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2017 was a pretty damn good year for new music overall. I've been burned out on punk and hardcore for the most part, so I'm sure other Termbo contributors do a better job covering that stuff. What I got for you here, is my top 10 new releases for the year (alphabetical order only), along with another dozen releases that were definitely contenders. This actually was pretty tough to narrow down. And finally, a top ten of reissues/archival material, etc. There's also a fair amount of releases that came out at the tail end of the year that I haven't had enough time with to include them in the list here. Notable examples of these include His Electro Blue Voice, Total Control and The Contributors (Dan Melchior joining forces with Spray Paint). Thanks to Richie for giving me the chance to contribute to the site, and more importantly, keeping this site going all these years. The updates may be less frequent, and the message board not quite as busy, but Termbo still remains one of the best places online to keep up with a wide variety of music.
Top Ten New Releases (Alphabetical):
Alvarius B - With a Beaker on the Burner and an Otter in the Oven - 3LP (Abduction) - Pretty much anything Alan Bishop releases is at least worthy of a few good listens. This series of 3 separate LPs or a double CD is packed with plenty of great songs.
Anthony Pasquarosa - Abbandonato Da Dio Nazione LP (VDSQ) - Tony has plenty of variety across the many bands he's a part of - ranging from hardcore/KBD-style punk with bands like SQRM, Aerosols and Burnt Envelope, to solo LPs where he showcases his guitar and banjo playing in the vein of John Fahey, Robbie Basho, etc. This release is one of the latter, and was intended as a soundtrack to an imaginary spaghetti western film. Very creative and interesting, this is not only a highlight of his discography, but a personal favorite from the VDSQ label, which specializes in this sub-genre.
Bardo Pond - Out of Reach LP (Fire) - Somehow I had never heard this long-running Philadelphia psych institution until this LP which blew me away. Nice heavy psych jams, with excellent female vocals and a touch of shoegaze. Even after exploring their back catalog a bit, this LP still stood out to me as one of their stronger efforts.
Brainbombs - Inferno LP (Skrammel) - After the release of double LP "Disposal of a Dead Body" in 2013, I didn't really see any need for more Brainbombs material. I slept on their LP from last year, but the release of "Inferno" definitely proves me wrong. While it doesn't exactly explore new directions, it feels fresh and is certainly a worthy addition to a great discography.
David Nance - Do The Negative Boogie LP (Ba Da Bing) - Probably the best LP this year that is undeniably a ROCK record. Pretty varied throughout, and the title track is a killer.
feedtime - gas LP (In the Red) - If you told me that this new feedtime LP was a lost recording from the 1980s, I'd most likely believe you. Which isn't a bad thing whatsoever. It was also great finally getting to see them live this year!
Group Doueh & Cheveu - Dakhla Sahara Session LP (Born Bad) - French post-punkers Cheveu meet up with Group Doueh in the Saharan Desert, and record this stunning LP. One of the strongest releases from either group.
Skullflower - The Black Iron That Has Fell From The Stars, To Dwell Within (Bear It Or Be It) LP (Nashazphone) - The present version of Skullflower is Matthew Bower for the most part, and their sound has shifted from their killer noise-rock of the late 80s/early 90s to heavy dark drones. This LP is as good of a place to catch up as any, and a rare vinyl release from them.
The Stallion - Dark Side of the Wall 3LP (In the Red) - The very concept of this (Country Teasers members covering Pink Floyd's "The Wall" in its entirety) is both exciting, and horrific. Every time I play it, I like it more, and it's gotten a good amount of play.
USA/Mexico - Laredo LP (12XU) - This nasty noise-rock seems almost tailor-made for me (and probably others who still listen to AmRep stuff). Members of Shit&Shine and Butthole Surfers are behind this bludgeoning assault, which culminates with a great 8-minute cover of the post-Drunks With Guns project Bullets For Pussy.
Another Dozen Contenders (Alphabetical):
Top Ten Reissues/Archival (Alphabetical):
Crystalized Movements - Mind Disaster LP (Twisted Village) - A straight-forward reissue of what is CM's 1st LP and Twisted Village's first release. Even disregarding how prolific these guys would be in the decades following, it's a great wah'd out psyche-rock record made by high schoolers!
Gary Wrong Group - S/T 2LP (12XU) - I think most TermBo readers are familiar with Gary Wrong, and Chad's other projects. Hopefully they picked up this double LP collection of tracks that originally appeared on tough-to-find singles. There's a few unreleased tunes which sound great as well.
Gaseneta - S/T 7" (Super Fiji Discs) - Gaseneta are a pretty special band and rightfully infamous despite only existing for a brief period of time. The intensity here reaches near hardcore territory, and must've really blown minds in 1978. Hell, it still does today. All of Gaseneta's releases were posthumous and this is their first vinyl release!
Grateful Dead - May 1977: Get Shown the Light 11CD Box set (Rhino) - A very nicely put together box set, these 11 CDs cover four entire live shows. Their Cornell show on May 8th is one of their most legendary performances, and this is the best sounding version of it you can find. May '77 is also a great starting point for the uninitiated to get their toes wet with the Dead's massive live archive. There is also a less limited 3CD version which just has the 5/8/77 show.
John Frusciante - Niandra LaDes And Usually Just A T-Shirt 2LP (Superior Viaduct) - Never thought I'd be praising a solo project of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, this a real oddball release! Likely recorded while using various substances, it's a very cool collection of various lo-fi weirdness. Glad that Superior Viaduct put this out there, as the original major label release from 1994 isn't easy to find and will likely find a more appreciative audience now. I can't think of too many bands who covered the Bad Brains, but the version of "Big Takeover" here is excellent.
Mentors - "To The Max Live" LP (Mentors Records) - First official release of a live show in Cleveland in 1992. I was at this show, and always remembered it being incredible and the best time I saw the band. Surprisingly, it still holds up! Has everything you'd want/expect from a live Mentors recording - ridiculous stage banter, El Duce bellowing the vocals and pounding the drums, a cool selection of songs mostly taken from the then-new CD "To The Max", and the crowd sounds outta their minds.
Puke Spit and Guts - Eat Hot Lead LP (Black Gladiator) - Finally a re-issue of this 1980 scum-rock classic. It's reminiscent of the Child Molesters and various KBD oddities. What really makes this stand out though are the female-fronted songs, which are very funny and a rarity in the male-dominated scumrock sub-genre.
Simon Joyner & David Nance - Goat's Head Soup LP (Grapefruit) - Reissue of a CD-R from 2016 where these guys cover the Rolling Stones LP in its entirety. It's pretty faithful for the most part while adding a lot of extra scuzz to the tunes.
Viper - You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack CS (Chamber 38) - The Houston rapper has hundreds of digital-only releases, but I think this might be his first physical release. This has great funny packaging, especially the limited edition version (only 30 made). Viper is mostly known as a meme (This album cover and title being the main reasons he got the internet's attention), and is worth hearing just for the laugh factor. I'm not really interested in novelty music though, but Viper transcends this by offering some very bizarre beats and his unique delivery/lyrics. This creates a very unique atmosphere...true outsider vibes on this one.
V/A - Tokyo Flashback 2LP (Black Editions) - First time vinyl release of this classic compilation originally released by PSF. The music here stands the test of time, and is essential listening for anyone interested in heavy underground psych. A beautiful package as well, Black Editions will continue to reissue PSF releases, which is definitely something to look forward to in 2018!
To see past winners of Termbo Awards go here and to check back on full Year End lists please check the archives.
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