Dec 30, 2009

Best Of...

0 Blurts
Besides the fun of sharing the music I love, my main impetus for starting a blog was to share in the year-end list-making extravaganzas. Since we're topping off a decade here as well, I'm indulging myself by making lists for the last ten years that I missed (and I've gone way over a "top ten" in most cases). A couple of these entries have gotten posts here already, and I have plans for quite a few more.


11. Dandy Warhols – Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia
10. Bratmobile – Ladies Women and Girls
9. Add N to (X) – Add Insult to Injury
8. Schema - Schema
7. Broadcast – The Noise Made by People
6. Grandaddy – The Sophtware Slump
5. Built to Spill – Live
4. Robyn Hitchcock – A Star for Bram
3. Cat Power – The Covers Record
2. Microphones – It was Hot We Stayed in the Water
1. Sleater-Kinney – All Hands On the Bad One


12. The Rapture – Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks
11. Beta Band – Hot Shots II
10. Pulp – We Love Life
9. Landing – Circuit
8. Andrew W.K. – I Get Wet
7. I Am the World Trade Center – Out of the Loop
6. Le Tigre – Feminist Sweepstakes
5. William Basinski – The Disintegration Loops
4. Circulatory System – Circulatory System
3. Surface of Eceyon – The King Beneath the Mountain
2. Mazarin – A Tall Tale Storyline
1. Windy & Carl – Consciousness


17. Deerhoof – Reveille
16. Oneida – Each One Teach One
15. Polyphonic Spree - The Beginning Stages Of…
14. Bratmobile – Girls Get Busy
13. Add N to (X) – Loud Like Nature
12. Ladytron – Light & Magic
11. Landing – Seasons
10. Microphones – Song Islands
9. Of Montreal – Aldhils Arboretum
8. Palomar – Palomar II
7. O.U.T. H.U.D. – Street Dad
6. Apples in Stereo – Velocity of Sound
5. Elf Power – Creatures
4. Yume Bitsu – The Golden Vessyl of Sound
3. Iron & Wine – The Creek Drank the Cradle
2. Sleater-Kinney – One Beat
1. Múm – Finally We Are No One


13. Kaito – Band Red
12. Four Tet – Rounds
11. Young People – War Prayers
10. Landing – Passages Through
9. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell
8. Explosions In the Sky – The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place
7. Mr. Airplane Man – C’Mon DJ
6. Broadcast – Ha Ha Sound
5. [[[VVRSSNN]]] - [[[VVRSSNN]]]
4. Camera Obscura – Underachievers Please Try Harder
3. Movietone – The Sand and the Stars
2. The Aislers Set – How I Learned to Write Backwards
1. Animal Collective – Here Comes the Indian


18. Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. - Does the Cosmic Shepherd Dream of Electric Tapirs?
17. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - The Doldrums
16. Boredoms - Seadrum / House of Sun
15. Tom Waits - Real Gone
14. Grimble Grumble - Leaves Leader
13. The Casual Dots – The Casual Dots
12. Parenthetical Girls - (((GRRRLS)))
11. On!Air!Library! - On!Air!Library!
10. Animal Collective – Sung Tongs
9. Morrissey - You Are the Quarry
8. Deerhoof – Milk Man
7. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus
6. Oneida - Secret Wars
5. Blonde Redhead - Misery Is a Butterfly
4. The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightning, Strike
3. The Blow - Poor Aim: Love Songs
2. of Montreal - Satanic Panic in the Attic
1. Xiu Xiu - Fabulous Muscles


15. Windy & Carl - The Dream House / Dedications to Flea
14. Xiu Xiu - La Forêt
13. Acid Mothers Temple & The Cosmic Inferno - Iao Chant From the Cosmic Inferno
12. Boris - Pink
11. The A-Lines - You Can Touch
10. The Russian Futurists - Our Thickness
9. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
8. Quintron & Miss Pussycat - Swamp Tech / Electric Swamp
7. Soulwax - Nite Versions
6. Andrew Bird - Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs
5. Sleater-Kinney - The Woods
4. Deerhoof - The Runners Four
3. Animal Collective - Feels
2. LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem
1. Antony and the Johnsons - I Am a Bird Now


