2007 GREATEST HITS
RICH K.(RK): Richie is the editor and the one to blame for shit always being fucking late.
I thought that I this year's Best-of list would be simple to put together. I seemed to have it in my head that there were just a few great records that would be easy to pick. But then I got down to it and realized what a great fucking year it was...there are another three dozen bands, songs and records I would like to mention, and it was tough enough whittling it down to the already lengthy selections below. Without a doubt the best year for new music in TB's four years of existence, 2007 made me thankful to be able to hear all this great music from such a great and diverse underground "scene" that is still growing daily. Such a great and exciting time to be an obsessive music fan...
2. Eddy Current Suppression Ring s/t (Dropkick) - Breaking rules here, as this was released late 2006, but I don't think many people outside of the Eastern Hemisphere really gripped this until '07. A record that continually gets better every time I listen to it. Simple AND exciting, I have no idea how they do it.
3. Clockcleaner "Babylon Rules" (Load) - Good to see these kids finally come into their own. Finally on a label they belong on, finally got a full length out on actual fucking vinyl, finally got their asses licked by Vice...they put on a good show in '07, even if I didn't get to see them actually play a show...
4. Pissed Jeans "Hope for Men" (Subpop) - Can I be more predicatable? Maybe. Songs that everyone else hated ("The Jogger"/"Scrapbooking") are what I thought made this record special.
5. Final Solutions "Songs By Solutions" (Goner) - I think I overheard someone say this sounded like "fake punk". And I get what they're saying, and that's why this record is so fucking great. It's ridiculous and near punxploitation that comes around full circle and boots you in the ass while you're looking for your funny sunglasses. Zac's vocals are what really makes this band for me...
6. Snake Apartment "Paint the Walls" (Parts Unkown) - Seems like people were sleeping om this one...or else I'm the only one who's a glutton enough for this sort of Flag-esque guitar sweat. You are all a bunch of pansies.
7. CPC Gangbangs "Mutilation Nation" (Swami) - I was at war with this band at points this year. Are you a garage band? Some sort of LSD-punk-biker band? What the fuck? And then I realized why I cared so much about what they were doing...I fucking love them. Could've used some more non-singles cuts, but this is still potent enough as is.
8. Bad Trips s/t (Rocketship) - It's Grady Runyan, you fucks! Heavy and nasty guitar psych-punk that sucks you into the maelstrom. Perfect for Monoshock/Liquorball superfans like myself.
9. Lamps "Lamps Lamps" (In the Red) - A record that hits you like a sock full of quarters.
10. Blank Dogs "First Two Weeks" (Freedom School) - It's tough to pick one BD release this year. But I always say the first time is the best time.
11. Carbonas s/t (Goner) - This record is like five minutes long. It doesn't give you enough time to not like it.
12. Cococoma s/t (Goner) - Best straight-up garage record of the year.
1. Homostupids "The Intern" (Parts Unknown) - Simply put, the record I listened to the most in 2007 by a longshot. I could make an argument (with myself) that they are my favorite current band. Live show is top shelf too. Buncha sweethearts, these guys.
1. TV Ghost "Atomic Rain" (Die Stasi)- What a wonderful record. That's all I can say.
2. Tyvek "Summer Burns" (What's Your Rupture)- It's almost like cheating. Anyone who wasn't moved by Tyvek this year was either on the moon or deaf. And I haven't even seen them live yet.
3. SYZ "Complicated" (Hozac)- It's sad they turned out to be a one-and-done band, because this record was absolutely brilliant.
4. Grave Blankets "Your Injured Ways" (self-released)- Everyone's talking about all these other Columbus bands, but this was actually the best record to come out of that city this year as far as I'm concerned.
5. Apache "Boys Life" (Douchemaster)- Incredibly uplifting stoner-glam-pop whatever. Serious fucking hits here.
6. Spread Eagles "Don't Talk to the Narc" (Boomchick)- People will catch on to this band/record some day, I swear. Think Black Lips but meaner and drunker.
7. Headache City "T-t-tonight" (self-released)- I didn't really even care for this band until I heard this record. It's that fucking good.
8. Sudden Walks "My Nerves Are Fucking Shot" (Never Heard of It)- What happened to this band? Best Rip Off Records single not released on Rip Off this year.
9. Midnight "Slay the Spits" (MME)- Combining two of my passions: The Spits and basement metal.
10. Los LLamarada "The Very Next Moment" (SS)- Another band I didn't care for until I heard this. Mind-expanding.
11. Intelligence "Message of Love" (Disordered)- Fantastic. Really. I'm a sucker for covers and want Lars to do a whole LP of these.
12. Fe Fi Fo Fums "Boom Boom Girl" (RObs House) - Punk blisterer on the A, gayboy crybaby shit on the flip. Stellar.
A Dozen Great Songs: Some mixtape staples of 2007, you should probably buy the records they're on...
-Human Eye "Spiders and Their Kin"
-Yolks "I Do What I Do"
-Cheveu "My Answer is Yes!"
-ECSR "You Let Me Be Honest With You"
-Jacuzzi Boys "Ghost Ghost"
-Wizzard Sleeve "Chrome Intensifier"
-Tall Birds "Action"
-Charlie & The Moonearts "Of Robbing Banks"
-Traditional Fools "Please"
-Brimstone Howl "Uptight"
-Intelligence "Secret Signals"
-Feelers "Cardwell Voicemail"
-Cheap Time "Spoiled Brat"
COMP OF THE YEAR:
"We (Heart) the Blowtops" (Big Neck) - The Blowtops get their due on this wonderful little package. Probably the best looking Big Neck release ever too.
Runner Up: "World's Lousy With Ideas Vol. 1" - look for this series to win this title for the next few years.
SPLIT SINGLE OF THE YEAR:
LiveFastDie/Golden Error (MindNoMind) - LFD's finest vinyl moment of the year, plus the GE side was a real surprise. Various limited sleeves made for bonus fun.
Runner Up: Tyvek/Cheveu (SS)
REISSUE OF THE YEAR:
Dictators "Every Day Is Saturday" 2XLP (Norton) - I didn't really know this was even coming out until close to release date, so I was doubly thrilled. Archival material that actually adds to the Dics legacy, plus an all-around impeccable package.
Runners Up: Barkhard LP (Zorlac) / JSBX "Jukebox Explosion" LP (In the Red)
CD-R RELEASE OF THE YEAR:
Catatonic Youth (Fuck Jazz)- Amazing tunes that will be on vinyl soon enough, this thing even had great packaging/art as well.
BEST COVER ART:
Snake Apartment "Paint the Walls" LP (Parts Unknown)- As intense as the music on the record.
Runner Up: Lamps "Tim Ford" 7"/ Mans "War Penis" 7"
SINGLES BAND OF THE YEAR:
FEELING OF LOVE: three great singles that as a whole were some of my most listened to vinyl of '07.
Runner Up: THE MANS - another band who dropped three great singles this year as well.
WEBSITE/BLOG OF THE YEAR:
Cardboard Gods- It can't be all music all the time. Josh Wilker's cleverly themed blog is one of the first sites I check every day and I devour each posting as if I'm scared it will be the last. Further proof that the internet actually contains some great writing. I got tipped to this via the TB board, so thanks whoever that was.
BEST BOOK I READ THIS YEAR:
You Can't Win by Jack Black - turn-of-the-century autobio from a hobo/burglar/opium addict regarding his hardships and reformation. A classic I wish I would've discovered sooner (and another TB board recommendation, thanks). On the Nabat imprint who are reissuing some great off-the-beaten path bios (including James Carr's Bad, an absolute must-read).
JEFF G.(JG): Jeff has been with us since day one and is a valued member of the TB review staff. He also does Sweet Rot Records. I feel the need to mention he is Canadian yet again.
Another year, another list. Lots of good records this year coming from as wide of a range of styles as I can ever remember. It’s a great time to be a music junkie. Here are my favourites from 2007:
Top Ten Singles of 2007:
10. CPC Gangbangs “The Broken Glass” pic 7” (Seeing Eye)
The a-side is up there with “Mechanical Man” or “Teenage Crimewave” and while the flip isn’t quite as great, the fact that this is the nicest looking picture disc I’ve ever seen means it makes the list. And bonus points for being on a Vancouver label!
9. Immaterial 7” (Materieldisc)
FX from Volt branching off to do some Volt sounding stuff with a friend. No complaints here, as all four songs are great.
