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Friday, December 19, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 26.0° F  Overcast
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Vinyl Cave: 7-inch corral with Count This Penny, The Ettes, Epic Ditch, Adam Widener, Wheels on Fire, Crisis Hotlines

The quantity of new singles just keeps growing, with 7-inch only labels springing up seemingly all over the place these days. And the genres represented are moving beyond the most commonly seen ones, garage rock and underground punk. Here's another batch of recent releases!

Count This Penny "Do Not Borrow Trouble"/"I'll Take a Walk"
Sometimes singles projects are released by unique places one wouldn't expect. That's the case with the first vinyl release by the Madison-based Count This Penny, whose new 7-inch is being released in conjunction with the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. The genesis of this release comes into focus when it's revealed that both new songs are drawn from the words of a pair of state Civil War veterans; the single is part of the Museum's ongoing commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the conflict.

It's an inspired choice to tab a band made up of two Tennessee transplants and some Northerners for a Civil War project, and the group comes through with their songs: Amanda Rigell's "Do Not Borrow Trouble" is a weary and affecting lament to the subject's situation; Allen Rigell's "I'll Take a Walk" presents a fierier take on ending up a prisoner of war after being called away from one's farm, and has the bonus of committing the couple's harmony singing to vinyl. A record release show will take place at the museum on Friday, March 9, starting at 7:30 p.m. A video provides more details about this project. (Wisconsin Veterans Museum, 2012)

The Ettes: "Teeth"/"Safely Down the Road"
Nashville's twangy retro rock trio The Ettes have been around for awhile, but I hadn't had a chance to hear them until now. It's more a case of being somewhat asleep at the switch than a low profile for the band. A year or so back, two of its members were a part of The Parting Gifts with Greg Cartwright, and they've had various other high-profile encounters. Let's just say I'll be tracking down the four previous Ettes albums shortly. "Teeth" is a slow burner from their last disc, Wicked Will, recorded at England's home of analog sounds, Toe Rag Studios. The flip side is previously unreleased. (Limited Fanfare Records, 2012)

Epic Ditch: 36-Hour EP
Also from Tennessee (this week's theme, apparently) is Epic Ditch, an old school punk band which turns out to be a supergroup: John Davis (late of power poppers Superdrag), noted producer Nick Raskulinecz, Pink Spiders drummer Nick Slack and prolific Knoxville singer/songwriter Stewart Pack. This one gets catchier the more you spin it, and in five tracks does a good job of balancing Davis' skatepunk anthems with Pack's more straight-up hard rockers. (Velocity of Sound, 2012, with download code)

Adam Widener: Cola Kids Hanging Out in the Bubble Dome EP
Widener, late of various Wisconsin bands (including Plexi 3 most recently), moved to the Bay Area a while back, so it was a pleasant surprise to see this solo disc appear in local record racks in January. Featuring four tracks of mid-fi four-track action entirely performed by Widener, it's no surprise the music is in a power-poppy direction -- but to that I say "YEAH!" The artist also puts his graphic design skills to use with the snazzy sleeve and an insert parodying warranty cards. (Big Action Records, 2011)

Wheels on Fire: "Dead of Night"/"Surrender Road"
Yeah, I keep writing about this band, but they keep putting out great records. This is a release I ran across at random and immediately scarfed up. The topside is mid-tempo power pop about love gone wrong; the flip's keyboard chording gives it a sort of dark bubblegum vibe. The only problem is that with both songs around 2:30 it's over way too soon. (Milk 'n Herpes Records, 2011)

Crisis Hotlines: Don't Wanna Go to No Jail EP
Crisis Hotlines are a trio from Austin, Texas, and if the record wasn't dated 2011, side one could be mistaken for the sort of thing collected on the old Killed by Death comps: mid-fi, DIY three chord punk. Most readers probably know right now whether they want to hear it or not. The band changes it up a bit with a bit of a grunge edge on side two, and my favorite track, "Explorers," has many more than three chords, so don't pre-judge them too much by the KBD comparison. (Eradicator Records, 2011)

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