25 7″ Singles for 2022

So that monthly wrap up thing didn’t last very long, did it? The internet is still here and so is this blog, sort of, so why not create some year end lists of my favorite records. Here are my top seven inch singles of the last 12 months. Yep, 25 seven inch singles actually came out this year.

umbrellas
1. The Umbrellas – Write It In the Sky (Slumberland)

SF’s Umbrellas have really done it. They’ve set the bar really high for themselves with this single. Write it in the Sky has it all: Sunny Sundae Smile era MBV, a dash of the noisier side of Sarah Records and some long lost paisley underground group. The guitars are buzzing, the vocals are breathless and the backing vocals are from the heavens. Songs like this are the reason seven inch singles still exist.

lewsberg
2. Lewsberg – Six Hills (Speedy Wunderground)
Speedy Wunderground singles are apparently recorded in a single day with no lunch break according to the SW web site. They are also pressed in limited quantities. There are a number of other rules they adhere to and they break a few too. Like splitting a song onto two sides of a 7 inch single. That’s what they’ve done for this Lewsberg stormer of a song Six Hills. Lucky for us, it’s also streaming so you don’t have to buy two copies to hear the entire thing uninterrupted. Six Hills sounds like a Velvet Underground song with a Dutch accent and a dry sense of humor. “You’re driving without a license. I’m driving uninsured. Why don’t we crash into each other? I got the feeling that we should.”

dummy
3. Dummy – Mono Retriever (Sub Pop)

To get this one, you needed to subscribe to the Sub Pop singles club or scour discogs. Mono Retriever is worth getting even if if you need to buy nine other records you don’t want. It’s a perfect piece of monochromatic drone pop that ebbs and flows from sounding mildly disinterested to passively aggressively emphatic. Numbingly good.

shift
4. Skiftande Enheter – Oppna Landskap (Happiest Place)

If you hadn’t noticed, magic is happening at Happiest Place records. They’ve put out great singles by Friendly Boyfriend and Typical Girls and cross pollinate with Mamma’s Mysterious Jukebox (JJ ulius & Loopsel). Their 2019 LP was good, but wasn’t nearly as exciting as this new single. They don’t sing in English the way so many Swedish post punk and pop bands have in the past, but these songs with their great guitar riffs are so immediate and catchy that you won’t be looking for a translation app.

comm
5. Communicant – La Roue (Six Tonnes De Chair)

If you missed last year’s album by Los Angeles’ Communicant like I did this single will have you remedying that pretty quickly if you are fan of psychedelic cinematic pop. The Wheel was on last year’s LP, but this new French version featuring Natasha Recoder. Recoder adds her chic-cool vocals and turns the song into mysterious floating beauty that is is orders of magnitude better than the original.

mattb
6. Matt Berry featuring Emma Noble – Beatmaker (Acid Jazz)

Beatmaker was featured on Berry’s BBC TV show Toast of Tinseltown. He smartly put it on a single. It’s a cover of the Doris 1970 song and stays pretty close to the funky, horn drenched original, but it’s still super fun. Also, worth checking out is the Doris album from which this song was on – Did You Give The World Some Love Today, Baby.

wesley
7. The Soul Chance featuring Wesley Bright (Colemine)

Remember Wesley Bright and the Honeytones’ number one hit Happiness back in 2018? The sweet soul beekeeper is back, only this time with a rock steady beat. This single is a collaboration with the Soul Chance and it’s a near perfect melding of Bright’s sweet vocals and reggae backing. Even in the depths of winter this record will heat up your turntable and put you in a vacationing mood.

nick
8. Nick & the Nod – Den Besten EP (Chicken Shack)

Trudging away in a bit of obscurity somewhere in the middle of the country. I think they call it Indiana. The Midwestern bible belt loves conformity and has likely tried to push Nick and the Nod into the gutter which likely exactly where they want to be. Like Australia’s Shifters, and the UK’s Cool Greenhouse,  Nick and the Nod obviously worship at the alter of the Fall and I’m a little surprised some coastal label hasn’t salvaged and exposed this brilliant stuff for rest of us subcultural misfits. R. Santos drips with sarcasm as it chugs along a loose rail riffing off of the chemical company responsible for DDT, PCBs and Agent Orange. This lathe cut single features five edgy dissonant cuts, all more than worthy of your attention.

