Ed: As has become tradition with the rise of a new year at TB HQ, I turned to some of our favorite bands and labels for their take on the year that passed and what they considered its highs and lows. Trying to pare down the sometimes sprawling lists of years past, I opted to keep things limited to bands/labels I truly feel a connection with aside from general musical fandom. I turned first to Richie Records/Testostertunes label CEO and ex-Clockclean_er and current Watery Love member Richard Penetrator for his commentary. Richie is a good friend of TB and I respect and admire his label and bands, which provided many of my own highlights of 2009.

Yo Rich,
2009 worked out well enough for me, thanks for asking. I got some solid rest this year. Each and every night this past year, when I felt tired, I laid my head on a clean pillow and I slept in a bed. Complete with a boxspring and a mattress. I never had to stand in a room full of drug addicts and wait for some wimpy band or other to wrap up its set. Never had to pack up my stupid drums in a third tier city while skinny nitwits tried to chat me up about snuff films and bullshit like that. Didn't even step foot in Brooklyn. There was not a single night that I had to lay down on a shitty floor and force myself into a restless sleep. Better yet, I didn't have to lay down on a particular beat-to-shit couch in Cleveland and pretend to be asleep while Sharko tiptoed up the stairs to Steve's bedroom in the middle of the night. Those two never could keep their hands off of each other. One night, it must have been 2+ years back, Karen and I stayed up late on the porch putting down bottles of Commodore Perry and taking pulls from a flask. So the sun was coming up when I walked back into the house, and I heard the two of them upstairs giggling and rolling around and talking about life. After some sleep and a heartfelt goodbye, we were driving out to Chicago when I first heard Sharko humming out the tune to what I now recognize as "Let's Make Friends". So yeah, I'm relieved that I was able to avoid that kind of thing for a solid year.

Otherwise, it's all been pretty mellow. I finally found a reliable connect for Dickel. It's a good sippin' whiskey. Been keeping busy with one silly project after another. Dabbled in sudoku for a while, but I wasn't very good it. I had hoped to bench my weight in '09, but my bar maxes out at 145 lbs and I'm not very interested in joining a gym and getting friendly with that crowd. Nevertheless, I've made some pretty undeniable strides and I'm pushing at the ceiling of the cruiserweight class. Accepted an invitation to join the guitar section of the Mega Jam Booze Band. That's been a good time. I learned that as he grew older, Ali learned how to absorb punishment. There's probably a lesson in there for all of us.

I'm sure that you noticed that the Phils were unable to get it done. It was a heartbreaker. Luckily, I'm not the type of clown who pegs his mental and emotional well-being to the success of his local sports teams. Utley turned in some great work though. Choochie as well. And how about Cliff Lee? Who could forget the poise that he showed in Game 1? We'll miss him. Pedro Feliz too. Everyone knows about the Birds goofy signing early in the year. They were tough to watch. A lot of young bucks shook things up, but big changes seem imminent. Can't really stomach an 0-3 record vs. Dallas.

And more to the focus of your website, I heard some good tunes as well. A lot of 'em were recorded by one guy or another playing all the instruments and singing and everything. You already know all about that 'Shitman' LP and DiMaggio's landmark album, but how about Purling Hiss and Willie Lane's stabs? That TV Watchers record sounds like it was made by one person. Does Kevin still play everything on Pink Reason records? I'll bet that that Australian tour single is a great one. The Bill Orcutt record was pretty unbelievable. Even that PRF 12" found its way onto my shelf.

Hope all is well on your end. Thanks again for the interest.

Richie Penetrator
American Male

Ed: After some back and forth with Richie regarding the Willie Lane slab and the Phils off-season moves, the below e-mails from Richie's fellow skullmusicians Steven of Homstupids and John of Puerto Rico Flowers somehow found their way into my inbox, seemingly on accident. However, realizing that this would make a great skullmusic 2009 wrap-up, I have decided to include their intercepted correspondence in its entirety. Please enjoy and sorry fellas.

Subject: Skull09
From: Steven Peffer (steven.xxxxxxx@hotmail.com) to you (termibore@aol.com) and 1 other (more info) -
Date: Sun, Jan 24, 2010 9:32 pm

How are things in the great land across the world you call Australia? Do you ever see that guy Bono around at the gay bars you work at? Speaking of gay bars, the boys in Pissed Jeans teamed up with each other once again to turn in a very heavy and not surprisingly awful looking new album on that Heavy Metal record label from wherever USA and it's got some solid grooves dug into it. Not that I own a copy or anything. But I did hear it and if you close your eyes and pretend, it's actually quite listenable.

