It’s that time of year again. I’m a bad dictator. So is Sean. We asked our contributors to give us their “top whatever” of 2002. We didn’t limit it to a number. We didn’t limit it to length. Here’s who’s answered so far. We’ll update this list as more come in. It’s alphabetical, by first name. -Todd
TSOG: The Thing that Ate the Constitution by Robert Anton Wilson (New Falcon)
One of the most erudite and wise philosophers in the land dissects post-9/11 consensus realities and fingers the “men behind the curtain” that are so busily constructing them.
Do What Thou Wilt – A Life of Aleister Crowley by Lawrence Suttin
Hands down one of the most thoroughly researched, thoroughly enjoyable biographies I’ve ever had the good fortune to read – and it doesn’t hurt that the subject is one the past century’s most enigmatic monster/geniuses.
Stupid White Men by Michael Moore (Regan)
If you’re like me and never get tired of seeing someone unflinchingly pants the over-stuffed denizens of the Corporate World and their bed-fellows in Washington, then you already know that Moore is worth his rather hefty weight in gold.
Everything You Know Is Wrong edited by Russ Kick (Disinformation)
Disinfo’s brought together a platoon of chippy dissident writers who will fire up the industrial strength Shop Vac, suck all the sticky lies out of your head and put bad, bad ideas back in that might make you think you’ve maybe been lied to once or twice…
Henry Fiat’s Open Sore, Adulterer Oriented Rock and Idiotia Hyperactiva. How the hell does one begin to describe Henry Fiat’s Open Sore? It’s like you’re at some shee-shee party on a hot summer night and someone breaks in, reaches into a lawn bag and starts throwing bloody clumps of dead clowns into the ceiling fans. Kind of like if the Hives had criminally insane little brothers. If you haven’t heard of Sweden’s HFOS yet, you will. And you will shit your pants and rejoice to the punk rock gods for finally dropping such a heavenly tturd in your lap. (Cold Front) (contact: www.henryfiatsopensore.com)
The Bulemics, Soundtrack to the Apocalypse
Scumbucket metal-tinged punk that will probably make purists wince. But Confederacy of Scum aficionados and assorted derelicts will embrace it for its unrepentant, sociopathic bent. (Steel Cage)
Sweet J.A.P., Virgin Vibe. This mostly Japanese band from Minnesota plays frenetic garage punk that is unapologeticly fun and is flat out impossible to not like. (contact: Nice and Neat Records: www.geocities.com/hideonnr/) (Big Neck)
The Fartz, Injustice. Legendary malcontents come back to the fold to 1) show us all why early ’80s hardcore was so damn blisteringly good, and 2) because, well, this fucking world still stinks… (Alternative Tentacles)
Dillinger Four, Situationist Comedy. I really wanted to be the only one here without D4 on any of my lists – just to be a prick and a lone wolf. But there will be other opportunities for that down the road. Now is the time for shameless ass-kissing. Yet another instant classic from this amazingly consistent band. D4 seem destined to claim the title of the band that can do no wrong. Plus they look funny naked. (Fat Wreck)
D4, Fuck Yeahs, Rivethead, Ragnarock
Friday, July 26 – Turf Club (St. Paul, MN)
All right, you already know how I feel about D4; the ONLY bad thing about this band playing anywhere is the worshipping throng that packs every venue they play to the fucking brim. That makes it hard to get a beer – and you have to drink beer while enjoying D4. It’s some kind of cosmic law or something. But the Fuck Yeahs gave D4 a run for their money on this particular evening with a strong, tight set of refreshingly snotty pop punk. Two great bands that taste great together.
Coffin Cheaters, Big Fuckin Skull, The Kooks, Invasion Earth
Thursday, Oct. 31 – Big V’s Saloon (St. Paul, MN)
Probably the most low-brow, fake(?)-bloody, moronic fun I’ve ever had on Halloween. And that’s saying something. The Coffin Cheaters ripped it up with their politically incorrect porno-booth punk while B.F.S. lunged at the crowd with hilarious songs about giant skulls that fly around and eat people. The Kooks bill themselves as “the world’s worst Misfits tribute band” and they drunkenly lived up to their billing in glorious fashion. Sometimes stupid fun is the most fun.
