Browsing Category Singles (7″, 10″, 12″)

Cakefight – Cakefight 7″

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Melbourne duo Cakefight let out a fun garage pop yelp on their debut EP. The single was recorded by Matthew Melton in Austin and it captures a certain economical, yet catchy aesthetic that’s not too far off from Melton’s own works, but without the quite-so-creamy center that permeates something like Warm Soda. The band knows their way around a catchy hook and a summertime chorus that feels like boardwalk nights spent sweating it out in leather jackets in July. Just a four shot pumper of fun tracks, not breaking down the walls, but good garage is never about refining the riff, just harnessing it to let the hijinx flow freely. In that respect, this is doing the job perfectly. Of the fiver of tracks offered up on this short-order platter, the best are the the gnarled beach party of “Sucks Under This Sun” and the pop punk fist shaker, “Who You Are.” Though, the rest of the batch is certainly not without merit. A nice debut from these Aussies, under the watchful eye of one of American power pop’s best.



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Hair – Hair

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More fuzzed goodness from Chicago. Heavy vibes and psych fallout are wafting our way from the windy city trio Hair, coming forth via 7″ on Tall Pat records. The single wraps up three tracks that bash deep into territory that should be familiar to fans of Ty Segall, Wand, Mind Meld, Orb and others finding solace between the proto metal double kick, grunge-punk hammer headlock and psychedelic ripple riot that we all love so well. Sure, its territory that’s been carved out and covered, but as I’ll always be the first to admit, if you’re doing it right, then I’m not going to bust any balls nagging that someone laid the road first. Hair are slowly but steadily melting the paint in any room playing this single. In fact its hard to pick out a standout here, its a triple-A rocker that’s perking plenty of interest as to where they’re headed next (they have but one other, lone Bowie tribute up on their Bandcamp). Hopefully they’ll stretch things out to a proper long player and let the pavement crack under its weight. For now, these three are more than enough to tide me over.




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Mary Lattimore – “Returned To Earth”

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As anyone who’s seen harpist Mary Lattimore play can attest, she has a way of bringing a hush over a room, sucking out the atmosphere and replacing it with something a bit more magical and serene. On her latest tape for Soap Library, she offers up two shimmering tracks of crystalline beauty. The first, an ode to astronaut Scott Kelly, inspired by his year-long journey in the International Space Station and a subsequent jaw injury that required two months of silence and reflection on her part. The track’s quiet reflection mirrors much of Kelly’s own isolation aboard the station and his attempts to connect with the world below through an online journal. The second track sees Lattimore pair up with composer Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, whom she met while playing a festival in Marfa. The two set out to improvise a piece together and their innate ability to sculpt subtitles into aural sculptures has proven fruitful on the delicate “Borrego Springs”. Any release from Lattimore is worth the price of entry, and this one’s no exception, but its scant length really leaves the listener aching for more.

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Uranium Club – “All Of Them Naturals”

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Minneapolis’ Uranium Club knocked out a few tapes and singles that have flung them onto plenty of radars both in the US and the UK. They round up a couple of new tracks plus two from last year’s “Who Made The Man” single and “The Beat Sessions” tape for a new 12″ on Static Shock that’s full of the twisted wit (see the smirking ‘intro’) along with the crushed aluminum sound that’s found a festering home in the Midwest for years. They have the immediacy, aloof charms and highbrow/lowbrow double-slap that fueled Devo, MX-80, Pere Ubu or Dow Jones & The Industrials, and they’re pinning it to a festering and incredibly fun brand of jittery punk. Yeah its hits right in the critical sweet spot, ticking a lot of trigger boxes on the record nerd spectrum, but the band’s got a half ton of chops and makes highbrow punk feel just as much fun as bashing it out from the pelvis rather than the horn rim core of anxiety’s grip.

As mentioned several of the tracks here come from earlier releases, though the whole thing fits together seamlessly into a bent and savaged bit of art-punk that’s only real downside is that its too short. But brevity does seem to fit Uranium Club’s brand of mangled earworms, making this one of the most solid 12″s I’ve heard in quite a while. Here’s hoping there’s plenty more in the well, but since Uranium Club keep their movements close to the chest, we’ll just have to wait and see what develops.


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Nevada Greene / Scott Tuma – Ragged Hollow

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As the year grinds into its final chapter, and the forces of nature finally let us free of 2016, its time to start sifting through the bits that may have gotten lost in a year packed to several brims. This split between established experimental folker Scott Tuma and the more unknown Columbia, MS group Nevada Greene comes off a tour the two did together and gives each a sidelong stab at their craft. For their part, Nevada Greene show up with something that puts them on the radar of those who may have come for Tuma’s name on the banner. “Earthquake Hollow” is a cosmic shudder of radiant folk. The track pulls from a well of calmness, blending field recordings that evoke a mild summer wind with the band’s plaintive plucks. Tuma, for his part, finds his muse of drone in the spaces between folk’s decay. The track creeps along with the haunted hum of a funeral choir set to eulogize the slow death of a forest. Its a beautiful addition to Tuma’s fairly bursting catalog and the double shot makes this a worthwhile pickup over all. If you missed out, there’s still time to grab one.

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Tony Molina – Confront The Truth

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Tony Molina is the master of brevity. He’s got a jingle wringer’s knack for finding the pearl at the center of a song and leaving you with a nagging urge to repeat it over and over in your head like the chorus that never materializes. In that regard, he’s perfectly suited to the short format of the 7″, a medium that leaves only enough room for most to squeeze on a song or three, but for Molina provides an EP’s worth of space to spare. He uses that space wisely on Confront The Truth shaking off most of his power pop pedigree and going deep into the bittersweet soul inhabited by Elliott Smith and ’60s rainmakers like The Pretty Things or The Zombies. He dives into the EP with a scant introduction before letting the Autumnal vibes wash over the listener in hues of deep gold and crimson.

