Tags: Croque Macadam, Requiem Pour Un Twister, Young Sinclairs
Every time Sam Lunsford releases a record I give thanks. Super talented and pretty much unknown, the guy seems to be perfectly content releasing records as internet downloads. This is fine, but listening to his band the Young Sinclairs on vinyl lends a bit more gravitas to the music, not to mention it just feels better listening to his paisley colored songs when they spin around at 33 and a third or 45 revolutions per minute. Thanks to the French labels Requiem Pour Un Twister & Croque Macadam there are two brand new singles from Lunsford’s Young Sinclairs. Hurt My Pride is the single with attitude. It sounds like Lunsford has been listening to Love and Them. It’s full of spite, antipathy and of course tons of melody. Second single New Day is softer sounding and jangles like early Church and REM. Perhaps it’s trying to heal the wounds inflicted by its mate.
I think if Lunsford ever really decided to go for it: tour like crazy,and get a PR person that has friends at certain web sites. The Young Sinclairs would no longer just be this cool secret among pop geeks. For now file the them next to your Allah-Las, White Fence, People’s Temple and The See See records.
For more Lunsford goodness check out his ‘solo’ record that was released late last year. It’s less psychedelic and more straightforward 70′s tinged pop.
US Orders: Here
European Orders: Here
Tags: Blooper, Buzzcocks, Jason Falkner, Manic Pop Records, Razorcuts
Seattle’s Blooper are back with a near-perfect slab of white vinyl. It’s out now on the plucky new Minnesota upstart Manic Pop! Records. Four songs that don’t let up off the pedal. The lead track You Won’t Miss Me When I’m Gone is a buzzing blast of Razorcuts, Buzzcocks and Jason Falkner that is as vital sounding as anything that’s ever come out of this city.
The band had their record release party this past weekend at Heartland and blasted through a sugar coated adrenaline fueled (it was all ages) set that included a cover of Beat Happening‘s Teenage Caveman. A killer good time. If you’re in Seattle you can get on the good times because Blooper has some upcoming shows:
Feb 07 at Sunset Tavern with Zebra Hunt and Detective Agency
Feb 21 at Columbia City Theater with Neighbors, Chastity Belt, & Marvelous Good Fortune
Everyone else, grab that new 7-inch!
Tags: 13th Floor Elevators, Brothers In Law, C-F Records, House of Love, Kitchens of Distinction, Mighty Lemon Drops, WWNBB
You might remember Pesaro, Italy’s Brothers In Law released their first single around this time last year. The band are back and set to follow up that stellar piece of pop with their first album, Hard Times for Dreamers to be released on 30 January on WWNBB and CF-records. The first single from the album is called Leave Me (Shadow II). It’s a darting guitar laden slice of perfection that hits the heights that the Kitchens of Distinction and House of Love use to routinely inhabit. Have a gander above at the video for the song which was filmed by Ryan Ohm.
The guys are planning to be at SXSW in March and are asking for a little help with funds to get there. If you are flush with cash and dig great crashing guitar dreampop then head over to their site and send them a little donation. Every little bit helps and you can pick up a nice parting gift as well.
Tags: Bachelor Records, Bob Dylan, Gun Club, Indian Wars, Long Ryders, Neil Young, Uncle Tupelo
The cover of Indian Wars‘ second album Songs from the North features a wooden duck on a bed of wilting parsley set amid some fine silverware. On the back cover there is a photo of a garage with a photo of Dylan on the door and a torch stake with a doll’s dismembered head and foot attached to it. I know why Dylan is on the door, but what does the wooden duck mean and why is there a dismembered baby doll on a torch? Either it is some great symbolism or an inside joke. There isn’t a lame duck among the 10 songs on the record. They are rollicking, familiar, and engaging “songs from the south sung from a Northerner’s point of view.”
The second album from this Vancouver, British Columbia band sees them pining for the land south of the border. It drips with American place names and sounds. It wants to sail the muddy waters of the Mississippi and wander the deserts high on Mescaline, and walk through swinging doors knock some back and get into brawls. And it does all of that! Songs from the North improves on Indian Wars debut with better songs, better fidelity and more even pacing. Indian Wars walk the walk and talk the talk, even if the walk and talk are ones you may have heard before. It’s a worthwhile record whether you are floating down the Mississippi, lost in the desert or just in your local bar.
Songs from the North is available on vinyl from Bachelor Records.
Tags: Biz Markie, Bizarros, Bulldozer Crash, David Kilgour, Francis Bebey, Green Pajamas, Hollins and Starr, Lee Hazlewood, Light Sounds Dark, Secret Stash, Strange Idols, The Clean, The Cleaners From Venus, The Great Unwashed, The Rainyard, The Sugargliders, Tronics, Wendy Rene
Before we close the door on 2012, There is one more list of records I have to get off of my chest. The reissue category is fast becoming my favorite list to make. For some reason it ends up being more eclectic and thus more interesting to me than my list of albums and singles. I hope you find something here to spice up your record collection.
