Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sub Pop Singles Club: October

Everyone's favorite Seattle institution, Sub Pop records, re-established their well known singles club to celebrate their 20 anniversary. For $75, 1500 lucky subscribers will receive a special 7inch 45rpm record every month for one year. I'll review them all right here on the KWUR Blog.
The October 7inch was, in fact, not orange, but "McDonald's yellow." The single was by hip L.A. all-girl punk band, Mika Miko.

"Sex Jazz (extended)" b/w "Bastard in Love"

This single is definitely my favorite of the three issued thus far. I liked it so much that I went and got 666, the band's single/live compilation.

The band is from the all-ages DIY scene revolving around The Smell, the same venue pictured on the cover of No Age's Weirdo Rippers.

The result is some raw lo-fi girl punk, and in my book, that can't be beat. "Sex Jazz" is a dancy punk song from the outset. It starts with some pounding bass drum, thick bass, and some saxophone. Throw in some Gang of Four guitarwork and dry female vocals and you have a party.

"Bastard in Love" is not nearly as good, mostly a forgettable not-nearly-as-danceable song. However, this isn't necessarily typical of the band, and 666 is certainly worth checking out for a full dose of hip L.A. all-girl noise-punk.

What will Sub Pop have in store for November?

-Klax

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Sub Pop Singles Club: September

Everyone's favorite Seattle institution, Sub Pop records, re-established their well known singles club to celebrate their 20 anniversary. For $75, 1500 lucky subscribers will receive a special 7inch 45rpm record every month for one year. I'll review them all right here on the KWUR Blog.
My September 7-inch arrived late in the month. I was surprised to see the vinyl was "Jolly Rancher Sour Apple" green this time, instead of the beige color of the August OM single. This month, Sub Pop treated us to some of their own hometown punk with four (appropriately short) tracks by the Unnatural Helpers.

"Dirty Dumb & Comical", "Connecting" b/w "Break That Horse", "Easy Way"

I don't know much about the Unnatural Helpers, but they are a self-described "punk band from Seattle, Washington." I think that's pretty much all you need to know.

They have a surprisingly clean yet Seattle heavy sound that can't be described as anything but "punk". No "Pop Punk," "Post-Punk," or "Hardcore," -- just simple short northwestern punk.

All songs clock in under two minutes, but it's another strong effort. The opening "Dirty Dumb & Comical" is probably the best track with heavy riffs and drum fills, and minimal dryly delivered lyrics. The next two tracks ("Connecting" and "Break That Horse") stick with this tried and true formula.

But, the closing track, "Easy Way," is the divergent one here. The Helpers slow it down a bit and focus more on their heavy sound - a sound that gladly falls right in line with the celebrated Seattle underground.

And finally, it's nice to see that Sub Pop has added a little emblem on the back above their logo. It simply reads: "Singles Club, Sep 2008, Edition of 1,500." An appreciated move for all the record collectors out there.

I can only hope the October issue is on orange vinyl...

-Klax

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sub Pop Singles Club: August

Recently, everyone's favorite Seattle institution, Sub Pop records, re-established their well known singles club to celebrate their 20 anniversary. For $75, 1500 lucky subscribers will receive a special 7inch 45rpm record every month for one year. I'll review them all right here on the KWUR Blog.

The now sold out series started in August with our favorite California psychedelic doom band, OM.

"Gebel Barkal" b/w "(Version)"

OM formed from the ashes of the rhythm section of stoner rock band, Sleep. Featuring just bass and drums, OM delivers the right mix of heavy slow rhythms and soothing psychedelic chants. This release is the first with new drummer, Emil Amos.

"Gebel Barkal" doesn't deviate too much from that formula, which is a good thing - it's perfect for throwing on the turntable for a quick (four minute) light-up.

But, the real jem here is the B-side, "(Version)". "(Version)", quite simply, is a "dub remix" of the A-side. The reverb has been turned up slightly, some delay added, and a few fancier drum fills thrown in, for an even smoother psychdelic dub jam.

I have no clue what Sub Pop has in store for September (that's part of the fun), but it should be arriving in my mailbox soon. However, we have been promised that within the next 11 releases, we should at least see material from: Unnatural Helpers, Tyvek, Black Mountain, Black Lips, Arthur & Yu, Mika Miko, Blues Control, and Notwist. Of course, some surprises should be in store as well.

-Klax

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