Slowly (but, hopefully, surely) I’m continuing with my 2010 year in review posts. Last week I wrote about my favorite albums of 2010, this time I’m working on 7”s. There are a few other posts I’d like to make before the end of the year (most listened to artists, albums, and songs, best shows, & maybe a post about the handful of releases that don’t fit in either the 7” or the album category…) Anyway, here are my 10 favorite 7”s of 2010 presented in alphabetical order by artist.
Best Coast, Something in the Way (PPM, out of print)
I tried not to double up on these lists (i.e. if someone was on favorite albums, I tried not to put them on favorite 7”s as well), but I couldn’t help it. As much as I love the glossy (at least, comparatively glossy) sound of Best Coast’s debut album, there’s a soft spot in my heart for the fuzzed out pop sounds of this 7”. “Something in the Way” is great, but “Already Gone,” a sorrowful, drone-y meditation on lost relationships is (for me) the standout track.
(No video/audio available, sorry!)
The Blanche Hudson Weekend, Hate is a Loaded Gun (Squirrel Records) BUY IT!
God I love The Blanche Hudson Weekend. Really, I do. The Blanche Hudson Weekend consistently releases some of the most amazing songs out there. It sounds cheesy, but you get the sense that they really craft their songs. Every track on Hate is a Loaded Gun is a perfect mix of layered guitars and echoing vocals. Hate is a Loaded Gun‘s dark title and stark cover art suggest a series of bleak songs, but “Let Me Go” is an uptempo tune with driving pop guitars and a beat that, at times, mimics hand claps. “So Sick” is a little darker, with a composition that actually mimics the feeling of having a pounding headache (at least, as someone who currently has a pounding headache, that’s what it sounds like to me.) The EP’s closing track, “Song for Kristen,” finds the space between “Let Me Go” and “So Sick” and settles in perfectly. It’s just amazing.
(“Let Me Go”)
Cloud Nothings, Didn’t You (Old Flame Records) BUY IT!
2010 was a big year for Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings. They released a handful of great 7”s, did a ton of touring, and recorded their second album (forthcoming on Carpark), their 2009 debut Turning On (originally released on Bridgetown Records) was reissued on Carpark and Whichita… But my favorite thing Cloud Nothings did in 2010 is the b-side of this 7”. “Even if it Worked Out” is the perfect pop song. I first heard the band play it earlier this year at the Happy Dog. I was sitting down playing a game of Ms. Pac Man, turning around in between completing boards so that I could see the band. Everything about “Even if it Worked Out” is just right on. I can’t wait to see/hear was Cloud Nothings does in 2011 and am stoked about attending what is (I believe) their last show of 2010 (at the Grog Shop with Prisoners and The Very Knees on December 30th) — hopefully Jami will be there with me!
(“Even if it Worked Out” (live))
Japandroids, Younger Us (Polyvinyl) BUY IT!
Japandroids are probably the bro-est music I listen to, excepting the hardcore punk of my teen years that I refuse to let go of. “Younger Us” is the ultimate youth anthem — the opening line, “Remember when we had them on the run,” conjures up every last late night, legs up on the dashboard and out the window while friends drove, walking along train tracks, spitting at dudes who catcalled us. It doesn’t hurt that the b-side, a cover of X’s “Sex and Dying in High Society,” is totally solid, too.
Mirah, Don’t! (Mississippi) BUY IT!
What would any list of mine be without something by Mirah? Though Mirah didn’t have any new albums in 2010, she did release this stunner of a single. “Don’t!” originally appeared on Ragazza Pop, a girl group inspired comp, & I had initially thought that this single was just a re-release of that version — instead, Mirah re-recorded it with a slight country twang, mixed with girl group-esque backing vocals, and just a hint of horns and piano. It sounds fresh and perfect and Mirah’s voice is clear as a bell. I sincerely hope that 2011 brings me another Mirah album because I could listen to a solid hour of songs that sound just list this.
(“Don’t!” (Ragazza Pop version))
My favorite thing about “Say No To Love” (aside from the moment in the impeccably crafted video where Peggy eats a soft pretzel) is the line where Kip sings, “with the parking lot kids, with the loneliest crowd.” Those few words hit me with such intensity and such precision, calling up the most specific, beautiful, and dark teenage memories I can recall. This song is heartbreakingly gorgeous and the Pains’ second album is high atop my list of things to look forward to in 2011.
(“Say No to Love”)
Seapony, Dreaming (Double Denim, out of print)
It’s fitting that Seapony should follow the Pains in this alphabetical list since it was Kip’s recommendation that motivated me to listen to them in the first place. Seapony makes some of the music that I like best — jangly, poppy, “Hey, I could do this!” sort of music. Though I occasionally venture into something edgier or harder or more “advanced” sounding, it is this kind of simple pop that I am most grateful for, that really reminds me of why I collect records and why I occasionally get my guitar out and play the few simple chords my tiny hands can handle. Though this 7” is sold out all over the place, you can stream it here.
Sourpatch, Mira Mija (HHBTM) BUY IT!
Sourpatch is the perfect band and it’s breaking my heart that I have yet to catch them live. (I’m not writing an entry about the biggest letdowns of 2010, but if I was, my boss denying my request for time off and preventing me from attending the Athens Pop Fest would DOMINATE LIKE NO OTHER.) Anyway, Crushin’ (released last December) was one of my favorite albums of 2009 and for good reason — it took everything I like, mixed it all up, and spit it back out in a perfect half hour. The Mira Mija 7” brings four new songs echoing (and, in some cases, advancing) the pure pop perfection that was Crushin’. “Sky is Falling” is probably my favorite track — it starts out with a dark guitar riff that reminds me of something from Black Candy and quickly builds into a simple & beautiful love song built around incredibly simple lyrics and accented with moments of feedback.
Sweater Girls, Pretty When You Smile (HHBTM) BUY IT!
I was late to the game as far as Sweater Girls are concerned & only started listening to them earlier this month thanks to Matthew from Skatterbrain Good god, what I’ve been missing out on! Finally, a band that perfectly occupies the space between All Girl Summer Fun Band and The Softies. I’m so glad that I gave Sweater Girls a chance prior to the end of the year so that they could assume their rightful place on this list!
(“Pretty When You Smile” (live))
Weed Hounds, Beach Bummed (Iron Pier) BUY IT!
Weed Hounds consistently produce some of my favorite shoegaze-pop blends out there. The two songs on Beach Bummed continue right where last year’s debut tape left off. The b-side, “Skating Away from the Cops” is hazy and winding, like a summer afternoon in suburbia. Something about Weed Hounds’ songs feels rough, incomplete, not quite form, and in that absence of perfection: perfect. Beach Bummed happens to be the only Weed Hounds release with the privilege of still being in print & I’m not sure how long it will last, so snap a copy up while you can.
(“Skating Away from the Cops”)