Category Archives: Singles Scene

Tim Hinely: The Singles Scene X

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File under “rock with guitars.” LOTS of guitars. Oh, and lots of colored wax, to boot. Vinyl? Yeah, we’ve had a few… Above: Hulaboy

BY TIM HINELY

You did it…you people dared me. You never thought I’d turn it up to 11, did you (on the 10th singles column, no less)? Every other column I’d reviewed 10 singles and this time I upped it to 11. And then the editor upped it even more with a couple of picks of his own. You people know better than to dare me. (Or us.) If you say I can’t or won’t do it, trust me, I will. This column is for every one of you (and you all owe me dinner, by the way).

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Arts & Leisure

“Weekend” b/w “Over You” (9 out of 10 stars)

(Test Pattern Records) www.testpatternrecords.com

I loved this band’s full-length (former members of Baby Grand, woot woot!) and now here’s two more songs to scratch that pop itch that rarely gets scratched these days. “Weekend” is damn near perfect, all cooing and sighing while “Over You” adds a little bit more grit to the proceedings, but not too much. Buy, Buy BUY.

 

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Boyracer

“Pete Shelley” plus 3 (8 out of 10 stars)

(Emotional Response) www.emotional-response-recs.bandcamp.com

Just when you think that Stew and Jen have retired Boyracer for good they come roaring back with 4 more songs that were recorded in locales such as Arizona, Sweden and the UK. This 7” starts off with a song called “Pete Shelley” (you can never go wrong with that name) and ends with the Jen-written “Jump” (not a Van Halen cover, you freaks) and two more cuts that are worthy of your time. Don’t pull a hamstring listening.

 

Feedtime 45

feedtime

“Flatiron” b/w “Stick Up Jack” (10)

Sub Pop (www.subpop.com)

I’m not trying to trump any of Dr. Hinely’s “8” and “9” star ratings by deploying an unheard-of “10” here—the record’s genuinely that awesome. It’s everything a classic single should be: blazingly powerful and straight to the point, boasting irresistible hooks and both sides clocking in at under 2 ½ minutes. Indeed, the legendary Australian skronk/blues trio is unleashing its first new studio material in two decades, having gotten back together in 2012 to promote their Aberrant Years retrospective. With a slide-guit-powered A-side that is pure f-time blooze-punk (like they walked out the door and then walked right back), and a 1-chord locomotive raveup for the B-side, the single’s a no-brainer to be on year-end best-of lists. And it’s only friggin’ February! Time for an album, lads. Download code included. —Fred Mills

 

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Deaf Wish

“St. Vincents” plus 3 (8)

(Sub Pop) www.subpop.com

Apparently this Australian quartet’s first album (they have three) was recorded in one day, and released three days later in a vomit bag (and you thought you were punk rawk). I hadn’t heard a note of their music but the four songs are like a punch in the face that you keep asking for. My pick to click is the first tune, ‘St. Vincent’s” but all four are righteous. File under: rock with guitars. Lots of guitars.

 

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Hard Left

“Skinheads Home for Christmas” b/w “Yesterdays Hero” (8)

(Future Perfect Records)

This seems to be that perfect melding of The Ramones, Skrewdriver (minus the racist lyrics), Sham, 69 and the Bay City Rollers. Gravelly-voiced doesn’t even being to describe the singer while the guitars are whispering sweet nothings in my ears. Both songs are ace. Yeah, ace so the red vinyl isn’t the only reason to get this….DAMMIT, IT’S GOOD.

 

Hulaboy

“Kids Under Stars” plus 2 (7)

(Emotional Response) www.emotional-response-recs.bandcamp.com

Back before Stew Boyracer became a husband, dad and a ranch hand he used to record every waking second (no, really). In addition to Boyracer he had another project going, Hulaboy (with his pal Eric from the band Hula Hoop), that had some singles and comp tracks. Good to see he’s revived that band with three more tunes. “Kids Under Stars” is roaring and ferocious while the two songs on the flip were slower, darker and had some cool keyboards. Purrrrrfect purple vinyl. (photo is at the top of the page)

 

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The Improbables

“Bad Vibrations” b/w “Giving You a Key” (9)

(Hidden Volume (www.hiddenvolume.com

Had not heard of the label before but with this release and others, seems like it’ll be a force to be reckoned with. Anywho, these two songs would be requested over and over again if this trio played your next frat party. Or house party. Or whatever. Vocalist/bassist Dave makes all the girls swoon (but drummer Jeremy gets ’em in the door in the first place). I/we need a full-length from this band. Terrific stuff and yes, boo boo blue vinyl.