(Coffin Cheaters contact: http://stinkywetpink.tripod.com/) (Big Fuckin Skull contact: www.bigfuckinskull.com/)
DRI, Ed Gein Fan Club, New Society of Anarchists
Wednesday, Nov. 6 – First Avenue (Minneapolis, MN)
While DRI provided a very enjoyable run through their old cross-over classics, it was the Ed Gein Fan Club that stole the show with their go-fuck-yourself punk. Their audience baiting alone would make Lee Ving and Tesco Vee proud. (contact: www.geocities.com/mplsriot/egfc.html)
Tuesday, May 7 – 400 Bar (Minneapolis, MN)
Straight-up ass-thumping devil rock served up with a shit-eating grin and plenty of attitude. And some silo punk thrown in for good measure. Consistently one of the best live bands around.
1. Jets To Brazil – Perfecting Loneliness is a brilliant record and the best I’ve heard all year.
2. Yesterday’s Kids – Can’t Hear Nothin’ is an outstanding power/pop/punk record that has been shamefully overlooked.
3. Pretty Girls Make Graves – Good Health accomplishes the difficult task of being singular, unique and fresh without sacrificing good, basic, solid songwriting.
4. Even In Blackouts – Myths and Imaginary Magicians is another record (featuring the former co-founder/guitarist of Screeching Weasel) that manages to be innovative (all-acoustic punk band) while maintaining a foundation of good songwriting.
5. Jawbreaker – Etc. is a good collection of outtakes and b-sides from a band that revisionists want us to believe was the original emo band. They weren’t. Nobody ever called them an emo band, except maybe as an insult. They were a solid pop-punk band, as this release shows. At least the emo tag is moving units for ’em…
6. The Pink Lincolns are back together, which is about the only good piece of news to come out of Florida in three years.
7. Good news: Sex in punk is back in vogue. Bad news: I’m not.
8. Knee-jerk leftist rhetoric is on the rise, providing great fodder for comedian/commentator Dr. Frank on his “warblog.”
9. The resurgence of garage rock that happens every two years reached new heights, posing the question, “Are these cats really so worried about losing their guitar straps that they have to emboss them with their band names?”
10. Just as the backlash against Ramones-clone bands reaches violent proportions, the Riverdales re-form. It is yet another in a long line of ill-advised career moves.
Anti-War March in D.C.
Dillinger 4 – Situationist Comedy
Dillinger 4 – Live
Tragedy – Vengeance
RJD2 – Dead Ringer
The Curse – EP
Mr. Lif – I, Phantom
Trial By Fire – Ringing in the Dawn
Kill The Man Who Questions (RIP) – Last Show
Amelie – (the movie)
The Cometbus Book
Bad Religion, Process of Belief CD
Quetzal, Sing the Real CD
9 Shocks Terror, Live
Curioso, Isso Fica Por Sua Conta 7″
Working only 4 months out of the year due to unemployment and injury.
Dillinger 4, Situationist Comedy CD
Limp Wrist, self-titled LP
Reagan SS, Live and Hail the New Dawn 7″
System of a Down, Steal this CD CD
Balzac, Terrifying! / Art of Dying – the Last Men on Earth II Box
Tsunami Bomb, The Ultimate Escape CD
Flogging Molly, Live
Manic Hispanic, Live and The Recline of Western Civilization CD
Channel Three, Self-titled LP
G.I.S.M., Sonicrime Therapy CD
Klamydia, Punk Tsi Pum CD
Shakira, Laundry Service CD
Various Artists – Killed by Hardcore LP
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, A Jacknife to a Swan CD
Rip City Skates
Dolly Parton, “Stairway to Heaven” off of the Halos and Horns CD
Fall Silent, Drunken Violence CD
Harum Scarum, Suppose We Try LP
My two new cats, Milo and Maya
Slang, Skilled Rhythm Kills LP
Dogtown and the Z-Boys DVD
Some Strange Music Mailorder
Headline Records, for putting on some great shows and for being a good record store.
Dr. Strange Mailorder, store and label
Sound Idea Distribution. Bob Suren is a great guy to buy from!
Nappy Roots, Watermelon, Chicken and Grits CD
Strike Anywhere, Live and Change Is a Sound CD
All the bootlegs and re-issues of early ’80s punk.
