Arriving on the heels of our Fall Music Preview is our monthly ACL Singles Chart, including the catchiest short tracks of the month. Eight of them are new to the site, and the other two are among the year’s best.
Oh man, those 45s. Once upon a time, that’s how we got our singles – on collectible 7″ vinyl encased in flimsy paper sleeves. If one had the proper system, one could stack them high and let the turntable switcher do its work. 45s came with A and B sides, except in the rare instances when a song was too long to include on one side and too good to shorten (see #7 below). As we all know by now, records are on their (slow) way back, and the ten selections below would each make wonderful candidates for the 7″ single treatment.
1) A Winged Victory for the Sullen ~ Atomos VI
The second taste of the upcoming album Atomos (Erased Tapes, 6 October), “Atomos VI” confirms our suspicions that this record will be one of the year’s highlights. Dustin O’Halloran and Adam Wiltzie are in fine form as always, and the strings are magnificent.
2) This Patch of Sky ~ Prelude
Is it odd to feature a guitar-free, drum-free track from a post-rock band? Yes, but it’s a great way to showcase the shift made by This Patch of Sky, whose lineup now includes Alex Abrams on cello. The lead track from the band’s self-titled album, “Prelude” sets the stage for an incredible journey.
3) Maybeshewill ~ Fair Youth
The dialogue samples may be gone, but now listeners can concentrate on the music: an electronic style of post-rock, heavy on crescendos. The title track from Maybeshewill’s new album, “Fair Youth” pours it all on: piano, horns, and hands-in-the-air euphoria.
4) Human Ottoman ~ Robespierre’s Crowning
Human Ottoman boasts a unique setup: electric cello, vibraphone and drums. Their sound bridges the gap between classical and post-rock. On this track, we hear echoes of 3epkano, and we would not be surprised to find the band in the orchestra pit, providing new scores for silent films.
5) Ak’Chamel ~ Ghosts of Phi Am
A spaghetti western track that turns into a psychedelic jam, based on a horrific legend, presented by a ritualistic band who performs in masks: what’s not to love?
6) The Brackish ~ Surf’s Down
One more surf song before the summer ends: a playful cross-section of joie de vivre. The Brackish’s upcoming Big Guys (Lava Thief, 22 September) sports wild improvisations and a sense of pure fun.
7) Gidge ~ Norrland
We know we’re bending the rules with this one, since “Norrland” is eight minutes long. So let’s just imagine that it occupies both sides of a 45 ~ a trick used often, back in the day ~ or a single side of a 12″. It’s the closing track of an upcoming vinyl album (Autumn Bells, Atomnation, 23 September) so one doesn’t need to stretch too far. From the horn sample that begins and ends the piece to the gorgeous, expansive middle, it’s one of the year’s finest tracks, and we just had to include it.
8) Monist ~ Plastic Arts
The lead single from New Romans: A History arrives in a fanfare of orchestration, announcing the change of name from ontopsych to Monist. Bells and beats abound; welcome to the new age!
9) Lawrence Lindell ~ Divine Complement
A sweet piano plays over happy drums. The mood contains a hint of the divine. If only the best parts of life could play on such endless loops.
10) Nienvox ~ Summer’s End
This is it, the last song of the summer: bittersweet and melancholic, yet warm and soothing. The birds seem okay with it, as they are about to fly south for the winter. As for the rest of us, we’ll manage to adjust; we always do.