At last, we are here. I remember being away on vacation last July, when I received a message from Trip Thompson about doing a potential collaboration with Burger Records in releasing The Prefab Messiahs’ first material in over 30 years. I hit play and was serenaded by those Eastern influenced guitar licks on the opening track “SsydarthurR.” It’s eight months later and I’m still spinning or screaming. That screaming sound is probably me or you or kids like you and me. Ahh, see what I did there? Ahh.
But yes, us kids are collaborating with Fullerton, CA’s Burger Records to bring you The Prefab Messiahs’ Maxi-EP “Keep Your Stupid Dreams Alive” and the record release show is tonight, March 19th, at the Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge, MA. The Prefabs will be joined by next KLYAM Records releasers, The Barbazons (formerly known as The Fagettes), Secret Lover, and Fedavees. Fedavess go on first at 9. Be there early! 18+ $10. Presented by Illegally Blind & Kids Like You & Me.
Date: Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26, 2014 Venue: Cambridge Elks Lodge
Yeah, I know this shit was like over a month ago. Get over it. The following is a recollection of April’s first annual BUFU Records Festival. Here are the bands that made me chill the hardest…
Nice Guys – OOOHHHHH Nice Guys! Boston’s Nicest Guyzzzz. As soon as I enter the Elks these guys are getting ready to play. They blast through a fast, frenzied set that affirms my belief that I am one deaf bastard.
With this set there’s a solid chunk of new material or at the very least songs I’ve never heard before: “Whale,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “Freedom,” “Pegger,” and “Stinker.” All bone crushing in their own eloquent way. Still, I get the biggest kicks from the regular chart toppers such as “Boxfort,” “Medical Envy,” and “Cop Walk.” During “Cop Walk” Alex rummages his way through the crowd in classic Alex fashion. A valiant way to wake up the stiff crowd and kick off BUFU Fest.
Yo, have you been staying up all night alone in your bed thinking “damn, I love those Nice Guys live if only I could own a piece of that magic on wax. Sigh.” Well partner, you’re in luck. Such a gem exists. Nice Guys have a splifft 7″ with fellow stasement boners Miami Doritos via KLYAM Records. Pick it up from here: http://klyam.bigcartel.com/product/nice-guys-miami-doritos-splifft-7 and then tell all of your friends about it. We’ll all laugh at your enemies together.
“Rock ‘n’ Roll”
I collect Nice Guys set lists like a yuppie collects his Bill Joel ticket stubs. Dorks!
ACLU Benefit – This is my first ACLU Benefit. This isn’t the first time I’ve met Noah (the man behind ACLU Benefit) however. When I first met him he was dressed up as a juggalo at a Halloween show this past fall featuring Fat Creeps, Nice Guys, Guerilla Toss, and Designer. Actually, no wait we met on the train later that evening. Long story short, I had already heard the name ACLU Benefit tossed around these parts like the town whore, but at the time I didn’t realize I was speaking to the benefit himself. The low voice should have given it away. So, that night I looked up his bandcamp and I was correct. I went on to discover one of Boston’s most original voices.
Fast forward to tonight and I am delighted to finally be standing in front of Noah/ACLU Benefit in a musical setting for the very first time. It’s hard to write about his music because it evokes so many different emotions in me. That sounds like an excuse and it is, but I’ll do my best.
Noah stands alone with a guitar and that baritone voice you can hear from a 100 feet away. The crowd is building up, starting to get packed; it’s still pretty early in the fest. Noah introduces himself and begins to play. The performance is chilling, humorous, and all around entertaining in its own little way. Certainly one of the more engaging, inclusive performers I have come across over the last decade.
He has two distinct anthems in which he instructs the audience to sing along with him. In the aptly titled “Beer,” he informs us to sing “BEEEEEER!” after he sings “I’ve got a friend and his name is Beer.” So it goes like this…
Noah: I’ve got a friend and his name is Beer.
Noah: He loves me cause you’re not here.
