The kung fu behind this is simple. We asked all of our contributors and a bunch of our favorite musicians for their favorite records of the past year (which was 2004, apparently). Below is a list of everybody that turned in something. You can click on somebody’s name to go directly to their list or you can do the whole “scroll down” thing if that’s how you get your jollies. If any of the links don’t work, email this jerk and tell him how stupid he is.
People who turned in lists, in no particular alphabetical order: Alice Bag, Alicja from the Lost Sounds, Annie from the Soviettes, Aphid Peewit, Ben from Sweet JAP, Ben Snakepit, Bill from the Beltones, Blag from the Dwarves, Brian Mosher, Clint Weinrich, Dave from the Grabass Charlestons, Donofthedead, Gabe Hart from the Starvations, Hideo Takahashi, Jason Willis from the Knockout Pills, Jimmy Alvarado, Justin from the Chinese Telephones, Kalle Larsson from Smalltown, Kat Jetson, Kid Kevin from the Lipstick Pickups and Killer Dreamer, Kiyoshi Nakazawa from Drunken Master zine, Mark Ryan from the Marked Men, Martin and Jonah from Career Suicide, Matt from Four Deadly Questions, Megan Pants, Mike Frame from Get Up and Go zine, Miss Namella J. Kim, Rev. Nørb, Rhythm Chicken, Rookie Sensation Mike Wiebe, Roxy from the Epoxies, Russ from the Tim Version, Sean Carswell, Tim from Smogtown, Tim Kerr, Todd Taylor, Travis Spillers from the Knockout Pills, Welly from Four Letter Word.
Here, in no particular order, are my top ten bands you can find on Myspace. Bands were only included if they had songs available for listening on the Myspace player, so some bands that I really like – La Bestia, for example – were disqualified. I encourage your readers to check these bands out on Myspace:
The Shemps: Fun, fast garage punk.
Go Betty Go: I’ve been a fan of theirs for a few years and they still sound great.
Candypants: Awesome songwriting, singing and playing, and just a teensy bit nasty.
The Checkers (L.A.): Late seventies style pop-punk with hooks aplenty.
Girls in a Coma: Sweet-sounding and sad Morrissey-style with a great lead singer.
The Gonads: Classic Oi style – “Hitler Was a ‘Omo!”
Fleshies: Gotta see ’em live to get the full Fleshie treatment.
The Rumours: Scary hard rock band from Vancouver.
Toys That Kill: High energy punk band from San Pedro
Inspect Her Gadget: Good pop punk and they’re all cute, too. Damn them.
Alicja from the Lost Sounds
The Kajun SS one Sides LP on Thereputic
“When I Became You” on Hobo Sunrise by the Hunches… the whole album is great but this one song I have played over and over again.
Jeffrey Novak’s stage barfing
The Gris Gris album on Bridman
Playing with Warcry in Portland
Meeting Nicole cause she is rad and into good rock n roll
The Blank Its’ song “Jonny’s Tounge”
Playing with the Feelers in Columbus/Alex the Russian guitar player
Larry Hardy from In the Red driving the Piranhas on their west coast tour… what dedication!
The Spits playing Memphis twice!
Honorable mention: Skeleton Witch!
1. Dead Stop: Done With You CD (Deranged)
2. The Grabbies: Live Raw Punk Shits 7″ (Proud To Be Idiot)
3. The Fuck Yeahs: No Farts, No Glory 7″ (Learning Curve)
4. The Spits: 19 Million A.C. EP CD (Dirtnap)
5. Fucked Up: Epics in Minutes CD (Deranged)
6. Spend 4: AYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!! 7″ (Acme)
7. Career Suicide: 2001 to 2003 CD (Deranged)
8. Bloodstains: Heroin 7″ (FNS)
9. GG Allin & the Murder Junkies: Raw, Brutal, Rough & Bloody: Best of 1991 Live DVD (MVD)
Ben from Sweet JAP
Caustic Christ: Government Job (Havoc)
Street Trash: 5 Dirty Fingers/Demo reissue (Kangaroo)
Tyrades: I Am Homocide (Shit Sandwhich)
Get It Away: They Live We Sleep (Third Party Records)
Riverboat Gamblers: Big Boys Tribute split
The Soviettes: It’s Alright (Dirtnap)
The Lipstick Pickups
Headache City (Shit Sandwhich)
Zach the Country Wonder: No Policy split
Gayrilla Biscuts: Gay ‘Til Death
Hatebeak: Beak of Putrification (Reptillian Records)
1. Sexy Por Vida (Onion Flavored)
2. Carrie Nations Be Still (Plan-it-x)
3. Flamingo 50 My Reason (Keith)
4. Marked Men On the Outside (Dirtnap)
5. Fleshies Gung Ho (Life is Abuse)
6. Ergs Dorkrockcorkrod (Whoa Oh)
7. Observers So What’s Left Now (Vinyl Warning)
8. Signal Lost Children of the Wasteland (Prank)
9. Modern Machines Thwap (New Disorder)
10. Bent Outa Shape self-titled (Drunk Tank)
Blag from the Dwarves
The Dwarves: Dwarves Must Remix 12″
Starlite Desperation: Violate a Sundae
Holograms: Night of 1,000 Ex-Boyfriends
Vince Neil: Don’t Call it a Comeback
William Hung: Hung like an Aardvark
VCR demo CD
Persephonee’s Bees: Dos Vadanya Oakland
Blood Junkies EP
Eagles of Bad Metal: If You’re High Enough, It’s Good
First of all, I’m not conceited enough to believe that these are the ten best CDs released in 2004. There must be thousands of CDs I didn’t even hear. What this list represents is my ten favorites from among the CDs I did hear this year. It’s likely to look different if you ask me again next August, but here’s what it is right now.