1. Twin Cities Funk & Soul (Secret Stash)
This lightening hot compilation from the Minneapolis / St. Paul scene of the 60′s and 70′s will make you sweat. There are so many great songs on it that you will wonder why Motown never started a sister label in Minnesota.
Mojo and His Chi 4 – She’s A Whole Lotsa Woman:
2. The Green Pajamas – Summer of Lust (Green Monkey)
I’ve been wanting to hear Seattle’s Green Pajama’s debut album forever. It was initially released on cassette back in 1984 and impossible to find nearly 30 years later. It finally got a reissue this year on CD and is a treasure trove of paisley pop. The Green Pajamas are one of Seattle’s great unsung bands and Summer of Lust is all the proof you should need.
Green Pajamas – Mike Brown:
3. Francis Bebey – African Electronic Music 1975-1982 (Born Bad)
This record could be the missing link between Stereolab and African pop. Cameroon artist Francis Bebey’s compositions are a total eye-opener and relief from the flooded market of African psych and funk compilations that seem to come out on a weekly basis.
Francis Bebey – Wuma Te:
4. Tronics – Love Backed By Force (What’s Your Rupture?)
I had never heard of Tronics, but anything coming out on What’s Your Rupture is worth my money. Love Backed By Force apparently came out in 1981 and was the creation a guy from London who called himself Zero Baby. It sounds like he probably hung out with Young Marble Giants and Television Personalities listening to Ramones records.
Tronics – TV On In Bed:
5. The Diabolical Biz Markie – The Biz Never Sleeps (Cold Chillin’)
Debut album Goin’ Off is the Biz’s best record, but that reissue got totally hosed up substituting original tracks with new mixes. Sacriledge! The Biz gets it right with the reissue of his second album. The Biz Never Sleeps has a sense of humor which went against the rap grain of the time, but he also knew a good beat and melody to keep everything sounding fresh.
Biz Markie – Spring Again
6. Danger Electrified Tracks (Light Sounds Dark)
Compiled exclusively from lost cassette releases, Danger Electrified Tracks is a set of synth based dance tracks that should have, at the very least ,been released as 12″ records. At least now this forgotten brilliance is on vinyl!
Onyx – Robot World:
7. Strange Idols – Idolatry (Cloudberry Cake Kitchen)
This London band was active 2004 and 2007 releasing three singles and a Japanese EP. The epitome of obscurity. Idolatry seeks to rectify that compiling everything the band recorded in one place. Listening to this compilation will have you scratching your head wondering how these songs were not championed by pop lovers everywhere. Very accomplished pop for a band that never ‘made it’.
Strange Idols – It’s No Fun:
8. Bizarros Complete Collection 1976-1980 (Windian)
The artifacts from northeast Ohio keep slipping out of dusty attics. A few years ago the Cleveland’s Mirrors got a reissue and now Akron’s Bizarros get the double vinyl treatment. Sure you’ve heard of Devo, Pere Ubu and Rocket from the Tombs but there’s more from Ohio and Bizarros are good place to continue with their heavy Velvets influence.
Bizarros – Lady Doubonette:
9. Bulldozer Crash – Today Will Be Yesterday Soon (Jigsaw)
Bulldozer Crash could have been on Sarah Records, but fate made them even more obscure than that. Thank god for Seattle’s Jigsaw records for putting out this compilation of impossible to find indiepop bliss.
Bulldozer Crash – Today Will Be Yesterday So Soon:
10. Lee Hazlewood – The LHI Years: Singles, Nudes & Backsides (1966-71) (Light In the Attic)
11. A House Safe For Tigers (Light In the Attic)
12. You Turned My Head Around: Lee Hazlewood Industries 1967-1970 (Light In the Attic)
Which Lee Hazlewood reissue on Light In the Attic to pick for this list? Easy, all of them. For the neophyte go with the LHI Years, it’s a great introduction. For the seasoned go with A House Safe For Tigers, it has some real jems and trademark Hazlewood peculiarities. For the obsessive go with the 7-inch box set You Turned My Head Around. You not only get Hazlewood but bands and artists hand picked by the man himself for his label.
Lee Hazlewod – No Train To Stockholm:
Lee Hazlewood – A House Safe For Tigers:
Ann Margret – You Turned My Head Around:
This year was a bonanza of Clean-related reissues on vinyl. You will probably hear a lot more in 2013 about the brilliance of Flying Nun now that Captured Tracks has teamed up with the New Zealand label for a cadre of reissues. These three probably wouldn’t be considered the cream of the label, but for obsessives like myself they were vital.