pachyman
9. Pachyman – All Night Long (ATO)

Pachy García’s alter ego, the King Tubby inspired Pachyman normally deals in dub instrumentals, but here he gets some help from Brazilian singer Winter and delves into the lovers rock reggae sub-genre to winning effect. If you dig the Holy Cook records, then this one should be a must have.

billy
10. Billy Tibbals – Onwards and Upwards (Curation)

Curation Records continue to mine the SoCal pop underground and have dug up some gold with Billy Tibbals debut single. At first I thought he had a pretty good fake accent, but turns out he’s London ex-pat. Makes sense, Onwards and Upwards sounds a bit glam rock, a little LA powerpop with some DIY Cleaners from Venus aesthetic to keep it sounding urgent and edgy.

7ebra
11. 7ebra – I Have a Lot to Say (PNKSLM)

The debut of these Malmo, Sweden twins has a little in common with Wet Leg in the deadpan vocal delivery and dry sense of humor. Both songs feature bare bones arrangements, and with melodies and riffs like these, why clutter up good these perfect tunes. Nothing to hide here.

haz
12. The Hazmats – Empty Rooms (Static Shock)

The Hazmats are some dudes from hard core groups Chubby and the Gang, Game and Big Cheese. Surprise! They’re also Wedding Present and Stone Roses fans. This two song single jangles with indie charm that might surprise you. If Fucked Up can cover the Shop Assistants and Another Sunny day then big tough guys showing a penchant for more melodic fare shouldn’t come as such a surprise.

fleur
13. Fleur – Le Capharnaum (Sound Flat)

The Danish Francophile Fleur was back with a new album and two singles this year and this was my favorite. Le Capharnaum is a northern soul-styled groover that’s a guaranteed dance floor filler.

parallel
14. Love Dance – Parallel Lines (Too Good To Be True)

Norway’s Love Dance give us a fantastic slice of moody indiepop on this single which is part of Too Good To Be True’s singles club that started up in the second half of 2022. Parallel has a definite 80’s bent to it with little Railway Children and Icicle Works to give it northern wintry feel.

martha
15. Martha – Please Don’t Take Me Back (Specialist Subject)

It’s hard to believe that Martha have been banging out powerpop winners like this since 2014. Please Don’t Take Me Back features an undeniable riff that will tug your nostalgia for classics like the Freed Pig and On the Mouth even though it says it doesn’t want to. This one also gets bonus points for putting one of Allo Darlin’s greatest hits, My Heart Is a Drummer on the b-side.

quivers
16. Quivers – If Only (Ba Da Bing/Pink Lake)

The Quivers get an awful lot of airplay around here. Their Golden Doubt LP from last year was a favorite and their show US tour and Seattle was a definite 2022 highlight. This new single features two song sung by bassist Bella Quinlan. If Only is pretty and pensive and the flip, a cover of Lucinda Williams’ I Just Wanted To See You So Bad is a real barn burner. The Quivers have a knack for songs that a dusty Americana tinge and this fits their M.O. perfectly.

deliv
17. Delivery – Personal Effects (Feel It)

Melbourne’s Delivery return with their second single (and debut album) this year. The group smartly give Personal Effects the single treatment. Its slithery hook jabs you in the side and sounds like a 90’s cocktail of Lucious Jackson, Cibo Matto and the Breeders mixed in with some modern day bitters like Vintage Crop and the Stroppies is a winning elixir.

lande
18. Lande Hekt – Romantic (Emotional Response)

Romantic is a great sleepy bedroom pop song. Think Fazerdaze, Snail Mail, Jay Som or Alvvays. The flip has a beautiful cover of the Wedding Present’s Octopussy, practically making it her own. Hekt has combined an inspiration with a result of an inspiration to great effect.

