BBiBest of 2010
East Village Radio
Thursday, noon – 2pm ET
I would like to open the ceremonies briefly by saying 2010 has been a good year for rock music. I wasn’t even forced to list reissues this year since there were so many great new albums! (And there were plenty of great reissues too). As there’s less and less money to be made in music, maybe we’re seeing more and more quality bands in it for the right reasons. And hopefully they’ll all one day make lots o’ money! ; )
Also keep in mind that I don’t listen to every album that comes out. I don’t even have a desire to do that. I just list the ones that I, Mike Newman, heard and loved in 2010. So please don’t ask why Kanye is not on this list…or the National.
Here are the 2010 albums that really did it for me (in no particular order, mind you)…
John Grant – Queen of Denmark : This album, a collaboration with Midlake, out on Bella Union Records, is so motherfucking good and emotionally powerful. But not in that played-out deep singer-songwriter kind of way, but in a way much more indescribable. Because isn’t that the way our lives are? At times transcendent, other times lonely, and other times straight-faced humourous…John Grant’s range shows what makes music so perfect: It’s ability to make the brutalist aspects of life bearable. Not to mention, as if designed just for me, there are plenty of great proggy keyboard flourishes! Own this album.
Mondo Drag – New Rituals : It seems like these young psych warriors came out of nowhere, and depending on how you view Iowa, that may just be true. A stunning and accomplished debut from a band that sound like they’ve been playing together for a decade. Locked in psychedelic magic.
Check ‘em out playing stripped-down on Beyond Beyond is Beyond on East Village Radio… Mondo Drag play Come Through on EVR
Wolf People – Steeple : Yeah man, these cats crept up on me too and released this phenomenal debut after showing a little promise with their Tidings EP. Well, it turns out Tidings was just some nice bits and pieces of what Wolf People have in their heavy duty arsenal. Sure, you hear all kinds of influences everywhere, especially Traffic and Cream, but what better stuff to be influenced by! And Wolf People don’t just do Xerox copies of their influences. These are all-new jams…that sound perfect in the 21st century.
Conspiracy of Owls – Conspiracy of Owls : I love this album. Made up of ex-members of awesome Detroit rockers The Go, as it says on the Burger Records website: “Conspiracy of Owls have created a mind blowing album of epic proportions!” My thoughts exactly! And you’re missing out if you don’t own it.
So grab the vinyl at Burger Records right here!
Endless Boogie – Full House Head : Please don’t say that rock is dead. You’re just looking in the wrong places…and you’re being too dramatic. And if you actually believe that rock is dead, then you haven’t heard Endless fucking Boogie.
Chooglin’ and churnin’…endlessly.
Mount Carmel – Mount Carmel : *Ditto to what I wrote above for Endless Boogie*
A true fuzzy blues-rock trio with absolutely zero ironic posturing. Thank god for bands like Mount Carmel, their fellow Columbus, Ohio rockers Main Street Gospel, and Endless Boogie who aren’t afraid to play killer long drawn-out guitar solos in what’s become a limp indie-rock environment.At least in my humble opinion.
The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night : Jagjaguwar has put out some killer records in 2010 and this might be my favorite of them all. I like the Amazon description: “The album is a dark bliss-out that folds the eerie guitar epics of the Montreal band’s breakthrough into a wall of affected drones and atmospherics, but with a toughened immediacy and grit that gives the form a much-needed shove over the cliffs, making for a haunting, provocative swan dive into the crushing tide.” That’s what I wouldn’t have been able to say quite as well! Saw them live in 2010 and it was one of my favorite shows. I hope these cats are here to stay for many many more years!
Masters of Reality – Pine/Cross Dover : Do you know about Masters of Realty? Do you know Chris Goss? Do you know he’s the mastermind behind Masters of Reality and that he produced Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age? And did you know that I like his albums better than I like those albums? Why do I keep asking you questions? What’s wrong with me?
