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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.”
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.