8. The Wax Museums “Introducing…” 7” (Rehab)
These guys released a lot of wax in 2007, but my pick of the bunch is still this one, their debut release. Retarded in all the right ways.
7. Pink Reason “By A Thread” 7” (Trickknee)
The most straightforward I’ve heard Pink Reason yet, but still just as good (and depressing).
6. Cheveu “My Answer Is…” 7” (Rob’s House)
Cheveu’s tour CD-R could be the thing I listened to most in 2007. Luckily a couple of more songs from it made their way to vinyl. Their 2008 LP is eagerly anticipated.
5. Tyvek “Still Sleep” 7” (What’s Your Rupture?)
“Still Sleep” was a myspace-only fave from last year, and I think the flip might even be better. Also, fuck Canada Customs.
4. Factums “See Inside” 7” (Polly Maggoo)
I’m glad there’s more of an audience for stuff like this these days so more CD-R only gems like these can make it to wax.
3. Brainbombs “Stinking Memory” 7” (Anthem)
Is this their swan song or are they not yet done? I’m pulling for the latter as bands capable of writing songs as brutal, punishing and hypnotic as this should never stop.
2. The Dutchess and the Duke 7” (Boom Boom)
I don’t think anyone saw this one coming. Brilliant folk songwriting, note perfect production and execution, and heartfelt lyrics make this choice a no brainer. Boom Boom deserves some sort of Lifetime Achievement award for their efforts.
1. Tyvek “Summer Burns” 2x7” (What’s Your Rupture?)
No other band has released records as consistently great as Tyvek over the past two years. A perfect record.
Other good to great 7”s of 2007:
Eddy Current Suppression Ring “You Let Me Be Honest With You” 7” (White Denim),
The Electric Bunnies “Eskimo” 7” (Florida’s Dying),
El Jesus De Magico “Funeral Home Session” 7” (Columbus Discount),
The Fe Fi Fo Fums “I Just Wanna Boom Boom Girl” 7” (Rob’s House),
Gaye Blades “I’d Brave Anything For You” 7” (Rob’s House/Die Slaughterhaus),
Human Eye “Spiders and Their Kin” 7” (Cass),
Intelligence “Message of Love” 7” (Disordered),
Leper Print “Doppleganger” 7” (Eat),
Sic Alps “Strawberry Guillotine” 7” (Woodsist),
SYZ “Complicated” 7” (Hozac),
Thomas Function “My Empire” 7” (Arkam),
TV Ghost “Atomic Rain” 7” (Die Stasi),
Wizzard Sleeve “Mommy’s Little Baby” 7” (Hozac),
Wooden Shjips “Loose Lips” 7” (Sub Pop),
The Yolks “Introducing…” 7” (self released).
Top Ten LPs of 2007:
10. Intelligence “Deuteronomy” LP (In the Red)
Not as instantly jarring as the earlier Intelligence LPs, the pop songs on this one took a while to grow on me, but I’m glad they did.
9. Dan Melchoir und das Menace “The ‘Pink Scream’ EP” 12” (Shake Appeal)
From the nice thick cardboard sleeve, to the beautiful pink vinyl with screened b-side, to the songs in the grooves, this is a great release all around. The best stuff I’ve heard from Dan Melchoir yet and his version of “I’m Blue” was the best cover song I heard all year.
8. Black Lips “Good Bad Not Evil” LP (Vice)
Sure, it’s not as good as their last LP, and the production is pretty clean, but the large majority of these songs are classic Black Lips fare.
7. Factums “Alien Native” LP (Siltbreeze)
2007: The Year of Siltbreeze? I’m glad the label’s back if they keep on putting out stuff like this. Contender for sleeve of the year, as well.
6. Psychedelic Horseshit “Magic Flowers Droned” LP (Siltbreeze)
For some reason this record put me off at first, but I’ve since come around. Good stuff, but the “Paper Singles” LP supposedly coming this year will kill it.
5. Eddy Current Suppression Ring s/t LP (Dropkick)
Best straight up punk record of the year. And along with Eddy Current, based on some myspace lurking, it looks like there is a re-birth of cool punk bands (Straight Arrows, The Stabs, etc) coming from Australia. If only the records were easier to find.
4. Times New Viking “Present the Paisley Reich” LP (Siltbreeze)
I like the first LP better, but this one-sider still delivers the goods.
3. Pink Reason “Cleaning the Mirror” LP (Siltbreeze)
All three live sets I’ve seen Pink Reason play have been completely different from each other and none of them sounded anything like this LP. I love that. One of the saddest records I’ve heard in a while, but near perfect for what it is.
2. Sic Alps “Description of the Harbor” LP (Awesome Vistas)
Less blown out and more focussed than their previous efforts. It’s kind of nuts that they only pressed 300 of these, as this is the best Sic Alps record yet.
1. The Ohsees “Sucks Blood” LP (Castle Face)
Apparently this is the year where I couldn’t stop listening to quiet, psych-tinged songs, and this LP is certainly packed with them. Excellent from start to finish. I have a feeling their next record is going to be pretty different, but just as good.
Other good to great LPs from 2007:
Cheater Slicks “Walk Into the Sea” LP (Dead Canary)
The Cherry Blossoms s/t LP (Black Velvet Fuckere)
Clockcleaner “Babylon Rules” LP (Load)
Demon’s Claws “Satan’s Little Pet Pigs” LP (In the Red)
Group Inerane “Guitars From Agadez” LP (Sublime Frequencies)
Lamps “Lamps” LP (In the Red)
Los Llamarada “The Exploding Now” LP (S-S)
Mark Sultan “The Sultanic Verses” LP (In the Red)
Preussisk Gravling Klubb “Bugs” LP (Wwilko)
Subtle Turnhips “BigOrneAu” 10” (Direct Au Bar)
Volt s/t LP (In the Red)
Michael Yonkers with the Blind Shake “Carbohydrates Hydrocarbons” LP (Nero’s Neptune)
Top Five Reissues/Boots of 2007:
5. Young Marble Giants “Colossal Youth” LP (Domino)
Minimalist pop at its best.
4. Raxola s/t LP (Radio Heartbeat)
A classic record finally available again on vinyl. No complaints here.
3. Chrome “Alien Soundtracks” and “Half Machine Lip Moves” LPs (Cleopatra)
Yeah, the “sleeves” are really shitty but they sound great.
2. Pulp Music “Low Flying Aircraft” 7” (Poutre Apparente)
“Low Flying Aircraft” approaches both The Silver’s “Do You Wanna Dance?” and Billy Bao’s “Bilbo’s Incinerator” in the “out there” department. Totally weird and totally great. The experimental-DIY comp of old French stuff that Poutre Apparente is supposed to release in 2008 is highly anticipated.
1. Hubble Bubble s/t LP (Radio Heartbeat)
One of my all time favourite punk LPs, finally available on vinyl at a fair price. Thank you Radio Heartbeat!
JAY LITCH: One of resident collector scum, Jay compiled the incredible two-part Guide to GG Allin for us and has some more equally cool projects on the horizon.
2007 Mix Tape Monsters
Despite the many fine boundary-stretching genre mutations making their way onto wax in 2007, much of what I consistently hit rewind for in the car was not especially weird at all -- just straight-up, well-written pop songs at heart. Hey, call me a fag. In no particular order, except possibly by gayness:
So Cow - Moon Geun Young (Myoclonic/Almost Ready)
I'm not just tickling pals Tony and Harry's ballsacks here -- they released a stellar lone song worthy of many more households than the scant 200 (or less) this currently resides in. Quirky indie-pop begging for a much less mundane description. Absolutely brilliant.
Test Patterns - Fall In Place EP (Shit Sandwich) & No Translation EP (Contaminated)
Now this is what powerpop should sound like. Christ, I'd listen to Chinatown Dan stand on my coffee table and play the lead to "Flower Of Mind" over and over and over again. Hooks, loud guitars, male/female vox -- makes you want to lose your lunch over a stack of Nice Boys records.
Tyvek - Needles Drop 2x45 (What's Your Rupture)
Nice to see that last year's "Mary Ellen Claims" was no fluke. "While "Frustration Rock" is the immediate hit, the creepy "Air Conditioner" wins it for me. But hell, you can't really go wrong with four Tyvek songs in a row, now can you?
