The Singles Collection - Record Store Day With Sonic Youth, Beck, Obits, Kim Phuc, Jay Reatard

The Singles Collection is contributor Jason Jackowiak’s weekly column focusing on rare and essential 7″ releases. We gladly accept all types of 7″ for consideration.

As is our want, we've flipped the script here at The Singles Collection and in the spirit of timeliness, this week we'll be featuring seven-inches that were exclusive to last Saturday's Record Store Day (our newest all Sacred Bones feature will now run next week). Now, some of you may be listening to these as you read this, others may have unfortunately been shut out, while other still may have no idea these singles, or Record Store Day for that matter, even existed. At any rate, we're only scratching the surface of the exclusive platters that were available on the 18th (for a full list, go here), and we hear some stores may even still have stock on some of these titles, so if anything strikes your fancy, best get a googlin'.

To kick things off this week, we've got a pair of split singles from Matador featuring the kings & queen of the alternative universe, Sonic Youth aka Sonik You*h. The first split features another icon, Beck, in a mutual appreciation style love fest which finds them covering each others' songs -- SY tackling "Pay No Mind" while Beck takes on "Green Light". As you might imagine, Thurston & Co. thoroughly rough up the Mellow Gold sleeper, injecting it with their patented off-key/kilter harmonies/harmonics and some skuzzy meta-ooze thrown in for good measure. On the flip, Beck takes the EVOL track and turns it into a lovely, acoustic cloudburst that, if you didn't know better, you'd swear was one of his very own.

The second exclusive RSD jam from Sonic Youth is their split with Memphis' favorite son, Jay Reatard. For his part, Jay's track, "Hang Them All" is a scorcher, a blink-and-you-missed-it track that bubbles with skittering synth and a clap-trap rhythm reminiscent of the Blood Visions-era. It alone is worth the price of admission, and certainly bodes well for his upcoming full-length. The SY track, "No Garage" is a rehearsal space jam that, well, sounds a lot like you'd figure a Sonic Youth rehearsal would. Which isn't to say it's bad, but it's essentially instrumental meandering with a nice, Kraut-y groove that eventually denigrates into their trademark squall of loping distortion and ear-piercing feedback. Both of these splits are, ostensibly, sold out, but stores with extra stock seem to pop up daily, so make sure to keep a close watch if you don't want to pay eBay prices.

The Sub Pop stable did their part and released a handful of limited 45's for RSD, the best of which is the Obits' "I Can't Lose" b/w "Military Madness". For those not already familiar, Obits are Rick Froberg from Hot Snakes/Drive Like Jehu's new project, and while their sound doesn't really deviate too much from either/both of those outfits, it's still new Froberg jams so who are we to complain? "I Can't Lose" is less dissonant/angular than we're used to hearing him, yet it roars with a heads-down fury and undeniable hooks-a-plenty. On the flip, their take on Graham Nash's "Military Madness" flips the original on its ear, injecting it with a venomous core that's both touching and destructive in equal measure. Copies of this still seem to be kicking around places like Reckless Records, so if you need some more Froberg in your life, you know where to go.

Lastly this week, we've got one of the lost gems from RSD, the super limited Kim Phuc & Centipede E'est split on Dear Skull Records out of Pittsburgh. These were primarily only available in the Pittsburgh area, with some other notable stores (Permanent Records in Chicago, Academy in NYC) getting the remaining stock to give away to punters who came out early and purchased vinyl. We're not sure if this is going to get a proper release or not, but it truly deserves one as the two tracks here are absolute stunners. On the A-Side, Kim Phuc's "Rustbelt Noose" delivers all the spit-crusted-psych-punk power you've come to expect from them, and has now officially taken the mantle as the greatest KP song yet. Not to be outdone on the flip, Centipede E'est offer up "Stingray", an epic space-rock jam that's ebbs and flows with terse psych-grooves and sky-melting crescendos. These are absolutely gorgeous, all hand-numbered out of 200 and featuring fantastic screened covers. We're not sure if they are still available anywhere or not, but we'd suggest trying Paul's or Wicked Discs in Pittsburgh if you are trying to track one down.

We hope you've enjoyed our truncated look at some of the Record Store Day exclusives, and make sure to also keep an eye out for others like the Slayer "Psychopathy Red" 45 and the totally awesome Jesus Lizard 9x7" collection Inch as they're both totally worth your time and hard-earned loot. Also make sure to come back next week to read about the newest batch of gems from one of our favorite labels, Sacred Bones Records.

The Singles Collection - Record Store Day With Sonic Youth, Beck, Obits, Kim Phuc, Jay Reatard