Friday, February 28, 2014

Archers of Loaf / Monsterland - Inside Dave's Garage - Volume 3 (Radiopaque, 1994)

Archers of Loaf / Monsterland
Inside Dave's Garage - Volume 3

Rating: 7 sensitive tinklings out of 10

Archers of Loaf have side A on this split, recorded for and/or at some DC public radio station.  They play a weird, shimmery version of "Telepathic Traffic" where the volume of the guitar seems to vacillate from one speaker to the next for large chunks of the song.  I thought something was wrong the first time I heard it.  The B side is Monsterland, a band I never knew anything about but this song is...fine.  Typical indie rock of the era. 

Bricks - The Getting Wet Part 7'' (Merge, 1992)

The Getting Wet Part 7''

Rating: 7.5 backpacks with lyme disease out of 10

Bricks was a thing Mac McCaughan did either right before or during the early part of Superchunk, and I'm too lazy to research out the exact dates.  There was also a dude from Tsunami working with him, but no one remembers Tsunami and I barely remember them.  The very first Merge release was a Bricks cassette, for those that like pointless trivia.  Both of the songs found here, as well as anything else Bricks ever released, got compiled into a single compilation called "A Microphone and a Box of Dirt" back in the early nineties.  I've owned this record for-fucking-ever.  Bricks was never as good as Superchunk to me, but I'm enough of a fanboy that I'll listen to anything Mac releases.  IT was true twenty plus years ago when I bought this, and it's still true today.  On translucent orange vinyl. 

Gaye Blades - I'd Brave Anything for You 7'' (Rob's House / Die Slaughterhaus, 2008)

Gaye Blades
I'd Brave Anything for You 7''
Rob's House / Die Slaughterhaus

Rating: 7 afterthought conversations out of 10

I pretty much bought this Gaye Blades seven inch solely because Gentleman Jesse plays on it.  I love me some Gentleman Jesse.  There are four songs total here, and while not on the catchiness level of Jesse it's still pretty damn enjoyable.  Scuzzy garage pop is the name of the game, nothing is outstanding but nothing sucks either.  I'll take it. 

The King Khan & BBQ Show - Animal Party 7'' (Fat Possum, 2008)

The King Khan & BBQ Show
Animal Party 7''
Fat Possum

Rating: 6.5 lunch hours out of 10

Maybe not the greatest King Khan & BBQ Show songs, but some of their best packaging to be sure - it comes with a coloring book!  Title track "Animal Party" is also available on their full-length "Invisible Girl," and it might be my least favorite on the record to be honest.  Definitely enjoy side B "God of Raisins" the most of the par of tracks. 

Butterglory - Alexander Bends 7'' (Merge, 1992)

Alexander Bends 7''

Rating: 7.5 swim trunks out of 10

There are five songs on this Butterglory seven inch, and the whole thing plays at 45rpm.  What I'm saying is these are some short songs, none of them better than the title track - possibly Butterglory's best song.  Very catchy.  Frontman Matt Suggs would go on to release a couple of great solo records on Merge in the early 2000s. 

Simple Minds - Don't You (Forget About Me) 7'' (A&M, 1985)

Simple Minds
Don't You (Forget About Me) 7''

Rating: 7 surf circles out of 10

I've always loved this song by Simple Minds, solely because of "The Breakfast Club."  So it's probably fitting my version of the single is from that movie.  Just cause some shit is cheesy doesn't mean it can't be enjoyable.  

Still never listened to the b-side to my knowledge.  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Prince - Let's Go Crazy 7'' (Warner Bros, 1984)

Let's Go Crazy 7''
Warner Bros

Rating: 10 flipped coins out of 10

The rare single for a hit song where the b-side is better than the hit song.  In this case, that b-side is "Erotic City."  You never know what sort of crazy shit Prince is gonna pull off though. 

To quote myself from another source, I blame the film "PCU" for making me think "Erotic City" was a originally Parliament Funkadelic song, despite my owning the this single the song originally appears on for years and years and years. DAMN YOU PIVEN!