1. Sasquatch and the Sickabillys: Burning Miles of Sin. Even if this wasn’t my favorite CD of 2004, I’d be recommending it to you anyway, if only because of one phrase: “banned in Boston.” James Joyce was banned in Boston, too. These guys can’t get a gig in The Hub of the Universe because they tend to talk trash about wherever they play, and the club owners don’t want to hear it anymore. Not that Sasquatch and the Sickabillys are in danger of ever going more than a week without a gig. They play constantly in NY, CT, and RI. But the fact is that this is my favorite disc of the year, because of the passion with which these three crazy cats (since the disc came out, they’ve replaced their old drummer with the girl-next-door-cute Miss Natalie, who pounds the skins harder that Dwight Freeney pounds quarterbacks) lay down their very own brand of anti-social punkabilly. Not to be missed. (Wet Floor Records)
2. Various Artists: Hey! It’s A Teenacide Pajama Party. A compilation of tracks recorded by female fronted bands from SoCal, ranging from the pure pop of Rocket and Cheer Car Wash to the punkier pop of The Checkers and The Holograms, but all decidedly bubble-gum sweet. Guaranteed to rot your teeth out. (Teenacide)
3. The Clones: Need a Wave. This is a solo record from Jeffie Pop of The New Town Animals. Jeffie plays all the instruments (except some drums) – hence the name “The Clones.” It’s a new wave party gone mad, with non-stop dancing from beginning to end, and proof positive that Dirtnap is the best label in the world. (Dirtnap)
4. The Country Doctors: More Venom Less Self Pity. Country music like it used to be played in honky tonks and truck stop bars in Arkansas and Alabama, circa 1953. Consummate musicianship and killer songs, delivered without a trace of irony by a bunch of Boston-bred punks. (Valiant Records )
5. The Shakes: Gigantes del Pop. Somewhere between new wave and retro garage punk. I love the farfisa, I love the shaky vocals, I love the quirky Ray-Davies-on-acid songs, I’m absolutely ga-ga about the cover of Bobby Goldsboro’s “Little Things.” Did I mention that the bass player used to be the drummer in Redd Kross? (Teenacide)
6. The Buckners: See You in Court. Six songs of pure power pop, a la The Gigolo Aunts. More hooks than a welter weight title fight.
7. The Charms: So Pretty. Anthemic garage rock from Beantown. Plenty of farfisa, but also lots of ’70s hard rock guitar, and lots of catchy songs. The Charms may be the best looking band in Boston, and they’re coming soon to a television set near you. MTV2 will not be able to resist these Charms for long. (Primary Voltage )
8. Coffin Lids: Rock’n’Roll. Remember the Sonics? How about the Mummies? The Coffin Lids sound exactly like that. Half their songs are about cars, the other half are about movie monsters, and all of them rock. (Bomp Records )
9. The Unlovables: Crush Boyfriend Heartbreak. Sort of a street corner bubble gum concept album. The first few songs are about that “I just met the boy (or girl) of my dreams” kind of head-over-gonads in love feeling. The next few are about the on-top-of-the-world, happy-to-be-alive, in-a-committed-relationship feeling. The last few are about the I-hate-that-asshole, recently-broken-up feeling. It’s all hooky and danceable and smart. (Whoah Oh! )
10. Rocket: Too Hot To Be Bothered. Rocket are three bleach blonde SoCal. teenybopper hotties who somehow convinced record mogul Jim Freek that they were a band. He signed them, and then found out that he had to not only produce the record, but also play all the instruments. This record is a testament to the kind of sugar-coated pop that makes you think about Annette Funicello playing beach volleyball. How can that be a bad thing?
1. The Riverboat Gamblers: Something to Crow About. Fucking RAWK.
2. Death by Stereo: Into the Valley of Death. Should be headlining stadiums.
3. Ridicule: $3 E.P. Bakersfield punk
4. 1208: Turn of the Screw. Great songs, great playing.
5. I’m halfway through, time for a cocktail.
6. Tom Waits: Real Gone.
7. Rise Against: Siren Song of the Counter Culture. Rock on Joe. Rock on.
8. Putumayo: Tenth Anniversary Collection. Baby Jack likes dancing to it and I like watching him.
9. Guttermouth: Eat Your Face. I didn’t play on it so it’s okay to list.
10. The Clash: The Essential Clash (Remix). Genius.
Dave from the Grabass Charlestons
10. Soviettes: II
9. Motorhead: Inferno
8. Sultans: Shipwrecked
7. Strikeforce Diablo: The Albatross and the Architect
6. This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb: Three Way Tie For A Fifth
5. Mastadon: Leviathan
4. Beat Buttons demo
3. Railsplitter: 860 Some Odd Pounds
2. North Lincoln: Truth Is a Menace
1. Ninja Gun: Smooth Transitions
Twelve discs that were in my truck’s CD changer at the end of the year:
Rise Against: Siren Song of the Counter Culture
Severed Head of State: Anathema Device
Descendents: Cool to Be You
Bad Religion: The Empire Strikes First
Go Betty Go: Worst Enemy
Lamb of God: Ashes of the Wake
Slipknot: Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses
Strike Anywhere: Exit English
Shadows Fall: The War Within
Green Day: American Idiot
Napalm Death: Leaders Not Followers: Part Two
Social Distortion: Sex, Love & Rock n’ Roll
Gabe Hart from the Starvations
1. Hunches: Hobo Sunrise LP (In The Red)
2. Reigning Sound: Too Much Guitar LP (In The Red)
3. The Holy Ghost Revival: live anywhere, anytime and the Hot Love in a Berlin Bombshelter 7″ (Burn Burn Burn)
4. Red Onions self-titled CDEP (Flapping Jet)
5. Taxi live at the Trash Bar in New York and their Who’s to Blame 7″ (Dead Beat Records)
6. Two Gallants live at Bedpan park in Silverlake
7. Plastic Letters live plus the soon-to-be-legendary debaucherous offstage antics
8. Kill Me Tomorrow: Garbageman and the Prostitute LP (GSL)
9. Lost Sounds live at the Scene on November 6th and anything they’ve ever recorded
10. Central City Transmission Incommunicado EP on Kapow!
Hideo Takahashi from Sweet JAP
The Marked Men: On the Outside LP on Dirtnap. Their album rocks, they rock live. I can’t wait for their big comeback later this year when their guitar player Jeff comes back from Japan.
