So y’all know how much we loved Wavves’ 2010 classic King of the Beach (KLYAM Record of the Year), well in honor of the year anniversery of the digital release of the “Post Acid” single, Glen and I decided to dedicate twenty minutes or so to discussing the greater points of the LP, some of the band’s background/history, and most important of all, whether it holds up after one year and whether or not it will continue to receive as much praise as time goes by.
Yep, you guessed it. Wavves is the KLYAM’s Band of the Week. What warrants such an honor? Let’s see dropping the greatest LP of the past year (King of the Beach)-at least our favorite, playing one of our top shows of Twenty Ten, or just being all around great guys! In any case, Wavves deserve the recognition, as they have been rightfully receiving from various media outlets in recent time. Absolutely one of my top ten favorite bands right now; can’t wait to see them live again this Friday, February 4 at the Paradise Rock Club opening for Best Coast.
So, I’m back with another list of my “Tops of Twenty Ten.” This time it is films. It should be known up front, I have only seen a few films released this year and by no means am an authority on what “The best” films of 2010 are. This is simply a list of my favorites from this year and I do think they are each unique in their own little way. Here we go!
Director(s) : Ethan Maniquis and Robert Rodriguez Comments: This is vintage Rodriguez here. Nothing more than campy, B-Movie, exploitation fun! Boobs, bullets, and buckets of blood make this the greatest action flick all year. Grade: 7/10
4) Trash Humpers:
Director: Harmony Korine Comments: Okay, I’m cheating a bit here, because this is a film from last year, but it is still garnering attention and being screened this year and I just saw it a month ago, and above all this is my list! so, it will stay. In any case, old Harmful is back with another unique, shocking, and arguably groundbreaking film. At its best it conveys a haunting beauty and at its worst it looks just like a snuff film. Either way, I find it impossible to not have some sort of emotional reaction. In the end, the trash humpers are us, they just have the courage and freedom to fuck in public. Grade: 8/10
3) Toy Story 3:
Director: Lee Unkrich Comments: Wow what a list! To go from Trash Humpers to Toy Story 3! Anyway, I rarely develop an emotional connection with kids or animated films, but I can honestly say the Toy Story series is an exception. I had a feeling this would be at least decent, but I was surprised at how exceptional it really was for a third installemnt. Without a doubt, the Toy Story saga is one of the best trilogies in all of cinema. I seriously hope they don’t make a sequel, with this film the story feels complete. Grade: 8/10
2) Shutter Island:
Director: Martin Scorcesse Comments: Scorcesse brings us another suspenseful, character driven film. The performances here are near flawless, as I said in my review earlier this year, oscar nominations and wins for that matter are well deserved for at least two or three actors. Shutter isn’t one of Scorcesse’s best, but a second rate Scorcesse film is a first rate Hollywood creation and an excellent time at the movies. WAYYY BETTER THAN INCEPTION! There I said it. Grade: 8/10
Note: 2 and 3 are basically interchangable.
1) The Social Network:
Director: David Fincher Comments: Wow, I’m still feeling the residual effects of this film’s awesomeness. I acutally went to the theater twice to see this, which I almost never do. Of all the great features of this film, chiefly the screenplay reigns supreme. This is a dialogue drenched work of art, in fact most of the movie is simply people talking and yet it’s one of the most entertaining films I have ever seen. Definitely one of David Fincher’s finest and one cannot forget Trent Reznor’s terrific soundtrack. With no hyperbole, I concur to the claim that this is a generation defining film. How can it not be? Grade: 9/10
Just For Fun, here is a list of the top five films I saw for the first time this year though they are not “new” releases.