Goodnight Loving - Drafted Into War (Contaminated)
A flawless rootsy, jangly two-and-a-half minutes of Americana that would have H-I-T written all over it in a perfect world. Then again, at least a bunch of drunk frat boys aren't massacring this at the karaoke bar.
Thomas Function - My Empire (Black Owl Radio) & Relentless Machines (Dusty Medical)
Missing these guys play Boston will go down as a major regret in my life if I never get a chance to see them again. These two offerings continue the top-notch delivery with borderline off-key vocals, animated '65 Dylan-esque lyrics, and sleeper hooks.
Pink Reason - By A Thread EP (Trickknee Productions)
For those times when life's a downer, when you're feeling crappy but don't want to bother understanding why, Pink Reason is there for you. The Trickknee EP further fragments your brain with two tracks of melancholy bliss and one hypnotic a-capella stunner.
Blank Dogs - Yellow Mice Sleep (HoZac)
I accidentally put "Yellow Mice Sleep" on same mix tape twice within 10 or so minutes of each other, and I can't begin to express how happy that made me. And I would still always rewind one of them. I won't bother conjuring up adjectives; y'all already own this anyways.
Pets - Let's Go (Douchemaster)
The Pets' no-frills pop formula gells magically on this offering, and yet another five-star winner Douchemaster can add to their resume. Check your winter weariness at the door -- this and the Tuff Bananas are keeping it summer all year round.
Jay Reatard - I Know A Place (Goner) & Jay Reatard / Boston Chinks split (P.Trash)
Yeah, he's singing, not screaming. Yeah, there's acoustic guitars. Yeah, even my dear wife digs this one... "I Know A Place" is one great bombastic pop song, period. On the P.Trash split 45, Jay's contribution, "Let It All Go," is up there with the best of them, and served as a swell set-closer to boot. But the real thrill here is the Boston Chinks "Swollen Vessels." Holy shit! Intense. Too bad they couldn't have snuck this into the live Reatard set.
Tuff Bananas - Dance To Rock n Roll EP (Three Dimensional)
Good thing I discarded my tepid response to the title track and decided to flip this thing over -- "Rollercoaster" and "Nitetime" are bubblegum anthems for that amusement park-goer in everyone. Plus, luckily, these kids know that if you're gonna sing "sha la la," you'd better have the ballsy guitar to back it up.
Plexi-3 - Calculated Romance EP (Dusty Medical)
Granted, the insanely cute two-girl factor on the cover could very well cloud one's judgement. But once I regained composure, the Plexi-3 treated me to three wonderful jangle-pop treats, one being a Love cover which easily could have passed off as their own.
Dangerloves - Lip Smart (Fashionable Idiots)
Our drunken idiot friends departed from the hardcore/punk blueprint and released, of all things, a superb powerpop gem of a tune in "Lip Smart." Sure, the lyrics are almost too cringe-inducing to even hum to yourself -- even by powerpop standards, where the bar ain't exactly raised too high -- but I'll be damned if you don't listen to "Lip Smart" ten times in a row and still want to hear it again.
CPC Gangbangs - The Broken Glass (Seeing Eye)
Absolute monster sung by the seemingly mild-mannered, clean-throated Lyle Sheraton. "Grab yourself a bottle / of whiskey or beer / smash it real hard / call everybody near / take off your shoes and start dancing / see how long you last / come on everybody / do the broken glass." Seeing this live with inadvertant real glass and blood (courtesy of our man Harry) proved quite the spectacle.
Touched - Funeral Dress (Blackvelvetfuckerecordings)
In typical Ohio fashion, this fucker appears virtually out of nowhere, sans hype save for a few astute record distributors, and consequently destroys everything in its path. The fine midwestern midtempo punk chugging is upstaged only by calculated, drawn-out insanity of "Backscratcher."
All these catchy hooks got you feeling too good? Make sure you crank up Out With A Bang (Criminal IQ and Fashionable Idiots) and Rot Shit (Big Neck) on the way to your next job interview, you disgusting little rat.
SARAH JANET: Sarah contributes some wonderful writing to TB about films under the TB Theater heading.
Culled from my various blog postings of the past year, here are the ten best films I saw for the first time in 2007, in the order in which I saw them. Interestingly enough, they were all released between 1970 and 1974, or 2005 and 2007—testament to the fact that the 70s was the best decade in American filmmaking to date—and, I guess, that things been picking up lately as well.
1. Hospital, Frederick Wiseman, 1970
Frederick Wiseman’s vast body of work spans three decades, an important compiling of documents concerning various American institutions. Hospital depicts a cross-sampling of the daily activities of the Metropolitan Hospital in Manhattan via a series of vignettes. The underlying theme seems to be a condemnation of the institutional restrictions placed on the doctors and nurses who are supposed to be helping the patients—it’s mainly the system that’s at fault here, i.e. inadequate health insurance, not enough available beds, a lack of communication, and all the other bureaucratic bullshit that is endemic to such places.
Wiseman takes a naturalistic approach to filmmaking, avoiding the flashy accoutrements that other documentarians fall prone to. There is no voiceover narration, no music, just a string of scenes edited together to portray the scope of activities occurring inside a hospital—“pure voyeurism,” as it is described in The Boston Phoenix. This style is what I particularly liked about the film: the jokes, and tragedies, come through in the editing, which is masterfully done.
2. The Spirit of the Beehive, Víctor Erice, 1973
Comparisons of this film to Pan’s Labyrinth are not without precedent; both take place during the Spanish Civil War, the main character a young girl who pays daily visits to a “spirit.” But that’s where the similarities end. In The Spirit of the Beehive, the political elements are much farther from the foreground, perhaps only mentioned when the girl’s mother writes lamenting letters to her lover, whom she has not heard from since he went off to fight in the war.
Two sisters, Ana and Isabel, see a Spanish-language dubbed version of James Whale’s Frankenstein at their local town hall. Ana is profoundly affected by the film, particularly the part in which the monster and the little girl throw flowers into a pond. Isabel, the older and somewhat worldlier of the two, tells Ana that Frankenstein’s monster is really a spirit who lives in a nearby abandoned farmhouse. At first visit, the farmhouse appears empty, though Ana discovers a large footprint in the dirt, which she gingerly steps into with her own, much smaller foot.
The film adeptly captures the feeling of childhood innocence. Impressionistic and heavy with symbolism, the beautiful cinematography conveys a striking image; when I think of this film I envision the barren, golden fields surrounding the girls’ home, empty except for Ana’s tiny figure running across them.
3. The Conversation, Francis Ford Coppola, 1974
Sound is the most significant aspect of this film in which Harry Caul, a legend in the surveillance business, is assigned to record an exchange between two people. Their voices are peppered with robotic blips and bursts as Caul refines the sound quality through a filter, which lends the film an odd, unnatural ambiance. With each tweak of the knobs, the voice’s meaning becomes clearer, though as we eventually realize, it doesn’t quite manage to capture every subtle nuance and inflection. Caul, however, isn’t all that interested in what his subjects are actually saying—this may, perhaps, be the first instance where he’s paid any attention to the content at all—but is fascinated by the technology that’s been used to record it. This seems to be the case with most surveillance professionals—when Caul attends a convention, he’s surrounded by crowds of other middle-aged men who are obsessed with the workings of hidden cameras and tiny microphones concealed in lapel pins.
Caul is a bit of a paradox, in that his profession, which he takes quite seriously, is to invade the private lives of strangers. And yet, he is secretive about his own life to the point of paranoia, which only intensifies throughout the film: he hides his telephone in a drawer and tells people he has none, he doesn’t want his landlady to have a key to his apartment, he refuses to disclose any personal information to the woman he’s romantically involved with. When he discovers that his own apartment has been bugged, he tears apart every floorboard, smashes every object, desperate to find the device; the final image of Caul sitting in his wrecked apartment playing his saxophone is a strong one.
4. The Long Goodbye, Robert Altman, 1973
I think Robert Altman is my new favorite director (at least his earlier work—the later stuff isn’t bad, but doesn’t come near his brilliant work from the 70s). In this re-imagining of Raymond Chandler’s classic detective character, Philip Marlowe, instead of tough, hardboiled, and humorless, our leading man is a smartass, wise-cracking underdog, a kind of radical private eye for the 70s. Elliot Gould’s Marlowe sleeps fully clothed in cheap J.C. Penney attire, a cigarette perpetually dangling from his lips, mumbling humorous witticisms like “He’s got a girl, I got a cat” and his catchphrase, “It’s okay with me.” The palm-treed L.A. backdrop enhances the noir elements—there’s a sordidness beneath the sunny surface, bruises marring the artificial tans.