The Clean – Odditty:
The Great Unwashed – Toad stool Blues:
David Kilgour – Spasm
16. Cleaners From Venus box set (Captured Tracks)
This box set of three Cleaners From Venus albums was the mother load for Cleaners fans. Three of the band’s albums that were only ever released on cassette, had been pretty hard to come by. Funny thing was, in all their lo-fi pop brilliance Blow Away Your Troubles, On Any Normal Monday, and Midnight Cleaners aren’t even considered to be their best albums.
Cleaners From Venus – Factory Boy:
Cleaners From Venus – I Can’t Stop Holding:
Cleaners From Venus – Swinging London:
17. Hollins and Starr – Sidewalks Talking (Lion)
This is the only record Hollins and Starr ever released. It came out in 1970 and it’s kind of hit and miss, but when it hits on all of it’s eclectic folk pop pressure points it’s a musical massage that’ll make you melt.
Hollins And Starr – Talking To Myself:
18. The Rainyard – A Thousand Days (Self-released)
The Rainyard were from Perth, Australia. They released an EP and a single in the late 80′s and then a few more tracks were scattered on compilations. Finally, the band took it upon themselves to accumulate all of their songs and self-release it as A Thousand Days. Every one of these songs is a jangle fueled paisley pop injection of bliss.
The Rainyard – Your Way Mr Leary:
19. Wendy Rene – After Laughter Comes Tears (Light In the Attic)
Up until this release Wendy Rene had been a footnote in the lengthy and illustrious Stax Records history. She had some resurgence of interest in her when the Wu Tang Clan sampled After Laughter (Comes Tears), but now thanks to Light In the Attic we get this amazing compilation that fully illustrates her talents.
Wendy Rene – Gone For Good:
20. Sugargliders – A Nest With a View (Matinée)
We’re All Trying To Get There was the name of the out of print and incomplete Sarah compilation was the closest anyone had to a Sugargliders album. Thanks to this compilation the next generation pop kids can now easily one of Melbourne, Australia’s better kept secretes all over again.
Sugargliders – Trumpet Play:
Tags: Bäddat För Trubbel, Boomgates, Bored Nothing, Cate Le Bon, Cate On Fire, Chain and the Gang, Crushed Stars, Deep Time, Eternal Summers, exlovers, Frankie Rose, Gap Dream, Grass Widow, Hospitality, Lawrence Arabia, Literature, Mac Demarco, Parquet Courts, People's Temple, Pop Singles, Prissy Clerks, Sea Pinks, Strategy, Super Vacations, Terry Malts, The Intelligence, The See See, The Tough Shits, This Many Boyfriends, Tyvek
Here’s the list of my favorite albums outside of Seattle for 2012. You may think it’s late, but you should know I got it done before the Russian New Year. Kevin Shields, you still have a few more days.
1. Exlovers – exlovers (Young And Lost Club)
Exlovers had my favorite single of 2011 and now my favorite record of 2012. Their debut album is a dreampop masterpiece that was a long time coming from this London band. I didn’t think I would ever hear a record this accomplished after the shoegaze/dreampop heyday of the 90′s. I hope that this album being criminally ignored by nearly everyone does not deter this amazing band from persevering and making another one.
You’re So Quiet:
2. Tyvek – On Triple Beams (In the Red)
This is an off the rails punk rock concept album about Tyvek’s hometown of Detroit and its urban blight slowly being turned back into an agrarian based metropolis. On Triple Beams sees Tyvek living up to the promise of their early singles and then exceeding it.
Wayne County Roads:
3. Boomgates – Double Natural (Bedroom Suck)
The half sung half spoken delivery of Eddy Current Suppression Ring frontman Brendan Huntly may be an acquired taste for some, but combined with Steph Hughes’ sweet croon and songs that bring to mind the brilliance of the Go-Betweens Double Natural is a sure winner.
4. Hospitality – Hospitality (Merge)
Hospitality effortlessly do cocktail jazz, indiepop and smooth pop, but you get the feeling that they are pulling their ideas from a larger pallet that includes some things that you wouldn’t expect like Steely Dan, Randy Newman and Todd Rundgren to name a few and that is what makes this record sound so familiar but different at once.
5. Frankie Rose – Interstellar (Slumberland)
Frankie Rose sloughed off the distortion and kicked it into hyperdrive on her second album. Slick space-age pop that I imagine if we still had a Space Shuttle program, would be playing in the cockpit on every lift off.
6. Cate Le Bon – Cyrk (The Control Group)
The Welsh chanteuse melded Velvet Underground with Kevin Ayers to come up with the best psychedelic record I heard all year.
7. Cats on Fire – All Black Shirts to Me (Matinée)
Pop music rarely sounds this elegant and regal. All Black Shirts To Me is an assured jewel in the Cats On Fire crown.