1) Gummo (Harmony Korine)- 1997
2) Welcome to the Dollhouse (Todd Solondz)- 1996
3) Over the Edge (Jonathan Kaplan)- 1979
4) Platoon (Oliver Stone)- 1986
5) From Dusk Till Dawn (Robert Rodriguez)- 1996
Congratulations to Matador Records for taking the cake in this one. The three Matador/True Panther albums that I noted below were securely in my Top 10 Albums of 2010 list. So, good job, Matador! Keep it up and here’s to 21 more years! Sub Pop and Fat Possum, two other large independent labels, put out some great records as well. On the smaller scale, Goner Records, based in Memphis, released a handful (probably even more) of quality records and I can only guess that 2011 will be another great year for that label and store. Burger Records, which has garnered national attention for its release of cassettes, is small as well, but their devotion to music and the bands that they put out is overwhelmingly large. As far as “better luck next year” labels go, we’ve got In The Red. In The Red has been a consistent favorite for me, but nothing that they put out this year really floored me. It was a bit of an off-year for Domino Records as well. Of course, that can go out without saying the year after releasing two stellar records, Merriweather Post Pavilion [Animal Collective] and Humbug [Arctic Monkeys]. EMI did pretty awful, but that’s expected too…it is a major label after all. Warner Brothers was a mixed bag; Devo’s LP was pretty good, but nothing else really tickled my fancy. I know a lot of people were feeling Dr. Dog and the Black Keys (especially) this year.
Top 5! 1. Matador/True Panther Records – Notable Releases: Hippies [Harlem], Gay Singles [Hunx & His Punx], Memphis [Magic Kids]
2. Sub Pop – Notable Releases: Teen Dream [Beach House], I Will Be [Dum Dum Girls], Everything In Between [No Age]
3. Fat Possum Records – Notable Releases: King of the Beach [Wavves], Lisbon [Walkmen]
4. Goner Records – Notable Releases: First Blood [Nobunny], Melted [Ty Segall]
5. Burger Records – Notable Releases: Cum Stain [Cum Stain], Shame, Shame [APACHE]
Worst! 1. EMI – Un-notable Releases: Of the Blue Colour of the Sky [OK GO], Sea of Cowards [Massive Attack]
2. Domino – Un-notable Releases: There Is Love In You [Four Tet], Hidden [These New Puritans]
The Top Song of 2010 for this cat is none other than the Box Elders’ classic “Tiny Sioux” released on Hozac records. Being a massive fan of the Box Elders, I naturally elected this ditty as Song of the Year, but with all that excessive fandom aside, I think this tune has attributes that can be genuinely appreciated by “non-garage” fans: the sincerity of the lyrics and the heartfelt delivery of the vocals. The lo-fi, home recording insanely complements the overall innocence of the number, making it feel like a sad, but beautiful children’s song, as if to be heard before falling asleep. I didn’t think the Omaha boys could top themselves after “Atlantis” from last year’s LP Alice and Friends or at least do it so soon, but indeed they did and this is without a doubt my favorite BE number. Y’all have to hear this!
Okay, so the rest of this list will be in alaphabetical order and I have set it to a three song per artist limit. Here we go…
Sadly no A’s :(
“When I’m With You”
“Tiny Sioux” :)
“Plenty of Room At the Bottom”
“Broke My Dick”
“Gay Human Bones”
Hunx and His Punx:
“Gimmie Gimmie Back Your Love”
“Hey Rocky” Note: these songs had been released previously, but this year marked their official release (Gay Singles) on True Panther Sounds. So, I’m breaking my rule here by sharing two more rockin’ Hunx tunes.
“Too Young to Be In Love”
“Pull the Plug On Grandma”
“I Am a Motherfucker”
“My Kinda Luv”
“Ten of Hearts”
“Misery’s Upon Us”
“I Am the End”
“I Was On (the Bozo Show)”
“Live It Up”
“(Do the) Fuck Yourself”
“I’m In Love With You (So Shut the Fuck Up)”
“A Walk On the Beach”
“Laugh At Sex (Not At Her)”
Ty Segall: need to hear more of this guy!
“Burning With Beelzebub”
“Take On the World”
I’m afraid that if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning. Andy Warhol
Lowcountry is a work of art born from spontaneous action. It is a common misconception that spontaneity (especially in music) derives from laziness, carelessness, or too much pot. This my friends is entirely wrong. After all, there is no such thing as too much pot! In a Youtube interview with lead vocalist, Ryan Hunter explained the band’s approach to recording their final album. There was no thinking involved while playing. Clearly a lot of thought went into this approach. It’s something that only experience can explain. By forbidding any form of processing during the recording stages, the members of EOTC relied solely on their subconscious and musical relationship. This daring approach truly allows the music to take control and grow its natural roots. Most well-known musicians concern themselves with radio standards, mass appeal, and easily digested song structures. Often times these concerns can sacrifice originality. Kiddos…let me introduce Lowcountry; an organic musical masterpiece.