Trippy, rocking, melodic, swinging, majestic, psychedelic, pounding.
Field Music – Measure : This one is addictive just like your favorite Steely Dan or Supertramp album. Great pop hooks everywhere, snappy arrangements, beautiful vocal harmonies, smart lyrics that ain’t overly clever, and guitars that occasionally even snarl at you. Makes me think of Lol and Kev a lot too! Not many folks are making records like this these days, treading the line between indie rock and classic rock. But Field Music’s swing is enough to tell you which way they lean.
Steve Hackett – Out of the Tunnel’s Mouth : There aren’t so many prog heroes these days that are still making the same kind of mind-blowing music that they made in their prime, but Steve Hackett (ex-Genesis guitarist, in case you don’t know) is a big exception. Many are calling ‘Tunnel’s Mouth’ his best solo work of his career. I don’t know enough about all of his solo ventures to make that claim, but I do know that this is a thoroughly solid and engaging progressive rock album that doesn’t sound at all dated or embarrassing.
Tame Impala – Innerspeaker : I guess it seems so strange to me that this kind of great psychedelic music would become so popular. But that doesn’t change the fact that this is a fantastic new psychedelic album. And I guess it’s good to know that people who might not usually listen to psych music are able to dig this. I’m telling ya, music’s seeing a rebirth…moving further away from the business model and inching closer to the creative. Or maybe I’m reading too far into things. What the fuck ever, this album is tasty psych bubblegum…so getcher chew on!
Velcro Lewis Group – White Magick Summer : This is a band I stumbled on at the end of the year, somewhere in November, and what a great stumble! White Magick Summer if full of foot-stompin’, R&B-tinged, bloozy-rockin’ hooters and hollerers. Pure rhythm and power from Chi-town.
Check out their killer Daytrotter session from October and then try to resist buying the album!
Dungen – Skit I Allt : Every year that Dungen makes a new album, it will certainly make my year-end ‘Best Of’ list simply because these psychedelic Swedes are all about quality. Still refusing to record albums in English, this is the kind of music that you don’t need translated. To me it always translates to beautiful, transcendent rock & roll.
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today : I gotta say, I’m so happy that Ariel Pink decided to upgrade his lo-fi aesthetic to medium-fi. I had been a fan of his super-hooky bizarro-pop style for several years, but I just don’t have it in my constitution to be able to listen to those lo-fi recordings for more than a song or two. It was like listening to Hall & Oates on acid via my neighbor’s stereo through a plaster wall. If ‘Bright Lit Blue Skies’ isn’t one of the best tunes of the year, then ‘Round and Round’ is. Super-addictive in a great way.
Jack Rose – Luck in the Valley : Well sadly enough, the world lost a great guitar talent in Jack Rose in December 2009 to a heart attack at the young age of 38. Crazy. He was quite the picker and this album is full of amazing acoustic Americana. Thrill Jockey also released Jack’s final recordings that were done with D. Charles Speer and the Helix, and you’ll want to own that EP too, so here’s a link to Ragged and Right!