hcrowd
19. Holiday Crowd – Party Favors (Shelflife)

Canada certainly has a leg up on indiepop these days. Ducks Ltd of course come to mind when you mention Toronto indie bands and the latest Holiday Crowd single jangles its way right into the conversation with its guitars that jangle and post-Smiths flamboyant melody. Holiday Crowd aren’t exactly prolific but with quality like this I’m happy to let them take their time and get it just right. Party Favours is some top shelf indiepop that shouldn’t be missed.

neut
20. Neutrals – Bus Stop Nights EP (Static Shock)

Oakland’s Neutrals slip back into our collective consciousness with this four song seven inch single. These DIY jangly songs are sure to connect with fans of Television Personalities and Emotional Response labelmates Mick Trouble. The stand-out song Gary Borthwick Says is an ode(?) to that friend or relative that everyone has probably experienced at some point in their lives who stretches the truth and exaggerates their connections, qualities and achievements. I appreciate how good they are at identifying everyday scenarios and making memorable songs about them. A gift for certain.

crys
21. Model Zero – Little Crystal (Sweet Time)

This single from this Memphis group channels rubber city rockers Devo along with some Idiot era Iggy Pop. Both songs channel good-time vibes and feature just the right amount of electronic sounds and guitars peppered with super catchy choruses. Totally fun single!

zombi
22. Zombierella – Rush Hour (Mosaique Records)

If you are old enough to remember, the saxophone in Rush Hour will take you back to some place in the 80’s when MTV played music videos and people still bought 7″ singles. Zombierella, aka Svetlana Nagaeva of Petersburgh, Russia has a cool almost robotic delivery and Rush Hour sounds as good as Kraftwerk being fronted by Grace Jones with an eastern European accent.

horse
23. Horsegirl – Billy (Matador)

The 90’s are in full effect on the second Horsegirl single. Billy features a murky a guitar swirl that was inspired by that decade, but this group is nothing if not earnest and they deliver a great hook that may not get you the first time, but will definitely pay off after a couple more listens. Flip it over for a history lesson, or at least a cover of the Minutemen’s History Lesson Pt II. These kids make you really appreciate their diligence for the oldies.

jeanines
24. Jeanines – Latest Light (Market Square)

Have the Jeanines written a song that extends beyond a minute and thirty seconds? I appreciate economy, because there are way too many songs floating out there these days. The two songs on this single quickly give off great vibes in the same autumnal, strummy, melancholy way that we’ve come to expect. And while they may not reach the highs of the two albums, they are certainly worth you time however limited it may be.

royal
25. Royal Arch – La Nuit/Road to Light (Jigsaw/Make Me Happy/Fastcut)

Royal Arch from Athens, Greece really impress on their debut single. La Nuit features big guitars a solid rhythm section (the unsung secret ingredient of shoegaze) to create an impressionistic dreamy atmosphere and they have a predilection for a good complimentary vocal melody. Royal Arch’s sound fits nicely into that early 90’s UK shoegazer genre that still has legs after all these years.

June Top 10

umbrellas
The Umbrellas – Write It In the Sky (Slumberland)
The young Umbrellas have really outdone themselves this time. After one single and an album, their new single Write It In the Sky reaches heights beyond anything they’ve done previously. It sounds like Sunny Sundae Smile era MBV, a dash of the noisier side of Sarah Records and some long lost paisley underground group. The guitars are buzzing, the vocals are breathless and the backing vocals are from the heavens. Singles like this will restore your faith in humanity. It did mine.

mhead
Michael Head and the Red Elastic Band – Dear Scott (Modern Sky)
Michael Head has never been one to adhere to a frantic release schedule when it comes to albums. His previous bands Pale Fountains, Shack and the Strands all had great but sporadic runs and his latest group is no different when comes to release schedule or the high quality standards he’s set with his previous groups. Dear Scott is decidedly downtrodden in nature, but beautiful in its delivery. There are well placed strings and horns that add flourishes to songs that sound well worn and comfortable and nestle themselves easily into your new set of favorite songs.