I highly recommend this album to anyone who is looking for that fresh rock album that becomes your best friend. No matter what type of music you enjoy, a few key ingredients are crucial. The music needs to be catchy, relatable, real, and obtain some form of original substance to it. If an artist lacks these ingredients then they ain’t gonna stick for long! Luckily, Lowcountry has each of these substances cram packed into each song. It’s a frenzied, emotional journey from start to finish.
An enjoyable album is difficult to find. An album where an artist has created their own unique sound, and maintains that vibe throughout is nearly impossible. Lowcountry is the pearl for 2010. You have never heard anything like this. Vocalist, Ryan Hunter also recorded the drum tracks for the album. There is a lot to be said for this. The drums are all about pocket time, groove, and punch. Bassist, Jeremy Velardi adds tremendous depth to this powerful pulse. I’ll say it again (and you will understand when you listen) this album is all about groove! Much of todays rock music contains overbearing drum, and guitar parts. Often times I find myself listening to a band and the song will sound like a group of musicians competing for lead role. The instrumentals on Lowcountry are noninvasive to the lyrical value on the album. In between catchy vocal hooks you will be swept away by the blend of spacey, experimental guitar hooks and kick ass Southern leads.
There also lies a wonderful strangeness to this record. It’s the little things like a track of voicemail messages leading into the mesmerizing song “Like I Do.” It’s the Twilight Zone narration that kicks off “Southern Comfort.” It’s the sound of toe tapping in “Made of Stone.” I always frowned upon bands that tried creating a “dark edge” to their album by putting satanic pictures on the album cover, playing triplet double bass drum patterns, or adding an endless amount of pinch harmonics to each song. Lowcountry is dark and heavy as hell for none of the above reasons. Listening, I can’t help but get the vibe that these guys simply don’t give a fuck. The album is painfully real. It’s alien. The band plays with rests and space like never before. Listen to “The Devil’s Tongue.” Rather than take away from the mystery of EOTC, I will leave the rest up to you.
Unfortunately, Envy called it quits this year. All the members are involved in new projects. A friend once told me he believes most brilliant bands have serious inner struggles. I believe that very thing.
10) Cum Stain– Cum Stain (Burger)
Cum Stain exemplifies what is fantastic about Punk: putting passion over musicianship and just fucking rocking out! These ditties are far from perfect but, such memorable tracks as “Bachelor’s Life,” “Broke My Dick,” and “Just a Kid” are the epitome of youthful exuberance. On a lyrical level I could totally relate to these guys; “Cum Stain,” the album closer is an unsavory anthem that is our generation’s “Touch Me I’m Sick.” It just speaks the truth about the relationship between men and women, at the end of the day “I’m just another cum stain on your floor!” Grade: B
9) First Blood– Nobunny (Goner)
This is another fun rockin’ classic from one of the greatest showmen of modern times. With this record, Nobunny takes his Ramones esque bubblegummy sound to new levels. I wouldn’t go as far as calling the production “adventerous,” but it definitely sounds bigger, cleaner, and more mature. Even lyrically, there are some dark undertones slid underneath the jovial mayhem of the music. Tracks like “Breathe” showcase said transformation. Don’t get me wrong, this still is the same old fun loving, wacky, and entertaining Nobunny we have come to adore. “Live It Up” and “(Do the ) Fuck Yourself” are new classics amongst others. My favorite tune and arguably the bunnyman’s greatest offering is the final track “I was On (the Bozo Show): I really dig the simplicity of just acoustic guitar, drum, vocals. One of his most heartfelt songs (vocally and lyrically) and the inclusion of the circus noises perfectly parallels this. After all, Nobunny’s music/performance is akin to a wild, bizarre circus show. Grade: B/B+
8) Everything In Between– No Age (Sub Pop)