Crusaders of Love - She's a Rebel 7'' (Die Slaughterhaus, 2008)

Crusaders of Love
She's a Rebel 7''
Die Slaughterhaus

Rating: 7 old crawlers out of 10

This Crusaders of Love seven inch isn't nearly as good as their debut full-length "Never Grow Up," but even middling songs by these French popsters are a step up over most releases.  The title track appears to be unique to this release, while the b-side "If You Want To Try" is on the previously mentioned debut record.  Their music isn't quite power pop, but it's close enough for me. 

Seaweed - Deertrap 7'' (K, 1990)

Deertrap 7''

Rating: 6 prescription pads out of 10

Not the best songs by Seaweed, but still worth giving a shot.  Both the title track and the b-side "Carousel" would also be included in the self-titled compilation the band put out this same year, collection this seven inch and a couple of others into one locale.  But since I don't have that comp, this smaller player will have to do. 

Musical Youth - Pass the Dutchie 7'' (MCA, 1982)

Musical Youth
Pass the Dutchie 7''

Rating: unrateable. 

I love to sing this Musical Youth song to my wife, because she bloody hates it with a passion.  And for the reason alone this will remain in my collection forever.  It is a stupid song though. 

Eddie Murphy - Party All the Time 7'' (Columbia, 1985)

Eddie Murphy
Party All the Time 7''

Rating: ? creaky doors out of 10

I'm certain I bought this Eddie Murphy single as a joke, and I used to throw it into DJ sets just for shits and giggles.  What isn't so clear is I may now genuinely like the song.  Is there a musical version of Stockholm Syndrome?  The b-side is the always popular instrumental version. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Ed Schrader's Music Beat - Sermon 7'' (Load, 2011)

Ed Schrader's Music Beat
Sermon 7''

Rating: 8.5 prowling cats out of 10

I love all things Ed Schrader's Music Beat, even things that are made up of two songs that I already own on other things.  In this case, both the title track (maybe my favorite song of theirs) and the flip "Rats" are also on their full-length "Jazz Mind."  They don't have a lot of songs so this repetition is not surprising, but what songs they do have are pure gold. 

Capsize 7 - Column Shifter 7'' (Get-Go, 1995)

Capsize 7
Column Shifter 7''

Rating: 9 hot feet out of 10

I might already have both of these Capsize 7 songs in other locations (the title track opens their album "Mephisto", and side B song "Clinger" is also on the "Recline and Go" EP), but as with all things this band released I'm still stoked to own it.  Love both of these tracks, such an incredibly underrated act. 

Velocity Girl - Crazy Town 7'' (Sub Pop, 1992)

Velocity Girl
Crazy Town 7''
Sub Pop

Rating: 7 drive-in theaters out of 10

This Velocity Girl single is pretty typical of those days - the side A is the title track taken from an album either coming out or already out (in this case, 1993's "Copacetic"), and the flip has an unreleased track (in this case - "Creepy").  I was obsessive about Velocity Girl for a good chunk of my college years, and not only because I was in love with singer Sarah Shannon.  They toured a lot and were always great live.  I haven't listened to them a ton over the last few years, but listening to this made me instantly nostalgic for those simple college years they represent.  Both great songs, by the way, nostalgia or not.  On green translucent vinyl. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Les Savy Fav - Obsessed with the Excess 7'' (Chunklet, 2003)

Les Savy Fav
Obsessed with the Excess 7''

Rating: 9 monetized beauties out of 10

This is an interesting Les Savy Fav seven inch released by great magazine Chunklet - both the title track and the b-side "Hello Halo, Goodbye Glands" have David Cross performing comical gags before and after each song.  The songs are also featured on the "Inches" comp, but not the comedy portion of the seven inch.  The tracks are great since I forgot to mention that - two of my favorite Fav recordings.  Vintage weirdo art punk by them. 

Oranger - Circle Gets the Square 7'' (Amazing Grease, 1998)

Circle Gets the Square 7''
Amazing Grease

Rating: 7.5 weekly episodes out of 10

I honestly never paid attention to Oranger until I was given a copy of what turned out to be their final record "New Comes and Goes" to review.  Which was frankly stupid on my part, as they play well crafted pop songs.  The sort of pop you would expect out of a modern band that clearly listened to a lot of Cheap Trick.  There are three tracks total here, all of them keepers.  All of the songs can also be found on their "Shutdown the Sun" album, but I'm digging having them on this short player too. 

