Trouser Press, June 1977

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Trouser Press
TP Collectors' Magazine

US rock magazines


Less Than Zero / Radio Sweetheart

Elvis Costello

Jim Green

Wotta moniker. Is this guy for real? Or is he really Nick Lowe?? A strange, Springsteen-ish delivery marks "Zero's" primitive R&B, and the overtones of a countrified Van Morrison on the reverse resemble the late lamented Brinsley Schwarz band — whose lead vocalist was Nick Lowe, this disc's producer. Nick may not be the homely bloke on the sleeve, but that voice is suspect. Both sides are solid, durable listening, and only "Zero" is on the Bunch of Stiffs album.

A Bunch Of Stiff Records

Various artists

Jim Green

The Stiff label sure knows how to make fun records. Goodie after goodie emerges from this treasure trove of rocking esoterica. Cuts by Motorhead (led by ex-Hawkwind berserker Lemmy) and Stones Masonry (led by Martin Stone, ex-half the groups that ever existed in England) seem slightly out of place; the other tracks mostly smack of the pub-rock aesthetic, meaning '50s and '60s-style rock 'n' roll with '70s techniques, largely dominated by Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds.

In fact, while they are featured on only one cut apiece, between them, in production and/or back-up capacities, Lowe and Edmunds appear on eight of the 11 cuts, including five produced by Lowe. (They didn't touch the Motorhead, Tyla Gang or Graham Parker cuts, the last being the original demo of "Back to School Days," unlisted on the record due to contractual obligations.)

The Lowe-Edmunds group is highlighted by Wreckless Eric's "Go the Whole Wide World" ('67 Grass Roots go punk), Lowe's drolly Dylanesque "I Love My Label," Edmunds's sensational rave-up on "Jo Jo Gunne," plus tracks by Jill Read, Magic Michael and a hilarious LP-closer by the Takeaways (Tyla, Lowe, Edmunds, Pink Fairy Larry Wallis and ??).

Hopefully some label will get off its arse and sign Nick Lowe. For him, being on Stiff is treading water, and it'd be grand to see him get serious about making fun records.

Tags: Less Than ZeroRadio SweetheartNick LoweBrinsley SchwarzA Bunch Of Stiff RecordsDave EdmundsGraham ParkerWreckless EricWhole Wide WorldLarry WallisBob DylanBruce SpringsteenVan Morrison

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Trouser Press, No. 20, June / July 1977

Jim Green reviews the single for "Less Than Zero."

Jim Green reviews A Bunch Of Stiff Records.


1977-06-00 Trouser Press pages 40-41 clipping composite.jpg
Pages 40-41 clipping composite.

1977-06-00 Trouser Press page 39 clipping 01.jpg

Cover and page scans.
1977-06-00 Trouser Press cover.jpg 1977-06-00 Trouser Press page 39.jpg

1977-06-00 Trouser Press page 40.jpg 1977-06-00 Trouser Press page 41.jpg


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