I bought way too many seven inch singles this year. I’m not trying to brag. It’s a problem really. The seven inch is like crack to the record geek, a fleeting moment of pop perfection and then it’s off to either flip the record or put on another one. This was a daunting task this year and I feel like I left out a lot of stuff, but a top 60 would have been too much and limiting it to 40 makes you have to really decide, what were your favorite singles of the year. Here are numbers 40-31.
I admit that I hadn’t paid much attention to Mirah in recent years, but I do pay quite a lot of attention to Mississippi Records, so that led me to buying this record. The song Don’t appeared on the compilation The Old Days Feeling in a different version, but that version didn’t prepare me for this Patsy Cline inspired beauty. It has a warmth that you might not have thought that records could have any more and the b-side The Tears That Fall with its strings and horns is no slouch either. This record makes me pray that she’s planning a whole album in this style.
San Jose’s Sourpatch owned my record player for a good part of the year and just as I had properly killed their album Crushin’ they go and release this single to take over my record player again. They called the sides to the single This side and Other side, but I call them Tiger Trap side and Small Factory Side. In my little corner of the basement where the record player sits that is as close to perfection as it gets.
mp3: Deli Dream
Every band should have a self-titled theme song and Barcelona’s Aias do just that with their horn laden song Aias. These ladies put a twist on the girl group, C-86 phenomenon by singing in Catalan. Note to old people who always say it’s a lovely tune but I can’t understand what their saying: Uh, yeah.
More 90’s sounds in this year’s countdown, you will quickly figure out that this is a recurring theme. Georgia first appeared on the split record Yuck did with Cleveland’s Herzog on the Transparent label. Fat Possum new a good thing when they heard it and smartly released it as an A-side themselves. The guitars remind me of Teenage Fanclub from their Bandwagonesque heyday, but Teenage Fanclub never had the secret weapon of girl harmonies.
This Orlando, Florida band lay down a slab of white noise in Coffin. A melody carefully buried underneath six feet of squalling guitars that does their namesakes proud. I wonder if the Magic Kingdom has a Black Tambourine ride yet?
For a second I thought BOAT picked up and moved back to Chicago. No, it seems that Heavy Times just mine the same vein of sloppy, but friendly sounding pop. Like BOAT, Heavy Times’ sound is steeped in the 90’s and these two songs will make you nostalgic for Hale Bopp, Boris Yeltsin, the Wonderbra and umm, Grunge.
mp3: No Planes
Guided By Voices with Beach Boys Ooohh’s is probably all that needs to be said about this former Black and Whites front man who became a dad and turned down the volume and intensity. What he left out in those two areas, he more than made up for in pop hooks. This single contains four songs all under the two minute mark. It’s like a cliffs notes for pop songs. Who said taking the shortcut never paid off?
Math & Physics Club don’t get out much but when they do they make the most of it. Jimmy Had a Polaroid was the first single from the band’s second album and not a huge departure from their previous output, but when you’ve got a timeless sound and the ability to evoke bygone nostalgia that makes you ache for those days of really awful photos that faded to nothing a week later, then why mess with a good thing.
mp3: Jimmy Had a Polaroid
Sometimes it’s not the A-side of a single that grabs you, hell the Smiths’ How Soon Is Now? was a b-side. Doldrums tucked away on the flip side of Turquoise Hotel has this great little riff that gets stuck in your head like glue. These youngsters from Cleburne, Texas have quickly learned the art of seduction and Doldrums is prime evidence. Looking forward to full swoon when album number two comes sometime next year.
Named after a Free Design song, the Proper Ornaments make warm, plaintive and fuzzy psychedelia. The Ornaments are two dudes who are no strangers to the seven inch single having been in the Sexy Kids and currently also in Veronica Falls. This is quiet and seductive music that is like a warm blanket on a cold night.