Best On Vinyl 2008

Without further ado… Links take you to purchase sites. No link means that it is not available at the moment.

12″ Category

1. Thee Oh Sees

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The Master’s Bedroom is Worth Spending the Night In /
Hounds of Foggy Notion / Peanut Butter Oven Ep / Split 12″ w. The
Intelligence

Qmass: The EPs sound like they are likely The Master’s bedroom outtakes, and all of it is just as good as anything on The Master’s Bedroom, so I’d  be doing Thee Oh Sees a disservice by choosing only one. No band captured my attention the way that John Dwyer’s OCS/The Ohsees etc did with their string of increasingly limited and difficult to acquire full lengths, 12″ eps, and the one 7″ that came out. So good. Even though I am not as big of a fan as Kallen on the Hounds of Foggy Notion album, it has certainly grown on me.

Kallen: As noted above, I’m actually more of a fan of Thee Hounds of Foggy Notion than anything else they’ve put out in this prolific year of theirs. I mean, I really have no qualms with the turn in direction they made with Master’s Bedroom (“Visit Colonel” is most definitely one of my favorite songs of the year) but Hounds is them at their most top-notch front to back – perhaps, due to the fact that it’s actually a live collection of their older, folkier material. Anyway, I think of this as a greatest hits collection (I guess this reveals which side I’m on in the neverending ‘greatest hits’ debate). They’ve managed to find all my favorite songs of theirs to date and put them in one collection (and don’t worry, you can’t have audience noise without an audience and also, these live versions don’t stray too far off from the originals at all). One last thing: if anything, Hounds gets my #1 pick for versatility alone. It’s great for actual listening but it also works as background music (napping, schooling, maybe even fucking?).

“Inquiry Perpetrated” from the Intelligence Split

2. Nobunny – Love Visions (Bubbledumb / 1 2 3 4 Go!)

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Qmass: Originally released this summer by Bubbledumb, but the guy who ran the label had a string of terrible things happen to him, which made this record impossible to find until it was re-issued last month by 1-2-3-4 Go! Records. Since I finally got my copy, it has rarely left the turntable, instant hooks, timeless melodies, a half naked dude in a bunny mask – its all here.

Kallen: I love Mr. Nobunny. Listening to Love Visions the 30 or so times I’ve done so far made me happier than anything else this year, musically or otherwise. May it grant me (and you) as much happiness the next 30 listens. This has ‘instant, modern classic’ written all over it, think Guitar Romantic. If we at Seven Ten Twelve weren’t giving you combined lists, this would get my #1 and I’m well aware of what I wrote above re: Thee Oh Sees.

“Chuck Berry Holiday”

3. Cheveu – S/T (S-S)

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Qmass: This record took two months to leave my turntable, and when I pick it up again, I get the same satisfaction. “Herman Choune” is one of my favourite songs of the year, and I even like “Happiness”, which many seem to hate. Primitive futurism.

Kallen: One of my most anticipated records of 2008? Yes. Expectations met? Absolutely. Exceeded? Don’t know. All I know is that this record is all over the map but it still sounds French as fuck. When this record stopped spinning on my turntable for the first time, I knew that this ‘weird punk’ thing had already hit its peak right here in 2008. Yeah, I feel as dirty for writing that as you are for reading it, okay?

“Dog”

4. Blank Dogs – On Two Sides (Troubleman Unlimited)

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Qmass: Though of late I’ve been thinking that The Fields is an improvement on this, every release seems to be an improvement on the one before. As a debut LP, this has historic qualities, and this album has enough of Blank Dogs weird nostalgia to go around. Blank Dogs singular vision alone makes this a worthwhile endeavor.

Kallen: While I’m not nearly as big of a Blank Dogs super-fan as my cohort Paul is, sure I enjoyed On Two Sides a hell of a lot. I really likes the more guitar, less synths approach he took with this one. Here’s to hoping his In The Red debut is as good as this.

5. Thomas Function – Celebration (Alive)

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Kallen: I’m actually in the video above, very briefly. Guess which member of the audience I am and win the prize of the warm fuzzy feeling I’ll send out to you for knowing that a complete stranger (most likely) took the time out to try to spot me in a 3-minute YouTube video.

Qmass: “A Long Walk” is as unrelenting as “Can’t Say No” is catchy. A shame you would never hear songs this good on the radio – they should sell “Can’t Say No” to Miley Cirus or the Jonas Bros. Like everything in this top 5 so far, this album got a great deal of play from me.