AND HERE ARE SOME OTHER ALBUMS THAT I LOVED IN 2010 THAT MUST BE MENTIONED (that are just as good as the records above but I just couldn’t do all the work of fully listing 30 albums, geez, gimme a break) :
Main Street Gospel – Love Will Have Her Revenge (Tee Pee)
Barn Owl – Ancestral Star (Thrill Jockey)
Citay – Dream Get Together (Dead Oceans)
Sleepy Sun – Fever (Dead Oceans)
Cornershop – Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast (Ample Play)
Black Angels – Phosphene Dream (Blue Horizon)
Charlie Alex March – Home/Hidden (Lo Recordings)
White Noise Sound – s/t (Alive)
Phosphorescent – Here’s To Taking It Easy (Dead Oceans)
The Lovetones – Lost (Planting Seeds)
La Otracina – Reality Has Got to Die (Holy Mountain)
The Electric Mess – s/t (self-released)
The Growlers – Hot Tropics (Everloving)
Runaway Suns – Emerald Door (self-released)
Hacienda – Big Red & Barbacoa (Alive)
Blitzen Trapper – Destroyer of the Void (Sub Pop)
Black Keys – Brothers (Nonesuch)
The Greenhornes – **** (Third Man)
What else am I missing? What are your faves o’ the year? Lemme know below…
If you blog, I guess you just gotta do it…so here’s mine. And no, you’re not gonna get a ‘best albums o’ the decade’ list outta me! It was quite hard enough to think back to early ’09, thank you very much. And yes, albums are still pertinent and will become more and more important as the industry starts its slow digression back to the vinyl days. I’m not Nostradamus and shit, I just know it’s headed that way. It’s what’s the people want…records are just plain sexy! The vinyl is how you’ll listen at home (or inside places) and the mp3s (download card included inside vinyl jacket) will make it portable and shuffle-able.
Another thing to keep in mind, I don’t typically sit around ranking records as I listen to them, so this is a bit of a stretch for me. What I’m presenting here is a list of things I liked in 2009. This includes brand-new shit and also old albums that were re-released during 2009…because I listen to a lot of old music, in case you didn’t know from looking at me. So let’s go through the motions here and get to listing…in no particular order (and I’m not sure how many are going to be listed either until I put them all down, so bear with me). Here we go:
The Entrance Band – s/t : Here’s a great psych album from a new(er) band that’s not afraid of slinky guitar licks. As the mainstream indie-rock world keeps proving to us what their music is NOT, bands like The Entrance Band will do what they do, not concerned with what they are not, but proving that the most interesting thing is what it IS. And what it is is groove, swing, blues, passion, psych, sex and plenty of reverb. On Ecstatic Peace Records.
Well played, Thurston.
The Aliens – Luna : Amazing follow-up to the debut Astronomy for Dogs from 2007 by this Beta Band offshoot. Here are the deets from Wiki: The Aliens are a Scottish band consisting of former Beta Band members Gordon Anderson (aka Lone Pigeon, lead vocals, guitar), John Maclean keyboards, backing vocals) and Robin Jones (drums, backing vocals). They formed in 2005 ( following the split of The Beta Band the previous year, and frontman Gordon Anderson falling ill to “acute psychosis”. Anderson is now out of hospital and has been off medication for some time.
This is what the Beta Band promised to be from their 3 Eps debut, which will always be a classic, but what their other albums never delivered on. They lost sight of their mission or something. Well, The Aliens pick back up where the ‘good’ Beta Band left off. Cheers!
Imelda May – Love Tattoo : Soul rockabilly blues R&B…like in the days when such genres were integrated and made a beautiful noise together. I was lucky enough to be able to interview Imelda May when she was in NYC and got to see her (and her tremendous band) perform live to a packed Piano’s house on a weeknight…Uh-maze-ing! This girl can belt ‘em out. And you need to hear her band play live too. Perfectness…really. Here’s a link to the interview from Beyond Beyond is Beyond 9/24/09.
And here’s a bonus for ya’s. This is an acoustic “Love Tattoo” that Imelda and her husband/guitarist Darrel Higham did exclusively for my BBiB show on East Village Radio…
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The Growlers – Are You In or Out? : I love this album. I guess you’d call it fuzzed-out, reverb-drenched, hazy surf-guitar garage rock. Easy breezy shit that I’m looking forward to seeing played live when these Costa Mesa, California bros make it out East – which I just found out will happen at Brooklyn’s Union Pool on Valentine’s Day ’10. Hopefully my lover will want to go with…
Speaking of lovers, this album is on the great Everloving label.