 

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P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S.

“Hit and Run” b/w “45 Minutes” (7)

(Doomtown Sounds) www.problemspdx.com

When you look like these guys do and hang out in graveyards you’re inevitably going to get Black Sabbath comparisons. These guys do sound a little like Ozzy’s old band, being played at 45, that is. “Hit and Run” is what these guys do for a living so you’d better stay on the sidewalk while the flipside, “45 Minutes”, kicks it up a notch. And forget Sabbath, this is more Dead Boys/Electric Frankenstein kinda rawk. Red vinyl.

 

Quitty & the Don’ts

“Running out of Time” b/w “(She’s Gonna) Break Your Heart” (8)

(Hidden Volume) www.hiddenvolume.com

I dunno a dern thing about this band but I like the name and after playing it I wanna hear more. Two near-perfect slices of pure ‘60s garage pop from the Hidden Volume label (see Improbables review above) complete with tambourine and melodies to die for. Think Dave Clark 5 here people and for those of us who are colored-vinyl freaks the red on here looked righteous. These guys need to record again and again.

 

Modest Mouse

Modest Mouse

“Lampshades On Fire” b/w “Coyotes” (6)

Epic (www.epicrecords.com)

Given that MM has delayed their new Strangers to Ourselves album again—as of this writing it was slated for March 17—this single will have to do for hungry fans. It’s technically a freebie that indie record stores received to use as giveaways for customers who purchased the full length (or, now, who preorder it). But it’s probably easy to find for sale, and the two tracks, along with teaser tune “The Best Room,” are also already available at iTunes. Whattaya get? A weird kind of polka-fueled punk rock ditty on one side, a luminous waltz-time pop nugget on the other, neither of which is exactly essential listening but still hold up to repeated spins. We’ll have to wait for the full album to see if Isaac Brock’s mojo is still intact, though. —Fred Mills

 

The Safe Distance

“A Bigger Splash” plus 3 (5)

(Emotional Response) www.emotional-response-recs.bandcamp.com

The Safe Distance is Stew (as if this guy wasn’t in enough bands, see Boyracer, Hulaboy and Hard Left on this page) plus Crayola and David. Like the latest Boyracer 7”, record in the US of A, Australia and England (they’re got lots of frequent flyer miles). This is all over the map and reminded me of someone switching between AM radio stations (plus some college radio throw in there, too). Like if “Boris the Spider’ was written by the guy from the Monochrome Set. Rude red vinyl.

 

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Sick Thoughts

“Beat on Beat” b/w “Fun While It Lasts” (7)

(Goner Records) www.goner-records.com

This band hails from Baltimore and its members were probably extras on The Wire. Only two songs on this here big-hole, black vinyl 7” but both are winners, that is if you think The Germs “Forming” 7” is one of the greatest pieces of wax ever. I do. Lyrics to “Beat on Beat” go like this, “Eyes together, hands together, heads together beat on beat.” Yeah!

 

Hard Left/ Bad Daddies (SPLIT)

Hard Left Side- “Stay True’ and “It’s Not You” b/w Bad Daddies side- “War,” “Festering Brine” and “We Never Will” (9)

(Emotional Response) www.emotional-response-recs.bandcamp.com

Hard Left are making an impression and taking a stand. You read my review up above and these two songs, “Stay True” and “It’s Not You” are no different. Join the Hard Left Barmy Army or be lonely forever. Bad Daddies, who I’d never heard of before, crank out three gold-plated nuggets of sped-up punk complete with Poly Styrene-ish vocals and a layer of some of the sweetest fuzz around. This particular blue vinyl looked almost good enough to eat (I’m hungry).

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Tim “45 Adapter” Hinely spins backwards when he reviews Australian records, but don’t let that throw you off balance. Check out his most excellent rock mag Dagger at www.daggerzine as well as his 9th installment of The Singles Scene (here at BLURT), or the 8th (here ) or the 7th (here), the 6th (here) and the 5th (here).