Black Lips live at Jackalope. During their show at SXSW, their bass player (if I remember right) got cut his forehead and bled really bad, but he kept playing ’til the audience stopped him. Their friend told me it happens all the time.
Kidnappers: Spanish Girls 7″ on Zaxxon Virile Action. I loved their debut album Ransom Notes which came out in 2003. They only released one 7″ in 2004. It’s an awesome single but I want more.
Cleveland Bound Death Sentence live at Mala. They got together again and recorded new songs. While their drummer Aaron was in Minneapolis for recording, they played two shows. I guess this show was their first real show. I heard they played a show when they recorded their first two 7″s, but they were too drunk to play.
Tyrades: I Am Homicide 7″ on Shit Sandwich, Incarcerated 7″ on Die Slaughterhaus. This great band put out two great singles last year. I hope they are making their second full length this year. A month ago they played a show here. They had many technical problems and they thought it was their worst show but they still made it interesting and a good show. Not many bands can do that.
Riverboat Gamblers live. They always put on kick ass shows, and never suck or disappoint me. They played three shows in Twin Cities this year, which rocks and more bands should come here. Their new album Backsides is not great as Something to Crow About but it still better than most stuff I heard in 2004.
Jet Boys: Jet Patrol!! LP on Demolition Derby. People talked about The 5678’s a lot, but the best Japanese band last year was the Jet Boys. This LP is no surprise if you’ve heard Jet Boys before. They stuck with their usual sound but it still rocks. That’s something. Most Japanese bands stopped coming to US but Jet Boys still do. They did some shows in the East Coast last year. Hope they do a full US tour some day.
The Mae Shi live at Big V’s. I didn’t know who there were. I’d never heard their name before but my friend set up their show here and I went to see them. It was a big surprise. These young boys put on a great show. I guess it’s arty noise music with GSL-type hardcore influence. Since they’re from LA, maybe they grew up listening to Locust? I don’t know. It seems they don’t have rules on their music and performance. They’re young but already ahead.
Supper Hopper live. This band is the best kept secret in Twin Cities to those outside MN. It’s always fun to go see them. They rock hard and party hard. They bring the party wherever they play. It’s about time for the rest of the world to find out about them.
The Functional Blackouts: 1-900-Get-Inside 7″ on Goodbye Boozy. The A-side song “1-900-Get-Inside” is a great song but B-side song “Tick Tick Tick Tick!” which also appear on their full length is a killer song. I heard a rumor they already broke up. I hope it’s not true.
Jason Willis from the Knockout Pills
1) Shark Pants Porno Snakehead and Live
2) The Bizarros You Can’t Fight Your Way Uptown From Here
3) The Marked Men On the Outside
4) The Fall-Outs Summertime
5) The Gris-Gris LIVE LIVE LIVE
6) Patton Oswalt 222 doing battle with Sarah Silverman bootlegs
7) Vee Dee Further
8) Killer Dreamer self-titled
9) Rocket from the Tombs Rocket Redux
10) Swing Ding Amigos The Mongolita Chroniocles
…and lots & lots & lots of reissues & old shit.
Songs from 2004 that made it onto annual my “Stuff that Didn’t Suck” CD:
1. Dead Ones, “Third World USA” (Don’t remember if it came out this year or last, but this punk blast in the “classic” mold did the trick during the elections)
2. Junior Achievement, “Night Dreams” (The reissue of this Arizona band’s first album is a fine example of just how good some of the ’80s hardcore stuff could be)
3. Spits, “Space Guitar” (Not as immediately catchy as their previous releases, the album from which this comes nonetheless furthers their aspirations of being the Ramones’ new wave-addled little brothers)
4. Cholita, “Chinga tu Madre” (Got this off of Alice Bag’s website and, frankly, I haven’t quit singing it since)
5. Le Concorde, “It’s the Minor Chords that Kill You” (The bulk of their EP was way too mellow and soppy for my tastes, but this one tune was a flash of pop brilliance. Features a Psychedelic Fur or two, if that means anything)
6. The OAOTs, “Can’t Let You” (Another album that failed to impress as a whole, but had enough impressive cuts to warrant its not being included in the “off to Amoeba to trade” bag. This was the most striking of those cuts, a nice bit of drony punk/pop)
7. Channel 3, “Just On You” (I love it when a band releases something after nearly two decades and it doesn’t suck. Again, I don’t remember if this was released in 2004 or not, but it got the most airplay this year)
8. Red Flag 77, “Time Has Been Called” (Their album was pretty good, but this tune, with its Leatherface-esque bridge/chorus was simply great)
9. Catholic Discipline, “Barbee Doll Lust” (Finally, a full length version of this classic tune is available. The rest of the album is pretty danged faboo, too. Fuck you, Kick Boy, for dying way too soon)
10. Telescopes, “Anticipating Nowhere” (Half of the “retrospective” album this is from comes off like the unholy progeny of My Bloody Valentine and the Jesus and Mary Chain, and the other half is more on the soft, dream-pop tip. This is one of the noisier tracks)
11. Vulvettes, “Frogs Mice Ants” (Brilliant in a “New Wave Theatre” outtake, noise punk kinda way)