Made in Sweden – Made in England : This re-release from the top-notch Esoteric Recordings label in England, came in just under the ’09 gun, released on December 22nd, 2009. I have been in love with Esoteric Recordings output ever since I was turned on to them by some MAN reissues that started coming out a couple years ago. Since then, I’ve closely followed Esoteric’s output and even started a segment on my radio show that features Esoteric’s offerings. Well, this is one originally from 1970 that I just very recently received and am now addicted to. And it once again begs the question ‘why are the Swedish so advanced in progressive rock music?’ Why ask why, bros…just dig it. This is superb blues-jazz-prog rock. Long live Esoteric!
White Denim – Fits : Fukkin’ fantastic album! To be lazy, here are a couple quotes that I really like about the album…
“Fits locks in and finds a groove strong enough to hang a hook on” -Pitchfork
“Like Ike and Tina Turner….. White Denim never do anything nice and easy. The bands chopped up punk delirium is effortless sorcery, evoking Talking Heads’ dancing-bones rock, the dervish thrash of the Minutemen and the Strokes’ pneumatic-guitar pop…White Denim is not simple work, but everything you get is nice and rough.”- David Fricke, Rolling Stone
“It kinda makes me wanna screw.” – My wife
Mother Hips – Pacific Dust : The Mother Hips are consistently great and are consistently not recognized enough. Lots of great dual guitar interplay, amazing sunny California harmonies, and tons of hooks all over the place.
Tim Bluhm was in town for a couple Mother Hips NYC gigs and stopped by Beyond Beyond is Beyond this past Spring, long before the new album’s release and played some tunes for us. Here’s one…
Life on Earth! – A Space Water Loop : Like The Amazing who are making their mark right now with a fantastic debut, Life On Earth! is a Dungen offshoot to keep the Dungen players busy and creative while Dungen leader, Gustav takes his time with his muse and his turntablism. Yeah, go figs. Life on Earth! is helmed by Dungen bassist, Mattias Gustavsson and is an excellent collection of Swedish psych-folk music…sung in English.
Again, my theory stands that Swedes have and extra music gene.
Check out this tune Mattias did for us on Beyond Beyond is Beyond at the East Village Radio studio:
Hopewell – Good Good Desperation : These next two albums represent bands that made really good albums which only tell part of the story of how amazing they are as live bands. Tee Pee Records made a great choice stepping out on a limb for Hopewell, which isn’t their traditional fare…but Tee Pee is really starting to release a lot of killer stuff (Weird Owl, The Weight, Spindrift, Night Horse, Imaad Wasif) and is one of the great small creative label forces out there now.
Pick up this album and then get yer ass out to see them live and let them show you their complete power. Good Good Desperation definitely will make you more than curious for the live show…and it’s the kind of album that gives you the feeling that Hopewell is on the verge of creating their masterpiece.
Sleepy Sun – Embrace : So, this is the other band who made a fantastic album, this one on ATP Recordings, that only hints at how great a live band they are. I was lucky enough to see both Sleepy Sun and Hopewell this summer at the super-exclusive, only-for-cool-cats-like-me All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in upstate New York…and quite frankly, both bands blew my fukkin’ head off. In a good way!
Again, another great album that will tease you into coming out to see ‘em live. Don’t miss the chance!
Exmagma – Exmagma 3 : I started doing a segment on my East Village Radio show that features the excellent re-release output of Anthology Recordings this year, because they digitally re-release some of the coolest and rarest psych, vintage rock, folk, freak, prog and other great rock forms. This is one of the coolest that I came across this year. Having already been acquainted with Exmagma’s first two ‘official’ albums, that were certainly more Miles 70s-era improvy sounding with very few vocals. Well, this more jagged-rocky, trippy-vocaled one was made as a double album by the band to follow their first two. Their label said ‘we don’t wanna release a double album’…and so the band shelved it and soon broke up. It was finally released way down the road and now Anthology’s got it on their site, ready for you to download…along with the first two Exmagma albums and singer/guitarist, Andy Goldner’s killer solo album, Infinity. Get Exmagma 3 now if you dig adventurous rock!
