My Top Ten LPs of Twenty-Thirteen

I know I’m a little late on this and I already ran my mouth off in my last post regarding my top shows of 2013, so I’ll do my best to keep this one short and sweet. Here we go…


10) Dylan Ewen & The Southern Gospel Gangbusters – Country Fried, Southern Pride (BUFU Records) – Gangbusters? More like Gangbangers! I really got into a lot of Dylan Ewen this year in his various projects and out of all of them this was my favorite. For my money, this has Dylan’s rawest, most in your face lyrics with a nasty, bad ass gangsta edge that puts him up there with Cube, Dre, and Mr. Big. So wild.  AND it’s all set to a full backing band (drums, guitar, bass, viola, banjo, mandalin, harmonica, you name it) busting out southern gospel, bluegrass, and country. I had the pleasure of catching the band live in the heart of JP last month and I errr uhh nearly wet myself. TOP SONG: “500 Days of Bummer”
http://dylanewen.bandcamp.com/album/country-fried-southern-pride


9) Bent Shapes – Feels Weird (Father/Daughter Records) – I just received this record as a Christmas gift and I’m loving it. As a long time fan of Bent Shapes/Girlfirends this is a terrific mix of classics and some solid new jams. Every track is strong. On one hand, it feels like a greatest hits compilation and then on the other it comes across as a completely new entity. It works both ways. TOP SONG: : “I Was Here, But I Disappear”


8) Shannon And The Clams – Dreams In The Rat House (Hardly Art) – Shannon and The Clams  is a big favorite of mine, so this album was a serious treat this year. This one falls in line with all of their previous work: rock ‘n’ roll at its purest. 50’s doo wop, garage rock, Ramones styled punk rock, and some of the best voices you will ever hear. It may not be the most original music, but it’s rock ‘n’ roll. This is the plateau, this is the ideal, this is the benchmark. TOP SONG: “If I Could Count”
idiot genes pic
7) Idiot Genes – S/T (Self-Released) – The third (but not final!) Boston band on this list, Idiot Genes are one of the most recent bands I have listened to in 2013. I first caught them at a show at O’Brien’s Pub last August and I was enamored with their oddball sense of humor and surly, apathetic punk attitude. Subsequently, I hopped on their bandcamp and I was blown away by what I heard. I related to the band’s sloppy, lethargic, wasted narrative. The feeling of being fucked and fagged and shagged. I was frustrated and hearing the Idiot Genes reminded me why I hold rock ‘n’ roll so near and dear to me in the first place. It is my elixir, the temporary cure to all of life’s problems. They are almost like a different kind of party band, an after party band, a hangover band. This all sounds like one miserable hangover, and by miserable I mean extraordinary. Makes me want to drink too much and then regret some of it the next day, especially when the hangover doesn’t go away by 5 /6 PM like it usually does, so then you just drink more, until the next day after that when you’re even more hungover AND still a little drunk. So, what do you do? you crack open a beer and drink some more and then you listen to Idiot Genes, one of my new favorite rock ‘n’ roll elixirs for that temporary cure. Drunk Consistently. Listen here and join me in a nightcap. Cheers. TOP SONG: “The Charles Mansion” http://stupidpants.bandcamp.com/album/idiot-genes


6) Colleen Green – Sock It To Me (Hardly Art) – Sock it to me? Ok. Ms. Green is one cool cucumber with all her Richard Nixon and True Romance references on her latest album Sock  It To Me. Much like Shannon and the Clams, with this album Colleen maintains the same rock ‘n’ roll flavor she’s always had, it’s just stronger than ever. Just a great example of how pop music doesn’t have to be a big mass machine product, instead it can be as simple as a guitar, a drum machine, and passionate vocals. TOP SONG: “Number One” (The Queers cover)

