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)

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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)

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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.

Devon Williams – A Truce | Elevator 7″

a: A Truce
b: Elevator
Purchase from LA Record
Stream on MySpace

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Oh man, I’m kind of freaking out over this.

I ordered it based on the fact that one of the guys from No Age put it in his 2007 top ten – I like No Age, hadn’t heard of this Devon Williams character. Magic. Since then, I’ve seen it on a few more top ten lists, including SevenTenTwelve favourite Dan Bejar (did I mention here how I FINALLY won a copy of Streethawk: A Seduction on vinyl? This thing has been my White Whale for a few years now, and I even managed to get it for a pretty sweet price – $120, which makes it the single highest dollar amount that I have ever paid for vinyl). So yeah, Dan Bejar likes it, Randy from No Age likes it – but, the Mp3 blogger’s remain silent? Isn’t this your job, Mp3 bloggers, to find the good shit and put it under people’s noses?

Oh well.

Generally, I only write about records that I dig (you dig?) – I have a pretty sizable collection, growing every week, and there is lots there that I could be writing about, but don’t – because, as I see it, just because I hate something doesn’t mean that it isn’t good (and vice versa). Too many factors to account for with taste. Plus, the last thing struggling musicians need is another asshole blogger saying that they suck. Which may be the case, but what’s the point? I’ve been in bands long enough to know how much it can feel like banging your head against the wall (my new band, Light Years, is gonna be different though – we’re gonna light it up!).

Which is a really long-winded way for me to emphasize the following – this 7″ is REALLY fucking good. I know I say that lots (there is, after all, a lot of really fucking good 7″ records out there), but this 7″ would be the one I would pick if my house was burning down. Fuck the rest of them. Since the No Age singles arrived at my doorstep, I can’t think of any other 7″ that I have just played over and over and over and over again. Like now – I just got up and played it again. What more can I say to hype this out of proportion?

Prediction time – I am going to say about Devon Williams (which I think I also said about Abe Vigoda a few months ago): this guy is going to blow up. Big time. I’ll eat my hat if he doesn’t. From these two songs, I know it in my heart. This music is just too transcending, too universal not to catch on. When he gets around to releasing a full length, Pitchfork is gonna give it a 10.0 (at which point the backlash will start, so now is the time to get on board). Even if these are the two best songs this guy ever writes, he will have made his mark on the world.

Think a more accessible Magnetic Fields, the best Belle and Sebastian song, the pop-sensibilities of Elliott Smith (Figure 8 era), Morrissey with a cold, a less annoying Jens Leckman, the 70’s quirk of Harry Nilsson… on and on I go. Hyperbole aside, this is why I do this. Fuck me.

SevenTenTwelve’s Favourite 7″ Records of 2007

This time of year we are faced with many arbitrary lists. Especially music geeks (I think we have High Fidelity to blame for this mess), who love nothing more than collecting, cataloging and ranking their music. I am no different. The criteria for ranking these 7″ records are 1) quality of the music 2) overall presentation. This is why two singles series rank so highly

10. Fabulous Diamonds – S/T 7″


This band is going to be worth following in the next year – they are doing everything they shouldn’t be, and making it sound good.

9. Wooden Shjips – Summer of Love (Sol 2007)

I came late to the Wooden Shjips party, and it is difficult to predict how this is going to hold up  – the singles thus far have been ace, but the full length was kind of a snore.

8. Abe Vigoda – Animal Ghosts 7″

“Animal Ghosts” is everything I like about music – short, snotty bursts of melody. Like I said before, these guys are going to blow up.

7. LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends (w/ John Cale and W/ Franz Ferdinand) 7″

The last thing that anyone needs at this point is some asshole online telling you how amazing LCD Soundsystem are, or how good “All My Friends” is. Yet, these are worth paying the overseas cost for the covers done by John Cale and Franz Ferdinand (whose version I actually like more than LCD’s).

6. Prinzhorn Dance School (series): “You are the Space Invader” + “Up! Up1 Up!” + “Crackerjack Docker”

These three singles are all you ever need of Prinzhorn. Listening to the full length will annoy the shit out of you; listening to the singles will bring joy to your heart. All featuring hand-made (purses?) done by Suzy Horn. These singles are a hit at house parties.

5. Pet Politics – The Spring 7″

This music here is amazing, but it is the packaging that sells this one. Circular, shell like sleeves with some really nice art, The Great Pop Supplement does it again.

4. Times New Viking – My Head 7″

Christ this is good – can’t get enough of this band, and am spending way too much time right now tracking down their other 7″‘s. Matador sold out of these before they were even released, and I do say that very few bands have got me as excited this year.

3. The Ostrich – S/T 7″


I meant it when I said that this is the best Canadian 7″ I have heard this year (from a Calgary band, no less!). Dark, world weary garage-pop, this single says everything to me about my life, and I can’t wait to hear more. Don’t sleep on this.

2. Shocking Pinks (series)

Shocking Pinks totally blew me away this year – these 7″ singles each sound like different bands, with the common denominator being that the songs are all really good. Apparently, there is a box-set of all the 7″s now, but I have yet to see that.

1. No Age (series)

This is the series that renewed my faith in record collecting. Without a doubt my favourite release this year.

Other Singles I loved this year:

The Electric Bunnies- “Eskimo” 7″

Shearing Pinx- “Caves” 7″

Blank Dogs- “Dianna (The Herald)” EP

El Jesus De Magico- “Funeral Home Session” 7”

The Retainers- “She Likes To Get Attention” 7”

Cheveu- “My Answer Is…” 7

Joy Division – Sordid Sentimental Reissue 7″

Dan Deacon – The Crystal Cat 7″

Hot Lixx Hulahan – S/T 7″ (“air guitar” 7″ no music on it!)

Crystal Castles / HEALTH Split 7″

Pink Mountaintops – Single Life 7″

LCD Soundsystem / Arcade Fire Split 7″

Mutators – Paper Words 7″