softestate
Soft Estate – The Painted Ship EP (Mammas Mysteriska Jukebox)

Soft Estate are a somewhat mysterious minimalist electronic Swedish group. There is an obvious Broadcast feel to their songs. They also remind me a little of some of the esoteric sounds that Ian Masters was involved in after he left Pale Saints. Everything here is very intriguing and on songs like Cindy you can hear their potential mastery of the moody pop song. Ones to watch, perhaps.

flasher
Flasher – Love Is Yours (Domino)
Washington, DC’s Flasher are back with album number two, but things have changed a little bit. They’re down to a duo and their songs don’t shy away from obvious infectious pop. The new LP is full of dancy pop that has saccharine elements of Ultra Vivid Scene and a bit of Unrest obtuseness with an eye to get played on the indie dance floor. Songs like I’m Better and Love Is Yours certainly deserver to get their chance to make you boogie.

hcrowd
Holiday Crowd – Party Favours (Shelflife)
Canada certainly has a leg up on indiepop these days. Ducks Ltd of course come to mind when you mention Toronto indie bands and the latest Holiday Crowd single jangles its way right into the conversation with its guitars that jangle and post-Smiths flamboyant melody. Holiday Crowd aren’t exactly prolific but with quality like this I’m happy to let them take their time and get it just right. Party Favours is some top shelf indiepop that shouldn’t be missed.

boat
Boat – No Plans to Stuck the Landing (Magic Marker)
It’s so great to have BOAT back in fold after that brief hiatus in second half of the previous decade (the 2010’s to you youngsters). Their Evel Knievel themed new album is there second after regrouping for 2020’s Tread Lightly. D Crane and the fellows still have the knack for writing super catchy chest thumping songs. This one is a pandemic inspired group effort with lots of guests, many of which appeared on the group’s slopyypopstagram Instragram live video shows during the height of the pandemic. Many new BOAT classics are added to the cannon on this sprawling album. Toll Booth City and Warm Up the Choppers are quintessential BOAT, but they stretch out on Dog Days and My Haunted Friend with the help of guests like the Feelies Glen Mercer and Karl Blau.

anteloper
Anteloper – Pink Dolphins (International Anthem)

Anything trumpet player Jamie Branch does is golden in my opinion. Here she teams up with a couple Tortoise alumni, Jeff Parker and Jason Nazary. I could take or leave Tortoise, with the exception of the remixes of Millions Now Living Will Never Die that appeared as Tortoise Remixed. In any event, this reinforce my original statement that Jamie Branch can do no wrong. Anteloper incorporates Branch’s envelope pushing jazz with electronics and stirs it up into a remarkable, challenging and unique musical brew.

horsegirl
Horsegirl – Versions of Modern Performance (Matador)

Horsegirl’s debut single Ballroom Dance last year was drop dead amazing. It sounded like they had it all figured out from the get go. The debut album is a slight disappointment if you’re measuring it against their first single. Taken by itself, Versions of Modern Performance is perfectly fine. It’s actually quite fitting that it came out on Matador. This Chicago trio of youngsters use the 90’s indie rock heyday as their touchstone and have much in common with the likes of 18th Dye, Helium, Sonic Youth and Pavement. Maybe they don’t have it all quite figured out like I initially thought, but Versions of Modern Performance is on the right track.
sylvia
Sylvia Platters – Youth Without Virtue (Self Released)

I gotta hand it to our neighbors to the north, because the Canadians (see Ducks Ltd and Holiday Crowd) have cornered the market on jangly, Smiths, Bluebells, Siddeleys inspired pop. Another feather (or leaf) in the Canadian cap comes from British Columbia’s Sylvia Platters. Their newest five song EP is festooned with beautiful guitars and melodies that are inspired by the 80’s UK indie scene. Doldrums and Blue Juniper take no prisoners. I especially love how Blue Juniper effortlessly fuses in some Paisley Underground into its jangling tempest. A super fun listen.

