Sunday, 21 December 2014

Records of the year for Monorail Music (and a few more!)

Once again Monorail Music asked a bunch of their regular customers for their top 10 lps, their top 2 singles/tracks and their top 2 reissues.  As ever, reviewing the year's purchases was a whole heap of haphazard (my memory isn't what it used to be!) fun.


1. Comet Gain "Paperback Ghosts" (Fortuna Pop)
2. The Hobbes Fanclub "Up At Lagrange" (Shelflife)
3. The Muffs "Whoop Dee Doo" (Burger / Cherry Red)
4. Literature "Chorus" (Slumberland)
5. The Luxembourg Signal "s/t" (Shelflife)
6. Dean Blunt "Black Metal" (Rough Trade)
7. Weed Hounds "s/t" (Katorga Works)
8. Ex Hex "Rips" (Merge)
9. Mad Nanna "In Glasgow" (Golden Lab)
10. The Bug "Angels and Devils" (Ninja Tune)

A combination of going out more than is healthy or, as I like to call it, supporting the vibrant local music scene (ha!) and buying more records than is decent or even manageable meant that there wasn't really a record that took residence on the Not Unloved turntable.  The mp3 version of Comet Gain's record, however, soundtracked many a splash through puddles on the way to and from whichever gig venue was hosting that night's entertainment.  Its bruised romanticism never failed to make me feel.  "Up At Lagrange" is such a pure record.  It's a neat, perfectly realised and beautifully sung collection of heartfelt songs that yielded my favourite lyric of the year:

"I made a collage of our favourite bands
 To say I love you
 I knew you'd understand"

A one hour commute by car and The Muffs' latest album on cd combined to make it my most listened to record of the year.  Kim Shattuck's full-throated scream was one of the most thrilling sounds of 2014 - prime Courtney Love would've struggled to outdo her.  Literature's pristine guitars served their softly sung melodies beautifully in a way that made me ache for the days when the Parasol Mailorder dropped onto the mat stuffed with little label American pop.  Likewise, The Luxembourg Signal sounded timeless but fresh and provided further evidence that Shelflife was having the year of its life.  It's certain that it would have been in higher in my list had I got it earlier, too. "Black Metal" found its way into my consciousness through its clever deployment of a Pastels sample but proved attractive on so many levels.  With each successive listen it earned a bigger place in my heart.  It wouldn't sound out of place in the Les Disques du Crepuscule catalogue.  Weed Hounds were a brilliant tip from the perennially searching Did Not Chart blog.  2 minutes and 30 seconds into the record's opener, "Harbor", I was scrambling, all fingers and thumbs, to login to my Paypal account.  Mary Timony and her Ex Hex bandmates made an irresistibly stomping lp that, along with the aforementioned Muffs record and The Vaselines' "V For Vaselines", proved that you don't need to be a teenager to make fizzing, melodic power pop/punk.  The memory of Mad Nanna's appearance at the much missed Volcanic Tongue shop still makes me smile.  I worried that when Golden Lab released the straight-to-TDK document of that night on vinyl, it might tarnish the memory.  I needn't have worried!  The Bug had the good sense to collaborate with Liz Harris and Warrior Queen.  In truth, I enjoyed Andy Stott's "Faith In Strangers" - especially the sparse, sublime "Violence" - just as much but I could only pick 10 records.

7"s / singles 

1. The Youth "I'll Call Your Bluff" (State)
2. The Luxembourg Signal "Distant Drive" (Shelflife)
3. The Clientele / Birdie "The Third Hangover Lounge Picture Disc" (Hangover Lounge)
4. CRUISING "You Made Me Do That" (Soft Power)
5. Golden Teacher "Love / Party People" (Optimo)
6. Curtis Harding "Keep On Shining" (Anti)
7. Gingerlys "Jumprope" (Shelflife)
8. PANG "Young Professionals" (Grazer)
9. Deers "Demo" (Lucky Number)
10. LAPS feat. Golden Teacher, S Young & D Young "Mojo" (Clan Destine)

"I'll Call Your Bluff" sidesteps accusations of being simply an nth generation retread by having the catchiest guitar line this side of 60s Carnaby Street and an emotional directness that feels entirely honest.


1. Milk'n'Cookies "Not Enough Girls In The World" 7" (Captured Tracks)
2. The Moles "Flashbacks & Dream Sequences" 3*lp (Fire)

Maybe the 7" I played most this calendar year was Milk'n'Cookies kinda wrong/totally great slice of weedy-voiced, Big Star-esque glam pop.  I sang it in the kitchen at work when nobody was listening.  I sang it when I walked home from gigs in the rain.  I sang it at the top of my lungs on many a seemingly endless commute.  By now, a lot of people are scunnered with Record Store Day but this year's will live long in my memory thanks to that 45 and its ludicrously lascivious refrain: "Ten girls, twenty girls, I want more! Forty girls, fifty girls just because there's not enough girls in the world".

Monorail Music's full top 50 list (along with my photo of the Aphex Twin blimp above Mono/Monorail Music - *beam*) can be pored over on their facebook page.


  1. Always great to read the Not Unloved year end lists, as this blog is still the best with hot tips! Birdie/Clientele, Pang, Luxembourg Signal, Gingerlys and indeed Pharrell Williams tips found on N.U. all lead to music purchases for me this year, thank you.

    It's a riddle inside a mystery why great music continues to come out on 7" but it does, so here is my 2014 Ten Sevens Clash:

    10. Hard Left - Safety (lathe cut 7", Future Perfect, US)
    9. Thigh Master - Head of The Witch (Tenth Court, Australia)
    8. Mantles - Memory (Slumberland, US)
    7. Terry Malts - Insides EP (Slumberland, US)
    6. Wildhoney - Seventeen Forever (Photobooth, US)
    5. Pharrell Williams - Happy / Velvet Hammer - Happy (Originals, UK)
    4. Literature - Tie-Dye (Your Life) (Square of Opposition, US)
    3. Gingerlys - Jump Rope EP (Shelflife, US)
    2. Pang - Young Professionals (Grazer, US)
    1. When Nalda Became Punk - Indiepop or Whatever! EP (Shelflife, US)

  2. Great list prince! Thanks for the kind words and for the tip that the Literature 7" wasn't too pricey to order from the UK - got it a bit back. Just checked out Thigh Master as I didn't know them. Great intro to that single but it might take a listen or two to appreciate the distorto vox :) All tips gratefully received!

    cheers, brogues