It’s Clear Your Former Lover:
8. Bored Nothing – Bored Nothing (Spunk)
Seems like anything coming out of Melbourne in 2012 was worthy. Fergus Miller’s (aka Bored Nothing) take on bedroom pop went from sad and introspective to blissed out dreampop. More than just another bedroom pop record and more than worthy.
9. Sea Pinks – Freak Waves (CF)
Girls Names drummer Neil Brogan is not only prolific, but talented as well. Sea Pinks third album is their best yet. Freak Waves is a jangly take on the classic Beach Boys model.
10. Lawrence Arabia – The Sparrow (Bella Union)
New Zealand’s James Milne knows how to do orchestral pop. The Sparrow is his third album as Lawrence Arabia and it’s a moody, pensive and playful feast of the ears.
11. Terry Malts – Killing Time (Slumberland)
San Francisco punks delivered a debut record full of blitzkrieg pop. Every song is no holds barred sing-along sweaty mosh pit.
12. Bäddat För Trubbel – Värdighet (Punks Only)
Not speaking a word of Swedish did not stop me from loving Bäddat För Trubbel’s second album. They employ influences like Eddy Current Supression Ring and Blumfeld and they aren’t afraid to have a guy who plays saxophone the band. True punks!
Det här jobbet:
13. The Intelligence – Everybody’s Got It Easy But Me (In the Red)
Mad thinker Lars Finberg upped and moved his band from Seattle to LA. The only thing I can complain about is that they don’t play Seattle as much any more. Otherwise, the Intelligence deliver another fractured masterpiece.
14. Deep Time – Deep Time (Hardly Art)
Formerly known as Yellow Fever, Austin, Texas duo Deep Time’s self-titled first album after their rechristening is a pure minimalist’s delight.
15. Gap Dream – Gap Dream (Burger)
Gabe Fulvimar’s Gap Dream is a wonderful debut. Kind of a psychedelic droner’s pop paradise.
Feast of the First Morning:
16. Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold (Dull Tools)
Parquet Courts deliver a taut cow punk record out of seemingly nowhere. The proverbial new kid in town Andrew Savage formerly of Fergus & Geronimo moved to Brooklyn, started a new band and came up gold.
Yonder is Closer to the Heart:
17. Eternal Summers – Correct Behavior (Kanine)
Eternal Summers seem to grow leaps and bounds with each release and Correct Behavior continues their upward trajectory. Nicol Yun’s songs get better and bigger sounding and when she lets the drummer have some like on Girls In the City it’s like the frosting on the cake.
18. The See See – Fountayne Mountain (The Great Pop Supplement)
The See See go on a wondrous psychedelic tour de force on their second album. Fountayne Mountain is the sound of a band peaking. Drug reference intended.
19. Super Vacations – Heater Pt. II (Funny Not Funny)
I love how after I listen to this album I feel like I have to wash the filth from body. Richmond, Virginia’s Super Vacations know the ins and outs of getting down and dirty and this record is an expressway to those dirty depths.
Faded Leather Jacket:
20. Pop Singles – All Gone (Vacant Valley)
More Melbourne goodness in this year’s list. Pop Singles’s debut record was an unexpected surprise and the best heart-on-the-sleeve-jangle-pop record of the year.
21. The Tough Shits – The Tough Shits (Burger)
Don’t let Philadelphia’s Tough Shits fool you. They want you to think that they’re a bunch of irreverent slackers, but their mothers know that their tender pop loving hombres and this record is all the proof you need.
Cats and Dogs:
22. This Many Boyfriends – This Many Boyfriends (Angular)
The debut album from Leeds’ This Many Boyfriends is love song to records, love songs and misfits. Sometimes songs that are meant to be funny wear off quickly, but this album isn’t too funny for its own good. It’s merely poignant.
23. Strategy – Strategy (Peak Oil)
Portland, Oregon resident Paul Dickow has many personas. His album using the Strategy moniker was a playful take on electronic music that took notes from Ultramarine and Yello in the way it incorporated pop songs with dub, kraut and weird.
24. Grass Widow – Internal Logic (HLR)
San Francisco trio Grass Widow finally embraced their full pop-selves on album number three. Internal Logic was brilliant for the way it juxtaposed minimalist instrumentation with lush harmonies.
25. Peoples Temple – More for the Masses (Hozac)
Either I’m still drinking the Kool-Aid or Lansing, Michigan’s Peoples Temple are. Their second album ups the dose and rattles the psyche. The Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request was a good psychedelic record. Peoples Temple start with that blueprint and out psych the Stones and everyone else for that matter.
26. Chain and the Gang – In Cool Blood (K)
On Chain and the Gang’s third album leader Ian Svenonius gets a little more playful. He shares vocals with new member Katie Alice Greer and records the entire thing in mono. Kind of throwback but these ears, timeless.