1. Road trips – highlights include: getting lost in New Jersey, sneaking into a hotel swimming pool in Iowa, and driving to Washington D.C. at three in the morning.
2. The Kills, Black Rooster EP
3. The Chelsea Whistle by Michelle Tea
4. Coffee – always. It makes me feel jittery, manic, awake and alive.
5. Dillinger Four, Situationist Comedy LP
6. Skeleton Key #3: “no air recirculator, no diet frozen meals, no bad case of fiending for nicotine or sugar or seduction can take our humanity away from us.” ($1, to: Ellen, PO Box 2624, Portland, OR 97208.)
7. Green Zine #12: “Here’s to community. Here’s to people we trace back to and adore. Here’s to embracing revolutionary ideas. Here’s to resisting exclusionary elitism… Here’s to respect. Here’s to optimism. Here’s to inside jokes and euphoric laughter. Here’s to cooking vicariously and large pots of coffee. Here’s to aimless bike rides. Here’s to nurturing one another back to physical and mental health. Here’s to collective strength of mind.” ($2 to: Cristy C. Road c/o Green Zine, 14222 SW 83 St., Miami, FL, 33183.)
8. Daycare Swindlers, Heathen Radio CD
9. War Against the Idiots #22: “At Coney Island there was a shooting game with fake automatic rifles and the paper targets all had pictures of Osama Bin Laden on them. Creepy. We made the mistake of feeding old bread to the seagulls. They flew over in droves and squawked and screeched and flapped around horribly. It was terrifying.” ($1 to: Liam Idiot, 1731 Cleveland St., Evanston, IL, 60202.)
10. Inkling #4: “When they got home the boy wanted to listen to one of his new records. The girl watched him take the record out of its cardboard sleeve, hold it carefully between his fingertips and blow very lightly on its surface to get the dust off. He placed the record on the turntable and set the needle down gently. There was a moment of scratchy static and a click, and then the music began.” (no price information: Melissa Klein, 3266 21st St. #79, San Francisco, CA, 94110.)
11. Lucid Nation – Tacoma Ballet double CD
12. Service Anxiety, Against Me!: Fireside Bowl, October 22 2002.
13. Retail Whore #6: “I guess Marcus got wind of my enthusiasm over his tape for Nate, because the next Thursday he suggested I make HIM a tape. I almost shit. Making a tape for Marcus would be like, Angela Chase from My So-Called Fucking Life making a tape for Jordan Catallano. And if you don’t get that reference, like, try this cheap zine reference: that’s like Aaron Cometbus asking YOU to make HIM a zine.” ($2 to: Kat Raz, PO Box 688, Evanston, IL, 60204.)
14. Zine readings
15. Tom Waits, Blood Money, Alice CDs
16. Daycare Swindlers, Two Man Advantage, Toxic Narcotic: house show, October 23 2002.
17. Bowling for Columbine, the Michael Moore film.
1. Thee Undertakers, Crucify Me CD – finally, after twenty years, it’s out!
2. Spontaneous Disgust Jesus Was a Pop Punk Rocker double 7-inch EP – it should be criminal to match so much virulence with such a level of catchiness.
3. Savage Republic 4-CD box set – their entire studio output reissued in some gorgeous packaging
4. Big boys, Wreck Collection CD – assorted outtakes and live tracks from the greatest band that ever walked the earth.
5. Limpwrist LP – They love hardcore boys.
6. Pachuco Boogie compilation CD – firme rolas straight outta the pachucada.
7. Hyped to Death compilation series – the most diverse, yet consistently good, series I’ve heard to date.
8. Boyle Heights musical retrospective show at the Japanese American museum, featuring The Brat, Cannibal and the Headhunters, Lalo Guerrero, Los Illegals, Tierra and a bunch of others
9. Suburban Voice – much love and props to Al Quint. You’re comps are flat-out killer, too
10. Trading tunes with my homeboy Barry Barnett – the man has EVERYTHING you could possibly think of.
11. My homeboy Billy Branch lending me a burner so I could put my collection of old east L.A. punk demo cassettes onto something a little longer lasting.
12. Listening to some kick-ass local punk rock on some pirate radio station near my house. No doubt they’ll be shut down soon, but DAMN if it wasn’t great to hear some of that shit on the radio.
