Top Thirty 7″ Records of 2012 (#30-16)


It’s that time of year again folks, the time where everybody’s favorite year-end tradition comes back to haunt them – lists! Frankly, if you ask us, the year wouldn’t be the same without these things, which is why we’re bringing you our third edition of year-end wrap-ups today.

We’re going to begin with 7″ records which just may be the toughest category considering we covered over 110 unique singles throughout 2012. As you’re going through the list below, you’ll notice that each record has a rank – our ordering is representative of our anticipation for future releases from these bands in the new year, but also just as importantly, anything that we thought stood out throughout 2012. Bear that in mind as you go through! So without further ado, here goes nothin’.


It’s tough to admit but there’s always going to be those releases that just barely missed the mark – what’s even worse is that time limits us all and we just couldn’t cover every 7″ we wanted to. Below you’ll find a short list of the singles we couldn’t fit on our list, as well as a few we just didn’t have the time to cover:

Honorable Mentions:
Protomartyr – Kings Boots 7″ (Urinal Cake Records)
Grand Trine – Bohemians 7″ (Almost Ready Records)
VVhile – VVhile is Vanity 7″ EP (Jazz Chairs/Twin Toe)
Bare Mutants – Without You 7″ (Hozac Records)
Tight Genes – Cop Again 7″ (Goodbye Boozy Records)
The Nervous Ticks – Badlands 7″ (Goodbye Boozy Records)
Mining Boom – Dining Room 7″ (Self-released)
Unwed Teenage Mothers – If You Think… 7″ (Speakertree Records)
Wobbly Lamps – Neon Tee Pee 7″ (Polyvinyl Craftsmen)
Cold Warps – Slimer 7″ (FunDog Records)

Some we missed:
Heavy Times – K-9 7″ (Windian Records)
Terry Malts – Living With the Human Race 7″ (Windian Records)
Useless Eaters – New Program 7″ (Anti Fade)
Hierophants – Bow Down to… 7″ (Anti Fade)


30.) lonesome savages all outta love 7 ep kind turkey 2012
The Lonesome Savages – All Outta Love 7″
Label: Kind Turkey Records
With the combination of Dead Luke and Max Elliot (formerly of Zola Jesus), the Lonesome Savages were born. Together they create these crunchy blues rock dirges, showing off that gritty, Midwestern twang that’s easy to love. Looking forward into the near year, we’ll have to see where they go next.

29.) adam widener make out 7 ep 2012 fuzz city
Adam Widener – Make Out 7″ EP
Label: Fuzz City Records
Formerly in Bare Wires and the Zygoteens, now Widener makes pop music on his own terms. After hearing his two 7″ singles from this year, there’s no second-guessing what he’s up to. Now we wait on what comes next!

28.) the babies moonlight mile 7 woodsist 2012
The Babies – Moonlight Mile 7″
Label: Woodsist
The Babies have come a long way to say the least. This 7″ is surely proof of that. We didn’t get a chance to cover their sophomore LP this year, but “Moonlight Mile” is a pretty good indication of what you’d be getting into. Throw in a warming and folksy B-side like “Places” and you’ve got yourself a 7″ gem.

27.) ghost of chance paddle boat 7 obscureme 2012
Ghost of Chance – Paddle Boat 7″
Label: ObscureMe Records
Track 2:
Ghost of Chance came bearing a peculiar 7″ that blended elements from both garage rock and frothy dream pop, a combination we don’t hear very often. They also mess around with rhythm and tempo mix-ups, making for sudden changes in tracks that occur within moments, requiring close, careful listening.

26.) magic shadows 2012 sunburned mind 7 under the stairs
Magic Shadows – Sunburned Mind 7″
Label: Self-released
Hamilton, Ontario burnouts Magic Shadows dropped this 7″ with more pent-up and psyched-out aggression than thought possible to fit onto wax. Hopefully we get to hear more of these sinister ragers in 2013 because these guys aren’t messing around.

25.) wax idols schadenfreude 2012 suicide squeeze 7
Wax Idols – Schadenfreude 7″
Label: Suicide Squeeze Records
These are easily two of Hether Fortune’s best tracks to date, leaving us ready for her sophomore LP Discipline and Desire that is due to drop early next year via Slumberland Records. We’ve been lucky enough to hear some of the new material already, but we’re still waiting for the bigger picture. Sit tight until March and we should have a better idea of what to expect.