27. Crushed Stars – In the Bright Rain (Simulacra)
In the Bright Rain lives under gray skies and rains down melancholia and cascades of guitars to beautiful effect. Being lonely, sad and out of sorts hasn’t sounded this good since the At Swim Two Birds album back in 2009.
28. Prissy Clerks – Bruise Or Be Bruised (Forged Artifacts)
The debut album from this Minneapolis was a sweet bite of 90′s indierock slathered with twee and powerpop condiments. Sweet, sour and definitely hot!
Former Austin and now Philadelphia band Literature are well read in the details of adrenaline fueled jangle pop. They deliver a wide eyed beauty in their debut album Arab Spring.
Push Up Bra:
30. Mac DeMarco – Mac DeMarco 2 (Captured Tracks)
On his second album, Montreal’s Mac DeMarco delivers a batch of skewed guitar pop gold. He seems be to posses the songwriting sensibilities of Nilsson, Lennon, Ayers and T Rex and he may be just as eccentric as them too.
Cooking Up Something Good:
Tags: Blooper, Chastity Belt, Erik Blood, Evening Meetings, La Luz, Neighbors, Nightgowns, Orca Team, Posse, Purrs, Seapony, Stephanie, Tea Cozies, Thee Satisfaction, Zebra Hunt
Could this have been the year that Seattle went pop? Sure, there have been bands here and there with pop leanings, but this was the year that Seattle finally shed it’s flannel, got out of the garage, and didn’t feel like it had to be wooly, bearded and mechanical all the time. Look out old Seattle, the kids don’t care about your hang-ups! Here are my favorite 15 records (album, ep’s and singles) from the Emerald City and environs.
1. Erik Blood – Touch Screens (Self-relased)
It was pretty cool to see much of Seattle’s music press unanimously agree that Erik Blood’s Touch Screens was a brilliant record. He took his shoegaze leanings, added some electronics, a motorik beat or two and came up with a concept album about pornography. Too bad that recognition seemed to stop at the city limits. Dear rest of the world, you may have missed one of the finest records put out this year.
The Lonesome Death of Henry Paris:
stream: Touch Screens
2. Thee Satisfaction – awE naturalE (Sub Pop)
Part soul, interstellar hip-hop, and trip-hop, the duo Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White combined to create a record that sounded like little else in Seattle and anywhere else for that matter. It didn’t get as much gushing attention as the Shabazz Palaces album did last year. It should have because it’s a better record.
3. Neighbors – John In Babeland (Lost Sound)
Neighbors’ deft songwriting seemed to effortlessly take their REM and Pavement influences and create a record that could rattle as well as soothe. John in Babeland came out cassette way back in February, luckily I got a download of it because as much as I’ve played it, the cassette wound up all scrunched in a tape deck by now.
All United Grocery:
Stream: John In Babeland
4. Evening Meetings – Evening Meetings (Sweet Rot)
Dark clouds, dark allies, dark dark. Evening Meetings wouldn’t, no couldn’t take place in the light of day nor in any other place. Claustrophobia induced by low pressure and heavy dark clouds and dusk that sets in around 3pm. This time of year in Seattle it’s dark most of the time and in some weird strange way this record turns on the bright lights every time I listen to it.
5. Zebra Hunt – Zebra Hunt (self-released)
Half Right is the best song to come out of Seattle this year. If I didn’t know any better I would have guessed they moved here from New Zealand and started a PNW Flying Nun shop right here in our midst. Seattle, rejoice! There is a pop band in our midst that breathes kiwi air.
stream: Zebra Hunt
6. La Luz – Damp Face (Self-released)
Have you ever been to the beach in Washington? You can actually drive right onto it with your car because nobody’s there. It’s flat, cold and windy no matter when you go, winter, spring, summer or fall. La Luz don’t belong in this surfer’s nightmare. Their surfer’s paradise of an EP had to have been born in warmer climes, but being from Seattle, perhaps long winter day’s indoors, hanging with the ghosts of the Ventures and dreaming of an endless summer did it.
Sure As Spring:
stream: Damp Face
7. Orca Team – Restraint (HHBTM)
The basic sound of Orca Team record hasn’t changed much over their short career. Their bass-driven 50′s surf pop jangle consistently pleases. They’re random output of singles, cassettes and CDr’s has been scattershot. Finally the band has seemed to focus and that concentration makes Restraint feel like a proper record. Its concise songs make quick long lasting impressions.
8. Posse – Posse (Self-released)
Posse’s self-titled debut is brazen with amazing pop songs. They have the gritty boy-girl back and forth in their songs and slashing guitar solos that aren’t over the top but just right. You older folk will appreciate their affinity towards Versus. Back in the 90′s during that post Nirvana signing frenzy Posse undoubtedly would have been sitting on piles of cash and big record deal. Oh how times have changed.