Everybody’s favorite music duo, No Age is at it again, unleashing another Noise Pop induced adventure! Admittedly, this was a disapointment, at least compared to their previous efforts, but Nouns (2008) is hard to top, so I’ll lay off their case for now. With that being said, this LP has grown on me and I have come to realize there are several amazing numbers on this record. “Life Prowler” has become my favorite No Age opener and when I saw them live the experience was phenomenal. All in all, I would recommend this to NA fans and non fans alike, glad they continue to make relentless, noisy, Punk music for all of us. Definitely one of my favorite bands of all time and certainly one of the best of today. Grade: B/B+
7) Memphis– Magic Kids (True Panther Sounds)
I have had the great pleasure of recently hearing this modern pop masterpiece. Memphis is sonicly within the Brian Wilson/Beach Boys/Pet Sounds realm and is just as uplifting if not more. These kiddies indeed create a magical experience from start to finish. It is seemingly impossible to not feel ecstatic after listening to Memphis. Top tracks for me include “Summer,” “Hey Boy,” (reminds me of a Summer Heights High song!) “Superball,”Cry With Me Baby,” “Phone,” “Candy,” and “Skateland.” Alas, this record/band will not get the recognition it deserves; it’s a gorgeous, ambitious and overall euphoric Pop album. Grade: A-
6) $– Mark Sultan (Last Gang)
Mark Sultan follows up his In the Red classic The Sultanic Verses (2007) with $ his most adventerous album to date. The BBQ tosses various ingrediants into his Garage dish: intense/trippy as fuck psychedelia (“Icicles”), doo wop (“Ten of Hearts”), and Anthemic Punk (“Go Berserk” and “Misery’s Upon Us”), amongst other styles. Sultan’s vocals are better than ever, best exemplified on tracks such as “I Am the End” and the aforementioned “Ten of Hearts.” He maintains his careful recreation of early 60s Rock and Roll, but goes so far beyond that and has created his best solo work yet. $ reenforces Mark Sultan’s Status! as a unique and inventive figure in the musical landscape. Grade: A-
5) Hippies– Harlem (Matador)
Someday soon you’ll be on fire and you’ll ask me for a glass of water, but I won’t hear you because I’ll be blasting this Garage classic! To be frank, this LP isn’t even a “great” album in the truest sense of the word, but rather a collection of great songs, sometimes marvelous songs. I really dig the immediate pop hooks, comparable to those of Jay Reatard and Hunx and His Punx, though not quite the same style of those acts. Harlem is all about fun and they certainly deliver here, via sloppy, but definitely listenable production. This thing is filled with “hits.” Highlights include, but are not limited to “Someday Soon,” “Friendly Ghost, “Be Your Baby,” “Gay Human Bones,” and “Poolside.” If you are a fan of catchy Garage/Punk Rock, check out Harlem; by far one of my current favorite bands. Grade: A-
4) The Maine Coons– The Maine Coons (Spent Planet)
Who? Yeah, I bet most of y’all have no idea whom these cats are. Before last June, I was guilty of such ignorance as well, until I saw them open for Nobunny. Goodtimes. I loved them then, but I really appreciated this duo when I tossed on their licentious debut LP. MC have a knack for creating bizarre, savagely hilarious, and infinitely memorable tunes. The first five tracks on this ditty serve as one of the greatest line ups I have heard in a long time. All solid songs. Then after tha there’s some filler, but overall this record is a nice assault on the pollitcally correct, uptight squares of the world. This is slimy Punk Slime at its finest, not to be taken too seriously. What should be taken seriously is checking out their music to begin with. I am honestly surprised these fellas aren’t as big as they could be (big meaning on Goner or a similar label). Just listen to classics like “My Kinda Luv,” “I Am a Motherfucker,” “Hey Dickhead,” “Ghetto Queen,” and “Pull the Plug On Grandma.” You’ll get the picture… or be completely terrified. Either way, The Maine Coons have done their duty. Grade: A-
3) Halcyon Digest– Deerhunter (4AD)
Let me just say there is a big fucking trench between how much I love 4-10 and 1-3. Don’t get me wrong the first seven records enumerated here are more than decent, but this top three is extremely special to me, if not already indicated by the augmentation of the photos. Okay, so Halcyon pushes forward Deerhunter’s incredible gift for experimental (and emotional) pop music further than anyone could imagine. Perhaps because I am a huge fan of said styel I believe this is their greatest effort, but I think it goes way beyond that. Not to sound trite, but on this record Deerhunter have captured a true “Rock” identity whilst still maintaining their peculiar, unique aesthetic. These songs feel like FM Radio staples, songs you would hear in the mainstream, yet