Tuesday 27 December 2022

2022 in live music

(Laetita from Stereolab @ SWG3)

2022 was an incredible year for live music in Glasgow. So many of the acts that Not Unloved saw were absolutely at the top of their game. Some of the venues, too, had used the enforced time off due to the pandemic to make repairs/spruce up their spaces which enhanced things no end. Being a disorganized soul (also, I've never liked booking tickets 6 months in advance or being manipulated into being part of the 10am scramble for tickets), I didn't get it together to go to 'big' gigs by the likes of Pavement etc. so it was mainly smaller groups in smaller venues that I saw excelling night after night. The aforementioned disorganization meant that I didn't keep a list of what I saw but, from memory, it was something like this (N.B. most recent first):

NewDad / Cloth @ King Tut's

flinch. and pals @ The 13th Note

Plaid @ CCA

The Vaselines / Poster Paints @ CCA

Lung Leg (matinee show) @ Mono

Lung Leg / Bis @ Classic Grand

Gerard Love / Water Machine / Apostille (Monorail's 20th birthday) @ Mono

Dragged Up / Count Florida / Blue Kanues @ The 13th Note

Stereolab / Nina Savary @  SWG3

Ganger / J Mellis Hairweave / Subliminal Girls / Lugworm (The Inner Circle book launch) @ Mono

Tara Clerkin Trio / Noise Pocket @ The Glad Cafe

Lewsberg / Dragged Up @ Nice'n'Sleazy

Fake Fruit / Wild Cabin @ Broadcast

Francis Plagne / Warm Currency @ The Old Hairdresser's

Romero / Sister Madds @ Broadcast

Whitney K / Flew The Arrow @ Audio

The Lemonheads / Bass Drum of Death @ QMU (Glasgow University)

Special Interest / Container @ Stereo

Myriam Gendron / Quinie @ Broadcast

Chickfactor 30 (Birdie / The Umbrellas / Seablite / Artsick / Rachel Love / The Catenary Wires / Marlody / Sacred Paws) @ The Lexington & The Betsey Trotwood (London)

Prolapse / Comfort @ Mono

Artsick / Blue Kanues / Water Machine @ Stereo

The Umbrellas / Seablite / Paul's Martial Arts @ Mono

The Hanging Stars / Gerry Love & band @ Stereo

Romeo Poirier / Dip Friso @ The Glad Cafe

Lou Barlow (acoustic) @ Nice'n'Sleazy

Stuart Moxham / Pocket Knife @ Mono

Pan American / Kinbrae @ The Glad Cafe

Marissa Anderson / William Tyler @ The Glad Cafe

The Orchids / GNAC @ The Glad Cafe

Sapphire Slows / Dip Friso @ The Glad Cafe

Dali Muru and The Polyphonic Swarm / Susannah Stark @ The Glad Cafe

Ducks Ltd @ Broadcast

Gaming @ The Rum Shack

YL Hooi / Silzederek / An Gleann Dubh @ The Old Hairdresser's

Rose City Band / Japanese Television @ Broadcast

Swell Maps / The Thanes @ CCA

Glas-goes Pop! (The June Brides/Pete Astor/The Catenary Wires/Swansea Sound/Papernut Cambridge/The Orchids/Rachel Love/Jetstream Pony/Mozart Estate/Close Lobsters/David Christian & pals/Davey Woodward & The Winter Orphans + DJs) @ Glasgow University Union Debating Chamber

Oliver Coates @ Civic House

Dean Wareham / Ryder the Eagle @ The Liquid Room (Edinburgh)

Squarepusher / Konx-om Pax @ The Leith Theatre (Edinburgh)

The Bohman Brothers / Lori Goldston @ The Old Hairdresser's

Cucina Povera / Mark Vernon / Otherworld @ The Old Hairdresser's

Perila (deep listening) @ The Old Hairdresser's

Young Guv / The Wife Guys of Reddit @ The Rum Shack

CS + Kreme / Joanne Robertson @ The Old Hairdresser's

Green Door Studios birthday w/ Alliyah Enyo / Jacob Yates and The Pearly Gate Lock-pickers / Pleasure Pool @ The Old Hairdresser's

