Archives for posts with tag: 7″ single

Na Noise return with a 7″ single featuring two blistering new tunes warping old-style 1960’s beat-group-pop through their distinctive stylistic blender and time-machine into the 21st century. Here’s “Open the Door”:

Na Noise colloborators Yolanda Fagan and Hariet Ellis have also worked together on BOZO, Vincent H.L, Echo Ohs and Thee Crockettes, so their synchronous combination here of guitars and twinned vocals and exclamatory yelps is as natural as it is compulsive.

“Open The Door” and “Dance With Me” both continue the Na Noise tradition of being musically and stylistically all over the place and totally great. Both songs on this single are timeless fuzzy ye-ye beat-pop garage-rock goodness, with deep wells of surf-guitar reverb, and quivering Electric Prunes toned lead guitar solos, blasting over irresistible hypnotic dance grooves.

They say: “have a rascally take on traditional song — with their new-old songs, the band introduce a new-old sound. Joined by multi-instrumentalist Christopher Varnham who provides organ, drums and various other percussive elements, the three have cultivated a dark sound that is more carnivalesque than it is psychedelic.”

So good I ordered two of the 7″ singles. One to play until it wears out, and the other a back-up spare.

Rat Columns David WestCan’t pretend to have kept up with the journey of peripatetic Western Australian musician David West and his band Rat Columns over the past 10 years, but here we are in 2019 with a hypnotic and beautiful single on San Francisco Bay Area label Slumberland Records (released a year ago in October 2018) – “Sometimes We’re Friends”:

Rat Columns on this single are David West (guitar and vocals), Amber Gempton (bass, vocals), Louis Hooper (keyboards), and Chris Cobilis (drums), with Cohen Bourgault guesting on violin.

Rat Columns have always had a knack on invoking the spirit of all the best melodic pop elements of post-punk and original ‘indie-pop’ era. “Sometimes We’re Friends” pulses along for 5 minutes of sparkling choppy pop with hints of Lightning Seeds and that special Sarah Records  euphoric-melancholic essence, while also mixing in textured layers of noise as the track surges to its end.

The songs on the EP were recorded at the same time as the most recent Rat Columns album Candle Power, so if you enjoy the songs here, seek out that album as well.


Tight KnitThe third 7″ single on Glasgow underground pop label Not Unloved is another beaut. It’s from Tight Knit and it’s “Too Hot” (with “Want You” on the flip side).

Tight Knit traveled from Australia to Glasgow in the time-honoured tradition of Australasian underground pop bands seeking their fame if not their fortune in Glasgow. By chance a CD-R of their music came to the attention of Not Unloved, which had previously released excellent 7″ singles by Vital Idles and then Current Affairs.

By “time-honoured tradition” I’m thinking of the Go-Between here, visiting Orange Juice and releasing a single on the legendary Glasgow label Postcard Records in the early 1980s. [As a side note, Orange Juice were previously called the Nu Sonics and the catalogue number of this single is NUSONIC003, and of course Not Unloved is a song by another Glasgow band we know and love; The Pastels].

I’m also thinking of The Bats, from Dunedin & Christchurch, NZ, who found themselves in Glasgow in the late 1980s as well while touring the UK and Europe, and recorded half of their “Daddy’s Highway” album there in a basement flat.

Anyway, back to this fine Tight Knit song… “Too Hot” is perfect honest garage rock from the Melbourne trio of Ange (guitar, bass and vocals), Caitie (guitar, bass and vocals) and Jamie (drums). The thrilling lead guitar bursts channel the kind of pure fierce electricity of Lou Reed’s lead guitar circa the Velvet Undergound’s “White Light/ White Heat” album.  With its combination of harmony vocals and those guitars, it’s the kind of song that would have set a volume of the Romulan Records 1960s garage rock series Girls in the Garage alight.



Francie Moon

It’s not often that the spirit of Ronnie Dawson comes to mind when listening to a brand new 7″ single in 2019. Dawson’s 1958 version of “Action Packed!” was an all-time rockabilly classic, sung with terrifying eye-popping enthusiasm by the helium-voiced young star. But yet here we are in mid-February 2019 with a 3 song 7″ single on Keeper Records by Montague Township, New Jersey trio Francie Moon and Ronnie’s spirit seems present.

Francie Moon is a trio but also the alter-ego of guitarist and vocalist Melissa Lucciola. There’s just a hint of early Ronnie Dawson in Lucciola’s pitch and delivery on this song, and also in the reverb-heavy guitar. This is garage rock at it’s contemporary finest – a thrilling mix of semi-feral rock and roll, rockabilly, surf rock, garage-punk, and psych-rock, all delivered with wild enthusiasm and absolute commitment.

Also on the 7″ single is “Sittin’ in the Middle” – another classic two and a half minute rapid swirl of surf-a-billy garage rock built on reverb guitar and tight interplay between Lucciola’s guitar, Adam Pumilia’s bass, and Richie Samartin’s drumming.