in spite of this accessible sound they remain anything but. It still boggles my mind how this is not a much bigger release, not that it matters, I am content with Deerhunter being appreciated for the right reasons. In any case, this record has had an enormous emotional effect on me and I can imagine the same for most folks out there. When Bradford sings “Come on, little boy you don’t have to cry” in “Don’t Cry” it reminded me of Lennon’s line “It’s getting hard to be someone, but it all works out, it doesn’t matter much to me” from “Strawberry Fields Forever.” In both accounts the singers speak directly to their listeners and affirm us that we are all human. On a separate note, the flow here is spectacular, as I said before this album is filled with strong “hits,” but it never feels like a compilation or a greatest hits collection, instead we hear a complete idea/experience and that’s another key factor in what makes this record one of the best, if not the best of the year. Finally, let me point out, just so people do not misconstrue me, I am not insinuating that Deerhunter has found their sound or style or any sort of crap like that. This is similar to what Anthony Fantano of The Needle Drop said about Animal Collective when reviewing Merriweather Post Pavillion (2009): Deerhunter is not the kind of band that just “finds” their sound and sticks to it. That seems like an insult to a band that constantly evolves and ventures into new territories and I see the future as no different. So, check out Halcyon Digest and Deerhunter today, classics include: “Don’t Cry,” “Revival,” “Sailing,” “Memory Boy,” “Desire Lines,” “Basement Scene,” “Helicoptor,” and “He Would Have Laughed,” Yeah, practically the whole damn thing. On a side note to fellow KLYAMer, Andrew Bedsole, right here is an album that should appear on Rolling Stone’s top ten list. Grade: A
2) Gay Singles– Hunx and His Punx (True Panther Sounds)
This is simply astounding Rock and Roll (of the early 60s Girl Group variety)- extremely fun and catchy. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just the highest of its form. Keep Rocking! Grade: A
1) King of the Beach– Wavves (Fat Possum)
No, not Kings of Leon, you fools. We Want Fun! King of the Beach! Haha, nothing against KOL, but this record like those of the Black Lips, Jay Reatard, The King Khan & BBQ Show, etc. seriously criticize their peers via music. This record brings out so much joy and euphoria in me I can’t help but pitty anyone that’s not listening to it. I know I sound like an elitist douche bag right now, but I don’t think you realize just how happy this shit makes me! I liked Wavves a lot before this record, but I was really thrilled when Nathan teamed up with Stephen Pope and Billy Hayes (formerly of Jay Reatard’s touring band), hopped into a studio and the rest is history. The cleaner production admittedly ameliorated the sound of the band, but without a doubt the brilliant pop songwrting already existed and vigorously unleashed on this album. For me, I will always cherish this masterpiece and associate it with Summer Twenty Ten. I would go as far as to label this as the greatest Summer record of all time, okay maybe the Beach Boys have the lead on that one, but Wavves are not too far off. What I specifically adore about Wavves is the fact that they don’t reject the music they grew up with (Blink 182, Green Day, and much lesser respected Commercial bullshit of the 90s), they pack it up with them and still wear it just like an old shirt you have grown into, but don’t want to show off anymore. With Wavves that 90s mersh shit is still intact and very much part of their sound, albeit sunk beneath the loud, surfy psychedellic, Animal Collective influenced Noise Pop of Wavves. They just threw a bunch of styles into a blender and hit go! It works. I have to put this at number one, I listened to it multiple times a day, nearly everyday this Summer and still listen to it a few times a week, more or less, and it is amongst my top five favorite albums of all time. With a couple of exceptions, every songs on this record is in the 9/10 range. Here are my favorites: “Post Acid,” “Linus Spacehead,” “Take On the World,” “King of the Beach,” and “Super Soaker.” Grade: A
Honorable Mention: Best Coast’s Crazy For You, another great Summer album, one that serves as a terrifc companion with King of the Beach and more importantly showcases heartfelt love ballads and the exceptional songwriting/singing of Bethany Cosentino. Can’t wait to see BC and Wavves at Paradise in a few months!