20. Belong - October Language
19. Kawabata Makoto - Hosanna Mantra
18. Goodnight Loving - Cemetery Trails
17. Black Moth Super Rainbow + The Octopus Project - The House of Apples and Eyeballs
16. Asobi Seksu - Citrus
15. Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
14. Espers - Espers II
13. Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3 - Ole! Tarantula
12. Lily Allen - Alright, Still
11. OOIOO - Taiga
10. New York Dolls - One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This
9. Morrissey - Ringleader of the Tormentors
8. Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
7. Boris with Michio Kurihara - Rainbow
6. Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther
5. The Blow - Paper Television
4. Mission of Burma - The Obliterati
3. Built to Spill - You in Reverse
2. Tom Waits - Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards
1. Liars - Drum's Not Dead


18. Boredoms - Super Roots 9
17. Rhys Chatham - A Crimson Grail: For 400 Electric Guitars
16. Bearsuit - oh:io
15. Blonde Redhead - 23
14. Deerhunter - Cryptograms
13. Liars - Liars
12. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
11. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
10. The Go! Team - Proof of Youth
9. Studio - Yearbook 1
8. Thurston Moore - Trees Outside the Academy
7. A Sunny Day in Glasgow - Scribble Mural Comic Journal
6. of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
5. Cats on Fire - The Province Complains
4. Black Moth Super Rainbow - Dandelion Gum
3. Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity
2. M.I.A. - Kala
1. Panda Bear - Person Pitch


24. Acid Mothers Temple & The Cosmic Inferno - Pink Lady Lemonade - You're From Outer Space
23. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
22. Boris - Smile: Live at Wolf Creek
21. The Verve - Forth
20. Oneida - Preteen Weaponry
19. The B-52's - Funplex
18. High Places - High Places
17. Teeth Mountain - Teeth Mountain
16. Ducktails - II
15. Bardo Pond - Batholith
14. Eddy Current Suppression Ring - Primary Colours
13. Windy & Carl - Songs for the Broken Hearted
12. Predator Vision - II
11. Deerhunter - Microcastle / Weird Era Continued
10. Portishead - Third
9. Why? - Alopecia
8. Ponytail - Ice Cream Spiritual
7. Sun Araw - Beach Head
6. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
5. Rhys Chatham - "Guitar Trio Is My Life!"
4. Fuck Buttons - Street Horrrsing
3. Quintron - Too Thirsty 4 Love
2. TV on the Radio - Dear Science
1. James Ferraro - Marble Surf


21. Shrag - Shrag
20. Blank Dogs - Year One
19. Le Loup - Family
18. Starfucker - Jupiter
17. HEALTH - Get Color
16. Circulatory System - Signal Morning
15. Real Estate - Real Estate
14. Atlas Sound - Logos
13. Oneida - Rated O
12. Black Moth Super Rainbow - Eating Us
11. Morrissey - Years of Refusal
10. Espers - Espers III
9. The Flaming Lips - Embryonic
8. A Sunny Day in Glasgow - Ashes Grammar
7. Ducktails - Landscapes
6. My Robot Friend - Soft-Core
5. Micachu - Jewellery
4. Bardo Pond - Peri
3. Candy Claws - In the Dream of the Sea Life
2. Sun Araw - Heavy Deeds
1. Cats on Fire - Our Temperance Movement

Dec 29, 2009

Close Lobsters. Never Seen Before.

0 Blurts

Spangled and scintillating like light on rippling water or silver sequins on a black dress. Fast sounds, big hooks. Fire Station Towers and Wide Waterways (an Only Ones cover) were both excellent. You will feel better after listening to this.

Never Seen Before

Close Lobsters on myspace

Dec 28, 2009

Close Lobsters. Nature Thing.

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Nature Thing is, like all the Close Lobsters' best songs, barbed and jangly. This single also includes a cover of Neil Young's Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black), Leonard Cohen's Paper Thin Hotel, and a live version of one of their early songs.

Nature Thing

Close Lobsters on myspace

Dec 23, 2009

Close Lobsters. What Is There to Smile About.

1 Blurt

Short and tight without a single wasted moment. The Close Lobsters hailed from Paisley, which seems fitting considering their hazy neo-psych/indie/jangle pop sound. Horribly underrated and unjustly forgotten, especially since of all the C-86 bands, the Lobsters exemplified the absolute best of the post-Smiths period of snarky, trebly, British pop. Everything they did still sounds fresh, from their sharp hooks to singer Andrew Burnett's pointed, adenoidal vocal style. I keep hoping they'll get back together.


Close Lobsters on myspace

Dec 22, 2009

V/A. Corrupt Postman.

