My Top 10 records of 2009. Originally appeared in issue 322 of Maximum Rock N Roll.
2009 was another great year for music. I tried to resist my usual urge to go too crazy, so here's what I came up with.
Jack-O and The Tennessee Tearjerkers "The Disco Outlaw" (Goner)
I feel kind of silly proclaiming once again my love for this album in the pages of this fine magazine. Yet, here I go. Third time's the charm, right? After this I will shut up about it. At least until twenty or so years down the road when I get to say told you so. I have listened to this record every day since I got a copy in April 2009. Honestly. It is just that good. Jack has such an amazing voice. The songs are catchy and lustful and sort of heartbreaking. My favorite song still is "Sweet Thang", but I have also been edging toward "Make Your Mind Up" a half-hearted ultimatum for an indecisive girl and "Stop Stalling" a seemingly desperate love song that may simply be about a car. It is such a fantastic album.
Baseball Furies "Throw Them To The Lions" (Big Neck)
Mostly I am a girl who needs a great singer in order to fall madly in love with a band. I don't mean to insinuate anything by that statement. Baseball Furies have one of the best singers in the world. But for the first time in a long time, I have fallen for the music first. Catchy, interesting, complicated and fun riffs. I find that every time I start listening to this album, I have to stop whatever I am doing and just pay attention to the music. Then I simply think over and over again what an incredible album this is. Wow.
Dadfag "Scenic Abuse" (Broken Rekids)
This album is beyond description. Arty, noisy and in your face p.u.n.k. Panicky and agitated in the way only a (mostly) female band can be. Tormented and vexing. Lustful and angry. I have yet to see Dadfag play in a traditional club. I have only seen them play at art galleries and house parties. That will probably soon change, but the impression will forever be etched in my brain. An untraditional band for a scene that has been stagnating in its predictable ways. We can always use a band that messes with our expectations and shakes us out of our stupors. Amazing.
Brilliant Colors "Introducing" (Slumberland)
In the last few years it seems that the all-girl bands are starting to get wimpier. The public wants pretty girls singing pretty songs prettily. Well, not me. There is still a lot for women everywhere to be pissed about. I want anthems and screaming and just plain rockin' out. Brilliant Colors deliver all that and more. Catchy, wild, fun songs that make you scream and have a great time. All the best elements of the first wave girl punk bands, yet they sound modern. Girls, look here for your inspiration.
Ty Segall "Lemons" (Goner)
Ty does it again. His second album is just as wonderful as his first. Garage rock that mixes the pretty with the noisy. The two blend nicely. My favorite song on the record "Lovely One" is simply perfect. It's one of his best.
Jacuzzi Boys "No Seasons" (Florida's Dying)
I have to admit that I hate this new-fangled jangley rock. Well, most of it obviously. Jacuzzi Boys are jangley. I won't pretend they aren't. But they also write really catchy songs and the singer has a really cool voice. So in this case the jangley stuff sounds OK with me.
The UV Race "s/t" (Aarght!)
If I put what I like about The UV Race into writing, it just doesn't come out right. Minimalist, post-punk-ish music that sounds a bit like a lo-fi version of the Pogues. The music is accentuated by the singer's seemingly off-key, lethargic, spoken vocals. As lame as that description sounds it really works. The songs are catchy, weird and interesting. I also really enjoy that instead of the lyrics on the insert, singer Marcus describes what each song is about. It's an amusing touch.
Reigning Sound "Love & Curses" (In The Red)
When I listen to this album, I start to feel really bad for Greg Cartwright. He must have had his heart broken so many times. But that fortunately makes for many great songs. These are some of his best. Plus I really like the cover of "Stick Up For Me" an anthem for our times and the only song that doesn't seem to be about love gone wrong.
Ratas del Vaticano "Mocosos Pateticos" (Siltbreeze)
Primitive punk rock from Mexico. Great rhythms, poorly recorded and so very exciting. This record has it all. Punk, garage, surf, whatever. Old school, new school. Its all here and I like it - a lot.
