It seems like if I looked on the Internet every day, I could always find a new single of interest coming out somewhere that I hadn't heard about before. Here's some I've encountered in the past few months since the last roundup.
The Flips: I Just Don't Know Where I Stand EP
The Flips are a six-piece made up of Milwaukee garage scene all-stars, featuring members of Sticks 'n Stones, Plexi 3, The Sugar Stems, Suicide Chicken, The Nice Outfit and many other bands present and past. First coming together several years back as an idea for a recording collaboration between Wendy Norton and Natalie C., the pair quickly recruited the other members for a working band. The Flips bring a '60s girl group vibe reminiscent of a poppier Luv'd Ones to their second release, out last August on Ramma Lamma EP
While The Flips may be inactive, Wendy Norton has already resurfaced in both The Spectras and Ramma Lamma, which has a brand new four-track EP out. Ramma Lamma also includes Norton's Plexi 3/Monitors bandmate Ryan King, and the EP includes a side of songs by each. This is straight-up driving rock 'n roll, sort of like Flamingo-era Flamin' Groovies with a bit more of a bubble-glam edge. Norton and King have been behind a ton of entertaining bands over the past decade-plus (and many 7-inches), and they're not slowing down; Ramma Lamma already has another single just out on , 2011)
Hollywood: Baltimore Queens EP
That may or may not be the title of this three-track EP; obfuscation seems to be a continuing sleeve theme for Hollywood, one of my favorite discoveries of the past year or so. Their album (and the "Big Mouth"/"Human BBQ" single pulled from it) featured a trio, but this 2008 Ken Rock release lists and pictures five members. It sounds like one of the additions is a bass player, but despite the extra players/noisemakers this single is sonically crisper than past efforts. However much the sound is cleaned up it's still aggressive sludge the way it should be. (Ken Rock, 2008)
Romero: "Solitaire"/"El Sentido Morboso"
Even heavier and louder -- and sludgier, particularly in the sonically dicey format of a 7-inch at 33-1/3 rpm -- is Wausau trio Romero's debut single. Topside "Solitaire" clocks in at about six and a half minutes of particularly doomy stoner metal, with a bit of a prog-rock influence a la Kyuss. Longtime Madison music followers will likely recognize at least one of the players: Guitarist/singer Jeffrey Mundt played drums in various '90s bands including the Madison version of ; the trio is rounded out by bassist Josh Stanchik.
Romero will be heading out for their first trip to the West Coast and back soon, and is already working on their debut album. "We are currently finishing up with the writing and have started doing demos," says Mundt. We hope to start recording just before our tour in March or shortly thereafter. We hope to have an LP out by fall; however, label support could speed up the process considerably."
You can catch Romero live in Madison twice in coming weeks. First is a show at on Saturday, February 12 at Mickey's Tavern; they'll also play a benefit concert for a proposed Madison skatepark on Saturday, February 19 at the High Noon Saloon. The single can be had at either show, and at Ear Wax, Exclusive Company or MadCity Music Exchange. The Triceratrax label is a fairly new Madison outfit; according to its Facebook page, plans are in the works for a Systemic Torment release soon. (Triceratrax, 2010)
Milwaukee pop punk outfit Direct Hit makes a stylish 7-inch debut on a split with Cincinnati's Mixtapes, featuring a new track from each packaged in a cleverly designed fold-over sleeve. More intriguingly, each new song is Halloween-themed (the record came out in October) and also covered by the other band. Direct Hit initially formed in Madison as a side project of Box Social member Nick Woods. "A few months after that I moved to Milwaukee for a job, and basically re-formed the band with guys that all lived nearby," Woods explains via email.
How the 7-inch release came together could be a textbook example of modern band-to-band networking. "Direct Hit released five EPs over the last couple years that we put up on the internet for free download," says Woods. "My friend Scotty, who does the same thing through his label Death To False Hope Records, re-posted both our fourth EP, as well as one of Mixtapes. Lisa Garelick, who runs Kind Of Like Records, heard both of those releases, and gave us a ring asking if we could record a couple songs for a split. We only had one new one written, so in talking to Ryan (Mixtapes singer), we thought it would be both interesting and less time-consuming to do blind versions of each other's song. Their version of our song is based off of a really scant demo I did just sitting at my kitchen counter with an acoustic guitar, and our version is based off of something similar they sent us. That's why it sounds like four totally different songs on the record."
Even though it's only February, the most welcome return of a long-inactive band in 2011 may be the resurgence of The Greenhornes. The Ohio natives hadn't released a new full-length album since 2002's Dual Mono, as the rhythm section's time has been mostly absorbed by various Jack White projects such as The Raconteurs. Their return was heralded by a new single on White's Third Man Records last fall, and the album 4 Stars followed in November. The group has been a trio since after Dual Mono, giving the new single a slightly more stripped-down sound than some of their earlier work. I'm just glad to have them back in action. They'll play the High Noon Saloon on March 28. (Third Man, 2010)