Overall, my favorites of Twenty Ten are all Pop oriented in one way or another, in fact this is a great list of diverse Pop music.
Inspired by Glen’s post here is my list of the greatest concerts (16 damn I saw 21 last year, I’m slacking!) I had the pleasure of seeing in Twenty Ten; if I see anymore I will add them accordingly.
1) Black Lips and Box Elders at the Middle East Downstairs- March 25 (best concert ever!)
2) No Age and Needy Visions at the Middle East Downstairs- November 16
3) Wavves, Cloud Nothings, and Young Adults at the Great Scott- June 22
4) King Khan & the Shrines, Gentlemen Jesse and His Men, and Red Mass at the Royale- October 13
5) Deerhunter and Real Estate at the Royale- October 16
6) Deerhunter, Kurt Vile, and K-Holes at Royale- October 13
7) Nobunny and Maine Coons at the PAs Lounge- June 29
8) Spoon, Deerhunter, Strange Boys at the House of Blues- March 27 (formerly an A show)
9) Girls and Dum Dum Girls at the Paradise Rock Club- April 1
10) Those Darlins, Strange Boys, and Gentlemen Jesse and His Men at T.T. the Bears- September 17
11) Harlem and Girlfriends at the Great Scott- April 25 (formerly a B+ show)
12) 1964 the Tribute at the Merchantsauto Stadium- August 16 (formerly a B+ show)
13) Uninhabitable Mansions and the Big Big Bucks at the Middle East Upstairs- May 7 (formerly a B show)
14) Kurt Vile, Real Estate, and Sore Eros at Harpers Ferry- July 23
N/A: I don’t grade my friends’ bands, but in any case I had fun at these shows.
15) Silhouette Rising and The Scouflaws at the West Side Social Club- July 2 (I actually saw countless SR shows, but I can’t remember any of the exact dates except this one)
16) Gold Star Morning at Bull McCabe’s- October 30
It looks like another year in concerts has concluded for me. I got to see 22 shows (25 in 2009) at quite a few different venues and three happened to have taken place in New York City (reppin’ Queens). While I’m not so sure 2010 can top 2009 in terms of overall favorite shows, I think it’s safe to say I had a great time concert-going. Looking back, I’m going to rate shows based on three factors: opening bands, headlining band, and experience. A great experience for me is a combination of a great venue, a great crowd, and second-by-second fun. I tend to be pretty analytical about this kind of stuff, so for math people the weighting is as follows: 20% opening bands, 20% experience, and 60% headlining band. Also, I’m usually stricter when it comes to these end of the year tallies.
1. Black Lips – Temptress, NYC 
2. No Age – Middle East Downstairs 
3. Black Lips – Middle East Downstairs 
4. King Khan & The Shrines – Royale 
5. Wavves – Great Scott 
6. Nobunny – PA’s Lounge 
B+ 7. The Walkmen – Royale 
8. Editors – House of Blues 
9. Spoon – House of Blues 
B 10. Paul Weller – Apollo Theater, NYC 
11. Girls – Paradise Rock Club 
12. Beach House – Paradise Rock Club 
13. Harlem – Great Scott 
14. Deerhunter (AUG) – Royale 
15. Those Darlins – TT The Bears 
16. The Growlers – TT The Bears 
B- 17. Deerhunter (OCT) – Royale – 
18. Uninhabitable Mansions – Middle East Upstairs  19. Mission of Burma – Paradise Rock Club 
C+ 20. Vivian Girls – Great Scott 
21. Black Lips – The Shank, NYC 
22. Kurt Vile – Harper’s Ferry