The tension builds…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 20-11.
I think we all knew how good Crystal Stilts were, but Shake the Shackles ups the ante. It lets tiny rays of brightness peak into their dark gloomy sound without any integrity compromise. The addition of the organ provides a new dimension and Brad Hargett almost sounds like he hasn’t lost all hope for mankind.
mp3: Shake the Shackles
There’s just something about a Rickenbacker and the way it hum and buzzes, and when you add into the mix a killer song, the combination is undeniable. Caroline’s Radio takes you back to another time when all three Kennedys were still alive and when you lived for the radio, and would lie in bed with the transistor to your head and of course Roger McGinn’s 12 string Rickenbacker. Of course it’s not 1964 anymore and the Jesus and Mary Chain came along at some point, and then there was Bubblegum Lemonade.
mp3: Caroline’s Radio
Found Love In a Graveyard has been floating around since 2009, but didn’t get slapped onto a seven inch until this year. That it’s still in this year’s top 40 is a testament to its longevity. Judging by its title you might think it’s good old fashioned goth stomp, but instead it’s a classic bone rattler with jangling guitars and boy-girl vocals that I’m always a sucker for. It’s 2010 now and Veronica Falls have a song Right Side of My Brain floating around, look for it in next year’s top 40.
Sometimes you find the best things in your own back yard. That was the case with Seapony who started as a Trasmittens side project, but with all the attention that Seapony are getting I bet it’s no longer a side project. Dreaming is decidedly Twee, with a sugar vein so deep and wide that it is pretty much guaranteed to induce a rush, or at least a smile.
Sometimes the sum is more than the parts, and that is the case with the Babies. Cassie from Vivian Girls and Kevin from Woods combine to form babies (not real ones, a band) and their two singles from this year were easy favorites. Meet Me in the City is a rollicking good time that sounds like it was recorded down in some remote holler in Queens.
mp3: Meet Me In the City
Another Eddy Current Suppression Ring related band (they’re hard to avoid around here), this one featuring guitarist Mikey Young and quite a departure from what you might expect from ECSR. Paranoid races down the autobahn, darting in and out of lanes, cutting you off, and flashing it’s high beams at you to get out of the way. Motorik!
The Weed Hounds present another case of the B-side usurping the single’s A-side. Beach Bummed is pleasant enough, but the band start scaling great heights on Skating Away From the Cops. I’m talking heights not reached since the Pale Saints.
18. The Tartans – West of La Brea (Yay!)
What’s west of La Bbrea? West Hollywood? Beverly Hills? The 405? The Pacific Ocean? A job? The Tartans turn all suave and sophisticated for their third single and come up smelling like roses. I’d go West of La Brea for this, not even knowing what is there.
mp3: West of La Brea
19. Wounded Lion – Pointed Sticks (Trouble In Mind)
Wounded Lion doctorin up their best Gary Glitter impersonation. Scuzzy guitars, handclaps and muppet babies on the b-side? There are far too many ‘serious’ bands around these days and Wounded Lion are definitely not one of them.
mp3: Pointed Sticks
20. Comet Gain – I Never Happened (What’s Your Rupture)
Comet Gain seem to ebb and flow. their hasn’t been an album since 2005′ s City of Fallen Leaves, but singles compilations and side projects seem to appear from nowhere at unpredictable times to lighten up my turntable. I Never happened is a sad introspective song that sees David Feck’s love unrequited and rendering him nonexistent. Heavy.
mp3: I Never Happened