13. TSOL and Channel 3 both releasing albums that weren’t embarrassing to say I owned
14. Los Olvidados, Listen to This! CD – another never-released gem from the old days.
15. Silly Putty – not music-related, but, like Slinkees, should have a place in every top ten list.
Julia Smut Peddler’s Top Nine
1. Good drumming
2. Hostage Records
3. A clean car
4. Unemployment checks
5. Double 10″ records
6. Good drumming
7. Berlin and Hamburg, Germany
8. Vinyl Solution Records
9. Throwrag’s new record, 2nd Place
10. Punk rock history books
11. Red Bull on tap
12. Nice people
13. Good drumming
1. Squab: The ever-evolving band just wrote a new song with tambourines and handclaps – it’s delicious. “Ooh, yeah, damn!”
2. Cingular’s new “roll over minutes” plan: No more triple digit cell phone bills for me. What was that I said a couple of years ago? – “I’ll only use it for emergencies.”
3. Interpol, Turn on the Bright Lights CD – Music for sweet dreams.
4. Radio Vago live: anywhere, anytime.
5. Ladyfest San Francisco with drunk girls on roller skates Emceeing.
6. Amelie: It’s all about that little gnome. The film is positively darling.
7. Tight Pants! zine: I adore Maddy’s cutting wit about as much as she loves cold milk and sweetened cereal.
8. It’s never too late to reintroduce yourself to JJ Fad’s debut CD Supersonic.
9. Miss Kittin and The Hacker, First Album CD – I just vant Mizz Kittin to say ‘allo to me in that sexy accent of hers. “Suck my deeck. Lick my ahhss.”
10. Polkadot Chokealot: Their music is glorious lo-fi super sex beating from two girls and their microphones – dirty minds with pretty faces.
11. No Doubt: You got a problem with that?
1. Dot Allison, Substance
2. Royksopp, Melody A.M.
3. Swayzak, Dirty Dancing
4. Ladytron, Light and Magic
5. Out Hud, S.T.R.E.E.T.D.A.D.
6. Kylie Minogue, Fever (no, I’m not kidding)
7. Peaches, Teaches of Peaches (re-issue with bonus tracks, yummy)
8. Bjork, Greatest Hits
9. 2 Many DJs (both the legit and bootleg versions)
10. DJ Kicks, Tiga’s Mix
Smogtown at Koko’s (now defunct)
The Spits and Smut Peddlers at the Garage
The Briefs at Vinyl Solution
Cockney Rejects and Peter and the Test Tube Babies, Dublin, Ireland
Stitches at the Garage
Von Steins and Epoxies at Silverlake Lounge
Adicts at the Whiskey
Skulls at the Doll Hut
The Pushers at the Gypsy Lounge
Cuts Vol 1 (Hostage)
Namella J. Kim:
2002 was an unprecedented year for the absolute mockery of rock. There was an email circulated not too long ago in music circles, written by “Joan Jett,” that directly pinpointed the problems of the current state of music or what people refer to as music these days. The old mainstream industry non-ethic practice of rape, pillage and exploit whatever you can for the sake of the bottom line and country club memberships has seethed ever more prevalently so into what is termed “rock music” these days. The industry’s sly and insidious targeting of the “garage” scene brought forth into the glaring Kleig lights of general consumption such artists as The White Stripes, The Hives, The Mooney Suzuki, The Strokes (well, they were bred for mass consumption anyway) and The Vines (a bad copy of The Hives – even before The Hives had a chance to breathe their last gasp and die!) Detroit became touted as the next Seattle, well over two years after many of the bands released their initial offerings – coldly passed on by the very same major labels who are now giving each other buckshot high fives on the basketball court over their discoveries (sic). Now anything that imprints a band’s origins as Detroit quickly becomes usurped by record labels clamoring to board the Detroit Express to find the next White Stripes – oh hell, why don’t they just say you’re just digging for gold! They’re worse than those opportunistic bitches on The Bachelor! Rock clings for life in the vapid space of airheads surging with blonde hair, tight abs, and goldfish-out-of-water bulbous eyes – swelling omnipresently, as evidenced by the overwhelming demand at the recent American Idol try-outs. They’re cutting off the natural path of the nihilistic nature of rock with pretenses of pretty and chic. Rock has been merely neutered to the state of Hot Topic stocks and the skyrocketing demand for metal studded bracelets and Manic Panic for far too long! The Weirdos once asked, “You wanna know what punk is?” and they answered in the same breath, “Punk is crazy.” Now where have all the lunatics gone?
