Friday, January 23, 2009

2 days in and still okay...

i know there's a recent pattern of lifting this ban whenever a dem is in the white house, but Yay Obama:

Obama already in the process of rescinding global abortion funding ban.

still waitin' for dude to make me mad BUT, i'm totes happy to have a pro-choice president back in the white house.

by the way, Happy (slightly belated) Roe V Wade Anniversary!

they are weeping back at them...

shocking news of the day:

Mick Harvey has announced that he's leaving the Bad Seeds.

since Mick is the only Bad Seeds member that has been consistent since the very beginning and then some (if you count the Birthday Party years), this makes for fairly major Nick Cave news. it was sad when Blixa left a few years back, but the direction that the Bad Seeds were taking at the time ended up working alright without him (ie: more traditional songwriting).

i think that i'm confident that Nick can keep things kicking (creatively) without him (especially with Warren Ellis around), but most people aren't aware that Harvey was a major figure in the groups sound from day one, AND took care of almost all the managerial aspects of the band. fingers crossed for everyone involved, basically.

more linkage:
mick harvey
ABC australia

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

see ya.

unfortunately, Bush & co. are taking a free ride to a luxurious retired life, despite being war criminals. at least they're out, good riddance, and it's a new day.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Top of 2008, aka Great Music for a Shitty Year.

basically, 2008 sucked.

personally, nationally, politically, internationally, economically....shit's been life-sucking and wholly lackluster, two exceptions being (1) the excitement and hope that came out of the november 4 results, and (2) my old-woman attempts at "Punk Rock Summer," recreating the carefree teen years with some quality results.
anyway. . . despite the crapass year, a whole crop of excellent records have been released to tide my ears and head and heart over until the start of a new beginning. happy new year, folks.

MY 25 FAVORITE RECORDS OF 2008 (in no particular order).

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds- Dig, Lazarus, Dig!
i don't believe in god, but i sure as hell believe in Mr. Cave. i often say that he is my god, actually, with little to no jest. and i give thanks, because unlike most long-standing (aka "aging") singer/songwriter/rocker/musicians, Nick Cave is not losing it, burning out, or getting boring. him & the Bad Seeds have taken some leftover inspiration from last years' Grinderman project and let the rock in, and it sounds so fucking sweet.

Fucked Up- Chemistry of Common Life
one of the biggest musical bummers of 2008 has been the extreme appropriation of 'the underground' by large indie rock outlets (ie: Pitchfork aka The Devil, Matador Records, etc.). while i'm always happy when a band/musician that i truly love finds some notoriety and livelihood-by-music, it's always sad (and annoying) to have my special little secrets blown up to the rest of the world (i realize my snobbishness in this way of thinking, but i don't care). Fucked Up has unfortunately been swept away by both a Matador deal AND a high level of Pitchfork brouhaha, but their sound most definitely has NOT "sold out"...their brand of epic hardcore slays on this record: sprawling and brutal hardcore punctuated equally by brutal measures and psychedelic weirdness. don't let The Man get you down, indeed.

Nobunny- Love Visions
read more about Nobunny elsewhere in this blog, all i will say here is that this is by far, the best, most F-U-N collection of garagey twisted pop gems to be released this year.

Harvey Milk- Life...The Best Game in Town
2nd of a triumphant return for these completely underrated dirging doomy metal masters, and even MORE perfect than 2006's "Special Wishes." oh hey?! Joe Preston is on this record? even the fucking more better, my friends. one of the most dynamic stoney metal releases that i have ever laid ears on. 100% dirging heaviness with slow, punishing (yet pretty) riffs, metallic doom with a southern edge, crests and bursts around every corner! also also also, they do a killer cover of Fear's "We Destroy the Fmaily"!! BONUS.

Melvins- Nude With Boots
extremely controversial opinion: i think this is my favorite Melvins album. this opinion may be slightly tainted by a very strange and wonderful transcendental-type experience that i had at their Double Door show last summer, but shit. so good. it's...soulful. the Melvins. soulful. hm.

