The third night of Chanukah – Seven scintillating singles.

I haven’t been offering much in the way of singles lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been adding to my stockpile of 45s.  Here’s the creme de la creme of what I’ve accumulated in the past year or so.

The BandablesCynicism b/w Love Lies Down (1984, Galt)

Quite possibly one of the ten best singles in my entire collection. The Bandables were a co-ed and very photogenic foursome who emanated from Port Washington (Queens), NY specializing in highly resonant power pop.  With it’s cutting and cathartic lyrics “Cynicism” sounds like the greatest thing Chrissie Hynde never committed to tape, while “Love Likes Down” is a slice of jangle pop manna for the ages.  Had these folks recorded a full length of the same caliber of these songs I think I might have a new favorite band.  Per their Facebook page, the aforementioned tunes and several more may surface digitally at some point.  

Choo Choo TrainThis Perfect Day b/w Happy Bicycle (1987, Picture Book)
It doesn’t quite feel like a Choo Choo Trainrecord without the involvement of Paul Chastain, but I’m still more than on board with any record Ric Menckcares to grace the mic on.  “This Perfect Day” (not the Saints song btw) boasts some discernible psych pop tweaks to keep things interesting.  The other side of the coin, “Happy Bicycle is steeped in Let’s Active’s edgy aesthetic.

The Big MaybeSome Things Never Change b/w It Should Be Alright by Now (1987, Picture Book)
Both Menck and Chastain comprise the ostensibly short-lived Big Maybe, with the equally capable Nick Ruddmanning the vocal stead.  Rudd was the frontman for Turning Curiousand Weird Summer, the latter of whom churned out four albums between 1987-98.  Both cuts here have the Rickenbacker thing going for them without overdoing it.  Not surprisingly, distinct shades of Weird Summer abound.  BTW, Nick Rudd’s early ’90s project, Blowncomes highly recommended.

The Diffi-cultDay of Saint Christopher/Low Rider (1986, St. Valentine)
I can’t recall how I became hip to this David Giffels-helmed Akron, OH three-piece, but I present you with what appears to be their one and only single.  “Day of Saint Christopher” is a ringing, left-off-the-dial jewel, bleeding some scrappy indie guitar-rock panache with a heap of integrity to go with it.  Why War’s “Low Rider” is such a damn popular song to cover I’ll never be able to figure out, but Diffi-cult pull it off, retooling the song into something of their own design. 

The FireStars (Looking Up At) b/w England(1985, Big Step)
A cold case if there ever was one.  Mystery rockers from the UK deliver a spectacular A-side that doesn’t cling to any of the traditional Brit-indie norms of the day.  I’m drawing a blank as to whom I might be able to offer a comparison to, but “Stars” thrives in it’s indigenous stride, deferring equally to gits and synths with any potential wave tendencies kicked to the curb.  The flip, “England” is strikingly minimal by comparison.  A slow grower if there ever was one.  BTW, this was taken from a 45 rpm, 12.”  Feel free to comment if you have any pertinent deets on this elusive combo.

IronicsMayday b/w Misdemeanors (1982, Age of Music)

Yet another un-Google-able entity, this time American (potentially the Bay Area). If this was the Ironicslone single they came and left on a remarkably high note, with two excellent power pop salvos.  “Misdemeanors” wins the contest by a hair.  They had more in common with Clocks, Fools Face and other contemporary obscuros than 20/20 and Shoes, making them that much more interesting.

SVTHeart of Stone b/w The Last Word (1979, 415)
This San Francisco treat was a curiosity if only for the inclusion of Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna bassist Jack Casedy moonlighting in SVT’s otherwise pedestrian lineup.  For better or worse, the group doled out a somewhat pedestrian AOR sound to match, with loose power pop tendencies.  “Heart of Stone,” however happens to be a remarkable three-minute pop-rocker with hooks that put anything by say, the Knack to shame.  And the b-side?  It rocks like a mofo.  There was at least one other SVT single, an ep, and a 1981 LP, No Regrets, that was reissued a few years ago by the thoughtful folks at Rykodisc.

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Articles Origin: The third night of Chanukah – Seven scintillating singles.


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