The Singles Collection - Gary War, Spirit Photography, Pink Noise

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

This week on the singles collection, we get to delve into a treasure trove from one of our favorite labels -- NYC's always amazing Sacred Bones Records. They've just unleashed four new singles (and have another 3 coming in the next couple of weeks) and we're going to take a look at three of them this week. The fourth, a platter of acid folk jams from Absinthe Minds member Max Elliott, is also a fantastic addition to any collection, but we've left it off solely due to time constraints. While it's difficult to tell from some small cover jpegs, Sacred Bones releases always look as good as they sound, as they really go above & beyond when it comes to packaging. Anyway, enough with the senior superlatives, let's get on with the show.

Kicking things off this week, we've got the first 7" from NYC synth-destroyers Gary War, "Zontag" b/w "Don't Go Out Tonight", their follow up to the fantastic New Raytheonport 12" from last year. The A-Side is a steeped in interstellar weirdness, all manner of oscillating comets and flying Clusters occupying its Kraut-rocking cosmos as it blasts its way towards pop nirvana. B-Side "Don't Go Out Tonight" isn't quite as surreal, but its future primitive synth deconstructions and gurgling melodies wouldn't necessarily be out of place in A Clockwork Orange or The Andromeda Strain, either.

With batches of Sacred Bones releases, it's always difficult to pick a favorite, but this time out, gloom 'n' doom San Diego troupe Spirit Photography take the honors with "Time is Racing" b/w "Into the Heart of", a delectable two song slab of ghoulish post-punk minimalism. You'll hear the faint, jangly echoes of Joy Division and The Chameleons in the clattering and transcendent "Time is Racing", which is the most perfect crystallization of the late 70s/early 80s Manchurian sonic aesthetic you are likely to find on an album that wasn't actually released by Factory Records. On the flip, "Into the Heart Of" is already a strong contender for song of the year, its dulcet opening tones slowly transmogrifying into a joyous swell of guitar/organ/melodica that blinds like a surprise lunar sunburst; hook-laden and experimental in equal measure, its shape-shifting veneer makes it one of the more intriguing songs of recent memory.

Finally this week, we've got the newest offering from The Pink Noise, "Gold Light" b/w "Prince Charlies Revenge", the follow-up to a bevy of releases in 2008. The A-Side is a two-minute, fuzzed-out blast of staccato pop, rife with bongos(?) and multiple keyboard lines that sound as though the power adaptor is actually melting as they're being played. The flipside is weirder still, coming on like Phil Spector dropping acid and falling asleep on the mixing board as an orchestra without a leader plays Rachmaninoff at half speed and everything gets run into the red and winds up looking/sounding like H.R. Puffnstuff outtakes.

All of these releases are still available from the Sacred Bones site for a mere $5 each (plus shipping), and of course, it is highly recommended that you get them all (as well as the Max Elliott). That's it for us this week, but you can rest assured we'll be back next week with even more platters to keep your turntable spinning at 45 and your PayPal account drained.

The Singles Collection - Gary War, Spirit Photography, Pink Noise