Classic CD Review: Raw Romance

Band: Nobunny
Release: 2009
Label: Burger Records

1. “Your Mouth” – B-
2. “Oh Cody” – B
3. “Mask’s On” – A-
4. “Monster Kiss” – B
5. “Apple Tree” – B+
6. “Hippy Witch” – B
7. “I Am A Girlfriend” – B+
8. “It’ll All Come Back” – B
9. “Tonight You Belong” – B-
10. “Mess Me Up” – A
11. “The Gutter” – A-
12. “Vicious Circle” – B+

Comments: Nobunny loves you! This piece of music was released on cassette, which is just about as outdated as Nobunny. Unlike Love Visions, Raw Romance is chalk full of slow and modest twee pop. You won’t have much luck finding something as energetic as “Chuck Berry Holiday” on this cassette. If you just want to chill in your chair and intake psilocybin mushrooms or the like then go for this thing. If you want to go up, down, north, south, east, or west then you’ll definitely prefer Love Visions. The sound quality on Raw exceeds Love, which is something I certainly didn’t expect. It’s funny hearing an extremely lo-fi demo version of “I Am A Girlfriend,” my favorite Nobunny song this side of “Chuck.” The demo of “Mess Me Up” is mad good. Funny Johnny Cash impersonation on “The Gutter.”

Grade: B (86)

Quote of the Day

The....who???

In response to a Best of 2009 album list that included mostly obscure artists (most of which I’ve never heard of, except a few like Strange Boys, Ganglians, and Thee Oh Sees, in addition to Animal Collective):

I mean really. Nice of you to throw in Animal Collective so that no one thought you were getting too crazy. But who has the capacity, let alone the time and desire to seek out this many completely unknown bands/artists and rank them accordingly on a message board. WHO THE $#@! ARE THESE PEOPLE? How do you find them? How did you find the time in your year to obtain and listen to all of these with a critical mind/eye? Do you only seek out artistic works that are completely removed from anything even resembling the main stream? I know that things that are popular are not necessarily good and vice versa, but how many people own the albums of all these artists combined? Are these really “good” albums, or are you just listing the most obscure $#@! you can find based on some internet search?

AND DID YOU KNOW THAT VIRTUALLY NONE OF THESE MOTHER $#@! BESIDES ANIMAL COLLECTIVE HAS A WIKIPEDIA PAGE? YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT NEITHER YOU NOR ANY OF THE OTHER UNDERGROUND HAND JOBS THAT LISTEN TO THESE BANDS IN DARK CLUBS AND COFFEE SHOPS FOUND TIME TO WASH THE HAND STAMP OFF AND COBBLE TOGETHER A SIMPLE WIKI ENTRY? CHRIST!!

Nice Overplayed List, WMBR!

As the DJ noted, the list isn’t about good or bad…it was about what was played a bit much in 2009. Turns out a few personal favorites were included like:

#97 – Nobunny – “Nobunny Loves You”
#73 – Black Lips – “Short Fuse”
#40 – Big Pink – Dominoes
#31 – Box Elders – “Alice & Friends”
#13 – Sonic Youth – “Leaky Lifeboat (for Gregory Corso)”
#12 – Jay Reatard – “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me”
#10 – Pains of Being Pure at Heart – “Young Adult Friction”
#4 – Mission of Burma – “1, 2, 3, Partyy!”

Best Band Blog of 2009

NO AGE! (http://noagela.blogspot.com)

Not because they included one of my horrendous cover videos in a post of theirs, but because they consistently post tidbits (pictures, news, etc) from their tours (and beyond) that allows your average die-hard (or casual) fan to have a look at what it’s like to be in a really awesome band.

Most Disappointing LPs of 2009

No order.

1. The Thermals – Now We Can See – Before listening to this, I was exposed to just a few Thermals songs. That said, I’ve held this band in high regard. This LP was rather disappointing mainly because it was filled to the brim with pop-punk songs that weren’t eccentric enough for me.

2. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest – For me, a lot of what made Grizzly Bear “epic” was nowhere to be found on here. Okay, there are a few songs that I really dig from this LP, but in general I’d say Grizzly Bear changed their direction to a more prim and proper baroque-pop style with less experimental flair than ever before.