The Monsieurs 2
5) The Monsieurs – Rock The Night (Self-Released) – Damn son, this past October I had the enormous fortune of cumming across my legs when I came across The Monsieurs at the Brighton Music Y’all opening up for the holy King Khan & The Shrines. I’ve heard plenty of great garage spunk this year, but this new release from The Monsieurs was/is a real dessert, a dish best served cold. A cold, sudden punch right in the nads that is. Seriously though, these dudettes and dude really fucking rock and pack in the punches. This band has all the bells and whistles and bubblegum and grit that you and your buddies get off on every time you listen to Hunx  and Nobunny and hopefully Fagettes at home on your dad’s worn out stereo, BUTT Monsieurs turn it up to 11. From the first few seconds of “Shadow” to the last gasping breaths of “At the Hop,” this record is garage pop on steroids. Lead singer Andy Macbain is a beast, a force to be reckoned with, and his vocals are out of control, off the wall. It’s all sludgey and thuddy and LOUD. If you like rock ‘n’ roll with a rambunctious ummphhh up your ass then here ya go – yet, it’s still as sweet as a little old lady taking 20 hours to cross the street with her little old cane? So sweet it helps that sludge go down smoother… I see big things for The Monsiuers in Twenty Fourteen. In 2014, let their album Rock the Night become your musical lubricant! TOP SONG: “Kari Ann” http://themonsieurs.bandcamp.com/album/rock-the-night-8-song-digital-album


4) King Khan & The Shrines – Idle No More (Merge) – It’s always a great year whenever one of our Honorary KLYAMERS releases an album and King Khan is among our top OG’s. You could say he helped make us who we are today to paraphrase a line in the tune “So Wild,” a song dedicated to the late, great Jay Reatard. RIP Jay forever and ever.  For once your wild spirit may rest in peace… the chaos of the world so foreign, yet so familiar, you feel this tone on King Khan & The Shrines’ Idle No More, their first album since 2007. It’s a very personal album, the most mature to date. Highly spiritual as ever, yet it still maintains that fantastic Khan spirit of ubiquitous joy. Love. And coming back to the KLYAM, that’s one thing I love about rock ‘n’ roll (as we see it),  all the bands we rep, and this record. No matter how torturous the world can be, there’s still a light. Khan and his crew take the misery, the darkness, and they turn it on its ugly head, ultimately receiving a boisterous, fun filled album as ever been conceived by the Shrines.  TOP SONG: “Bite My Tongue”


3) Nobunny – Secret Songs (Goner) –  Nobunny continues the trend on this list of artists releasing albums that preserve their raw, rock ‘n’ roll character and yet augment their craft at the same time.  Secrets Songs is stacked with smash hit after smash hit haha; every tune is a blast, no filler. Love Visions will probably always be my favorite, but I have to send my accolades to Mr. Bunny here. This LP has the most variety ever on a Nobunny record lyrically, musically, and aesthetically. There’s several fast poppers, screeching hardcore punks odes, and a batch of soft gentle numbers for the ladies and in particular for the Birthday Girl. NO NO 4 LYFE! TOP SONG:  This is a toughie, but for now I’m going to go with “Bye Bye Roxie”


2) Peach Kelli Pop – Peach Kelli Pop II (Burger) – I know this came out in 2012, but I heard it in its entirety in 2013 and I loved it so damn much that I just couldn’t leave it off the list! This is one of the greatest pop records I have ever heard. Like I said earlier regarding Colleen Green, pop music  doesn’t have to be mass produced and this certainly applies here. I was in love with PKP’s first album and I didn’t think it could be topped at the time. What was I thinking?! As awesome as her debut is, it doesn’t have anything on its sequel. Holy shit, this thing is incredible. PKP II is like Terminator 2, if it was a movie. A full blast of immediate, catchy pop songs from start to finish is what we have here. Peach Kelli Pop – Allie Hanlon channels bubblegum, garage, and 60’s Girl Groups in all of these short, but ever so sweet songs. It’s like injecting yourself with bubblegum pop music and feeling that instantaneous sugary high! This record always puts me in the best mood. Cheers. TOP SONG: “Red Leather”http://peachkellipop.bandcamp.com/