24.) heroes and heroines 2012 two weeks 7
Heroes and Heroines – Two Weeks 7″
Label: Self-released
For their debut 7″ Heroes and Heroines brought us their own strand of bubbly garage pop from Los Angeles. Featuring an unmatched level of innocence, the two tracks included here are about as charming and blissful as you could possibly hope for.

23.) missing monuments love you back to life hozac
Missing Monuments – Love You Back to Life 7″
Label: Hozac Records
Clean and razor-sharp power-punk anthems dominate this particular Missing Monuments 7″. All three of these tracks feature Julien Fried’s signature shred, not to mention carefully organized pop song structure and a fun, lovable innocence.

22.) zig zags scavenger 7 mexican summer 2012
Zig Zags – Scavenger 7″
Label: Mexican Summer
This debut Zig Zags 7″ hit us like a ton of bricks. Bringing us their sludgy punk energy from Los Angeles (and past bands like Unnatural Helpers and the Intelligence), we’re bound to hear more from them in 2013. At least that’s what we’re hoping.

21.) Lecherous Gaze bagagazo 7 who can you trust 2012
Lecherous Gaze – Bagagazo 7″
Label: Who Can You Trust? Records
Lecherous Gaze left us a fucking monster on their debut 7″ from German label Who Can You Trust? Clocking in at over 10 minutes of heavy-guitar (and guitar-heavy!) rock and roll, there was no way to possibly forget this lethal single. Let’s hope we hear some more in the new year.

20.) king tuff wild desire 7 suicide squeeze 2012
King Tuff – Wild Desire 7″
Label: Suicide Squeeze Records
The exhilarating qualities and guitar wizardry of “Wild Desire” would probably be enough to get this 7″ up here even without a B-side. Suicide Squeeze dropped this single just before King Tuff’s sophomore LP on Sub Pop this year, quickly leaving us all foaming at the mouth for what would eventually come next.

19.) martyr privates bless 7 bon voyage 2012
Martyr Privates – Bless 7″
Label: Bon Voyage Records
Martyr Privates served up their debut 7″ so hot and heavy that it’ll burn you if you get too close. Harsh repetition, searing guitars and crunchy melodies go a long way to help give us hope for their future. We haven’t heard much about what it includes yet, but let’s keep our fingers crossed.

18.) pharmacy dig your grave 7 ep kind turkey 2012
The Pharmacy – Dig Your Grave 7″
Label: Kind Turkey Records
If you’re talking solid 7-inches then you can’t forget this. Four tracks, each totally different yet still somehow cohesive from this prolific Seattle band. On top of this they had a pretty busy year, dropping both an EP and a full length on Seayou Records.

17.) red dons auslander 7 dirtnap records 2012
Red Dons – Auslander 7″
Label: Dirtnap Records
Tight, sharp, world-ending post-punk meltdowns with just the right amount of caffeine from Portland. It’s beyond fitting for the Dirtnap label and is easily some of their best material to date. It’s not clear whether or not we’ll hear more from Red Dons in 2013, but it seems likely to happen sooner or later.

16.) plateaus do it for you 2012 hozac records 7
Plateaus – Do It For You 7″
Label: Hozac Records
Do It For You was the much-anticipated follow up to Plateaus debut 7″ from last year. This was followed by a second single on Art Fag, which finally led to their debut LP toward the end of 2012. The LP version of these songs don’t stand a chance against the 7″ recordings, however this single still belongs on this list.


That’s all for today. Finish the countdown by checking out Part 2 of our Top Thirty 7″ Records of 2012!

Top Thirty 7″ Records of 2011 (part 2)

As promised, this is Part 2 of our 7″ Countdown for 2011. Just in case you missed it, you can check out Part 1 of the Countdown right here. That’s it for the week, so Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! More Countdown lists to come next week!

(As you know, we’ve covered a ton of music this year – to be a bit more exact, we’ve covered over 150 unique 7″ singles through 2011. Now comes the hard part – the part where we sit down and file through them all and decide which of them stood out the most. Not only does this show you what we prefer here at the Styrofoam Drone, but it can also help show trends throughout the year. On top of that, it’s the best way to reacquaint yourself with the material from the beginning of the year, because admittedly, by now, those earlier gems have faded away with each new passing single that comes and goes. Please enjoy the second half of our 7″ Countdown for 2011.)