In addition to Marlowe, the film is brimming with endearing and memorable secondary characters: the security guard who does impressions of classic Hollywood actors, Marlowe’s hippie neighbors who practice yoga topless from their deck, and, perhaps the real star of the show, Marlowe’s cat, who, in the opening scene, wakes him up at 3:00 in the morning demanding to be fed. (The cat is quite particular about what he eats, sending Marlowe to the 24-hour grocery store in search of Courry brand cat food.)
5. Brewster McCloud, Robert Altman, 1970
Perhaps my favorite Altman movie yet, Brewster McCloud is so zanily absurd that it’s hard to succinctly explain the plot, but I’ll make an attempt anyway. Brewster, played by the inimitable Bud Cort looking like a cross between Harry Potter and Waldo, lives in the fallout shelter of the Houston Astrodome, hard at work building a pair of wings so he can fly. Meanwhile, police are investigating a series of murders in which the victims are found covered in bird shit (scatologists are brought in to inspect the feces).
Sexual desire is Brewster’s fatal flaw, his life spiraling out of control when he befriends Suzanne, a waiflike tour guide at the Astrodome. Suzanne seems kind of an oddball herself, though we eventually discover that she’s really a conservative wimp who fashions herself as a rebel (maybe Altman had some actual people in mind here). Despite her ultimately leading to Brewster’s undoing, I can’t help but love her character anyway (and besides, she’s played by Shelley Duvall, who’s kind of inimitable too).
6. Wanda, Barbara Loden, 1971
Barbara Loden’s sole directorial credit—in 1980, liver cancer abruptly silenced any future work—chronicles the tale of a housewife and mother who walks out on her former life with little explanation. Wanda seems to have no place in the world, aimlessly drifting from one man to the next, until she inadvertently teams up with Mr. Dennis, a criminal who involves her in his plans to rob a bank.
Loden at one point called the film the “anti-Bonnie and Clyde,” as it avoids sensationalizing the story. The action is muted, generating an understated grace enhanced by the grainy 16mm film stock, and beautiful washed-out colors. The use of handheld cameras, natural lighting, and a generally improvisatory approach evoke a cinema verite style.
7. 13 Tzameti, Géla Babluani, 2005
Shot in gorgeous black and white, this French thriller directed by newcomer Babluani is suspenseful, mysterious, and satisfyingly bleak. A poor immigrant intercepts a message that isn’t meant for him but follows the instructions anyway, understanding nothing of where it will take him or what it means, only that it could potentially bring him a large sum of money. That’s about all I can divulge about the plot without eliminating any element of surprise, but let me tell you, it’s pretty brutal.
8. The King of Kong, Seth Gordon, 2007
This documentary about two men competing to break the Donkey Kong world record is, ultimately, a battle of good and evil. The good guy is Steve Wiebe, an everyman (and somewhat of an underdog) who’s experienced a string of bad luck: most significantly, he was laid off the same day as the closing on his and his wife’s new house. As his good friend says, “I’ve never seen anyone cry as much as Steve,” which serves as a bit of unintentional foreshadowing. Newly unemployed, Steve decides to pass the time by playing Donkey Kong in his garage, in a quest to achieve the new world record.
On the other side of the country (and spectrum) is the villain, Billy Mitchell, who has held claim to the highest score ever attained in Donkey Kong since 1982. It seems like Billy will stop at nothing to maintain his title, from confiscating Steve’s game console, to suspiciously materializing an old tape in which he beats his own championship score, to refusing to drive the ten or so miles from his house to publicly challenge Steve (even though Steve has traveled thousands of miles to be there). It’s clear that he feels threatened by his new opponent, and rather than nobly facing the situation, he resorts to plotting and scheming.
Billy is such a stereotypical villain that it’s almost hard to believe. One could argue that his portrayal could be the result of clever editing, but dialogue like “He is the person he is today because he came under the wrath of Bill Mitchell” (he frequently refers to himself in the third person) cannot be faked. I like to think that he’s carefully cultivated this formidable, enigmatic persona, which his many fans/cronies/underlings have perpetuated. But even if I were to discover that this isn’t an accurate portrayal of the true events (and it almost seems inevitable that it’s not), after getting over my initial disappointment, I can’t imagine I would find the movie any less entertaining.
9. The Landlord, Hal Ashby, 1970
Hal Ashby’s debut film is a social—and somewhat clairvoyant—comedy about gentrification, in which a spoiled rich kid buys a row house in Park Slope before it was chic (one of his neighbors correctly predicts how hip the neighborhood is destined to become). While he does assert that “everyone wants a home of his own” as he suns himself in the family pool, Elgar Enders never quite makes it clear as to why he’s chosen this particular place as his home. He seems to be feigning a personal rebellion against his stereotypically rich and brainless family, and while I suppose that having their son living in the ghetto could be a blemish on their name, he can’t seem to pull it off, and falls short of accomplishing any real defiance.
Elgar admits to the building’s tenants that he eventually intends to oust them so he can knock out all the floors and install a “great big psychedelic spectacular son-of-a-bitchin’ chandelier,” yet he still manages to establish a bond with them, albeit a brief one. This premise could easily have floundered near the surface of the subject, remaining predictably zany and sitcom-ish. But instead, it pushes the barriers of what a comedy can do, ever so subtly beginning to address the underlying implications of Elgar’s purchase, and our ways of thinking about race and social class.
10. No Country for Old Men, Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007
This adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel remains very close to the source material, in some cases taking dialogue word for word from the pages of the book. The result is extremely successful, especially as the book itself is rather cinematic (as I was reading it I remember wondering if it would be made into a movie).
At the heart of the story is Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), as close to evil in human form as one might ever encounter. Chigurh has a slow, deliberate way of speaking, one that instills goosebumps in its listener, particularly in his nerve-wrackingly cryptic practice of bargaining with another man over his life with the toss of a coin. His cruel, cold, humorless mannerisms are accentuated by his odd choice of weapon, the cattle gun, which propels a metal cylinder into an object (often a person’s skull) and then sucks the cylinder back inside, and his bizarre 1970s porn haircut (apparently modeled after a photo of a 1979 brothel patron), adds the right amount of weirdness to his appearance.
Bardem’s performance is so strong that his character’s presence is palpable even when he’s not there—in certain instances the viewer can almost feel that the camera has just missed him by a few minutes. Llewelyn Moss, the man who had the misfortune of discovering Chigurh’s money (though he probably feels it is good fortune at the time) is clearly making a mistake by trying to outrun Chigurh, for even if Moss manages to flee from him once, it’s never long before he catches up with him—the man is like a machine, unstoppable. Each narrow escape is thrilling and suspenseful—even for me, and I already knew the story’s outcome.
DAVE HYDE (DH): David reviews records for TB and also does the infamous CHEAP REWARDS column.
2007 was fucking exhausting. Summing it up in bullet point format would be even more exhausting. Here are some things that helped keep me going:
1. Ohio: All the good music comes from Ohio. Psychedelic Horseshit, Pink Reason, and The Homostupids all released albums that continue to hold my interest 51 listens strong. Seriously, when it’s time to pull out an LP to listen to, these are what my hand gravitates to almost every time. Then there’s the OH singles, with that newest Times New Viking EP and Pink Reason 7” at the top of the heap. The Buckeye state came through in a big way.
2. Zoom!: It’s been a pleasure to sink my teeth into Errol Morris’ ZOOM blog. Morris aims a critical eye at photography and poses questions central to the nature of photographs and truth. He is persistent in his quest and the resultant essays provide much fodder for debate.
3. Odd sizes: There have been a lot of good discs with weird formats in 2007. Who knows why Tyvek decided on a double single instead of two 7”s or a 12” or something, but it works. Lebenden Toten’s 8” was outstanding, as was Billy Bao’s 10”. Then there’s that Jumpin Beans & Willie split with Gary Forney. Split singles aren’t exactly odd, but sharing the record with a song-poet is.
