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Still Single: Vol. 2, No. 12

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In the latest installment of 'Still Single,' Doug Mosurak checks out singles of various sizes by Bonde do Role, OOIOO, Qui, Blues Control and many more.

Still Single: Vol. 2, No. 12


Yours must be a single (or vinyl-only album) pressed on any size of vinyl. CD-Rs of singles will not be reviewed; they will be destroyed. We need the artifact here with original artwork, not some duplicate/digital copy. Only records released within the past six months will qualify for a review.

Still Single now runs bi-monthly, so there is no deadline for submission. I will do my best to make sure that records are reviewed in the order in which they are received.

ANY genre of music will do - don't hesitate to send punk, hardcore, metal, goth, pop, rock, country, hip hop, electronic, experimental, dub and reggae … all genres accepted and welcome.

Information on your pressing (quantity pressed, color vinyl, etc.) should be included if at all possible.

Submissions can be sent to:

Doug Mosurak

PO Box 1552

Long Island City, NY 11101 (NOTE THE NEW ADDRESS.)

Records need to be shipped securely in sturdy mailing materials and marked FRAGILE because the post office will destroy them otherwise.

This column got waylaid a bit due to unforeseen issues (a/k/a the death of jazz legend Andrew Hill) but we’re on track now to run twice a month. Also, this happens to be our second anniversary. I’m pretty excited to have been doing this for so long, and will continue to bring you an update of the vinyl underneath as long as I can.

Keep sending in submissions, please!


Bondo do Role - Solta o Frango 12” EP
(Domino/Mad Decent)

Finally, the answer record to “Brass Monkey” that the world has waited 20 years for. Brazilians Bondo are kinda fun, a stoopid glamorization of favela beats (abetted by Diplo). It's not a bad record but I can't remember much about it five minutes later.

Born Bad - s/t 7” EP
(Fashionable Idiots)

Early '80s style hardcore that sounds a little like Black Flag in parts (“Dead or Alive” in particular) and much faster, gruffer fare in all the other places. Recorded as a studio project, I'm wondering how these guys will sound as a full band. Guess we'll find out soon! 500 copies (100 on white).

Crime Desire - In Lucifer's Grip 7” EP
(Life's a Rape)

I'd heard bad things in the past and stayed away, but who won't take a chance on a single? Crime Desire are from way southern California and I must have missed their “experimental” phase because this one rages pretty hard. Colin Tappe's got a great scream, reminiscent of a young Sonny Kay, and his band's got the damp, black, Goth-tinged hardcore thing down cold, with a great studio recording that manages to keep the whole melee hemmed into a comfortable balance. Jumping aboard with an early Gravity-style (or late Pusmort, or even Nick Blinko) mindset, there are plenty of people in your life who would do well with this record around, maybe even perhaps you. Wildin' out in Carlsbad. Get a couple for you and friends. A fun, thrashing time.
( colinrrmf(at)yahoo.com)

Hello Donnee 12” EP
(Kupei Musika)

This one's been sitting here for a little while. “Hello Donnee” (in both its OG mix and Pier Bucci remix) is a nice builder, with breezy, hollow xylophone plonk coasting on and above traction-gaining, glitchy drum tracks and big, round bass. “Move On” takes this one, though; slower, more deliberate, tougher sound all around (reinforced by more direct stabs at glitchiness), and Jonas Bering's remix straightens out the counterbalanced rhythm track into an immense, glorious Krautrock sling. Maybe it's just because the sun is out, but this one's a really nice time.

Dustheads - Tall Tales II 7” EP
(Don Giovanni)

Second half of the single I covered last month; same story (hardcore somewhere between the realms of metal and dark loner rock a la Laughing Hyenas), still great. This one includes a theme song, a visible mark of any hardcore band's lifecycle. Very stoked on seeing them live as soon as I can. 500 copies, white vinyl.

El Michels Affair - “C.R.E.A.M.” b/w “Glaciers of Ice” 7”
(Truth and Soul)

In an enticing turn of events, a real live modern throwback soul outfit (El Michels Affair) has indoctrinated their Shaolin Series of singles with studio band covers of these classic Wu-Tang productions. El Michels Affair are just fine on their own - definitely check their Sounding Out the City album for a spacey and unique blend of Latin rhythms with Memphis horns - and these versions do a lot of justice to the depth of arrangement in the original productions, not to mention the solemn character the musicians must have to adopt to play these tracks with their bleak, stern vibes intact. Playing those guitar loops must have been murder on the hands. You already know if you need this one by now, so can I just tip the scales in their favor: this is a great single that far transcends its novelty, go get yourself two copies, right now.

