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Still Single: Vol. 3, No. 7

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In the latest installment of 'Still Single,' Doug Mosurak and associates check out Singles and LPs of various sizes by Animal Collective, Jesu, Eluvium, Dalek, Wooden Shjips, Landing, and more.

Still Single: Vol. 3, No. 7


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

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

Keep sending in submissions, please!

Back on track with singles. More to come in two weeks. Special thanks to Joel Hunt and Matt Stern for their contributions to this edition of Still Single.


Animal Collective
Peacebone 12” EP

“Peacebone” shows a reach for Animal Collective to a slightly dimmer shore, but its Krautrock nursery rhyme bounce beats all comers for such dilated visions this year. Drinks the Kool-aid as an example, cuz that's how you sell this manner of folk/electronic rejiggering. Black Dice's remix warps the original down with some busted-up synth action and a sloppy rhythm track. If nothing else, they make the track sound more like Wall of Voodoo than anything else, and since I don't think anyone's yet compared these guys to Stan Ridgway or the Rumble Fish soundtrack, I'll plant that flag. Pantha du Prince does what any good techno remixer should when presented with a brightly-colored indie popsicle: ignore it completely and try to make something that people will dance to. Starting out from a mere suggestion of the original track - only the melody remains, blocked off like Lego - as a minimal entrance blossoms into progressive house. (Doug Mosurak)

Bastard Noise & Antennacle
“He No Longer Lives Entirely Among Us” b/w “Moving Across” 7”
(Kitty Play)

Excellent noise collaborations by the experts. So many little layers in the sounds on both sides here, which possess the reassuring aura of crickets at night. Grounded beyond the need to explain itself, these two tracks are remarkably magnetic, and adhere closely to their base tones, a dense bed of electronic chirping at points on the musical scale. A noise single you'll actually want to listen to, packaged labor intensively (screenprinted, foldover sleeve that ties together with string). Turn it all the way up and watch as your house falls to pieces around you. (DM)

Blank Dogs
Diana (The Herald) 12” EP
(Sacred Bones)

The fourth EP for Blank Dogs in about as many months. Sounds here have not evolved too hard past the last single, putting in six more songs of frigid, hometaper minimal goth sounds. Somewhere off in the distance of the human heart, echoes of New Zealand pop at its most withdrawn (think The Kiwi Animal or the most raucous sounds of This Kind of Punishment), or My Dad is Dead circa the first album, reverberate through this material. This is more or less correct; the artist gets it right with respect to mood and ambition, but the quality is no more or less greater than any of the other releases, maybe with side A of the Hozac single as an exception. Limited edition of 390 numbered copies (first 100 in a silkscreened bag). (DM)

El Michels Affair feat. Raekwon
The PJs … From Afar 12” EP
(Truth & Soul)

EMA got in the ring with Wu-Tang on their series of singles, which faithfully reproduced the RZA's productions in a legit studio session. Now the Chef is working with them directly, and thankfully, he didn't phone this one in. “The PJs” is a baked-in NYC archetype for production in the '90s. Pete Rock gets a namecheck, and could very well have produced this session, as his signature style is all over this, reproduced with spare piano licks, a dynamic bass line, and subtle guitar and bassoon shadings. It's the kind of track that never really went out of style, especially on the East Coast, and could have the kind of power to really reawaken us to a rebirth, the same way Company Flow did about 12 years ago. There's a terrific instrumental B-side here called “This One's For My Baby” that begins with dainty strings lilting down before melting into a cold, dank funk groove big enough to drive a car through. Tremendous record. (DM)

Funeral Shock

Slow-to-arrive follow-up to an excellent 12” from a few years back, but here's some more Funeral Shock (now with new vocalist Negative Tom barking up front) and they're as good as I remember them, maybe a bit better. Really forceful, melodic passages walk in the tradition of early Black Flag, peppered with plenty of hardcore framing (metallic intros, etc.) and some pretty memorable lyrics and choruses. Fucking rips! Get one now! Edition of 1000. (DM)

Dead Womb 7”
(The Social Registry)

Side project of Gang Gang Dance. “FF'ing” plays off of some sort of gauzy Kate Bush memory, but “Goat Pussy” satisfies, a cloud of sampled metal and ritual pounding set to emasculate. Edition of 750 hand-numbered copies; part five in the Social Registry's six-part singles series. (DM)

split 12” EP
(Temporary Residence/Hydrahead)

