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Still Single: Vol. 2, No. 11

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In the latest installment of 'Still Single,' Doug Mosurak checks out singles of various sizes by Alela Diane, Godsy, The Shudders, Matta Llama and many more.

Still Single: Vol. 2, No. 11

Hey, welcome to a new edition of Still Single. We're gearing up on year two here, and as I had hoped and feared, more records are coming in than ever. This is great news for all of us, and it also means that we're going to start running this column with more regularity - at least twice a month - from here on out. Hope this isn't a bummer, and if you sent in vinyl, it's going to get reviewed very soon. We're at the point where it's getting less fair to labels and the public with these limited-run dealies, and it makes a whole lot more sense to publish more often.

Out on the road, I got the inspiration to keep on with this endeavor from a lot of you. Thanks for the kind words and introductions. Keep sending in vinyl. You will be counted.


Yours must be a single pressed on any size of vinyl. CD-Rs of singles will not be reviewed; they will be destroyed. We need the artifact here with original artwork, not some duplicate/digital copy. Only records released within the past six months will qualify for a review.

Singles must be postmarked by the 20th of each month to qualify for the next installment of this column.

ANY genre of music will do – don’t hesitate to send punk, hardcore, metal, goth, pop, rock, country, hip hop, electronic, experimental, dub and reggae … all genres accepted and welcome.

Information on your pressing (quantity pressed, color vinyl, etc.) should be included if at all possible.

Submissions can be sent to:
Doug Mosurak
PO Box 1552
Long Island City, NY 11101

Records need to be shipped securely in sturdy mailing materials and marked FRAGILE because the post office will destroy them otherwise.


Hey, welcome to a new edition of Still Single. We're gearing up on year two here, and as I had hoped and feared, more records are coming in than ever. This is great news for all of us, and it also means that we're going to start running this column with more regularity - at least twice a month - from here on out. Hope this isn't a bummer, and if you sent in vinyl, it's going to get reviewed very soon. We're at the point where it's getting less fair to labels and the public with these limited-run dealies, and it makes a whole lot more sense to publish more often.

Out on the road, I got the inspiration to keep on with this endeavor from a lot of you. Thanks for the kind words and introductions. Keep sending in vinyl. You will be counted.

Alela Diane
Songs Whistled Through White Teeth 10” EP

I'm not much the modern-day singer-songwriter fan; more often than not, all I'm hearing is influence and nothing inside or even remotely on that cellular level required for success. Alela Diane shattered this with her album The Pirate's Gospel, in which she bet the exacta, right between Chan Marshall and Karen Dalton, and won. Given such an easy and topical cross-section, her music was clearly of its own place, and hit so many right parts I had to shake myself out of it. These songs were written by the artist, performed largely by her father, and include backup vocals courtesy of Mariee Sioux. They have a bit more room to stretch out than on her album, and benefit from more of a lyric focus to the material, rather than tight-wound blues vamps. Some are structured with a reeling, rambling folk feel to them, and restrained enough to avoid overkill; others are plaintive and somewhat painful, but in every sense, real, beautiful and striking. “Slow Your Dancing” even escapes through to Marine Girls territory, but held in rustic American check by parlor organ and swing. A vote for sincerity. Limited to 500 copies.

Fully Coherant
Feel Dead 7” EP

One-man hatefuck here, ultra-primitive punk aggression that boils down to sticky, scalding, barely together torture. So much hate pours out of this record that the vocals and buckets (used as percussion, sounds like a drum machine) are obscured by the guitar tone to create some fairly palpable suspense. I'm afraid of the guy who made this, just a little bit. It is a brutally awesome record though, Poison Idea squeezed down to fit across a handful of transistors. Four songs with a fuck-the-world rant attached, in an edition of 103 numbered, handmade copies. Dude has a couple left, it's your job to find him. I'm pretty fucking stoked on the cover I got (Naomi Campbell topless, holding a dick in her hand on a bed of sliced citrus).
(hey man, I've done enough)

1 12” EP
2 12” EP
(Whatever We Want)

Godsy is Gareth Goddard is Cherrystones, and here he breaks rank from ear-bleeding psych/ye-ye/garage rock/Siouxsie-laced DJ sets with two EPs of what can safely be called ruminations. Instrumental meditations on echoed guitar, strings, synths and bowed metal. Simple, repetitive melodies and no percussion whatsoever. First one is on the noisier and more aggressive side, staring at its Test Dept. records lovingly but ending up with Hawkwind on instead, and still holding back enough to add the mystery required to pull this thing off. By comparison, the second one is downright pastoral psych, walking adrift in Germanic waves of blissful stumble and a couple of sweetly fallen melodies. Heavy sounds for the few, getting to the essence of this guy's musical obsessions, but on his own merits. Maybe you don't know how hard it is to cop anything on this label. I came close once, then the guy froze up and bolted on me. Dropped a hundo on these two and some other titles from their stable. It sort of hurt.

