Still Single: Vol. 3, No. 8
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:
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!
We're gonna take a little time off over here to get situated in a new apartment (not single anymore, despite what the name of this column has to say about it) so we'll see you again in mid-October, hopefully with a whole batch of new vinyl to present. Keep sending stuff in and we'll get to it then.
“Charlie and the C.F.F.” b/w “Get the Joke” 7”
Debut product from a new label focusing on releasing singles with some sort of masked A&R perspective, out of Toronto. If you haven't scrolled away yet, rest assured that this is some sort of roots rock thing, not bad ass enough to be much more than rootsy singer-songwriter hoedownin' that knows what garage music sounded like in the '60s (namely “Psychotic Reaction”) but doesn't really have the peach pits to meet on its wild, pubescent level. No, this guy thinks he's above it, and that's why it doesn't work. If you needed a softer, less desperate take on go-nowhere “revivalism” like that band VUE, here you go. I don't get the joke either, man. Look for more insight in this column wherever you see that uniform sleeve design posted above.
The Cave Singers
“Seeds of Night” b/w “After the First Baptism” 7”
A new spin on personality-folk, this one a lot shaggier and more rehearsed than yobs like Wooden Wand, and owning a certain college-tested Appalachian skein of dancin' outlaw veneers that makes it seem all like an act. Thing is, though, it's a fucking good act, the rare sort of band that, if you happen to think the vocalist is trying too hard a bit, that the actual song can transcend that distaste and could commit itself to your short-term memory. And even though I can hear Adam Sandler singing these words, it just doesn't matter. Such is “Seeds of Night.” The other one's not bad either. This is some promo thing, and if you buy it at a store, they'll give you $2 off this band's album. Must be your lucky day!
“Lydia” b/w “Bullet” 7”
(Tomlab/Black Mountain Music)
Hey, “Bullet”? Don't dick around with “space” on a single. Get to the goddamn song. Typical B-side, sounds like the Rainer Maria got grounded for the weekend and are mopey. “Lydia” is at least awake, but got my hopes up from its opening Australian-rules bass plowing into some sorta strumfest, with the same dopey boy/cutesy girl vocals in play. Seriously, what sort of plot is Canada hatching with all these throwback indie rock bands? What are they going to do, make us mix tapes?
Subordinate 7” EP
OK, here's Dry-Rot in “punk” mode, one completely different from the faux-Badalamenti instrumentals on that last one. What the fuck is this shit, though? Three.One.G-style 16-page booklet outlines what makes out to be truly wrenching subject material - a cult leader who would convert the weak-minded into slaves who lived in holes in his backyard, who shaved their heads and painted their skulls, and other amazing transgressions of personal freedom. This is some dark shit, and compelling. Swans could have pulled off these lyrics, but few others - and certainly not Dry-Rot - are up to the task, especially given this messy, power-sapped mid-tempo metallic hardcore they play. They're all about mids, too, as their recording is too full of them, cutting out the trebly attack that this music really needs. It sounds like a basement demo, and like they're trying to play beyond their means, and all it adds up to is a weird waste of a one-of-a-kind concept. Couple pressings now, some on clear vinyl.
“I Don't Want to Think” b/w “If You're a Planet” 7”
This one is Magnificent Sevens' brooding teen band, and it might be their most dire musically as well as lyrically. Community college lyrics (rhyme “room” with “womb” again, dude) and sloe-eyed Buzz Bin sentiments overpower the songs and acceptably lazy stance like a bottle of cologne spilled inside a car. Their “polka” on the flip needs to be heard to believed. Straight-to-DVD quality. They don't call 'em Easy Targets for nothin', you know.
s/t 7” EP
The resurgence of Silt-streams throughout an exclusive cadre of young weirdos out in the world makes a record like Eat Skull's first single here possible, a reclamation of the corpulent discontent of the '90s and the charge to just embrace noise and dissonance in lieu of ownership. This guy/these guys are painfully lo-fi, but also carefully construct a shell of reverb around the blare, layering some overdubs over the whole thing. Early DEVO is a pretty good reference point, as are the Mummies and Pussy Galore (and for a more recent comparison, Times New Viking) for their general rocks-in-the-dryer ambience. But the songs beneath are simply brilliant; restless, slightly aloof jangle that all but rattle the Velvets back to life, amidst dense, staticky transmissions from the gutter. 300 copies, will definitely get people talking.
