Top Ten Shit by Jeff Greenback

I’m not one who pays much attention to trends or “the big picture” when it comes to the state of modern day music. I don’t have the time and more importantly, I just don’t care. I buy records. If they’re good, I listen to them over and over again. If they’re not, I wince a bit and shelve ‘em. If they’re really shitty I sell them. That being said, here’s my completely meaningless (yet so fun to make) list of what was good in 2004. My picks this year seem a bit on the safe side. I’m usually good for a guilty pleasure pop record or an over-hyped major label release or two, but not so this time. Make of this list what you will.

The Top 10 Singles of 2004:
I flipped through my singles while trying to come up with this thing and ended up grabbing 35 records to spin. 35 records!!! Simply put, 2004 was the best year for singles that I can ever remember. It’s a crime that singles like Alex White & Chris Playboy, The Feelers, Carbonas, Deadly Snakes, Hunches, Tyrades “Incarcerated”, and the Blank Its/Feelers split didn’t make the list. Or how about Duchess of Saigon, Stack O’Lees, Royal Routes, The Fe Fi Fo Fums, The Intelligence, A Frames on S-S, River City Tan Lines, Night Terrors, Lili Z, Kajun SS, Frantic, Radio Beats and the Krunchies? All put out great records that are worthy of recognition, however, only ten made the final cut:
10. Final Solutions “s/t” 7” (Shit Sandwich)
A last minute entry that just made the deadline. It’s growing on me with every spin and will likely continue to do so.
9. Headache City “s/t” 7” (Shit Sandwich)
Last year at this time I was complaining how The White+Outs only put out one record. Then Headache City came along and now I’m fine.
8. The Real Losers “Don’t Leave Me Now” 7” (Bancroft)
This record, as well as the excellent Wrench single, are always crowd pleasers at the Greenback residence. Pummeling, repetitive, lo-fi slop perfectly recorded.
7. The Fatals “s/t” 7” (Nasty Product)
All three singles by these French white noise fetishists were top notch, but the first one still gets the most spins.
6. Tyrades “I Am Homicide” 7” (Shit Sandwich)
The best singles band going? Yes. On the best singles only label? Yes, again.
5. The Slowmotions “Make Love” 7” (H.G. Fact)
Being unable to track down copies of last year’s Sneeze and Zymotics singles was somewhat offset this year by the arrival of The Slowmotions on my turntable. Frantic, raw, yet surprisingly poppy and tuneful punk from Japan.
4. The Ponys “Prosthetic Head” 7” (In the Red)
The greatness of this single seemed to go unnoticed, as it got lost in the wake of Laced With Romance. Two finely crafted gems from the best pop band going. So when’s that Hot Machines single coming out?
3. Tokyo Electron “s/t” 7” (Solid Sex Lovie Doll)
Primo, lo-fi, bash and scream fest courtesy of Ryan Wong. The best guitar sound of any record I heard this year.
2. Blank Its “Johnny’s Tongue” 7” (Band Its)
If “Master Intellectual” from the Feelers split was on the flip, this would be in the top spot. My vote for 2004’s best new band. Their live show is ace, too.
1. A Frames “Crutches” 7” (Royal)
So apparently a few greasy Frenchmen and some burger munching dude from Oakland had this thing in their paws in 2003, but the band themselves didn’t even see this slab of wax ‘til January. Either way, no band going today can touch the A Frames. A perfect single.

The Top 10 Full Lengths of 2004:
Not nearly as many full lengths to pick from compared to the number of singles for this list, but there were still some really good albums released this year.
10. Destruction Unit “s/t” CD/LP (Empty)
I forgot about this one for a while. Combines the more synth heavy leanings of Digital Leather with the ferocity of Lost Sounds. Excellent.
9. The Marked Men “On the Outside” CD/LP (Dirtnap)
Not as good as the first one, but not much is. Still a really good record that garners repeated spins. Their live show was one of the tops of the year.
8. Black Lips “We Did Not Know That the Forest Spirit Made the Flowers Grow” CD/LP (Bomp!)
This year I was introduced to the Black Lips in a live setting. At first I was disgusted, then I became a convert. This record works surprisingly well as an album, considering how varied the songs are.
7. The Lids “s/t” CD/LP (Rip Off)
The classic Rip Off sound hasn’t been done this well in a while.
6. Clorox Girls “s/t” CD/LP (Smart Guy)
Last year Kurt Bloch did wonders for the Popular Shapes in the studio and this year he does the same for the Clorox Girls. I really want to hear their Woodhouse produced stuff.
5. Black Time “Blackout” LP (Concrete Life)
This record gave me huge Taking the Rough With the Smooch era Huggy Bear vibes right from the start. Then I caught the reference in the label name and it all made sense. A queer little record that slowly burns its way into your head.
4. Lost Sounds “s/t” CD/LP (In the Red)
A lot of people really like this record. Others don’t. What are you going to do?
3. The Hunches “Hobo Sunrise” CD/LP (In the Red)
Yes. No. Shut It. took a long time to grow on me before I warmed up to it. This one hooked me instantly. “Where Am I” into “Compression” is the best 1-2 punch to start a record in a long time, and it doesn’t let up much from there.
2. Catholic Boys “Psychic Voodoo Mind Control” CD/LP (Trick Knee/Dropkick)
One of the best straight up punk records in years. The amount that these guys have upped their songwriting prowess since the days of the Teenage Rejects is frightening. Also, I will be really surprised if anything can top their soon to be released Bancroft record, for best single of ‘05.
1. The Ponys “Laced With Romance” CD/LP (In the Red)
Simple, dark, pop tunes played to (near) perfection. Their live show was a quasi-religious experience that brought me close to tears. Yes, I am a pussy.

I can’t really go without mentioning how much I like that Battleship record. And, that I will forever have trouble sleeping after hearing that Silver 7”. Disturbing, yet strangely satisfying. That is all.