Leper Print
s/t 7” EP
(Eat Records)

Hiding in the cracks of the closet time: Leper Print plays forceful, lo-fi synth-punk with thrift store Casio, guitar and drum one-man band. His name is Kyle and he would like to stare right through you, judging from the delivery and intent of these songs. Almost falls into Digital Leather territory by the end (and I'll bet if this ever happens live, it probably would) but maintains on the side of alienation and Residential strange3 over spectacle. I have this theory that people with piercings almost magnetically identify with trash; this dude probably doesn't have any. Edition of 200 numbered copies.

Otterman Empire
“Babylon and On” b/w “Dharma” 12”
“Texas Radio” b/w “Private Land” 12”

These are DJ edits of some sweet jams. Total mystery of the artist and I'm not even gonna associate a label with these; you're on your own. I have my suspicions but don't want to bring anything incriminating to light. “Babylon and On” is a throbbing, EQ-modded edit of the Aphrodite's Child cut from 666, slowed down and extended for triumph. “Dharma” gets hold of some mesmerizing fusion that's heavy on the synth and the polyrhythms, and extends its bleary, 5 A.M. madness moments right on through the fake fade-outs. “Texas Radio” is some sort of Doors tomfoolery; I can see how and where it would work, but I'm not gonna be in that place this year, sooooo yeah. But “Private Land” is pretty incredible, some sort of Euro mystery in gentle, pensive mood-building blues, punctuated by huge Frank Marino-esque shards of open-chested guitar and piano punishment. One of the greatest intro tracks ever, and you'd better have something good to follow this up with, or you're gonna ruin your set, dude.
(beats me, look around - I did)

The Remenbers
s/t EP
(Plastic Idol)

What is it about French garage rock? These guys play with the casual, overamped aggression of High Rise, though the songs are much simpler and solo-free, just three guys from Marseilles offhandedly breaking strings and heads. Caveman stomp giving huge nods to Bo Diddley and the Monks, getting every cent out of that handful of chords. Pretty brilliant. Edition of 500 copies, red vinyl.

The Shudders
s/t 7” EP
(Compact Records)

Grinding, noisy, pretty abrasive girl punk trio that more or less gets it done on this long four-track EP. If you can get past the Olive Oyl vocals, you'll probably dig the way these songs have a little more of a horrified urgency that puts them closer to Erase Errata or the Scissor Girls than, say, the Rogers Sisters. The atonality of it all is one of its more redemptive qualities, and for the time being keeps them in the plus column. White vinyl, paint-stenciled sleeves and glamour shots. All the way from Oakland, CA.


Harmful Emotions LP

Best real “fake/real/fake DIY punk” record of the year, as Der TPK, alias Teenage Panzerkorps (just another siphon in Jewelled Antler's root strata) blast through into the underground bunkers of lost German monolith-wraiths, blasting out hallogallo halls of chug, close with heat and obscured to all but the lowest of ceilings. Songs begin and end with no regard for their beginnings or ends, ramming one ideal conceit abruptly into another. This is incredibly modern sounding for what some might write off as Confusion is Sex on 45, and my attention stays fixated on its rushing, degraded visage of imperialism. Nice Dead C. tribute right at the outset of side B, too. Too good. Edition of 500, with paste-on sleeves. Crucial item for the summer, by which it will likely be gone.

Evil Army
s/t LP
(Get Revenge)

Young, raucous Memphis thrash trio makes good on the promise made by a select group of metal fans and performers long ago to take down false metal at any turn. If my sources are correct, these kids hadn't even heard metal up until a few years ago, and they have miraculously steered on a path of purity and correctitude that few of their peers have accomplished. Language is key; they're playing thrash and crossover metal like they invented it, yet with the wisdom to reduce and compact the genre down to controlled bursts, with a face-melting guitar tone, delivery that's both violent and concise, and maniacal yet tasteful drumming. Think early Metallica or Exodus, trimmed of the excess, or perhaps D.R.I. at their peak. Saw these guys while on tour and they were the best band we played with at any show. Jay Reatard is on bass now, replacing “Bones” who's featured on this recording, and they're even better live than on this 13-cut album, which bodes extremely well for their immediate future. Vinyl edition of 500 copies. An essential surprise.

