Rev. Norb’s Extremely Deliberated, Ironed, and Made Shiny: Top Tens of 2002 or Almost Thereabouts

1. The Epoxies – self-titled. A fact one might wish to keep in mind is that, back in The Day, “new wave” bands NEVER had albums which were really good all the way thru. There mighta been a handful of stellar tracks scattered throughout any given record, but that was more or less already the weak/unimpressive game plan established by the classic rock status quo. THIS record is GREAT all the way thru – good songs, good playing, good lyrics, and good vocals/voice (can’t fake havin’ a good voice – lord knows i’ve tried), and i can only assume that’s because it took 20+ years for someone to apply punk style energy of focus to the new wave conundrum. I have excellent news for the ghost of Kickboy Face: New Wave no longer doesn’t mean shit!!!

2. FM Knives – Useless and Modern. Sounds kinda like if the Buzzcocks or maybe 999 grew up as reg’lar Americans, and had Mick Jones of the Clash on lead vocals. Amazingly great songs, and, best of all, the song that, gazing at the song titles for the first time, one would assume might be the best song on the album – “TV Light” – is. This record’s so good you feel bad for dead people ’cause you can’t tape it for them (effectively).

3. The Spits – self-titled. Dolt punk plus synth plus genius. I’m in!

4. Jad Fair and Teenage Fanclub – Words of Wisdom and Hope. This is the best Jad Fair-related project i’ve heard in YEARS (possibly his best since his immortal late ’80s collaboration with Daniel Johnston), further, this is the best VELVET UNDERGROUND album since VU! The thing does run a little long, and Jad does sort of seem to really be overplaying the naive goof schtick, but, that said, it’s still better than the 3rd Velvet Underground album, and arguably the over-rated Loaded as well.

5. The Leg Hounds – Date Your Daughters. Punk energy applied to rock’n’roll! Punk energy applied to power pop! Punk energy applied to greaser rock! It’s demi-genius in our time! In stereo! In mono! Buy ’em by the sack!

6. Mystery Girls – self-titled. These guys emit an amped-up fast-paced bluesy squall as if they’re gonna get drafted if the needle ever dips out of the red. Quite different from their live shows in that there are more than two consecutive songs where all instruments are in tune herein.

7. The Jewws – L’explosion du Don de Maintenant! Sounds like the missing link between the Spaceshits and Les Sexareenos, which is bizarre, since both those bands were from Montreal and this band’s from Texas.

8. Eight… eight… i forget what eight was for… likely either the Cripples or the Nazis from Mars.

9. Mad Capsule Markets, Osc-Dic: Oscillator In Distortion. When at a loss at the record store, always buy The Thing With The Cool Cover…so i’m thinkin’ three Japanese guys in computer-generated cyber-stormtrooper armor? Right. Sign me up. First song – which sounds like f’in Slipknot or something – aside, this is a completely bafflin’ mix of metal, punk, techno, pop and god knows what else which is not unlike Asian food – i don’t KNOW what’s in here and i don’t WANNA know, but if i close my eyes and floor it, everything should be all right. Comes with cool bonus DVD, where you can watch the band run around in CGI armor shooting stuff. I have no idea. But i kinda like it!

10. Yum Yums, Blame It on the Boogie. Actually, i’m not sure this really ranks at number ten, since the band seems to be ascending/descending into a state where they REALLY WANNA sound like the Raspberries, not merely Raspberry- induced…however, i can cleverly use this as a placeholder to also mention the Singles ‘n’ Stuff CD, which maybe doesn’t count as it’s a collection (and a handy one at that) of previously released material, but, were it TO count, might very likely be at #1, with a candy bullet! Punk rock energy applied to the science of power pop, absolutely amazing. As good as a large sack of SweeTarts Chicks, Ducks ‘n’ Bunnies, with none of the acidic burning to the tongue!