I am quite particular about singles. First off, I like both tracks to be exclusive. While major-labels believe in the formula “A-side from the album, b-side live/throwaway/demo” it just doesn’t work for me. As I’ve said before, the single is the quintessential format for pure songwriting. If you can’t do a single proper, don’t even think about doing a full-length. You can’t slide filler through a 7”, where you almost have to with an album.
So while there are some major label singles from this past year that were ballin’ (Raconteurs, Beck, Liars) I’m more easily won over by a nice indie effort. Parentheticals under each title detail how I obtained each record. Here goes…
- Black Lips “Oh Katrina” Rob’s House Records
(Bought 3 copies via Paypal)
Simply put, “Katrina” is the best song to never appear on a “Back From the Grave” compilation. This is one of our time’s greatest bands at their finest. Good luck, Vice.
- Sneaky Pinks “I Can’t Wait” Rubber Vomit Records
(Bought 2 copies at live show, traded original clear vinyl press of KK&BBQ Show LP for original foil sleeve)
When your intentions are but to have some fun, the results can be arresting. This is why the Ramones are genius and Rush is moronic. This may have come out in 2005, but I don’t really care. Original press with tinfoil cover will be highly sought-after by museum curators in three hundred years as the crowning achievement of Western culture. Bonus points to the SP’s for also releasing a limited-edition tour-only cassette-single. That’s the most hyphens I’ve ever used in a sentence.
- Benjamin Prosser and the Tap Collective “Killing Flaw” Fitzrovian Phongraphic
(Traded Muldoons “It’s Near the 25th” for this and David Viner 7” on Fitzro)
A mushy mound of Fall-like dung. Ben Swank is the new drummer in this band. It can only mean good things for everyone. Debut release from the premier UK singles label. You have been warned.
- Tyvek “Mary Ellen Claims” X! Recordings
(Promo copy from Heath of Tyvek)
A b-side that trumps the a-side is always a special thing. Especially when the B is something like “Honda” by Tyvek. Fronted by Kevin Boyer (formerly of Los Pinkos and Kevin Boyer and the Noise) this single seemingly dropped out of nowhere and laid waste to all who took listen. Skittish Wire-y guitars and loopiness with “Can you drive a Honda like I can drive a Honda?” easily my favorite lyrics of the year. Can’t even remember what “Mary Ellen Claims” sounds like.
- Kelley Stoltz “With My Face on the Floor” Art School Dropout
(2 copies from Kelley, one from the Art School Dropout who actually promised me 3 copies in exchange for 3 copies of Kelley’s Cass 7”)
It is an honest shame how many songs Stoltz has lying around. I know every songwriter has bits and pieces, here and there, but the problem with Kelley is that he’s truly yet to write a stinker. They all slay. So with this, an Aussie-released 7” limited to 300 copies, I just find myself bummed that a song like “Happiness” (complete with laughable lyric “When I first met you I was buying paint to screw up my place”) will not reach a wider audience. Hopefully he’ll wise-up and just toss the fucker on his next full-length for Sub Pop.
- Home Blitz “Live Outside” no label
(Bought via Paypal)
Wholesome teenaged warmth from the East Coast. Do they sing about holding hands? I don’t know, they might as well. Makes me wish I was 16-years-old again just so I could hang out with these guys.
- Tall Birds “Internalize” Sub Pop
(Promo copy from the label)
I know nothing about this band other than that their single made me stop what I was doing and pay attention. That happens far less than you’d like to think. Wait, now I’m finding out this is 3/4's of the Catheters. A mighty good sign. They’re my age. I like that. They tried to balance college and touring too. I don’t know how that worked out, but if the Tall Birds continue, everybody wins.
- Viva L’American Death Ray Music “Bombs” Shattered Records
(Bought via Paypal)
I had these songs on a CD-r and wore the grooves out. Their full-length may have also made my top album list if I actually had a copy. They keep getting better and it is beginning to get scary. As the late ‘80s television commercial wisely asked “Whatcha keepin’ tabs on?” I will answer succinctly the unrivaled brilliance of this band.
- Bassholes “Jack at Night” Solid Sex Lovie Doll
(Got this and all other latest SSLD singles in trade for Little Claw and Odd Clouds 12”s and Tranzistors 7”)
The Bassholes had never really grabbed my balls until this. Maybe it was finally adding that other guitar player that put them over the edge? I don’t know. “Jack at Night” might as well be a twenty-years too late reply to JLP’s “Jack on Fire” in that it gives off the same creepy feeling, albeit with Stonesy rollick tossed in for measure. Cover the Damned’s “New Rose” on the flip and disguise it. Well-played.
- Grande Cobra “Blood Libel” Hellsquad
(Got 2 promo copies…one from the band and one from the label)
Beguiling backing vox of “oooh oooh oooh oooh” buckles knees. The biggest surprise of the bunch as I was not expecting to like this. Shows me for having expectations. I played this single at least 5 times which may be the more than any of the other 7”s on here. I know 5 times doesn’t sound like much, but I hardly let myself get bogged down with repeating as there is still so much more I’ve yet to listen to. So yeah, 5 times is like, platinum and Billboard’s Hot 100 all rolled into one.
- Makeout Party “Wreckless Epic” Kapow Records
(Promo copy from the label)
Tremendous two-sider. Want to hear more from them. Would write more but I’m plum-tuckered out. Search the TUBL archives for my original write-up of this gem.
Would’ve put the Muldoons X-mas single on here, but one-sided singles hurt my brain. Just as much, I couldn’t rightfully put any of the 7”s I released on here, but the Fatals, Dan Sartain, Dirtbombs/Black Lips, Tranzistors and the Go all did righteous work on the Cass imprint if I do claim so myself. Don’t be a wuss, check ‘em all out.