop-minded reissue label like Sundazed (they did just reissue Lilys "The 3 Way" on vinyl for the first time, after all) or Omnivore (remember their ace round-up of early Bangles recordings?) will shine a light on Denise's work and maybe even see fit to press it onto good ole black vinyl.



Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Magic Roundabout "Sneaky Feelings"

Unexpectedly, Third Man Records has released a fun slice of lost 80s indiepop in the form of Magic Roundabout's "Sneaky Feelings" which bears all the hallmarks you could wish for (dual tambourine action! Moe Tucker/Bobby Gillespie thump! roughed-up guitars! insouciant vocals!) from a mid-80s, Manchester-based collective who supported some of the greats such as The Pastels and My Bloody Valentine in their day. The provenance of this release is great: the 2 songs on the 7" (the other's title and lyrics name-check Gerard Langley of The Blue Aeroplanes for added period colour) were turned up by Ian Masters of Pale Saints and then reworked for release by His Name Is Alive's Warren Defever. Tonight's mission is to locate a copy of the 7" as it seems to have sold out at a bunch of the usual UK places - it was only released less than a fortnight ago - as is so often the case in 2021. In the spirit of recent posts on Not Unloved, there's a VHS-res (actually, upon reflection, it's better than that) video of "Sneaky Feelings" to enjoy:

The Interstellar Villains

In the year since Covid-19 struck the one thing that has truly burgeoned is Not Unloved's YouTube bookmarks folder. A couple of the most fun and hence most watched clips are courtesy of Australian early 90s garage/indie pop troupe The Interstellar Villains. With such a b-movie name, it's only fitting that their videos are decidedly low-res and packed full of 60s references (The Prisoner, Screaming Lord Sutch, Bridget Riley etc.) and fashions. The video for their "My Boyfriend Is An Outlaw" single with Alison Handley is a cheery little romp that could give Icky Boyfriends a run for their money in sub-Desperate Teenage Lovedolls archness:


If only they'd made a dent in my consciousness 30 years ago. Unusually, there is also a video for the flipside of "My Boyfriend Is An Outlaw" which is enjoyably Op Art-on-a-budget cool:


There's a winning waywardness to "I Love You', She Said" which certainly doesn't paint them as pouting- for-the-camera careerists. I suspect that The Interstellar Villains are well known to those more knowledgeable of the various personnel changes of The Scientists as Tony Thewlis spent a fair chunk of the 80s playing guitar for that legendary ensemble. It transpires, too, that Thewlis wrote one of Not Unloved's mixtape/cd-r comp faves of 20 years ago - the lead track on this - by The Scoundrelles which also memorably appeared on this ace Sympathy For The Record Industry compilation of wyld garage dunts recorded at London's valve amp mecca, Toe Rag Studios.

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Judy Singh "Look Around"

 Judy Singh.


How is it possible that Not Unloved had never heard the name Judy Singh until last weekend? Honestly, it shows a complete lack of curiosity or whatever that a voice as warm and pure as Judy's could have eluded us until now. It took the appearance of a reissue of her 1970 album, "A Time For Love" (Majikbus, 2018), in the sale section of an online store for her to finally come to our attention. On first spin, the lp is a total joy which is sure to be reached for whenever a reminder is needed that the world can be a friendly, beautiful place. Judy's voice is so perfect, like some heavenly combination of Margo Guryan, Blossom Dearie and Dionne Warwick. The arrangements are straight out of the Bacharach & David school of subtlety and richness and the incredibly endearing "Look Around" has some timely advice for those of us who have just entered spring:

"All the innocence of spring in a blade of grass
Look round, just look around
Let the childhood in you sing when you look around"

Isobel Mckenna "Thinkers Rain Around The Town" (Vivarium Sounds)

There's no pattern to Not Unloved's work-from-home listening these days. It lurches from one extreme to another with vast differences in fidelity and volume. As with the Sorrow Family Band tape that caused heart flips last week, Isobel Mckenna's recent "BLUE KANUES" (Vivarium Sounds, download) has a lovely, warm, TDK D90 feel that locates it in a similar realm to, say, The Garbage and The Flowers' "Stoned Rehearsal". The lead track, below, has the delightful sleepy-eyed quality of, say, Mad Nanna trying to emulate the third Velvet Underground album.

 

If Not Unloved were keeping tally, "Thinkers Rain Around The Town" would be right up there with the best in our most-played songs in 2021 list. I have a hunch that if it had been released on tape or lathe cut by a shadowy group of New Zealanders rather than originating in Motherwell, Scotland (in the 90s, originally) it would be feted by those who used to scour Volcanic Tongue's or Low Company's much-missed weekly mailshots looking for keywords like Xpressway or Flying Nun. One to bear to in mind for the next bandcamp fee-waiver Friday (April, 2nd!) if ya dig tape hiss.

Thursday, 11 March 2021

Sorrow Family Band "Friends"

Midnight Mines have long been one of the most compelling groups in the UK underground and "Tiger Bites", the new tape from Mines member, Private Sorrow, is a thing of atmospheric wonder. There's not a weak track among the 9 instrumental pieces presented but the perky, laced with melancholy, "Friends" is the track which has carried off Not Unloved's garlands. It's a sublime 2 and a half minutes of playful drum machine and soulful guitar that practically begs to be looped for hours:

A fair few folks are, rightly, watching on in admiration at what is going on in the Swedish underground right now (Forlag For Fri Musik, Discreet Music, Happiest Place etc. etc.). I reckon those very folks will find lots to love on "Tiger Bites". It was released in an edition of only 26 so don't shilly-shally!

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Dave Berkham "I Tried"

Last Friday Dave Berkham (of Portland, Oregon's paisley patterned pop troupe The Reverberations) released a couple of nigh on perfect gentle-voiced, heartfelt janglers for bandcamp Friday. "I Tried" is one of the loveliest tunes released in the 2021 so far and is certain to find favour among those counting down the days till the next issue of Shindig! lands on their doorstep and anyone who yearns for Ric Menck to step out from behind his drum kit and back into the vocal booth. For its part, "Younger Days" sounds like a lost Hollies-inspired Sneetches classic that really ought to grace a Bus Stop Label 45. Maybe it's time for Not Unloved to take up cosmic ordering in the hope that some benevolent saint can be cajoled into having these songs pressed onto 7" vinyl...