The Hentchmen - Red Hot Car 7'' (Hillsdale, 1995)

The Hentchmen
Red Hot Car 7''

Rating: 7 hand holders out of 10

I would have commented that I have no idea where this Hentchmen seven inch came from, and that would have been true until I noticed a ticket stub in the sleeve - apparently they opened for Man...Or Astro-Man who I saw a ton of times during college in the nineties.  Pretty straight-forward garage rock, but good, owing a lot to the Oblivians to be sure.  The title track makes up side A and two instrumentals fill side B, with no stinkers to be found. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Best Coast - Fade Away (Jewel City, 2013)

Best Coast
Fade Away
Jewel City

Rating: 8 Mexican chairs out of 10

It seems like the cool kids are kinda down on Best Coast, or maybe they were never into them in the first place.  Regardless, I'm fully on the bandwagon as of "Fade Away," if I wasn't already.  In a just and fair world this is the exact sort of pop music that should be dominating commercial airwaves, and probably would have been if it came out in 1983 instead of 2013.  The first three songs on this release ("This Lonely Morning," "I Wanna Know," and "Who Have I Become?") are probably the best things the band has ever written, instantly worming their way into your brain.  And the rest of the record is pretty damn decent too.  This would have definitely been a contender on my year-end list had I heard it in time. 

As a side note, I'm not sure whether this record counts as a long EP or a short full-length.  There are only seven songs, but it's nearly thirty minutes long.  This is the sort of shit that keeps me up at night. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Madonna - Lucky Star 7'' (Sire, 1983)

Lucky Star 7''

Rating: 8 tweeter followers out of 10

This is still my favorite Madonna song.  That may sound like I'm not saying much, and for sure most of her catalog is pretty blah, but I have always loved this track.  I've never even listened to the b-side.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Charmless - Action 7'' (Isota, 2003)

Action 7''

Rating: 7 glue sniffers out of 10

Charmless were an indie pop (with just a slight tinge of both punk and emo) band out of SF that existed in the early-to-mid 2000s.  They wrote some catchy songs, played some poorly attended shows, and outside of the fandom of a couple of my friends kinda disappeared off the map (note: the are apparently back together according to the above link - this was news to me).  They were one of those bands I could have totally seen getting popular but never seemed to catch on with the cool kids.  Anyways, both the title track here and the flip "Hot Flower" are good songs, though not my favorites the band released.  The record is on really deep clear purple vinyl, and the packaging is screened on this great heavy cardboard - presentation gets the highest rating possible. 

Q-Tip - Gettin' Up 7'' (Universal Motown, 2008)

Gettin' Up 7''
Universal Motown

Rating: 6.5 sinner lovers out of 10

Despite a lifelong love of Tribe Called Quest, I've never gotten too excited about the solo work of Q-Tip.  I think I picked this up as a promo at Schoolkids or some other local record store, because I definitely don't remember buying it.  Both the title track and the b-side "Move" (produced by J Dilla, for the record) are from his album "The Renaissance," so it would make sense this is a promo album.  It's a totally fine record, two good hip hop songs, though nothing even close to as inspiring as Tribe in their prime. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Archers of Loaf - The Loaf's Revenge 7'' (Alias, 1993)

Archers of Loaf
The Loaf's Revenge 7''

Rating: 10 gum ladders out of 10

I'm guessing when most people think about Archers of Loaf, the first thing into their head is probably "Web in Front."  To call it one of the anthems of the local scene would be an understatement.  In my opinion, it's one of the best songs ever written.  I've literally heard it thousands and thousands of times over the last twenty years, and I still get as giddy as a teenager every time I hear those first few notes of the track.  It is musical perfection. 

That song along with lesser-known track "Bathroom" make up side A of this record, with "Tatyana" the sole inhabitant of side B.  All the songs can also be found on the comp "The Speed of Cattle" and "Web in Front" is also on the band's debut "Icky Mettle." 