12. The Monsters, “Pony Tail and a Black Cadillac” (A pitch-perfect piece of punk rock ‘n’ roll in full overdrive)
13. Zeni Tornado, “I Love It” (Their album was pretty lame, but this dash of smutty bluegrass was cool)
14. Babyland, “Past Lives” (Still making interesting tech-punk noise as they move into their second decade of hellraising)
15. Weegs, “Pink Elephant Walk” (Another great dose of tweaked out art punk from a group of people way too into the Beatles)
16. Twisted Roots, “Mommy’s Always Busy in the Kitchen” (This band’s retrospective showcases another, lesser known arty side of LA’s early ’80s punk scene. A nice contrast to the primal scream output of contemporaries like the Adolescents, Wasted Youth, and Black Flag)
17. Mentally Ill, “Padded Cell” (These guys were the aural embodiment of psychosis and this is one of my favorite punk songs ever)
18. Classical Ass, “Crab Racer” (More whacked out art punk)
19. Nomeansno, “Theresa, Give Me that Knife” (A nice bit of thrash from Canada’s greatest “thinkin’ man’s” punk band)
20. 7 Seconds, “Our Core” (Album number two since their full-on return to the hardcore fold continues in the same vein as its predecessor, with lightning fast tempos, ADD-friendly song lengths and the bulk of its lyrical attention focusing on personal and scene politics)
21. Antidote, “Life As One” (From a reissue of one of punk’s classic “lost” bands, recorded during that mythical time when “New York Hardcore” didn’t mean piss-poor heavy metal with grunting neanderthal singers covered in too many tattoos)
22. MDC, “Destroying the Planet” (Although not quite as frantic as in days past, these guys can still pour buckets of lyrical piss over the government’s biggest lies like no other. At a time when Avril Lavigne and Yellowcard are considered “punk,” it’s nice to get a blast of the real thing right before election time)
23. Star Strangled Bastards, “Self-Righteous Asshole” (America’s answer to Scandinavia’s fjordcore bands tears it up on album number two, giving Out Cold a run for their money in the “brutality” department)
24. Non Fiktion Nois, “Don’t Glamorize” (From Southkore’s compilation highlighting some of Chicago’s Latino punk bands, these guys rip it up something fierce)
25. STFU, “Flat Out Fucked” (More furious, frenetic hardcore to silence the nay-sayers who claim punk’s best years are long gone)
26. Rajoitus – Yrittakkaa Ymmartaa (If you’re not careful, this Scandinavian hardcore unit’s “discography” will pull itself out of the player and beat the crap outta you when you’re not looking. Yes, it’s that mean)
27. Satan’s Pilgrims, “The Godfather” (Who can resist a surf-tinged cover of the Godfather theme?)
28. Randies, “Boys In Stereo” (The opener to the Kiss or Kill comp should be a massive hit on all them “alternative rock” stations. Hopefully the stations will catch on as soon as they quit fawning over U2’s latest steaming pile of self-indulgence)
29. Rocket from the Tombs, “Never Gonna Kill Myself Again” (After thirty years, this legendary band, which spawned both Pere Ubu and the Dead Boys, finally releases its debut album and, surprise, it was worth the wait)
30. Vibrators, “Wrecked on You” (Bog bless Captain Oi and his reissues of classic punk discs)
31. Rose Tattoo, “Nice Boys” (My first taste of this band, nearly thirty years after the band released their debut (which was one of the band’s four albums Captain Oi reissued this year), yields another “favorite band of all-time” for me. This band is living proof why Australia should never be nuked off the face of the planet)
32. World War IX, “Thank God It’s Monday” (The album bored me, but this track was a nice bit of cynical punk obnoxiousness)
33. Briefs, “Halfsize Girl” (Another year, another set of crucial tunes from these guys)
34. Marked Men, “So What” (Proving their first album was no fluke, these guys follow it up with an even better selection of some of the best punk rock the U.S. has produced in decades)
35. The Strike, “Gang Warfare” (Captain Oi reissues Strength thru Oi. Jimmy is ecstatic)
36. External Menace, “Rude Awakening” (The whole album is great, but this has got to be the best song the Clash never wrote)
Justin from the Chinese Telephones
Here’s the top ten shows I attended in 2004. I’m just going to put them in chronological order rather than in order of greatness.
3-15-04: Dillinger Four, Sweet JAP, Tyrades, Valentines @ Fireside Bowl, Chicago
4-23-04: The Arrivals, The Soviettes, The Tears, Chinese Telephones @ Riverwest Commons, Milwaukee
5-24-04: Cleveland Bound Death Sentence, Rivethead, Totally Chaos, Future @ The Alamo, Minneapolis
5-27-04: Riverboat Gamblers, The Marked Men @ The Empty Bottle, Chicago
6-24-04: Vena Cava, Tiltwheel, Chinese Telephones, Dissimilars @ Chasers, San Diego
7-12-04: The Ergs!, Japanther, Modern Machines, Lipstick Pickups @ Barely Legal, Milwaukee
7-16-04: Clorox Girls, Catholic Boys @ Riverwest Commons, Milwaukee
7-21-04: The Soviettes, The Marked Men, Heads and Bodies, The Cheeps @ The Turf Club, St. Paul
7-25-04: Dillinger Four, Toys that Kill, Fleshies @ Mad Planet, Milwaukee
11-9-04: The Pixies @ Milwaukee Theatre, Milwaukee
Kalle Larsson from Smalltown
The Pogues live in London
Descendents: Cool to be You LP
The Clash “Heart and Mind” (unreleased track on the Vanilla Sessions CD)
The Solution Communicate! LP
The news that The Strike are playing shows again and might be recording new stuff soon.