Evangelista- Hello, Voyager
Carla Bozulich & co. can do no wrong. this record is even weirder, more intense, and more emotionally crazy than Bozulich's "Evangelista" from last year. she's got a slew of expert collaborators here, creating off-kilter and beautiful soundscapes, with Carla's dark and jarring guitar playing AND her emotional, somber and gut-wrenching vocal stylings. it's very atmospheric and experimental but also delightfully ethereal and wildly wonderful! if you like very depressing and abstract music, then this is for you.

Thee Oh Sees- The Master's Bedroom...
here's some broken, deconstructed, minimal garage rock scrawl with a nice poppy feel from super-prolific noisy indie dude Josh Dwyer (Pink & Brown, Coachwhips, etc.). Thee Oh Sees is, by far, his best and most accessible project, and this record is a total stand-out among past Oh Sees releases. they capture the essence of bluesy 60s garage rock perfectly while formulating a unique and modern sound, almost avant-garage! it's catchy, bombastic, drugged out, howling, and generally rocking.

Torche- Meanderthal
this record is the perfect combination of metal and pop. this is a very difficult thing to accomplish, mind you, without sounding just plain shitty. but if you want soaring, anthemic songs as well as punishing noise, well here you go!

Nodzzz- S/T
their single from earlier this year, "I Don't Wanna (Smoke Marijuana)" was one of the feel-good hits of the summer, and this (very very very) short LP just expands upon the following superb equation: lo-fi/home-recorded sound + simple r'n'r + Modern Lovers feel + poppy cuteness. it all equals fun times and good listening.

Wax Museums- S/T
pretty straightforward garage punk, but this record perfectly executes everything that (in my opinion) makes a perfect punk record: short, simples, catchy and silly.

Cut/Copy- In Ghost Colours
no matter what happens, i will always have a HUGE soft spot for 80s synth pop and dance music. this record fulfills any contemporary yearning for such a sound that i might ever have and then some! it's full of shimmering and sweeping electro beats, swelling synths, and glaringly wonderful melodies...while keeping enough of a melancholy feel to keep if from entering cheesy Erasure-type territory. although, Erasure, Human League, Depeche Mode, OMD, etc. are not bad comparisons.

Cheap Time- S/T
see what i wrote for the Wax Museums, but then add to that the following: songs are a little longer and more complex, way poppier, TOTAL Buzzcocks-ian and way 70s/early 80s punk/new-wave. again, a perfect punk record.

No Age- Nouns
more soaring lo-fi! i can't write much more about this record than what's been said already on every fucking music site and blog and end-of-year-list, but this is a damaged-indie rock classic in the making! 1000% attack of the lo-fi in '08, AGAIN. lovin' it though!

Sic Alps- U.S. Ez
whaaat? this band is so weird and rad....part of the new crop of most excellent Siltbreeze bands, Sic Alps have really honed their lo-fi arty folky punk weirdness. a definite glorious mess of Syd Barrett-ish psychedelics, hazy garage and fractured pop.

Vivian Girls- S/T
another band that is now all the rage, but these girls fucking kick ass with their shoegazey punk/pop harmonizing and sweet DIY punk rock ways.

Jay Reatard- Singles 06-07 & Matador Singles 08
same bummed-outedness for this guy as i have for Fucked Up, but seriously, dude shits gold. every goddamn garage-pop masterpiece that he puts out is absolutely powerful, catchy, and hard. the "06-07" collection is light years better, in my opinion, as the Matador collection gets a little tired towards the end, but stilllll... it's all fucking great.

Dillinger Four- Civil War
people be dissing on this album left and right, but i am always up for some new output from D4. they stick to their perfected 'sound' of catchy, midwestern-style melodic punk with all the bells and whistles, humorously political lyrics, and pop-punk mastery.