It’s fun and interactive. There’s another song Noah plays entitled “Love Of My Life” and the performance operates in similar sing along fashion. This time as Noah sings “love of my life” the crowd sings “I’ll never get over you.” It’s one of those you had to be there kind of moments. You reading my description of it obviously doesn’t have the same effect. Case and point, go see ACLU Benefit. You’ll ponder life and wonder what went wrong. Don’t die wondering. http://aclubenefit.bandcamp.com/
Following the set, Glen, Ben, and I shake hands with Noah, complimenting him on a job well done. It’s worth missing the next band.
Funeral Cone – The lodge is rockin’ and the party is off the hook by the time Funeral Cone gets rollin. I saw these peeps at this exact spot here back in September and it left me bleeding. A nice little scar on my arm. A Funeral Cone memento if you will. This set is pretty much the same thing, minus the blood. Constant moshing from the punks, indeed, it’s a punker’s wet dream. Ramonesian tune (they may even cover some Ramones tunes? I’m fuzzy) with flashes of early hardcore punk a la Circle Jerks. With a diabolical keyboard in tow, it makes for a hardcore Okmoniks. Surely, the garage rawk klowns will foam at the mouth over this gunk. Slimy seconds err thirds, I’ll take em’.
P.S. Cory from SKIMASK, Ancient Filth, and Concrete Facelift also plays drums in Funeral Cone!
Gymshorts – This band’s music is as satisfying as their moniker. As I type this I’m comfortably sitting back in my own pair of gymshorts listening to Gymshorts. You know, I’m not really sure where I’m going with this, but trust me you want to hear this band. If you’ve ever trusted me before (I don’t know what you were thinking), trust me on this one. Loads of killer slop rock songs that stick to you for dayssss kidddddd. My new favorite band or at least the best band I’ve heard all year.
I just got into Gymshorts a few months back and from the looks of it most in attendance are unfamiliar with their music. They eagerly stare at the band, bopppin their heads and possibly other things… not really moving too much though, which is a damn shame. That’s ok, it almost makes it that much more hilarious when Sarah (vocals, guitar) bursts into the crowd barreling through a sea of stiffs. They never expect it haha. Regardless, after their set I overheard some kids praising their performance, so Providence’s best shorts have converted some Bostonian heads in the process. Listen to dis shit for weeks: http://gymshorts.bandcamp.com/
Free Pizza – Before Free Pizza begin their set, BUFU Records founder and BUFU Fest organizer, Ben Katzman announces that BUFU Records will be reissuing Free Pizza’s Boston, MA (previously released as a tape on BUFU) on vinyl alongside Feeding Tube Records. When I hear this, I can barely see Katzman’s face because I’m way in the back of the room, though I know it’s him up there because of his distinct voice and tone. The place is packed to the gills, but I have to get up front for this. The band launches into their set and Jesus Vio starts singing “I’m going forwardddd” (“Forward”) as I am literally moving forward to make my way to the front. The crowd eats it up and dances their asses off and it only gets better.
The next song is “Net Babes,” one of my favorites from the group and I’m not alone in this. I start singing along “We have no beaches, but baby we can surf …” and before I can even finish the line I notice Ben Katzman looks back at me, smiles and sings along with me, “but baby we can surf the internet!” Katzman’s enthusiasm is contagious and as I said the crowd is going bananas.
They continue to play some songs off their debut, such as “Freedom Pizza,” “Ducks,” “Porty,” and “Baby Girl” as well as some fresh cuts (I think) like “Keep on Moving,” and “2 Broke.”
The best part of not just Free Pizza’s set, but the pinnacle moment of all of BUFU Fest comes when the band closes with “Boston, MA” the final track off the album of the same name. The song alone encapsulates the feeling of inclusion, unity, rejection of the mainstream, and above all good old fashion fun aka “chilling mad hard” that BUFU Records, BUFU Fest, Free Pizza, and the Boston underground as a whole represent on a daily basis; here is just the perfect microcosm and it hits like an explosion. The band encourages everyone to sing along if they know the words and even if you don’t, it’s all good. A shirtless, sweaty Jesus triumphantly flings himself into the crowd as they dance along and sing into the mic with him “Living in Boston, Massachusetts, BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTSSSS!!!”