Social Distortion Sex, Love and Rock’n’roll LP
One Man Army/Alkaline Trio split LP (sucks that one of the best bands around had to quit last summer)
Hot water music live in Hamburg (first time I got to see ’em)
Playing live with Smalltown in Tokyo
The Gain A,B, C, D and E’s LP (nice to have it all in one place)
1. Gwen Stefani Love. Angel. Music. Baby. Go on, pretend you don’t love it. Me, I’m too busy loving it to care.
2. The Pixies at the Greek. I won’t lie to you, I wasn’t cool enough at eighteen to see them.
3. Von Iva live. Von Iva recorded. Von Iva the ladies. My prediction for greatness in 2005!
4. Muse Absolution. This year’s Interpol, I guess. Jeff Buckley meets Radiohead.
5. The Headless Hearsemen live. With ex-members of The Bomboras, The Finks and The Ghastly Ones. It made me realize how much I’ve missed the presence of all those bands.
6. The second day of All Tomorrow’s Parties. Sitting on the side of the stage watching the Shins as the sun went down, Built to Spill in the rain, Peaches on the Queen Mary and Flaming Lips with all those balloons!
7. The pre-edited version of the Donnas video for “Fall Behind Me.” Thanks, Russ!
8. Interviewing Alice Bag with Todd. She’s rad!
9. Sleater-Kinney at the El Rey, and all the adorable Carrie wannabes on her side of the stage.
10. Seeing Beyond the Valley of the Dolls on the big screen for the first time. Z-Man and the Carrie Nation. See it!
Kid Kevin from the Lipstick Pickups and Killer Dreamer
1. Rudimentary Peni Archaic 10″
2. Clorox Girls LP
3. Panty Raid CD
4. Bent Outta Shape LP
5. The Soviettes II LP
6. The Triggers Bad Dreams 7″
7. Japanther Operating Manual 12″
8. Drinker’s Purgatory/Talkshow Dropouts split 7″
9. Wrangler Brutes Zulu 12″
10. All these bands put out the best of records, too: Shark Pants, Knockout Pills, ADD-C, the Observers, blah blah blah!!!
Kiyoshi Nakazawa from Drunken Master zine
10. Twisted Sister Still Hungry. When my mom and dad get on my case, I just put on this album and slam the door to my room. The songs totally express my individualistic frustration with authority and my desire to rock. Still amazing!
9. Guitar Wolf Loverock. Oh my God! I’m Japanese and I still can’t understand the lyrics! But everyone understands rock n’ roll. The feedback makes my ears bleed. One of my all time favorite bands.
8. The Immortal Lee County Killers III new album, title pending. Technically this might be considered a ’05 release but I heard the new album recordings and saw them on tour in ’04 and it all left an indelible mark on my brain. If Bruce Lee were a band, he would probably be The Immortal Lee County Killers III.
7. The Red Onions at the Eye Fest at the The Scene in Glendale. I laughed, I cried, it was the total experience. I had never heard any of their music prior to that night but I was totally faking lip synching to the songs like I knew the words.
6. Discovering Rob Halfords gay metal website. If Bruce Lee were a homosexual heavy metal website he might be Rob Halford’s. Kudos to you, Mr. Halford. Truly you are a defender of the faith.
5. The Cramps at All Tomorrow’s Parties in Long Beach. How the hell did they get booked with so many happy “emotional” bands? It was like that scene in The Blues Brothers with the roadhouse band mix up. This obviously put them in a foul mood which translated into the best set of the weekend. Honorable mention goes to Peaches.
4. Billy Childish and the Buff Medways at All Tomorrow’s Parties in Long Beach. Billy Childish puts the ass in kick your ass!
3. Hearing The Clash and The Ramones and Iggy Pop on national TV commercials. Finally someone could eat steak for dinner, and why not?
2. Becky Stark and the Lavender Diamonds at El Cid. My new favorite LA band that makes me feel weird inside. Are they serious or are they making fun of me? I want them to play at my wedding.
1. Demander. So I have a thing for girl bands, what are you going to do about it? P.S. I’ll fuck you up.
Mark Ryan from the Marked Men
1. Spits III
2. Protex Listenting In (I discovered this this year and I know it’s a reissue, but it counts for me)
3. Sultans Shipwrecked
4. Hives Tyrannosaurus Hives
5. Catholic Boys Psychic Voodoo Mind Control
6. Spits 19 Million AC
7. Sweet JAP I’m Only Moonlight 7″
8. Tyrades I Am Homicide 7″
9. Soviettes LP II
10. Reigning Sound Too Much Guitar
Martin and Jonah from Career Suicide
Direct Control self-titled EP
The Observers So What’s Left Now LP
Vile Solutions reissue LP
Caustic Christ Government Job EP
Hong Kong Blonde self-titled EP
Pissed Jeans Night Minutes b/w Throbbing Organ EP
Under Pressure Habits EP
The Prowl First Room on the Left EP
Urban Blight and Terminal State demos
Career Suicide west coast All-Burrito-All-The-Time tour (Aug, 04) / Albany D-Block slum riot (Nov, 04)
Matt from Four Deadly Questions
1. Descendents: Cool to Be You LP. Side two alone is the most depressing AND inspiring stuff I heard all year and proof positive that punk rock (and pop punk) ain’t just for the kids. Failed marriages. Custody battles. Dead dads. Punk Rock!