Ketamines – Line By Line 7″
Label: Hozac Records
It proves difficult to not fall in love with the perky spirit of “Line by Line.” There’s something about this bubble-gum psych-pop that’s right on the money with it’s optimistic vibes. Then flip the 7″ and suddenly you’re caught off guard – how did they go from sun-shine pop to these cavernous and dreary jammers? The dichotomy in their sound is excellent, showing off plenty of influences ranging in an eight-minute, three-track span. If you missed this during the year, you’re still wasting precious time.

Grass Widow – Milo Minute 7″
Label: HLR Records
Granted only one of these songs are original tracks from Grass Widow, but that’s the beauty of this 7″. This one-of-a-kind band took it upon themselves to cover virtually unknown songs from a band like Neo Boys, to which the results are positively stunning. We’ve said it before and now we’re going to say it again, but no other band seems to be experimenting in the same fashion as Grass Widow. Add them to your radar now and you’re sure to never be let down in the future. Let’s hope for more from these girls in 2012.

OBN III’s – Mark On You 7″
Label: Tic Tac Totally
OBN III’s had a marvelous year and this single was only the beginning of the head-banging madness. Tracks like “Mark On You” and “Heavy Heart” would eventually sound like the framework for songs on “The One and Only” LP, which simply means there’s no way to forget these tracks. Blood-boiling, angry and disgusted are just a few words you can use to describe the youthful and catastrophic punk spirit that so consistently dominates these OBN III’s records.

Nick Waterhouse – Is That Clear 7″
Label: Innovative Leisure
Nick Waterhouse is involved in a revival of sorts that involves the timeless rhythm and blues sound. Lucky for us, he nailed every thing about it. “Is That Clear” is about as invigorating and challenging as a song could get, to the point where we’re already chomping at the bit for more. Keep an eye on Waterhouse for 2012, because if it’s anything like this it will be big.

Purity Ring/ Braids – Split 7″
Label: Fat Possum Records
Purity Ring have been turning heads ever since their first song appeared on the blogosphere – “Belispeak” is no exception. Braids on the other hand have slowly but surely been clawing their way to the top of the pedestal. “Peach Wedding” will prove that with it’s glistening complexion and after listening you will have no trouble endorsing what they do. Either way, uniting these two on a 7″ single was a dynamite idea. This brings us to say, what could possibly be next in store for these two Canadian acts? Only time will tell.

Plateaus – Beach Coma 7″
Label: Art Fag Recordings
Plateaus dropped their first 7″ on Art Fag Recordings this year and it appears their second is already in sight. They’re on the “coming soon” list for 7″ singles at Hozac Records, which warms our little hearts. With picture-perfect pop gems like “Beach Coma,” it’s no surprise these guys aren’t done – they have certainly earned whatever comes next. It’s almost a guarantee that we’ll have more of their snotty beach-punk come 2012.

The Dirty Nil – Fuckin’ Up Young 7″
Label: Wolfshirt Records
This past summer there had to be at least a few stereos out there blaring these righteous jams. This Canadian trio set their sights on the gold and achieved it immensely with their debut 7″. Excellent quality sets it apart from the rest of the crumbly lo-fi filth out there, which really help this monstrous single stand out. At this point it’s hard to say what will come next, but we can only hope it’s already in the works.

Wax Idols – All Too Human 7″
Label: Hozac Records
Hether Fortune can thank nobody but Hether Fortune for the level of quality that all of her releases on the year sustained. “All Too Human” was only the beginning, but it set her up perfectly for an even brighter future. “All Too Human” didn’t entirely reveal what Fortune could be experimenting with on upcoming projects, so once “No Future” dropped it was like taking excellence to a whole new level while smacking us all upside the head. Much like her full-length, she covered most (if not all) of the instruments herself on this single.

Cosmonauts – He Never Hit Me 7″
Label: Goodbye Boozy Records
Much like the description floating around promises, this single is literally a psychedelic garage-rock explosion. This is mainly due to the inclusion of their flawless cover of “Little Honda” which blows this record apart at the seams. Combine that with the stomping “He Never Hit Me” and this single will leave you in tiny, bite-size pieces.