Definitely one of the greatest live experiences in my life. The whole set, but in particular “Boston, MA.” A rare feeling I struggle to put into words. If I could bottle it up and ingest it every morning I totally would. For what it’s worth, I’ve never been one for civic pride. It’s just not my style. I’m not ashamed of my town/city/state, but I’ve never felt any direct connection with Boston and it’s surrounding area. With that being said, Free Pizza’s “Boston, MA” is finally a New England anthem I can actually identify with and one that makes me happy and proud to live here. http://freepizzarocks.bandcamp.com/Can’t recommend this album enough.
Juan Wauters – With all of the excitement following Free Pizza’s set I almost forgot I’m seeing one of my favorite artists for the first time, well you could say that. Juan is the lead singer for Jackson Heights, Queens, New York’s The Beets, a band that co-KLYAMER Glen and myself have been fascinated with the past 4-5 years. We’ve seen The Beets a number of times now, but we’ve never seen Juan solo. In fact, before Juan even makes it to the stage/floor, we’re praising the man, shaking his hand, giving him big hugs, offering him beers. He’s overwhelmed by the love and support, I can tell he appreciates it or he’s a bit freaked out haha. Matter of fact, Juan actually interviewed Glen or I should say Gangbang Gordon for Allston Pudding. True story.
It’s all dark and quiet and the Juan begins (following another arousing introduction from Mr. Katzman). I can’t remember what the order is, but Juan and his acoustic guitar bust out some recent fan favorites form his debut solo effort N.A.P. North American Poetry. These include, but aren’t limited to “Water,” “Sanity,” “Continue To Be You,” and “Let Me Hip You To Something.” There are a lot of Juan fans in attendance, all sitting and standing, huddled around the Uruguayan singer. BUFU Records/Fest co-head honcho Chris Collins especially is digging the Juan, he always does. We all do. I’m confident Juan hipped many kids on to something haha, something special.
The Founding Fathers – Now, here’s a fine group of young, upstanding gentlemen that look awfully familiar. Call me crazy, call me wild, but they bear a striking resemblance to another local band you may remember as SKIMASK. Ehh whatever, must be me losing my mind.
Speaking of which, the lead vocalist seems to be off his rocker as well. He shrieks and flails about, barging through the moshers on a warpath, both physical and vocal. He’s an orator. An enigmatic performer of epic proportions. He crashes into the drum kit, he rolls on the floor, tossing his body to and fro in a possessed state of mind. Not wasting a second to rant and rave and proselytize the elks lodge inhabitants, when he’s not tearing the place to shreds. He spares no one, the audience is the target. He runs through the crowd as if he is engulfed in flames and burning to death. He stares into their eyes helplessly like he’s Carrie White covered in period blood, fiercely moving forward amid a chaotic atmosphere. It could all end at any second.
Electronic, spastic alien noise and fast, deafening drums provide the backbone to all of this pandemonium. It’s noise, it’s odd rock ‘n’ roll, and definitely one of the highlights of BUFU Fest.
Guerilla Toss – If any band could keep up with the the frenzy of the previous set then it’s Guerilla Toss. This is also one of my top sets from the entire fest. It’s always a trip, a party, a filthy mess when it comes to Gtoss and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hundreds of kids are up front, slamming into each other, if you can even move. It’s body to body, no open space. I’m hot as a motherfucker, perspiring all over the place. The crowd is one giant body, a sweatball that bounces back and forth to the band’s self-proclaimed fucked up dance music. It’s fun as always, though I would prefer some room for more hippie dancing/moshing, then again I love when it’s just a crazy mess too. One downside is that I can’t see everything and I can’t even hear everything. Kassie’s vocals seem a bit lower or it’s just me. I’m gone. My eardrums took a serious pounding tonight.
As the set wraps up, Simon Hanes bangs his two fists against his head several times like he’s Jake LaMotta or Andre the Giant or some other human animal. Gtoss is a bestial powerhouse, let em’ bring out the beast in you!