9. Tea Cozies – Bang Up (Self-released)
Tea Cozies re-materialized after three years in the wilderness with this killer five song EP. It has an air of confidence about it and flare that will have fans of both 90′s Britpop and college rock hopefully reaching for their pocketbooks as well as old albums by the Tuscadero, Blake Babies and Sleeper.
Silhouette In A Suitcase:
stream: Bang Up
10. Chastity Belt – Dude (self-released)
You thought I was kidding about the pop capitol of the world,didn’t you. I wasn’t and Chastity Belt are here to back me up. Their Pony Tail single had the audacity to tell the general NPR listening, latte drinking, Game of Thrones playing male populace of Seattle to cut off their ponytails. What a bunch of punks!
11. Blooper – Go Away (Self-released)
Blooper do saccharin powerpop so well that any cuts inflicted by their killer songs will bleed cherry syrup. Look out for a new 7-inch single from these Ballard popsters early in the new year on Manic Pop! Records.
stream: Go Away
12. Nightgowns – Bonita (Swoon)
Tacoma’s Nightgowns, similar to Tea Cozies have been slumbering for a few years, but this EP sees them wide awake and in good form. Slightly bombastic and theatrical, but only slightly, Bonita sounds like that bubble the Flaming Lips use, but instead of it being in a sea of confetti, they are bounding across the high desert, down the cascades and into the Sound.
13. Purrs – Rotting On the Vine (Fin)
The Purrs are like the elder statesmen of nothing. They’ve been around for years putting out great records to little recognition. Perennially writing killer songs that are left rotting on the vine so to speak. If anyone ever asks you, yes they do make them use to. Seattle’s Fin records have given the Purrs a new home and this beauty is a taste of their album due next year.
Rotting On the Vine:
stream: Rotting On the Vine
14. Seapony – Falling (Hardly Art)
Funny how Seapony’s second album is better than their first and yet last year they were number one in my Seattle albums and now they’re number 14. It might be because Falling was more of the same only better or it might be because I’m capricious. They may have slightly fallen out of fashion, but this record will be considered a Sarah-esque classic in a few years. Too bad it takes obscurity for some people to really appreciate things.
Prove To Me:
15. Stephanie – One Glove (Self-released)
Stephanie sound like they could have been on Factory records back in the early 80′s. They employed Erik Blood to record One Glove, but it sounds like they got Martin Hannett from the grave instead. Stephanie employ sparse, jaggedy steely guitars that are part Magazine and part Durutti Column and a singer that some might say is an acquired taste but they make it work quite well.
stream: One Glove
Tags: Blanche Hudson Weekend, Chips for the Poor, Cuffs, Felines, Scrapes, Spray Paint, Terrible Truths, The Intelligence, The Paperhead, Total Control
No introduction needed really. Here are my top 10 favorite 7-inch records for 2012. Hope you like ‘em too.
1. The Intelligence – (They Found Me In The Back Of) The Galaxy (In the Red)
First time I heard this song my jaw dropped. It was at the Crocodile in Seattle and Lars introduced it as an old song. At first I believed him, thinking it must have been on some obscure split 7-inch that came out in Moldova. Why did Finburg decide to relegate one of his best songs ever to a release in Moldova? Of course he didn’t. The guy’s not an idiot. Maybe a little nuts. Galaxy was in fact a new song that he initially recorded with another pop genius Kelley Stoltz. It’s the Intelligence at their best which is off their rocker (Why is he in the back of the Vatican with a manikin, and how do you exactly get to the back of the Galaxy? ). The single version is bit more lo-fi than the album version, but I could hear this song over short wave radio and it would still floor me.
2. Felines – Daddy Walk (Hey Girl!)
I love records that surprise the hell out of me and that is exactly what Daddy Walk did. The Felines somehow were either able to bottle lightening or sold their souls to some evil Norse god for this record. What is the Daddy Walk? Who the hell cares when it’s as crazy and wild as the Felines make it sound.
3. Scraps – Secret Paradise (Disembraining)
What if you got a computer girlfriend or boyfriend back in 1982 and it never got updated? That’s gotta be a movie, well at least it’s a song thanks to Laura Hill who records as the Scraps. Her bedroom synth compositions are part early Magnetic Fields and part Blow. Weird and abstract and dazzling, Scrapes make you feel like your floating in an electric ocean in 1982. Consequently that was the year Tron was released.
4. Spray Paint – Pro Knife (S.S.)
Austin’s Spray Paint fly under the radar but make so much noise that they have been detected. Warped, angular, bizarre, off kilter, and bashing their way into existence. When I first heard this I didn’t believe my ears because I didn’t think there ever would be another band that could mix pop and weirdness to such detrimental effects. Nothing this year has sounded this good and fucked up at once.