2. The Briefs: Sex Objects LP. On par with the instant-classic Hit After Hit and a perfect time capsule of that terrible period in our nation’s history when they banned ephedrine, Amerikkkans were hated around the world, and we were all on “Orange Alert”. Oh wait, that’s right now. Damn.
3. Toys That Kill: Flys CDEP. They just keep getting better and better (yes, I know this stuff is culled from previous recording sessions. Shut up!) and are (maybe) finally getting (some of) the recognition they so rightly deserve.
4. The Ergs!: Dorkrockcorkrod CD. They shoulda called this record How I Got Over My Initial Hangup That There Was Something Wrong With The Way The Cymbal Sounds On This CD And Learned To Love My Inner Nerd. This thing is rad. Their next, now that I turned Mikey on to beer and got him off that Mike’s Hard Lemonade Wuss-Juice, should be even more rad.
5. The Unlovables: Crush, Boyfriend, Heartbreak CD This thing is like eating all your Halloween candy in one night without the stomachache afterwords. Sweet and hyper and over way too soon.
6. Killer Dreamer self-titled LP. Dude, Killer Dreamer rules, OK? I don’t know how you can be so all over the place and so together all at once but they ride the line between chaos and cohesion better than anyone.
7. The Shemps: Spazz Out CD. We don’t really have garages in NYC but Artie proclaims himself the king of it anyway and I don’t think Jack White or any of his ilk have the guts to try and take the title back from that sawed-off maniac!
8. Rivethead: The Cheap Wine of Youth EP. When people say something sounds like Screeching Weasel what they usually REALLY mean is it sounds like post-Move Back Home Queers or some shit, but dude, this shit sounds like Screeching Weasel. Just a rad band that writes rad catchy songs. Six-song 12″ EPs are the cassingle of the new millennium!
9. The Tim Version: Prohibition Starts Tomorrow CD. Okay, this mighta come out in ’03 (I’m not sure), but I know for sure I bought it in ’04! Their slight country twang puts an awesome spin on their all-out USFC-style rockin’.
10. Green Day: American Idiot CD. I tried to leave this off here. You know, major label and all. I really did try, but I can’t fight it.
Descendents Cool to Be You
Fucked Up Epics in Minutes
Killer Dreamer self-titled
Knockout Pills 1 + 1= Ate
Leatherface Dog Disco
Marked Men On the Outside
Orphans Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead
Smalltown The Music
Swing Ding Amigos The Mongolita Chronicles
This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb Three Way Tie for a Fifth
Rivethead Cheap Wine of Youth
Micah Blue Smaldone Some Sweet Day
Mike Frame from Get Up and Go zine
1. Drive-by Truckers The Dirty South CD (New West)
2. Steve Earle The Revolution Starts… Now CD (Artemis)
3. The Paybacks Harder and Harder LP (Get Hip)
4. The Muffs Really Really Happy CD (Five Foot Two)
5. Shadows Fall The War Within CD (Century Media)
6. Loretta Lynn Van Lear Rose CD (Interscope)
7. Descendents Cool to be You LP (Fat Wreck)
8. Patterson Hood Killers And Stars CD (New West)
9. Dead Stop Done With You CD (Deranged)
10. Full Speed Ahead Born to Lose CD (Manic Ride)
11.Visqueen Sunset on Dateland CD (Blue Disguise)
12. Obsoletes Is This Progress? CD (1-4-5)
Miss Namella J. Kim
All the best live action of 2004 in true Socialist fashion – no numerical order, mind you.
The Spits @ Alex’s Bar
The Piranhas @ Koo’s Cafe
The Baseball Furies @ Spaceland
The Mistreaters @ Spaceland
The Paybacks @ Spaceland
The Geisha Girls @ Alex’s Bar
The Lost Sounds @ The Scene
The Flash Express @ The Capri, Las Vegas
The Girls @ Zen Sushi
The Clorox Girls @ Arts in Action and in my car “rippin’ and dippin'”
Muah to everyone to who keep music fun and exciting; my titties for all.
By any reasonable system of calculation, 2004 AD was A Year With No Number One Album. Nothing qualified. Sure, there was some pretty good stuff that, in better times, would admirably fill slots 4-20, but, as far as uncovering one of those sacred can’t-wait-to-get-home-and-play-it-after-i’ve-been-playing-it-all-day-at-work-and-in-my-car albums goes, 2004 AD was as devoid a year as i can remember. Tragically, the album released – or, in this case, released on CD for the first time – that comes closest to capturing the spirit of a de facto Best Album of the Year is…*
1. Meet the Beatles (Yep. Earth’s first power-pop album! Meet the Beatles – unavailable on CD until 2004 – was the American counterpart to the UK album With the Beatles, but With the Beatles kinda blows – in point of fact, it blew so much for so long i forgot how good Meet the Beatles is. Meet the Beatles fucking kicks ass! Presented in fake stereo and real mono, just like a Leg Hounds CD!)
2. should be either The Reigning Sound Too Much Guitar! or the Paybacks Harder and Harder, i reckon, which insures that a punk record medals no higher than bronze,
3. should be something punk, like M.O.T.O. Single File
4. should be something European and mysterious, like The Parallel Universe of Henry Fiat’s Open Sore, or the Operation S album
5. should be something sort of fast and punk and melodic and relatively low budget, lest i get kicked off the Razorcake staff, so we’ll say the Marked Men On the Outside or maybe the Knockout Pills 1 + 1 = Ate
6. had better be something moody and wavy, like The Girls self-titled album, or the Ponys Laced with Romance
7. should be something blatantly punk, like Morticia’s Lovers Smash the Radio, or maybe the Briefs Sex Objects. That Clorox Girls album does have a nice cover.