3. Lovely Feathers – Fantasy of the LotHind Hind Legs (2006) was an amazing disc. So amazing that I don’t think Lovely Feathers could ever out do it, even if they tried really really hard. This LP has some really strong points, but it kind of has a weird pace that’s all over the place. I just thought Hind had an immaculate flow. This really doesn’t.

4. Flaming Lips – Embryonic – Considering I’ve only listened to the “hits” from these guys, I sort of had a gut feeling that this album would be filled with catchy songs! Was I ever more disappointed? Save maybe one or two songs, this wasn’t memorable for me at all. It was mainly sound.

5. Japandroids – Post-Nothing – This thing is shockingly similar to Now We Can See. I’d say it’s straight up noise rock with a strong pop-punk undertone. Based on the initial reception of this album, I was excited! Then I actually listened to it and was mildly disappointed.

Top 3 Concert Venues In 2009!

Metal railings...seriously? What band is that?!

1.
Middle East Downstairs

Headlining Bands: Black Lips, Sunset Rubdown, The Walkmen, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, King Khan & BBQ Show

2.
Great Scott
Headlining Bands: Handsome Furs, Head Automatica, Warlocks, Rifles, Wavves

3.
Harpers Ferry

Headlining Bands: Jay Reatard, Trevor Hall

Honorable Mentions: Paradise Rock Club (Arctic Monkeys, King Khan & Shrines), House of Blues (Animal Collective, Arctic Monkeys), Wilbur Theatre (Sonic Youth), and Wang Theatre (Pixies).

Top 10 Concerts of 2009!

By: Glen

1.
Bands: Black Lips/Gentleman Jesse & His Men/Mean Creek
Venue: Middle East Downstairs
Date: March 7, 2009
Grade: A+
Comment: Meeting Cole before the gig. Getting handed beers from Ian. My favorite band playing all my favorite classics. Great mix of moshing and positive crowd interaction.

2.
Bands: King Khan & The Shrines/Mark Sultan/Homosexuals
Venue: Paradise Rock Club
Date: May 14, 2009
Grade: A+
Comment: Khan is a legend of a performer. He really got the entire room energized. Everybody was grooving and  singing along to his sexually provocative lyrics. It’s too bad that  I wasn’t able to appreciate Mark as much as I wish I could have at the time.

3.
Bands: No Age/The Beets/Lemonade
Venue: Wellesley College
Date: April 2, 2009
Grade: A+
Comments: Met Randy and Dean before the show. Hugged them after the show. The show itself? Fantastic. By the end, I was all sweaty from jumping around like crazy in between Dean’s drum-kit and Randy’s guitar set-up. A plus was that I recognized every single song that they played.

4.
Bands: KK+BBQ/Dum Dum Girls/Downbeat 5
Venue: Middle East Downstairs
Date: October 29, 2009
Grade: A+
Comments: Like I said before, Khan is a legendary performer. BBQ is a master at all three of his crafts: vocals, guitar, and drums. Combine the two and what do you get? A thing of beauty. Rockin’ out and singing along, always.

5.
Bands: Jay Reatard/Nobunny/Hunx and His Punx/Box Elders/Useless Eaters
Venue: Harpers Ferry
Date: October 2, 2009
Grade: A+
Comments: Quite the freaking bill, huh? I witnessed the greatest overall opening experience at this gig because garage-pop has that sort of effect. And what about Jay? His music was tight and this time around I really was able to connect with a greater majority of his songs than before. F-U-N times.

6. Walkmen/Here We Go Magic/The Dig – Middle East Downstairs – September 19, 2009 – Grade: A+
7. Arctic Monkeys/Screaming Females – House of Blues – December 13, 2009 – Grade: A
8. Pixies/Jay Reatard – Wang Theatre – November 27, 2009 – Grade: A
9. Sonic Youth/The Feelies – Wilbur Theatre – November 22, 2009 – Grade: A
10. The Rifles/Mike Fiore – Great Scott – September 23, 2009 – Grade: A

Favorite Discoveries of 2009

Cool bands (in alphabetical order?) that I discovered for the first time in 2009. Rule: they must not have been formed in 2009/must not have released their first record in 2009. Anything questionable, I didn’t include. And no doubts that I forgot some.

