You know the drill: “that new project featuring ex-members of The Steve McQueens is TOTALLY worth checking out. They’ve gotten a lot better ‘n shit. An $18 PayPal charge to Paulo at Humdinger Discos is a small price to pay!” My ugly habit of falling prey to this kind of thinking is why I promised our humble editor/beardo a streamlined Cardwell Top 10. This year’s crap cream is surprisingly thin, thus confirming my suspicion of what an “off” year 2004 actually was. Do with it what you will…

10) FRANTIC – Attaque 7”EP (Die Slaughterhaus Records)
Rich’s classification of them as a “Mitch Band” was enough to get me going. Fuck…did he ever nail it. One of many records released this year that is of equal appeal to punk and hardcore camps, and rightly so. Need I say that the aggression matches the snot factor perrrrfectly?
9) GRIS GRIS – S/T LP (Birdman)
From The Mirrors to Medicine Fuck Dream to Gris Gris, Greg Ashley never ceases to impress me. To borrow a phrase: red…with purple flashes. I’d also like to thank this band for adding some much-needed legitimacy to the horse-fucking goons in Battleship and Rock’n’Roll Adventure Kids.
8) BLACK TIME – Blackout LP (Concrete Life)
This came out of nowhere (well, England) and knocked me out with one punch. Blackout is a strong, noisy cocktail with nods to The Makers (when they were good!) and classic L.A. punk rock.
7) THE HUNCHES – Hobo Sunrise LP (In The Red)
On their second album, The Hunches appear more focused in delivering their noise, using the same dynamics and great songwriting to much stronger effect. Not as initially jarring as their debut, but a stronger album in the long run.
6) DESTRUCTION UNIT – Self-Destruction Of A Man LP (Empty Records)
The further torture of Ryan Wong, as assisted by Jay Reatard and Alicja Trout. I’m struggling to recall a time when Lost Sounds sounded this angry or demented and I just can’t do it.
5) TOKYO ELECTRON – Make Me Bleed 7”EP (Solid Sex Lovie Doll Records)
Take the minimalist, all-rock aesthetic of a band like Oblivians, mix with the violent mind of synth-punk genius Ryan Wong (again!), boil and inject into your pee hole. Oh, this one was really limited too.
4) REGULATIONS – Survive In The City 7”EP (Putrid Filth)
Hyde will probably be the only one to cry fowl about this being released in 2003, but my guess is that the folks without bullet belts caught on a little late to this one. Early European and American punk/hardcore collide here in almost perfect proportions. I can’t wait for the album.
3) THE PONYS – Laced With Romance LP (In The Red)
A couple of sour live shows dropped this from the top spot, but there’s no denying how good of a record this is. A smart, dark pop album that flows from start to finish, Laced With Romance was the only album I could play for everyone…and did.
2) REIGNING SOUND – Too Much Guitar! LP (In The Red)
I enjoyed the first two albums quite a bit, but this is…fuck. Having always been a fan of Greg Cartwright’s projects, I must say that I like him most when he’s at his loudest. This is a great, loud Rock’N’Roll record that lives up to its name. Being the best live band I’ve seen in years helps too.
1) THE FEELERS – Fuhrer’s New Miniskirt 7”EP (Death By Noise Records)
No gimmicks, no jive. Just pure, reckless Midwestern punk executed flawlessly and without giving a good goddamn about anything. Bequeathed unto me by a drunk Russian “dude” at last year’s Blackout and I’ll be forever grateful. A stunner from the first listen…and it goes up from there.

Parting Shots:
-THE ONLY CDs OF 2005:
            HOMOSEXUALS – Astral Glamour 3xCD (Hyped2Death/Morphius)
           ALBERT AYLER – Holy Ghost 10xCD (Revenant)
           MONOSHOCK – Runnin’ Ape-Like From The Backwards Superman CD (S-S)

-2005 WISH LIST:
            A-Frames – Black Forest
            Feelers - Learn To Hate The Feelers
            Firestarter – LIVE…in my bedroom