4. Debuts: It’s a bit soon to tell, but Wizzard Sleeve’s HoZac record might be the best single released this year. And what a nice surprise from Australia’s Straight Arrows! Their single is an outstanding fuzz-rocker. Total Noise Accord and Lover! both had debuts that spend a lot of time spinning around here, but it’s the Loose Diamonds album that really hit the sweet spot and made me feel like a sensitive lad.
5. Gigs: Way back in January, No Fucker came to town for the first time in ages to gig with Lambsbread and Awesome Color. If the Fun Things’ guitar was like a buzzsaw, No Fucker’s was the whole damn construction site. It was a perfect set of high energy hardcore noise. The Black Lips’ July gig at the Silent Barn in Queens —a sizeable loft space with a small stage, decent sound system, and stylish murals— to an overstuffed, clown-car-like crowd was great. It was incredibly difficult to move in any direction other than “pogo,” at least by choice, but the energy level for all was on 11 and most of us had too much to drink to dwell on the discomforts anyway. But when Psychedelic Horseshit and Pink Reason played the Cake Shop in December, it was a transcendent experience. A mess in all the best ways, by the end of Pink Reason’s set, members of both bands and their friends were on stage banging on cymbals or squealing with saxophones. I was pretty sure at least two members of the posse were going to end up at the hospital, but I don’t think they noticed.
LATE TWENTIES STEVE (SB): Steve reviews records for TB and has done some interviews and columns as well. He's also in Boys Club, has a hand in the Three Dimensional Records label and loves WEIRD PUNK.
Steve's Ten Favorite New Songs of 2007:
- Home Blitz - "Thin Ice" from "The World's Lousy With Ideas vol. 1" 45 (Almost Ready) - I don't care if my horrible singing and sub-par songwriting is on display on the very next track on this comp, I loved this song more than any other released in 2007. Home Blitz is the most inspirational band out there today. This is their rockingest song to date, but I would still rate "Stupid Street" as their best. The world needs more Home Blitz in 2008.
- Tyvek - three way tie between "Needles Drop," "Frustration Rock," and "Air Conditioner" all from the "Summer Burns" 2X7" (What's Your Rupture?) - Dude. Fucking Tyvek. Dude.
- So Cow "Moon Geun Young" from the eponymous one sided 45 (Almost Ready/Myoclonic) - If I'm not mistaken, I think the genesis of this 45 was Mike Sniper starting a thread about So Cow's myspace page on the TB message board. What's incredible, is that the record is so great it transcends the lameness of it's origin. No offense to Mike, he's a capital "D" Dude, but a record that exists because of a myspace page being pointed out on a message board? Talk about ignoble beginnings! Essential single that you probably missed out on.
- Dutchess and the Duke - "Mary" from the "Reservoir Park" 45 (Boom Boom) - The only thing in '07 that could match the beauty of this song was that magical winter's eve I spent with Todd Tricknee: him staring longingly into my eyes as we fed each other slices of Jake's Pizza, cheering the Pack on to victory together down at Lambeau Field - our hands nestled in each others laps to keep the cold out - and our private postgame party where I taught him the true meaning of the phrase, "the pack is back." We played this record when we cuddled afterwards.
- Blank Dogs "Outside Alarmer" from the "Doorbell Fire" 45 (Sweet Rot) - Great fucking song that broke through my aversion to the weird punk aesthetic. Genuinely touching and evocative despite sounding like a cover of a Nintendo game theme song at times. I love me 'dem dere Blank Dongs.
- Group Inerane "Nadan Al Kazawnin from the "Guitars from Agadaz" LP (Sublime Frequencies) - This entire LP knocked me for a loop, but this song was particularly stunning. Simultaneously traditional and futuristic, this sounds different from anything I've heard before. Consequently I don't have much of a frame of reference from which to analyze it, but I can say this: I like it a lot. Also, I'm pretty sure that "Nadan Al Kazawnin" translates to "I'm Going to Piss on Your Face and Stick a Banana in Your Ass if You Pass Out Here Tonight," leaving "Tea-Bag" party safe as the best balls on head jam of '07.
- Psychedlic Horseshit - two way tie between "Portals" and "Mouth Disciples" from the "Magic Flowers Droned" LP (Stiltbreeze) - This LP ended up spending as much time on my turntable as any other release this year. It's not a solid album you can listen to front to back, but the high points sparkle with a ramshackle sublimity that I found myself growing increasingly addicted to. If they could pull off an LP as strong as these two songs they'd be my new favorite band.
- Apache "Boys Life" from the eponymous 45 (Douchemaster) - Superb pop-cum-rock-cum-punk-cum-glam nugget that deserves recognition for being the first song I can think of to blatantly ape Milk 'n' Cookies. That it actually works is nothing short of a modern miracle. I guess everyone in the Bay Area not named Mitch Cardwell hates them, which means they must be doing something right.
- King Khan & BBQ Show "Teabag Party" from the eponymous EP (Crypt) - Perhaps the best song I heard this year about a guy putting his balls on another dude's head. That's saying a lot. Although, I'm kind of confused, since I always thought teabagging meant to stick your balls in the mouth of someone when they pass out at a party.
- Fe Fi Fo Fums "You Might Get Me" from the "I Just Wanna Boom Boom Girl" 45 (Rob's House) - If you compared this to "a 'Between the Buttons' outtake" like a lot of people did you deserve to have a tambourine broken over your head and the business end of a maraca stuck betwixt your buttocks. Shit, I think I might've made that lazy-ass comparison too. Uh oh.
JUSTIN COLLECTORSCUM: Justin contributes the Too Much Junk colum to TB on a regular basis. He also did a great Guide to Datapanik Records fand alos keeps the collectorscum.com website up-to-date.
Mostly due to not living in my own house almost half of this year, being slow about hooking up the stereo after both moves, and the general time requirements of work and family, I didn't have nearly enough time this year to listen to all the records I acquired. I'm always good about staying on top of the old punk 45s, but most newer 45s, both old and new LPs and even CDs (I bought a LOT of cheap stuff at the Tower Records closing sale) have been piling up on my "to-listen" shelves (note I didn't say "shelf".) So with that in mind, I present the top 10 (or 12) new singles I have NOT yet listened to this year. In alphabetical order:
Busy Signals - Radio 7" (Fan Klub)
Everyone says the recordings suck, but it took me like 8 months to receive it and it sells for upwards of $100 on eBay, so it must be good, right? I know their new LP is good, as I actually played it. Multiple times, even.
Catholic Boys - Dead Ball 7" (Trick Knee)
Catholic Boys - Fixed 7" (Sweet Rot)
I came to their first album kind of late, but it got a lot of play in my car. I'm calling this one a tie, as I have absolutely no idea which of the two is better.
Dutchess & the Duke - Reservoir Park 7" (Boom Boom Castle)
I'm cheating on this one as I played the A-side off their Myspace page a lot. It's odd that I like this since I'm pretty much anti-folk music unless it's of the pre-war, recorded on 78s variety. Here's to hoping the B-side is good.
Eddy Current Suppression Ring - You Let Me Be Honest With You 7" (White Denim)
I read the early hype on these guys on Dave Lang's Lexicon Devil blog and I figured I'd really like them. Later on, some footage on Youtube confirmed it. Unfortunately I missed their NYC shows. I haven't listened to the LP either. What's my problem?
Estrogen Highs - E Major D Construction 7" (Never Heard of It)
Another cheating selection as Stefan handed me the limited-to-forty five-song CD-R at a show (something at Cakeshop: Home Blitz or King Kahn + BBQ?) But I've yet to hear it on vinyl, so it makes the list.
Final Solutions - You Look Like a Lesbian 7" (Jeth-Row)
The first album is still getting lots of play in my car. I haven't yet listened to the 2nd full-length or this single. But the limited version of the sleeve sure is pretty.
Gaye Blades - Don't Get Married 7" (Rob's House)
Black Lips fan + Lids fan + dug the first one = this must be great, right?
Jay Reatard - In the Dark 7" (Squoodge)
Jay Reatard / Boston Chinks - split 7" (P. Trash)
Another tie, sorry. After initially thinking all the songs sounded the same, I'm now of the school that Jay's solo LP is about the best thing released this year. I was forced to pay stupid money mail ordering these from Italy, but that doesn't mean they've graced my turntable yet.
Tyvek - Needles Drop 2x7" (What's Your Rupture)
The first single is great, no doubt about that. Instead of a three-way tie, I'm going to say that as a four-song double single, this looks like it has more potential than the Cheveu split or so-called tour-only single. I guess I should be saying four-way tie, but I totally missed out on that other split they did.
