November 24, 2014
by Bryne Yancey

Every upstart label, whether they know it or not, needs a hook. Sometimes, through careful planning and a lot of dumb luck, that hook can be a band acting as a gateway to the label’s catalogue. Other times, a label seeks to build their own identity through the presentation of their releases. That’s what Negative Fun Records has tried to forge through their 2014 Singles Club: An identity as a label with a keen ear for eclectic punk bands, and a keen eye for presenting them in a unique way; in this case, a subscription-based vinyl series comprised of similarly positioned groups for fans of the nearly-blind hunt, of the thrill of discovery, of looking forward and not back.

The label took five bands in Bad Daddies, Positive No, Midnight Plus One, No Other and Hot Dolphin, each with a focused but disparate take on punk rock, and gave each of them a unique platform within this singles series. It’s worth noting that unlike say, pretty much all other punk bands, that these five bands are not made up entirely of white dudes. It’s never spotlighted, but the grouping would appear to be intentional. But between Bad Daddies’ penchant for chaotic noise, speed and screeching feedback; Positive No’s frenetic rhythm section and dissonant post-punk textures; the crunchy, airy broodiness of Midnight Plus One; the excellent way in which No Other alternate between being a driving, rocking powerhouse and a slower, more deliberate but no less affecting band; and Hot Dolphin’s caustic, distorted, bass-heavy garage punk, it’s readily apparent that, no, “female-fronted” is not itself a subgenre of punk as so many seem to lazily and incorrectly point out.

Negative Fun will be packaging their 2014 Singles Club into a box set for the holidays, which will include all five 7-inches as well as the buyer’s choice of a test pressing of one of the singles or The Pilgrims and Ghostt Bllonde’s Home & Home split. Or, something else completely random. That’s the beauty of the whole thing: You never know what you’re gonna get, but chances are it’ll be something interesting.

Stream the entire 2014 Singles Club below and order the box set here.