December 5, 2011

Best of 2011: Vinyl Singles & EPs

Denney & The Jets :: "Killin' Machine" 7"
For some reason the good folks at Infinity Cat pressed the two sides of this 7" at two different speeds: 45 and 33 1/3 RPM. I'm guessing it was an issue of space and track time, but for the vinyl debut of Denney & The Jets' scuzzy country and blues songs, it's a rather appropriately fitting blemish.
Denney & The Jets - "Pain Pills" 

Bare Wires :: "Wanna Fight" 7"
Castleface Records' fun Group Flex compilation features an abundance of treasures—from the colored flexi disc pressings to the inspired artwork of William Keihn—but no track quites hits like the snappy glam-punk number "Wanna Fight" by Oakland's Bare Wires.
Bare Wire - "Wanna Fight"

Earth Girl Helen Brown :: Story of An Earth Girl EP
One of the more inspired and silly leftovers from Sonny Smith's 100 Recods project, Earth Girl Helen Brown features Smith and The Sandwitches' Heidi Alexander riffing on everything from dating martians, having hoses for noses, and giving birth to "50 space twerps." Forest Family pressed this EP onto 10" vinyl.
Earth Girl Helen Brown - "Hit After Hit"

Eternal Summers :: Prisoner 12" EP
Another gem from the folks at Forest Family, the 12" EP Prisoner showcases Roanoke, Virginia's Eternal Summers at their infectious best, laying down vigorously pounding rhythms with quick slices of guitar and vocal melodies you just can't shake. This EP has a little bit of everything, from the steaming pop-punk title-track to the slower Luna-recalling dream-pop standout "Pure Affection."
Eternal Summers - "Prisoner" 

Futurebirds :: Via Flamina EP
The Futurebirds make the grand kind of music that's meant to waft through giant outdoor venues. Nestled between a raw and wild ramshackle sound and sweeter moments of delicate harmony where soaring vocals and slide guitar reach for the sky, this band is well on its way to becoming something both truly unique and great.
Futurebirds - "Wild Heart"

PUJOL :: Nasty, Brutish, and Short
Nashville-based musician Daniel Pujol churns out a handful of stellar garage-born pop-punk gems onto this 10" EP, his first with Saddle Creek. There's hints of both the power-pop smarts of The Nerves and the sardonic recklessness of The Replacements here, which creates an irresistible and highly combustible concoction: blazing-hot honey-glazed hooks that feel as if they could implode and fall apart at any given moment.
PUJOL - "Mayday"

Hundred Visions :: "Last Cab From Tunis" 7"
Austin's Hundred Visions are a juggernaut of rollicking drums, deeply rhythmic guitars, and wailing vocals. Over the course of the debut three-song "Last Cab From Tunis" 7", it's easy to fall under the spell of the band's ferocious post-punk fuzz, Southern-brewed funk, and playful sprinklings of cowbell and handclaps. Hundred Visions' forthcoming full-length debut is easily one of my most anticipated releases.
Hundred Visions - "Last Cab From Tunis"

FIDLAR write and record some of the more frenetic and energetic punk-laced rock I'ver heard in quite some time with the band's attitude and personality literally spilling over out of every verse. FIDLAR mottos like "fuck it dog, life's a risk" and lyrics such as "all methed up watch the television static" aren't exactly noble nor complex, but with the right beat and melody, they're shockingly contagious and addictive.
FIDLAR - "Wake Bake Skate"

Beach Fossils :: What A Pleasure EP
The Beach Fossils clean-toned guitar pop reaches new heights on their  What A Pleasure EP with heavily rhythmic melodic lines that seemingly fly without effort over the band's driving beats, as if perfectly preformed snippets of pop. It's a deceptive and subtle music, at home both in the back and foreground, that delivers its fiercest punches with intoxicating hits of repetition and simplicity.
Beach Fossils - "Out In The Way"

Nick Waterhouse :: "Is That Clear" 7"
The latest 7" from San Francisco's vintage soul purveyor Nick Waterhouse works like a time machine with Waterhouse's husky vocal delivery, fiery guitar play, and bursts of brass from his backing band the Turn-Keys transporting the listener to a smokey and sweaty destination where the house band is on fire and everyone's on the dance floor shaking hips and burning rubber.

Glass Candy :: Warm In The Winter 12"
As the title suggets, the stunning "Warm In The Winter" 12" single from Portland's glam-fueled disco duo Glass Candy is a sun-drenched relief designed for the coming cold winter months. Ida No's lyrics and singing, at turns joyously blissful and talk-sing hilarious, pair perfectly here with Johnny Jewel's cranked-out synth work and humming bass lines. It's the band's best single to date.

Bleached's 7" Trifecta
Sisters Jennifer and Jessie Clavin put out three 7"s on three different labels in 2011 as Bleached, and considering how good each recording is, I'm not sure the band ever needs to get into the LP business. From the strummy classic punk feel of the Francis EP to The Misfits and Ramones-recalling Carter 7" and the catchy-as-hell "Searching Through The Past," Bleached appear to be on one seriously productive musical bender. Even the B-sides here are classics (see "You Take Time").
Bleached - "Think of You"
Bleached - "Searching Through The Past"

Allah-Las - "Catmaran" 7"
The Allah-Las recorded this two-track 7" with Nick Waterhouse specifically for vinyl, and you can hear that meticulous production the instant the needle hits the groove: simply put, few records pressed today sound this good. From the gritty surf guitar work to the grooving bass line, hip-twisting percussion, and rawly recorded vocals, this is analog recorded music meant for analog playback. From the musicianship and song-craft to the recording and pressing, this is a perfectly executed single—a classic.
Allah-Las - "Catamaran"

Mika Miko


  1. super savory, dude. well done.

  2. love bleached! sexy covers too.

  3. You guys nailed it with Allah-Las and Nick Waterhouse.

  4. Can't agree more re: Allah-Las. Dudes are about to break!

  5. Nice :)
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