Tags: Ausmuteants, Bent Cousin, Cavern of Anti-Matter, Charles Bradly, Cheap Riot, Close Lobsters, Courtneys, Crimson Wave, Day Ravies, Dick Diver, Dream Boys, Flesh World, Giorgio Murderer, Girl One and the Grease Guns, Gurgles, Heathers, Hierphants, Institute, Juniore, Kelley Stoltz, King Tears Mortuary, LaRose Jackson, Menace Beach, Paellas, Pang, Primetime, Primitive Parts, Primitives, Sleaford Mods, Slum of Legs, Suburban Homes, Tender Age, The Mantles, Thigh Master, Twerps, Ubertrager, When Nalda Became Punk, Wildhoney, Wimps, Woolen Men
If they keep putting them out, I’ll keep buying them and counting them down. Here’s my take on the 2014 singles scene. You don’t need eharmony to find a great single, just peruse this list.
1. Wildhoney – Sixteen Forever (Photobooth)
Baltimore band’s second single is even better than their first. Effortlessly great shoegaze. Look out for their debut LP early in 2015.
2. Charles Bradly & LaRose Jackson – Luv Jones (Daptone)
This one came out of nowhere and flew under most everyone’s radar. Charles Bradly and LaRose Jackson sound great together and the flip side has him sounding a bit like the Specials. A certified classic.
3. Primetime – Tied Down (La Vida Es Un Mus Discos)
UK group influenced by Wire and Elastica, only they don’t steal riffs. Solid debut single that indicates greatness.
4. Primitives – Spin-O-Rama (Elefant)
Classic 60’s inspired, sunny psychedelic single.The Primitives stormed back on the scene with this record.
5. Giorgio Murderer – Primitive World (Goner)
Buck Biloxi’s alter ego obsessed with Star Trek. Insanely insane.
6. Day Ravies – Hickford Whizz (Beko)
Day Ravies move beyond their shoegaze roots and move into full pop bloom.
7. Bent Cousin – Dizzy (Team Love)
Twins from Brighton mix a little bit of rap with indiepop. It shouldn’t work but of course it does since it’s right here at number seven.
8. Gurgles – You Send Me Up (Saltaire)
Gurgles take Steely Dan and Prefab Sprout and turn it up so that it bleeds out of your headphones.
9. Pang – Young Professionals (Grazer)
Bay area young professionals second single is glamorous sounding, jagged, Wire influenced brilliance.
10. Primitive Parts – Open Heads (Sexbeat)
Members of Male Bonding and Sauna Youth, Primitive Parts excel in jangly power pop that reminds me of Modern Life Is Rubbish era Blur. Strong!
11. Girl One and the Grease Guns – Bashed Beaten & Broken (Squirrel)
Alter egos of the Manhattan Love Suicides deal in old drum machines, synths and detached vocals with decided industrial slant.
12. Suburban Homes – The Suburban Home EP (Market Square)
Mysterious punks from the suburbs on written by Paul Messis and on Paul Messis’s label. Raw angry and very good.
13. Close Lobsters – Kunstwerk in Spacetime (Shelflife)
The return of the Close Lobsters was a wonderful sound to behold.
14. Courtneys – Mars Attacks (Hockey Dad)
The second single in this year’s countdown to feature a rap. Vancouver’s Courtneys follow up last years great debut with more of their good thing.
15. The Mantles – Memory (Slumberland)
The Mantles seem to be able to effortlessly write these dusty Byrdsian gems.
16. Juniore – La Fin Du Monde (Enterprise)
Suave, spaghetti-French pop that pulls in some Limiñanas along with a bit of Françoise Hardy.
17. Crimson Wave – Say (Accidental Guest)
Former Wild Honey singer goes two for two with bands and singles. Her new band Crimson Wave is off to an auspicious start with this Scrawl influenced record.
18. Flesh World – A Line In Wet Grass (Iron Lung)
Jess Scott, formerly of Brilliant Colors fronts Flesh World. A Line in the Wet Grass is a maelstrom with a pop song in the middle just struggling to escape.
19. Slum of Legs – Begin To Dissolve (Tuff Enuff)
Slum of Legs combine dissonance and melody into a delicious stew topped off with a violin chaser.
20. Hierphants – Nothing Neu (Goodbye Boozy)
Featuring members of Ausmuteants and Frowning Clouds, you might expect Hierphants to sound like a garage band with Devo leanings and you would be right. Nothing Neu, but good nonetheless.
21. King Tears Mortuary – Grease Trap (Vacant Valley)
Power pop from Sydney that recalls southern fried college rock from the 80’s. Surprised Mitch Easter didn’t have a hand in this.
22. Ubertrager – Neben Mir (Great Pop Supplement)
Amazing how much this sounds like Broadcast. Otherworldly!
