Tags: Andy Human, Boomgates, Evans the Death, exlovers, Golden Grrrls, Liminanas, Nick Waterhouse, Puberty, Radar Eyes, Still Corners
The 7-inch single has been around since 1949. That’s 62 years and counting! In my humble opinion the 7-inch single is still the essence, pinnacle and acme of pop perfection. Optimally, it’s one song, one side (Some try to squeeze on more). That’s no room for screwing up. You always hear that releasing a 7-inch is a money losing proposition, but that thankfully, doesn’t keep pop geeks from doing it. In honor of true blue pop geek vinyl junkies out there, here is the fourth and final installment of the annual Finest Kiss top 40 7-inch singles countdown.
1. Exlovers – Blowing Kisses (Young and Lost Club)
Exlovers have been around since 2007 and have a couple singles and an EP under their belt, but nothing that reaches the heights of this amazing single. Blowing Kisses breathes the rarefied air that Chapterhouse was imbibing around the time of Whirlpool. Flip it over and the B-side Moth-eaten Memories is just as good but shows that they can do more than just write a go-for- the-jugular pop song. They do epic well too.
2. Boomgates – Layman’s Terms (SmartGuy)
Brendan Huntly gets his punk rock barbaric yawp kicks in his other band Eddy Current Suppression Ring. Boomgates showcase sensitive side. There’s a little Go-Betweens, a little Mekons and some Comet Gain in their songs. Layman’s Terms has this plaintive yearning sound with just enough muscle to carry it through.
3. Nick Waterhouse – Is That Clear (Innovative Leisure)
Nick Waterhouse is maybe a kid genius, or just an old soul in a 24 year old’s body. He’s obsessed with old obscure 45 singles and hangs out with Ty Segall and isn’t afraid to use the Saxophone. Is That Clear is an intense, crisp and surprising single from someone his age. He adeptly uses horns, piano, and back up singers to killer effect. A cover of Them’s I Can Only Give You Everything is a good indicator of where he’s coming from. He’s got an album in the can due out in April. Can’t wait.
4. Radar Eyes – Miracle (Hozac)
The jangly guitar intro of Miracle makes me wonder if Chicago has some kind of Paisley Underground. Probably not, paisleys don’t grow in the frozen tundra, or maybe they do. They’re kind of like magic mushrooms, you just have to know where to look. Look no further than Miracle, it’s euphoria inducing.
mp3: Radar Eyes – Miracle
5. Golden Grrrls – New Pop (Nightschool)
Glasgow’s Golden Grrrls released two high quality singles this year. New Pop just edged out their first single Beaches in my book. Why? Because its hyper guitars and girl-boy vocals easily induced wild dancing and general craziness in my house whenever it was played, that’s why.
6. Evans the Death – Threads (Fortuna Pop!)
Blistering guitars and the cool killer voice Katherine Whitaker make for an undeniable combination. It’s hard to believe that this was Evans the Death’s first ever single. They sound like they must have known what they were doing at inception. This record pulls from so many great bands that have gone before to create something fresh sounding. I want to know what documentary it is that Whitaker sings about that she should not have watched. My guess is Faces of Death.
7. Still Corners – Cuckoo (Sub Pop)
This is plucked from the Still Corners album, Creatures of an Hour which is good, but spotty. Cuckoo was rightly identified as single material. Its icy Broadcast-like groove gets me every time.
8. Andy Human – Toy Man (Tic Tac Totally)
Andy Jordan displayed his dark side earlier in the countdown as Lenz. Andy Human showcases his lighter, playful side that hung out with the Duckman, loved pink and went to prom where OMD was playing.
mp3: Andy Human – Toy Man
9. The Limiñanas – (I’ve Got) Trouble In Mind (Trouble In Mind)
This was a tour only single which is a pity. It’s like preaching to the converted. Anyone showing up at a Limiñanas gig already knows this French band can cut a groove plus large que La Manche, and this record does exactly that. It also gives their label the perfect theme song. Bonus!
10. Puberty – Invitations (Telephone Explosion)
The idea behind Puberty was for Intelligence duo Lars Finberg and Susanna Welbourne to shed their instruments and front a band of ringers. Haskins, Ash and J weren’t available so they got Hernandez, James, Church and Jaworski (sounds like a law firm) for their band. Invitations sounds spacey and remote, and it slithers around just enough to be freaky. In a year where there were no releases from the Intelligence, this will more than do.
Tags: Puberty, Telephone Explosion, The Intelligence
I remember this time I was lost north of Boston trying to get to Salem to check out a witch trial and the House of the Seven Gables. I stopped at a gas station to get directions and the guy at the station told me to go through Puberty, and stay straight to get to Salem. Looking at the map, I couldn’t find Puberty. So I ask him, “Where’s Puberty?” He tells me to just keep going down the road I’m on and it’s the next town. I show him the map and say I don’t see a Puberty on the map. He points at Peabody and says it’s right here.
