The ESPS, Melted Sunglasses, Estrogen Highs

Jason Jackowiak

After bumming you out with some harsh vibes the past few weeks we
figured we'd bring some melody back to The Singles Collection. While
nothing here is going to rival ABBA or The Bee Gees, there's plenty of happy-clappy thrills to be had by this lot and their
skewed take on the modern pop idiom.

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Our first bolt of sunshine this week comes from The Esps “Dream of the Rarebit Fiend” b/w “(Standing in the) Teller's Line”
self-released by the band on their Storms of the Heart imprint. Not
too sure how they've managed to stay largely under the radar for this
long, but this L.A. quintet (that features Bobb Bruno) specializes in a
tasty brand of power-pop that's heavy on glitter-splattered glam moves
and ace tunes. A-Side “Dream of the Rarebit Fiend” rides a crest of
wailing guitars that come swathed in blankets of crunchy tremolo–it's
enamel-damaging to be certain, but like that lollipop you drop in the
dirt but stick right back into your mouth, it's just too good to put
down. Inexplicably, flipside “(Standing in the) Teller's Line” is
better still, recalling the tuneful mayhem of Flamin' Groovies at their
most T. Rex-tastic, its spindly guitar lines are augmented by a
buoyant-yet-restrained rhythm and gorgeous flourishes of multi-tracked
sunburst harmonies that makes it the perfect soundtrack for sunset in
the age of Armageddon. Still available from the band's Myspace and
perhaps at M'Lady's Records.

Following up that dollop of UV pleasure we've got
the first release from Miami's new mutant-pop heroes Melted Sunglasses,
“Sparks” b/w “Melted Sunglasses” on the increasingly essential Weird
Hug Records
. A somewhat mysterious crew that counts members of Jacuzzi Boys and
Teepee among its ranks, their brand of good time party pop-punk is
utterly infectious and completely devoid of pretentiousness; perfect
for slamming brews and arguing whether K.K. or Glenn was the better
string-shredder in Judas Priest. A-Side “Sparks” is an ode to that
most delicious of electric orange malt beverages, with its rambling
rhythm, gurgling sci-fi synths bubbling up under the surface and the
head-smashing refrain of “it's party tiimmmmeeee ahhhhh” it's not
unfathomable to think it might actually soundtrack one of their
commercials someday. The eponymous song on the flipside is a bit more
of a slow-burner, but it's no less immediate, with a gas-huffing chorus
and flailing guitars, it's like a clutch of meth addicts trying to play
the Hendrix songbook into a broken answering machine. Still available
from the label direct as well as at your favorite distros of
note.

Our final dose of trebly goodness this week comes from Connecticut refuseniks Estrogen Highs' Luxury is God 7″ on Never Heard of It.
A no-frills unit, this two song platter is heavy on the hits, well, if
there were any justice in this world, that is. A-Side “Echo” is built
upon a wobbly foundation of juicy organ stabs, buckshot melodies and
the kind of deviously simple guitar rave-ups/shout-a-longs John Dwyer
used to crank out in his sleep. On the flip, “They Told Me I Was
Everything” is slightly more restrained, lacking the go-for-broke style
of the A-Side, yet packing just as many sucker punch hooks into its
three-minutes of subtly droning melodiousness. These should still be
available from the label directly, otherwise take a gander at Goner or Florida's Dying.

That's all the pops we've got in us this week, but
make sure to check us out again next week for some tunes to cure (or
deepen as the case may be) your fall blues.

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