“Library Card” b/w “Steal From Me” 7”
Boy/girl indie popsters try to step into John and Exene's badass boots on “Library Card” and do way better than expected. I think I got a record by these folks around somewhere and didn't think too much about it, but this one turned my head. I played it twice. The sap I didn't want is there on “Steal From Me,” sadly, but at least I know these kids can kick it into second gear when they need to.
The Edge 7” EP
(P. Trash/Radio 81)
All across America, from Lakewood to North Abington, people have spoken up about their right to Skull Music. Germany and Canada have also been met in the throes of this most direct and full-bodied musical agenda. These are probably the three tightest Homostupids songs I've heard, and I like this better than anything since their first 7”. Riffs all over the place and the skuzziest recording yet. There's like four different editions of this one floating around out there for the insecure, just get one of them because it's as good as the Eat Skull record. Horrible “song titles” and illustrations round out the overall Sockeye value of this thing; order a copy them clip your fingernails down too far and sob to yourself.
Justice Yeldham and the Dynamic Ribbon Device
“212 261005 hamar” b/w “172 310305 madison” 7”
One man and his device attach themselves to two separate locations. What goes through a barnacle's … I don't wanna say brain, because come on, it's a barnacle, but what goes through its control cells, the ones that say “hey, attach yourself to the hull of this ship?” or “this is a good place to continue life?” These sorts of root causes are what drives sounds like these - vacuum-sealed, pliant, processed transmissions of electronic stains as sound - and if they're not the first thing you notice about them, get back to writing your thesis. I love Load but I'm glad that sometimes it looks like Load but it sounds like “Fart.” And perhaps no other Load release says so half as much as this one - not even ghoti hooks like Neon Hunk.
Ugh, sorry I asked, Lily Cedar. Gingersnap's back in X mode, though, and that actually kinda rules. I think I like that band a lot.
“Everytime, Without You” b/w “Gimme the Time!” 7”
Overtly popular, kind of aggressive alt-rock, definitely in and of the '90s, despite their post-punk martial preening. I'm glad they can keep a stern beat, but this band, like all these Magnificent Sevens bands, are Tiswas bands, content to exist as a copycat of a more popular strain of an existing band (in their case, Interpol) and it'd be even funnier if one dude was in all four of these bands and his dad ran the label, but we can't have it that easy.
The Mark Inside
“Circling the Drain” b/w “Liar” 7”
Somewhat turbulent, yet extremely dated-sounding alternative rock. “Circling the Drain” has some outward bound, sneering garage to it, a la Mudhoney, while “Liar” is much denser and reaches greater velocities. Neither song is memorable, though, so don't worry about it.
s/t 7” EP
Oh, great. Jud Jud does a noise record. Jesus fucking Christ, Ben.
A Northern Chorus
Chained to the Truth 7”
(Black Mountain Music)
Indie dudes show off their compassionate side with Mojave 3 and Low covers. I'll bet it feels good to play stuff like this, but listening is somewhat of a chore, especially if music that does nothing but create dramatic moods that go unresolved isn't your bag (hey, it's not mine either). Can't endorse the regurgitation of these sentiments.
“You're an Outline” b/w “Try Not to Lie” 7”
(Black Mountain Music)
Casually melodic, these three Canuck-nucks dispens with the yuk-yuks and do some serious excavation of back-to-school '90s indie. There was a time when scores of bands made singles reminiscent of this one, one with a scholarly yet ragged approach to rock, one that didn't have anything to do with choruses so much as cascades into another of their songs' advanced, calculated parts. Slacker cardigans on or off, this is a worthwhile and quite promising effort, and it warms my enlarged heart in these autumn months. White/clear splatter vinyl and a pro-printed sleeve.
Low Flying Aircraft 7” EP
Reissue of 1979 post-punk/avant mentionable by drummer Paul Burwell and vocalist Anne Bean. He rocks out and she screams, shits and shouts over the top, with only some peals and moans of feedback as the suggestion of melody. This has always been a real headcleaner of a record, Burwell's rock against Bean's vocal lightning making the sort of free-associative connections young minds need to get new ideas flowing. We have this terrible “band” in Brooklyn called Puttin' On the Ritz that is basically the shitty version of this accomplished, maniacal output. That is all. Oh, only 500 copies exist of this reissue. Get one as soon as you are able.