I've had a love/hate with Jesu but have recently come around to that which I initially disliked about the approach - the big anthemic riffs and tender-yet-wild Richard Marx-like approach , mostly. The three tracks on Jesu's side of this split revisit the sort of blissed out grace of early '90s rave culture, particularly where it met up with pop and rock and shoegaze folks who clearly had the same dealer. We're talking “Pearl” by Chapterhouse, maybe the Lightning Seeds, and crunching it down into a laptop and causing it to frown. “Why Are We Not Perfect?” is Broadrick's “Life in a Northern Town,” the ponderance of it all brewing a cold that gets under your clothes. Eluvium's slow burn drone is no match for trance-pop fuzz perfection, so forget about it! “Limited editions” on both labels, of various girth. Some nerd on eBay has all the details. (DM)

Kush Arora
Surf's Up 12” EP
(Record Label)

Some mode of chilled-out dubstep here, with a heavy vibe hanging in the air. Vocals and some questionable synth patches appear here and there, as the tracks get by on more of a mood than an aggression or syncopated rhythm. Pretty peaceful and a cone toaster if you're not careful. On magenta and black splatter vinyl. (DM)

My Education vs. Dälek
split 12” EP
(Thirty Ghosts)

Instrumental post-rockers help out the Dälek/Oktopus team, and vice versa, with the expected results - My Education treading a careful path along an interpretation of Arvo Pärt, all strings and swelling, prideful intention, which Dälek buffets with muted industrial beats and some end-of-the-day reflective rhymes. Not exactly a standout for these dudes, but there's definitely some of you out there who are completists in regard to Dälek, in which case this is a necessity. (DM)

Nipple Violator
Double Suck 12” EP
(Bloody Stump)

Little bit of a mystery here from a juvenile, scat-obsessive garage punk act. An address of Gardiner, Maine as the origin of these (alleged) 1993 recordings would link the Family Pet/Foreign Frequency label people to this session, obscured behind names like Bloody Shit Napkin and Mucous Lubricant. Musically they build the long-promised bridge between the Mentors and Sockeye, leaning disgusting lyrics up against tinny guitars and a warped basement vibe all around. Corpse sex is championed in “You're My Fuck Toy,” murder of Bill Clinton in “Revolution Now,” and feces addiction in “Feces Addict.” Young, dumb, and full of cum. Anyone looking for the cheap thrills of G.G. Allin, please stop here. Very nice vinyl pressing in a black and white sleeve. (DM)
(nobody cares)

Pump, Kinn and Don/Brian Miller and Kevin Shields
Virgin Passwords split 12” EP
(Weird Forest)

The Pump, Kinn and Don half of this split 12” is a sustained, pulsating electronic shriek, throbbing with requisite blasts of creaking, screaming chaos, apocalyptic tornadoes of static, et al. This side also features a picture of a goose on the label, allowing me to write one of those meaningless “extreme music” descriptive superlatives. Howbout, “this record is like getting goosed, by Satan, while a gaggle of demons look on and gander,” or something. The Brian Miller/Kevin Shields side is scratchy and crunchy, with indiscernible vocals incanting and chanting under the surface. I dunno, if your entire record collection consists of limited press improvised electronic noise, you'll like this. If not, it'll make you angry, like the record is going out of the way to hurt your feelings. Title is misleading; nothing on this record is doing anything for anyone's virginity besides extending its tenure. I guess that's probably the joke. 300 copies. (Matthew A. Stern)

Serpents of Wisdom/Tickley Feather
split 7” EP

Solo projects from Philly on both sides of this split. The four tracks by Tickley Feather are a bit of a revelation; trancey, elliptical folk/drum machine gallops that lilt with melody and feature these gorgeous female vocals. Annie Sachs has got a great one, especially in its higher registers, where she almost resembles Liz Fraser or Siouxsie. Hometaping sands off the edges roughly, but that makes it sound even more open and lost inside itself. I'm reminded of the crestfallen angst of Bobb Trimble when I listen to this, though in a completely separate (and lesser) mode of songwriting. Serpents of Power is a more traditional electric-folk model, its Brendan O'Connor a troubadour with his hands full. Excellent metallic soloing and some obvious psychedelic fuckery bolsters some more traditional fare for the better. On black and white splatter vinyl. (DM)

Sick E's
Whispers 7” EP
(Going Underground)

Dark, fast garage rock with a screaming dude and a rinky-dink synth making it “creepy.” To be fair, it's pretty raw-sounding, hopped up on the skrony dissonance of chord clashes and “total sound” techniques. It's fun, but not exactly essential. As acid makes its way back into the popular culture, you'll hear more records like this. (DM)

Wake Up 12” EP
(Record Label)