6. Wax Museums – S/T (Douchemaster)
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Qmass: HEY! I GOT LOCKED IN THE MALL! Wax Museums finally release their debut, and it does not disappoint – so many instant classics. Looking forward to the Fan Club Florida’s Dying is doing next year.

Kallen:  I bought this on a whim and at first, like a few other records on this list, I wasn’t so hot on it but I soon realized the key to enjoying the Wax Museums’ S/T is to really put yourself in the mindset of a 10 year-old. If that is too much of a stretch for you, get drunk and then listen to this. Same effect. Simply put, this is the most juvenile record I’ve heard in 2008. God, I still don’t know if “Cowboys & Indians” is offensive as hell or just plain hilarious.

7. Vivian Girls –  S/T (In the Red/Mauled By Tigers)
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Qmass: There were a few bands working with similar material as the Vivian Girls (such as Crystal Stilts, some of the Sic Alps material on this years Stltbreeze release), though none were as successfull. The songs on this album are short and sweet, well worth any percieved hype (though next time you find yourself ranting about how “big” Vivian Girls are, ask your Mom or your little sister who they are).

Kallen: Man, the backlash sure came quick with these gals, didn’t it? Fuck ’em, their band will never write a song that’s as powerful of a mission statement as “Tell The World”.

8. Cheap Time – S/T (In the Red)

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Kallen: And to think, I didn’t like this record so much the first time I heard it (I think it was the vocals or something)! I thank my agnostic god every day that they clicked just in time for me to witness them live at Gonerfest. Anyway, I listen to this record once or twice a week now. Their cover of The End’s “People Talk” is another one of my favorite songs of the year. Has anyone else noticed how bitter the lyrics are? Dude is pissed off.

Qmass: Yes! “People Talk” is so good. So good. Every time I listen to this record, I have a new favourite song, which says something. Like Kallen, this one is a grower, not a show-er.

9. Wavves – S/T (Woodsist)

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Kallen: Assuming the rumors are true, congratulations for signing to Sub Pop! May you get even a tenth of the expanded budget that Fleet Foxes undoubtedly has now!

Qmass: A late year addition! For being a debut album for a solo album, this album has a tonne of ideas, hooks, melodies. Lo-fi, but sounds are fairly varried. The song “Wavves” (by Wavves, on the album Wavves) is impossibly good.

10. TV Ghost – S/T (Die Stasi)

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Kallen: Call it no-wave, noise-rock, post-punk. Whatever. I couldn’t care less. This is unsettling music for unsettling times and shit, it’s fronted by a dead-ringer for Ian Svenonius as well!

7″

1. Hunx and His Punx – You Don’t Like Rock and Roll 7″ (Rob’s House)

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Qmass: The catchiest gay pop songs you will hear this year. I love everything about this record – the sleeve, the songs, the video, Nobunny’s riffs.

Kallen: Gets #1 for the packaging alone (scratch-and-win style covering of his dong) and hey, the music is pretty fantastic as well. As catchy (and gay) as anything you’ve heard this year and Nobunny proves he has the magic touch with his guitar stylings. Did I mention the handclaps, oh the handclaps!!! I still can’t believe this guy is/was a member of Gravy Train. I mean, yeah, I actually can but they were never this good.

2. The Wicked Awesomes – Information Entropy 7″ (Almost Ready)

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Qmass: The video is from the tour my band went on with The Wicked Awesomes in support of this 7″, so needless to say I have some bias here. I can honestly say that The Wicked Awesomes have songs that will stick in your brain for weeks and weeks, and no matter how many times I have seen them, I cannot get sick of them. Friend rock!

Kallen: Undoubtedly for me, the best band going in Alberta right now. They take some left-of-the-beaten-path influences and turn it all into something that’s oddly enough, very singular. “Wizard Ship Star Destroyer” makes me feel like I’m at the best bar mitzvah ever… and with that one, I’ll quit while I’m behind.

3. Catatonic Youth – Piss Scene 7″ (Hozac)

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Qmass: You must have a sense of how stoked I am on the Hozac label, right? They realeased a heafty stack of 7″s this year, and the only one I don’t like is the Subtle Turnhips one. The Catatonic Youth “Piss Scene” EP from this summer is my favourite Hozac release of the year – the songs are great (its a shame that only 500 copies of this exist – more people need to hear this, though the same could be said with much on this list), and the packaging is top notch.

4. Dead Luke – Box Set (Sacred Bones)

dead-luke-box

Kallen: You listened to “Jumping Jack Flash Drive”, right?

Qmass: Kallen likes Record 2, I like Record 1 (“I Want You” kills).

