2003, The Year in Review: This past year was a mixed bag for me. There
was an abundance of great records; so many that I actually had to think
about my top ten lists this year. But there was also an abundance of
crap out there. The whole neo-new wave, art damaged, weirdo schtick
grew pretty thin on me after a while. There are so few bands that do
it well, and so many that make it sound like a bad joke. Sometime over
the summer I couldn’t take it any more, and retreated into a Back
from the Grave/ Spaceshits/ Sexareenos/ Supercharger shell that I didn’t
emerge from until the fall. In all actuality, the two “new”
records I listened to most this year were the two Mummies reissue CDs.
Maybe I was burnt out after getting my head blown off at the Chicago
Blackout, or maybe that “Dirtnap Across the Northwest” mega-compilation
pushed me over the neo-new wave edge, or maybe I’m just getting
old, but I couldn’t listen to anything new for weeks and weeks.
Records were bought and shelved with a half-hearted listen. I totally
lost it, either through disgust or overload, and during what, in retrospect,
turned out to be one of the best years for music ever, I totally hated
music. I snapped out of it after awhile, but I guess when there’s
so much out there it’s tough to handle all the crap you have to
wade through to find the real gold. And there was plenty of gold to
be found it turned out. If anything, my tolerance for crap has become
lessened and my vitriol for garbage music greatly increased.
I’d actually really like to thank all of the bands, labels, and
distros who provided with me great music. Theirs is the thankless job.
Without them, we, the record reviewers would not exist. It takes guts
to play live, or invest your cash in putting out a record, or record
music for the masses. It takes nothing for a boob like me to listen
to it and promptly rattle off a paragraph or two about how good or bad
it is. I have no qualifications to review records, other than the fact
that I own and listen to way too many of them, and have wasted a good
amount of what could have been productive time thinking about what to
say about them. And I really do love music it turns out. Really.
TOP TEN SINGLES/EP:
10) Cheeraks “Miss Bretzel” – One of the most fucked
up records of the year. Very, very weird, but without being “arty”
or “New wave”. (Yakisakana Records)
9) Kill-A-Watts/Sweet JAP split – This one is just for the Kill-A-Watts
side. Two of the best KAW songs ever. Ryan Kill-A-Watt = hit machine.
8) Neon King Kong “Get What’s Going Around b/w There’s
A Party” – I know, I hate all this art-wave crap. But these
guys were really good at it. I miss them already. (Vinyl Dog Records)
7 and 6) The Ponys “Wicked City” and “So Sentimental”
– Both of these platters were outstanding. They’ll be the
band of 2004. (Big Neck and Contaminated Records)
5) Bassholes “Out in the Treetops” 2x7” – Howland
& Bim returned in force with this monster that is already fetching
ludicrous sums on eBay. (Dead Canary Records)
4) Operation S “Delinquante” – A great year for the
French, Cecelia and Co. returned to the punk rock and created one of
the best things I’ve heard in years. And French lyrics are always
cool. (Wild Wild Records)
3) The Lids 7”- This one came to me out of nowhere, a great early
Rip Off style blast that has me drooling for an LP. (Die Slaughterhaus
2) VOLT! Maxi-EP – Synth punk done right: mean, sexy, dark, and
French. (Polly Magoo Records)
1) Catholic Boys “Brainwash City” EP – Some of the
best punk ever. It was these tracks that convinced me of their greatness.
Fucking kids. (Kryptonite Records)
Notes: The Clorox Girls, Memphis Break-Ups, and Broke Revue almost made
the list, but I’m sure they’ll have a chance again next
TOP TEN FULL LENGTHS
10) Turbonegro “Scandanavian Leather”- Say what you will,
more Turbonegro is better than no Turbonegro. Still one of the greatest
bands ever. (Burning Heart)
9) A-Frames “2” – Still innovative, and doing it very
well. Really nice guys too. (SS Records)
8) Tie Reds “Holy Crap…” CD-R – Not really an
official release, but it was too good to be ignored. Too bad they broke
up. (self released)
7) Thee Flying Dutchmen “Caveman Sessions” LP- It
warmed my heart to see Budget Rock still alive and well. Ook! (Boom
Boom of Renton)
6) Functional Blackouts s/t- The best of the new breed, as good as I
always wanted the Clone Defects and Piranhas to be. Best production
job of the year for Jim Hollywood as well. (Criminal IQ Records)
5) Zodiac Killers “Society’s Offenders” – Lowery
and his ZK mk.III androids managed to create the second best Rip Off
LP of the year. (Rip Off Records)
4) BBQ s/t CD – Mark Sultan does no wrong in my book. True rock
and roll all the way. Infectious. (Alien Snatch!)
