Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Camellia Hartman & The Soulful Saints "Return The Favor" (Dala)

Rejoice! Camellia Hartman and The Soulful Saints are back with a soulful stroller to caress away our cares. "Return The Favor" is another classy, nuanced affair with enough 60s sunshine pop embellishments to warm the heart. The lyrics are endearingly sweet e.g.

"Hold me nearer
Kiss me sweeter
I'll be sure to return the favor
Love me tender
Always remember
That I'll be sure to return the favor"

For now, "Return The Favor" is available only as a download but there's talk of it being paired with Camellia's certified smash from 2017, "Breathin' Hard Over You", on a 7" in the near(ish?) future. Just sit back and watch the soul DJs and Shacks fans elbowing each other outta the way to snap up a copy!

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Jerry Naylor "City Lights" (Kent)

One of the down sides of labels such as Kent using generic sleeves for their releases (or, more accurately, their various series of releases) is that middle-aged dumplings such as Not Unloved can forget which ones they already have when rifling through the 7"s at their local record shop. Thankfully, the lovely staff at Monorail Music ensured that Jerry Naylor's effervescent "City Lights" reissue didn't pass me by as would have been the case had I been left to my own devices. It's irresistibly upbeat with a great production (trumpets!, strings! etc.). If anything can lift the gloom of spring, 2018, "City Lights" can. It came as something of a surprise to learn that Naylor was one of Buddy Holly's backing group, The Crickets.

Kent have paired "City Lights" with Johnny Praye's strident"Can't Get Too Much Love". Another winner, it  had Not Unloved (unwisely) dusting off the old falsetto to sing along with the backing vocals - not pretty!

Monday, 2 April 2018

still buying 7"s

It may not be the most cost-effective way of consuming new music in 2018 but the 7" is still Not Unloved's preferred format and there really are some ace 45s around at the moment. New Zealanders The Shifting Sands released a mighty fine lp on Fishrider a few years back but their new single is even better. "Zoe" - also through Fishrider - is all languid jangles and recumbent twangs that waft from 1967 on a warm psychedelic breeze. What elevates "Zoe" above majority of the stoned psych-outs around at the moment are its heart and its emotional content. Essential.

Polytechnic Youth is a fine label even if it does have a slightly manic release schedule which means that keeping up with its output is nigh on impossible unless you've got the disposable income of Elon Musk. From the recent batch of three 7"s, The Detox Twins 45 is the one that tugged at Not Unloved's purse strings the most. It's a prime slab of what those with The Knowledge called Dark Wave or Minimal Wave but which sounds to me like 80s Goth. It'll sound ideal blasting out in dingy basements in Berlin.

Sergeants Mess recently unleashed their meaty second single, "Well That's Another Fine Mess" (Spinout Nuggets) in February. "Couldn't I Be Yours" is a pitch perfect explosion of mid-60s British Mod that thunders along (thanks in no small part to Wolf Howard who has drummed for many a Billy Childish group) obliterating everything stupid enough to get in its way. If it doesn't pack dancefloors at Mod nights the world over I' to my MP. You best believe it!

Keeping with the Mod theme, Crocodile Records' latest transmission is ANDRÉ M's cool-struttin' "Kenzy's Choice". It's a pleasingly concise Hammond-led instrumental which stomps along like a bunch of shady gangsters on their way to smash up an East End pub. Anyone who has ever happily tapped their loafers to Kent's tremendous Mod Jazz series of lps should seek it out immediately!

> Samples of both sides are here
> Get it here

Thursday, 15 February 2018

The Hipshakes "Shot" (Nerve Centre)

Sub-two minute blasts of punkin' garage pop are ten a penny these days. There's so much of it around that it's tempting to look elsewhere for kicks (there's a lot of fine electronic music around at the moment, that's for sure) to save spending what seems like an eternity sifting out the lumps. One 7" that made a dent recently was the latest 45 by The Hipshakes. Pleasingly, it's unafflicted by that rodeo announcer vocal effect that the lesser groups of their ilk use to disguise the lack of a melody or any discernible vocal ability. "Shot" breezes along perkily and in the past would've had the kids down the youth club pogoing merrily. Great backing vocal swells and a lovably wonky guitar solo that disappears as quickly as it appeared enhance the air of uncomplicated fun.

