Columns - "Under the Radar" 12.29.03

Fugga doodle douche! The cock struck ten (said cock being Joe Domino), but Farmer Trickknee said, "no, Joe! There's too many good albums for me to do a top tenner this year!" Actually, I made all that up. I doubt Joe would mind if I talked about me Auntie's period blast, really. But yeah, I haven't even heard a buncha' sure things (Final Solutions), or've been unable to pick up other goodies I've beheard (American Death Ray), and this list still coulda' easily stretched into the 30s. I LIKE every album listed below! Funny thing is, not A LOT separates the list. Positive mediocrity? Mediocre positivity? Newfound parity, like in the NFL? The first two albums on the list are the ones that KILLED ME; then I recovered (thanks for the flowers!) to the impressive strains of albums 3-7; 8-16 are neck-anduh-neck, and the rest are (perhaps) a song or two off course. You may disagree, but then again, you probably suck. And I'd probably have a completely different list tomorrow.

1. Cuts "2 over Ten" - I wouldn't be able to explain to the average garage/noise/punker-type why this is my favorite album of the year, it just is. Great songwriting and a mature-yet-rough approach.
2. Clone Defects "Shapes of Venus" - Ruled my early-2003 listening. As good as the first, just not as immediate. RIP.
3. Real Losers "Time to Lose" - The closest I've heard to "glory era" Rip Off since the time-actual. High ranking is in part because they're from the UK, reasons-which should be evident to most rocky roll fans.
4. The Marked Men "S/T" - Reds-guys just keep getting better.
5. Sailors "Failure, Depression, Suicide" - More *gasp* mature in themes and songwriting. Much more akin to Reigning Sound and Cuts than what yer probably thinkin'. Still some cock-faggotry monkeyshines, of course, for all ya' you-knows.
6. Tyrades "S/T" - The singles and live action didn't prepare me for the fact that this sucker was gonna be this great. Arty-type punk that never sacrifices hooks.
7. Deadly Snakes "Ode to Joy" - Probably as good as the first one, which is sayin' something.
8. Functional Blackouts "S/T" - Jesus, I wish they woulda' left that long, borin' fucker-track off this album, because that's the only blight on some serious KBD/shitpunk art damage.
9. Dirtbombs "Dangerous Magical Noise" LP - A definite grower. Didn't dig this a bit at first, but the monster tunes (and there are at least 6) are true killers, and make up for some of the fillers. In Maniller.
10. The Exploding Hearts "Guitar Romantic" - I know there's a question as to whether this is a 2002 release, but fuck it. Some of these songs are as perfect as power-pop-punk can get.
11. A-Frames "2" - Missing some hooks that made the first one my favorite of last year, but it's still a nice, cold a-p enema.
12. Henry Fiats Open Sore "The Parallel Universe Of" - More of a singles band, but nobody even tries this Dwarves-damage anymore, and even if they
did (or do), they'd suck (or currently do in fact suck) at it.
13. M.O.T.O. "Kill MOTO" - Knock off 5-6 fillers, and this album vaults into the top 10. Paul's pop-song genius is finally getting the notice it deserves.
14. Popular Shapes "Bikini Style" - More coastal (westal) art-punk. Fuggin' excellent on the stand-out tracks, but some songs are just "decent."
15. Little Killers "S/T" - Nothing neu, but I played this a lot throughout the year, and that has to count, no? Good ol' rocky roll with some excellent hooks.
16. Spits "III" - I LIKE the fact that the Spits throw 4.5 tunes and various meanderings on a black brick and call it an album. It's in the same territory as the other two in terms of goodness, no matter what yer Ma says.
17. Leg Hounds "Ready to go!" - More catchy tunes & fun-time atmosphere.Time for the next triumvirate!
18. Zodiac Killers "Society's Offenders" - I guess I'm crazy in that I still like the first one the best, but this is a MARKED improvement over the second. Greg's back in the saddle! Yeeee-haw!
19. The Minds "Plastic Girls" - Man, I hated that Flip Tops album, but this is really good. Joel Jett's (yeeee-haw!) back in the saddle, but I wish there were more of his old danger vibe (Pills, Jetpack) in the pop-mix.
20. Black Lips "S/T" - This sounds NOTHING like their live show, which is good! Then again, nobody gets hurt when you throw on the record. Hmmmmm....anyway, if they coulda' made the second side as good as the first, this'd be up a ways, too.
21. Compulsive Gamblers "Live and Deadly" - A live LP without any real wildcard song selections, but a great enough band to warrant inclusion.
22. The Hospitals "S/T" - Cool noisy bash-fest that sounds best when yer barely paying attention. A hook pops out here and there, but certainly not everywhere.
23. Knockout Pills "S/T" - Not much on here jumps up and whoops you in the proboscis, but when you listen closely, yer rewarded by a solid gary-jarage punker band that can write the occasional corker.
24. Mistreaters "Playa hated to the fullest" - Not as good as the first one, but the single-tune remakes and some of the neck-throttlers are as good as they've ever been.
25. Bloody Hollies "Fire At Will" - Not sure that I like their approach, but there's no denying that they're great at it.
It was this or the Riverboat Gamblers at #25, so I flipped a coin. Rock!

Singles? Ferget aboot it! I can no longer keep up with the voluminous amount of 2/3-songers out there, I am sorry. There were many good ones, such as the Royal Routes (tops!) on Goodbye Boozy (actually, basically all Goodbye Boozy 45s), Clorox Girls, Rock Goggle Fantasy, Ponys, blah & blah.

Buy the Catholic Boys album - it's out!

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