23. Institute – Giddy Boys (Kartorga Works)
Debut single from Austin band sounding like their from Australia. The Austin Ausmuteants?
24. Primitive Parts – TV Wheels (Faux Discx)
Primitive Parts make their second appearance in the countdown. Quality and quantity. Lookout for their debut coming later this year on Trouble In Mind.
25. Dream Boys – Positive Arguments (White Iris)
Bluebells, Bif Bang Pow and Three O’Clock fans rejoice, Los Angeles’ Dream Boys follow up last year’s LP with more jangly goodness!
26. Wimps – Distraction (Help Yourself)
Short, sharp punk from Seattle’s slackers in chief.
27. Kelley Stoltz – Cross Your Mind (Stroll On)
Stoltz keeps cranking out classic pop whether you like it or not. The guy’s a machine. Dig the ode to Echo & the Bunnymen xylophone solo too.
28. When Nalda Became Punk – Indiepop Whatever (Shelflife)
From Spain, but riding a wave of Swedish Pop, When Nalda Became a Punk feature jangly guitars and life affirming choruses.
29. Woolen Men – Real FX (Loglady)
More tightly wound jangle from this Portland trio.
30. Cheap Riot – Part Time Vacancy (Croque Macadam)
A great debut single from punk-party mods who remind me of Television Personalities and the Buzzcocks.
The cover looks like something Jack Kirby might have drawn for the Fantastic Four back in the 60’s. Meanwhile Tim Gane continues his odes a future that never was.
32. Paellas – Cat Out (Self-released)
The formerly moody Paellas, shake the lead out and get downright dancy. New direction 100 percent approved.
33. Thigh Master – Head of the Witch (Tenth Court)
Jangly garage pop that is bound to not just to excite fans of Suzanne Somers but is likely to make fans of the Clean the Go-Betweens happy as well.
34. Twerps – Back To You (Merge)
More Australian pop you say. Yes they just keep coming. Sounding a little like the Moles in the intro, this one is the lead single from the upcoming LP.
35. Tender Age – Anything (Track & Field)
Portland’s Tender Age evoke’s Felt’s Ignite the Seven Cannons. Dark and dreamy.
36. Sleaford Mods – Loan Shark (Apocolypso)
A bit more glitchy and more experimental backing provides great backdrop for another rant.
37. Heathers – Fear (Death Party)
Single number two from this LA band delivers more hardy jangepop. The cool thing about them is how funnel their very English influences (Wedding Present) into a very American sound (Replacements).
38. Menace Beach – Tennis Court (Memphis Industries)
Dreamy female vocals over scuzzy male ones and scuzzy guitars that delivers with a nice big chorus. Just what you should expect from a great single.
39. Ausmuteants – Felix Tried to Kill Himself (Goodbye Boozy)
Prolific Aussi synth punks crash the party with this blistering guitars and head flexing vocals.
40. Dick Diver – New Name Blues (Fruits & Flowers)
New Name Blues sounds a little more experimental and less straightforward than their usual strummy goodness, adding in some saxophone to keep things interesting.
Tags: Baltimore, Bleached, Crimson Wave, Expert Alterations, Felt, Scrawl, Wildhoney
It seems as though Baltimore has had a minor outbreak of excellent indiepop bands. You might remember the recent singles from Wildhoney and the EP from Expert Alterations? Get ready to add another band to the contagion. Crimson Wave have just released their debut 7-inch single on Accidental Guest records. The A-side Say has a detached melancholy that rides over you the way Scrawl did on records like Velvet Hammer and Smallmouth and an infectious quality in the vein of Bleached. On the flip side Calling You the guitar playing has a pace and sense of space that also brings to mind more languorous side of Felt. For a first single, this is subtle,accomplished and compelling stuff!
stream & buy: Crimson Wave – Say 7″
Tags: Slum of Legs, The Fall, Tuff Enuff Records, Velvet Underground
You may remember Brighton’s Slum of Legs from their demo last year. I certainly do! The six piece avant indiepop group have just released their first single on Tuff Enuff records. The record has elements of the Velvet Underground’s Lady Godiva’s Operation and the Fall’s Sing Harpy. Like both of those bands, Slum of Legs ably combine dissonance and melody into a delicious stew. I especially love how they feature the violin in both songs. It gives a cathartic tension and melancholy not often found in strictly guitar, bass and drum bands. Begin to Dissolve slithers and stabs at once. It’s downright Hitchcockian in the way it builds up tension that culminates in a bloodbath of noise at the end. The flip side Razorblade the Tape starts with a warm jangle that morphs into a near-anthem with the huge refrain of the band chanting “I won’t let you get away!” Don’t let this single get away!
stream & buy: Slum of Legs – Begin to Dissolve
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: Futilitarian, In the Red, The Lasters
Depression Is the New Gay. What was the old gay? The Lasters new single (four songs) Minumum Viable Product is just out. It’s single number three from the Los Angeles band for those of you keeping score at home. The afore mentioned Depression Is the New Gay is song number one. Song number two is called Ivory Tower of Beer…’nuff said. The B-side starts with The Lasters Lose the Power of Speech which appropriately contains an incoherent chorus which makes no sense and total sense. Last song Let’s Get Along doesn’t let up the adrenaline rush, though it seems a little less crazy and more coherent than the other three. Three out of four ain’t bad.