Tim Hinely: The Singles Scene IX

THE SINGLES SCENE IX - Blurt's Indie 45 Roundup

“You’ve come a long way baby”: while we rightfully applaud Title IX and all the advances that the fairer sex has made, when you’re talking the IX installment of our indie singles column, those six words are what come to mind…

BY TIM HINELY

You people have given me a new lease on life. Yes, YOU. I asked and you people spoke. You let me know you were tired, tired of all of the hype bands. Flaming Lips (saw ‘em in ’87), Arcade Fire (saw them when they were good), Miley Cyrus (who?). You said you wanted the real deal and that with my column, you got it. The folks with their Charles Dickens clothing riding tall bicycles while growing their beards and eating chutney, they can stay on the other side of the room. We’ll be over here living our lives (and playing records). Seem like a plan? [Yep! -Strategy Ed.]

 

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The Chills

“Molten Gold” b/w “Pink Frost” (9 out of 10 stars)

(Fire Records) www.firerecords.com

Ok, so I’m a little biased as I think Chills’ leader Martin Phillipps is one of the world’s greatest living songwriters (you know I’m right). He’s been laying low these past several years but with these new recordings and some recent gigs in the U) it seems like the volcano is ready to blow (in the best way possible). “Molten Gold” is a lovely, bouncy tune while the flip redoes one of the band’s greatest moments. As good as the original? Nah but still pretty damn good.

 

Close Lobstes

Close Lobsters

Kunstwerk in Spacetime EP (8)

(Shelflife) www.shelflife.com

Wait, the Close Lobsters are back? Oh hell yes! I loved this UK band back in the day (one of the original C86 bands) and here they are, back with two new songs, their first new ones since ’89. The A-side, “Now Time”, is dreamy, even a bit spacey, but the magic continues. Meanwhile, the flip, “New York City in Space” is mid-tempo and janglier. All this and very thick, reddish vinyl. I’m all in. Shelflife’s winning streak continues.

 

Deniz Tek 45

Deniz Tek

“Crossroads” b/w “Oh Well” (9)

(Career) www.careerrecords.com

No, not that “Crossroads,” although l’il Robby Johnson would still approve; instead, it’s an original from the Radio Birdman geetarzan, and a smokin’ slab of straight up garage slop it be. But yes, that “Oh Well”—specifically, the hi-nrg raveup Pt. 1 of the Peter Green/Fleetwood Mac classic, and I’d reckon that it puts to shame pretty much every other version of you’ve heard over the years with the exception of the original. Pressed on lurid purple wax, and hats off to the Career label (co-helmed by Tek and his buddy Ron Sanchez, of Donovan’s Brain) for their subtle appropriation of the old Atlantic Records promo logo for their label art. (—Fred Mills)

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Ghetto Ghouls

“Plastic Violence” b/w “Things” (9)

(12XU) www.12xu.net

Look, everyone’s busy these day and no one has a lot of time. The Ghetto Ghouls understand that, which is why they offer up two short cuts on their latest 7”. “Plastic Violence” rumbles and grumbles for a few minutes (maybe) while “Things” has a drummer who’s breaking cymbals all over the place. I normally compare a band like this to a more famous band but I got nothin’: these guys are pretty damn unique.

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Gingerlys

“Jumprope” +3 (8)

(Shelflife) www.shelf.ife.com

In this column am I reviewing either the fairest of pop of the most slogged-out, gut-bucket noise? Pretty much… but hey, it’s my column and I can do what I want. This fairly new NYC bunch might remind you initially of Pains of Being Pure at Heart which is fine by me. The songs are all “pure ear candy” (as President Obama said). If they were around in the 90’s they’d been the cream of the crop of indie pop and even now, in 2014, I’d say the same. Four songs, no filler.

 

Peter Buck 45

Peter Buck

Opium Drivel EP (8)

(Mississippi) www.mississippirecords.com

Following up his latest solo album (as well as last year’s Planet Of The Apes single, which we reviewed back in Dr. Hinely’s “Singles Scene VI” report), that-guy-who-useta-be-in-some-famous-band teams up, once again, with Scott McCaughey and several partners-in-crime for a 4-songer. Just the pounding Charlie Pickett & the Eggs cover alone (“If This Is Love…”) is worth the price of admission, but you also don’t wanna miss the fuzz-garagey “Portrait Of A Sorry Man” for the series of inside-joke lyrical bon mots (among them: “I’m sorry I invented indie rock… the whole thing started out so well, how was I to know?”). A pair of uncharacteristic acoustic aces on the flip, notably the strummy/jangly “Welcome to the Party,” join the aforementioned joker and king, giving Mr. Buck a pretty strong hand in this game. (—FM)