Margo Cilker @ The Poetry Club

Spiritualized @ SWG3

Ashley Paul / Max Syedtollan @ The Glad Cafe

The Stroppies / Dinner Night / Yung KP @ The Hug & Pint

Erasers / EO / Karl D'Silva @ The Glad Cafe

Jon Spencer & The HITmakers @ Broadcast

The Shivas / Las Acuarelas / Water Machine @ The Flying Duck

Tirzah / Still House Plants @ SWG3

The Bevis Frond / Gerry Love @ Stereo

flinch. / Frances McKee @ The Glad Cafe

Molly Nilsson / Apostille @ Stereo

US Highball / Lloyd's House / Joyce Delaney @ Mono

Lemon Drink / flinch. / Sacred Noise / Miss the Occupier @ The Hug & Pint

Kit Sebastian @ Broadcast

Kim Gordon @ Classic Grand

Hiro Kone / Hyppia / Grim Lusk @ Stereo

Melenas / US Highball / Las Acuarelas @ The Flying Duck

The Cool Greenhouse / Bikini Body @ The Flying Duck

Okkyung Lee + 3 @ The Old Hairdresser's

Molly Linen / Clementine March  @ The Old Hairdresser's

Nika Son  @ The Old Hairdresser's

Good Sad Happy Bad / Tara Clerkin Trio / Comfort @ Broadcast

Special mentions must go to Young Guv for being unspeakably great and delivering banger after banger to an increasingly excited crowd, Alliyah Enyo for delivering something more akin to a religious experience than a gig and the sound of San Francisco (The Umbrellas, Seablite and Artsick) for pitching up in Glasgow (thanks in no small part to Chickfactor 30 enticing them over - cheers, Gail!) and being all that ever mattered. Here's to more of the same in 2023!

P.S. It was a genuine and unexpected thrill to witness Birdie singing this tender 60s teen gem at Chickfactor 30:

Monday 26 December 2022

The Not Unloved Awards 2022

Sifting through 2022's physical media purchases earlier, trying to contextualize it all, it was apparent that 2022 has been yet another superb year for new music. Without doubt, Lightning In A Twilight Hour's incredibly pretty "Overwintering" took the garland for Not Unloved's most listened-to record of the year. It was a sweet surprise, therefore, to read that BBC 6Music's Mark Radcliffe had selected it as his album of the year in late November - smart man! "Varandra" by Klara Livets was one of the (many - see also the recent lps by Jeff Parker, Oren Ambarchi etc.) lps that got away when the few copies that were available in the UK seemed to disappear in minutes but it's such a lovely piece of work that the lack of a copy stung so discogs was visited repeatedly until a vaguely sensibly priced copy was found. As stated previously, Sylvie's "Falls On Me" was and is something of an obsession but it didn't come out on a physical format so doesn't make the list, below. Same goes for Yea-Ming and The Rumours' majestic trip through the Paisley Underground, "Back To The Days of I Don't Knows""Write It In The Sky" by The Umbrellas on the other hand was most certainly released on 45 and is such an effervescent pure pop JOY that it is sure to be Not Unloved's most played single of the year to date. Not Unloved's resolve to buy fewer reissues in 2022 went right outta the window when much-loved 90s groups such as Hydroplane, The Cat's Miaow and Movietone were, deservedly, given another moment in the sun courtesy of lovingly produced vinyl reissues and it was a real a treat to be reminded of Arovane's majestic "Tides" album, the CD of which hasn't yet been relocated. Oh, and it was lovely to hear Kerry Polwart's gorgeous voice again on the first vinyl issue of 2006's "Young America" by Glasgow's The Poems.


Lightning In A Twilight Hour "Overwintering" (Elefant)

Klara Livets "Varandra" (Förlag För Fri Musik)

Tacita Trjj "Meeting On Purpose" (Iriai Verlag)

The Web of Lies "Nude With Demon" (Wrong Speed)

Artsick "Fingers Crossed" (Slumberland)

Amateur Hour "Kr​ö​kta Tankar och Br​ä​nda Vanor" (Appetite)

The Garbage and the Flowers "Cinnamon Sea" (Fire)

The Harlem Gospel Travellers "Look Up!" (Colemine)

Carla dal Forno "Come Around" (Kallista)

Yea Ming and The Rumours "So, Bird..." (Dandy Boy)

Midnight Mines "Scratching The Beat Surface" (Trouble In Mind)

Ribbon Stage "Hit With The Most" (K/Perennial Death)


The Umbrellas "Write It In The Sky" (Slumberland/Meritorio, 7")