– Atlas Sound
– Black Moth Super Rainbow
– Bloodshot Bill
– Bobby Ubangi
– Box Elders
– Galaxie 500
– Mika Miko
– Portugal. The Man
– Thee Oh Sees

Glen’s Nominations: Top Songs of 2009

Correct me if I am wrong, but I’m pretty damn sure that nothing else noteworthy is coming  out in 2009! So I am going to proceed to figure out what the best songs of 2009 are…okay?

Almighty Defenders
– “Cone of Light” – Mark Sultan (vocals) and Joe Bradley (drums) make this song the beast that it is. Upbeat gospel!

Animal Collective – “Summertime Clothes” – With a heart pounding bass line and incredibly catchy chorus, this is an all around fun psychedelic popper!

Arctic Monkeys – “Dangerous Animals” – Heavy and simple guitar bashing contrasted with Turner’s warm and inviting vocals.

Atlas Sound – “Walkabout” – Panda Bear (Noah Lennox) comes in the clutch here making this a surefire summertime psych-pop classic with unforgettable lyrics.

Black Lips – “Starting Over” – This track hit me way back in February as one of the BL’s best. Listening to it again, it’s not entirely clean-sounding, but might just be the band’s best attempt at garage pop.

Bobby Ubangi – “Back To You” – This Ramones inspired posthumous release exemplifies that basic instrumentation is sometimes best.

Box Elders – “Jackie Wood” – Like “Back To You,” this isn’t exactly revolutionary, but it sticks with you…for a very long time.

Cymbals Eat Guitars – “And the Hazy Sea” – A great opening track that seems influenced by the ’80s post-hardcore scene; it’s the loud-quiet-loud that attracts me to this 6 minute overture.

Editors – “Papillon” – Electro-pop at its finest, at least for this year. For Editors, it’s a change in direction, for me, it’s an impressive classic that makes ya dance.

Flashy Python – “Obscene Queen Bee” – This neo-psych song has been floating around for a while in Alec Ounsworth’s repertoire, but it’s most polished and “epic” when sung as Flashy.

Girls – “Lust For Life” – This song is messed up if you are straight-guy singing along and the video is even more screwed up, but the sound is no b.s instantly memorable jangle pop.

Handsome Furs – “All We Want  Baby…” – Back in the summer, this was the song that I consistently had on repeat; it has a fantastic drum beat and static guitar riffs.

Jay Reatard – “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me” – Jay’s mellowed out a bit here, but essentially he incorporates all of what’s made him a perennial garage hammer in this tune.

Julian Casablancas – “11th Dimension” – Yeah, yeah, the rest of the album’s been getting a lot of hate, but this is Strokes + excessive synths + cowbell. Not a bad combination.

Kid CuDi – “Pursuit of Happiness” – Ratatat is to be surely complimented for providing great electronics, but CuDi transcends what is modern hip-pop and is it’s savior from being near-shit.

King Khan & BBQ Show – “Tryin'” – So many great songs on a fantastic album, it was tough to choose which one really is the best. I feel like this one is most like the songs I’ve grown to love by this duo.

No Age – “You’re A Target” – Sounds like it would belong on “Nouns” but is essentially even noisier (yet poppier) than much of what the duo embraced on Nouns.

Pains of Being Pure at Heart – “Young Adult Friction” – Twee as fuck, as I remarked back when I did this review. This is the group’s chef-d’oeuvre, thanks in part to the clever “Don’t Check Me Out” ending.

Phoenix – “Lisztomania” – Another song of the synth-pop variety that has a very catchy bridge “it’s show-town…” and overall is a complete listening experience.

Rifles – “Sometimes” – A real British tune that plays the post-punk card quite well. The ending is awesome!

The Strange Boys – “No Way For A Slave To Behave” – A ghetto country-punk classic that definitely sounds like a lo-fi best-of leftover.

Uninhabitable Mansions – “The Speed Is Deceiving” – Too many freaking good ones on this, the hinthinthintwinkalbumoftheyearhinthinthinktwinkwink. The vocal harmonies on this one rule.

Wavves – “So Bored” – Snap, crackle, and pop lo-fi surf pop at its optimum level of noisiness.

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With over 20 songs in the running, it will be tough to decide, but decide I will. Stay tuned…