Mineral - February 7'' (Caulfield, 1998)

February 7''

Rating: 7.5 piles of bat guano out of 10

Oh emo music, how you filled my angst-ridden heart in the nineties, and no one was angstier than Mineral.  Mind you, I will still gladly listen to this music not just for the sake of nostalgia, but because emo from that era was a much different beast than it turned into five or ten years later.  Both the title track and the b-side "MD" appear to be exclusive to this record, and I'm down for both tunes. 

Mt. Egypt - Battening the Hatches 7'' (Record Collection, 2006)

Mt. Egypt
Battening the Hatches 7''
Record Collection

Rating: 7 Somali tigers out of 10

Mt. Egypt aka Travis Graves was a skateboard dude and he recorded this record with some other skateboard dudes (Brad Staba!).  This information is probably only relevant to you if you skateboard.  Otherwise, it's better-than-average singer-songwriter fare crossed with indie rock, catchy and enjoyable to be sure though clearly not groundbreaking.  First track "NYC" is also on the full-length by the same name as this seven inch.  The b-side track "If a Tiger Comes Down" appears to only be here. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pipe - Yr. Soaking In It 7'' (Amish, 1994)

Yr. Soaking In It 7''

Rating: 10 weird experiments out of 10

I love all things Pipe, but just know that the title track of this record is the single best Pipe song of all time forever and ever, amen. It is catchy punk perfection.  Don't argue with me when I'm spouting truths.  The b-side is cover of the Replacement's "Trouble," and that is damn good too.  Pipe forever!

Codeine - Pickup Song 7'' (Numero, 2012)

Pickup Song 7''

Rating: 7 syndication deals out of 10

This Codeine single was only available to those who pre-ordered their box set "When I See the Sun," and Numero smartly designed it to look like an Sub Pop Single Club release.  Both tracks on this, "Pickup Song" and "New Year's" are live.  To be perfectly honest if I want to hear either of these songs I'd probably just put on the full-length record they are from ("Frigid Stars"), but it's still a cool thing to have.  

Noise Addict - The Frail Girl 7'' (Grand Royal, 1995)

Noise Addict
The Frail Girl 7''
Grand Royal

Rating: 7 overdone chickens out of 10

Noise Addict had a little buzz back in the nineties, but Ben Lee and his pubescent noisy pop band seem to have been forgotten.  Both the title track and the first song on the second side, "Poison 1080," are also found on the band's debut full-length "Meet the Real You."  The only exclusive track to this release is "Spritz," a decent enough track but not necessarily worth hunting this down over.  For the most part the Noise Addict songs still hold up though, still catchy tracks. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Polvo - Tilebreaker 7'' (Merge, 1993)

Tilebreaker 7''

Rating: 10 bizarre guitars out of 10

Polvo are one of my top ten favorite bands of all time but my seven inch collection of them is very light, this being the only entry.  All three songs are a gem - the title track is also on the excellent "Today's Active Lifestyles" record, a song that I've had memorized for half of my life.  The other side has two short tracks, "The Chameloeon" and "Tiara Fetish," which as far as I know are only available here.  That alone makes this a must-have, and it can be had for a decent price.  Not sure why Merge doesn't at least have the songs for sale, let's get it together label. 

Pavement - Stereo 7'' (Domino, 1997)

Stereo 7''

Rating: 8 aborted jokes out of 10

The lead song and lead single from "Brighten the Corners," the fourth full-length that Pavement came out with.  Good record, good song, very polished in that way the last couple of Pavement records were.  The flip side is an instrumental track called "Birds in the Majic Industry" that is just fine, not really anything worth burning brain cells or finger types over. 

Destroyer / Wye Oak - Split 7'' (Merge, 2008)

Destroyer / Wye Oak
Split 7''

Rating: 6.5 robot babies out of 10

This was apparently an exclusive release by Merge for Record Store Day back in 2008, back before RSD became the monster it is today.  The first side is an exclusive track from Destroyer, "Madame Butterflies" - not Dan Bejar's best work but a decent enough song.  Most musicians would probably sacrifice a nut to even put out music as good as a mediocre Destroyer song.  I actually prefer the b-side of these two, Baltimore's Wye Oak with "Prodigy" - it's a slow jam that doesn't really show off the band's trademark (that being Jenn Wasner's guitar chops), but it's a catchy song all the same.  Not a must-have record, but certainly worth a rescue from the bargain bin that I got it from. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Various Artists - Island Records Presents: Ska - 40 Original Ska Classics (Island, 2013)