The last track – the 5 minute “Present Tense” – is a different beast, coming over like some weird mutant fusion of Thee Oh Sees, surf rock, and the heavy stoner psych of the likes of Comets on Fire – check the guitar solo mid-way here – before a dreamy slow-psych interlude in the style of Swedish psych-rockers Dungen, complete with recorder solo. It’s an unexpected conclusion to an exhilarating collection of songs.

Here’s an action packed video for “New Morning Light” –

Drahla_Jan2017“Is it real? Is it real?” asks Luciel Brown throughout this potent follow up to the thrilling debut “Fictional Decision” by Leeds-based trio Drahla – PopLib’s essential song of 2016.

The song is due for release in April on the Too Pure label’s singles club. Coruscating bass sets a platform for a typically cool and mysterious sing-speak stream-of-consciousness artful wordiness.

The song builds through dense layers of sonic energy as guitars buzz and menace before pulling back, introducing saxophone – some of the best wild skronking saxophone since The Stooges “1970” from their “Funhouse” album in fact – and then re-calibrating the volume for climactic ending.

It all adds up to a powerful statement and the fulfilling experience of a song merging elements of post-punk with art pop and noise rock and leaving some mystery and intrigue in its trail of beautifully dissonant noise.

The only band I can think of who may have been within striking distance of what Drahla are doing right now was Sonic Youth at the absolute apex of their dark abrasive melodic cool, around the time of their 1987 album “Sister”.


From sublime soundscapes to ridiculously perfect lo-fi fuzzy guitar-pop… let’s head now to Gainesville, Florida for “Only Matters When” by UV-TV.

This song is from a split 7″ single UV-TV share with LA band Shark Toys. It’s the two songs on the UV-TV side which catch the ear for melody and trebly fuzzed-up primitive pop splendour.

Despite their Florida roots this song (and the other one on their side of the single) contains agreeable traces of Scottish 80’s pop DNA in its sound.

There are echoes of “Psychocandy” era Jesus and Mary Chain feedback pop as well as The Shop Assistants’  primal drumbeats, fuzzy guitars and the soaring vocal melodies from UV-TV bassist, vocalist and video editor Rose Vastola.

On the other side of the single Shark Toys do breakneck speed lo-fi punk chaos thrillingly, like a kind of turbo-charged Swell Maps.

The split 7″ single is available from the Emotional Response label website, but postage outside the US will set you back double the price of the vinyl sadly. Well worth paying for the digital download though.



Choo Choo Trains

The Choo Choo Trains – not to be confused with the excellent Velvet Crush precursor band Choo Choo Train in the US – are a London trio making what they say is “Girl-Guide shoegaze” but is really just understated bashful jangle-pop. It’s a bit like Camera Obscura on an austerity budget and all the better for that minimalism.

They have a 5-song 7” EP released on now sadly vanished Manic Pop! Records.

Manic Pop! Records was a new small label from Minnesota, USA set up in 2012 and dedicated to releasing 7” singles from great undiscovered pop bands from around the world. After releasing over a dozen sparkling pop gems in the past year the label has vanished from the internet – website, and social media accounts gone. Some detective work from a member of one of the bands with a release pending on the label explains his understanding of the situation in this blog post.

Sadly it looks like the Manic Pop! Records dream is over. A victim of naive over-enthusiasm? There may be a darker clue in the name. With so many releases in such a short time and, I assume, no established distribution or mail-order networks, it would be very easy – fuelled by unrealistic optimism – to over-extend financially on this kind of project.

The demand in the current economic climate for the physical artefact of 7” vinyl was not helped by the US postal prices rises early in 2013 doubling the cost of international airmail for parcels and making it even more difficult for these kind of small-scale labour of love labels to have the kind of cash-flow needed to survive and sustain themselves over time.

Add to that the inherent difficulties in promoting so much new music from so many unknown bands to an indifferent world and the outcome was perhaps inevitable. But I can sure sympathise with these sentiments:

“he did what he did because he feels that the bands he loves, the bands that get little recognition for the blood and sweat that they pour into their music, deserved to be signed to a great label. In my opinion, it simply became too difficult for him to say no to signing great, under-recognized bands.”

During its short but prolific run Manic Pop! Records was responsible for a commendable burst of 80’s-influenced dreamy jangle-pop. The label had a remarkable hit rate with the dozen or so 7” releases it did make. No duds and most would sit happily in my 7” record collection. Long may the name – and that unrealistic ideal – live on in discerning 7” collections around the world.

The split of the pressing between the label and the bands at least means there are a few copies still able to be tracked down from the bands via their own Bandcamp pages. Here’s a few more of the best:

Fire Island Pines
Mini Dresses
Gorgeous Bully
The Delaplains
The Airplanes
Zebra Hunt