The Yearning "Do You Remember?"

The Yearning is a group who could have been designed by focus group to appeal to Not Unloved's sensibilities. Take "Do You Remember" from their latest 10" for Elefant, its catchiness is undeniable, its production as classy as anything around just now and Maddie Dobie's voice is as beautiful a sound as I've heard in 2018. It wouldn't sound out of place on the soundtrack to any number of Nouvelle Vague movies. I worry that they'll slip under the radar and not get the acclaim they deserve. Here's hoping the new 10" succeeds in finding the right ears. Now, where did I put all those elegant looking and sounding Siesta CDs I bought in the '90s? 

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Dreamin's For Free

With 7"s being released in ever smaller pressings and becoming pricier by the year, it's impossible to be on top of every good label, or cherished (micro)genre so, inevitably, a lot of gems slip between the cracks and when they do, it's always a downer to see just how expensive they've become. After Did Not Chart shone a light on The Flying Stars of Brooklyn NY's sublime "My God Has A Telephone", I followed a bunch of sidebar links and found myself smitten with Benjamin and The Right Direction's ultra-romantic "Dreamin's For Free" (Palmetto St. Recording Co.):

Sure enough, a quick check on discogs revealed that it is now a £100+ record. Not for the likes of me, then. Ah well, at least YouTube-in's (almost) for free.  Benjamin and co.'s 7" was released on Palmetto St. Recording Co., which seems to be a sub-label of the mighty Daptone Records whose garage imprint, Wickjust unleashed the zesty new Mark Sultan single. "Let Me Out":

It's sure to have people in highly flammable clothing frugging wildly at retro-themed dance parties the world over. Mark Sultan is scheduled to play both Edinburgh and Glasgow in March, 2018. Let me in!

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Best of 2017 lists for Monorail Music

Most years, there's nothing I like better than to be asked what my favourite records have been. This year, however, it was a little tricky as, although I bought a lot of (okay, way too many) records, I didn't always find the time to listen and absorb them so a lot of what I listened to was whatever made it onto my phone which is a bit silly when virtually everything I bought was on vinyl. Enough excuses, though; here are the lists I submitted when Monorail Music kindly asked for my thoughts a few weeks ago. There are some shameful local omissions e.g. AMOR's two 12"s for Night School or Golden Teacher's self-released lp. That's what happens when you use the first thought=best thought approach to compiling these lists, I guess.


1. The Clientele "Music For the Age of Miracles" (Tapete)
2. Kelly Lee Owens "s/t" (Smalltown Supersound)
3. The Luxembourg Signal "Blue Field" (Shelflife/Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten)
4. A Certain Smile "Fits and Starts" (My Lil Underground)
5. Mope Grooves "Joy" (See My Friends)
6. Sacred Paws "Strike A Match" (Rock Action)
7. Spinning Coin "Permo" (Geographic)
8. Rat Columns "Candle Power" (Upset The Rhythm)
9. The BVs "Speaking From A Distance" (Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten)
10. Ekin Fil "Ghosts Inside" (Helen Scarsdale Agency)


1. Spinning Coin "Raining On Hope Street" (Geographic)
2. Corner Boys "Just Don't Care" (Drunken Sailor)
3. The Luxembourg Signal "Laura Palmer" (Shelflife)
4. Wallflower "Nowhere" (Fastcut)
5. The Flying Stars of Brooklyn NY "My God Has A Telephone" (Colemine)
6. UV-TV "Go Away e.p." (Emotional Response)
7. Mick Trouble "It's The Mick Trouble e.p." (Emotional Response)
8. The Love-Birds "Filled With Hate" (Empty Cellar)
9. Omar S feat. Nite Jewel "I Confess To U" (FXHE)
10. Davy Kehoe "Short Passing Game" (Wah Wah Wino)


1. Dion "Kickin' Child: The Lost Album 1965" (Norton)
2. Look Blue Go Purple "Still Bewitched" (Captured Tracks)
3. William C Beeley "Gallivantin'" (Tompkins Square)
4. Jackie Shane "Any Other Way" (Numero Group)
5. 14 Iced Bears "s/t" (Optic Nerve)


"I Won't Have To Think About You: Compiled by Bayu and Moopie" (A Colourful Storm)