November 16, 2009
(From the review section of PULP Magazine’s November Issue #101 by music editor Jason Caballa)
These days, when people speaks of singles, one would mean a song or track from a musical act’s full length album that was chosen either by that particular act (or in most cases, their record label) to be played on the radio. More often than not, videos are also made on these songs for broadcast on music channels on television. These are songs that become hits, the songs that listeners vote for daily and weekly so that they enter the charts, so that they can be heard over and over again.
But the reason why they are called “singles” is that once upon a time (and in limited numbers until now), these songs are actually available in the market in single format, i.e. seven or twelve- inch records that contained the particular song, plus one or two B-sides, and since it was before the age of internet downloading, MySpace and piracy, people actually bought these singles even if they contained only two or three tracks, especially in UK, where the format continues to be popular even in CD form, and among indie rock fans whose favorite underground labels and acts continue to release these highly collectible items, at times even in colored vinyls.
In any case, numerous music fans continues to purchase singles for a variety of reasons: their aforementioned collectability, to sate the fans musical appetites before the full-length album comes out, and for the B-sides (or remixes) that could not be found anywhere else, unless the band releases a rarities compilation years later.
UK acts in particular tends to take this format quite seriously; as such, almost all notable British band like The Beatles, The Smiths, Suede and Radiohead have released excellent B-sides, many of which have become as popular as the A-sides themselves.
Ever the Anglophile and indie music fan combined, it is no surprise that Clementine (a.k.a Clem Castro, singer/guitarist of The Camerawalls) would attempt to give this fading format a resurgence via his record label, Lilystars Records, and the two latest acts he signed – “drunk pop” quartet The Bernadettes and electro-pop duo Turbo Goth – have both released their debut singles on CD – perhaps to serve as teasers for both groups’ respective full-length records.
“Let’s Make Babies” is The Bernadettes’ initial sonic salvo, and as one could probably deduce from it’s title, the song makes no room for subtlety. It’s a pop song and attempts to be anything less, and therefore, it’s message is clear: singer Paolo Angeles implores his significant to have sex with him as straightforwardly as possible, without sounding dirty. Musically, the band (which includes guitarist/songwriter Poch Angeles, drummer Andre Salazar and bassist Rommel Asuncion, who has since left the group) sounds like a mix of The Zombies and Supergrass here, though their facebook page lists the likes of Blur, The Who, Jesus & Mary Chain, and Teenage Fanclub, among others, as the band’s influences. All in all, it’s a fun record, and the production is topnotch.
Turbo Goth has been on the rise for sometime now, mainly because of the much-blogged-about live performances of singer Sarah Gaugler and guitarist/electribe operator Paolo Peralta, which are equally charming (mostly Sarah) and equally energetic (mostly Paolo). Given the duo’s reputation, “Morning Swim” is a bit of a letdown, though it’s not a bad song. At worst it veers too closely into Daydream Cycle territory but is saved by Peralta’s slashing guitars and Gaugler’s pleasing melodies, especially on the choruses and bridge. I guess I was just dissapointed with the pair (or label’s) choice of song to release as a single given that their live set has more upbeat (or frantic song) than this (though I’m personally not familiar with the titles). Still, “Morning Swim” is a fun track and worthy release, one that would make Turbo Goth’s growing fan base await their upcoming full length with much anticipation.
It’s also a slight pity that the respective B-sides of both discs aren’t different songs altogether, but the interesting remixes of “Let’s Make Babies” and “Morning Swim” done by Sonice State Audio engineer Jonathan Ong are welcome gravy. Kudos to Lilystars Records for putting out music that’s worth buying again, wether it’s in big or small servings.