Midway and Buried in Records – Part 4

It’s Thursday and part four of the midway round-up. Feeling overwhelmed yet? I am. I don’t know if I can make it to Friday. If you’ve been following along, I hope you’ve found at least one thing that tickled your toes enough to buy a record or at least like them on facebook. A like on facebook or a follow on twitter is like money in the bank for bands, right? Getting money for your records is so old school. These days it’s all about social networking your record so that share prices for the internet fat cats increases. So go do your part.

visonfortune
Vision Fortune – Mas Fiestas con el Grupo Vision Fortune (Faux Discs)

There are many reasons to love this record. First the cover is a total red herring. If you buy this expecting Spanish troubadours or Mexican narcocorrido then you’ve got a surprise in store for you. The song titles are all roman numerals and there is a side F and side V. Nothing is as it seems as the first buzz of guitars kicks off the album sounding like the beginning of Anthrax by Gang of Four.  It only gets better from there as it envelops you and you don’t know if you’re listening to XX, XIII or XIX and you don’t care. This is an album meant to be listened to in its entirety of full effect with each song leading into the next, but I’ll put one below to stream anyway. You can stream the entire thing here.

steam: Vision Fortune – XXII

prophethens
The Prophet Hens – Popular People Do Popular People (Fishrider)

The Chills are back after more than a ten year hiatus, but the big news out of New Zealand this year is the Prophet Hens first album. Taking the Chills torch and running away with it.

stream: Prophet Hens – Easy As The Sun

heavytimes
Heavy Times – Fix It Alone (Hozac)

Fix it alone sees this Chicago band reigning in their intensity just a little, but don’t let that give you the wrong idea. They’re all the better for it. This is a highly melodic and highly intense album that brings back golden age memories of Husker Du and the noisier Flying Nun band like Gordons but not afraid to snag a riff from the Chills and let it fly.

stream: Heavy Times – Tradition Of Abuse

lady
Lady – Lady (Truth & Soul)

Lady is actually two ladies, Terri Walker and Nicole Wray who have silky smooth voices and a penchant for 60’s soul. Classic soul albums are still being made and not just by guys who were there in the classic times like Lee Fields and Charles Bradly, but youngsters like Lady.

stream: Lady – Sweet Lady

waxidols
Wax Idols – Discipline & Desire (Slumberland)

Surprisingly it turns out that Wax Idols music DNA, contains strands of the Sound, Chameleons, Comsat Angels, Christian Death, and Love and Rockets. After a debut album that leaned to the cut and dried garage punk, Discipline and Desire leans decidely to the dark side of pop and is infinitely more interesting and engaging. It’s what all sophomore albums should be, a major improvement and fearlessly forging out in new directions.

stream: Wax Idols – Sound of a Void

We-Are-Loud-Whispers
We Are Loud Whispers – Suchness (Hardly Art)

It was kind of a bummer when I came to the realization that there would never be another Arthur and Yu album, and we all know that people are still not giving up hope for another Postal Service album. We Are Loud Whispers is not quite either one of those but since Sonya Westcott of Arthur & Yu is one half of We Are Loud Whispers it’s not a stretch in that direction. Combine the spare electronic backdrops provided by Ayumu Haitani and you have a stretched reference to the Postal Service. In any event this record is full of understated beauty that deserves some of your valuable attention.

stream: We Are Loud Whispers – This Time

excops
Ex Cops – Ture Hallucinations (Other Music)

“New York City’s Ex Cops don’t dress in police uniforms (thankfully), and they don’t sound anything like you would expect a band calling themselves Ex Cops to sound like. Well, at least not what I imagine a band of ex cops would sound like.” Their debut album True Hallucinations is an exquisit dreampop/shoegaze record.

stream: Ex Cops – You Are a Lion, I Am a Lamb

Singles of the Year Countdown: 40-31

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.

31. Mirah – Don’t! (Mississippi)

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.

mp3: Don’t


32. Sourpatch – Deli Dream (Happy Happy Birthday To Me)

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


33. Aias – Aias (Captured Tracks)

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.

mp3: Aias


34. Yuck – Georgia (Fat Possum)

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.

mp3: Georgia


35. For Ex-Lovers Only – Coffin (Magic Marker)

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?

mp3: Coffin


36. Heavy Times – No Planes (Hozac)

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


37. Talbot Adams – Jack and Jesse (Douchemaster)

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?

mp3: Life is Good When Cinematic


38. Math And Physics Club – Jimmy Had A Polaroid (Matinée)

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


39. Fungi Girls – Doldrums (Hozac)

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.

mp3: Doldrums


40. Proper Ornaments – Recalling (Make a Mess)

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.

mp3: Recalling

[40-31] [30-21] [20-11] [10-1]