Friday, February 20, 2009

Finally: Best Singles of 2008

It wasn't so much deliberation as procrastination, if you are still following, that delayed this list. Once again it was another great year for singles. We saw a couple of singles clubs re-emerge, one (CDR) standing heads above the other, but then again I'm biased. We saw a couple of artists releasing singles in place of actual full-lengths, though some (Jay Reatard) are more prolific than others (Mayyors). A handful of other bands successfully debuted with the self-released 7-inch platform to launch big years, bands like Box Elders and Nodzzz aiding from rapid word-of-mouth, internet style. And of course there were quite a few labels that established themselves as premiere singles labels, some new (Sweet Rot, Sacred Bones), some getting older (S-S, CDR, Florida's Dying) and one grandpa getting back into the singles action (Matador).

So, let's get to it. The best of the best, '08:

Blues Control, "Snow Day" b/w "Paul's Winter Solstice" (Sub Pop)
Box Elders, Hole in My Head (Grotto)
Catatonic Youth, Piss Scene (HoZac) - The only single to make my list two years in a row.
Eat Skull, Dead Families (Skulltones)
Electric Bunnies, Chewing Gum (Florida's Dying)
Guinea Worms, "Box of Records" b/w "I'm a Cobweb" (Columbus Discount)
Little Claw, Why/Why Not EP (Physical Sewer) and Race to the Bottom (Siltbreeze) - Little Claw revealed a new depth with these two singles by stripping down their sound and playing with structure. They mesh well with the 7-inch format.
Mayyors, Marines Dot Com and Megan's LOLZ (Self-released)
Meth Teeth, Bus Rides (Sweet Rot)
Nodzzz, "I Don't Wanna (Smoke Marijuana)" b/w "We Are the Only Animals" - Probably my most-played single this year. Both sides are so strong, and the b-side actually wins in a
Jay Reatard, See/Saw 7"and Painted Shut 7" (Matador)
Sandwich, "Assisted Living" b/w "I've Had a Few" (Columbus Discount)
Times New Viking, Stay Awake EP (Matador) - This one took a little longer to sink in. I guess that means they are getting more difficult to pin down, their influences more and more obscure (save for the TVP homage, "Sick and Tyred") or non-existent. Every listen reveals a new favorite.
Tyvek, Sidewalk (M'Lady's)
Unholy 2
, "Kutter" b/w "Porky$" (Columbus Discount)
Wounded Lion, "Carol Cloud" b/w "Pony People" (S-S) - If "Pony People" didn't hook you in and make you a fan of Wounded Lion, you simply weren't listening. One of the more unconventional pop songs of the year, it was the party cut for those of us who consider garage and soul "dance" music. One foot in retro organ-and-bongos exotica, the other in some post-modern Ouroboros shit. Should've been a one-sided 12" with the extended version in place of the edit.
Zola Jesus, "Soeur Sewer" b/w "Odessa" (Sacred Bones) - I did a complete 180 on Zola Jesus this year. If you go back and read my bit on her debut, it didn't sound all that enthusiastic. I ignored this one because of my indifference, but once I heard the ZJ track on the XXperiments comp I saw her in a different light and revisited this single on Sacred Bones. Zola Jesus is the sort of worldly, post-grunge chanteuse we need right now, taking big chances, stacking chunks of crumbled buildings to form new structures.