Ready for some drum 'n' bass? No? Too bad. Sote chugs along with some dirty tones, rugged bass and somewhat of a laid back presence, providing these three tracks with a slightly tribal feel. “Wake Up” is the A-side and the requisite banger here; the other tracks get into some simple themes but don't take them all that far out. On white vinyl; comes in a knitted 12” cloth sleeve. (DM)

Television Ghost
“Atomic Rain” b/w “Bird Flu” 7”
(Die Stasi)

I saw this band in Lafayette, Indiana a few months back and don't really recall what they sounded like, aside from young and aloof. “Atomic Rain” flops along like the Fall ca. Witch Trials with some sort of thug moan instead of MES snipe. “Bird Flu” is even more successful, circus organ clanging dissonantly against a two-chord shuffle and approaching the acid end of '60s garage. I really didn't like this on the first few listens - the '90s are back, I suppose, and once again nobody's tuning, not to mention a really horrible mastering job on the A-side, where some cymbal hits disappear completely - but on about the fifth try, it all made sense. A flawed but strong first release. Acetate foldover sleeve, hand-stamped labels. (DM)

$2 Out the Door
Champagne of Fears 12” EP
(Rock Bottom)

Low-budget bass/drums duo from out in the Bay Area. Nine songs of throbbing murk provided by room mic'd instrumentation and congested arrangements that don't make a lot of the space such a lineup can provide. Songs are pretty interesting, with Cramps-style vocalisms set off against pounding drum patterns and bass that jumps all over the place in an attempt to fill both melody and rhythm quotas at the same time, but in the end it all just sounds kind of empty, like they went into the studio and mixed all the guitar parts out. Future releases would do well to work out a more distinct sound and to not get ahead of themselves when writing parts too easy to flub, as on the last track. Edition of 500 on splatter vinyl, in a glow-in-the-dark silkscreened sleeve. (DM)
(email to twodollarsoutthedoor@gmail.com)

Unnatural Helpers
Earwax 7” EP
(Dirty Knobby)

Boisterous rock, busting at the seams and moving with the determination of heavy machinery. The Volcano Suns perfected this approach way back when, and it's not entirely unexpected that someone else might want to get up on that horse again. The tracks on the A-side make a little more sense to me, but the whole thing has the sort of feeling that indie rock did around '93, when bands like Pitchblende and Polvo were shaping the sound of possibility. Fun band. Edition of 500 in hand-numbered sleeves. (DM)

Untied States
“Bye Bye Bi-Polar” b/w “These Dead Birds” 7”

Moody, bitchy-sounding young men who try to glue goth and screamo back onto a slightly wilder, more predictable body once worn by the 90 Day Men. But where that group was more intently focused on getting into your skull, this one's like some sort of street performer with an open keyboard case playing Hal al Shedad songs. Really flashy and measured, which, combined with their insistence of throwing the word “experimental” around in their press kit, means that they're chasing it just like everybody else, albeit in a hybrid of back-dated approaches that will help them to remain low to the ground. Edition of 500 copies in silkscreened sleeves, really crummy overlong mastering on side B with tons of crackles. (DM)

Wooden Shjips
“SOL '07” 7”
(Sick Thirst)

Third single by Wooden Shjips, this one a live recording split over two sides of a red vinyl single in a white sleeve. It's a benefit for Food Not Bombs, so dig in to the group's murkiest yet liveliest release yet, intentionally muddy cosmic hury-gurdy rays of psych, in the hands of the great loom of the gods. Reaches back all the way to the Sir Douglas Quintet's “She's About a Mover.” Insane. Can't wait for the album. Edition of 500 in plain white sleeves. (DM)


Dog Faced Hermans
Mental Blocks for All Ages LP
(Mississippi Records)

Dog Faced Hermans were one of the best bands I've ever had the pleasure to see live. This amazing Scottish-via-the-Netherlands four-piece just absolutely fucking destroyed on stage with an intensity and energy that even their sister band the Ex sometimes can't manage. The key to understanding what sets them apart from other ostensibly good post-Crass UK punk bands is the direct connection that singer Marion Coutts' vocals, lyrics and presence made with earlier 20th century developments in radical art and politics. Mental Blocks for All Ages, originally released on Project A-Bomb in 1991, is the moment when the Hermans really came into their own, showing an ability to absorb all kinds of fantastic non-punk sounds (Indian, Kurdish, Vietnamese, free jazz) while still retaining the steadfast adrenaline rush-sound fueled mainly by Andy's guitar-playing-and-dismantling and Wilf's ridiculously ferocious drumming. So while it's easy lament the band's passing (Marion continued her art in the UK), it is fantastic that those not privileged to see the Hermans can at least still enjoy their recordings. Key tracks include “Suppressa” (with a fantastic overdubbed horn break), the mellow “Astronaut,” “Ballad About Bhopal,” and “It's Time” (based on a Charlie Haden tune). So when can we expect a vinyl box-set of their discography and one or two live shows? (Joel Hunt)
(no address provided)