5. Eric & The Happy Thoughts – Never Gonna Do It (Bubbledumb)

eric-and-the-happy

Kallen: Eric and the Happy Thoughts have this classic sound that I bet parents and children could really bond to while listening. I wouldn’t know for sure though because my father doesn’t listen to music and my mother only listens to classical exclusively. Anyway, this Romance Novels spin-off reminds me of a band I’d have formed in junior/senior high school but the difference between us and EATHT is that while they’re making AM-friendly pop hits effortlessly and perfectly, we’re selling our souls at menial day jobs.

5. The Barbaras – Summertime Road (Goner)

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Kallen: These days, I enjoy Jay Reatard’s backing band (read: the Barbaras) a lot more than Reatard himself. I’m sure I violated some code saying that but I really can’t get enough of these guys. They’re not the first to combine pop and Memphis soul (e.g. doo-wop) but they combine it with a quick-fire energy that I’ve never heard. Also, I probably had the most fun at Gonerfest watching them. I think I said on Twitter at the time (yeah yeah) that they’re a “pure musical distillation of fun and joy”. I still stand by that 100%.

6. Eat Skull – Dead Families (Skulltones)

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Qmass: I’ve come back to this a great deal over the year – and for this list it came down to this vs. Meth Teeth’s “Bus Rides” 7″, which lives in the same grungy basement, with the same Fisher Price cassette deck/recording studio. The 7″ works better for me than their LP, which is good, but hard to get through. Maybe if the LP had these songs? “Dead Familes” rulz, “No Intelligence” rulz.

7. The Ostrich – Mt Fuji in Red 7″ (Self Released)

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Qmass: The Ostrich were in my top 10 last year, and here they are again. If they were from Memphis or Brooklyn, they would be on everyones year end lists (though I guess that isn’t totally fair – Calgary’s Women have been doing great business this year).  When I randomly bought the first 7″ and fell in love, I said that they were a fitting soundtrack to Calgary’s progress-gone-haywire, and I still think it is true for this release, though they capture the claustrophobia and menace a lot better on this one. Sad to see them break up. I have great hopes for Chris Zaijko (Ostrich’s wild man vocalist) and Mike Bressanutti (Ostrich’s drummer) and their new band Sharp Ends, who are working in the same vein as The Ostrich. The Sharp Ends debut show in November was my favourite show of the year. Go Calgary!

Kallen: A more than worthy exit to one of the best bands Calgary has ever shat out.

8. The Dutchess and the Duke – Never Had a Chance 7″ (Hozac)

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Qmass: B-Side “Scorpio” is one of my favourite songs this year

9. Blank Dogs – Setting Fire To Your House 7″ (4:2:2)

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Qmass: Yes! More Blank Dogs awesome-ness. His best 7″ until the next one comes out.

10. Sex/Vid – Nests (Dom America)

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Kallen: If you made me choose between Tania and Nests, I’d kill you. Actually, I’d let Sex/Vid’s music do it for me. This stuff’ll suffocate you. Now that Fucked Up has chosen to be… something else, Sex/Vid is my pick for best hardcore band going right now. I could be wrong though, hardcore is one of the last genres I’d claim to be anything of an expert on.

Blank Dogs – “In Here” Preorder

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Listen: Myspace

Preorder: Down in the Ground

Creepy mask sleeve? Check.

100 copies in a limited colour? Check.

Immanent sell out a full month before it is released? Check.

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We’ve got a few cool things coming down the pipe this week – I have a big “Singles Club” report I’m working on, Kallen and I are putting up some year-end list thingy (and are going to DJ the same tracks from this list simultaneously on the radio in two different cities – CKXU in Lethbridge and CJSW in Calgary). Crazy.

Hozac Gold Rush!

This came to me an hour and a half ago, so hurry if you want GOLD!!!

HZR-024  NOBUNNY – ‘Give it To Me’ b/w ‘Motorhead With Me’  7″
After a long wait, here it is, the first official Nobunny 7″ single. Just as the rest of the modern world is warming up to the fuzzy pop nightmare of Nobunny’s debut LP, we’ve got the follow-up 7″ with two brand new songs that will bring back that virginal feeling “down there” and reinstate your faith in humanity. Sunshine Ramones pop run through a Kim Fowley diarrhea daydream that will have you mesmerized by it’s simplicity, and won over before the end of the chorus on the first side. Two more stone-cold classic Nobunny songs that’ll stick with you through the hard times and with laden with hooks so infectious that you’ll have to have them surgiacally removed from your brain.
First 200 Gold Editions come wrapped in a ghastly ‘Lecherous Leisure Suit’ alternate sleeve, and fits nicely in that cold, empty spot in your heart.

