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

Steady Sun – “Truth Is A Needle / To Lash Around”

While the soul half of the label will always garner the attention, Daptone’s rock Imprint, Wick, has long set itself up as a discerning voice for the less obvious choices. Their latest single comes from New York’s Steady Sun, a psych trio that jettisons heaviness and bombast for an aqueous brand of glimmering psychedelia. A-side “Truth is a Needle’ floats in a rotoscope haze, allowing the listener to get dizzy on the motion and the fumes from a fresh coat of brightly lacquered paint, layered in curled patterns. Dipped in a bit of soul-glo and threaded through the warm kaleidoscope for good measure, its only matched by the flip that leans heavier into the rhythm, letting the watery psych take a touch of fuzzed creosote into the mix. Excited to see where they spread from here. Wick has a habit of laying out standalone singles, but if this is the beginning of an ambitious LP for the label, I’m gonna keep an ear cocked.

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The Clouds – “Tranquil”

I’ve gotta give credit to Optic Nerve, their campaign of jangle pop singles reissues has been admirable, especially in a time when the feasibility of making money on a 7” seems slim. Yet, they carry on bringing back releases from The House of Love, James Dean Driving Experience, Meat Whiplash, The Loft and more with an ear for some of the best of the era. Next they’re shining a light on Scottish one-offs The Clouds. The band issued this single on both 7” and 12”, adding an extra track to the larger format, though the the ON folks squeeze all three onto the smaller format here, making this a unique pressing aside from the previous Subway issues.

Despite only recording the one single, the three songs here are all fairly killer. The band was anchored by the songwriting pair of brothers, John and Bill Charnley and the title track actually became a bit of a hit, reaching up to number 13 on the UK indie chart in 1988. “Tranquil” is a bit more woozy than the b-sides, with jangles bordering on power pop. The flip sides find the band digging further into the charms of jangle n’ twee, with “Get Out of My Dream” actually feeling like the strongest track here. The addition of “Village Green” is a great touch, showing the band’s punchy side. All of the singles in this series have been worth nabbing, but this one is a notable gem among the bunch.



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Real Numbers – “Brighter Then”

Fittingly named Brighter Then, the new EP from Minneapolis’ Real Numbers polishes the band’s sound into the rosy reflection of Sarah records’ best, bringing to mind East River Pipe, The Field Mice, and quite honestly, Brighter. The band expands to a five piece on the new release and keys from Sophie Durbin really flesh out the band’s jangled ennui, giving songs a less sinewy feel than before. Along with the atmospherics, the band’s Eli Hansen, gives the record an emotional heft that blends well with a soft-focus production, smearing their songs in a heartsick glow. The EP doesn’t linger long, at just five songs, but while it sticks around Real Numbers make their presence felt. The hooks are more subtle than barbed, but over time they work their way into your brain just the same. I’ve been a fan of the band’s evolution over the past few years, with “Frank Infatuation” winding up a perennial favorite around here. The new batch proves they’ve still got plenty more surprises in store.

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Supreme Joy – “Julie b/w Sofa”

No matter how hard I try, there’s always a few gems that slip through the cracks and this lovely EP from Supreme Joy almost slid away in the tail end of last year. Boasting songwriting from Could Ghouls’ Ryan Wong and a bass assist from Empty Cellar head Arvel Hernandez, the two tracks are a nice waft of the Ghouls in the absence of new material from that camp. Though, to be fair Wong carves out a bit of his own cosmic country foxhole here and I quite like the shift. There’s a scent of the Ghouls’ jangle, coming across at their most Byrdsian, and the trio flesh this double-shot out with some nice lap steel from Wong and drums from his CG bandmate Alex Fleshman. The A-side is a laconic drift down calm waters. It’s hammock-swung and easy on the ears, with a nice tempo shift that keeps ya on yer toes. The flip spreads out a bit more and showcases what the band has to offer — letting that lap steel shine amid a leathered jangle and bittersweet vocals. Hoping this one isn’t just a lark and there’s more in the pipe, but even if this is all the joy they bring, its a pretty solid offering.



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Bons – “Ready Reckoner”

Fruits & Flowers have served as an evergreen fount of warbled pop and jangled musings, but now they’re offering up something a bit more curdled than their catalog has harbored in the past. The debut single from Bons brings together a trio of UK players who’ve all found their niche in bands that buzz a bit more than they jangle. Here, as Bons, the trio, augmented with the addition of Aimée Henderson on the closer, land in a tussle between post-punk that’s been dented to remove the sharp corners and an almost pastoral sound that’s begs a bit of comparison to artists on Jewelled Anteler (not coincidentally a precursor to F&F as a label). The band opens the single with their noisiest bout — the crumpled and smeared “Steiner,” but things quickly calm from there. The rest of the EP hovers between the hypnogogic storybook psychedelia of Ghost Box releases and the unsettling ease of something like Blithe Sons. This isn’t pop by any stretch, but its just as fond of climbing under the skin. The record has a hard to pin endearing quality, warm like woolens but just as itchy in the same way.


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Landing / Headroom – Split 12″

Man, thank all your gods for independent record stores, especially right now. Connecticut’s finest, Redscroll is giving the nod to two of the state’s best psych exports and giving them space on two sides of a split 12”. I’ve long been fans of both Landing and Headroom — kindred spirits in psychedelic float and noise welding. On their half, Landing, who were last seen making some cosmic ripples for El Paraiso Records, let their side stretch out, opening immediately into a 12+ minute monolith that’s built on atmospheric synth and rivulets of guitar that play well to their strengths, laying out a subtle stretch of Kosmiche quiver before they light the match and let things fry for “Seen”. On the flip, I’m always game for an outing from Kryssi Battalene’s Headroom. One of psych’s premiere players no matter what band she’s in, but when at the helm of her own psychedelic force, she’s the most potent.