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One of the best C-86 twee comps ever.

Disc One:
1. The Fat Tulips - Independence Day
2. The Bollweevils - Turn Your Head
3. St.Christopher - The Summer You Love (Live)
4. Spin Out - Put Your Face To The Ground
5. Mousefolk - End Of The World
6. The Candy Darlings - Station On A Bridge
7. Your Flat Intitled - Pieces Of Meat (Feet)
8. Nine Steps To Ugly - Vaudeville
9. Strawberry Story - This Time Baby
10. Dave Hulston - Julie
11. The Colgates - Depth Of Love
12. Paintbox - Who's Got The Money
13. The Felicitys - Irresistable
14. The Apple Moths - Everything

Disc Two:

1. The Haywains - Shine
2. Emily - Purist
3. The Sedgwicks - Why Now Girl
4. The Driscolls - Circles
5. Remember Fun - Clearly Blurred
6. Killing Time - Perishing Flowers
7. The Applicants - Crush
8. Steamtown - Living & Loving
9. Thrilled Skinny - High Street Conspiracy
10. Emil - Edwin Blaze
11. Feverfew - Crisom Gloom
12. The Wildhouse - Paint The Whole Day Red
13. The Eclairs - Switzerland
14. The Field Mice - I Wish I Meant More To You

Disc 1
Disc 2

Dec 21, 2009

V/A. One Last Kiss.

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It's not the Courtney Love you're thinking of.

1. Swirlies - Chris R
2. Suddenly, Tammy! - Lamp
3. Lorelei - Mimesis
4. Veronica Lake - Daisy Kiss
5. The Magnetic Fields - 100,000 Fireflies
6. White Town - Hair Like Alain Delon
7. Honeybunch - Arm in Arm
8. Swirl - Helicopter
9. Our American Cousin - One Wish Too Many
10. Tree Fort Angst - You Should've Seen the One That Got Away
11. Crayon - All the Stars
12. Jane Pow - Shutdown
13. Whorl - I Love Her All the Time
14. Small Factory - Hey Lucille
15. Velocity Girl - My Forgotten Favorite
16. Courtney Love - Baseball Bat
17. Lilys - Any Several Sundays
18. Black Tambourine - We Can't Be Friends
19. Wimp Factor 14 - Change of Address Kit


Dec 18, 2009

V/A. Lets Try Another Ideal Guest House.

1 Blurt

1. A.C. Temple - Make Mine Money
2. Bats - Block of Wood
3. Close Lobsters - Let's Make Some Plans
4. Dragsters - Fine Sense of Humour
5. Flatmates - Heaven is Blue
6. Hermit Crabs - Surfin' Vietnam
7. Househunters - Househunting
8. Laugh! - Shed Caved In
9. McTells - It Happens
10. Passmore Sisters - Difficult
11. The Pleasureheads - Something You're Above
12. Stars of Heaven - All About You
13. Talulah Gosh - My Boy Says
14. Television Personalities - Miracles Take Longer
15. A Witness - Faglane Maurice Wind
16. 3-Action - If I Only Had the Guts
17. 14 Iced Bears - Like a Dolphin
18. 1000 Violins - Beautiful Shirt


Dec 17, 2009

V/A. Take 5.

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A mixture of "awkward" and indie-pop. Plus Spacemen 3. My favorite part is the way Death By Milkfloat shouts "YOU LOOK WEIRD!".

1. King of the Slums - Spider Psychiatry
2. Cud - Treat Me Bad
3. Yukio Yung - Jean Gabin
4. Dog Faced Hermans - Yellow Girls
5. Death By Milkfloat - Vagrancy
6. Kilgore Trout - Peacock Nose
7. Jackdaw With Crowbar - Lies
8. Bachelor Pad - You'll Be Mine
9. House of Love - Plastic
10. Boy Hairdressers - Assumption as an Elevator
11. Spacemen 3 - Rollercoaster

Take 5

Dec 16, 2009

V/A. The Waaaaah! CD.

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A fantastic collection of indie and janglepop bands from Bring On Bull Records. The fine folks who ran it have made their entire catalog available for download on their webpage.