He adopts the tearful eyes and ennui laden soul with an almost astounding ease, considering his more elastic rock roots. These songs get in quick and burrow under the skin, digging at the sighing heart of pretty much any listener. Its hard, as usual with Tony, not to wish there were more of each track, but alas, that’s not his way. Molina knows just when to resolve a song and fade out of view, leaving a whiff of sadness and smeared eyeliner on the air. The hope with any great EP is that there’s perhaps more to come, but knowing Molina, it’ll either be another seismic shift or, as usual just end up leaving us wanting even more the second its done.


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Wet Lips / Cable Ties – Split

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One of the most exciting discoveries of the year for me has to be Melbourne’s Cable Ties. The band pits the taught energy of post-punk diggers like Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Toy Love against the boiling light banshee buoyancy of riot grrrl original front-women like Poly Styrene and Corin Tucker. They band hasn’t hit with a full-length yet (fingers crossed that’s coming soon) but they’ve got a proper split with fellow Melbourne trio Wet Lips. The AA single has both bands in fine form, not in any small part because both bands feature secret weapon Jenny McKechnie, whose vocals in Cable Ties are unmatched by most anyone stepping to the mic these days. Wet Lips hit hard on the first side, barreling and tumbling with the energy and bounce of a lost Undertones single rendered less carefree and a touch more urgent. The flip sees Cable Ties step to the plate yet again with a perfect snap of bass, rubbery and driving paired with the sneer and swagger of guitar lines that seem instantly familiar, yet undeniably vicious and beg for the volume knob to be red-lined every time. As mentioned, though, it’s McKechnie who topples the song over into a territory with more bite, belting each line like her very life depended on reaching the quiet kid in the corner of the club.

Both tracks are recorded by Paul Maybury, who has his hands behind the decks of the upcoming album from Cable Ties as well. Sounding good so far. This is only a taste to tide over, but its a good one.

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Pleasers “Such A Fool” / Whirlwind”

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Another short form release from Matthew Melton’s latest outfit, Pleasers and its as filled with bubblegum grit as the last two. Shifted further towards the garage than his recent works as Warm Soda, the double shot has that tough bar fight bravado and a ton of ’70s smog raining down on its amplifier stacks. Though, no matter how how many pairs of fingerless leather gloves Melton buys, he can’t shake the soft edge on his voice (try as he might here) that works so well with his power pop jammers. Pleasers surely beg some wistful remembrance for Bare Wires though, or perhaps a more refined version of his band Snake Flower II. Its tough, but with heart.

As for these two tracks themselves, the A-side is the definite winner here, its got more of a brass knuckle beat down on the guitars and Melton’s really going for the roundhouse kick theatrics on the vocals. The flip is serviceable, but nowhere near the kind of jukebox gem that the A-side volleys up. This one needs to be hip-checked onto the box right before Melton smashes a bottle and goes for the slash. Though to be fair in this analogy I kinda picture him working it up like Steve Gutenberg in Police Academy 2 (yeah I’m making Police Academy references now), you know the one where Mahoney goes undercover as a thug but lays it on way too thick. In the same way that Gutenberg can’t play a street tough, somehow I’m not buying Melton’s full commitment to the life of crime/dirtbag aesthetic either… but who am I to judge. The jam is juicy and somewhere a TransAm is begging for this on the tape deck.

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Massage – “Crying Out Loud / Under”

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Seems all that jangle in the South Hemi is bleeding its way northward and those with the right kind of ears are tuning in. L.A.’s Massage take heart in the sweet and dour strums of the Twerps/Boomgates vein of Aussie pop, while also taking a swerve past strains of the Sarah Records germ that may have planted a seed during guitarist Alex Naidus’ tenure in The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. In general though, as the band attests, they live in L.A. but their hearts are adrift in Australia. The A-side sways with three part harmonies and a pining lyric that’s delivered with wistful sweetness by keyboardist Gabi Ferrer. On the flip, things kick up to a faster pace with a bright shock of pounding riffs and some of those Sarah records notes floating though, weaving their vocal harmonies into bittersweet knots with the deft skill of Veronica Falls at their best. The EP was recorded by Papercuts’ Jason Quever, who’d knocked into the band practicing around the corner from his studio. The veteran engineer gives things a subtle sheen and sparkle that compliments the band’s effervescent pop. Its a pretty perfect double shot that’s bound to knock around your skull for days. Here’s hoping that this grows to a full length soon.




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Beautify Junkyards – Other Voices 08

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Lisbon’s Beautify Junkyards follow up last year’s psych-pop odyssey The Beast Shouted Love with a single for Ghost Box’s increasingly intriguing “Other Voices” series. The eighth installment sees the Portuguese band trading in their familiar brand of pastoral psych – burbling beats, whispery vocals, music box ambience – and its a perfect fit for Ghost Box’s layered roster. The single is strong on both sides, the A-side is a gorgeous sunset melt of plucks and swirling synths made for sliding off the remains of the day. The flip is by turns more nocturnal, a secret world of forest folk adorned with ornaments of subtle psychedelic nuance and a loping beat. Its easy to see how Ghost Box could pull this one close, and I’d be unsurprised to see a full length from the band arrive on the label sometime in the future. Its the kind of release that feels like it might already be in their ranks. Solid as ever, the label is still leading the pack in consistency of psychedelic oddities these days.




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