Rubblebucket – s/t : This one came out of the blue and landed on my CD player…or iTunes or whatever. I had not been seeking out this kind of music, but it found me, and it strapped me in for a rubble-bumpy ride! Is African music super-cool right now? Is Fela really a Broadway musical right now? Do people really hate hippies? Well, whatever the case…this is an album to be reckoned with. But instead of reckoning with it, listen to it! Yeah, that’s better.
Serious groove, a knock-you-out magic horn section, quirky guitar, odd drum rhythms, trippy dub effects, and an amazing spell-casting female vocal, of course with plenty of ‘verb!
I can’t wait to see ‘em live! This one of was may be the nicest surprise of the year.
Zoos of Berlin – Taxis : This one was actually another great surprise that Sinister Foxy turned me on to. It’s modern, it’s sleek, it’s complex, it’s Steely Dan, it’s Talking Heads, it’s uplifting, it’s fun, it’s serious, and it’s a bunch of other stuff…like REALLY GOOD! Everyone that I played this album for fell in love with it and could compare it to nothing else than any other modern indie bands are doing right now. Truly unique and quirky music made by some serious players who remember what it is to groove.
Detroit guys, btw. They’re still making plenty of good music there. Cars…not so much.
The Beatles – Remastered Catalog : This has to be in there, doesn’t it? Such a perfect job was done on these albums…and the world would’ve collectively cringed if it had been otherwise. This music demands perfection, and the remastering/mixing job that they did is incredible. Who knew that the best music ever made could sound even better?!
I have all the stereo versions, now I may need to geek out and score all the remastered mono albums! Most of the stuff up until Rubber Soul/Revolver are meant to be heard mono anyway.
Btw, is the White Album the best rock album ever made?
Bryan Scary & the Shredding Tears – Mad Valentines : I swear to god, I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I almost forgot to add these guys to the list AGAIN this year! And I did the same with their Flight of the Knife album last year! Maybe it’s because they’re so much drastically better than most of the modern bands you hear these days, and maybe it’s because their sound doesn’t seem to quite fit in whatever ‘era’ we’re in right now. But BSST are pure theatrical bubblegum, prog-pop escapist bliss…and you’re missing out on all of that if you don’t know ‘em. So get to know ‘em and come join the party. And don’t miss them live!
Here’s a quick stirpped-down tune that they guys did in our completely un-soundproofed booth at East Village Radio. It’s a delight…
Very honorable mentions : Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion (as if you needed to see that one on another list), Real Estate – s/t, Man- s/t (reissue on Esoteric Recordings), Ben Kweller – Changing Horses, BLK JKS – After Robots, The Blakes – Souvenir, La Fleur Fatale – Silent Revolution, Monsters of Folk – s/t, Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound – When Sweet Sleep Returned…
What else am I missing? What are your faves o’ the year? Lemme know below…
All right, you’s guys, I’ve got opinions about albums and since everybody likes to show off their super-important and highly-refined musical tastes by way of year-end lists, I’ve decided to join everyone…like a sheep to slaughter. I’m gonna have some oldies which I’ve just been turned onto in 2008 sprinkled in there too, so please don’t be alarmed that I don’t only listen to new music. In fact, it’s not healthy to only listen to new music.
After mine, you have to show me yours though…as creepy as that sounds. So start thinking about everything you heard in this last great year of our unruly despot’s reign, and be ready to list ‘em by the time you finish looking at mine.
In no particular order…
Okay, yes, they are friends but this album is truly original and stands out in a sea of indie-rock music that is becoming more and more boring. Hooks abound, beautiful harmonies, and amazing arrangements…all with a good sense of humor too.
Here’s an album I was all over when I got an advance copy. It’s totally trippy and neo-psychedelic and totally up my alley. Here’s me singing it’s praises last January…lalala. The backlash is already present but isn’t it always there for bands who get any kind of recognition for actually being good?! They sounded great at a super-packed McCarren Park Pool this past summer too! I look forward to a second album from these cats.