8. should indicate that i respect The Rock, something like the Wildhearts Riff After Riff or The Master Plan’s Colossus Of Destiny
9. should be something garagey, like Thee Fine Lines, or the doemstic version of the Locomotions album, or, what the hell, even the Nervous Shakes CD
10. should be my friends’ bands records, like the Ergs! Dorkrockcorkstick, the Beatnik Termites Girl Crazy!, The Obsoletes Is This Progress? and the Mystery Girls Something in the Water, although this whole thing about Wisconsin now being rife with great bands is Malarkey of the highest order.
I believe that effectively discharges my duties.
* Alternately, the best album of 2004 was my Riverboat Gamblers Something to Crow About LP, because i bought the last vinyl copy at a show, and, ten minutes later, some no-necked jock kept trying to buy it off of me. I’m like no, leave me alone, i just bought this album ten minutes ago, what the hell would i want to sell it for? The guy is insistent. Won’t stop pestering me for my vinyl copy. Finally, we strike a deal: He pays me thirty dollars for the album i just purchased, PLUS buys me a copy on CD. Works for me. And then i got action that night (not from the guy) to boot! Wooooooo!
Rhythm Chicken of Rhythm Chicken fame
10. the Jackpot Saloon, Lawrence, KS.
9. the AC Tap, Bailey’s Harbour, WI.
8. the Cactus Club, Milwaukee, WI.
7. Pounders, Escondido, CA.
6. the Palm Tavern, Milwaukee, WI.
5. the Brick, Kansas City, MO.
4. the Palomino, Milwaukee, WI.
3. the Liar’s Club, San Diego, CA.
2. JJ’s La Puerta, Sister Bay, WI.
1. the side of the road, 10987 Old Stage Rd., Sister Bay, WI.
Rookie Sensation Mike Wiebe from the Riverboat Gamblers
The top ten things I heard in 2004 (some of ’em may have come out before, but I didn’t hear them until 2004) Also, I got no order to this… some are apples, some are oranges, some are steak, all are delicious and none contain carbs!
1. Hot Snakes: Audit in Progress. It’s awesome, the best one yet!
2. Soviettes: II. This is damn good!
3. Knockout Pills: 1 + 1 = Ate. From Tuscon on Estrus!! Great!!
In the course of writing this I have suddenly realized that I’m not that good at reviewing records that I like. I could probably rip the shit out of some mall/Hot Topic stuff, but it occurs to me that I’m probably gonna keep referring to all these records as “awesome” or “great”. I shall search within myself for other adjetives.
4. The Hives: Tyrannosaurus Hives. BOO YA!!
5. Toys that Kill: Control the Sun. Awwwww, SHIIIIITTTTT!!!!
6. Catheters: Howling, It Grows and Grows. An erotic masterpiece.
7. The Ponys (I can’t remember the title at the time of writing this, but that in no way means I don’t love this record)
8.Wu-Tang: Live Reunion in San Bernadino DVD. R.I.P. O.D.B
9.Swing Ding Amigos: Mongolita Chronicles. Filled to the brim with
10. Shark Pants : Porno Snakehead.Both Swing Ding and Shark Pants share members and share a certain strangeness that is both soft to the touch and JAGGED (to be read in a effete British voice)
11. Pine Hill Haints: Self-titled. Best lyrics since Nightmare Before Christmas.
Also, I like that new Green Day but in order to keep street cred, I will say that I have never heard it and have never once touched a “compact disc.” And the Marked Men On the Outside is way up in the mix, but I am a little biased and I ooze with integrity and an as-of-yet-unidentified fluid.
Roxy from the Epoxies
The Start: Initiation
Green Circles: All Hours EP
Minds: Plastic Girls
Briefs: Sex Objects
The Vanishing: Songs for Psychotic Children/Still Lifes Are Failing
The Punk Group: Tour de Force
Russ from the Tim Version
I’m not good with the lists and the rankings, etc., so here are a bunch of releases that are, more or less, in no order other than the order I thought of them along with a short and annoying description of each.
Sexy: Por Vida (Onion Flavored Records): This probably came in 2003, but I don’t care. So I guess I’ll call this one “Best Record That Came Out In 2003 That I’m Just Getting Around To Listening To.” Some of the best good-times wasted rock ‘n’ roll I’ve heard all year.
Jack Palance Band / ADD/C / Queer Wulf 7″ (This Here): Three of Chattanooga’s finest rock ‘n’ roll bands one on 7″. Holy shit! This got multiple spins last year.
Ninja Gun: Smooth Transitions (Barracuda Sound): Sweet southern rock and country influenced punk from Valdosta. Such a killer record.
The Weight: Ten Mile Grace (Sabot Productions): Great country-influenced grassroots acoustic music played by dudes who’ve probably played in fifty million punk bands.
Dukes of Hillsborough/Altaira: Sometimes You Eat The Bar… (ADD Records): Even though this is also “Best CD Recorded And Released By People I Drink With, Work With And Go Bowling With On A Regular Basis,” it still holds up as one of my favorites of the year.
Drag the River: Hey Buddies (Mars Motors): See description of The Weight. Still good shit.
Leatherface: Dog Disco (BYO): Has the distinction of being “Best Record That Will Probably Be On Everyone Else’s Best Of List.”
Motorhead: Inferno (Sanctuary): Another great record from 2004 that I have dubbed “Best Album By A Band That I Didn’t Expect To Still Be Rocking Out To When I Turned 30.”
Waylon Jennings: The Ultimate Waylon Jennings (MCA Records): “Best Collection Of Songs Recorded A Long Time Ago.”
Various Artists: Montreal Spirit – A Dare To Care Records Family Compilation: I love CDs that document the music coming out of a particular, well, “scene” for lack of a better word. So this gets the “Best CD That May Not Be One Of The Best CDs of The Year, But Is Still Easily The Best Compilation I’ve Heard Documenting The Musics Indigenous To/Affiliated With A Particular City Or State” moniker.
