I’m not sure the concept of singles still really exists in the digital age. It probably should if any of the following are in danger of extinction though.
What I’ve tried to do is to look at songs that don’t appear on albums, or that act as an edited preview for an album. These are in no order, and are clustered by artist. The hyperlinked song titles point to when you can get the song (not always for free I’m afraid), and there is a youtube link as well if I could find one.
The Veronica Falls – Found Love in a Graveyard (youtube) and Beachy Head (youtube). The Veronica Falls sound like they recorded all their records in 1986, despite probably not having been born in 1986. Think jangling guitars, and a weird cross between Morrisey and Siouxsie that works in a way it probably shouldn’t. Neither song reaches the three minute mark, and both are better for it.
Amanda Palmer – Do You Swear To Tell The Truth The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth (youtube) and Map of Tasmania (youtube). I lke Amanda Palmer a lot, but both of these took me a couple of listens before they started to worm their way under my skin. I think they’re both still available for free as well.
British Sea Power – Zeus (youtube) and Living is so Easy (youtube). Both of these were released for a very limited time for free, and are edited previews for the Zeus E.P. and the Valhalla Dancehall album (due out in January). I’ve been a fan for years, but these two songs would probably be on this list even if I wasn’t.
The Japandroids – Art Czars (youtube) and Younger Us (youtube). A band I discovered last year, and who make loud guitar music of the sort I play a lot when I need to wind down after a hard day. This year they have released a few things, but these two are probably the most representative.
Ash also released a lot of new singles as part of their A-Z project. I’ve at least heard most of them, but am not quite sure which ones I’d recommend. In fact I’d probably recommend picking up the two CDs that compile all 26 singles (and a bit more), because I’ve got at least 10 of their singles on heavy rotation, and they are all good.