The return of the singles club

stereolab – lo boop oscilator (front)

Originally uploaded by japanese forms

The recent and rather unexpected revival in sales of seven inch vinyl has led to the return of the singles clubs. Several labels now offer a monthly, limited-edition subscription service where you sign up and receive a seven inch single through the post, usually from an unknown artist.

Such clubs were thought to be as dead as Kurt Cobain, since the demise of the legendary Sub Pop Singles Club in 2002, which was responsible for the first ever release by a then unknown band called Nirvana. But next month Too Pure, the people that brought us PJ Harvey, Stereolab and Electrelane start their own. For £30 a year, subscribers to the Too Pure Singles Club will receive a monthly seven inch through the post, each containing two exclusive unreleased songs, numbered and limited to a run of just 500 copies. The first club release will be by LoneLady, a Mancunian one-woman band who has been compared to Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth.

Too Pure is not alone. The usually impeccable Moshi Moshi, home of Bloc Party, Hot Chip and the underrated Architecture in Helsinki, also release a series of monthly “strictly limited one-off” seven inches. In February, the label sent parcels containing Kate Nash’s now notorious Caroline is a Victim to members of its singles club. Imagine how much they’re worth right now.

You can read a longer version of this post on the Guardian Arts Blog.