January Singles Round-Up
by Kevin J. Elliott

For record labels, starting up singles club and keeping them consistently awesome is a dicey proposition. Just ask the guys over at Columbus Discount. Surely it’s a logistical nightmare pumping out a single a month, but quality control is just as daunting. Just ask Sub Pop, who has shuttered their second go at a singles club indefinitely. I can count on two fingers the number of singles from that batch that still get play. Given that Matador has just announced their own singles club (a split between Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks and LA Guns looks very intriguing), it’s high time Primitive Futures takes a moment to play a bit of catch up.

Cheveu, “Si Je M’enerve Encore” b/w “RNR 2” (Columbus Discount)
Who knows if this release by Cheveu signals the end of CDR’s great run of singles, but the gap between this one and the last one has been so huge that even the Termbo devotees began to cry foul. I wouldn’t chalk it up to anger as much as it was a charged emotional longing for more music. See, Columbus Discount knows their fanbase, and they’ve never really disappointed with any of their myriad releases. It was only a matter of time before Franco-weirdos Cheveu and CDR jumped in bed together. Often dubbed the French Fall, Cheveu have evolved past that comparison in the last year, getting stranger and (gasp!) more melodic with each release. Case in point is the oddball B-side here, “RNR 2,” which plays like a demented nursery rhyme complete with junkbox beats, a wheezing mellotron and a sparkling guitar line. Something like this could’ve have once shown up on a late-90s Beck album or come from the Elephant Six camp and no one would have blinked an eye. As it stands, it really shows the diversity and a want for cracked fun that define Cheveu. The highlight, though, “Si Je M’enerve Encore,” is back to basics for Cheveu, with jittery rhythms and slightly detuned guitars challenging the Casio goofs. Maybe not The Fall, but certainly Cheveu play up their forefathers, Metal Urbain, with a prankster aesthetic. Let’s hope this isn’t the last we see of the mighty CDR singles club.

Le Sang Song, “Art vs. Life” b/w “Paper Rose” (Hozac)
Meanwhile, the Hozac Hookup Klub soldiers on with no end in sight, with excellent introductions to bands that might only become regional garage heroes were it not for this label. It’s confounding how Hozac has this much time and the assets to release this much stuff. Somewhat breaking away from the typical Hozac mold is the latest from Le Sang Song. Hailing from Seattle, Le Sang Song is the one-man outfit of Craig Chambers, who has recently emerged from the ashes of the short-lived, but long remembered Love Tan. In listening to this single, it’s more than apparent that Chambers needs a long-player in order to really convey his musical message. That said, both “Art vs. Life” and “Paper Rose” show he can switch faces at the drop of a dime. The former is of the same model as Love Tan, if not as noisy and aggressive as that duo. The song is dark, damaged, distant, coiled post-punk. It ends without finishing and living up to the song’s true potential, but it’s a nice blueprint nonetheless. “Paper Rose” is more telling of Chambers’ mindset, as it’s a welcomed dose of empty warehouse falsetto blues. Strummed lazily and acoustically, the two-chord lament is as maudlin as they come. Still there’s plenty of Skip Spence–esque freakiness dusting the recording, with the occasional outsider warble or some well-placed, deceptively hidden basslines weighing it down. Without these accessories, Le Sang Song would be wafer thin, liable to blow away and be forgotten. Good thing he’s got a wild hair guiding this project.