Episode - s/t 7” EP

We dodged “a couple Silver Bullets” and stayed with this guy James on tour in Nashville, who hooked me up with this single that he played on and put out. They've never played live, and the identity of the band members is purposely obscured, but strangely enough, identity is the one thing this record has a lot of. Crusty-sounding death-rock ramped up to hardcore tempos and played with such studio-riffic stiffness (there are even guitar solos) that this band is completely of itself, pushing influences as inspiration, not ripoff. Politically/outsider bent lyrics complete the picture and threaten in time when their music surges. James says the next one is gonna be a power-pop record under the same name, and he's probably full of shit. But what if he's not? Edition of 500 in really nice-looking handstamped sleeves.
(contact James at his home)

Cem Karaca & Kardaslar - Püsküllü Moruk 10” EP

Verified Turkish celebrity of yore Cem Karaca split his career between acting and music, achieving success in both. This six-song session comes from the score of the titular play, circa 1971, which Karaca scored and would play live in its short run with Kardaslar. Recordings were used to save wear & tear on the musicians, presumably, and here's the result. It's right where you'd expect it - Anadolu pop stung with loose, loopy English blues and psychedelia. Opening “Overture” is the nicest cut here. White vinyl and no doubt limited in number.
( info(at)destur.org)

(Thrill Jockey)

Bore EYE bore desu ka? Everybody JUMPING. Plus the breaks on the B-side are pretty sweet. Another kooky remix from Boredoms' EYE otherwise. Make this work in your sets. I dare you! Be a “DJ.”

Out With a Bang- Few Beers Left But Out of Drugs 7” EP
(Criminal IQ)

Italian wasteoids play four sloppy, harsh punk tunes here, winning somewhat on the one that lifted the chorus from D.I.'s “Richard Hung Himself.” Better than their first one by a good margin, but Out with a Bang are the kind of band that seems to be staking more on its reputation as dangerous, crazy, offensive scum than on any other merits. Their most recent tour has found them destroying venues, starting fights, getting asked not to show up, and other sorts of miscreant behavior, which is funny for those who don't have to clean it up, I guess, but sort of a bummer to everyone else. And yet I applaud antics and know that there's a time and place for them. Crazy what not being fucked up 24 hours a day will reveal, huh? White vinyl for mailorder copies.

Jack Penate - “Second, Minute or Hour” b/w “Got My Favourite…” 7”
(Young Turks)

“Myspace discovery” Penate has all the makings to be the first time a major media outlet gets outed for trying to give some stalled demo artist a push through the social networking giant. It has that sort of we'll-try-anything-to-get-signed attitude of, like, 1980, when singer-songwriters were starting to force Ocasek-like oddity and vaguely punk mystique into their routines. If this means that Penate is the Robert Hazard of 2007, then this year sucks, because “Escalator of Life” plows right into this coffeehouse don't-worry-be-happy anti-quality about it (gilded Lily Allens, perhaps), of which only the naïve espouse.

Projections/Luke Abbott - split 7”
(Trash Aesthetics)

Projections are from Brighton, England and play British indie rock as you've known it to be for a while, interchangeable with the last decade to a degree. In the vocals and structure, it sounds like a Long Fin Killie song that someone recorded a shit-ton of guitars over, killing the fragile balance of vocals and instrumental dynamics with what could only be described as “a strong DC influence” therein. It's a passable song and I'm sure many will follow, but you'll be able to sleep without hearing it. Luke Abbott hit the DEMO button on his keyboard on the flip side, then hit record. Not terribly exciting. 300 copies, from a label that once brought you Bloc Party and Rakes singles.

Qui - “Today, Gestation” b/w “Freeze” 7”

Well, it's David Yow's new band (technically, these guys have been pushing things around for the entire decade without him until last year) so if you are over a certain age you'll probably have to hear this, but don't hurt yourself over it. Qui are a trio with Yow on vocals, a guitarist and a drummer. There is a certain expectation - that most of us aren't going to be able to help having - about what and where a guy whose performances helped to define a small but potent chunk of what we took away from rockin' out on the edge in the '80s and '90s. Rest assured that Qui might not do much to damage Yow's reputation, but this single is not too good of a start. First off, this is another one of those bands who nobody's going to tell what to do, as evidenced by their lack of bass player. What's gone from some sort of novelty a few years back is turning into a full-on cancer of bands thinking that they can either buy enough gear to replace a bassist, or just leave the role out altogether. It's getting ridiculous. Bass is a pretty vital part of rock music, and when you hear the bare-assed Tweez action on “Today, Gestation,” all hermetically sealed and pretty much giftwrapped as a sooprize package for 1993, you'll probably agree with me. “Freeze” is much more like it, with a few quality jabs, but still not quite there. Secondly, relying too much on Yow to fill up the space with vocal rants is not a stupendous idea, and some might say a waste of his succinct deliveries of the past. Mastering on this record is godawful, too much saturation in the high end, making it sound cheap and rushed. These songs are long and don't justify their run-times, repeating pretty crummy parts over and over for no real reason than making listeners stick around to see what's next. Red vinyl and the ugliest design on a record since … well, since 1993. Something tells me that before Yow's involvement, few cared, and without whom, etc. That's me in the corner.

