My Top 10 records of 2010. Originally appeared in issue 334 of Maximum Rock N Roll.
2010 was another great year for music. There are so many more records that could have made this list. I wish I could have fit them all in, but I guess other people need some space for their lists too.
Eddy Current Suppression Ring "Rush To Relax" (Goner)
This is a perfect album. Really. There is not one song I would cut or skip over. Even though the first time I heard "Gentleman" I thought it was a bit corny, but in a nice and funny way. After millions of times of hearing it since, it is one of my favorite songs. I remember reading reviews of this record where various writers were bitching that Eddy Current Suppression Ring recorded this in only six hours and that the band should have taken more time or some other nonsense. Why? This is record is just too good. If a band can get this many amazing songs down in six hours why do they need to take longer? Nothing ruins a recording session more than musicians jerking off for hours. Just look at Keith Richards or any other classic rock dinosaur. Plus these guys are amazing live. I saw them three nights in a row and on the fourth night I wished they were playing again. So good.
Ty Segall "Melted" (Goner)
I am constantly amazed at the talent Ty Segall has. Segall manages to make his songs continually sound fresh and exciting. It is basically the same fuzzed out, pop garage stuff he has always been playing, but the songwriting keeps getting better. My favorite song is "Finger" an anthemic, noisy, distorted, grunge-garage mixture.
Guinea Worms "Scorers of Madness (4rd Year In A Row!)" (Columbus Discount)
A double LP complied from twelve CDrs submitted when Columbus Discount requested to do an album of Guinea Worms songs. Demented and weird, but extremely funny. So catchy, but when you find yourself singing along you try not to think about what you're actually singing. I pretty much went to Gonerfest this year to see Guinea Worms. Of course, I justified it with the fact that I had never been to Gonerfest before plus all these other great bands that I love were playing too. But the truth is I went to see Guinea Worms. It was worth it.
Drugs Dragons "s/t" (Dusty Medical)
When I reviewed this record for MRR a couple of months ago I was having a hard time coming to grips with what I liked about it. My reasoning on paper sounds so wrong. Each song starts off with what seems like a well-known classic rock riff, but then gets knocked off that path and goes into some weird space. The singer has an amazingly deep, gruff voice that I could listen to for hours. Every time I put this record on I like it more and more. It is heavy rock and the lyrics are really dumb, but the songs are oddly addictive.
John Wesley Coleman "Bad Lady Goes To Jail" (Goner)
The track that sucked me in on this one was "Get High Babe". It is pretty unassuming, but there is something very catchy about it. After my first listen to the album, I just played that one song over and over again. When I was finally sated, I plunged into the whole album. I haven't been able to stop. Fuzzy, bluesy garage punk. Great laid-back vocals too.
Hank IV "III" (Siltbreeze)
Hank IV take pride in the fact that they've been on the scene long enough to know what's what. They should. They're more pissed off and they rock harder than a lot of the youngsters starting bands today. I appreciate that. They infuse classic punk with more experimental sounds of '80s college rock and the vilified garage punk bands of the '90s. It's primitive, guttural and unbridled. I thought they'd have a hard time improving on 2008's "Refuge In Genre". In this case I don't mind being wrong.
Black Helicopter "Don't Fuck With The Apocalypse" (Ecstatic Peace)
This album gives me a flashback to the '80s. The '80s I remember not the one people were trying to emulate at the turn of the century. I am not saying it is a rehash. This sound is new and riveting. Dark, heavy garage rock with psychedelic tinges. Music you just want to hang out and listen to - no distractions. Great song titles like "Idiot Son", "None Taken", "Pickle Jar" and "Under The Bus".
Black Time "More Songs About Motorcycles & Death" (Wrench Records)
A great collection of catchy noisy garage songs, played fast and loud. Blown-out and distorted, messy and wild. Oh yeah.
Super Wild Horses "Fifteen" (HoZac Records)
Sometimes you don't need that much to create a lot. Super Wild Horses are a minimal two-piece that create simple, yet cool songs. Pounding drums, jangley guitars and pretty, but forceful vocals.
The Pity Fucks "s/t" (Felony Fidelity)
Rough, mean primitive garage rock, but with peppy '60s style keyboards. You always need something to make your band stick out from the pack. The keyboards definitely make this a bit more dance-y than it would be otherwise. Catchy in a very sinister way.
Heartbeeps "My Bones Are Tattooed" (Dead Beat)
Raw and rough garage punk from Bordeaux, France. Catchy and loud. Fast and fun. Plus x-members of TV Killers. Fantastique.