Here’s another one that I got an advance of and I picked it for my year-end list last year even though it came out in 2008. Trippy , heavy, ter’riff’ic! These guys have a great loud live show too. On the album, “Wucan” will hypnotize you…and live, “Wucan” will bewitch your skull. You’ve been warned!
Well, as Hampton will be coming alive again in March 2009, and ‘The Phish’ from Vermont will be playing their first shows in 4 1/2 years…I started wondering what would be the first song that they play the first night back together at Hampton Coliseum.
I’m gonna pick “The Boys Are Back In Town”! I know, not likely, but at a Phish show anything is possible.
What’s your first song pick?
I was just listening to the Pink Fairies’ What A Bunch of Sweeties album and noticed that it was from good old 1972…the year I was born. It reminded me that 1972 was a great year for rock albums and that I hadn’t hosted a nice Sh*t L*st in quite a while, so off ya go. I’m gonna list some of the greats (besides myself) that came from 1972, and hopefully we’ll get to see some greats from YOUR birth year!
Yes – Fragile (although it was late ’71 in the UK)
All right, I noticed that a lot of blogs are doing their ‘best of 2008…so far’ lists about now since we’re half way through the year, so I’m gonna blindly follow suit. Well, maybe not so blindly, since I’m gonna allow you to share stuff that you got this year…but didn’t necessarily have to have come out this year. But it can be new too. Whatever you want, because Sh*t L*sts are all about YOU!
So my list is probably gonna be a mix of new and old, cuz that’s just where I’m at. Just click on through after the MGMT album pic below to see my list (which I’m starting to compile in my head as I write this), and then leave your list in comments.
Hey guys, hope you all had as good a weekend as I did. I think I was able to press that hard-to-reach reset button in that hard-to-locate place inside my soul…I think the Glenfiddich 18 year-old Scotch and good friends might’ve helped me along in that quest. And you can’t underestimate the power of a good hamburger and hot dog.
Anyway, I bought three albums this weekend, two before I got on the train to Connecticut and one, as soon as I got back, after becoming newly-infatuated with a performer I saw on Later with Jools Holland whilst I was there. That performer is Duffy and I think she’s absolutely fantastic! Check out this YouTube of her song “Rockferry”. That’s all I’ll say about her now so I don’t overstep my bounds on praise, but if you get a chance to check out her most recent performance on Later with Jools Holland, do it, but be prepared to have a new crush!
So, let’s do a Sh*t L*st and talk about the last 5 albums that you’ve actually purchased, since I can talk about the other ones I got this weekend and find out what ya’ll are listening to. Click on through to see my list and to post your own…
Well it seems it’s sh*tty time and this one was inspired by Bob Lefsetz’s Lefsetz Letter blog. Bob recently gave us a breakdown of his 20 most-played songs in his iTunes with a little explanation of each. Many were lost on me, but I could totally get behind the case he made for Boston‘s “Hitch A Ride”. It’s easy, and popular these days, to show disdain for Boston, but c’mon, they have some doozies…and “Hitch A Ride” is very much one of said doozies!
Well, since we’re not as bright a bunch, and we have jobs to work and people to see and noses to pick and walls to stare at, let’s just do the most-played top 10 of our iTunes or iPods instead of 20, k? Just sort either one in the iTunes window by Play Count and rattle off your most-played top ten below. It’s up to you if you feel like you have to justify them with comments or whatever. So read on below to see mine and to post yours!
It seems kinda like Sh*t L*st time, and I was just thinking of cover band names today, so off ya go then. I’ma put 5 clever cover band names down below, and then perhaps you’s could come up with 5 more? Whattaya say? Is it a deal? Mine are under the dinosaur puppet…as usual.
1. Yes = Yeah
2. The Breeders = The Flamers
3. Rolling Stones = Sisyphus
4. Black Crowes = Crack Blowes
5. T. Rex = T. Ceratops