In the spirit of last week's Record Store Day, a day when many bands release special 7" records for the occasion, I thought I'd devote this week's roundup to some from my own personal collection of 7" records. For those digital age kids, many of you don't know the joy of these perfect little 1-4 track gems. I've always been a bit of a sucker for singles because I often find B-Sides to be some of the best tracks by an artist. Even when I was a teenager and obsessed with the CD and CD single, I still bought a 7" records here and there. In high school, I had to use my younger siblings Sesame Street record player to spin them. Nothing like hardcore coming out of Big Bird. Now, I got a better hi-fi, but still love me the single.
Arctic Monkeys - Leave Before the Lights Come On: This two track record was put out between the first and second albums and neither track appears on other releases. The A-Side is vintage softer Monkeys while the B-Side cover of "Baby, I'm Yours" is phenom.
Fugazi - Furniture: This 3 song record dates from 2001, which I'm not afraid to admit is my favorite Fugazi era. Having fully moved away from late '80s and early '90s hardcore, the band made its most complex music in the time. Three great songs that could have been on any album from that time.
Elvis Perkins in Dearland - Lorraine, Lookout: That's my autographed copy pictured above, a prize possession. This came out last fall and is two songs of perfection. The A-Side is an unreleased gem and the B-Side is the chilling "I'll Be Arriving" from last year's full-length. Dynamite stuff.
William S. Burroughs - Three Allusive Tracks from Break Through in Grey Room: I bought this two weeks ago at the Princeton Record Exchange. Limited to 300 copies, this is by far the most surreal Burroughs release I've heard. It's manic and insane and a literary masterpiece.
Blur - Fool's Day: Released for Record Store Day, the original 4-piece band's first recorded new song in nearly a decade and it's truly great stuff. It recaptures the cynical sad look at our daily lives that wove through Modern Life is Rubbish and Parklife. Sooo good...and a free mp3 version is available at blur.co.uk.
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy & the Cairo Gang: Midday/ You Win: As mentioned last weekend, this 7" came with the purchase of the full-length album. The A-Side is a decent track, but the B-Side is easily the stand-out here. My favorite song by the combo yet, it feels strait out of Bonnie's "I See A Darkness" era.
Nirvana - Live: A white vinyl 7" that I managed to find years ago, this has a rare electric version of "The Man Who Sold the World" as a A-Side and the long lost "The Money Will Roll Right In" on the B-Side (though, not so lost now because it's on the Reading Festival Album). Blistering and brilliant.
Best Coast - When I'm With You: Released last Fall, this is easily the best I've heard from this band. I've recently been listening to their EPs and this single is leaps above. Perfect summer sunshine indie-pop, but they also have a fuzziness that really makes it sound special and unlike the million other bands doing the same thing.
Hole - Miss World: After revisiting the Unplugged a few weeks ago, I dug out this colored vinyl and gave it a spin. Of course the A-Side is classic Hole, but the B-Side "Over the Edge" is great too...raw and angry and the perfect balance to Miss World.
The Leaving Trains - Rock 'n' Roll Murder: I bought this back in High School, mainly for the cover, I'll admit it and being a sucker for colored vinyl. But it paid off (sort of). These 3 tracks are great '90s underground rock. The title track is epic. The two other tracks are great as well. The sort-of aspect comes in because after this, I bought a few Leaving Trains albums that never lived up to this 7" which I sill play.
M 'n' M's - My Boyfriend's Back: Dating from 1983, this three track trow-back is really catchy. The A-Side cover is done so well. The B-Sides are retro garage greatness, 20 years before retro garage was being done.
Appendix Out - Lider fur Kaspar Hauser: This 1999 release contains two tracks by one of my favorite Scottish bands. Alasdir Roberts writes these great fairy tale kind of songs that feel straight out 1800's children's books...dark, sad, mysterious and beautiful. If you have never heard the bands debut The Rye Bears a Poision...do yourself a favor and get a copy.