The Limiñanas "I'm Dead/ Migas 2000" (HoZac Records)
Side A of this is so damn catchy. I could listen it a hundred times per day. Boppy garage rock with a sultry French female singer. She sings this so sweet that you kind of forget she is saying that she is dead. Side B sounds a bit more psychedelic like a bar scene from a Godard film.
Timmy's Organism "I'm A Nice Guy Now/ Cold Pizza" (Cass Records)
Blown-out, distorted and angry even though he is desperately trying to convince us that he is indeed a nice guy now. When Timmy starts howling "Look at my face, smiling at the human race." You really want to believe he is making the effort. It also helps his case that the song is so damn catchy. Side 2 gets more droney and slows down, but still sounds brutal and wild. "You're like melted ice cream. You’re like cold pizza." Not exactly a love song or is it?
Peripherique Est "Le Rock D'ici" (Close Up)
Fast garage-y punk reminiscent of some of the great French bands of the '90s: TV Killers, No Talents, Splash 4. But also reminds me of some of the first wave English bands particularly The Damned. Lots of attitude and extremely catchy.
Idi Amin And The Amputees "Disco Bitch/ Nasty Nazi" (Going Underground)
The sound on this 7" is amazing. It's is so loud and abrasive. It sounds like some lost punk relic from the '70s. Plus the songs are so catchy, but pretty angry too. Just look at the titles.
Tortured Tongues "Arizona Murder/ Extension Cord" (Lethal Triad)
From the liner notes: "Tortured Tongues is not pretty. Tortured Tongues. Angry Minds. Lives destroyed. Misery. Hate. Tortured Tongues is seeking revenge. On humanity. On themselves. On You." I don't think there's anything else I need to add.
Total Control "Paranoid Video/ Real Estate" (Smartguy)
This sounds so '80s electronic. It is cold and monotonous, but with a compelling catchiness. Sounds like a more mellow Metal Urbain with Young Marble Giants' drum machine. Except that I've seen Total Control live so I know they don't use a drum machine.
Midnite Snaxxx "Like Lightning/ Givin' Me The Business" (Raw Deluxe)
Really catchy power pop-ish garage rock with great females vocals. The Pleasure Seekers sound and attitude is alive and well in 2010. That makes me very happy.
Rocket From The Tombs "I Sell Soul/ Romeo & Juliet" (Hearthan)
I am pretty enamored with anything David Thomas does. So I was very happy when he got back together with the most of the other guys from Rocket From The Tombs (Cheetah Chrome and Craig Bell plus Television's Richard Lloyd and drummer Steve Mehlman). They have finally released two new songs. Side A is rockin'. Side B is a ballad. But both have an undeniable coolness.
The Chickens "Chicken Shit" (Siltbreeze)
I was once in a band that used a drum machine in a similar way to The Chickens. Guys would always tell us that we would be so much better of we got a "real" drummer. That has always made me love the drum machine more. Although the drum machine isn't the main focus of The Chickens' music it gives it a driving force. The guitars are fuzzy and garage-y. The vocals are laid-back and full of attitude. The whole thing together sounds great.
Slippery Slopes "Sad Tugs" (Florida's Dying)
This might be easily classified as your average (read: boring) jangley garage rock if it was not for the messiness and the attitude. This singer is definitely not a wimp. "Pizza I'm Against It" is a classic tune for these days. Any song that requests tofu and hummus is OK with me.
Straightshooter "Straightshooter/ She's So Fine" (Sing Sing)
Mike Rep and The Quotas "Stupor Hiatus" 2xLP (Siltbreeze)
HitlersS "Skate Like Elvis" CD (Hate)
The Welders "P-E-R-V-E-R-T" EP (BDR)
The Endtables LP (Drag City)
Eyes "TAQN" 10" (Artifix)
Chin Chin "We Don't Wanna Be Prisoners" EP (Mississippi)
Budget Rock 9 - one of the best yet. Oblivians, Icky Boyfriends, Jack O & The Tearjerkers, Reigning Sound, The Scrams, Dadfag, The Get Offs, Ty Segall, Wounded Lion, Wild Thing, The Tee'N'Dee Explosion, Midnite Snaxxx, Angora Debs, The Touch-Me-Nots...
Gonerfest 7 - my first time going. Guinea Worms, Love Collector, John Wesley Coleman, Oblivians, Msr. Jeffrey Evans, Dave Cloud, Ty Segall, Total Control, UV Race, Super Wild Horses, Menthols, Parting Gifts, Strapping Field Hands, Armitage Shanks...plus being in Memphis.
Eddy Current Suppression Ring - San Francisco, Oakland, Daly City
Total Control, UV Race - San Francisco, Oakland
Gories, Nice Smile - San Francisco
The Clean - San Francisco
Hank IV - record release San Francisco
X - both San Francisco shows