Vee Dee - Glimpses of Another World 7" (Criminal IQ)
People seem really split on this band, but the psych-plus-Misfits combo of their first LP totally does it for me. Their one visit to NYC a couple years back is the Dot Dash booked show that I most regret missing. You'd think after all that, this new single would have landed on my turntable the day I got it. But f you've actually read this far you know that's not the case. Maybe next year.
ROB VERTIGO (RSF): Rob stepped up and became a helpful member of the TB review staff this year. He's also a founding member of (semi-defunct/on hiatus/still active?) Tractor Sex Fatality, Buffalo's favorite band.
- Terrible Twos - 'Radical Tadpoles' (X!)
- Human Eye - 'Dinosaur Bones' (Ypsilanti)
- Touched - 'Funeral Dress' (Black Velvet Fuckere)
- His Electro Blue Voice (S-S)
- Luxury Rides (Goodbye Boozy)
- Daily Void - 'Mass Communication Culture' (Boom-Chick)
- AluminumKnotEye - 'Even Dwarfs Started Small'(Big Black Hole)
- CPC Gangbangs - 'The Broken Glass' Pic Disc (Seeing Eye)
- Blowtops - '64 Teeth' (Certified PR)
- Vee Dee - 'Glimpses of Another World' (Criminal IQ)
- Red Red Red - 'Mind Destroyer' (Big Neck)
- Cheater Slicks - 'Walk Into the Sea' (Dead Canary)
- Little Claw - 'Spit & Squalor...' (Ecstatic Peace)
- Slicing Grandpa - 'Chaos Midnight' (Strain Theory)
- Daily Void - 'Identification Code...' (Dead Beat)
- Golden Boys - 'Whiskey Flower' (Hook or Crook)
- Frustrations – 'Glowing Red Pill' CD (X!)
- Clockcleaner – 'Babylon Rules' (Load)
- Night Terrors - 'Cobras' (Big Neck)
- Walls - s/t (Painkiller)
- Functional Blackouts - 'Best of the Monkees' CD (Dead Beat)
- Flower Traveling Band - 'Satori' 2XLP (Radioactive)
- The Weeds - LP (Way Back)
"MONEY SHOT" MATT COPPENS (MTC): Matt writes a reviews column for TB and is one of the most loving and caring individuals I've ever met.
I slammed my fist into your face. I got drunk every single day for two years. I pissed myself in a drunken stupor on a Cleveland, Ohio hotel room floor. I stole money from your sock drawer. I snorted all your cocaine and never thanked you for it. I cheated on you with your best friend. I threw a glass at your face. I crashed your computer because of the Internet porn I downloaded. I threatened to stab you... and meant it. I kicked you in the shin when you tried walking past me. I took all the pills and washed them down with a bottle of red wine. I ruined your band’s set by constant heckling. I threw your bass guitar twenty feet into the air. I contemplated suicide. I gave you a head butt. I smashed a bottle over my own face. I gave five Mexican gang bangers the finger and dealt with the consequences. I broke all of your band’s records in front of you while you were on tour. I threw you down the stairs. I kicked a fan at you from across the room. I screwed two eighteen year old girls at the same time. I walked down the middle of the street and begged for cars to hit me. I nearly bled to death in a drunken blackout. I woke up covered in mud, blood, and beer and had no recollection of anything. I set a fire in the merch room. I spread false rumors about how your cunt smells. I fucked your girlfriend. I told you I enjoyed your company but I really just wanted to get in your pants.
I did this. All of it and more. I’m coming clean and in 2007, most, but not all of this stuff stopped. In 2007 I learned how to stop hating myself and I can now sit in a room alone without having thoughts of hurting myself and others around me. 2007 was a very good year. 2008 looks even better. The sun actually does rise. Who would’ve thought I’d even still be on Earth typing this shit, huh? Here’s my top eleven list. Cheers.
11. The return of The Prostitutes, one of my all-time favorite bands. They’re back and just as venomous as ever.
10. That Double Negative/Chronic Seizure/Total Fury/Always Aware show at the Subterranean back in September. Every band brought it and it was probably the best hardcore/punk show I’ve ever been to.
9. Being man enough to finally admit that I like that "Nothing Compares..." song by Sinead O’Connor.
8. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Represent.
7. Plies. Southern rap maniac. Dude seriously uses the word “Nigga” like 2,000 times in every song. Can you say awesome?
6. Holy Shit! - Best record of the year.
4. Bad Chopper. CJ Ramone’s new band. I was VERY skeptical but when I popped it in and found it rocked I lost my shit.
3. Pretty girls that talk to me.
2. Old Style. It kept me company almost every day in 2007.
1. I hate to pull a Dee Dee Ramone here, but: ME ME ME!!!!!!
RFA’S TOP SHIT OF 2007: The almighty Richard Fucking Adventure is the founding Knight of the Rock Table and a total fucking rocker. He does reviews and a column when he has spare time. He is a brother like no other.
1. LAMPS - S/T:
I’ve been saying that the new Lamps record would be album of the year since 2006, when I landed a copy of this great record. I like to sit back and smoke a bowl of some fine hawkwind while listening to this. Otherwise I practice moonsaults, dropkicks, elbow drops, and other various wrestling moves when rockin’ my Lamps record. Now all I want is for Monty and the boys to play outside of the West Coast and make the journey to Wisconsin. I might just have to convince them to play my divorce party. Deal with it.
2. INTELLIGENCE – 'DEUTERONOMY':
In my eyes Lars Finberg can do no wrong. This is just another example of how fucking great the Intelligence is. I don’t know if it's cuz Lars is a total dude or the fact that he is a brother Knight of the Rock Table. Either way this album makes me wanna get vertical.
3. Clockcleaner – 'BABYLON RULES':
This album is like a fucking buzz saw ripping through flesh! It’s definitely the best Clockcleaner album to date. It took me a couple of listens to get hooked, and when I did, I realized how epic it really is. The whole album rules and the Breeders cover is really well done too.
4. DAILY VOID – 'IDENTIFICATION CODE 5271-684346864436-4519':
When I saw these guys early this summer I heard some mixed reviews from other people about their live show. Those non-believers can get fucked. Seriously they were fucking monsterous live, and my ass was kicked. This is some really great weird chaotic punk that won’t be denied. This record is definitely brutal while under the influence of pills, wind, beer, and other various narcotics. Not recommended for hangover music, cuz it might cause vomiting blood.
5. BILLY BAO – 10":
In the words of the legend, Mitch Cardwell. Billy Bao is 75% dude and 25% rocker. Nuff said!
BEST METAL RECORD:
3 INCHES OF BLOOD – 'FIRE UP THE BLADES':
If I still had long hair I’d be doing headwhips while listening to 3 Inches of Blood. Instead I rock out to it while smoking wind and playing Golden Axe on my Sega Genesis. I always play as the dwarf who weilds the axe. He is pretty bad ass, seriously. I recommend this for all metalheads out there. Good ol’ RFA wouldn’t try and steer ya’ wrong when it comes to metal.
LIVE FAST DIE/WIZZARD SLEEVE:
Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of great singles that came out this year. I could have had a big list ready for the year end wrap up too. I figured I'd just chisel it down to one though. The LFD/Wizzard Sleeve single is fucking awesome. Live Fast Die fuckin’ rule and the two songs on the single are both really good. However, in my eyes it’s the Wizzard Sleeve side that makes this single as epic as it is. ” Chrome intensifier” is such a great fucking song. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t think it’s great. I can’t wait to get their other single and for a full length to come out. Wizzard Sleeve really know how to write songs that are face melting and brain oozing. So they got that going for them...which is nice.