1. Kind- The House (A Dream)
2. Dufflecoats- Sunny Tuesday Afternoon
3. Home and Abroad- Wipe Those Tears Away
4. Field Mice- Other Galaxies
5. Strawberry Story- Ashlands Road
6. Fat Tulips- James
7. Dalek Beach Party- Way Out West
8. Haywains- Dusty Springfield
9. They Go Boom- Body
10. Confetti- Warm
11. Confetti- Jenny
12. Bedflowers- My Ex- Lovers Address
13. Cesspit Rebels- Cabbage
14. Cesspit Rebels- Deodorant Face
15. Haywains- Kill Karaoke
16. Music Seen- Friend Of AFriend
17. Red Alarm Clocks- Cobwebs
18. White Town- We'll Always Have Paris
19. Duglasettes- Bellshill's Son
20. Dalek Beach Party- Teddy Boy's Picnic
21. Music Seen- Hairdresser In The Sky
22. Dufflecoats- Uncertain
23. Home And Abroad- Smokey Town
24. Fluff, Fluff, Fluff, Fluff and Cuddleyness- I'm not ashamed
25. Cudgels- Summer Colours

Part 1
Part 2

Dec 15, 2009

V/A. Audacious (Lovely Records).

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1. Are You Mr. Riley? - I'll Love You Tomorrow
2. Fat Tulips - The Way Things Are
3. Toy Department - Nursery
4. Strawberry Story - Buttercups and Daisies
5. Fat Tulips - Where's Clare Grogan Now (Original Demo)
6. St Christopher - All Of A Tremble (Live)
7. Home And Abroad - Christopher
8. Patrick Skelly And The Prescriptions - Oranges and Lemons
9. The Waiting List - Hide
10. PO - Ever Been Had
11. Those Naughty Corinthians - Butter Mountain
12. The Volunteers - Migraine
13. Jane From Occupied Europe - Little Valley Town
14. The Losers - Bad Day
15. Those Naughty Corinthians - Pie
16. The Keatons - Remain
17. The Moving Jelly Brothers - Girl Moneypleasure Rides Again
18. Megacity Four - Holiday Song
19. Thrilled Skinny - Pop Star Prat
20. Watch You Drown - It's My World
21. Megacity Four - Behind Closed Doors


Dec 14, 2009

V/A. Sprat and Mackerel Compilation Extravaganza.

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Some insanely good contributions by eminently weird bands.

1. Jackdaw with Crowbar - Sailor Soul Survivor
2. The Shrubs - Ballet Gorilla (live)
3. Datblygu - Hen Ysgol Cloff
4. The Noseflutes - Shallow for Deep
5. The Membranes - Electric Storm
6. Sperm Wails - Lady Chatterly's Lover
7. Plant Bach Offnus - Pyrdredd
8. Howl In the Typewriter - Water Yr Plants
9. Howl In the Typewriter - Close
10. The Noseflutes - Girth
11. The Lungs - The Day James Cagney Died


Dec 9, 2009

The Tears. The Tears.

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The best teenage garage punk band ever to emerge from Algoma, Wisconsin. There's nothing on here that's new or groundbreaking or life-changing or original, but so what? It's loud, fast, ferocious, and just wants to rock the fuck out, and what more can you ask of four kids (two guys, two sisters) in a garage? Shit, they're way tighter and more melodious, and've got buckets more energy and spirit than most bands in this vein. I guarantee you your band wasn't anywhere near this good in high school.


Dec 8, 2009

Heavens to Betsy. Calculated.

1 Blurt

Corin Tucker has always had one of the best voices in rock. It's like getting hit upside the head by Big Mama Thornton. Plus, she can scream bloody murder or quietly cut you to the emotional quick with equal intensity. Strangely, I find I really miss her interplay with Carrie here in a way I didn't with Excuse 17. Maybe it's because Excuse 17 already had a similar dynamic between Carrie and Becca plus Carrie's ferocious guitar that I ended up liking them a little bit more. If I weren't counting backward from Sleater-Kinney I'm not sure how I would feel.

It's raw, but in a different way than Excuse 17 or even early S-K. They're still casting around for the right feel, and a few of the songs don't really differentiate themselves. But that's a minor quibble true of most young bands. They're definitely on to something, and when they hit it (Axemen, Complicated) it's easy to see what sort of greatness lay ahead. I think they put Corin's voice too low in the mix, and too often I find myself thinking that she really needs Carrie's slashing sound to underpin her anger, but that's just my problem. The whole thing's a bit like a feminist zine in album form (the word "privilege" makes a number of appearances): messy, heartfelt, exciting, still figuring things out; the sort of thing that would get passed around hand to hand like a secret gift, a key, the thing that says you are not alone.


