Saturday, December 24, 2005
Best of 2005
My favorite records of 2005 were not all punk records. In fact, I don't think there really is a true punk rock record on my list, although each and every one of these records possesses true punk, DIY, iconoclast spirit... and they're all just damn good.
In the Number One position - my favorite record of 2005, Jack Oblivian and the Tennessee Tearjerkers, "Don't Throw Your Love Away." Sublime, earnest, rockin and from the heart.
Right behind Jack Oblivian is Greg Cartwright, another Oblivian... one of the two live Reigning Sound records released this year. I much prefer the Live at Goner to the Live at Maxwell's, although I attended that show at Maxwell's and the memories alone make that record worth much more in terms of sentimentality. However, Live at Goner is recorded better, mixed better and boasts a line-up that put a lot of road miles under their belts and were that much more together at the time of recording. Live At Maxwell's unfortunately shows a band with killer songs, but only 2/3 of a touring unit. Live at Maxwell's was recorded when drummer Lance Wille only had a few rehearsals with Greg and Jeremy Scott.
For all the punk purists, I must say, it don't get more punk than Oblivians, OK? Let's just leave it at that. Buy the records and soak it up.
Next on the list, another entry from the South. Atlanta's Black Lips highly anticipated "Let it Bloom" shows quite a musical growth from these young men who look to Iggy for their stage antics.
From Canada, the Deadly Snakes release the sultry "Porcella," which is a mature record for such young men. Coincidentally, Greg Cartwright produced an early Snakes album and played with them for a spell, including a tour of the US that made a stop at Manitoba's Bar in New York City that people are still talking about. All these fave artists of mine seem to be intertwined in some way or another.
From Montreal, The King Khan and BBQ Show, album by the band of the same name is beautiful and dirty all at once.
Also from Montreal, but playing music so completely different than King Khan and BBQ are the psychedelic High Dials, who I've often described as if the Byrds sang songs written by Ray Davies and had George Harrison sit in. Their "War of the Wakening Phantoms" is a real throw-back to the sixties and is rather beautiful in places. That' s not a bad thing. Another pretty record is "Like Her" from The Volebeats from Detroit. Led by Matthew Smith and Jeff Oakes, this is another Byrds/Beach Boys/Bobby Fuller inspired band...but all those influences are a good thing. My favorite track on that record (and it is HARD to pick just one - there are at least four hot tracks) is one by John Nash, who's doing time with the Electric Six as El Lobo Blanco, a guitarist of Jimmy Page prowess. John also plays in the Witches, who made 2004's most underrated and under-heard album, "Thriller." You can hear "Thriller" here by clicking on each song title. Do the Witches a favor and Paypal them for your listen.
John Nash, one of Detroit's Most Valuable Players
Detroit has more entries on this list! In addition to the Volebeats, Matthew Smith fronts Outrageous Cherry and they released a fine pop/rock/psychedelic bubblegum record this year - "Our Love Will Change the World."
Detroit's Dirtbombs released a double record set consisting of singles, covers and b-sides called "If You Don't Already Have a Look." Its phenomenal. There's a swell photo inside the CD booklet of Mick Collins with the infamous Kim Fowley. Its this one:
The final entry, though definitely not last anywhere by any means, is also a band from Detroit - The Sights, a trio of young men who have vintage souls and influlences from the best of British 60s (Small Faces, Humble Pie, Deep Purple). They're not a garage band or a punk band. They're just a damn fine band with an eponymous release. That album cover is reminiscent of the Faces "Long Player" and is just as worthy an item for your collection. Little Eddie Baranek channels the best blue eyed British soul... I can't believe that little guy makes so much noise with his voice and that guitar that's bigger than he is! "The Sights" is best record to come out of Ghetto Recorders since the Compulsive Gamblers, and that's Greg Cartwright and Jack Oblivian's band - so we have come full circle.
Happy Christmas to you all. Give records as gifts and buy them with your Christmas cash!
at 2:00 AM