Various Artists
Island Records Presents: Ska - 40 Original Ska Classics

Rating: 8 artfully prepared dishes out of 10

I'm a sucker for any compilation of first wave ska, it is one of my very favorite genres in the whole wide world.  Sadly, once you get past this first wave there isn't a whole lot to love about ska, but that is a discussion for another day.  This comp has hitmakers up and down the track list - Desmond Dekker, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Don Drummond, the Maytals, the Skatellites, and tons more.  Forty tracks in all, and none more important than one of my all-time favorites "Lucky Seven" by Baba Brooks and His Band.  I've seriously spent such a huge chunk of my life with this song stuck in my head I'm afraid my brain might collapse if I ever forgot it.  

Shudder to Think - Hit Liquor 7'' (Dischord, 1992)

Shudder to Think
Hit Liquor 7''

Rating: 10 late elections out of 10

Two stellar selections from the fantastic Shudder to Think - "Hit Liquor" and "No Room 9, Kentucky."  The second is one of my very favorite songs the band ever released.  Sure, both tracks on their nearly flawless album "Pony Express Record," but I'm still glad to own them in this format as well.  On a side note, I met singer Craig Wedren at one of his post-StT solo shows and talked to him for a while - he couldn't have been any nicer.  Which makes me love him and this band even more. 

The Shins, Ramsey Kearney & Tim Oehmsen, and Denison Witmer - Split 7'' (Devil in the Woods, 2004)

The Shins, Ramsey Kearney & Tim Oehmsen, and Denison Witmer
Split 7''
Devil in the Woods

Rating: 7 life goals out of 10

I honestly didn't know I had this.  I used to write show reviews for a friend that worked for Devil in the Woods, so I can only assume she gave it to me and I filed it away and forgot about it. The Shins track, "The Gloating Sun," is one of their oldest songs and was also featured on their "When I Goose Step" seven inch; from my favorite era of the Shins to be sure.  The other track on side A is "You're Not the Only One" by Tim Oehmsen with Ramsey Kearney - sort of an old school sounding country track, I want to say it is part of that whole song-poem thing that got talked about a lot a decade or so back.  The B-side is just one track, Denison Witmer performing "Worry All the Time" - mellow, morose folk, but more enjoyable than that description sounds.   A nice find in the collection, it was like getting a new record. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Raymond Brake - New Wave Dream 7'' (Simple Machines, 1995)

The Raymond Brake
New Wave Dream 7''
Simple Machines

Rating: 10 big games out of 10

This isn't just my favorite Raymond Brake release, it's one of my very favorite seven inches I own. I don't think a DJ night ever existed when I didn't play one or both sides of this record.  This band had the most perfect blend of pop and the discordant Polvo-style indie rock that was so popular in the mid-nineties.  Both of these songs are incredibly catchy, but the b-side "Secret" is an all-time favorite song that has been stuck in my head for nearly twenty years.  Andy Cabic, front man for this group, would go on to form Vetiver.  He once told me there is an entire unreleased Raymond Brake album out there somewhere.  You don't know how much I want this music into my earholes. 

Guided By Voices - Plantations of Pale Pink 7'' (Matador, 1996)

Guided By Voices
Plantations of Pale Pink 7''

Rating: 8 right wing conspiracies out of 10

This is from the golden era of GBV and my nostalgia forces me to love it, but it's not the band's strongest work from that era.  Six songs, three on each side, and not really a star in the bunch but no stinkers either.  Typical Pollard pop from start to finish.  I don't really have anything else to say about this. 