And the weiner is…


1) Hunx and His Punx – Street Punk (Hardly Art) – I know, I know I’m a Hardly Art whore. Haha, that should be a marketing trend. Labels should pick up on this. I can picture it now “I’m a Burger Whore!” or “Be a Burger Whore!” Shirts, pins, posters, let’s do it! I say this all with love. Anywhooo, since the dawn of KLYAM five years ago, Hunx and His Punx is one of the only, if only (possibly?) band that has consistently put out new, exceptional releases each year. With this album, Hunx and his cronies have snarled their way into the bowels of the rock ‘n’ roll/garage/punk landscape. I just adore and admire the way the band mixes up early hardcore punk (Germs, Misfits, Black Flag) with their classic garage rock style. Half of me says it’s an affectionate satire and the other says this is the real deal, this is the music itself. It feels like Circle Jerks or whoever comes to mind. When Hunx says he wants to beat you with a baseball bat, his screams are terrific and serve as a true homage to the aforementioned punk legends, but let’s not forget he’s saying this all because of his BAD SKIN! That’s part of the fun. I’m glad someone finally made (I could be wrong here and I very well may be missing out on loads of great, similarly styled albums) a piece of work that connects the dots in these various styles of pure rock ‘n’ roll music, which is not very pure to begin with. It’s so satisfying. I’ve always felt like that early wave of hardcore punk was like garage rock’s weird, fucked up cousin. It’s all coming from the same place essentially. It’s all about total and agonizing frustration and partying your ass off to cure that frustration. Hunx and His Punx get it. By the way, some of Shannon Shaw’s finest vocals! TOP SONG: “Mud In Your Eyes”

So, that’s it. That’s my list, but before I depart I have to give some mo’ shout outs. Here are some honorable mentions.  Ben Tan – Inside Out, The Memories – Love Is The Law, Kal Marks – Life Is Murder, Saralee –  S/T, The Gabba Ghouls – S/T, Kaviar Special – S/T, and last but certainly not least Lust Cats Of The Gutters – S/T , an album that was released in 2012, but nonetheless one of the best albums I heard all year.

2013 was also the first year of our record label KLYAM Records. We were/are extremely proud that our first release was one of our favorite records from 2012: Fat Creeps S/T EP


I chose not to include it on this list, because A) It was one of our own releases, B) It was originally released in 2012 and that’s when we heard it and loved it, and so forth, and C) It’s an EP and this is a list of my top LPs. Still, I couldn’t go without repping this record in a year end list of top records. Furthermore, if you haven’t picked up this album yet, then do yourself a favor and grab one now before it’s too late You can order it from KLYAM Records here: http://klyam.bigcartel.com/ The record is also available at Weirdo Records and Armageddon Records, both in Cambridge, MA.

We look forward to 2014 as we have more records and shows and reviews then can be imagined! Stay tuned, then turn on, and then drop out, and we’ll meet up and listen to records or something.

Peace 2013!

Review: Miami Doritos, Free Pizza, Gangbang Gordon, Ben Tan @ Radio Down (10/11/13)

KLYAM Presents
Bands: Miami Doritos, Free Pizza, Gangbang Gordon, Ben Tan
Date: Friday, October 11, 2013
Venue: Radio Down (Somerville, MA)

Ben Tan – This ain’t BBT’s (that’s Big Ben Tan for your information) first rodeo, aww hell no.  Ben Tan’s been rocking and shocking dance halls, basements, back alleys, and Vince McMahon’s private parties for over a decade now and he’s not stopping any time soon; he can’t he has that contract with the “dubbya dubbya E” aka WWE as he puts it in the folk anthem “Upper Lower Middle Class Blues.” It’s a Bob Dylan ode if I’ve ever seen one, what with the raspy voice, acoustic gee tar and harmonicai in tow.  You know, if you have a younging in the house and are looking for an alternative to the typical clown/magician spectacle than look no further than Ben Tan. Kids love Bob Dylan.