Egypt Is The Magick #
The Valentine Process LP
(Mad Monk)

Charlie Manson once said “No sense makes sense,” and that's all fine and dandy, but every once in a while a little clarity goes a long way. But if you're looking for clarity, or at least want to hear it; you won't get it from Egypt Is The Magick #, a long-running mystery project with perhaps some No Neck Blues Band ties. Nope, on The Valentine Process you get lots of murk, maybe even a little esoteric mysticism, and a lot of nonsense. Now, nonsense ain't necessarily bad, sometimes it's even good, but in the way it manifests on The Valentine Process, it's mostly just kinda boring and pointless. I hate to bag on a band for doing things their own way, and Egypt Is The Magick # is certainly unique, but ultimately the music just doesn't gel in an interesting way for me. There's a lot of moaning, some scraping and bowing, and on the second side an extended electro-ish sequence reminiscent of what the far-more-interesting Excepter does, but yeah, I just can't get into this. Sorry, mystic weirdos. On the other hand, this record does look good, so at least they got that part right. (JH)

Emil Beaulieau
Moonlight on Vermont LP
(Ecstatic Peace!)

Ah, the myriad guises of one RRRon Lessard. Among the pranks and put-ons, fun times and harsh noise, one thing has remained constant: RRRon's propensity to just do whatever he damn well pleases, and to do it damn well. The Beaulieau nom-de-plume (swiped from a former conservative mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire) has been with us for a while and much like the permanence of the magic marker scrawl when I saw it written in a bathroom in a gas station in rural Oregon in 2003, who knows how much longer it will last? Will RRRon get bored and move on to something else, hanging up the sweater vest and turntables for some other means of expression? I don't know, but I'm glad that for the moment we've got Moonlight on Vermont to listen to. While it's taken some years for it to, uh, come to light, Moonlight delivers some harsh '00s realities that any longtime listener will enjoy. The noise novices out there might enjoy it, too, especially the slightly-more-rock overtures of the second side. As for me, this disc goes quite nicely with the incessant pounding, drilling and sawing of the workmen converting the first floor of my building into what will soon be some new bouge's apartment. What noise will exist when the housing and new construction boom ends? Ask Ben Bernanke. In an edition of 300, each with a unique cover handmade by the artist. (JH)

Crystal Healing LP

This long-running unit comprised of heavy-hitters Marcia Bassett (Double Leopards, Hototogisu, Un, Zaimph), Pete Nolan (Magick Markers, Bark Haze, Flux Spectre) and Steve Gunn serves up some tasty extended drone action on Crystal Healing, from the Bardo-affiliated Three-Lobed Recordings label. Those familiar with their work in other bands and configurations won't really find much out of the ordinary here, as the emphasis is on lots of meditative fuzz. However, occasionally the fuzz is accompanied and complemented by acoustic guitar - and on the second side by a plaintive male groan - both injecting a subtle yet affecting melodicism that helps make Crystal Healing sound more interesting than your average drone fest, making it clear that it's played by above-average droners. Perhaps the only complaint is that there isn't enough; the drawback of the LP format is that it just isn't long enough for me to get really immersed in the music. Like a nice warm bath on a late fall day, the GHQ performances I've seen had a tendency to make a long amount of time seem like it really had just been standing still, regardless of (or perhaps in spite of) the added pleasures of imbibitions and inhalations. Maybe a five-hour long DVD with some Marian Zazeela-style light installation visuals should be in order. Or maybe not, as we wouldn't want La Monte Young to sue anybody. Either way, Crystal Healing provides a nice, if only temporary, fix. Nice gatefold sleeve, edition of 855. (JH)

s/t LP
(Foreign Frequency)

