The seven inch is still one of the best formats to release new music. Just ask local bands Eldorado and the Ruckus, Nots, or the Sheiks. While the Eldorado single might have been out for a while, the new material from Nots and the Sheiks is still hot off the vinyl press. It's been an exciting year for local releases, but we are still a few months away from recapping all the awesome records of 2015, so here's some more information on three new(ish) 45's from the Memphis music scene.
Eldorado and the Ruckus have been kicking up dust in Memphis for a while now, and the "Cadillac Green Vikings" single was released in 2013 but given to me by Eldorado himself a few weeks ago. Apparently, the two songs on this Miku Records single were part of a soundtrack to the unreleased movie Cadillac Green Vikings, the A-side presumably being the film's theme song.
According to the band, Cadillac Green Vikings (the film) is "a story filled with maraudering space Vikings, a kidnapped princess, a stolen death ray, and a young hero from Mississippi who must save the entire universe." Sounds pretty heavy. The song itself is a thundering blast of '70s rock, sitting somewhere between Cheap Trick and Thin Lizzy. The B-side is an alternate take of their song "Chet," a mellow instrumental that clocks in around the three-minute mark.
The record is housed in a full-color sleeve that features stills from the movie, and a download code for the entire soundtrack to Cadillac Green Vikings comes with the record as well. Sadly, the hard drive containing the film that Eldorado Del Rey (writer) and guitarist John Pickle (director) were working on crashed, and the movie has been lost. Perhaps if the single sells well, the movie will be re-created? I'd watch it.
The Sheiks continue to have a productive year, releasing their live album with Jack Oblivian in the spring and now this two-song single on their own label, Burgundy Records. "I'm Broke" is one of the most aggressive songs that the Sheiks have released and is a major departure from the Witches + Mystics days of this band. If "I'm Broke" is any indication of the direction the Sheiks are heading, fans of the Oblivians should definitely take note. While the A-side showcases the Sheiks' ability to write a lean and mean garage punk anthem, the B-side is deeply rooted in classic Memphis garage rock and proves that the band is capable of tackling whatever genre they want. With Keith Cooper's studio at their fingertips, the Sheiks have honed their sound and cranked out a memorable garage rock single in a city known for leading in that genre. The record comes housed in a screen-printed cover, with art by Frank McLallen and Emil Orth. Limited to 300 copies, the new single will be available when the Sheiks play the Buccaneer this Friday with John Wesley Coleman.
With as much touring as Nots have been doing, it's pretty impressive that they found time to record a new single at all. Released on Goner Records, this Keith Cooper/Natalie Hoffmann production picks up where the band's debut, We Are Nots, left off, with swirling synth hovering over guitar stabs and howled vocals. Synth player Alexandra Eastburn created the artwork for "Virgin Mary," and this new cover has a lot more going on than the stark NOTS logo that's all over their other records, but the vinyl still comes housed in the standard Goner Records paper sleeve.
The B-side, "Shelf Life," was first heard on a web series called Pressure Drop earlier this summer, and the song also stays in the lane of the band's debut. A limited version of the single was available on clear vinyl, but those are probably long gone by now. If you enjoyed We Are Nots, chances are you've already got this one in your collection, but if not, copies are available at the Goner storefront. Nots have tour dates spanning the rest of the year, and Goner Fest 12 may be the only chance to see them in Memphis anytime soon.