Ben continues with other signature originals including “Inside Out” and a song about a very special gal entitled “Marielle.”  These cuts showcase Ben’s natural talent as a singer – songwriter (God, I hate that term, but trust me it works here) and his incredible ability to imitate the pop music of the 60s with The Beach Boys and The Beatles being his top two objects of duplication. If you’re looking for the most original music in the world, then I’d say look elsewhere. At the same time, Ben is his own person and stands out in just about any setting.

After having enough fun with the guitar, he makes his way to the piana, where he busts out a few more OGs. He closes his set, asking for any crowd requests.  This leads to mershy pop numbers, R. Kelly’s “Ignition Remix” and Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You,” much to the crowd’s delight.  BBT’s back in the saddle again. http://bentan.bandcamp.com/album/inside-out

Gangbang Gordon – Following Big Ben Tan’s set is rock ‘n’ roll’s last tru gangsta, Gangbang Gordon himself and he is accompanied by my brother Justin on drums. This is GBG’s fifth show and his second with Justin, and with all biases aside I think this is his/their best set so far.

Alas as the two are about to run through the beginnings of an epic GBG set, the amp dies on them. Eh, well whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stranger, right? Luckily, Ben lends GBG his amp and all is well. The gangbang begins with an all instrumental jam that mixes surf and noise and sounds like The Ramones, Nobunny, and Fat Creeps. Then they slide into “Lost Touch With The Youths,” a song about being young and lost and feeling out of touch with those who are young and lost.

The show goes on for more and more  grotesque Gangbang Gordon tunes that make most cheer, some cringe, and then you have Ben Tan, who wants to start a riot. At one point he yanks my naragansett out of my hand, chugs it, and flips me the bird. I immediately rip the beer out of his hands, but he’s out of control as he swings some sort of cables around frantically dancing to the Gangbang.

The Gangbang slops over into its filthy climax with the Spanglish rapcore number “Orgullo de Rappers” in which GBG paces around the packed crowd, rapping in everyone’s face and hucking beer cans in the air. As GBG lays his axe to rest in a whirlwind of feedback, Justin piles through with a vicious drum solo that leaves the crowd thirsting for more. More Gangbang to come in the future…
http://gbgordon.bandcamp.com/

Free Pizza – Free Pizza is among one of the many fantastic artists I have come across in the Boston underground music scene this past year. They’ve been kicking around for a couple years now, but I only recently got turned on to them this past Summer. This is my second time seeing them and I am really digging their sweet, summery, surf sounds. How’s that for alliteration?

Recently, tragedy struck the band in the form of a skateboarding accident resulting in vocalist/guitarist Jesus Vio breaking his clavicle, leaving him unable to play guitar. But, the mighty Free Pizza soldiered on! Jesus keeps rocking on vocals and they have enlisted friend, Ben Katzman on guitar. Ben rocks. EVERYBODY ROCKS!

I am still learning Free Pizza songs, but right now my favorite is their signature bandcamp available tune “Net – Babes.” It’s a catchy little number and every time Jesus sings “we have no beaches” I hear “we have no bitches.” Haha, that’s just what I hear. It’s BEACHES folks, and Free Pizza will be surfing through your skull on a daily basis. Get with the times. http://freepizzarocks.bandcamp.com/

Miami Doritos – By the time Miami Doritos hit the mini stage I am feeling no pain. Who needs pain when you have Miami Doritos? Kurt (vocals/guitar) and Alex (vocals/drums) find the one kid in the audience that is feeling pain and they serenade him/her back to safety with their psychedelic thrash testosterone fueled noise.

Indeed, two pieces are fun. Just to throw that out there. I typically prefer a full band, but Miami Doritos stretch beyond the common limitations that two pieces meet every day. I mean there’s just two of them, but it takes two to tango, so why do you need more than two people in a band anyway?