So, with this ominous introduction, I give you my List of Things that Make No Sense:
“Bands I Wished Lived Closer to Me”:
The Mystery Girls
Dean Dean and The Sex Machines
The Clone Defects
The Lost Sounds
The Compulsive Gamblers
The Mullens – yes! Forever!
The Baseball Furies
“Band I Loved Working With This Year – Because I Really Do Love You Even Though You Dri(o)ve Me Crazy”:
The Lords of Altamont
The Riff Randells
The Zodiac Killers
The LA Times
…And all the other bands who I had the pleasure of booking throughout the year. Sorry if I forgot your names but I’m sure it starts with a “The”
“Electro – Clash My Ass – Old Skool Synth Funk* Is The Best”:
The Stereophonic MCs
The Fearless Four
Ready For The World
Roger’s solo album “The Many Moods of…”
There’s nothing more appealing right now than long Jheri curls, synth future funk beats, black guys in “punk” outfits, glittering guitars and you must check out “Back In The Day” – the photobook chronicling the best and worst from this era.
* All rights reserved, in case Billboard is reading this – yeah right!
2002 was a banner year for one thing – music. As good as 2001, only I’m reporting fewer hardcore records this year.
This is the music that meant the most to me this year. If you need commentary, go to http://www.punkrockacademy.com/:
Ryan Adams, Demolition
Andrew W.K., I Get Wet
Against Me!, Reinventing Axl Rose
A.M. Vibe, self-titled
Avail, Front Porch Stories
Azure Ray, Burn And Shiver
Belle And Sebastian, Storytelling
Cadillac Blindside, These Liquid Lungs
Chemical Brothers, Come with Us
Coheed And Cambria, The Second Stage Turbine Blade
Dillinger Four, Situationist Comedy
Kyle Fischer, Open Ground
Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man, Out of Season
The Hope Conspiracy, Endnote
Hot Water Music, Caution
Interpol, Turn on the Bright Lights
Jets To Brazil, Perfecting Loneliness
Matt Pond PA, The Green Fury / The Nature Of Maps
Beth Orton, Daybreaker
Radio 4, Gotham!
Rilo Kiley, The Execution of All Things
The Rocking Horse Winner, Horison
Small Brown Bike ‘The Casket Lottery, Split
Sunday’s Best, The Californian
Tori Cobras, Running with the Red Light
Trial By Fire, Ringing in the Dawn
Watch It Burn / tiltWheel, Twice the Dose
Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Shows (too many to mention): Fairweather, Liar’s Academy, Dillinger Four, tiltWheel, Tori Cobras, Furious IV, Watch It Burn, The Arrivals, Lucero, A.M. Vibe, Vena Cava, Altaira, The Explosion, Wilco, American Steel, One Time Angels, Sunday’s Best
Covenant, Northern Light (Metropolis)
Frog Eyes, The Bloody Hand (Global Symphonic)
A Luna Red, SLMZK! (Action Driver)
Global Symphonic / A Luna Red : Split 12″ (Global Symphonic)
Love Life, Here Is The Night Brothers, Here The Birds Burn (Jagjaguwar)
Swarm of Angels, Plessure EP (Girl Gang Records and Tapes)
Ants Invasion: Adam and The Antz tribute band @ Brickyard, Vancouver BC
Love Life, Kill Me Tomorrow, Jerk With A Bomb @ The Pic, Vancouver
Prince @ The Murat, Indianapolis, IN
Liars @ Commodore, Vancouver, BC
A Luna Red, Operation Makeout @ The Pic, Vancouver
Get Hustle, Pleasure Forever, Love Life @ Blackbird, Portland OR
Silkworm @ Radio Radio, Indianapolis, IN
And thank god I got my ass out of Indianapolis.
1. Dillinger Four, Situationist Comedy. I know I’m just like everyone else, but this is a fucking awesome album.
2. Against Me!, Reinventing Axl Rose. I know I’m just like everyone else, but this is a fucking awesome album.
3. Toys That Kill Live. Along with being an amazing live band, Toys That Kill have also played with and/or helped bring to LA some of my favorite bands, like The Knockout Pills, Super Chinchilla Rescue Mission, Bloodhag, Dillinger Four, and Broken Bottles. TTK’s live show also introduced me to two bands that knocked me off my ass: Shark Pants and Bleach(mobile).