HZR-025  FRANCE has the BOMB – ‘Invisible Angle’  b/w ‘Grim Trigger’  7″
With all of the penetrating excitement that France Has the Bomb delivers live, they really boil it down even better on record, and if you haven’t been privvy to seeing this Minneapolis supergroup in person, then you need to make it a priority. After their essential debut single on Dusty Medical Records earlier this Spring, we jumped at the chance to offer up two more brain-tazing avant pop bombs to drop, and with Chicago ex-patriate Srini Radhakrishna (Guilty Pleasures, White Outs) at the songwriting helm, along with Danny from Soviettes, Sgt 6 Assault, and Awesome Snakes, and Hideo from Sweet JAP/Birthday Suits, it’s a jarring Flying Nun-style pop explosion that will surprise you, to say the least. First 200 Gold Editions come wrapped in an alternate “Punk Pixelated” sleeve.

HZR-026  NICE FACE – ‘Exterminator’ b/w ‘FUBAR Over You’ 7″
After a stunning debut 7″ on Sacred Bones earlier this year, and a mindbending cassette release on Jerkwave, Nice Face have returned to the proper 7″ format with two instant classic pop songs that blast the buzz with corrosive hooks so penetrating, you’ll swear you’ve had them swimming in your head for ages. Originally known as the “other” faceless Brooklyn home recording project (with pals Blank Dogs), Nice Face are far less melancholy, and delve into the upbeat Devo pop spectrum, blasting the guitars out up front for a devastating two-song 7″ single that will leave you panting for more.
First 200 Gold Editions come wrapped in a textured “Hitler/Stalin Love Train” alternate sleeve.

ALSO Available:
limited represses of Wizzard Sleeve, Nothing People, Daily Void, Dutchess and Duke, Jacuzi Boys and Lover! singles (editions of 200 not many left!)

all ordering information is listed below so please get your copies right away if you “need” the gold edition.
(NOTE: *need = plasma, oxygen  *want = records, fancy sunglasses)

Ordering Info:

Sorry, but we have to limit the Gold Editions to ONE copy PER release title, PER order.

Canada and Euro orders ship airmail.
All prices are postage paid. We are offering a special low price for one of each single which is obviously the best deal.

PLEASE INCLUDE WHICH RECORDS YOU’D LIKE IN YOUR comment field.

PAYPAL account is : todd (at) horizontalaction.com

USA
one 7″ – $6.75 ppd
two 7″ – $12.50 ppd
three 7″ – $17.75 ppd
four 7″ – $22.25 ppd
five 7″ – $26.50 ppd
six 7″ – $31.75 ppd

CANADA/MEX/South America
one 7″ – $7.25 ppd
two 7″ – $13.50 ppd
three 7″ – $18.95ppd
four 7″ – $24.00 ppd
five 7″ – $28.25 ppd
six 7″ – $33.50 ppd

EUROPE/rest of WORLD
one 7″ – $10.75 ppd
two 7″ – $19.75 ppd
three 7″ – $27.95 ppd
four 7″ – $33.50 ppd
five 7″ – $38.95 ppd
six 7″ – $45.50 ppd

regular mailing address (MO payable to Horizontal Action, or well-concealed cash at your own risk, – PLEASE EMAIL TO RESERVE COPIES – todd (at) horizontalaction.com

Sex/Vid – Communal Living LP

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Label: Dom America
Buy: Bistro Distro

After a cassette and three seven-inches, Olympia, Washington’s Sex/Vid has graced us with their first full-length LP, Communal Living. While their singles showed us a band fully capable of pushing hardcore to its densest and most claustrophobic that it could be (I swear, you can’t even hear a millisecond of silence on the Tania 7″), Sex/Vid does a trade-off this time around. On Communal Living, they open up their songs a bit, letting their material breathe a bit. What the hell am I talking about? These cliches I’m spouting? What it basically means is that they’re a bit more conventional this time around.

Do I enjoy it? On a visceral level, yes. Judging Communal Living on its own merit, yes, it’s a fantastic record. However, when compared to the Tania and Nests seven-inches, it pales. Those singles are a marvel to listen to, just to hear how dense and crushing their sound is. I guess the question is whether a band’s past work should factor into an assessment of their latest. For some of you, the answer is probably obvious, but it’s really hard in this case to forget something like the combination of “Firm Grasp” and “Misprint” on side A of Tania.

One more thing – please knock it off with the Die Kreuzen comparisons.

Thanks in advance.