5. Blanche Hudson Weekend – Just Like Susan George (Odd Box)
Blanch Hudson Weekend blow the roof off the house with their ode to English actress Susan George. This reaches the heights that the Jesus and Mary Chain scraped back in the 80′s. That good. ‘Nuff said!
6. Terrible Truths- Lift Weights (Mexican Summer)
Kindred souls of Aggi Doom and Fear of Men, Adelaide, Australia’s Terrible Truths made their US debut with this icy cool single. Big fluid bass sounds that make you want to wiggle, while the jabbing guitar keeps you on edge. If ever there was a case for a double A-side this is it. This is post-punk bossa nova. Quick, see if you can change that Ipanema ticket to Adelaide.
7. Chips For the Poor – Fistula (Parlour)
A chincy sounding drum machine, guitar riff that sounds like it came from an Analogue Africa compilation, and a singer that sounds part Shaun Ryder and part Mark E Smith: Chips for the Poor sounded like they may have invented themselves in some strange vacuum. If it means more singles like this I hope they become hermits.
8. Cuffs – Private View (Self-released)
Pant’s Yell called it a day rolled up their pants and called themselves the Cuffs. The new name fits. Pants Yell tended towards the move docile end of rock n’ roll. The Cuffs don’t want to snuggle they want to rock and that they most certainly do on their debut single. Powerpop with just a tinge of tenderness.
9. The Paperhead – Pictures of Her Demise (Trouble In Mind)
There seemed to be a lot of quality 60′s inspired psychedelia seeping into the collective conscious this year. The best of it all was the Paperhead’s Pictures of Here Demise. The Nashville band took Piper era Pink Floyd and Face to Face era Kinks and molded it into a hallucinogenic masterpiece.
10. Total Control – Scene From a Marriage (Sub Pop)
A classic case of putting the B-side on the A-side and the A-side on the B-side. Contract is the Charlie Brown side, getting the football pulled away by Lucy and the A-side Scene From a Marriage. The guys were probably afraid of scaring off their core audience or something, but Contract is so good it could hypnotize even the most ardent tatt’d hard core dude onto the slippery slope of synth rock. Nah, not really this is Kraut influenced to the max so it’s got cred. La Düsseldorf in full effect and ya don’t stop. Pick up the needle and put it on again…and it keeps on ringing…
Tags: Aggi Doom, Guy Harvey, Joanna Gruesome, Keel Her, Kelley Stoltz, Lamps, Sugar Stems, Twerps, Vermillion Sands, Veronica Falls
11. Kelley Stoltz – Caroline (Les Disques Steak)
How many songs have been written about Caroline? Who knows? Kelley Stoltz adds one more to the list, but instead of being about Caroline it’s about all the songs that have been written about Caroline. It’s kind of like looking into a mirror reflecting a mirror with a great pop song for the soundtrack. Put it on repeat for optimum effect.
12. Veronica Falls – My Heart Beats (Slumberland)
Veronica Falls’ autumnal jangle is perfect for any season. My Heart Beats does not let up from the full throttle that the band was operating at on their debut album from last year, in fact it ups the ante. This record has got the oddsmakers putting the chance of sophomore slump for their album due early next year at about a 1000 to 1.
If spaghetti westerns were still being made, I imagine that Italy’s Vermillion Sands would be littering the soundtracks with their flipped out slightly countrified brand of garage rock. Summer Melody with it’s warbly guitar and bouncy rhythm kicks up some great Italian dust.
14. Guy Harvey – The Rope (Mayo Factory)
Florida’s Guy Harvey are named after the artist that is more synonymous with Jimmy Buffet than indie rock. Their single from early in the year doesn’t really evoke images of sword fish and marlins, but it is bolstered with beautiful sad melody and piano crescendos that left me wanting more from this seemingly reclusive band. Will they make another record or will they choose to pursue careers in snorkeling?
15. Sugar Stems – Greatest Pretender (Certified PR)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Sugar Stems immediately bring to mind the Bangles, but where the Bangles were initially part of paisley underground, the Sugar Stems deal in the skinny tie and straight leg pants of powerpop. Greatest Pretender packs a wallop that you want to keep hitting yourself with.
16. Lamps – All Seeing Eye (Sweet Rot)
You know that eye on top of the pyramid on the back of a one dollar bill? That is the all seeing eye. It knows where you are, what you buy and what you think. You cannot escape it. You need it. It dominates your life. Kind of like this single from the Lamps.
17. Aggi Doom – Bring Me the Head (Soft Power)
Brand new Glasgow band Aggi Doom nearly made the perfect single. The hyper Bring Me the Head brought to mind Gang of Four and Lilliputand with its tribal drums and chanted lyrics. The flip was moody and atmospheric sounding like it was culled from some long lost 4AD single. Aggi Doom, bring me more singles!
