Single Review – Dreams on Union Avenue / A Changing Letter (2021) (Painter Man Records)

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Baltimore’s, The Smashing Times, follow up on the May 2021 release of their superlative, Summer Inside debut album, with there first foray into a hipster world of vinyl, that they, and indeed the Painter Man Records label in general, are just about cool enough to totally own.
For this two track slab of plastic, takes us back to a time when singles were treasured items and very often stand alone releases that never found there way to eventual albums.
This time was the mid to late 80s, where anglo acts were crafting all manner of obtuse, jangly indie-pop tunes that were largely ignored by everyone except a ‘in the know fanzine crowd’, who ultimately took great pleasure in ensuring cult status was eventually afforded to such acts a couple of decades down the line.
This two track single is everything of the above and perhaps a bit of lo-fi modernity, more. A-side, Dreams of Union Avenue, is a fuzzy, melancholic, warble of dankness that hints at The Velvet Underground hazy indie-chic, whilst more thoroughly cavorting with a janglier version of the Television Personalities vibe. It’s a track imbued by a mid-section that chimes it’s appreciation for all things indie-pop 80s, whilst just making the sound ‘perfectly weirder’.
B-side, A Changing Letter is the (un)arguably the best song that The Smashing Times have released since their inception in 2019. Taking a more vibrant tempo, that enables the jangled riffs to really caress the core sound, the melancholy is partially replaced with a sense of sprightly, that is so different to their usual sense of dank. The extra sense of jangly, truly suits them.
Grab yourself a copy of this vinyl single, here. It is perhaps one of the last times you will really get the retro single feel that the musical gods initially intended, before the hipsters ruin the format forever with all there silly yellow splatters, jaw droppingly interesting YouTube videos of rotating records playing and allowing labels to charge extortionate prices by paying them !

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