One South Lark, Japanese Soda / Excuses (Independent)

The ghost of the Smiths, or rather whatever’s left of Morrissey’s muse at this point, haunts this single from last summer: Track one has the punky energy of the Vapors’ “Turning Japanese,” but lead singer Robert Freeman is having none of it, moping at the pool party in a perfect replication of the Moz’ claustrophobic social awkwardness. Track two isn’t much brighter emotionally: It’s slower (and still owes a heavy generic debt to the ’80s), yet Freeman is still numb to the summer fun. The anomie is perfect and catchy, so if you’re feeling like a nerd in a John Hughes movie next summer, you can always program these two for the beach.