Heavens to Betsy on myspace

Dec 7, 2009

Excuse 17. Such Friends Are Dangerous.

1 Blurt

It's a disservice to remember this band solely as the practice run at Sleater-Kinney, but then again, S-K were so monumental, so earth-shaking that it can hardly end up any other way. Listening to this again for the first time in ten or so years, I'm amazed at how well-formed, confident, and bone-cuttingly visceral they were. Of the two pre-Sleater-Kinney bands, (we'll get to Corin's Heavens to Betsy tomorrow), Excuse 17 sound the most like what's to come, with their dual, tangled, razor-wire guitar attack, back and forth vocals, gut-wrenching screams, and sense of moral urgency.

Like much of the work Carrie's associated with, it's an album of catharsis. Whether on the bouncy standout track Watchmaker (a dig at music journalists and scenesters), the painful This is Not Your Wedding Song, or the biting The Drop Dead Look, their combination of pure punk fury and tight musicianship is some pretty righteous shit, no matter what came next.

Such Friends

Excuse 17 on myspace

Dec 4, 2009

Them Wranch. Medium Rare.

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Them Wranch say they're from Columbus, Ohio, but really they hail from any seedy bar where cowpunk, surf, garage rock, roots music, and psychobilly meet up to swill diesel fuel, steal your girlfriend, and convince you to let them crash on your couch. And somewhere along the way they will rock you like a sweaty hurricane.

Recommended activities while listening: 1. Burnin' past the fuzz while haulin' moonshine in your custom Mercury lead sled; 2. Bare knuckled boxing with an orangutan; 3. Converting your riding lawnmower/barc-o-lounger/dog into a nitro burning funny car.

Medium Rare

Them Wranch official website

Them Wranch on myspace

Dec 3, 2009

Leningrad Blues Machine. Leningrad Blues Machine.

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I don't know what it is about Japan, but for the last two decades or so they've turned out more atomic-monster sized rawk bands than anywhere else on the planet. Add Leningrad Blues Machine (not from Leningrad, not really playing the blues, probably lying about being machines) to the list. Although lead guitarist and vocalist Tabata Mitsuru has been in Acid Mothers Temple, The Boredoms, and Zeni Geva, Leningrad Blues Machine dabbles in none of their abstract, scribbly freak-outs and instead offers up righteous slabs of "traditional", brain-melting, psychedelic awesomeness.

Roman Castavet makes me think of Red Krayola and Boris covering something from Echo and the Bunnymen's Crocodiles. Woodstock Monster sounds like L7's Pretend We're Dead and Nirvana's Aneurysm holding hands and headbanging at a Hawkwind concert (even weirder, considering this was recorded in '88). And Moon & Milk Bar builds into something resembling one of the Butthole Surfer's old brown-acid instrumentals (In fact, several of their songs display the type of psych-damaged heaviosity that the Flaming Lips burned through on Hear It Is, and both records reference Eddie Cochran's Summertime Blues).

They have at least two more albums, although I haven't had any luck finding anyplace that sells them outside of Japan. If you know where to get them, leave a note in the comments, please.

Leningrad Blues Machine

Leningrad Blues Machine website (in Japanese)

Dec 2, 2009

The High Violets. 44 Down.

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I was pretty sure these guys were British (probably as a result of discovering them in a record store during my one trip overseas), but it turns out they're from Portland. They could easily have been some lost band from the early 90s prime dream-pop/shoegaze period, sounding as they do like an otherworldly mix of The Field Mice, The Cocteau Twins, MBV, Lush, Spaceman 3, Galaxie 500, and Julee Cruise. Cool angelic vocals, waves of white light climaxes, and spooling gossamer guitar chaos make this perfect dorm-room make-out music. It's like mirrorballs as satellites.

44 Down

High Violets on myspace

Dec 1, 2009

Henry's Dress. Henry's Dress.

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Long before founding the divine Aislers Set, Amy Linton fronted this noise-pop garage band on Slumberland Records. Here, her sweet, laid-back voice floats atop peals of crisp feedback and heavy bass-lines that judder and thump like a dragster down a dirt road. Chopping down early Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, and Black Tambourine into a Phil Spectorish girl-group sound, Henry's Dress made heavily distorted and immensely fun bursts of messy pop.

Henry's Dress

Henry's Dress on myspace

An old interview with the band