Enslaved- Vertebrae
huh huh huh. my favorite metal band releases yet another insanely proficient and blasting album. there are elements of prog, black metal, psychedelia, and good ole fashioned death metal all over the place and everything is stitched together perfectly. slightly quieter than their past couple releases, but i think that's what makes it really stand out.

Night Marchers- See You in Magic
the newest John Reis (RFTC, Hot Snakes) project and people been giving me shit since it came out because, yes, i like it more than Hot Snakes. I LOVE IT! excellent, unapologetic rock'n'roll, fair and square.

Human Eye- Fragments of the Universe Nurse
Detroit wonders, post-Clone Defects, fractured and truly art-tinged r'n'r, epic punk, light years better than the first album, terrifying, frightening, fucking kick-in-the-ass killer tracks, etc.

Eat Skull- Sick to Death
truly underground-of-the-underground, fucked up, noisy and poorly-recorded punk madness sounds so good! it's trashed out and arty, yet perfect pop melodies are buried underneath a wonderful mess of fractured buzzing sound.

Parts & Labor- Receivers
once again i am writing: EXCEEDINGLY TRIUMPHANT! "Receivers" is far better than their last album, and i fucking loved that one to no end. it's even more intricate and soaring and weird than the last, with even more strange experimentation enveloped between lovely pop, and even more anthemic qualities. expertly and beautifully arranged noisepunk, PLUS a good deal of "audience participation", as they used samples and field-recordings sent by friends and fans across the world to round out the sound experimentation.

Nothing People- Anonymous
best and weirdest rock and roll record of the year, hands down. it's like all the best elements of classic punk, proto punk, new wave and...weird, all mushed together in one excellent record.

Eddy Current Suppresion Ring- Primary Colours
these Aussies are so great at modernizing classic Australian garage/punk, and i couldn't believe my ears when i heard they were up for an Australian grammy, wtf?! although i enjoy their last album a bit more, they're still givin' it all to their indie-garage-punk ways and it's still pretty damn perfect.

Der Teenage Panzerkorps- Games for Slaves
more manic Siltbreeze weirdness for 2008! "Games for Slaves" is German darkwave-type weirdness: rhythmic, moody, monotone, a whole lot of post-punk/Joy Division moments...a giant leap backwards to 1980 mixed with post-war barren minimalism. "totes" superb.

Sex Vid- Communal Living 12"
Lover!- all singles they released this year
Antony & the Johnsons- Another World EP
Smith Westerns- Irukandji 7"
Cola Freaks- all singles released this year

Rob's House
Mississippi Records (esp. on the Irma Thomas, Clean, Animals & Men, holy shit!)

2 nights of Nick Cave (even with a migraine on the 2nd night).
Melvins/Big Business @ Double Door (during 'the storm of the century').
Vivian Girls @ People Projects (despite waiting for like 6 hours for them to go on).
Coathangers @ Ronny's AND SubT
Nobunny/Okmoniks @ Bottle
Spits @ Beat Kitchen
Carla Bozulich's Evangelista @ Schuba's (most tearful live music event of the year).
Jay Reatard/King Khan & Shrines @ Bottom Lounge (despite the Pitchfork fest douchebags).
At the Gates @ HOB
Sweet Cobra/Disfear @ SubT
Pissed Jeans @ Bottle
2 awesome Planet Earth events at the SubT

i either forgot about these in the mix of things or didn't get to spend enough time with them, but all early impressions harkened to l-o-v-e:
Ooga Boogas- Romance and Adventure
Crystal Stiltz- Alight of Night
Cheveau- S/T
Wavves- S/T
Fabulous Diamonds- S/T

also major props for all the Nigeria Special comps, Arthur Russell "Love is Overtaking Me," Africa Screams comp, Nixe LP, Rodriguez "Cold Fact" LP reissue, BIPP comp, and the motherfucking Arthur Russell documentary "Wild Combination." also being in "my thirties" and still loving fucked up, loud shit more than anything.