Jerusalem and the Starbaskets/Skarekrau Radio
split LP
(Rosenburg Productions/Apop)

This was handed to me on tour by one of the Starbaskets, and I'm really glad for that. Jerusalem and the Starbaskets play a very exuberant, saturated lo-fi half-natural take on early Flaming Lips and the first Neutral Milk Hotel, ebbing around a lazy, countrified vocal akin to Mike Nesmith on those early solo records. When they break into tear-in-the-beer Country Teasers style retardation on “Werewolf Picnic,” and early Pavement knock mode on “Unforced Peace,” I'm sort of flummoxed, these three youths of Columbia, MO traversing specific places with groundbreaking confidence and a smart-alecky laugh. Skarekrau Radio sounds like Trumans Water; unsteady 4-track blowouts that can't get over the annoyance factor into enlightenment. Too organized for me. But one side of this is totally worth it. Edition of 200, paint-slathered sleeves.

Johnny Lunchbreak
Acetate: 1974/75 LP
(Zero Street)

New England bore Johnny Lunchbreak, a close-knit group of musicians who took playing on the resort hotel circuit a few steps further, issuing a couple acetates of originals to one another as Christmas gifts. Any sort of official release was probably the furtherst thing from the band members' minds, but here are 300 numbered, assembled-with-dedication copies of their LP, bringing up some decent if not arresting singer-songwriter fare. A pronounced early Bee Gees vibe makes things interesting, the side closer “Not a Dry Eye in America” or “The Best That I Had” having the most resonance of the bunch. Some have remarked on the value of such a recording, had it come out as a private press record of the day. It's not exactly a “psych masterpiece” - or maybe, in those who need to use that sort of lingo to make rent that month, it is. It's also just a decent record of unique songs that hold against strong currents to see their own sound through. Paste-on photo sleeve.

Los Llamarada
The Exploding Now LP

When you really start digging into new music that willingly files itself in the margins, it becomes more and more crucial to single out bands who craft their own musical language and identity, rather than co-opt large chunks of the language of others; the ones that stick themselves further in, if you wanna get Freudian about it. Monterrey, Mexico's Los Llamarada, to complete the metaphor, are balls deep and/or size queens, straining solid particulate matter of other truthtellers into a slurry, then letting parts of it dry into brittle peaks in the smoggy Oaxacan sun. Has an echoey feel to it like listening to an answering machine tape, and a self-taught vibe that chewed up the Fall at their most obscure, New Zealand experimentalism at its most obtuse, and a lo-fi art/pop cassette underground (or, say, Gang Gang Dance) feel that's all but dissipated in the wake of the '80s and '90s and moved straight on to structure-free realms. There is a backbone here, and its attendant skeleton has grown wild and unpruned. Resist the urge to make lazy comparisons of Los Llamarada to other bands; the stiffness in their songwriting and performance suggests that they are learning as they go along, which makes for some of the most exciting new sounds. I've listened to this one a dozen times and keep finding new things within. 600 copies, white vinyl, silkscreened sleeves. One of the most shocking and unique pieces of agitpunk since the Meta-Matics LP, but way more devastated and angered.

Matta Llama
s/t LP
(Mad Monk Vinyl)

NYC psychedelic basement murk featuring illustrator Arik Roper on bass. This is their debut LP, and it's pretty arcane in its own coming across, which I suppose counts for something, like the rarefied majesty of seeing a gigantic beast awaken after thousands of years. Most likely it's the result of an uneven mix and approaching-that-point-just-past-competence vibes which move things along with the spirit of endless Terry Riley-isms, just, y'know, the kind you have to make a couple of excuses for now and again. They may have a great record and live show in them; think of this as more of the prelude. They either need to roll back on being in awe of their own profundity, or really qualify as profound, next time. The spittly Truxisms that come off on “A Sky Blue Screw” count for a whole lot of this record's salvation. 500 copies, includes a poster.

Night Wounds
Allergic to Heat LP

Kids, man. Night Wounds made this while living in LA (it would seem they've relocated to Portland). Earlier efforts were sort of stock no-wave bang that left me wanting for something not so obviously derived from source inspirations, and in a way this sort of settles that out into something listenable. You'll hear three kids put tunes where only noise should go, saxophone bleating atop of wobbly post-punk, but also a sort of thousand-yard stare lunacy that music like this really needs in order to get by. There are a couple of cuts that make it just by virtue of their tenacity, and truth be told, the drummer has tightened up the screws enough to make this a reality. Branca-esque riff windmilling really saves the session here, and if they stick it out for another record or two, something really special is bound to happen for them. Edition of 500 in a silkscreened sleeve.

By Doug Mosurock

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