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”
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.