Archives for posts with tag: 7″ single

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