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The Singles Collection - Look Mexico, Pulling Teeth, L.A. Cross

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The Singles Collection is contributor Jason Jackowiak's weekly column focusing on rare and essential 7" releases.

To quote the great Emerson, Lake & Palmer, "welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, we're so glad you can attend, come inside, come inside." While we don't have any prog-dinosaurs of ELP's ilk this week, we do have a great mixed bag filled with punk, hardcore, indie rock and a twitchy, insistent brand of country-tinged pop. But generalities aren't what y'all come here for, so, without further adieu, onto this weeks singles.

To get us started this week, we've got the new Gasp Asp EP by Look Mexico on the up-and-coming Tiny Engines imprint. A charming 4-song effort, the EP is filled with heart-swelling indie pop/rock with just a twinge of dirty americana (think Lucero or Gaslight Anthem) tossed in for good measure. You'll hear tidbits of everyone from Wilco to Jawbreaker in "I'm not Guilty, But I'm Used to It"'s well-worn chops and workman-like melodies, while lead-off track "You're Not Afraid of the Dark" is blindingly anthemic; a rousing call-to-arms that's meant to blare from car radios and be screamed along to by a thousand kids like their very lives depend upon it. They've got a slew of tour dates coming up, so if you are in/around Florida or at SXSW, definitely try to check them out. If you are interested in this here 7", then head over to their MySpace.

Our next record is a bit of an anomaly in that it's a one-sided, (arguably) tour-only 7" from Baltimore hardcore behemoths Pulling Teeth. Witches Sabbath IV is, you guessed it, the fourth installment of their series of cover songs spread across as many 45s, and this time out they tackle The Ramones' "Teenage Labotomy". In true PT fashion they rough it up real good and proper, with guitars that hit like a bullet train to the temporal lobe, a larynx-ripped vocal track and spike-hammered drumming that nails the whole thing to the ties. It is, as Alex and his Droogs would say, "A Real Horror Show." These are, ostensibly, tour only, but if you dig around, Chainsaw Safety should still have a few copies around to sell.

Lastly this week, we've got what seems like the first release in forever from Baltimore's best kept secret, Heart Break Beat Records; the debut offering from Brooklyn's L.A. Cross, "This Ain't a Pilgrimage" b/w "God's Wounds". Touting themselves as the leaders of the NWOBHM -- New Wave of Brooklyn Heavy Metal -- the duo tread similar ground to bands like Early Man and The Fucking Champs, albeit with far less wink-wink-nod-nod moments. True to their billing, the A-Side is a rifftastic throwdown that's a heavy-handed homage to British Steel-era Judas Priest, only with slightly muted vocal histrionics. The flip is just as awesome, with fireball guitar flashes, a trashy solo and enough eagle-winged pleasure to get Ronnie James Dio amped enough to punch all of Marillion in the balls. Get yrs now at the HBB web shop.

It's been a royal pleasure having you with us this week, and make sure you check back next week, as we've got some even better surprises in store for y'all.

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The Singles Collection - Look Mexico, Pulling Teeth, L.A. Cross