mysunshine
My Life In the Sunshine – Nabil Ayers
I’ve been on a music book reading rally in the last few months. Nabil Ayers who along with Jason Ayers opened the Sonic Boom Record shop in Seattle back in 1997 is pretty well known to Seattle music folks. For those outside the Pacific NW, he also played drums in Seattle bands the Lemons, Alien Crime Syndicate and the Long Winters and is the current head of Beggars Group in the U.S. which includes the 4AD, Matador and Rough Trade labels. That’s all very interesting, but how he got there is much more interesting. His mother had a very short relationship with jazz vibraphonist Roy Ayers. It was a mutually agreed upon situation between his mom and Ayers that begat Nabil. This book is a fascinating musical journey to try and connect with his father and his father’s side of the family.

21 for 21 – 7″ Singles of the Year

You likely noticed there ain’t much music blogging going on around here lately. Life moves pretty fast and finding time and motivation to write about music has been a challenge. I find that sitting in front of a screen after sitting in front of screen for a full work day is less exciting than it used to be. I still love listening to records every chance I get though, so I’ve brushed off the cobwebs that have been collecting in this space for a year end list or two. First up, are 21 of my favorite 7″ singles of the past 12 months.

wetleg
1. Wet Leg – Chaise Longue (Domino)
Single of the year that seemed to pop up in random places in my somewhat isolated 2021. On the radio, in a grocery store, on my phone and finally on my turntable. Chaise Longue was so catchy and its quippiy lyrics so funny and its ability to percolate into multiple strata of society isn’t that surprising. Like Blur’s Song 2 in its immediacy (and hopefully soon a stadium staple like that one) but far sharper. Chaise Longue’s dry sense of humor didn’t so much drip, but evaporate into you. It was exciting to hear it every time I heard it and after 100 listens I’m still not sick of it.

bugclub
2. The Bug Club – Checkmate (Bingo)

Wales band that seems to be flying under the radar for now, but this single along with their LP this year should hopefully change that. Sharp lyrics and manic riffs on Checkmate make this white hot. You get three more songs with this tiny piece of wax and all are great. It’s what I imagine a garage band would sound like if Kevin Ayres had been born in 2000 and met a bunch of ex-Johanna Gruesome kids and started a band.

cdg
3. CDG – Unconditional EP (Domestic Departure)

Coming out of Portland, Oregon, CDG aka Conditioner Disco Group revel in early the early 80’s post punk sound. J. Nickel who is the main conditioner also has allegiances with other Portland post punk notables Collate and the Bedrooms. CDB lean heavily towards the Fall, PIL, and Gang of Four. The best of this five song lot is Remove Officer with its funky groove and effeminate accent is difficult to ignore and bound to get stuck into a repeat listening loop on your device.

horsegirl
4. Horsegirl – Ballroom Dance (Sonic Cathedral)
These Chicago youngsters seemingly appeared out nowhere this summer. Fully formed and moody, Ballroom Dance sounds like it was written by a group that has been worn down by the world and nostalgic for a better time. I guess we all are these days no matter how old we are. A brilliant shooting star of a song. Here’s hoping there’s more where this came from.

smog
5. The Smog – Set In Stone (Going Underground)

The Smog are from Japan. This is their third single (the first two are OOP but free downloads). I can’t tell you if it’s their best, but I can tell you its raw punk energy is infectous. Both Set In Stone and Lost My Mind are top notch punk songs, injecting full doses of bands like Wire, early Cure, Minor Threat and the Damned. Lost My Mind may be slightly better with it’s riff and great chorus. I can only hope that they won’t stop after only three singles.

friendlybfriend
6. Friendly Boyfriend – Pick Up! (Happiest Place)

