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


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!