There is something unassuming yet special about the 7-inch, that tiny disc of vinyl only big enough to hold a song on each side. They spin faster, they cost little, yet they wield all the magic of a real record. They are, in other words, the perfect format for a post-album collectible release, and that's probably why we see two of our favorite San Francisco bands -- Girls and the Sandwitches -- releasing new 7-inches in a year when they've both dropped new albums.
Folk/Americana trio the Sandwitches dropped their new single, "The Pearl" yesterday." The song is a low-key meandering haunt recorded by Mike Donovan of Sic Alps. And since it's the Sandwitches, there are harmonies to spare, layered over a dragging pace that feels of another time.
Next is Girls' "Lawrence," a kind of sonic appreciation of Felt, a British band that lasted from 1979 to 1989, and its frontman, Lawrence (no surname given). Entirely instrumental save for some oohs and aahhs, Lawrence finds Girls in the crisp mode of their latest album, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, putting the guitars and drums upfront in a longing piece of rock that moves from a moody plod to a more jaunty strut at the end.
There are no words on "Lawrence." But you might think of the lyrics as this letter to the band's frontman from Girls' Christopher Owens, sort of explaining the song:
I wonder who will be writing me in twenty years, and what they'll be looking for. Don't worry, I'm not writing to talk about the things I'm looking for in life, I'll spare you that. I'm writing to FINALLY be able to send you a song that I wrote in 2008. When I wrote this song I was the guitarist in a band called Holy Shit, Matt Fishbeck (our fearless leader) was the one who turned me on to Felt. I fell in love with your songs, I wouldn't stop listening, I loved you and Maurice.
To make a long story a shorter story, I once wrote this song and wondered what you would sing to it, I could sometimes hear your voice but I didn't dare write down any words. I never thought for a second you would ever hear it, I wondered if you would like it, all that. I called it Lawrence, after you. To send it to you now is incredible for me, I want to show you I'm thankful. You gave me something to love, or in other words you gave me love itself. You took something that can sometimes feel so common and dull and brought it back to life with so much beauty and verse. You gave me happiness, and you still do.
Anyway, I'd just like you to have it, it's yours, take it as yours. Do anything you want with it. I hope you enjoy listening to it. And all the best to you forever and ever.
With love - Christopher Owens
"Lawrence" will limited to 1,000 copies, each out on red, heart-shaped vinyl and released Dec. 6. Seven-inch collectors, get ready.