My Top 10 records of 2008. Originally appeared in issue 310 of Maximum Rock N Roll.
It's a tie for #1:
1. DAVILA 666 - "s/t" LP (In The Red)
The handsome rock n roll boys from Puerto Rico really get my blood boiling every time I put this one on the stereo and that happens at least once a day. Raucous garage rock with the daring and confidence to include not only the '60s and '70s influences, but the '80s and '90s as well. This record is just so fantastic. From the record's opening band howl through the stomping garage anthems to wild sing-a-longs to a couple of slowish, shoegazing ballads, Davila 666 do it all. And it works so well. There seem to be so many genres represented yet it all is combined into one exciting style. I just can't say enough good things about this. It's brilliant, raw and alive.
EDDY CURRENT SUPPRESSION RING "Primary Colours" LP (Aarght!/ Goner)
The second album from Australia's Eddy Current Suppression Ring gets everything right. A perfect collection of classic Australian punk sounds blended with some post-punkish elements to make a very unique and wonderful aural experience. This record seems more introspective than their previous releases. That is mostly due to the Brendan Suppression's low, alluring vocals. He even manages to make an ode to television sound romantic. Of course, that voice would be nothing without the fabulous music this band produces backing it up. The rhythms come across as effortless and the guitar playing is flawless. It all combines together in the most perfect way. This record gets better and more interesting with every play. I already know it will go down as one of the classics of the aughts and rightly so.
3. GUINEA WORMS - "Box Of Records/ I'm A Cobweb" 7" (Columbus Discount)
The A-side "Box Of Records" is about all the people who work at MRR and all the people who read it. Face it, if you are bothering to read this list and you are interested in it than to you there really is nothing better than a box of records. It's an ode to vinyl obsession that humorously remembers to include a small tribute to the singer's girlfriend, which accidentally turns into a comparison with a box of records. Sing it! "There's really nothing better, there's really nothing better, there's really nothing better than a box of records." Side B is equally catchy though less blatant. There is squeaky saxophone too.
4. MAYYORS - "Marines Dot Com LP" 7" (Waste Of Oil) and "Megan LOLZ" 7" (Gomerdome)
The Mayyors play loud, thrashy hardcore garage rock. Is that really a possibility? I guess it is now. The music is overblown, but in the best possible way. There is feedback on every song, but just enough and always in the appropriate place. Yet, there is always a melody. This unique combination of sounds is providing some very exciting music. You really need to hear it.
5. THE DIRTBOMBS - "We Have You Surrounded" (In The Red)
Album number four from the Dirtbombs and I don't ever want them to stop. Garage rock that is so soulful and modern. Catchy, danceable and it puts a smile on my face. Plus any band that can cover Sparks, Dead Moon and Alan Moore seamlessly on the same album making the songs their own deserves your appreciation. Give it to them.
6. CONTAMINATORS - "s/t" LP (Going Underground)
This record encompasses everything I enjoy about punk rock. Uncomplicated tunes with an annoyed and/or bored vocalist that are crudely recorded. Songs titles "Drivin Me Crazy", "No Friends", "Sick Society" and "Ain't So Fun" add more attitude to the mix. This is the type of LP someone will dig up twenty years from now and proclaim as one of the lost gems of 2008. Why wait for some other jerk to tell you later, listen to me now. This album rules. Plus Contaminators were one of the best live bands I saw this past year.
7. TY SEGALL - "s/t" LP (Castle Face), "Skin" EP (Goodbye Boozy) and "Here We Go" EP (Chocolate Covered)
There was a point when I was the MRR resident one-man band expert. But then I became disillusioned with the genre. All these one-man bands were starting to sound too similar and uninteresting. Fortunately, Ty Segall has renewed my love for the one-man band. Stomping garage tunes that are dirty and distorted and rollicking and so much fun. I just can't get enough.
8. THE GET OFFS - "Airplane Fight!/ Drunk" 7" (Pearson/Meggitt Music)
Two perfect gems of garage pop. The songs are full of humor and fun. Very catchy, but way too brief. But I guess you always want to leave them wanting more.
9. HANK IV - "Refuge In Genre" LP (Siltbreeze)
Hank IV singer Bob usually gets mad at me (and I assume he will again for putting this into print) for mentioning that time at the bar when I asked him about recording this album. He should never talk to this press I think is what he has repeatedly said. I told him sounds really pissed off on this album and I like it. He said during recording the rest of the band would purposefully rile him up until he was really mad then send him in to the do the vocals. Whatever truth there is in that story, it really works. The songs sound angry, but in the best possible way. I can relate. Plus the music is really rockin' and the lyrics are peculiar and very entertaining.
10. PERSONAL AND THE PIZZAS - "I Don't Wanna Be No Personal Pizza" EP
Without a doubt the winner for the best packaging of a record. A 7" packed in a mini pizza box with a t-shirt, button and poster. Yes, that is Iggy Pop eating a slice on the cover. Yeah it is a funny gimmick, but behind all that is some good rock'n'roll, Ramones style. The guy from New Jersey and his Pizzas may come off as unintelligent, but some of the lyrics are very clever. I always crack up at the rhyme of "J.O.B." with "G.E.D." in the song "I Can Read". I am easily amused.
Honorable Mentions (I can never just pick 10!):
CANDY SNATCHERS - "Doin' Time/ Dead Wrong" 7" (Zodiac Killer)
HEARTBEEPS - "A Boring Life With No Guitar" EP (Frantic City)
BRAINBOMBS - "Fucking Mess" LP (Lystring)
WAX MUSEUMS - "s/t" LP (Douche Master)
LITTLE CLAW - "Race To The Bottom/ Feeding You" 7" (Siltbreeze)
NODZZZ - "I Don't Wanna (Smoke Marijuana)/ We Are The Only Animals" 7" (Make A Mess)
SO COW - "Commuting" EP (Going Underground)
PLEASURE KILLS - "Smash Up The Radio/ Over and Over" 7" (Polypore)
YOUNG OFFENDERS - "Big Man, Small House/ Saints" 7" (Deranged)
KRYSMOPOMPAS - "Heute Schlafen - Morgen Aufwachen" LP (S-S)
THE NIXE - "Complete 1980-1981 Recordings" LP (Polly Maggoo)
THE RATS - "s/t" LP (Mississippi)
MISSION OF BURMA "Signals, Calls and Marches", "Vs." and "Horrible Truth About Burma" LP (Matador)
BUM KON - "Drunken Sex Sucks" LP (Smooch)
SUBHUMANS - "Death Was Too Kind" LP (Alternative Tentacles)
FIGURES OF LIGHT - "Smash Hits" LP (Norton)
ANIMALS + MEN "Never Bought Never Sold" LP (Mississippi)
LIGHTNING BEAT-MAN & HIS NO TALENT - "Wrestling Rock'N'Roll" LP (Voodoo Rhythm)
DICTATORS - "Every Day Is Saturday" LP (Norton)