Part 3 of 4: Last year in my year end round up of my favorite singles I wrote how the 7 inch single seemed to be coming back into favor. This year it went over the top. There seemed to be labels popping out of the woodwork who’s main mission was to gather up the best songs and put them out on little pieces of vinyl. To reflect the bumper crop of singles I’ve expanded the year end singles count down to 40. Like Casey Kasem use to do, we’re gonna count them down. I don’t think we’ll be doing any long distance dedications, but keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars. Here are numbers 11 through 20.
Ottawa’s White Wires play 50’s rock-n-roll with a present day garage rock aesthetic. It’s pretty straightforward stuff, but the songwriting is so solid that it doesn’t really matter what the style is. If Buddy Holly hadn’t gone down in that plane 50 years ago, I would have put money on him being in this band.
Damn, I love manic pop songs. Italy’s Love Boat sound like a rockabilly version of the Woodentops; hypno-beat, crazy pace, quirky sounding, and just plane old rollicking. Frankie Shampoo? I don’t know who Frankie Shampoo is or what Love Boat are on about (and they’re singing in English), but it definitely sounds like they’re having a blast.
Is this the only Seattle band in the count down? I guess everything else in the count down falls under long distance dedication. This is the first slab of wax from these guys and one of those singles where both sides are so good, there is no b-side. They kind of sound like the Box Elders, that should be enough shouldn’t it?
No Field Music, Week That Was or School of Language albums came out this year, but luckily former Metronomy guy Gabriel Stebbing has started his own band Your Twenties to fill in the gap.Your Twenties are quirky and it’s decidedly English, something I’ve not said very often this year as that seems to be not very trendy. Billionaires is a sunny happy song that you imagine that Brits listening to as they speed away from their bank.
A Dum Dum Girls and Blank Dogs team-up that juxtaposes Dum Dum Girls’ sunny West Coast outlook with the Blank Dogs’ East Coast misery. On the A-side Mike Sniper take the lead and the East Coast wins and on the flip, Dee Dee’s West Coast optomism takes over. I prefer the B-side, but I’m a glass half full kind of guy.
Darren Hanlon went to the same school of writing lyrics as Billy Bragg, Marty Donald and Morrissey, or maybe their mothers all just drank the same water when they were pregnant, who knows. It’s been a while since Hanlon’s last album and this was a sight for sore eyes. When I saw him recently in Seattle, he described this as his Hendrix tribute. That may be kind of a reach, but it is the most rockin’ song he’s ever done. The sleeve of the single is a real x-ray, not sure if they’re of Darren or not.
There’s no surf in Olympia, Washington, but you wouldn’t know it listening to this single. There’s the paddle out, then siting on your board, sun glistening off the water as you look west for the next set. You spot the one you want, turn and start paddling. The swell lifts you up as you hop up and drop in. The spray hits you in the face as you shoot the curl. I wouldn’t know anything about that, but listening to this song you’ll get at least an inkling.
Now known as Neverever, the Champagne Socialists are parts Bricolage and Royal We. Confusing? Yes. Less confusing is how good this record is. These veteran name changers make it sound so easy. Singer Jihae sounds a little Debbie Harry a little Belinda Carslile while dropping a little 60’s girl group nostalgia in for good measure.
If you put a Ukulele in a pop song you have a 95% chance of winning me as a fan. Lofty Heights do that in the first five seconds of Eye Contact and then proceed to add in some Beach Boys woo, woo’s and throw in some cello. They had me at with the uke, but I’ll take the rest of it gladly.
I’ll admit it, I have preconceived notions about certain states in the US, but Mississippi’s Flight have put at least one in the trash. It starts off with a Wire riff and then gets all droney. Post punk angst from the bayou, never thought I’d write those words.