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

Rank / Xerox

Circling the complete opposite side of the spectrum from David West’s latest Rat Columns LP, which appeared here earlier in the month, Rank/Xerox dives into the claustrophobic chest pains of post-punk. This EP is a scant four songs but each of them are packed with a sense of paranoia and pain that paints a bleak picture of an artist running from some form of truth, be it internal or external. Rank/Xerox have, in the past, facilitated some of the darkest moments in West’s catalog, barring maybe his work with Total Control. After a rather long hiatus since the band’s 2011 LP, it’s good to see them storming back without any thoughts on softening their approach.

From the title-track opener to the lingering grind of “Deletion” the trio bends bone bitten anxiety into a nervy dance with plenty of threats hidden behind it’s teeth. Jangles to popped veins, West is one of the masters of what makes the underground of the ’80s still vital and worthwhile today. M.Y.T.H. is proof that small packages with no room for error can level just as hard as any full length out there.




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Meat Candy – Pursuit of Sounds

London’s Meat Candy don’t exactly exude Englishness. In fact their debut 12″ feels every bit like it should be coming out of L.A. at this particular moment in time. They’ve adopted the fuzzed delivery; psych nuances and classic touchstones that Wand, Mind Meld, Ty Segall, Meatbodies and the like have been digging their nails into over the past few years and they’ve done their homework well. They trend towards the spacier end of the spectrum, embracing a good keyboard breakdown amidst the rumble and froth, setting them floating into the sunstreaked ether. The two shot of a 12″ that they volley out on Dirty Melody is as polished a gem of psych smeared vision as you’re likely to hear this week, though part of me feels a good producer on their side could push their sound into an even higher plateau. However, this is entirely promising and poised to make me think a full album could elevate their game. I could easily see them embracing concept and drive like a young Secret Machines. They earn themselves a spot on the radar if nothing else.



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The Dogs – “Slash Your Face”

Not to be confused with French punks Dogs, this Motor City three piece conjured up hard-nailed proto-punk of the MC5/Stooges variety. The title track is a burner, wrestling with tempos and fueled by the energy of the room. The tracks were all recorded live at Mabuahy Gardens in San Francisco and it’s easy to see that the band felt at home on stage. This is one of those pieces of punk lore that’s been run in illegitimate circles more often than legitimate, but it’s nice to have a solid, official version circulating again. It’s full of sludge and shot from the hip, the way the best bits that crested into punk’s true age often were. NYC, London and San Francisco always get their due in punk circles but Detroit had its own brand of leather-burnt fury and it’s on full display in these three tracks.




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Cakefight – Cakefight 7″

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

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”

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”

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

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

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

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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