Gangbang Gordon – My homeboy Gangbang Gordon kicks BUFU Fest night two off with a BANG! As GBG and his Northshore barebackers crack into their set the crowd is slowly building up and taking notice.
GBG opens with “Life At The ABC” and “The Breeze” two tunes that will be featured on his upcoming cassette Culturally Irrevelerent coming out this Summer on none other than BUFU Records!
Among other rocking standards such as “Lost Touch With The Youths,” “I Can Testify,” and “Warm Warm Warm” that get some folks headbanging, there’s also a new cut known as “Not Your Average Professor Liberal Arts.” A tune only GBG could imagine.
The sound is a bit all over the place and not everyone sounds in sync with one another, which can be expected at a GBG show, but at least they’re having fun and that’s not always the case with a lot of ‘rock’ bands.
For some of the tunes including the Spanish rap number “Orguello De Rappers” there’s a blinding, seizure inducing disco ball light. They close the set with “Slide Paper,” which sounds like a teenager’s attempt at recreating a Van Halen song. It’s a good riff. http://gbgordon.bandcamp.com/
“Life At The ABC”
“Lost Touch With The Youths”
“I can Testify”
“Warm Warm Warm”
“Not Ya Average Professor Of Liberal Arts”
“Orguello De Rappers”
Frank Hurricane – Damn, it’s been years since I’ve seen the one and only Frank Hurricane. Frank can captivate an entire room of gangstas with a few words. Frank aka Hurricanes Of Love will always hold a warm place in my heart, for the first basement/house show Glen and I ever attended was at the Dirty Douglas in Lowell and Frank opened the show. His kind, gentle, and humorous demeanor was the perfect introduction to underground music and the local music scene. That was a little over three years ago. Frank was on tour from Atlanta. He is a constant traveler and tonight he speaks of his various travels.
Frank sits back, plays some acoustic guitar, and rattles off hypnotic tale after tale of one amusing (or sometimes disturbing) anecdote to the next. He is a true raconteur, a rarity. http://frankhurricane.com/
Littlefoot – Littlefoot is a band from Providence that I’m starting to really get into a lot. I first saw them opening for Atlantic Thrills at their album release party at Dusk in Providence. This set had similar, dream pop vibes. Very relaxed, comforting, and insanely catchy. Almost too many people for me to truly enjoy it. I look forward to seeing them more in the future, especially in more intimate settings. http://littlefootlittlefoot.bandcamp.com/
Dylan Ewen & The Sulk Scouts – Ahh one of my favorite local bands. It’s always a fun time when these kids play. They wear sunglasses, Hawaiian shirts, and just let off a breezy, chill attitude. That isn’t to say they can’t rock out, because they most certainly do. Kooky klassics like “Us Girls Got It Tuff,” “Handcuffs,” and D.Ewen OG “Korean Girlfriend” are all on display.
The band also performs Madonna’s “Like A Virgin,” a fitting cover that complements their mixture of coyness and semi-deviance. It’s all for fun.
“Us Girls Got It Tough”
“Like A Virgin” (Madonna Cover)
“Stoked To Be Sad”
Fat Creeps – This is the longest I’ve gone without seeing the Fat Creeps since… ever. Last time I saw them was on New Year’s Eve! Crazy, whack, son. Things have changed. They have a new drummer. Mr. Travis Hagan. My dude! You may have seen him in such local rock ‘n’ roll juggernauts as The New Highway Hymnal, Chill City Icon, Wakes, Radskull, and you may recall Travis’ brief stint as the drummer for The Migs. RIP Migs :(. Anywho, he’s behind the kit and he kills it.
If my memory serves me correctly they open with “Secrets” and it’s great to finally hear the song live again after all this time. Most of the set, however, features newer songs These tunes will appear on their upcoming full-length Must Be Nice on Gnar Tapes and Sophomore Lounge Records. I’m looking forward to it to say the very least.