Not knowing any of the players on this LP aside from Tatsuya Nakatani, who has spent the past few years developing a reputation as one of the better improvisational drummers in New York City, I was a little apprehensive about what might lay in this record's grooves, especially given the bassless lineup of alto sax, piano and percussion. Apprehension melted into appreciation as the two tracks on the first side showed a trio in full command of not only its instruments but its improvisational power and spontaneity, sometimes mixing in some toned-down beauty. Gary Hassay leads the way on the sax, squealing and squonking not only with an amped ferociousness, but also with a decent sense of when not to blow it all out (a quality not always shared by younger saxophonists). Nakatani and DeChellis deftly move in and out through Hassay's twists and turns, and both employ a pretty wide range of styles and techniques familiar to any fan of free music, yet are interesting enough as players so as to not sound stale. The real highpoint of the set, though, comes on side two where the side-long “Song for Simone” begins with Hassay tackling some throat-tickling solo singing, in the style of a less-nasal La Monte Young (or maybe a less-cold Tuvan throat singer). Some nice overtones ring through Hassay's wordless notes, and eventually his partners come through with some subtle scrapes and chords as accompaniment, showing a nice and gentle counterpoint to side one's occasionally frenetic jams. On clear vinyl, with hand-stamped labels, and includes a CD with album and bonus tracks. (JH)

Gravitational IV 12” EP
(Equation Records)

The opening song's immediately striking post-kraut vibes get things off to a good start for this release of archival material by this long-running Connecticut-via-Utah Mormons-in-space band. A steady yet queasy drum figure is fleshed out by a nice melodic bass line Holger Czukay would be proud of, while some ethereal chick's voice floats over top. And this forty-some-minute EP gets further out from there, as the guitar cranks up a little bit more, the mood gets darker, and the psilocybin kicks in. Yet while the modern psych and space rock accoutrements are hitting all the right mental buttons, there's also a pronounced vintage UK shoegazer element that not many American groups can conjure (even when they're trying). Probably closest thing I can compare it to is Bardo Pond during the Matador era put in a blender with Slowdive, resulting in a big syrupy hallucinogenic mess. Apparently the band haven't been up to much this year, which is a shame, unless they're campaigning for Mitt Romney, in which case they should get back together ASAP. (JH)

Owl Xounds
Teenagers from Mars LP
(Mad Monk)

Those poor saps expecting some sort of Misfits cover-band action by the title of Owl Xounds' debut will be sorely mistaken. The Xounds, a trio of Adam Kriney (also drum-pounder in La Otracina), Gene Janas and Mario Rechtern, play jazz, dig? Not that silly punk rock stuff with the tattoos and the devil locks and whatnot. This jazz is free, man, and kind of nicely silly in its own right (except no lyrics about teenagers from Mars or anything else) in that it pounds and pounds and doesn't really give you much choice but to dive in ears-first and listen. If you're into post-Brotzmann free squall, it's a pretty engaging listen, with the high points being Kriney's outstanding ability to keep up with his older compatriots. Ultimately, though, Teenagers from Mars doesn't really add too much to the balls-deep fifty-odd year tradition of free playing; novices to the sound will appreciate its sense of frenetic rush, jazz vets will find it lacking any sense of lyricism or even much point, and the general public will be indifferent. Owl Xounds throws down a decent effort on this date, to be sure, but it's probably not essential for even the hardest of the hardcore, most of whom I hope are already aware of earlier achievements in pummel-blow-and-scrape, such as Peter Brotzmann's Couscous de la Marquesse or Glenn Spearman's Hurricane Trio. On clear orange vinyl. (JH)

D. Charles Speer
Some Forgotten Country LP

This record gets so close - so close - to being a real keeper. A collection of recordings apparently made over the past four years, Some Forgotten Country gets oh-so-close to projecting the same kind of killer post-SF-ballroom vibes that, say, emanate from stone-cold classics such as Skip Spence's Oar or Workingman's Dead. Unfortunately, it's not quite in the same territory as those, mainly as D. Charles Speer's vocals are not as confident as they could be. While he's got a cool baritone, unfortunately he's sort of all over the place pitch-wise, and it sometimes detracts from the excellent playing throughout. Lots of intertwining guitar and mandolin lines make for good listening, and there's definitely a stronger grasp of what made the music in that particular early 70s milieu so crucially lackadaisical than most of the jokers parading around in “New Weird America” or “Freak Folk” suits these days. Perhaps the next one will be the next step forward in sounding backward (I mean that in the best way). (JH)

The Excusable Earthling LP
(Pendu Sound)

Structured improvisation from a trio of Ed Bear (electronics, sax, vocals), Kevin Shea (drums) and Matt Mottel (synth). Darlings of a tiny sliver of the avant scene here in NYC, their heavy rep is fairly justified here across two sidelong pieces that hold the attention really well, as bits of melody grind it out amidst seamless transitions into freer modes of play. Quite a lot going on here given the rigidity of the lineup, a series of loose melodic attacks that gather steam then scatter in the wind. Sort of rock-based in spots, but I'm all for such cross-pollination. A good time herein. (DM)

By Doug Mosurock

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