Skull Splitter - “Pound In the Nails” b/w “Upside Down Cunt” 7”

Solid, raging debut by this Portland outfit, featuring the rhythm section of Poison Idea on their last tour. Dark, nihilistic thrash that borders on metal, if you look at those genres on the same axis which Motorhead and Discharge spin. Great “brute” vocals and some hijinks at the end of the B-side. Both tracks are strong, evil and a little exciting. No future, man. 300 copies on purple marbled vinyl.

Telepathe - Sinister Militia 12” EPMbr<(The Social Registry)

From their MySpace page: “Things we are NOT influenced by: Freak Folkies and Indie Rockers, obscure dudes who make noise music or something. CHECK IT! You won't find any boring old experimental delay pedal music here.” Boring, hm? Maybe they mean it. Their two originals on here stand apart with a bizarre sandwiching of cult-like psychedelic folk weirdness on top of an 808, forcing any loose threads behind its frame. “Sinister Militia” got th' big beat Billy Squier style, but forces chilling, menstrual anguish through its seams anyway. “Islands” is like the Marine Girls in a k-hole, and its remix by the Soft Pink Truth recognizes its limitations and pounds out a mental electro track (and ripping electric guitar solo) on top of it anyway. This is hot! Love the record, and the big, booming recording. A defining moment for the year.

Thomas Function - The Insignificants 7” EP
(Tic Tac Totally)

Big steps ahead in the development of this young Alabama band on this second single. Busy organ lead, basking in '60s downer pop ballads and moody, Voidoid construction. Cross the streams! Jumbled chord jangle and a real sense of songwriting craft-cum-Verlaine worship that's been absent on this side of the garage fence for some time. Strokes comparisons have been made and while I can understand why that's been said, it's a result of lazy listening. The last song on here, “Conspiracy of Praise,” is the keeper, lashing out with stuffy-headed rage against a two-chord mantra. These guys put forth epic moments as natural as I've heard in a while. Hearts and ears in all the right places. Really nice one. They'll be signed to someplace bigger by the end of this summer. 1000 copies (500 black, 250 blue, 250 green).

Walls - “The Crawl” b/w “Hands & Knees” 7”
(Iron Lung)

Where a lot of these upstart bands that want to reclaim '80s American punk terror are trying to do it with lots of slop and feedback, this new band Walls (from Seattle, members of Iron Lung and Cold Sweat) is taking the high road by packing down the songs with enough fractured, stop-start dynamics to break up mid-tempo noise rock ragers (the good kind - these songs start out with the same sort of aggression-meets-swinging mofo rhythm section just like Charlie-era Unsane) with the sort of trickery that haughty, bespectacled Midwestern indie rocker dudes have been at for a while. If this sounds like two sides of “Oven” by the Melvins to you, then you at least get the idea, but again Walls aren't here to play around with other people's ideas, and it's precisely that spirit of discovery that makes these songs stand up. Great false ending in “Hands & Knees,” crazy-guy vocals that actually work, and a stern, no-joke vibe. These songs are just over the two-minute mark but their composition makes them seem twice that. Strong ideas; looking forward to the album. Edition of 400 numbered copies in hand-stamped sleeves.

The Wax Museums - Claw You Like a Cat 7” EP

A while back we covered a record by this band called the Wrists. One of the guys from that group sings in the Wax Museums, still in Texas, and they're kind of the other side of the Wrists' coin: public, frantic, loose-limbed pop-punk, close to the Angry Samoans. Out of the four songs here, there's one that stands out, and it's “Stop … Don't Stop,” (gimmicky but it works a very late false ending out very well) and it gets hundreds of miles out of a two-note guitar lead. That one's fantastic. Edition of 500 copies.

The Bad Trips - s/t LP

Got this and have been sitting on writing it up for a while, because I wasn't blown away on the first listen. It's a blast now, though. Grady Runyan, of the colossal, skull-melting Monoshock, plays guitar in this outfit, but there hasn't been much discussion of it, like it's been intentionally suppressed or something. It's just really jammy psych instrumentals in a variety of flavors (High Rise/Juicy Bananas “Peter Gunn” style, rust-removing drone, some more subdued explorations) and the players are more than able to take these ideas to task. That bass player should be suppressed and ashamed of himself for playing that lead on “War on Drugs” but the hovering guitar stormclouds and eventual downpour of mutated tears atop the “When the Levee Breaks” beat. 500 copies, silkscreened jackets, 180 gram vinyl. Nice sounding record as well, capturing the entire grotted-out spectrum. Burn out your miiiiiiiiiind.