4. Super Chinchilla Rescue Mission / The Timversion, Go Halves on a Bastard. Get this CD from Attention Deficit Disorder. Worship these bands.
5. The Brat, Los Illegals, and Lalo Guerrerro at the Japanese American Museum.
6. Cuts Vol. 1 on Hostage. This is an amazing collection of bands, mostly from Orange County. It’s the best compilation of the year – hell, of the last few years – and it’s probably gonna sell out by tomorrow. I recommend that you hurry on this one.
7. The Epoxies. I can’t get enough of their album, and they’re even better live.
8. Dr. Strange Records putting out new, amazing albums by Channel Three and The Skulls (though, Headline Records deserves a lot of credit, too, for putting out The Skulls comeback seven inch).
9. Snuffy Smile Records in Japan, for putting out so much good shit that Todd and I have to fist fight each other every time we get a package from them.
10. The Rezillos live at the Garage. The fucking Rezillos live at the motherfucking Garage!
BOOKS AND ZINES
1. The Storytime for Deviants Tour. I know I’m giving myself a plug here, but this tour to promote my new book and Rich Mackin’s book and Janaka Stucky’s book was a high point of my life. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the people we met on tour reaffirmed my faith in humanity.
2. Guinea Pig Zero by Robert Helms. A human guinea pig writes intelligently and articulately about selling his body for medical research. How can you pass that up?
3. Get Your War On by David Rees. I know this is the flavor of the month, but everyone should ignore the hype and read this book of comics.
4. Drunken Master 2, issue #6. This is a nice blend of comics, bizarre art, and high quality zine writing. It’s the kind of zine that sticks like peanut butter to the roof of your brain.
5. This Too Can Be Yours by Beth Lisick. A great book of short stories from Manic D Press.
6. The NOLA Book Fair, where I got to hang out with a bunch of cool writers, zinesters, punkers, and New Orleans drunks who were starved for more good shit to read. GK Darby from Garrett County Press deserves a hell of a lot of credit for putting this on.
7. Pick Your Poison, #1-3. As a writer, Nate still has a long way to go, but I still really enjoy his stories about being young and fucked up. I also have to admit that his stories have the ability to remind me of crazy shit I did (and tried to forget about), and confront my own past. This makes for a pretty powerful zine.
8. Punkanut #2. It’s more than just a zine. It’s a staple bound novella written by a modern day hobo who’s learned from all the right philosophers.
9. Genetic Disorder #16 – not only is this an awesome zine, but when I met the editor, Larry, he used some kind of Jedi mind trick to convince me that, if I didn’t do a shot of tequila with him, I was going to beat him up. Funny and weird. Just like his zine.
10. Terrorism and War by Howard Zinn. Need I say more?
1. My wife, for marrying me; my brother, for becoming a “reverend” and performing the ceremony, Todd and Felinor, for saying a few words at the ceremony; and everyone who made the trip out to Hawaii, for being there at my wedding.
2. Bowling for Columbine by Michael Moore. You gotta see this movie. If you’ve seen it, you gotta see it again.
3. Stan Korza, who I don’t even know, but he sent me a copy of You Can’t Win by Jack Black, and it’s now one of my favorite books. He also emailed me and told me to get off my ass and write this list.
When compiling this list, I automatically excluded anything from Razorcake, Razorcake contributors, Gorsky Press, and Gorsky Press contributors, because, if I included the Razorcake/Gorsky Press writers, artists, and photographers, they’d take up the first 25 slots on my top ten list.
Todd‘s top list of the fuzzy area between 2001 and 2002
Dillinger Four, live and Situationist Comedy
Super Chinchilla Rescue Mission
Toys That Kill
Against Me, Reinventing Axl Rose
The Arrivals, live and Exsenator Orange
Tragedy, self-released 7″
Epoxies, live and self-tilted
Los Olvidados, Listen to This!
Beltones, live and Cheap Trinkets
Strike Anywhere – live
Out Cold, live and Will Attack If Provoked
The Skulls, live and Therapy for the Shy
The Tim Version
The Big Boys, Wreck Collection