Headroom’s side shows the band flexing their many sides — restrained mysticism, riffs rife with hot coal cauterization, and Battalene’s voice floating in the same ethereal float as Adrienne Snow entry just a few minutes before her. They build slowly though “Bend” before laying sonic waste to the listener with “Loose Garden,” tying things back into a euphoric bow with the closer, “House of Flowers.” The latter takes on a bit of a dreampop pacing, feeling like the culmination of a Galaxie 500 show gone very right. Both bands are CT at its finest and its great to see this pairing all around. LTD copies, so you know what to do.




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Color Green

This loose-knit EP hits just right for the country-psych leanings I’ve been feeling these past few years. Admittedly the hold’s only getting stronger this year. Maybe there’s a comfort effect in the genre somewhere, but the melancholy melt has taken root this summer for sure. There’s been a solid pocket for works that fall just this side of psych-folk, and just that side of cosmic country pulling out of the tailspin of the ‘10s and Color Green fit the form well. The EP is the work of Noah Kohll and Corey Madden who have an admitted debt to the drift of the Dead that’s been wafting through the rafters of late, but they also give this a wash through New Riders waters with some stops off at the kind of private press gold that birthed Relatively Clean Rivers. The twang sits high in the band’s repertoire, but the vocals are whispered on the wind and buried in a second-hand bootleg ripple of tape hiss that gives this a timeless feel, rather than the usual lo-fi associations dredged up with the noise floor of Teac turbulence.

Faded sun is in the band’s veins, dipping just below the mountains while the band peruses a wrinkled junk shop copy of the Whole Earth Catalog. It’s just languid enough to eschew proper jam territory, but sprawled out so much that you know they’re itching to take it that direction on stage. The release is out via small Toronto imprint Maximum Exposure who’ve brought out some great small releases from RSTB faves Young Guv and James Matthew VII in the past few years. The site mentions this being an early release, so no word on whether that means a digital drop before a physical but no matter what format this one lands on your speakers, it’s worth it. There’s a perfect end of summer feeling to the songs — amiable, easy, and drifting on a wind that’s got change on its mind. Keep the band in your watchlist for good things to come. If the early James Matthew tracks give an indication where these EPs can lead, you’re gonna want to see what the band does when they get some proper sine on ‘em.




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R. McClure & Tall Shadows – “What Have I Done / Me and My Hangover”

More goodness from our neighbors to the North today, with a single from R. McClure & Tall Shadows. McClure wades into the cosmic end of the country spectrum, layering his twang with a gauzy glare that settles onto the speakers in folds of pink fog. The A-side is subdued and nestled into a hammock of harmonies that rock in the breeze. Like his fellow Canadian crooner James Matthew VII he’s plucking some fruit from the trees of Beachwood Sparks, finding that bliss between the bars and its always good to see folks picking at that lineage. The b-side kicks up the tempo and backs off the fog machines just a touch, but there’s still a pillowed glow around the track. The flip might actually be the winner here, as it balances the soft-touch with a heavier dose of slide guitar glee, still scraping the cosmos, but with a bit of dirt caught in its boots. From the sounds of this and a few other scattered tracks from an upcoming LP on Factotum, McClure marks himself as one to watch.




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Ty Segall & Cory Hanson – “She’s A Beam b/w Milk Bird Flyer”

An excellent collab up this week from Ty Segall and Wand’s Cory Hanson. The pair have had intertwined paths in the past with Segall releasing Wand’s first LP on his own God? Imprint and the pair kicking around the same L.A. psychedelic headspace. The songs were recorded five years back but they’ve held them close to the vest for some time. This week all sales of the single go to the L.A. Black Lives Matter efforts, so pick it up asap for maximum impact. The songs tackle the turbulent and soft-psych sides of the both artists’ endeavors. “She’s a Beam” has a sloow build before exploding into psychedelic sci-fi light. I’m partial to the flip, myself though. While the a-side is full of blinding flash, “Milk Bird Flyer” has a verdant, psych-folk feel to it, with Segall’s rather documented love of T. Rex coming through nicely. Soft guitar rambles are accented with refracted beams of guitar glitter that feels familiar, yet still thrilling each time they sprint into that sunburst sound. Fans of either artist will find plenty to love here.



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The Reds, Pinks and Purples – “I Should Have Helped You”

Some subtle news slips out over the long weekend that there’s a new 7” from The Reds, Pinks and Purples coming on EU label Discreet Music. The official follow-up to the band’s last LP, Anxiety Art culls four tracks from Glenn and co.’s prolific Bandcamp run over the last few months. In addition to the title track, “I Should Have Helped You,” the record picks up official version of “Unrequited,” “Keep Your Secrets Close,” and “They Only Wanted Your Soul.” As with the last album the band excels at mining the Sarah Records heyday with songs that tip both jangled and jilted – catchy but with a true melancholy heat. There’s not a cut on here worth missing but check out the autumn sighs that abound on the EP closer below. The song’s got Glenn’s earnest delivery humming and close enough to feel breath in the speakers, but its heard to push down the lump in the throat that forms over these two and a half minutes. Seems there should be some copies stateside soon, but there’s a link below for the import as well. Along with his Telephone Numbers output, these are some of Donaldson’s most intimate, but aching songs and its worth keeping an ear on them to see what’s popping up next.




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