If you’re looking for a new Intelligence single, you won’t find it. Instead, Lars Finberg and Susanna Welbourne of the Intelligence have a new band called Puberty. Last winter the band debuted themselves at Trainwreck which was a series of dance parties slash shows they put on in a set of train cars south of downtown Seattle. While not a far cry from the Intelligence, Puberty open things up a bit more and look to Tones on Tail and Funboy Three for inspiration. Finberg and Wellbourne sing and are backed up by some Seattle ringers that include Dave Hernandez (Shins & now Intelligence) on guitar Curtis James (Old Haunts) on drums, Drew Church (Cops) on bass and Michael Jaworski (Cops, Sunset Booker and Mt Fuji owner) on keyboards. The first single from Puberty is due on Toronto, Canada’s Telephone Explosion. The two songs on the single are miles beyond the demo’s that were floating around last year at this time. Check out Invitations below with it’s spaghetti western guitar intro and watch Telephone Explosion‘s site for ordering information any day now.
Tags: In the Red, Puberty, The Intelligence, Trainwreck
The new Intelligence album is called Males and is out on In The Red on 24 August. (I feel like MBV…actually this post would stop after the first sentence, the album artwork would be larger and a lot more of you would be looking at this if that were the case.)
This record is reported to be a full band effort as opposed to the regular Lars doing it all himself thing. As evidenced by the track list it contains some songs previously released elsewhere, though they are undoubtedly rerecorded. Chris Woodhouse is in the producer’s chair , as well as now being a full time member of the band.
1. Bong Life
2. Tuned To Puke
3. Sailor Itch
4. The Universe
5. Like Like Like Like Like Like Like
6. Estate Sales
7. Mom Or A Parking Lot
8. White Corvette
9. The Beetles
10. Chateau Bandit
In other related Intelligence news: this Thursday is the final Trainwreck of the summer. Trainwreck is the monthly party that happens at the Orient Express where half of the Intelligence (Finberg and Susannah Welbourne) get all gussied up and perform as Puberty. You don’t want to miss it.
Tags: Intelligence, Puberty, Trainwreck
Books away, pencils out. Pop quiz time. First question, Puberty is:
A. The House Band for the new monthly Trainwreck dance-debauchery party at the Orient Express.
B. Side project of Intelligence dynamic duo Lars Finberg and Susanna Welbourne.
C. That awkward stage that all humans go through to reach sexual maturation, and that most would like to forget.
D. All of the above.
The answer of course is D, but for purposes here we’re (mostly) interested in A & B. The Intelligence could never be accused of being a slacker band. Last year they released two albums and they have one ready to unleash on us this year already. Besides being prolific in the albums department, they seem to be perpetually on tour. So where do Mr. Finberg and Ms. Welbourne find the time for this new side project? Obviously some people need much less sleep, and don’t have a weakness for goofing off and wasting time surfing the internet like some of us.
Besides Puberty, Finberg and Welbourne have concocted a vehicle so to speak for their new band, a monthly party called Trainwreck that happens in a set of old railway cars from the 40’s that by day goes by the Orient Express, a restaurant where you can eat in the confines of the glorious past. Setting foot in the place is like stepping back into a different time, they are all connected, but not in line like a train, so wondering around in them is kind of like going through a maze. Finding the men’s room and getting back can be an adventure in and of itself. Just having this place as a divey bar you can go to and tie one on, is a good thing, but when you add a dj, a drag queen and Puberty you get something pretty damn cool.
Hosting the night was Kissee Simmons, the drag queen with a New Yawk accent. S/he introduced the band with her 2 pack a day voice, making up new last names for Lars (I think she called him Lars Fishburn and Lars Fishburg) and offered Chex Mix to everyone. The band, and it was an actual band, consisted of Dave Hernandez formerly of the Shins on guitar Curtis James (Old Haunts) on drums, Drew Church (Cops) on bass and Michael Jaworski (Cops) on keyboards. This left Finberg and Welbourne to ham it up and have a blast. It was pretty obvious that both or them were having a good time, they were decked out in all white and wore shades. They shared vocals on every song while the band, all dressed in matching pink tuxedo jackets, held a solid groove throughout. The sound isn’t much of a departure from the Intelligence aside from the shared vocals, but it was a pleasure to finally hear a full band behind an Intelligence project. I was especially into hearing Churche’s nimble playing, which added the backbone that is often absent in an Intelligence gig.
They did an economical set of eight songs, including a cover of Generation X‘s Kleenex. At one point Lars grabbed a giant strobe light that looked like weighed 50 pounds, and turned it on the packed train car. It felt like we were speeding down a mountain side on a set rickety tracks, perilously close to going off the rails. You definitely don’t want to miss the next Trainwreck. Puberty departs on the Orient Express again on March 4th and April 1st. All aboard!
mp3: Puberty – Parties
mp3: Puberty – Haunt My Trash
The mp3’s are courtesy of Puberty and the Stranger. Also, a more in depth look at Puberty can be had at the Seattle Weekly, and you can see a few more photo’s from the night over at my Flickr.