Wednesday 2 August 2023


 When was the last time someone mentioned the group Kickstand in your presence? I'll hazard that it wasn't yesterday which is a real shame as in the mid-90s they were one of the best pop bands around for Not Unloved's money. Unfortunately, neither of their albums - 1994's "Kickstand" (Queenie Label) and 1997's "Autostrada" (Little Teddy) - was released on vinyl so modern day collectors who eschew the lowly, unloved CD format are unlikely to seek them out. Both albums are treasures troves stuffed with sweet, unassuming pop that takes its cues from Young Marble Giants (they faithfully covered "Colossal Youth" on their debut) and the K Records school of endearing naivety. Kickstand comprised the Colichio twins, Torry and Tammi, and Half Japanese member and chronicler, Jeff Feuerzeig (who went on to greater fame when he made 2005's brilliant "The Devil And Daniel Johnston"). They collaborated with some real heavyweights of the 90s independent scene with Jad Fair, Dean Wareham and Hamish Kilgour (R.I.P.) donating their talents at various points. Kilgour's appearance on the second album came as no surprise as they had covered The Clean's"Tally Ho" on the first (Not Unloved's introduction to that absolute classic  - cheers, Kickstand...I owe ya!). Unusually for the time, Kickstand didn't leave behind a raft of 45s on an array of small but brilliant labels. Again, that's a shame as they had so many songs that would've made perfect a-sides and some great covers (Felt! The Undertones! Daniel Johnston!) that would've made ideal b-sides. Over the years, one song above all has kept Kickstand somewhere near the front of Not Unloved's memory at least on the 31st of December every year (I post it on Twitter most years):

"New Year's Day" was a proper mixtape staple at the time. For some reason, Kickstand were keen on flying saucers (Torry was even a member of the group Flying Saucer):

Every now and then I daydream of reactivating Not Unloved Records to restore this music to print although, realistically, a label like World of Echo would probably do a much better job and reach a wider audience having established a track record through recent reissues of Kickstand's contemporaries such as The Shapiros, The Cat's Miaow and, in the near future, Hydroplane. For the time being, the curious are urged to hold their nose and snap up the shiny lil discs.

Tuesday 1 August 2023

Playlist form the Barbara Manning/Gerard Love gig

Of course, one of the best things about putting on a pop show is the opportunity to inflict your music taste on a fairly captive audience via a mood-setting playlist. Last Friday morning was spent picking tunes and compiling them into a playlist on my laptop (no 'original vinyl only' policy here!). Unfortunately, it turned out not to be time well spent as you couldn't really hear the music before, between and after the artists. I did ask for a wee volume boost or two but to no avail. Ah, well - next time! So, for no other reason than posterity, here's what made the air molecules in the room vibrate just a little (all song titles are links):
  1. Tia Blake "Wish I Was A Single Girl Again"
  2. Yo La Tengo "Polynesia #1"
  3. The Umpteens "People Ride Their Scooters"
  4. Carolyn Sullivan "Dead"
  5. Hortense Ellis "Can I Change My Mind"
  6. Irma Thomas "Two Winters Long"
  7. Summer Snow "Flying On The Ground Is Wrong"
  8. The Happy Couple "Another Sunny Day"
  9. Clydie King "Missin' My Baby"
  10. Lee Hazlewood "The House Song"
  11. Dino, Desi and Billy "The Rebel Kind"
  12. The Sequins "He's A Flirt"
  13. Tight Knit "I Want You"
  14. East Village "Cubans in the Bluefields"
  15. The Springfields "Sunflower"
  16. Oh-OK "Choukoutien"
  17. The Siddleys "Bedlam on the Mezzanine"
  18. The Foggy Notions "Need A Little Lovin'"
  19. Birdie "Folk Singer"
  20. Club 8 "A Place In My Heart"
  21. Rachel Love "Down The Line"
  22. The Cookies "Wounded"
  23. Linda Smith and Nancy Andrews "A Passing Cloud"
  24. Aluminum "Solar"
  25. The Tills "One Sided Love"
  26. The Umbrellas "Near You"
  27. Seablite "Breadcrumbs"
  28. Chime School "Love You More"
  29. Buzzcocks "Sixteen Again"
  30. Tammi Terrell "I Gotta Find A Way (To Get You Back)"

Summer Snow's ultra-gentle take on Buffalo Springfield's divine "Flying On The Ground Is Wrong" has been something of an obsession of late. It appears on this fine mix of Capitol Records' sunshine pop/pop-psych output. On the evidence of it, The Guess Who's beautifully-sung rendition and The Sneetches' slightly more rollicking verison, it's a song that seems to be done well by everyone smart enough to cover it.