I remember hearing Gone for a Time, the lead track here, for the first time and getting swept up with its weirdly warped guitars and prominent bass riff. It was odd, but good. Sorta reminding me of the lo-fi Swirlies trying to do MBV but with a weird Swedish pop sensibility. I bought the single right away. Record arrives a few weeks later, I put it on and track two is a cover of the Clean’s Beatnik. I think this could be start of a beautiful relationship.

paleblueeyes
7. Pale Blue Eyes – Motionless (Broadcast)
The first single from this trio from the UK hinterlands blends two of my favorite styles of rock n’ roll – hypnotic motorik grooves and waves of brilliant shoegaze guitar. Motionless floats with the ease of a group that are firing on all cylinders or maybe a fully charged battery as I’d like try to make more carbon neutral analogies. No matter your preferred mode of motorized transport, this soundtrack will do nicely as the mile markers fly by.

delivery
8. Delivery – Floored (Spoilsport)

Another Australian band in the countdown, Delivery slot themselves in closer to the rowdier post punk Australian crowd like Ausmuteants and Eddy Current Suppression Ring. There isn’t a bad move in any of the four songs on this single. Floored is a caffeine fueled beauty, the Explainer sounds like they borrowed an Intelligence riff from Icky Baby and Rubber sounds like they may have been listening to some Sauna Youth. Delivery’s tasteful influences and inspirations keep the arty post punk flame burning in my record collection.

harelem
9. The Harlem Gospel Travelers – Nothing But His Love (Colemine)

The Harlem Gospel Travelers followed up their 2019 LP with two singles in 2021. The group started and mentored by Eli Paperboy Reid continues its singles winning streak with the spirited Nothing But his Love. It’s got an innate sweetness that takes hold and carries you with it.

oftropique
10. Of Tropique – Woo (Electric Cowbell)

The second Japanese group in this year’s list, Of Tropique’s Woooo is an energetic instrumental that blends The Beat’s March of the Swivleheads with Esquivel eccentricities. Endlessly fun, and I can only imagine that the clarinet player needs a break after playing this one.

catw
11. The Catenary Wires – Mirrorball (Shelflife)
The single from Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey’s follow a long line female-male duos like Lee and Nancy, Sonny and Cher, Kenny and Dolly, and erm…Jason and Kylie who’s electric chemistry combine to ignite a great pop song. Under the Mirrorball is a nostalgic trip to the disco and discovered appreciation for music discounted in past. Accompanied by a great horn part, this indie song about disco is pretty darn great.

stephen
12. Stephen’s Shore – Brisbane Radio (Meritorio)

A Swedish group with a penchant for jangly pop influenced by the Byrds singing about Australian radio pulls together some seemingly disparate threads. All of that aside, the twangy pop of Brisbane Radio is so well done and infectious you’ll be checking the back of this to see if it really isn’t a reissue from the summer of love or the paisley underground.

partner
13. Partner Look – Geelong (I Heard a Whisper)

This Australian group features two German sisters based in Melbourne and their partners (hence the name I suppose). Geelong nestled on the water southwest of the much larger Melbourne seems to have been a satellite base for many recent bands in the Melbourne scene. Partner Look’s song of the same name is an obvious ode to this small town on the bay. “Close to Melbourne, close to the sea close to you, close to me. Everybody moves… ” A little like a post card from Geelong. Makes me want to book a trip and soak up the sun and sounds.

habibi
14. Habibi – Somewhere They Cant Find Us (Kill Rock Stars)

These Brooklyn based ladies haven’t exactly been prolific with only two albums in the past seven years, but this single follows last year’s Anywhere But Here LP, so it could be the start of a quicker pace for the band. Both songs have a little bit of Luscious Jackson/Breeders spin-off group Kostars and ESG style funky post punk dance groove. Loads of with style, attitude and a low key sense of humor make this a very solid effort.

uni
15. Uni Boys – Long Time No See (Curation)

This Orange County, California band started in their teens and has already released two download only albums. This is their first single for Curation (sounds like Creation) the label started by the the Beachwood Sparks Brent Rademaker. Uni Boys have and old school power pop rock and roll sound. Both side of this single are worthy of comparisons with late 70’s groups like the Nerves, the Shoe and the Low Numbers.