Cold Showers – Highlands 7″
Label: Mexican Summer
Sparing a few, there’s not many other debuts from this year that were as stunning as the 7″ from Cold Showers. Songs like “Near Burn” show off their frantic energy between the hazy blasts of guitar heat, filled out by exploratory landscapes of glowing ambiance as they press on. Considering we’ve been limited to just these two songs, hopefully we’ll have something more sooner than later.

The Limiñanas – AF3458 7″
Label: SDZ Records
Beginning with a folksy guitar twang, shortly afterward this single takes flight. The Limiñanas offered up two brand new songs here and it’s without a doubt their best two-song-tandem to date. Between the static crunch of relentless guitars, perpetually jangly rhythms and primal conga drumming, these charming French rockers gave us something to adore time and time again. Hozac Records appears to be releasing their next full length as well, so sit tight!

Sharp Ends – Broadview Pressure Test 7″
Label: Mammoth Cave Recording Co.
Unfortunately Sharp Ends are no longer with us, but their debut 7″ lives on a bit longer thanks to this repress on Mammoth Cave. In all of our time covering singles, there might not be as 7″ record that fits the mold of consistency more than this. Four songs of absolute face-beating post-punk terrorize you and your defenseless ears for nearly fourteen minutes, breaking open a hole in the Earth’s crust before attempting to put it back together again with the broken pieces – to which the end result is a big angry “fuck it.” These guys lure you in with the raw energy of a track like “Vacant City,” only to have it explode back in your face as they spiral out into metallic oblivion.

Purity Ring – Ungirthed 7″
Label: Transparent Records
Purity Ring is another shining example of a band who couldn’t have benefited better from their debut 7″. With that in mind, they’ve certainly earned every little bit of the praise they’ve gotten from it. Since then the electronic duo has only grown in the spotlight, but there’s still literally only three tracks out there to show for it. Each one is a glowing example, displaying flawless production quality, sweeping, malfunctioning electronics and Megan James gorgeously spectral voice. Looking forward into 2012, it’s hard to not think Purity Ring will be at the top of the ladder.

Lower Dens – Batman 7″
Label: Gnomonsong Recordings
Considering it came out last January, it would be a shame if we forgot to include this record. But how on Earth is that possible with such a picture-perfect single? Jana Hunter and the gang laid down solid gold in these two songs, to the point where that crystal-clear guitar shrill of “Batman” will never lose it’s edge. On the flip side the steady rocking “Dear Betty Baby” evokes a totally different feeling with it’s longing vibes, culminating into a single of epic proportions that is to be taken with complete sincerity. Perfection is a word you don’t want to throw around too often, but that’s the only option “Batman” gives us.

Trust – Candy Walls 7″
Label: Sacred Bones Records
In 2011, Canadian duo Trust took electronic music to a different level. Through their use of dark and twisted landscapes, Robert Alfons and Maya Postepski seem to be advancing down a haunting path that not many have attempted to tread in the past – and if so have failed miserably. In their creations, a descriptor like “grave-wave” has come to the forefront, showing off these sexy yet troubling undertones that keep you aching for more. “Speed, space and tears” appears to be their own depiction of their sound, which is right on the money as well. Specifically their 12″ single “Bulbform” might speak to that a little better, but still the deliciously demonic and syrupy “Candy Walls” puts Trust in a murky spot that no other band finds themselves in. There is going to be a full length sometime down the road, we just have to wait patiently for it!


Boom! Done. Thanks to all of the bands, people and record labels involved in another year of memorable 7″ releases! Starting next week, you can expect other Countdown lists including full length albums and EPs. Just in case you missed the first half of our 7″ Countdown for 2011, you can view that right here! Enjoy the weekend and Happy Holidays to all!

Top Thirty 7″ Records of 2011 (part 1)

As you know, we’ve covered a ton of music this year – to be a bit more exact, we’ve covered over 150 unique 7″ singles through 2011.

Now comes the hard part – the part where we sit down and file through them all and decide which of them stood out the most. Not only does this show you what we prefer here at the Styrofoam Drone, but it can also help show trends throughout the year. On top of that, it’s the best way to reacquaint yourself with the material from the beginning of the year, because admittedly, by now, those earlier gems have faded away with each new passing single that comes and goes.