All in all, as I said before great to see the Creeps again and it’s awesome to see a big crowd of kids devouring the various Creeps numbers, both old and new. http://fatcreeps.bandcamp.com/
Unstoppable Death Machines – This is the last band I remember truly hitting me over the head with their music. Or that may have been their fans haha. It’s a rowdy set for this NYC noise duo, think Lightning Bolt. I’m sure they get that comparison a lot, but that’s what comes to mind for me. There’s still a lot of people in the room, but it seems like less than before. Still a decent chunk, going apeshit to the ravenous sounds of Unstoppable Death Machines. My buddy Brian Hickey and myself are at the front of the pit, smashing into each other and everyone else. It’s lunacy! http://unstoppabledeathmachines.com/
So that’s that. BUFU Fest was an extraordinary experience. One of my top shows ever and definitely the best I’ve seen this year thus far. I can’t wait for next year. I hope you chilled as mad hard as I did. Peace.
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”
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)
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.
Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone was released nearly ten years ago (March 2002). I’ve heard a fair share of records in my time and I can’t say that I’ve ever listened to one quite like this one. The Walkmen are — above most other things — a very distinct band and that categorization began with this record. Sure, the band came about after the break-ups of Jonathan Fire*Eater and The Recoys, but those bands didn’t sound much like The Walkmen. Jonathan was a proto-punk Velvet Underground/Jonathan Richman kind of thing while The Recoys had a dirty, early rock and roll thing going on. Two Recoys songs, “That’s The Punchline” and “Blizzard of ’93” (later “…of ’96”), would end up appearing on Everyone Who in clearer, more atmospheric conditions. But anyway, the reason why The Walkmen are so different than other bands (and why this is proven on Everyone) is Hamilton’s vocal delivery, the twinkling, yet dark-in-an-instant organ, and the one sharp biting guitarist that is Paul Maroon. And let’s not forget Matt Barrick’s drumming (particularly noteworthy on “Wake Up”).
At any rate, I’m very glad this record is being re-issued on vinyl. It’s only available in limited quantity (1,000 are being pressed) for pre-order so head to The Walkmen’s website to do that.
“We are also dependent on signing and retaining songwriters who will write the hit songs of today and the classics of tomorrow under terms that areeconomically attractive to us.”
Not to purposefully sound like Steve Albini but just pointing out the stupidity in the business of major labels and the general disregard for their artists. If being a tool in the music industry is something that interests you, this is the company for you!
There is a handy way of previewing selected upcoming albums. Midheaven allows for brief previews of tracks. In other words, you can get a rough (one minute) idea of every song before buying the record. In The Red is one of the many labels that have this connection. So check out Mark Sultan’s new Whatever I Want and then navigate around to find other albums.
– In The Red Records will be re-issuing the currently very hard-to-find Black Lips LPs Los Valientes del Mundo Nuevo (2007), Good Bad Not Evil (2007), and 200 Million Thousand (2009) in August.
– FDH Records will be re-issuing Terror Visions’ World of Shit. Originally released as a picture disc in 2006, this will be getting the proper LP treatment soon. And for those of you still confused, Terror Visions was a side project of Jay Reatard’s, similar in style to Lost Sounds, but harsher, darker and not as melodic.
I posted a short clip a few days back that involved Black Lips drummer Joe Bradley briefly discussing the band’s record label situation. The full discussion on the topic is entitled “Artists As Businesses” and involves a panel additionally including DJ/Fool’s Gold Records founder A-Trak and Greg Anderson, guitarist of the drone metal band Sunn O))) and Southern Lord Records co-founder. All three offer insights on how they got started, the transition from being a band to a ‘professional entity’, the division of labor within bands and their ‘team’, and other functions that go beyond just playing music. Once a band crosses the professional threshold, things naturally become more complicated and there are more worries than merely worrying about dividing the check up amongst band members after playing a show. Lawyers, accountants, business managers, booking agents, and publicists enter the fray, requiring bands to divvy up their gross income amongst these persons. I find this to be very interesting and am eager to check out the other panel discussions that occurred during this Music Conference. A skeptic or a purist might wonder why a car company is involving themselves with underground music and will probably even scoff at the title of this post, but I never got a sense that any of this particular discussion was ‘corporate’ or brand enabling.
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]