tubs
16. The Tubs – Names EP (Trouble In Mind)

More goodness from the Tubs (last year at this same #16 with I Don’t Know How It Works. Uncanny!). This four song single sees the group expanding their sound with better production and better songs. Singer Owen Williams, formerly of Joanna Gruesome, sounds like a cool mesh of Dave Wakeling and Lou Barlow. There isn’t a clunker in the bunch, all sporting fun, catchy guitar riffs and memorable melodies. Crystal Ball, the final song is sort of fun curve ball too, going for an obvious Felt sound and succeeding there as well.

intell
17. The Intelligence – Celebration Ratio (Leisure World)

You might think that the seven inch vinyl single is an outmoded format. Well, the Intelligence and the Leisure World records have one for ya. How about a record that bends? Fold it up and put it in your pocket. Nearly as light as an mp3 or a stream, but you can hold it in your hands. Celebration Ratio seems to find inspiration in the fidelity and recording style of older Intelligence LP’s like Deuteronomy and Fake Surfers while still keeping it fresh and smart. The Intelligence keep going, consistently putting out great records, even one’s that bend.

wray
18. Lady Wray – Through It All (Big Crown)

The beginning of Through It All threatens to go off the rails right from the start. Nicole Wray’s, aka Lady Wray voice gets synthesized into some high pitched ear worm that at first feels like a fly buzzing around your ear. Almost like a minor annoyance to get your attention. Then you hear the rock steady beat, backing singers and the warm, sweet unsynthesized croon of Wray. Pretty soon you can’t get Through It All out of your head.

typicalgirls
19. Typical Girls – Miata (Kanine)

Another repeat from last year and at the same spot too. I swear I didn’t intend it. Typical Girls’ follow up single to last year’s debut 7-inch is a double A side. The flip Nice Boys is my favorite here, combining some of the Radio Dept’s more melancholy synth tendencies with Taken by Trees own brand of melancholy. They throw in a dance beat to brighten it up a tad and voila, something their own that is worthy of its inspirations.

youthv
20. Youth Valley – Young Sad Lovers (Make Me Happy)
Youth Valley’s Young Sad Lovers with its subtle motorik groove, guitars that evoke big wide open wintry landscapes and slightly fey vocals could be mistaken for a Swedish guitar group from the early 00’s like the Mary Onettes or even 80’s UK indie band like the Field Mice. This Greek duo pack two winners onto the vinyl version of this single and slip in a bonus track into the digital version. All three cut from the same cloth and all three increasing my hopes that an LP or another single is on the way in 2022.

shopwindoe
21. The Shop Window – Out of Reach (Spinout Nuggets)
Out of Reach has the ring of classic UK indie guitar pop. Ringing guitars and a driving beat topped off with an anthemic melody and chorus. The song is seemingly inspired by the isolation and lost days of the global pandemic. I imagine it would be great to hear live with its Mighty Lemon Drops meets Chameleons sound. Here’s to better days ahead and maybe a chance from folks to hear it live.

22. Eggs – Greatest Hits Ep (Perfect)
23. Floating Room – Shima (Famous Class)
24. Sundae Painters – Aversion (Leather Jacket)
25. Collate – Medicine (Domestic Departure)
26. The Smashing Times – Dreams on Union (Painter Man)
27. BOAT – My Haunted Friend (Magic Marker)
28. Swansea Sound – Indies of the World (HHBTM)
29. Lavender Blush – Sundays (Blue Aurora Audio)
30. Ghost Woman – Lost Echo’s (Full Time Hobby)
31. Telephone Numbers – Leviathan (Fruits & Flowers)
32. Tough Age/Dumb – Pizza Punks (Mint)
33. Mandarinaduck – Super Long Life (Box Bedroom Rebels)
34. The Harlem Gospel Travelers – Fight On! (Colemine)
35. Chubby & the Gang – Lightning Don’t Strike Twice (Partisan)