Much like last year, we’re going to start out by strictly covering 7″ records, our most preferred musical format. We’ve started with the Honorable Mentions list below, and then we’ll work our way up to the top spot of the year. We think we made this list about as accurately as we felt about the music through the year, so we are proud to present to you are favorite 7″ releases from the year 2011. Expect part two (records #15 to #1) to come tomorrow. Please enjoy!!!

Honorable Mentions:

It’s tough to admit but there’s always going to be those releases that just barely missed the mark. And when we say “barely” we mean it. Putting together a list like this is never easy, to the point where we were making alterations down to the wire until everything looked just right. These are the singles that just missed the cut.

Still Corners – Cuckoo 7″ (Sub Pop)
Radar Eyes – Miracle 7″ (Hozac Records)
The Eeries – Comes Alive 7″ (Evil Weevil)
Telepathe – Throw Away This 7″ (White Iris)
Les Guillotines – L’Aube 7″ (Croque Macadam)
Mondo Ray – Hypnotized 7″ (Windian Records)
Monster Rally – Deep Sea 7″ (Gold Robot Records)
Charles Albright – Weight 7″ (Permanent Records)
Apache Dropout – Radiation 7″ (Mexican Summer)
Puberty – Invitations 7″ (Telephone Explosion Records)
Bleached – Searching Through the Past 7″(Suicide Squeeze)
Keep Shelly in Athens – Hauntin’ Me 7″ (Transparent Records)
The Limiñanas – (I’ve Got) Trouble in Mind 7″ (Trouble in Mind Records)


Real Estate – It’s Real 7″
Label: Domino Recording Co.
It would just be wrong for us to deny Real Estate a spot on this list. Their lead single, “It’s Real,” is one of the most mindful and catchy songs that comes to mind alongside the year 2011. Gorgeous guitars ring and go with the mesmerizing flow, bringing you along for quite an enjoyable ride as you’re left with no other choice.

Night Manager – Ghost 7″
Label: Big Love Records
Coming together with hazy guitar scuzz and minor post-punk tendencies, Night Manager definitely left us with some promise this year – and really that includes both of their singles, except on this later one they really got down to business. Caitlin Seager and her captivating voice are easily the most stunning element in these songs, creating this wobbly notion as she sways across endless waves of gritty guitar crunch. They’ve confirmed it before, so we should have a full length from these guys in due time, it’s just the wait that makes it so difficult.

Ceiling Stares/ Super Vacations – Split 7″
Label: Velocity of Sound/ Sweaters & Pearls
There really wasn’t any other 7″ we covered this year that caught us more off guard. The Ceiling Stares account on this single in itself is enough to crack this list, so once you add in those two Super Vacation tracks it’s an obvious no-brainer. Between the intricate instrumentals of “A Tunnel Through the Air” and the straight-forward delivery of the Super Vacations, this single rocks out for the entire duration while sparing us of any bullshit whatsoever. This is truly a diamond in the rough.

Spider Fever – She’s No Saint 7″
Label: Cave Punk
Needless to say, Spider Fever tore it up in the 7″ game this year. With one on Cave Punk and another on Hozac, there doesn’t appear to be much that’s going to stop Mario Rubalcaba and the gang. At this point we know what he’s capable of through many prolific past efforts – now we’re just waiting on a full length.

The Prefab Messiahs – Franz Kafka 7″
Label: Almost Ready Records
A batch of resurrected songs from 1982 somehow fits perfectly into what the underground psych-punks of today would call relevant. Ridiculously high energy levels plague a song like “Franz Kafka” into blazing psychedelic coma and that’s exactly the reason this is such a frenetically memorable listen. Guitar spaz-outs are executed with so much pent up energy it hurts, leaving you in a bruised mess once the madness subsides.

Christmas Island/ Meth Teeth – Split 2×7″
Label: Sacred Bones Records
This was a unique record just for the way it was released. The material on it is a different story. Christmas Island serve up their clean and tidy pop-rock, while Meth Teeth deliver their patented, dark and dreary style of clangorous psych-folk. Both manage to hit their own mark, to the point where Sacred Bones nailed it – “These two West Coast bands offer opposing sides of the same coin.” Nobody could have said it better.

