Still Single: Vol. 3, No. 11
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!
Le Club des Chats
Yes Madame! 7” EP
Crazy fou from this French freak outfit, taking a Rock in Opposition-esque stance on cabaret protest pomp. Their deal is rickety songs, razor-wire rhythms, acting out, and cats. Laser cats on the back sleeve put this squarely in the Internet age, and by association, very self-aware of its weirdness, not trying to obscure any of it. That's how you have to roll when you sing in puppetshow voices and play drums and occasionally bass. Will drive most people away, but that rules - best song is the stampeding “Miaou-Miaou,” with its bratty chorus and tumbling pace.
Death Sentence: PANDA!
Festival of Ghosts/R'out 4002 12” EPM
(Upset the Rhythm)
Shrill, pummeling abuse from the Spockmorgue. I had seen DS:P! once live earlier on and it was this sort of spastic, rough-edged experience confirmed on a few CD-Rs, a real ouroboros experience that was not exactly easy to digest (which is the biggest caveat of that whole concept). This one's more settled into a vibe, tribal klang and a sense of balance, crossing up Southeast Asian prayer music with Teenage Jesus and the Jerks for a refreshingly reinforced take on both. 1000 copies, silkscreened sleeves, thick vinyl.
Play the Breathtaking Sounds of Tivol lathe-cut 7”
Overamped but VERY quiet racket from a New Zealand noise outfit, covering the music of Finland's Tivol. Barbaric effort here, with modulated vocals, oscillator storms and relentless bashing that all but covers up the guitar. It's pretty amazing, but the limitations of the lathe-cut 7” really clamp down on the listening volume. Like the hummingbird, you can't see its wings. Edition of 50 copies, numbered in hand-stenciled foil paste-on sleeves.
“In the City” b/w “Really Good Time” 7”
Orland, CA's Nothing people “embrace the old” on this, their second single, and things take somewhat of a turn for the worse. “In the City” plods along, flat and missing a lot of midrange, filled up with weirdo guitar leads and crusty analog synth that only frame the void. Lyrics are kinda too obvious, the sort of thing Iggy wrote for the new Stooges record (or Thurston Moore for Goo). Their cover of Roxy Music on the flip strips out all the strings for an overload of dry guitar riffing, and just made me miss the original. I don't know what happened here, but I can't recommend it. Clear vinyl.
The Religious Experience LP
Overwhelming to the senses, this. Open it up and you're hit with a waft of perfumed air coming from between the cover panels of pressed sugar cane art paper. The vinyl itself is white shot through with multicolored splatters. 3/4HBE is an Italian outfit that seems to split time between drone improv and a more old-school experimental/theater of the mind style approach. At 33rpm it was like swimming through a pool of cough syrup, but when I put it up to 45 the music took on a thorough metamorphosis, attracting attention to the parts that were simply too fast (a drum beat at the end of side 1, for instance, moves so much more hastily and particulate in its reverberated tail that it makes the rest of the music seem slower in comparison). That's when I realized I was possibly in the presence of genius. This was confirmed throughout the remaining three pieces, lithely bridging Kapotte Muziek, the Legendary Pink Dots, and Stars of the Lid with remarkable comfort and agility. Then again I could just be playing this on the wrong speed. This is part of a two-album piece (the other, Theology is CD-only, packaged in a hand-adorned wooden box) and for some reason, this half of the set was pressed in half as many copies - 225 here, and 450 for the CD - and there's no overlap between the material. Not cheap, either, so choose wisely.
Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones
Arriere Garde LP
HB's JOs offer up another album of love TKO, repping the unseen pages and pages of words of the guys you see alone at garage shows. Blanc really dumps it out there on Arriere Garde, laying it on the line for women (“I'm just trying to fuck you”), old age (“Life has become desiccated, emasculation a mess of want and strife”), and thrift-store literary pearls like “Gold studded lobes glimmer humble sun show to hold now.” Shooting for the profound, Blanc slips a bit, but lands on both feet, gathering familiar, stalled wisdom from Bukowski and the last can in the case. The rock music on the record itself is well-done scratchy garage thump, with big chords crashing into one another in a Medway/Broke Revue sorta way, and grinding one riff wonders that might have fit on records by the Gun Club or the Flesh Eaters, two very obvious influences at play within. One could also make the whole Greg Dulli in sweatpants and a dirty shirt argument for this one as well, the songs of a man gone to seed and not quite ready to accept his fate. But words and music sometimes don't mesh, and one has the tendency to sour the other in different ways at various points throughout. Overall, the band is wild enough to warrant closer examination, though you might groan a bit at what you see. White vinyl.
The Cough of a Crane LP
Philadelphia-area hometapers here, just borrowing from wherever they can to put together a varied and fairly auspicious album. A scruffy approach, a handful of mood piece shoegaze moments, and a food court sensibility that only suburban teens know are the first things imminently noticeable. Their all-inclusive songwriting approach, holdin' it down for every place from teen acne-era Sebadoh to the whole of the Black Bean and Placenta Tape Club, indicates the logical endpoint of the whole lo-fi aesthetic as it was known in the '90s to both the heart-on-sleeve sap like Dashboard Confessional and the similarly attired folk “punk” of Against Me! Not that Chauchat are reaching to those ends, but their particular journey sounds as if it'll end with girls, if you get my drift. My sole complaints are thus: lyrics are pretty tough to endure in spots, and some of their songs are a bit too crowded to work the way that they should. Otherwise, it's a treat to witness bands like this reaching back and pulling out a plum. Edition of 300 copies in recycled, hand-decorated sleeves.