WRESTLER OF THE YEAR:
It was kind of hard for me to decide on who I thought the wrestler of the year should be for 2007. I could have picked through guys like Nigel McGuinness, Bryan Danielson, or Steve Borchardt. Instead I decided to go back in the past to pick my wrestler of the year. I landed a two-disc set of the best of BRUISER BRODY. It included a bunch of matches, promos, and other stuff. I probably watch that more than the wrestling that is on today. Bruiser Brody was one of the most bad ass guys in the business. The fucker was stiff as hell. Other wrestlers were afraid to get in the ring with him because he was so tough on his opponents. One story in particular was Lex Luger was supposed to wrestle Brody in a cage match. Luger, a young rookie at the time, allegedly had a huge ego and wasn’t going to sell for Brody. Bruiser apparently tied razor blades to his fingers to teach Luger a lesson. Lex Luger was scared as hell and climbed over the cage as fast as he could. Bruiser Brody stood in the ring waving Luger to come back. Unfortunately on July 16th 1988 Bruiser Brody was murdered in Puerto Rico by fellow wrestler Invader I. Bruiser Brody was stabbed to death in the locker room before his match, because he refused to job his match. Jose Huertas Gonzalez, aka Invader I, was never found guilty for the murder of Bruiser Brody, and maintains his innocence to this day. However guys like me know that the fucking pepper belly did it. For all you wrestling fans that aren’t familiar with Bruiser Brody, I’m sure you can find his matches on youtube. Check him out he was a total rocker for sure.
BEN LYON: Ben does artwork and stuff for TB. Sometimes. We should really utilize him more. You can see some of his work here. He does record sleeves and fliers and other cool shit, give him some work!
What a fucked up year. My girlfriend and I packed all
our shit up and moved to Kalamazoo, MI. Sweated it
out with no air conditioning on the worst part of town
for 3 weeks, and got robbed. They didn’t touch my
records, thank God, but they took a lot. We moved out
the very next day. So here I am a few months later,
living out of boxes in my dad’s living room. Records
are scattered everywhere. I’ve never been too
organized, but FUCK! So believe me, this list took
more than a little effort...a full-scale excavation is
closer to the truth.
I’ve said it every other time, may as well again…I’m
not a writer. Hell, I’m barely an artist. I don’t
think I even sent in any artwork this year. What the
hell am I doing? Anyone? I didn’t even buy that many
records this year. Comparatively. I don’t even think
I bought enough to do a top ten of LPs. Sure, I
bought a lot, but most of them didn’t come out in
2007…or even close. A few I did really enjoy this
year were the Mark Sultan “Sultanic Verses” LP, the
2nd Trashies record, Black Lips “Los Valientes Del
Mundo Nuevo” the Hipshakes, Red Red Red, “Songs by
Solutions”, and the Magnetix full length. I still
don’t have “Good Bad, Not Evil”, the Busy Signals,
Daily Void, Sonic Chicken 4, or a lot of other records
that I know or have a good idea would make the list.
I’ll get ‘em all someday.
Here’s a list of 7”s I really enjoyed in 2007(in no
order)…and maybe even some reasons why…
-Wax Museums “Claw You Like a Cat” & “Rambo Knife”:
Let me start by saying that for me, 2007 was the Wax
Museums’ year. A host of great singles (still don’t
have “Ancient Structures”, ‘cuz I’m super lame, but I’ve heard
it). “Jakoff Rat” is one of my favorite songs by
anyone ever. It’s just so stoooopid and catchy. If I
ever saw these guys with the Sneaky Pinks, my brain
would dissolve…but in a really fun cool way.
-Plexi 3 “Calculated Romance”: Pop pop pop fantastic!
One could say the most addictive record outta
Milwaukee’s rock n roll scene, but let’s not forget…
-Tuff Bananas “Candy”: I missed out on the first
single. I’m a late bloomer. The banana coconut cream
yellow and white vinyl looks good enough to eat. Come
back and make more records!!!
-Fe Fi Fo Fums “I Just Want a Boom Boom Girl”: This
band just really does it for me. “You Might Get Me”
is my jam, yo.
-Pure Country Gold “Setting Sun”: The title song is my
favorite song by these guys. I found myself humming
this months after I got the record. More please.
-Coconut Coolouts “The Spin Around”: First off, this
has one of the best sleeves ever. I absolutely love
it, and that’s the reason I bought it in the first
place. Lucky for me, the songs also kicked my dick in
the dirt. You know, in a good, non-literal way. I
put this on at a party I was DJing, and people lost
their shit and made the record player skip.
-Gaye Blades “I’d Brave Anything For You” & “A Visit
to the Home of the Man Who Invented Sexual
Intercourse”: Two records of perfect 50s/60s-tinged
gay love songs from Jared Swilley and Bobby Ubangi. I
hope there’s more records headed down the Hershey
-The Romance Novels “Peggy Sue”: I know these guys
have more out there...but I don’t have it. If it’s as
simple and gratifying as this, I need to track it
down. What’s with me and the 50’s/60’s roots thing
this year? I’ve been listening to so much Shirelles,
there should be a law.
-Batman and Robin “Who The Fuck Is Superman?!”: This
record is worth it for the between song skits alone.
And the songs are right on budget rockers that don’t
disappoint. They should tour with NoBunny! These
guys need to come to the States ASAP!
-The Daily Void “(Surprise Surprise) You’ve Lost Your
Eyes”: I loved the Functional Blackouts, so 3/4 of them
in a new band with a 3D record sleeve (with glasses),
is pretty much a no brainer for rock n roll
I also really liked the Fontana debut on X! Records
(see ‘em live!), the Jacuzzi Boys on Florida’s Dying,
Juiceboxxx/Japanther split, Metal Teeth, Grave
Blankets "Your Injured Ways", Cheap Time “Spoiled
Brat, Digital Leather “Camel Toe” and the Catburglars
“Holy Shit" EP. I still haven’t gotten the other
Daily Void 45, X-offender, Saba Lou, or a host of
other stuff I want.
If the Terrible Twos’ new record (which I happen to
be listening to as I type) is any indication, 2008
will be a killer year for rock n roll. I’ll probably
still be broke by this time next year though. But I
promise to draw more. Cheers!
JOEEE DOMINO: Joe isn't really a TB staffer, but he is with us in spirit. He started this whole ball rolling many many years ago with Blank Generation e-zine, which is where all us Tb-ers came together in the first place. So, thank you Joe Domino, we are forever in your debt.
Greetings and Salutations Terminal Boredomites,
For those of you old enough to remember, I am the expunkriate that used to operate that frightful “e-zine” Blank Generation. I also co-manage the On/On Switch label out of San Francisco with a couple of misfits, but never mind that. I’m here to talk about music in the year 2007. If I can find five records that still spark my endorphins, then it’s been a good year. In 2007, however, I tuned into a solid chunk of aural joy, commençant par le numéro dix, WORKING FOR A NUCLEAR FREE CITY. This Manchester group hits my sweet-spot with carefully layered electronics mixed with STONE ROSES and PRIMAL SCREAM Britpop. Their self-titled album has been re-released in the States as a double album, but for now I’m just going to mention their Rocket EP on Melodic Records. There’re only four tracks, but they’re all ace. Très bon!
Britain has invaded many areas in my top ten, and RADIOHEAD’S 'In Rainbows' on XL Recordings is another record that’s claimed a piece of the territory. RADIOHEAD is one band that fully has embraced the Internet, and I totally admire them for it; however, 'In Rainbows' just happens to be a great record too. Thom and crew balance the minimalist thump of 'Kid A' and the raw energy of 'Pablo Honey' beautifully. It took about ten spins to fully appreciate this record, but when weight of “Body Snatchers” comes down on your head, you’ll understand how In Rainbows is nothing short of a tour de force.
Next up is another Manchester artist: MAGIC ARM. The 'Outdoor Games' EP on Switchflicker is a whimsical mix of psychedelic breathes and folk-pop jams. One only needs to listen to the gentle hook of the layered guitars, the intermittent organ, and Marc’s velvety voice on “Outdoor Games” to be forever in love with this record. I’m anxiously awaiting more from this boy wonder.
A surprise release, for me anyway, was THE SHINS’ 'Wincing the Night Away' on Sub Pop. THE SHINS are great at penning singles – “Know Your Onion” and “Kissing the Lipless” are two great examples –, but I’ve never been able to stomach a full-length record by them; I think it has to do with the singer’s voice, which modulates in tones that irritate the piss out of me. Nonetheless, Wincing is the group’s smoothest album to date. Each track is a power-pop blast of tightly constructed hooks with bouncy bass-lines and soprano-styled crooning. The oceanic motif pours through the tracks and joins them together in a rolling wave of pop sensation making this the most fully realized SHINS album to date.
As we sail on over to Sweden we meet THE FIELD and a steady stream of BPM. From Here We Go Sublime (Kompakt) is an ambient electronic masterpiece that focuses on tone and melody and less on rhythm, though it’s a constant on the record. THE FIELD is most adept at phasing the timbre of the track in and out while maintaining his beat. It’s a rollercoaster ride full of symphonic pop, and it’s a must have LP.
