August Singles Round-Up
by Stephen Slaybaugh

It’s the dog days of summer so you’ll forgive me if I don’t spend too much time pontificating on this or that. Frankly, it’s just too god damn hot to waste time mincing words. Instead, I prefer to get right to opinionating about music. For this month’s singles wrangling, we’ve got something old, something new, and something, well, not so old. If anything can be said of all three, it’s that the tradition of pushing rock’s boundaries knows neither time nor space. But anyway, I digress.

Mike Rep and the Quotas, “Rocket to Nowhere” (Mighty Mouth)
Mike Rep has earned his reputation (heh) over the years for lovingly fucking with records by Guided By Voices and Times New Viking, as well as for the music he’s released sporadically with and without his Quotas. But Hummel has been fucking around with rock & roll since the ’70s, and this single is the first recorded evidence to be released. Recorded in 1975, this single didn’t see the light of day until 1978, and while the songs have appeared elsewhere, getting your hands on an actual copy of this 7-inch was next to impossible. Fortunately, Mighty Mouth music has, in its wisdom, put this slab back into rotation.

Cut when Rep and his longtime partner in crime Tommy Jay were still teenagers, “Rocket to Nowhere” is a capitulation of the pair’s rock & roll dreams, with the rickety recording laced with fake crowd noise. Still, there’s a lot of charm in Rep’s big rock gestures, and the space-age nihilism predates punk’s uglier visions of futility with a good deal of spark. The B-side, “Quasar,” is a wobbly slice of instrumental curiosity that will probably only appeal to Rep’s small legion of fans. But though it may just be the product of imbibing in some Harrisburg homegrown, the song also shows the kind of free thinking that would lead Rep and his Quotas in the many years to come.

Yves/Son/Ace, Unsung EP (Kill Shaman)
Yves/Son/Ace is one of the many projects of Intelligence drummer Matthew Ford, whose other outlets include Factums, Love Tan, and Evening Meetings. Recorded in 2006, Unsung is a seven-song EP that probably could have benefitted from being lovingly fucked with. Nonetheless, Ford manages to make the most out of his four-track cassette recorder (pictured on the back). While cuts like “Standing in Your Own Little World” are anemic in their delivery, it’s easy to tell that the intent isn’t as simplistic as it might seem. Like, say, Psychedelic Horseshit’s earliest work, Ford is no doubt mucking about with rock’s primitive roots. “Couldn’t Find It” and “Sucking Blood” are chunks of post-millennial blues that clank and plod as much as they shuck and jive. And while “Poverty” is a case of overt vitriolic dementia that works just as well, Ford is even better when he gets a bit self-referential, as on “This Song Won’t Make Me Rich,” which speaks for itself (and probably the other cuts here too).

The Hussy, Stab Me (Eradicator)
Madison, Wisconsin two-piece The Hussy is probably not as tied to the lo-fi aesthetic (like Rep and Ford) as they are just good ol’ trashy rock & roll. The four songs on this 7-inch EP breeze by before you can say The Black Lips, though that’s hardly a bad thing. Each cut careens and thrashes about appropriately, but it’s The Hussy’s Midwest grit and singer Bobby Hussy’s caterwaul that give the band’s its edge. The title track here stands out here if for nothing else than the throttling jolts it delivers. They also take a nice run through “Molly Molly,” which is a cover of a tune by another group from the Wisconsin underground, The Midwest Beat. This cut shows the band also has some pop smarts, although admittedly they borrowed some of them from their cheesehead brethren. Whatever the case, there’s enough packed into this little EP to keep one satisfied for awhile.