Hard at Work LP
(Tic Tac Totally)
It took a while, but I'm now a fan of Digital Leather. Maybe I was only given his least impressive records to review in these pages, but Hard at Work finds humanoid Ryan R. with a rock-hard batch of songs that channel Peter Murphy through a bedroom studio aesthetic that just … works … so … well. Not since that Wierd Records compilation have I come across another modern coldwave act with as much presence, not to mention songs you'll walk away with. Numan comparisons are likely but unfair, D. Leather staging himself in a much more dramatic mindset for the better. Green marbled vinyl and some really dumb artwork aside, the music's the thing here, finally.
Goofy hardcore from America's Dairyland. I enjoyed their previous single “Jazz Phase” for its loose, crazy approach, somewhat in debt to bands like Fat Day. This one's OK. There's some real technique and stunt playing going on here, and a sense of humor which you might have to be in the mood for. Seems like a good time, though; maybe akin to a nerdier Allyoucaneat. Some copies on colored vinyl.
Weisse Messe LP
As riotous free jazz/rock splatter artists from Malaysia, Klangmutationen makes a case for the positive side of globalization. When did you ever expect blowouts this fevered to come out of Kuala Lumpur? Three long, untidy pieces are collected here, recorded live with extra heat; maybe a bit too much heat to place this group in most Euro-free traditions, and instead steer them towards extreme Japanese instrument abusers like Takayanagi Masayuki or Kaoru Abe. Scalding guitar textures mesh with exploratory drumming, bass wander, and the screech of alto and soprano saxes until the outfit boils over in protest, time and again. Crisp, trebly recording makes it sound as if the instrumentalists are right on top of one another. It's a trip man, a really abrasive and vital trip.
I Can Make New Friends With You LP
From what I understand Kyle Jacobson was an alias for one Michael Allison, the musician on this record. Apparently he's no longer with us. Twenty of the songs he recorded to cassette are included on this LP as his legacy, which I refuse to review upon the grounds that I may incriminate myself against this guy's friends and family. 500 copies. It's a trap! Also this guy's screamo band from 1998, Nintendo, was included on a 7” that came inside the sleeve. I'll bet the kids would have been into this one had it gotten out.
Legendary Pink Dots
Alchemical Playschool 2x10”
The story here s that Edward Ka-Spel was given a copy of an earlier CD of field recordings on Soleilmoon, entitled Indian Soundscapes, and instructed to build a new album out of the sounds within. If you have been conditioned to know what to expect out of such an endeavor, you're right - a wash of street sounds and sitar, heavy drone, poetry readings of a man tickled by the longest, most elegant, and daintiest of feathers, and he's feeling for the quill. Side three starts to take on some musical weight of its own, a collage of background source sounds woven in with synth buzzing, organ leads, and a rumble that could have fit on This Heat's Deceit. I find that with the LPD cartel, the enjoyment is within wherever you wish to find it, and one man's trash, etc. Fans have already got this on lock (it was issued as a CD last year, and promptly sold out); this time around it's a double 10”, pressed up in a screenprinted marigold-infused art paper gatefold that probably cost as much as the vinyl did itself. Feed your inner Goth some breadfruit. Edition of 250 copies.
Oh Shit They're Going to Kill Us
Capable, fun, and fierce thrash metal crossover, coming straight out of hardcore and into the sort of scene owned by Municipal Waste and Annihilation Time. That's not to say that they use gimmicks so much as they're writing at right about their level of playing skill, which makes for some cool breakdowns throughout. 500 copies, silkscreened sleeves.
Triple Jesus LP
Two sides of thermal guitar interrogation from this instrumental trio, who I presume live somewhere near me. I'd better be nice. (Ha!) Anyhow, here's two long sides of close, somewhat fuzzy interactions, one reaching outward with a dazed, welcoming allure, the other a smoldering field of quiet fuzz, grounding problems and red-eyed weariness. They might have shut the tape deck off at some point, as the experiments which flesh out the back half of side two aren't as interesting as their creators might have hoped. All the same, this is a strong debut album from an outfit that's got my attention. Super limited edition of 100 copies, in silkscreened black stock jackets. Plus I like the sound of the name of their label.
Invisible Superstars Vol. 1 LP
(The Secret Life of Sound)
Hey, it's a production showcase of beats and breaks, starring a handful of young bucks and assembled by Controller 7 and R-Rock. It's a decent time, if not entirely modern-sounding - most of these breaks could have made it ten years ago, which either says something about the curators of this collection or the artists themselves (Meatsock's jungle riddim abuse and Corsic's Shadow-on-a-budget cinema funk are the biggest culprits). Curiously, the album ends with a noise collage piece by Thomas Dimuzio, thoroughly breaking rank with that which preceded it. Altogether, it seems as if the talent here brought its best ideas, mounted for a somewhat captivating time.
By Doug Mosurock