Every once in a while a punk record like this comes along and kicks me out of a rut (Spray Paint did the same thing a few months ago). This single is a total blast, and for this I give thanks.
Tags: Dead Angle, Log Lady, Slumberland, Tartans, Terry Mats, Yay!
I remember my first job out of college, I worked with guy who met his wife on the internet. It kinda freaked me out, but that was years ago and now if you didn’t meet your significant other on line you might be in the minority. The new Terry Malts single is a direct commentary on today’s downward spiral of social networking. It’s as good as anything on their album, which says to me that these guys are for real. They also do a cover of the Durutti Column‘s Don’t Think You’re Funny. A punk band that plays hard to get! I think I might be in love with the Terry Malts even though I met them on line.
stream: Terry Malts – Disconnect
The single is out on Log Lady records and is a split with Dead Angle who are ex-Tartans. The Tartans put out a couple excellent singles for Yay! and one for Cloudberry. Their new incarnation, Dead Angle are less overtly twee and employ a similar buzz-saw guitar approach. When I was in Brooklyn recently for the Chickfactor shows, I was record shopping and found myself wrangling over 7-inch records with them. We nearly came to blows over a Heavenly single. Kidding, they were very polite, and we ended up doing rock paper scissor for it (though I still think they cheated). While you’re over at Log Lady, be sure to check out the Grandma’s Boyfriend and Moonbell records. You can’t go wrong with those either.
stream: Dead Angle – Why Don’t You
Tags: S-S Records, Spray Paint
Spray Paint are two guitars and drums from Austin, Texas that have apparently been abducted from Dikes of Holland, Expensive Shit, and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. Their debut single has just been issued by Sacramento, California’s S-S Records. It’s a limited pressing of 200, and I just saw that there are only 20 copies left of it (so the 20 of you people that read this blog have been warned). This record fucking kicks ass (note: I only use the f-word when reviewing punk records that kick butt). If you are a fan of the A-Frames and the Intelligence then you will not be able to live without it. It sounds like a tempest in a garbage can, intensely dissonant yet strangely catchy. Single of the month and maybe the year.
Tags: Brothers In Law, CF Records, Shit Music For Shit People, Vermillion Sands, We Were Never Being Boring
I think I may have discovered the root of the Italian financial crisis. Apparently the Italian government has been investing heavily in indie rock. By now I thought everyone knew that there’s no money to be made in indie rock (except on Ebay). Apparently that news hasn’t been received by the bureaucrats in Rome. Good for us, potentially bad for Italy’s bond rating.
Vermillion Sands from Treviso, Italy have been bopping around from label to label for a few years now. They’ve put out stuff on Sacred Bones, Hell Yes, Trouble In Mind and Alien Snatch among others and now have a single due next month on Shit Music for Shit People. The A-side Summer Melody is warbly and rambunctious that is sorta like a honky-tonk version of the Fall. This could be my favorite Vermillion Sands song yet.
stream: Vermillion Sands – Summer Melody (from Shit Music For Shit People 7-inch)
One band that seemed to always be disparaged for being Echo and the Bunnymen knock-offs was the Mighty Lemon Drops. Sure, they weren’t as dynamic as the Bunnymen, but they had an equally bad name and some great songs. Because of the Lemon Drops footnote status in rock history I’m guessing that Pesaro, Italy’s Brothers In Law don’t claim them as influence, but if you are of a certain age, you will find the similarities undeniable. The Brother’s In Law first single is out next month as a joint release from CF-Records and We Were Never Being Boring.stream: Brothers In Law – Holy Weekend (from the CF-Records/WWNBB 7-inch)
Tags: Bubblegum Lemonade, Matinee Records, Strawberry Whiplash
It’s another Saturday morning, so time for another dose of jangle-pop. Last week it was Austin’s Literature. This week we go a few thousand miles to the upper right for the new single from Glasgow’s Strawberry Whiplash. It comes in the form of a 7-inch single for better aural absorption. The A-side Stop, Look and Listen is another slice of sugar coated jangle from the band, harvested from the same cane fields as early Primitives and Darling Buds records. The single serves as a preview of their upcoming album Hits In the Car and comes with two exclusive B-sides,the gentler In the Blink of an Eye and the chugging Luck Is The Residue Of Design, to further tempt you to part with your hard earned cash.