Neutrals "Bus Stop Nights e.p." (Static Shock, 7")

Bitchin' Bajas "Quackenbruck" (Duophonic, 7")

Magic Arm "Good Views Near North" (Feral Child, 7")

Pub "Autumn" (Ampoule, 12")

The Hazmats "Empty Rooms" (Static Shock, 7")

Lizzie No "Sweeter Than Strychnine" (Big Crown, 7")

Skiftande Enheter "Oppna Landskap EP" (Happiest Place, 7")

Lewsberg "Six Hills" (Speedy Wunderground, 7")

Seablite "Breadcrumbs" (Emotional Response, 7")

The Gabys "s/t" (Fruits and Flowers, 7")

Almond Joy "Oh Henry!" (K/Perennial Death, 7")

The Catburgers "Dreamworld Sessions" (F-E-L-T)


Hydroplane "s/t" (Efficient Space)

The Cat's Miaow "Songs '94-'98" (World of Echo)

Movietone "Peel Sessions 1994-1997" (Textile)

O Yuki Conjugate "A Tension of Opposites Vols 1 & 2" (World of Echo)

Various Artists "Ghost Riders" (Efficient Space)

Tia Blake and her Folk Group "Folksongs and Ballads" (Ici Bientot)

Stereolab "Pulse of the Early Brain [Switched On Vol. 5]" (Duophonic/Warp)

The Leaf Library "Library Music: Volume One" (Where It's At Is Where You Are)

Arovane "Tides" (Keplar)

Guided By Voices "Devil Between My Toes" (Scat)

Niagara "Parva Naturalia" (Disciples)

Les Calamites "Encore! 1983-1987" (Born Bad)

The Poems "Young America" (Past Night From Glasgow)

Best old record purchased (TURN IT UP!):

Wednesday 14 December 2022

Hooray Pour Sylvie!

When seemingly everyone on Not Unloved's various social media timelines was posting the big data analysis of their digital listening in 2022, it got me speculating as to what our most listened to song of the year might be. I'm pretty certain it's "Falls On Me" by LA supergroup Sylvie which technically emerged in August 2021 but only appeared on vinyl in the UK in autumn this year. It's an exquisitely played, recorded and, above all, sung (by the excellent Marina Allen) slice of heartfelt Laurel Canyon-rooted grown-up (shiver) pop:

Music so indebted to Joni Mitchell, The Carpenters and their ilk isn't often heard round these parts so it has come as a bit of a surprise just how often I've craved hearing it. It was a small feature on the group in Shindig! magazine that brought them into Not Unloved's orbit and the involvement of Sam Burton, in particular, that ensured that their music earned a curious listen. In late 2021 Sam Burton's "I Am No Moon" was something of a constant companion as there haven't been too many songs in recent years that have managed to evoke the twin spirits of Fred Neil and Nick Drake quite so successfully.

Coincidentally, a recent cheap 60s 7" buy was "Hurray Pour Sylvie" by Canadian singer and actor Richard Cazes. It's a ridiculously catchy slice of bubblegum fuzzbeat with absurdly clattering drums - the intro is almost demented! - and manic energy throughout. Richard's voice isn't my favourite from that era but I still dig it enough to blast it frequently.

Hurray pour Sylvie, indeed!

Barbara Manning "Optimism Is Its Own Reward"

There's gold in them there CDs! From a few social media posts, it would seem that it was the wonderful Barbara Manning's birthday earlier this week. Coincidentally, Not Unloved has been going through something of a Barbara Manning obsessional phase in recent weeks following a Twitter post about a new Glands of External Secretion album (the project she's a part of with Seymour Glass) on the always intriguing Siltbreeze. Discovering and rediscovering her music has been such an uplifting experience. The "Barbara Manning Sings With The Original Artists"  CD (Normal Records, Germany) she released in 1993 has so many moments of real class on it but "Optimism Is It's Own Reward" is the real jewel for Not Unloved's money:

It's like a heavenly amalgam of some of the music I hold dearest, namely The Pastels, Jonathan Richman and Maher Shalal Hash Baz. Barbara's voice is hushed and intimate throughout but whenever she sings the word 'smiling' (e.g. "Look at the sky. See it smiling") it's so soft and positive sounding that it's almost unbearably beautiful. There's also real soul in the trumpet playing. I guess my New Year's Resolution for 2023 has to be to buy much more of Barbara's music on whatever format it was released.