Thee Oh Sees – Carol Anne 7″

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a: Carol Anne
b: Bloody Waters

300 Pressed
Label: Slowboy
Buy: Try contacting: info@slowboyrecords.de or wait for Florida’s Dying to get some in (should be soon!)
Listen: Myspace

Thee Oh Sees have been the one constant band for me in 2008. I found out about this combo earlier this year with their newest album “The Masters Bedroom is Worth Spending the Night In” (though I don’t want to spoil my “year end list”, suffice it to say that this is at the top), and then spent a good deal of time tracking down everything else I could find (still looking for a copy of “Sucks Blood” on vinyl – NE1??). After 7 LPs (!!!), 3 EPs and 1 6″ Lathe cut, this is the first time Thee Oh Sees find themselves on the 7″ record format, which is a little surprising really.

Slowboy out of Germany released this 7″, and though I paid for this way back in September, it only just arrived the other day, definitely living up to their name. There is a chance they might have a few copies if you miss out on the few that have come through distros (Florida’s Dying should have some soon-ish).

What can you expect to hear on this record?  All of Thee Oh Sees of the “Master’s Bedroom…” era incarnation of the band are here – primitive rock-and-roll played heavy on the floor tom; John Dwyer/Brigid Dawson sing-shouting in unison (with Brigid sometimes falling into the background for shapeless harmonizing); lots of Space Echo and spring-verb. “Carol Anne” is a highlight for me – holding up to any of their best songs, and for that matter “Bloody Waters” is just as good. Plus, I’m not 100%, but sounds like a short instrumental freakout on the B-Side.

This is as good as it get kids, grab a copy before you can’t.

Cheval Sombre and Boron

Cheval Sombre – I Found It Not So b/w Where Did Our Love Go 7″

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A. I Found It Not So
B. Where Did Our Love Go

Label: Static Caravan
Listen: Myspace
Buy: Darla

Not even getting what I assume to be their heroes to make an appearance (Dean Wareham of Galaxie 500/Luna and Britta Phillips of the latter plays on the track, Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3 produces) could save the A-side of New York’s Cheval Sombre’s new 7-inch from sounding like slowcore-by-numbers. The track is bathed in reverb, the vocals sound he’s in a trance (natch – he actually reminds me of Mathew Sweet, no not that one, I’m talking about Boduf Songs), and the whole affair moves slower than the time it is taking for My Bloody Valentine to release a new record. Sorry, I’d rather listen to Lazer Guided Melodies/Pure Phase. He fares a bit better on the B-side because it’s the goddamn Supremes he’s covering but sorry, I’d rather listen to Solange Knowles’ reworking of the classic track. All in all, this 7-inch was pressed so that journalists have a new excuse to use the adjectives “dreamy” and “lush”. For fans of the genre.

Cheval Sombre – I Sleep 7″

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A. I Sleep (Alpha Waves)
B. I Sleep (Delta Waves)

Label: Trensmat

See above.

Boron and the Grebes – You’re A Horrible Person 7″

Couldn’t find a picture.

“Boron” Side: The Prophet Hooligan
“Grebe” Side: You’re A Horrible Person 

Listen/Buy: Myspace

Save your money and pick up that Hospitals record that came out earlier this year.

Eric and the Happy Thoughts – “Never Gonna Do It” 7″

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a1: Never Gonna Do It
a2: Ride, Ride Ride
b1: Indiana Girls

Label: Bubbledumb Records
Buy: 1-2-3-4 Go Records (email store@1234gorecords.com for availability / Other distros to come)
Listen: Myspace

After the long national nightmare that was the original pressing of NoBunny’s Love Visions (long story short: guy decides to start this cool label called Bubbledumb, puts out a record that people really, really wanted, shit the bed sending them out to people. taking months to get people their records, as well as the “limited” pink copies being warped).

Indiana’s Eric and the Happy Thoughts are part of Bubbledumb’s next release, and comes as highly anticipated as the NoBunny record, though this time it seems as if he learned from his mistakes, as he isn’t taking direct orders, dealing instead with a series of small distros to get these out. Seeing as how I just successfully placed and order with the first distro that I saw with a copy (1-2-3-4 GO, also responsible for the NoBunny re-issue), I figured it was time to write about this.

Kallen hooked me up with Mp3’s of the Eric and the Happy Thoughts demo (that has the three songs from this 7″, plus a lot of others) a month or so ago, and to say that I’ve been kind of obsessed with it is an understatement. These songs are all top notch early-rock and roll played innocent – think The Everly Brothers or Roy Orbison, but at the same time, sounding self-produced and kind of lo-fi (but not in a muddled-lo-fi way). A good song can still shine in bad production, and these songs are more evidence to that.

I think I speak for both myself and Kallen to say that this one is highly recommended.