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The Moles

“Beauty Queen of Watts” b/w “Chills” (8)

(Fire Records) www.firerecords.com

First new Moles material in over two decades has Australian Richard Davies (though he’s been living in Massachusetts for several years now) joining forces with a band called Free Time (w/members of Real Estate and Scott & Charlene’s Wedding). The a-side is a 2-minute-plus gem, all pristine jangle, while the flip, “Chills,” is a tribute to legendary New Zealand band The Chills (see above) and is nearly as good. And a new album due out later this year. Huzzah!

 

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Scupper!

“Scene of the Crime” +3 (9)

(Blue Cheese Toothpaste) www.scupper.bandcamp.com

This is Mr. Mike Janson who was formerly in Matador Records heroes the Lynnfield Pioneers. I thought he fell off the face of the earth. OK, so maybe he did, but he re-emerged in Brooklyn (where all indie rockers go to eat pie) and has this new terrific combo. “Scene of the Crime” spits n’ snarls (whistles, too) while “Barf in the Tube” upchucks enough melody for all of us. On the flip both “No Dime” and “Beehive” get to the finish line before you. Fans of Connections (or simply good music) will dig this.

 

Timmy Vulgar

Timmy Vulgar

Easter EP (6)

(Terror Trash Records) www.timmyvulgar.blogspot.com

Is that a drawing of Will Oldham on the cover? This is a few guys in the bedroom (Vulgar of Human Eye/Clone Defects/Timmy’s Organism fame), playing the banjo, drunk off their asses. No song titles, magic marker scrawl on the label (it just says Timmy 45). I tried to play the flip but no songs on there; great, so Timmy is fuckin’ with us! I know one thing from all of this, Timmy wants whiskey and well, I’ll bring him some damn whiskey—you crazy, I’m not saying no to that lunatic. Hiccup.

 

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Xetas

“The Silence” b/w “The Knife” (8)

(12XU) www.12xu.net

There’s a couple of things you’ll learn from this record. The band is a trio from Austin, TX (and Little Steven thinks trios are worthless… dumbass) and no synthesizers were used in the making of the record—and I’ve gotta put another mouse trap out tonight ‘cos we’ve got them in the house. “The Silence” uses drill-bit guitar to drive the point home while “The Knife” reminded me of the best Marked Men songs. I’ll be waiting on the front steps of the 12XU office for their forthcoming LP (can someone bring me some saltines, please?)

Sellwoods 45

The Sellwoods

“Palm Reader” b/w “Devil’s Dagger” (7)

(self-released) www.facebook.com/TheSellwoods

Following up last year’s stylin’ EP, this Portland, OR, ‘60s garage-worshiping trio—Blind Baron, Viking and The Baroness on guitar, bass and drums respectively—goes all-instro for a change, serving up a pair of primal-gunk tunes so lunkheadedly perfect you’d swear the bandmembers were the unholy spawn of the Sonics, the Kingsmen and Link Wray. “Palm Reader” in particular is a sprawling melange of fuzz/tremolo and busted-cone bass, and that Keith Moon-worthy drumming isn’t necessarily gonna save anybody in the group from a life sentence breaking rocks. (—FM)

 

Freak Motif 45

Freak Motif

“Killin’ Me” b/w “Killin’ Me (instrumental)” (6)

(Kept) www.kept-records.com

The latest in Kept’s so-far-unblemished series of funk-centric wax finds eight-piece Canadian combo Freak Motif getting’ gritty with a slice of JB’s-inspired fonk, heavy on the trancelike groove while a blazing horn section takes everything to the bank. Or the bridge, if you insist. The instro version of “Killin’ Me” has swagger a-plenty, but when guest vocalist Lady C takes the mic on the A-side things get saucier and sexier by the bar. Hell yeah. (—FM)

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Tim “45 Adapter” Hinely spins backwards when he reviews Australian records, but don’t let that throw you off balance. Check out his most excellent rock mag Dagger at www.daggerzine as well as his 8th installment of The Singles Scene (here at BLURT, or the 7th (here), the 6th (here) and the 5th (here).