And speaking of symphonic pop, THE BESNARD LAKES from Montreal are a group that really understands well-placed melody and well-crafted songs. C'est magnifique. Special thanks goes out to Shaun Anderson for clueing me into these kids a couple summers ago. Their album 'The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse' on Jagjaguwar Records combines all the best pop elements of THE BEACH BOYS with the trippy orchestration of THE FLAMING LIPS. The contrasting male falsettos and female tenors, complimented by the dreamy organ and reverb on the guitars, in “For Agent 13” resonate immensely in this listener’s ears, and it sounds like sunrays warming a deck by a blue, blue lake.
If THE BESNARD LAKES are the children of Apollo, then BURIAL is Artemis’ child. BURIAL released 'Untrue' (Hyperdub) late in 2007, but it is already one of my most listened to albums. Although they are grouped with the recent dubstep movement in Britain, this London-based musician – his or her identity is anonymous – creates minimal, atmospheric soundscapes that sample anything from scratchy pops off an old record to strange noises fumbling in the night. Untrue is much more a nighttime album than anything else, and the thumping beats, as well as the lyrics that warp and coil around the ambient, eerie synths, set a cool mood in one’s mind and makes for perfect winter music.
Another record that employs plenty of synth and electronica is DEERHUNTER. These Atlanta, Georgians have had a pretty big year, and if you haven’t heard their album 'Cryptograms' on Kranky Records, do yourself a favor and look them up right now. DEERHUNTER blur the best parts of the electronic, indie rock, post-punk, and shoegaze genres, but what really makes this record so peerless is the clever arrangement of the light and heavy pieces in the songs’ composition. What starts as a ripple, ends in a torrent of distorted melodies. If you like DEERHUNTER, be on the look out for Bradford Cox’s solo album in ’08 under le nom: ATLAS SOUND.
Of all the records I listened to in 2007, I did not expect BLONDE REDHEAD’S '23' (4AD) to affect me so deeply. I’ve never been a huge BR fan, but 23 is a gorgeous album. It’s strange that I’ve read a lot of harsh words written by BR’s regular fans. Obviously '23' is a big departure from their more SONIC YOUTH inspired noise-rock, but the 1980’s synthesized vocals and danceable beats make this album so insanely catchy one cannot resist its charm for long. Although there isn’t a bad track on this record, standouts for me are “The Dress,” “Spring and by Summer Fall,” and “Silently.” The haunting murmurs of Kazu Makino and dynamic cries of Amedeo Pace will seep into your mind like ink on paper; you’ll never get the black out.
Mon premier et préféré disque de 2007 est PANDA BEAR’S 'Person Pitch' de Paw Tracks. It’s a record that’s on many top ten’s, including (blah) Mitchfag Pedia, but Noah Lennox truly deserves all the accolades because 'Person Pitch' is a magnum opus. An obvious comparison to PANDA BEAR is BRIAN WILSON; even so, this ANIMAL COLLECTIVE member has, in my opinion, surpassed the Beach Boy in many ways. The harmonized vocals on Person Pitch are, like WILSON’S, as sweet as sugar; however, it is the fanciful instrumentation that makes this record such a joy to listen to. It is a veritable collage of jubilant bells, graceful strings, teeming with synths, hypnotic rhythm, and much more, with all the elements pushing and bursting toward to an orgasmic climax. Person Pitch arrests the listener for forty-five minutes of pure ecstasy, and it is all I can ask for in an album – parfait.
C’est bon! That’s that. Other favorite things of 2007: Du film: Guillermo Del Toro's El Labirinto del Fauno is the best movie I’ve seen in years; De la littérature: well, I don’t generally read contemporary novels, but I did read Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men (1946), which contains such significant beauty that it’s in my top ten desert island books at this time; De la vie: finishing two Master’s degrees. C’est tout!
PS – I’m nobody’s pimp!
BRANDON G. (BG): This will actually be Brandon's first contribution as a TB staffer, but he is the newest member of our review staff. He also does the great 'Treble High, Talent Low' zine.
I decided not to number my favorite releases of 2007 in light of me being your average, petulant human who changes their mind every five minutes. This is merely the order I wrote them in. Altogether, this stuff was what clouded my thoughts, enveloped my energies, and stole my cash this year. Enjoy.
Homostupids – 'The Intern' LP and 'The Edge' 7” (Parts Unknown/P.Trash)
These will probably be on every Termbo best-of list, so I’ll refrain from a long-winded explanation of why this rudimentary retard rock is the ideal bridge between garage punk and hardcore and just let the fact that it’s perpetrated by obnoxious Clevoids doing the barking. While honestly I’d rather 9 Shocks Terror was still together and still destroying venues from coast to coast, these Homos are perfect at what they do. And I’ve got the Inmates and No Peace EPs to look forward to in 2008. Allegedly so good they’ll ruin your life, and that’s all manic Clevo fanboys like myself really care about.
Dry-Rot – 'Subordinate' EP (Painkiller)
Not quite as good as the first 7” or as interesting as the second, this one still wins enough creep-points to set it above most attempts at original, boundary-pushing hardcore. This installment details a guy the singer bought comic books from as a child who’d later turn out to be a keeper of indentured servants, in a ditch in his backyard nonetheless. Lyrics about eating sawdust grace the diary-esque 16-page insert. Everything pointing to them being sincere in the Christian shtick is a plus too. Amen.
Jump Off A Building – 'Bird Watching In New Zealand' EP (Lengua Armada)
Surprisingly good. I say that because it’s from the Left coast and doesn’t necessarily run on the motor oil and TV dinners that my favorite Midwestern/east coast rust belt cities’ bands do. Still, there’s tons of energy, tons of hooks, tons of originality, and above all they stay at a comfortable mid-tempo pace the whole way through instead of going for the indecipherable blast beat fool’s gold that often ruins a solid hardcore release. And thank Oprah it’s not flipped-cap, plaid-ridden skate thrash like the band’s name suggests. Ride on.
Career Suicide – 'Attempted Suicide' LP (Deranged)
This makes me want to thank Canada for more than Tim Horton’s, which is good. Probably the most solid hardcore LP I’ve heard in a long time. That said, I’m a grade A poser because I have not yet heard Double Negative’s “Wonderful World of Disney” or whatever it’s called in its entirety. Sue me.
Total Abuse – 'Sex Pig' EP (Deranged)
The only art it contains is blow-up sex dolls. That paired with lyrics like “get a clue / I’m better than you / I drink champagne / you eat dog food,” and sinister, genuine depression and a menacing, self-loathing sentiment all qualify as ingredients in a recipe for interesting music. I’d really like to see where this band goes in 2008. Hopefully to the emergency room on occasion.
86 Mentality – 'Final Exit' EP (Deranged)
Having some of the worst lyrics in the business is made up for with ballsy production and genuinely sounding like – and I’ve heard this comparison several times – Negative Approach covering Blitz. Tough, pack-mentality, meat-and-potatoes hardcore that you don’t have to stuff your tongue so far into your cheek to sincerely enjoy.
Hollywood – 'Girl?' 7" (Big Neck)
In action, they’re the real deal. High-octane rock n roll that perfects both the sonic aspect and the antagonistic, full-contact showmanship that’s damn near required of this genre. On record, they’re as fuzzy and unclean as the carpets these scuzzballs were probably conceived on. Great artwork and great hooks – both of which you’ll have a hard time flushing from your subconscious.
Acid Reflux – s/t EP (No Way)
Albany: a city in constant fear of their status as state capital being revoked. I’m a native 518-er and this band gives me a sliver of pride to be from upstate. That, and they’re as tight as an unmolested butthole.
Bill Bondsmen – 'Young (Kinda), Loud, and Shoddy' 12” (Burning Sensation)
Still haven’t heard the latest 12” or the split with Out Cold for reasons of me being an apathetic, irresponsible, and stingy (Jewish) teen. But everything I’ve heard from them perpetuates the mystery of people giving a shit about Fucked Up’s drama-core when the Bill Bondsmen are playing the most interesting tunes in the business. This is what living in the nation’s poorest city will do to you: disillusion you beyond repair and cause you to follow through with a PBR in both hands. Long live muffler-core.
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