If you’re looking for a swift kick in the balls and you’re sick and tired of being let down by indie rock losers, then go out and see Miami Doritos and you won’t be disappointed. http://miamidoritos.bandcamp.com/

This was a Kids Like You & Me/KLYAM show and Glen and I are thankful for all of the bands that played, everyone that came out, and the Radio for having us. We also want to thank Storm or Howl, who was originally scheduled to play, but could not make it. They are amazing and you should all check out their beautiful music here: https://www.facebook.com/stormorhowl

KLYAM Presents: Miami Doritos, Free Pizza, Gangbang Gordon, Ben Tan @ Radio Down THIS FRIDAY!

KLYAM Presents
Hey all, Kids Like You & Me/KLYAM are throwing one helluva show this Friday, October 11 at Radio DOWN in Somerville featuring…

Miami Doritos
http://miamidoritos.bandcamp.com/

Free Pizza
http://freepizzarocks.bandcamp.com/

Gangbang Gordon
http://gbgordon.bandcamp.com/

Ben Tan
http://bentan.bandcamp.com/track/inside-out

Be there or be somewhere else significantly less cool…

Local Music Review: Ben Tan – “Inside Out”

Band: Ben Tan
Release: July 2013
Link To Listen: http://bentan.bandcamp.com/album/inside-out

1. “Come Out”
2. “Marielle”
3. Inside Out”
4. “Upper Lower Middle Class Blues”
5. “Dance The Night Away”
6. “I Will Follow You”
7. “Singulair”
8. “Half A World Away”

Comments: The road to Ben Tan’s debut release Inside Out is a fascinating road. One could argue that the multi-instrumentalist and acclaimed former Emerson College radio host was born a musical virtuoso. I’m not quite sure anyone expected this kind of output from him, though. He had long been a piano man before picking up the guitar and all other such instruments. That he somehow wound up playing keys in a psychedelic rock ‘n roll band (Moontowers) is still a tidbit mind-blowing. At any rate, Tan has played in bands since before his voice cracked. That’s all well and good, but I felt there was always so much unrealized potential. “When’s the Ben Tan solo album coming?” Some years later, here we are. While I’d never expect the dude to include Magic Kids, High Places, and The Lost Sounds on a list of ‘influences’, Ben Tan’s home recordings (with the help of more than a handful of conspirators) are odd enough that it wouldn’t be totally random to think the dude is more informed by the past two decades of underground rock ‘n roll than the real legends Tan adores. ANYWAY.

Inside Out starts out with “Come Out,” which immediately strikes me as one of the finest songs I’ve heard this year. It is totally POP. Multi-track vocals, check. Brian Wilson, check. This song and the next one “Marielle,” are light numbers, playful and straying from complication. The kind of stuff that the Malt Shop Memories minded youth of today (where are you people?) long desire. Tan goes into softer rock mode for “Inside Out,” with unbelievably strong background vocals.  Witty lyrics (sup, Bob Dylan) reign on “Upper Lower Middle Class Blues,” some coming out of the mouth of the man himself, others via vocalist Holly Dalton. This one (along with the haunting, thousand word per minute, no-fi “Singulair”) is one of the oldest songs in Tan’s repertoire. Not my favorite stuff on here when stacked next to stuff like the retro-fitted “Dance the Night Away”; piano bar musicians ought to fear for their jobs with this original nugget. Girl groups of the past ought to blush. Okay so if I venture into superlatives, the “most psychedelic” song award goes to “I Will Follow You,” a sublime experience that doesn’t overstay its heady, nearly six minute existence. On the grand finale, “Half A World Away,” we get to hear Tan hit some crazy notes. Genuine Beach Boys worship.

Inside Out hits the spot as far as rock ‘n roll with bursting pop sensibility go. Originality isn’t so much the star on this one as it is Tan’s ability to work in and around walls of sound that long have had lasting power. Stuff like this ought to be more widely appreciated.

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