3) Henry Fiats Open Sore “The Parallel Universe of…”
CD – The best non-American band in operation at the moment.
This will sound even better on vinyl. (Coldfront Records)
2) A Feast of Snakes s/t LP- The Beguiled and Necessary Evils were two
of my favorite bands ever. This reminds me of both, obviously. (In the
1) Marked Men s/t LP- The best rock/pop record in years. I listened
to this for a month and a half straight, and I’m still not tired.
Yes, better than The Reds ever were. (Rip Off Records)
Notes: The Catholic Boys full length was disqualified because it was
not officially released; either Mummies CD could have placed number
one, but reissues don’t count; Lost Sounds Demos & Outtakes
II was disqualified because it’s just not fair; haven’t
actually heard the new Buff Medways LP yet, so for the first time in
ten years Billy Childish doesn’t make my year end list; Dirtbombs
new LP was disqualified for lack of Tom Potter; Tyrades, Final Solutions,
Firestarter, Husbands, Mr. Airplane Man, Anteenagers, and Black Lips
had a shot at cracking the list, but missed out for one reason or another.
TEN RECORDS TO LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT YEAR
10) Clorox Girls LP- I was VERY intrigued by their 7” (Jonny Cat
9) Big Neck Compilation CD- It’s about time. (Big Neck, duh)
8) Crash Normal LP- I just can’t get enough of the French. (SS
7) Blutt LP- More underrated French slop. (Version City Records)
6) Thee Flying Dutchmen “I Got to Shake” LP- The world always
needs more shit-fi production. (Screaming Apple?)
5) Necessary Evils live LP- This ought to sound like murder. (702/Slovenly
4) Operation S LP- Yes, more from France! (Les Troubadors du Chaos in
France, and some Japanese label, probably 1+2?)
3) Armitage Shanks “Urinal Heep” – Dick Scum is back.
2) Karate Party LP/CD- The best band most people have never heard of.
Woodhouse is a genius, and it’s only right this stuff gets a proper
release. Two of them. (Omnibus/SS Records)
1) The Ponys “Laced With Romance” CD/LP – They are
going to be huge in 2004. Is this shit out yet? (In the Red Records)
Also: Lids, Sagger, new Kill-A-Watts, Lost Sounds, Hunches, A-Frames
3, more VOLT!, CPC Gangbangs, more Solid Sex Lovie Doll obscurities,
King Khan & BBQ Show, Ghetto Ways (out now!), and more I’m
TOP TEN THINGS THAT SUCKED ABOUT 2003
10) Dirtbombs- first there’s no Tom Potter, then that stupid Australian
Bee Gees cover record, and then they stink up the joint live so bad
I put a self-imposed ban on their new LP. Fuck.
9) Oblivians/ Cheater Slicks on Halloween- How could this suck? Because
I wasn’t fucking there! Whaaaaaaaaa!
8) Wauwatosa Blues- we were deprived of both the new Kill-A-Watts LP
and Sagger LP for yet another year. I need more Ryan Kill-A-Watt and
Tony Sagger in my musical diet.
7) Les Sexareenos- It appears they are officially broken up, and the
compilation CD on Sympathy has been scuttled. Fuck again.
6) No one officially released the Guilty Pleasures LP for yet another
year. One of the all-time unreleased gems.
5) The Fuse! and Hospitals records. I still love In the Red though.
4) The fact that there is not an Amoeba Records in every US city.
3) The Catholic Boys LP still languishes in Trickknee’s house.
Somebody needs to finish the damn artwork already.
2) Only four records from Rip Off all year.
1) People are actually going to see and buying records by The Epoxies.
Have you people no shame?
everyone for playing, thanks to Joeee for giving us all the chance to
contribute to the site, and extra special thanks to Horizontal Action,
not only for being the best mag since Pure Filth, but for all the work
they put into the Blackout, which was one of the greatest things I have
ever been witness to.