Hungry Gayze – Roadkill 7″
Label: Florida’s Dying
Hungry Gayze just dropped their debut 7″ on Florida’s Dying, but just as quickly we’re endorsing everything they do. Their strange take on garage rock features plenty of grit and noise, leaving us with no idea what to think is around each new corner. Unpredictably is an element that will just never get old and it’s working perfectly for Hungry Gayze. Chances are we’re going to hear more from these odd-balls come 2012.

The Whines – Shootinhead 7″
Label: Mt. St. Mtn.
It was a good year for The Whines. They put together this one-off project on the tiny Mt. St. Mtn. label (not to mention an excellent split LP), but quality is no surprise from them as they’ve been delivering since the beginning. The morbid “Shootinhead” further proves that, while the alternate recording of “Straybird” is nothing short of awesome.

Real Numbers – Tear it in Two 7″
Label: Florida’s Dying
Simplicity, innocence and straight up power-pop is the key for Real Numbers and it fucking works. Their UK style pop combined with their overall likeness will having you spinning these tracks again and again. Bubbly bass lines, sharp guitars and a slight overall crunch will quickly tug on your heart strings.

Krang – Speed of Tent 7″
Label: Mammoth Cave Recording Co.
How many other bands rocked this hard while also featuring a clarinet in their line up? Absolutely none. Krang stand out for just that reason and their disgustingly heavy 7″ on Mammoth Cave is all the justification you would ever need. Howling clarinets sound literally nothing like they should, creating this haunting coo throughout both tracks which, in unison with the rest of the madness, sounds like complete and utter destruction. Not sure what else might come in the future, but we can always hope for something.

Audacity – Vape Victim 7″
Label: Goodbye Boozy Records
These two songs from an earlier Audacity cassette tape were brought back to life thanks to Goodbye Boozy Records and this blazing 7″. Two songs barely reaching past the two minute mark contain more energy and ambition than thought possible, resulting in these two smoking tracks where the “youthful exuberance” is off the charts. Sloppy song structure, pummeling guitar shards, big surf rock chords and total unpredictability dominate these two tracks, coming off like a heated whirlwind that doesn’t even last past five minutes.

Spider Fever – Whatcha Gonna Do? 7″
Label: Hozac Records
In regards to both Spider Fever singles, their Hozac release is much more sloppy and unkempt – their single on Cave Punk features a bit more structure and tidiness while still retaining those raw and destructive qualities. That being said, the overall sloppiness is what makes “Whatcha Gonna Do” stand out over the latter. High voltage guitar licks and the bro-ish chanting of Mario Rubalcaba would fit excellently at your next house party banger. Let’s just hope they don’t keep us waiting too long for more from Spider Fever.

Banjo or Freakout – 105 7″
Label: Memphis Industries
We didn’t cover much from Alessio Natalizia this year besides this 7″, but it’s excellent and makes for an increasingly curious listen with each successive spin. “Dead in the Snow” is ultimately what puts this single in the spotlight, creating this notion of bliss within the chilling and icy complexions that make up such a gorgeously puzzling track. The worst part is the track was only “good” enough to be considered a B-side, go figure. But if this didn’t encapsulate the idea of a quality 7″ then it wouldn’t be here.

Something Men – Birdy Roof 7″
Label: EZPZ Records
Hailing from the UK, Something Men dropped their debut 7″ this year and luckily we didn’t miss out. Included are two tracks of bluesy guitar shuffles dripping with attitude, not to mention endless twang to boot. Mysteriously reverberating vibes and a troubling psychedelic undertone creep along under the radar, coming out at just the right times to throw us off their trail. Something Men are definitely onto something here, but that’s exactly what their good at hiding – “something.”

Grouper – Water People 7″
Label: Ballroom Marfa
This single from Grouper is a great example of why we put together these lists. Not only because we want to show our favorite release of the year, but to also show the diversity between music that can be considered quality. No other single on this list sounds remotely close to the jaw-dropping beauty of “Water People,” which undeniably makes this one of the most highly regarded (and impossible to obtain) singles of the year.


See Part 2 of the 7″ Countdown for 2011 right here!