You might remember, John, that we have very cold winters in America. Maybe in Australia you have hot summers. I remember the summer of 2009 as being quite mild in my country. Perhaps it helped to have so much wonderful new music playing in my headphones. That dude from Human Eye with the strange hairline released a wonderful double 7" called Timmy's Organism and I played the bejeesus out of the thing. What else helped me beat the heat this year? A great reissue brought to us by the folks at Bureau B Records from the artist Wolfgang Riechmann called "Wunderbar". Also a 7" from TV Watchers tickled me just the right way with wonderful lyrics and vocals.

Do people celebrate Christmas in Australia? I wonder if they do. I wonder if you have Valentine's day also. In America we celebrate both holidays. We share them with those we love. Do you have people you love in Australia to share things with? Do you have TV shows to watch in English or are they all in Australian?

In America we also enjoy sports and 2009 brought me closer to sports with the addition to my life of The Jim Rome radio show. 3 hours a day 5 days a week. Certainly more listening that I'd give to perhaps anything from the shitty cover band Pink Reason. Good Grief!

The foreign land of Italy produced a vanity label called Romantic Records, run by the band Romantic Robots and 2009 saw the release of the band's second 7" EP called "Blues By The Romantic Robots". On the record is a song called "Miss Outer Space" which makes my fingernails bleed and fall off and into the toilet. Great real life lyrics and vocals from a man jumping off the high dive not into the water below but the sidewalk below. The man will die when he hits the sidewalk. This is the final song he will sing. The cover has a black man's photo on it. I don't think he's in the band though because I asked around and there aren't black men in Italy. Are there Black men in Australia?

2009 also brought me some music from YOUR neck of the woods, John. I'm speaking of course about The UV Race. What a great looking bunch of folks and such wonderful entertaining lyrics. Two very good 7"s and a very good LP were all in regular rotation on the headphone this year.

In concert this year very few groups tickled me the right way. I learned that most of these current underground acts touring around and releasing records are just whiney coke-heads. This would be fine if the tunes were worth a shit but they ain't. Do they have cocaine in Australia?

Yours In Music,
-Steven Peffer

Subject:Re: Skull09
From: John Sharkey (s_isXXXXX@gmail.com) to you (termibore@aol.com) and one other (more info) -
Date: Mon, Jan 25, 2010 5:43 am

It's so good to hear from you! It gets lonely here in Australia sometimes. It's a great place though. A lot of incredible break-throughs came from these soils. Spray-on Skin, refrigeration, sharks, the Australian flag....God, the list goes on. I miss all my friends from USA, though, like you, Andy Roddick, Kevin Spacey, Martin Short, Dave Navarro and the other dudes in the Chi Peps (RHCP), Doug Mosurock, Judy Dench, James Spader, Robert Plant, Nelson Mandela and many more...

I'm pretty excited that you love that Pissed Jeans record so much. I'm glad we have the same idea of what heavy rock should sound like. Heavy and kick-ass like Mind Eraser or Hot Water Music. When Matt from the band isn't dressed like a european Erasure fan he can tell it like it is. Now I know what you're saying...how can an all girl band kick so much ass?

You should check out this awesome band from Tasmania called Native Cats. They are better than any band in the world right now. You should see a photo of these guys...I haven't seen uglier lesbians since the last time I saw a Mika Miko show in Brooklyn.

The Phillies got back in the Fall Classic this year only to be taken out by a gaggle of drug-cheats and an Asian who can't field or run. On the upside I'm sure that Kate Hudson and A-Cup have weekly measuring contests. Something tells me any daughter of Goldie Hawn is gonna come out on top in that one. Phils/Mariners 2010 WS.

2009 was rife with it's poo-dogs, too. Don't let me sound too enthusiastic. I mean, any year with records released by Total Abuse, Drunkdriver or any of the tens of fake skullmusic bands can't be all peaches and cream. I'm sure if an actual woman approached any member of Total Abuse for a drink or a sentence their dicks would start crying and hide in their asses.

Do you like John Mayer? I thought you did. He put out a smokin' good record this year called "Battle Studies". Serious white sex jams. I wonder when Fucked Up are going to put out a John Mayer covers 7"? It would be their first listenable release. Don't get me wrong, I love punk bands as much as Ian Dickson does.

I understand how you feel about seeing live bands...I don't see no fuckin' hope. It's great to hear from you though. We can at least amuse ourselves. Remember the night Times New Viking stayed over your house when cleaner toured with them? We kept blasting "And Justice For All..." with the the strobe light on at 5am while the rest of my dumb band and TNV tried to sleep. Or that time we taped like 15 empty Sbarro's boxes to our old roommate's car? What about the time we threw black cats into his bed while he was trying to have sex with a minor? Shit...thats better than any Eddy Current Suppression Ring show. They are enormous down here! It's just embarrassing for everyone involved.

I'll call you soon and I'll send you photos of the kid when it arrives. Hope you're well and Yas says hi.

Your friend through the years,

Ed: Tune in soon for the always timely TB staff 2009-in-review features, now that 2010 is well underway. Does anyone even care anymore? Well, we do. See you soon!