Francis Harold and the Holograms "Who Said These Were Happy Times" (Going Underground)
This is so noisy and undecipherable then it is all covered in a layer of hiss. There is probably no logical reason why I like this so much, but I do. There is something strange, haunting and semi-dangerous here or maybe it is just my imagination blending with all the noise bouncing around this room. Either way I don't care. I'll just turn this up.
Coathangers "Scramble" (Suicide Squeeze)
This is how I would imagine punk cheerleaders, if such a dumb notion ever existed. I wouldn't for the life of me want that to happen, but Coathangers scream, rock and seem to have so much fun that is the only way I can describe it. The big difference would be if you ran into these women on the street you'd probably run the other way instead of snarling at them while making some wise-ass comment about school spirit.
Scrams "Flea Market Rock" (Scrams)
Demented dance-y garage punk with a '60s organ sound and a singer that has a kind of whiny, high-pitched voice, but in a good way. "The Molasses" cracks me up. Just the idea of creating a dance where you move slow and stick to the floor, yet it is danceable. Brilliant!
Eddy Current Suppression Ring "That Time of Day" (Nervous Jerk)
Isn't ECSR due for a bad record? How many great ones can they keep putting out? Recorded in 2007 at the "Primary Colors" sessions, these tracks are more minimalist than the tracks on the album. But they are still catchy and fun. "Noise In My Head" has agonized vocals. I love it.
Super Wild Horses "I Was Blind" (Aarght!)
Thundering and noisy. Powerful with bratty female vocals, yet the songs remain very catchy. This is what I imagine the Slits would have sounded like if they went punk instead of reggae.
Cheater Slicks "Erotic Woman/ Can't You Hear (My Heartbeat)" (Columbus Discount)
I don't know how the Cheater Slicks do it. They always create this manicly wild garage sound, but the music remains cohesive, exciting and catchy. One original and one obscure cover on this 7", but both have that distinctive Cheater Slicks sound. I love it.
Wheels On Fire "Bad Lie/ Come On Judy" (Trouble In Mind)
Despite the bad band name, this is a cool record. Two really good songs. Catchy, punchy garage rock with a great singer.
The Gothiefs "Hongkong Rocks/ Limited Appeal" (High School Refuse)
One half of this band is Nils Damage formerly of one of my favorite bands Superhelicopter. These two songs are way too short, but they are also messy, distorted, trashy garage punk. Just what I like.
Useless Eaters "Sucked In" (Goner)
Post-punk-ish and very English sounding even though this one-man band is from Memphis. Simplistic songs done with a cool style.
Wild Thing "You're A Punk" (Clown College)
It's fun when the hardcore kids grow up and go garage. They play the music faster, have a lot more attitude and don't give a fuck about wearing the proper clothes. Messy, trashy, snotty and the songs are really good.
Thee Oh Sees "Tidal Wave/ Heart Sweats" (Woodsist)
Two amazingly catchy songs. Garage pop soaked in reverb and complimented with vocal yelps. Vivacious and ebullient.
Lover! "I'm Not A Gnome" (Tic Tac Totally)
Fuzzed out garage songs with high-pitched, slighty-annoying vocals. Pretty wimpy, but very charming at the same time.
Cave Weddings "Bring Your Love/ Let's Drive" (Hozac)
The A-side is an OK garage love song. But side B's "Let's Drive" is such an amazing catchy song. Part garage, part pop, part country. It's infectious.
Axemen "Big Cheap Motel" and "Scary! Part III" (Siltbreeze) plus seeing them live.
Death "For The Whole World To See" (Drag City)
The Eyes "TAQN" 10" (Artifix)
The Fems "Go To A Party" EP (Drag City)
Zero Boys "Vicious Circle" and "History Of" (Secretly Canadian) plus seeing them live.
2010 is off to a bad start with the loss of Jay Reatard. Farewell Jay. I'll miss you.
My Top 10 of 2008
My Top 10 of 2007