18. The Twerps – Work It Out (Underwater Peoples)
The Melbourne scene kind of exploded this year. So many bands releasing so many great records. Well the Twerps were leading the pack. True, their album came out last year, but this quality single easily kept them fresh in our minds.
19. Joanna Gruesome – Do You Really Wanna Know Why Yr Still in Love with Me (HHBTM)
Joanna Gruesome are the zombie sisterhood of their namesake. If you dig distorted pop that jangles and scrapes instead of plucked harp made by elves then you are one of the walking pop dead. Going from record store to record store mumbling to yourself, muuussst fiiiinnnddd mmmorrrre kiiiiiillllleeeerrr popppppp reeeecoorrrrdzzzz. Click!
20. Keel Her – Riot Grrrl (Critical Heights)
Keel Her appeared on the Family Portrait record that came out on Art Is Hard this year. It also featured Gum, Joanna Gruesom, and Playlounge, the cornerstones of a rising blown out pop scene in the UK. Keel Her is the nom de guerre of Rose Keeler-Schaffeler who has released numerous cassettes and singles over the past two years. Riot Grrrl is her roaring x-rated best yet.
Tags: Alpaca Sports, Chook Race, Diät, Fear of Men, Field Mouse, King Tuff, On the Spot Trio, Pale Lights, Teacher Teacher, Teledrome
Same introduction as yesterday, but the songs are different: We all know that the pop 45 is meant to be experienced as a fleeting moment, an adrenaline rush or an emotional gush. If you love it you buy it. If you really love it you buy the album. A ton of 45′s came out this year, but it seemed like many of them were insanely limited. Downloads and streams have overtaken the popularity and utility of the 45 single for most, but some stubborn folk remain, still out there in the physical world tracking down the physical objects. I hope you had as good a year as I did. These are the top 40 singles that I dug up either in stores or from mail order over the the last 12 months.
21. Chook Race – Medicine (Self-Released)
Chook Race’s first single was a brilliant demonstration of frayed edges, wet behind the ears pop from the Melbourne band. I imagine that this is the sound Lee Mavers had in his head when he conceived the La’s. Chook Race’s Medicine seems to effortlessly jangle its way to perfection.
22. Field Mouse – You Guys Are Gonna Wake Up My Mom (Small Plates)
You might remember Frederick the field mouse who sat around and daydreamed while his buddies collected food for the winter. In the depths of winter Frederick ends up saving the mouse colony with his poetic imagery. Field Mouse dish out two very fine slices of dreampop full of great big soaring guitars and angelic vocals that quite possibly could spirit you through dark times.
23. Pale Lights – Boy Of Your Dreams (Calico Cat)
The Pale Lights have an excellent pedigree: Comet Gain, Crystal Stilts, Ladybug Transistor and the Soft City. Boy of Your Dreams cascades into your conscious with such ease and confidence you will be wondering why they are not on the tips of everyone’s tongues. Turn up your stereo and let your neighbors know!
24. On the Spot Trio – Suction (Colemine)
Even indiepop kids need some funk every once in a while. This hot little 45 by the On the Spot Trio will heat up any maudlin abode. Put it on and you’re cookin’ with gas!
25. Teacher Teacher – Campamento De Verano (Elefant)
Spanish boy-girl punk rock courtesy of the fine Elefant label. I’m a sucker for sweet and spazzy and tons of rolled R’s.
26. Alpaca Sports – Just For Fun (Dufflecoat)
Sweden’s Alpaca Sports probably have the honor of being the twee-est band on this year’s countdown, but it’s twee done right (at least by me). When Andreas Jonsson sings “I use to kiss her just for fun” it’s so saccharine sweet that you get a cavity every time you hear it.
27. King Tuff – Wild Desire (Suicide Squeeze)
King Tuff put out an album on Sub Pop packed with fractured powerpop nuggets, but this single on Suicide Squeeze was the one that I could not get out of my head for most of the year.
28. Diät – No Accent (Iron Lung)
Apparently Diät came into being when Total Control needed an opening band for their Berlin show. Made up of two Australians and one German, their pummeling debut single put out by Seattle label Iron Lung was packed full of punch. If the shocking cover doesn’t get your attention then the jet fueled No Accent which takes Devo and Wire influences into oblivion will.
29. Fear of Men – Mosaic (Too Pure)
To my constant delight there seemed to be a number of bands who were influenced by Dolly Mixture, the Raincoats and the Chills. Fear of Men appeared on the countdown last year and they return with another gem. Look for a compilation of their singles on Kanine early next year.
30. Teledrome – Double Vision (Hozac)
Calgary, Alberta’s Teledrome sound like they could have been handpicked by Daniel Miller for his Mute label. Tight guitar riffs with weird buzzy synths splattered all over the place. It’s been done before, but it’s been a while since I’ve heard it done so well.