Blues Control - Puff LP

Mesmerizing duo of Russ Waterhouse and Lea Cho on an assortment of keyboards, cassettes, electronics and guitar. This is where dub hits Krautrock and tiny melodies rock back and forth inside your brain. This is where the drum loop to Bell Biv Devoe's “Poison” achieves a density previously unheard of. Playful, exploratory longform jams that reverberate on and on flesh out the languid minutes one must spend examining this music's beautifully bare contours. So dank, it should come with a towel, toilet paper roll and fabric softener sheet to stuff in there. A compliment to green lives everywhere. Edition of 500, silkscreened sleeve. With another album coming out this summer (on Holy Mountain), I'm of the opinion that Blues Control will be the outfit that brings noise over to the norms. Album of the year candidate, no doubt.

Campingsex - 1914! 2xLP
(Vinyl on Demand)

Here's a devastating retrospective of little-heard, intense German death rock circa 1985. Campingsex could have easily held its own against NYC's lost generation of nihilistic post-punk. Detuned like Sonic Youth, moaning and insistent like Live Skull, but with a gear-stripping, rocked-out demeanor, and passion normally reserved for Japanese psych doom (or Patti Smith). Usually this means busted strings and torched vocals, lurching two-chord riffs, churning noise and an overall gravelly, rained-out demeanor that starts making more sense after you haven't shaved in a couple of days. Includes their only LP, a side of outtakes and a live side, all of which seems like overkill at first, but every part has its place here, and if any of the above got you a little moist, this is a record you need to own. All copies have been distributed; search well. Nice gatefold, embossed sleeve, indicative of VOD's excellent work.

Lambsbread - Stereo Mars LP
(Ecstatic Peace!)

The musical decompositions of Lambsbread seem to have no start or end point, as if their free-rock-vs.-bong-wrestler charge and lack of counterpoint rends them connected, inside a sealed-off numinous void where guitars and drums churn relentlessly against buzzing amps and grotty tape heads. The five tracks here find a shade more control than on the group's many CD-R releases, and these manners, slight as they are, hem their search in a bit more than some fans might like. The sidelong album closer takes care of that, though, an exegesis of Danzig III: How the Gods Kill soaked in kerosene and bled together. As good a place as any to start with this group. Edition of 500.

Pour, Rip … No! - Mirror You, Mirror Me LP
You Can Trust Us LP(self-released)

Two full-length (and I do mean full) records by a Brooklynite whose music wheezes and falls with all the weakened reserve of a suicide note. Sound poetry and whatnot. Gets borderline Jandekian in parts, but inverted; all household clatter, barely-there vocals, and acoustic guitar simplicity. Mirror You, Mirror Me contains a drum solo at its finish that moves from rudimentary into hypnotizing, and You Can Trust Us boasts some treated guitar manipulation and an engrossing, spare bass solo. Really, though, we're looking at a performer here who plays right into type, small and narrow as it might be, and it's sometimes a bit difficult to listen to anything that tries this hard to be weird. The instrumental improvisations work quite well, but every time this guy opens his mouth, you'll want to tape it shut.

The Ralphs - Zeroes - No Ones LP

Fun, mildly dystopic punk rock with synths from Fort Worth, TX in the early '80s. Great, great stuff here from a rarefied era where punk and new wave were meeting head on for an inevitable brawl. Synthesizers play an integral part in the band's sound, but they're used as an instrument, not as a statement (see the Screamers), so some of the material comes off just as quirky as it is rockin', as much to do with dark, imaginative rock a la Roky's The Evil One as it does with DEVO or a “Square Pegs” kinda mindset. These guys only ever managed to put out one single back in 1980, which is collected here alongside acetates and test pressings of aborted follow-ups. They look like maniacs, the kind of dudes who seem legitimately dangerous in a way that can only be defined as “Texan” and the tension that builds up in these songs, no matter how polished the songs' hooks are, is very much a real thing. Highly recommended. Edition of 500 with silkscreened inner sleeves, foil insert, and orange vinyl.

Warfear - Dead, Unburied, Forgotten LP
(Crust War)

28 songs of vicious thrash from this British band, extant from 1988-1990, that never saw any official releases of their own. Liner notes claim that they were coming up in a time where “the whole scene was beginning to change; everyone was busy experimenting with hip hop, brass sections, or just pretending to be 10 piece Henry Rollins clones.” Warfear is a strong antidote to that line of thinking, playing fierce D-beat, if a little crumbly and unsteady, though we can chalk that up to rage and bearing of a strong sense of self rather than incompetence. They took a lot from relentless Japanese and Scandinavian hardcore bands and applied it to their own purposes. Going off the rails is definitely the intent here. Time capsule it might be, but this is the vinegar cure to most music you'd listen to. Open wide!
(available wherever fine Crust War releases are sold)

By Doug Mosurock

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