The Singles Collection is our weekly column where we highlight some great pieces of 7″ wax — whether new or old — that we think you should know about.
This week's Singles Collection is of a bit higher fidelity than last week's batch of burners, and a tad more on the electronic/dance tip to boot. But don't fear, we haven't switched gears to delve into mind-numbing 12" remixes; these selections all remain firmly rooted in our medium of choice.
We begin this week with Painted Nails, the first 7" offering from Philly's white-hot Cold Cave, released on Dominick Fernow's mighty Hospital Productions imprint. Despite a pedigree that includes time fronting hardcore behemoths American Nightmare and Some Girls, CC leader Wes Eisold has taken this unit in a decidedly different direction, filtering the obsessive pop hooks of New Order through the twisted industrial soundscapes of Cabaret Voltaire, fashioning a sound that proves beyond a shadow of the midnight sun that noise and melody are not mutually exclusive entities. A-Side "Sex Ads" manages the rare feat of being both accessible and excessively noisy at the same time, its sunburst melodies and deadpan vocal delivery fighting to escape a wildly oscillating wall of programmed beats and hissing static. The flipside is better still, especially "Always Someone", a blissed-out, hands-in-the-air electro anthem that makes you envision shards of sunlight enveloping the dancefloor as the punters savor their last few minutes of joyous revelry.
Next up is a terrific new offering from M'Lady's Records, Tamaryn's "Return to Surrender" b/w "Ashore", a throwback to the Balearic daze of late '70s NYC. Dusted with late night magic, the A-Side is awash in sundown synths and gently undulating rhythms, Tam's angelic croon gliding over the top like a nighthawk, culminating in a galaxy-scraping finale that'll have young lovers weeping as they remain entwined on the dancefloor. B-Side "Ashore" is gloriously indebted to prime-era 4AD, with its wispy dynamics and lovelorn, gossamer cries, it could almost be a lost Cocteau Twins gem, albeit with a feisty disco flair. On a side note, prog-heads might be interested to learn that The Secret Machines' Brandon Curtis is a member of her live band (and I believe appears on this as well). As of the time of this writing, this is still available through the label, and if you act quickly, they also have copies of her fantastic CD EP available along with it.
Our last single this week, "A House is not a Horse" b/w "Milk" comes from burgeoning Leeds trio Crayon, and has been released by the ever stellar Great Pop Supplement. Something of a wolf in sheep's clothing, "A House is not a Horse" floats through a majestic drone haze, gradually revealing itself to be a gorgeously damaged art-pop song, bolstered by an uplifting chorus and vocals buried in just the right amount of spectral murk. On the flip, "Milk" is where IDM hits the fan, its lollygagging clicks 'n' pops erupting into a cosmic miasma of interstellar pop brilliance, replete with soft-psych overtones and echoes of pastoral '60s folk. Music aside, this single is absolutely gorgeous, with a wrap-around vellum sleeve containing a hand-assembled, hand-numbered jacket filled with inserts.
So there you have it, another batch of the best singles around, handily dissected into bite size pieces and fit for your immediate consumption.