Best Singles/EPs of 2011

Black Bug
– Police Helicopter 7″ (Hozac)
After cranking out one of the best LPs in 2010 (now reissued on CD on the tUMULt label) Black Bug serves up another slab of overdriven electroshock punk. With killer male/female tradeoff vocals and a frantic energy that’s akin to chomping on live wires, the 3 tracks on Police Helicopter are yet a another demonstration of this Swedish group’s best-in-class chops.

Double Negative
– Hardcore Confusion Vol. 1 – (Sorry State)
This longtime NCHC group’s first two in a series of four 7″ releases came out in 2011. Of course both volumes are shredders, but this first installment has some of their tightest songs yet, especially “Writhe” which takes the roar of their debut LP and channels it into the crafted, churning song structures of their second LP. Can’t wait for the next volumes.

The Dreams
– Body of Michael 7″ – (To Roccoco Rot)
This 3-song tour 7″ continues The Dreams’ track record of delivering quality jams. Like their digital singles and the excellent Morbido album, this single features their peculiar brand of psycho dub weirdo jams including the chillicious “Afrikaner Dub.”

2 – (Sorry State)
A year wouldn’t be complete without at least one totally ripping hardcore 7″ and thanks to Sorry State records we’ve got one of the most raging ones right here. Like their first 7″, this one goes for the throat with a relentless barrage of escalating riffs and maniacal vocals.

– Anxiety – (In The Red)
Killer garage punk with a huge guitar sound, turned up to eleven and crackling raw electricity. Players include dudez from Rooftop Vigilantes and Blood on the Wall. Loud, brash, catchy, and perfect for drunken singalongs, it’s hard to keep this one off the turntable.

The Nature Boys
– Rabies 7″ – (San Huevos)
The debut release from these Kansas punks flows with the rollicking ease of The Minutemen and the raw intensity of The Alley Cats’ male/female vocals. The Nature Boys take early SoCal punk as a starting point and ramp it up into a frenzy that’s too much fun to ignore or forget.

Pop. 1280
– Thirteen Steps – (Blind Prophet Records)
Each Pop. 1280 release gets nastier and more primitive, but not in the way you may expect. Instead of amped up volume and distortion, Pop. 1280’s songs recoil into monotonous, riffless dirges that taunt more than roar. Even with the texture and artsy elements stripped from the sound of their killer Grid EP, Pop. 1280 ups the ante with this solid 2-song single.

Soft Moon
– Total Decay 12″ EP – (Captured Tracks)
If you love Luis Vasquez’s ultra-atmospheric darkwave, you’ll be pleased to know that 2011’s Soft Moon offering measures up to the tidal wave of amazing records he put out in 2010. As a reader of this blog, you’ll also be pleased to know that he veers into noisier territory on Total Decay — a fitting title that hints at the restrained squall that adds interesting texture to his enveloping and seductive sound.

Ty Segall
Spiders 7″ – (Drag City)
Not only is Ty Segall prolific, but his output is always top notch. And even better, he’s never afraid to venture into new territories, like the heavy slow-mo sonic burn of this awesome 45. The sludgy buzzsaw guitar is so slow in fact that I had to be sure that my turntable was at the right speed. Chalk up another golden single to the staggeringly awesome Ty Segall discography.

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