By Jason Jackowiak
In this installment of The Singles Collection, we look back on two great 7" that current industry darlings Wavves and, ahem, The Muslims, put out last year. The two slabs of wax we've got this week are as good as they get, and we urge you to get out and snatch 'em up while they are still around. After all, we'd hate to say we told you so… but we will.
The first single we've got this week is from San Diego's shit-hot The Muslims (they have since changed their name to The Soft Pack), on the upstart I Hate Rock 'n' Roll imprint. "Parasites" b/w "Walking with Jesus" is a cool brace of Flying Nun-style pop-rock delivered with such an impassioned-yet-relaxed verve that they damn well might have recorded the whole thing while still asleep. The A-Side rumbles along on a gnarled, muscular riff accentuated by taut drumming and a just on the right side of monotone vocal delivery that's somewhere between (JAMC's) Jim Reid and Little Richard. The B-Side, a cover of Spacemen 3's "Walking with Jesus", strips the interstellar flanging/phasing and impossible feedback squalls of the original, revealing the song's furious, stripped-down skeleton and jangly '60s pop undertones. That they can take a song that's been covered extensively and make it their very own (and somewhat unrecognizable to whit) is a testament to their audacious versatility as a unit.
Our second single this week is from another California dreamer, beach-combing pop wonder Wavves. "Beach Demon" b/w "Weed Demon", released on Tic Tac Totally was -- across the board -- one of the best singles released last year (it eked its way out in the last days of '08). Its packaging is beyond over the top, with a handmade sleeve made entirely out of grip tape and accompanied by two clear transfers that create the single's front and rear covers, one of which features a brilliant re-conceptualization of the Natas' classic Santa Cruz deck design. As if that weren't enough, the songs here are absolutely fucking killer, the A-Side "Beach Demon" is a skuzzy, hook-filled ride down the PCH at 100mph. Its trashcan rhythms and dirt-encrusted guitar lines held together by barely discernable vocals and a bevy of sunburst melodies struggling to emerge from the murk. On the flip, "Weed Demon" is the perfect foil, a Quaalude-addled slice of pure Californian pop bliss, replete with four-part harmonies and a simple, delicate guitar tacet that, strangely reminds of Smashing Pumpkins' "Soma", especially in its gorgeously fragile last moments.
That's it for this week, short-but-sweet, but we are resting up, drinking lots of fluids and gearing up for a great year bringing you the finest seven-inch singles the world has to offer.