I also really liked the No Choice Dry River Fishing CD and the De La Soul The Grind Date CD, but I already have ten listed, so maybe the guy will include these if I haven’t already pissed him off.
1. Marked Men On the Outside LP
2. Knockout Pills 1 + 1 = Ate CD
3. Soviettes II LP
4. Leatherface Dog Disco CD
5. Rivethead The Cheap Wine of Youth 12″ EP
6. The Orphans Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead LP
7. The Okmoniks Compact 33 7″
8. Hot Snakes Audit in Progress CD
9. Joe Meno Hairstyles of the Damned Novel
10. Jim Munroe An Opening Act of Unspeakable Evil Novel
Tim from Smogtown
Geisha Girls self-titled EP
The Starvations One Long Night EP
Smut Peddlers Exit Plan 7″
The Dwarves Must Die LP
The Spits self-titled LP #3
Morrissey You Are the Quarry LP
Killing California live
Broken Bottles In the Bottles LP
Hostage Records’ Collateral Damage compilation LP
The Alleged Gunmen Audio Invasion 7″
Riverboat Gamblers, Backsides and live. Stuff like “the most energetic live show on the planet” sounds dumb, but it’s so fuckin’ true. If you’re jonesing for the followup to Something to Crow About, the buildup to that album is just as great.
Knockout Pills, 1 + 1 = Ate and live. Rock’n’roll, can it come any finer from Tucson mutants, all old enough to have quit “back in the day,” yet radiating way past the half life of their past, fantastic bands? Recorded in their own four-track studio.
Marked Men, On the Outside and live. So tightly wound, so bouncy, so catchy. Irresistible punk rock from wonderfully humble and average-looking guys who prove that punk I understand is from the heart, not a patch or from being a jerkoff.
Soviettes, LP II and live. I really didn’t think they could hold or top LP I, and boy, was I short-sighted. If the Go Go’s recordings had more teeth and they lived in the Midwest in the 2000’s, they’d pray for an album this good.
Lost Sounds, self-titled and live. All the weirdness is funneled and crystallized into a powerful, from-another-planet record. Experimentation doesn’t have to mean “What the fuck?” Sometimes it can equate to “Holy shit!”
Smalltown, The Music. How does one tap from tradition but not get bear-trapped by convention and nostalgia? Smalltown gives the answer, and it’s twelve songs long.
Leatherface, Dog Disco and photographing Frankie’s wedding. I’ve often wondered if this correlation was going to affect one of my long-standing favorite bands: Does getting older mean becoming soft and boring and writing jingles for cars? Luckily, the answer is no: smart, emotionally jarring, and moving, all transcend time.
Hot Snakes, Audit in Progress. All over the map, but the map’s like a nuclear missile pointed directly in the middle of your brain. Smart, anxious, and paranoid hugs-too-tight musical notes are just what the pirates ordered.
Ergs! Dorkrockcorkrod and live. Most of the time, I think it’s a good idea to piss in the mouth of the corpse whose coffin’s cracked open at the bottom of pop punk’s grave, but the Ergs! resuscitate the often crapified genre and make it intelligent, fun, and angsty all at the same time. If the Descendents mutated with the Minutemen and Husker Du, while spending the weekdays as cart wranglers in a supermarket, that’s the Ergs!
The Ends, Concrete Disappointment. Sneaky, sneaky under-the-radar stuff that’s clothed as straight-ahead ’77 punk but is just as much Elvis Costello and Johnny Thunders without the wankery and dull bits.
Orphans, Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead and live. There’s a lot to be said about a lady who likes to strip down and roll around on the ground in her underwear and not remember any of it in the morning. More could be said about melodies that hit you like arrows from a crossbow all adding up to an album that’s both damaged and loveable.
This Bike Is a Pipebomb, Three Way Tie for a Fifth. It’s all about the stories, from old boxers to old skate spots, to long bike rides. Honest, backward-reaching, forward-thinking songs of protest and redemption.
Here’s non-LP, “it’s really a collection of previously released material,” and 7″ standouts for the year: Fucked Up, Epics in Minutes; Career Suicide, Anthology of Releases 2001-2003; MOTO, Single File; Rivethead, The Cheap Wine of Youth 12″; Toys That Kill, Flys; Starvations, One Way to Remind; The Drips, Mexico; and the best compilation, by far, Collateral Damage by Hostage Records.
Travis Spillers from the Knockout Pills
2004: Worst year ever. Alcohol conquers politics.
1.The Pervs (Vegas)
2.The Observers So What’s Left Now LP (Vinyl Warning)
3.This Moment in Black History Midwesterncuttalistic LP(Version City)
4.Swing Ding Amigos (Wrong Hole Fool/Rock N’ Roll Purgatory)
5.Marked Men On the Outside LP (Dirtnap)
6.Lost Sounds self-titled CD (In The Red)
7.Catholic Boys Psychic Voodoo LP
8.Killer Dreamer self-titled LP (Kapow!)
10.Sneaky Pinks (Tucson)
Welly from Four Letter Word
1. Social Distortion: Sex, Love and Rock’n’Roll LP
2. M.D.C.: Magnus Dominus Corpus LP
3. Spermbirds: Set an Example LP
4. Strung Up: Society Rot In Hell LP
5. Descendents: Cool to Be You LP
6. Signal Lost: Children of the Wasteland LP
7. Vitamin X: Bad Trip LP
8. The Dauntless Elite: Security? 10″ EP
9. Brian Walsby: Manchild book
10. Four Letter Word: Crimewave! 7″