Terry Malts - I'm Neurotic 7'' (Slumberland, 2011)

Terry Malts
I'm Neurotic 7''

Rating: 7.5 lunar rovers out of 10

Two of the three songs on this single by the Terry Malts can also be found on their excellent full-length "Killing Time," but this is still worth owning.  Mostly because the remaining song, "Distracted," isn't found elsewhere, and it's a very enjoyable - more of the Buzzcocks-meets-Fugazi sound that they excel at.  But also because I just really dig the packaging and design and the sleeve is on some super heavy-duty cardboard that I wish more singles used. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Beachwood Sparks - Desert Skies (Alive, 2013)

Beachwood Sparks
Desert Skies

Rating: 7 ears of runny corn out of 10

So this is technically the debut of Beachwood Sparks, recorded in 1997, but not getting released until late 2013.  I've listened to this band a lot (especially their album "Once We Were Trees"), and it does have the feel of a band still figuring out their direction.  But that's not to say there aren't gems here - album opener and title song "Desert Skies" is an instant favorite by the band, sounding like a slightly twangy Teenage Fanclub track.  There is a second, slightly different version of this song towards the end of the record, but the version that opens the record is the winner.  "Canyon Ride" is also worth a mention, a mellow jam that caught my ear.  The rest of the album is perfectly listenable, but it mostly makes me want to bust out "Trees" and listen to it obsessively for a few days. 

Hiss Golden Messenger - Jesus Shot Me in the Head 7'' (Tompkins Square, 2012)

Hiss Golden Messenger
Jesus Shot Me in the Head 7''
Tompkins Square

Rating: 6.5 cream peaches out of 10

This single features a great song from the Hiss Golden Messenger album "Poor Moon." Twangy folk I guess you'd call it, Michael Taylor (formerly of Court & Spark) has an amazing voice that always holds my attention.  And then there is side b - a dub version of the title track.  Yes, dub.  I'm not sure who was asking for a dub version of this, but you've got it if you want it.  I don't particularly want it.  I'd rather just keep listening to the original title track. 

Chune & Garden Variety - Split 7'' (Headhunter, 1995)

Chune & Garden Variety
Split 7''

Rating: 7 office products out of 10

The front of this record is Chune - I don't know anything about Chune.  Their track "Duel Rectums" isn't as funny as the title, but very much fits in that mid-nineties emo mold.  It had a couple of moments that reminded me a little of Strictly Ballroom.  The Garden Variety track on the other side, "Stickler," is awesome - but I already knew that because it's on their "Knocking the Skill Level" album that I have memorized.  They kind of do a post-hardcore Fugazi-ish type of thing.  It's a little different, but that comparison is the right ballpark.  Great, very underrated band. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Small 23 & Pipe - Split 7'' (Matt Label, 1992)

Small 23 & Pipe
Split 7''
Matt Label

Rating: 10 free love out of 10

Musically I'm not sure the combination of Small 23 and Pipe makes much sense, but knowing they shared members certainly clears things up.  This record was from very early in the careers of both bands, and both tracks are among the best the band ever released.  Small perform "Chuck's Buzz" here, also available on the "Cakes" EP.  Note - lead vocals on this track are by Eric Bachmann, just before he left the band to form Archers of Loaf.  The Pipe track "Submariner" was also on their "Ball Peen" EP.  Ripping fuckin' song, like everything else they ever released. 

Subramanium & U.S. Christmas - Split 7'' (Wrest, 2006)

Subramanium & U.S. Christmas
Split 7''

Rating: 7 missed connections out of 10

The first side here is Subramanium, a band I know nothing about and any googling just brings up some Hindi/Yogi nonsense.  I guess they have a doomy/black metal thing going on, not bad but nothing worth composing a long form Civil War-style letter over.  The reason I have this is the other side, the U.S. Christmas track "Queen of the World."  Good song, a driving rocker - it had been a while since I had listened to this old version of the band when they were putting the really heavy Hawkwind-style synths over everything (only frontman & guitarist Nate Hall is still with the band as of the writing of this missive). 

Elvis Costello - Alison 7'' (Columbia, 1977)

Elvis Costello
Alison 7''

Rating: 10 busy chiropractors out of 10

My favorite Elvis Costello song.  Or maybe my favorite Elvis Costello song he wrote, as I love "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?" just as much but Nick Lowe wrote that one and performed it with Brinsley Schwartz before Costello got to it.  The b-side is a good song, a live version of "Miracle Man," but let's be honest you're just going to listen to the a-side over and over so this track doesn't matter.