“This Aching Deal” b/w “August 3rd (Arkitype Remix)” 7”
“Victims” b/w “April/May” 7”
That “Smokescreen” record was kind of a banger but then I figured this Shocking Pinks thing out. Did Neil Young just up and relent to the reuse of that name, by the way? You'd think he might not want to let his “show band” era miscegenate with any modern music, even by name. But this one seems self-applied; it's a solo studio project, one young man with a lot of songs and half a world away from us (New Zealand, in fact) to scale the walls in triumph. So it's not really dance music, more the DFA's pop production experiment. “Victims” starts out pretty strong, motorcycle jacket in tow as some loud electro-modulated rock blasts out over the cliffs of the teenage mind. Ot as striking as the acoustic B-side, “April/May,” carrying on its back the sort of moonlit misery of the Church's Marty Wilson-Piper. Probably should have made it onto the album. It's a really nice song, the nicest I've heard this day of Monday, September 17, 2007. Certainly better than his New Order demo take “This Aching Deal” or the sad computer electro-lounge antics of its flipside remix. Can't win 'em all. But you can win some.
“Future Rock” b/w “Can't Roll Back” 12”
Two cuts from Strategy's Future Rock album on Kranky, filled out on sharply-mastered 12” vinyl. “Future Rock” stomps in left field house before finding its bassline and riding that one out amidst funky, electric Miles-sounding instrumentation, including wah-wah guitar and that watery subsonic bass that crept up so hard on Get Up With It - future rock indeed, slingshotting in between 1974 and 1994. “Can't Roll back” is even stricter house by definition, heading into trance territory vis-à-vis drone melodies and a persistent keyboard tap. It's house, albeit made with typically non-house sounds, and has the potential to last a lot longer than most recent offerings of a similar sonic lineage. What's more, both cuts just dig right in there with memorable music and a solid beat, just really hard to ignore. We have a winner.
Rambo Knife 7” EP
I don't know about this band. They were OK live, had a few catchy songs, but they really need to get off the couch. Red Cross were way younger and making sweet jams. I don't care if it's an unfair comparison. I want these four minutes back.
Diza Star & the Pink Ladies Blues
I don't really give a shit about Acid Mothers Temple right now or pretty much since the late '90s, so either they're gonna be an expensive, later-in-life “surprise,” or history will prove me right. But I review all that I'm submitted, and this one is the latest in the AMT line, albeit with that name crossed out and the above, more descriptive moniker in place for Magic Aum Gigi and two decamped refugees. Mani Neumeier of Guru Guru guests on drums on the first track, a very cool psychedelic re-enactment of hot evenings by the ocean. The wandering continues on after that, blurred by errant “righteousness” and some nearsighted bits of experimentation. Yet the last track on here ignites with incredible pressure, raw bluesy chording smashed flat against percussive boulders, impacting with the unbreathable atmosphere of the Dead C. Two jams versus the 197 copies of this thing that supposedly were made, and you're pretty much out of options: now or never. I'm at least glad to have this one handy for the next time I'm doing shots of pineal gland juice.
Egg Soldiers LP
Mega-douchey indie “dance” pop, definitely in tune with early '80s goth/wavo/nu-romantic largesse with some compressed, dub-scented rhythmic backings falling prey to too-precious vocals, lyrics, and novelty instruments (xylophone! ugh!) all put on pedestals by a band who only has to provide a historical re-enactment of 1982 to succeed. It's not dry enough, and you probably have one Siouxsie and the Banshees album anyway, but a lot of post-punk remained buried for a reason, and this will remind you why - and no doubt confuse, as the three male humans in this band have actually consented to performing as Softboiled Eggies. Seriously worst band name of 2007. Edition of 1000.
Three long tracks of cyclical minimal percussion stampede from a Portuguese experimental duo taking a somewhat purist approach to ambient noise. All three offerings are based around the same type of sounds, and adjust accordingly to suit pulse patterns and overall attack. If you filed off all the sibilance from Esplendor Geometrico and filtered it through the liquid, abstract psychedelic vibes outgassed from Black Dice's last few efforts, you'd get something approaching the sputter and cavernous tracks presented here. “Tronco Nu” takes up a full side and has the longest build, but its eventual “melodic” denouement plays off as striking and somewhat emotional. “Zona do Bicho” steps up the aggression and comes closest to full-bore noise, but never lets go of the beat it's anchored to. “Poço da Morte” ends this satisfying debut by taking a tattoo gun to Can and Blue Cheer records from across the street, building in intensity along the way. A bold and promising debut. 300 copies, white vinyl.
By Doug Mosurock