Erick Elric's Best of 2005
No matter what "they" say, every year is a good year
for music. Some elpees that I enjoyed and perhaps
will always enjoy, even when bones are brittle and
whiskey has no power:
Human Eye - s/t (In The Red) -Time machine punk. (Best of the past, best of the future.)
The King Khan and BBQ Show - s/t (Goner) - Instant classic, just add liquor.
USA is A Monster - 'Wohaw' (Load) - Striking ever deeper towards some sort of ancient
American truth. Also, totally fucking awesome progpunk
blending shit like Minutemen, Sun City Girls, Magma,
Melvins, and Lightning Bolt.
A-Frames - 'Black Forest' (Sub Pop) - Revealing a few new shades of both light and dark,
making fun of impending apocalypses or perhaps
just our (my?) obsession with it, A-Frames keep on
chuggin that death train. Airtight.
Gris Gris - 'For The Season' (Birdman) - Greg Ashley is a fine songwriter, a talented arranger,
a keen-eared producer, and a hell of a loud-ass
guitarist. His band rules. Greg is quickly building
one of the finest catalogs in the Western Rock World.
Roue' - 'Upward Heroic Motive' (Exit Stencil) - Local faves, powerhouse moves, sincere motives, fun
dudes. Fusing finest moments of Sonic Youth, Unwound,
Trail of Dead, Drive Like Jehu, but exploding them out
in whole new patterns. Capable of vicious fury and
elegant psychedelic noise.
Black Lips - 'Let It Bloom' (In The Red) - Yields two of my personal songs o' the year:
"Boomerang" and "Not a Problem," total killers.
Overall, very nicely done and full of stuff to chew
Time Flys - 'Fly' (Birdman) - Just fucking fun, right? Great catchy songs, perfect
rough, but clear production, nice playing. I can't
believe how much their hair was talked about. The
songs hold up as well as any, and better than most.
Country Teasers - 'Live Album' (In The Red) - A very Fall-style live LP, with chopped up bits and
weird reverses of songs, plunging you headlong into a
dizzying headache of mutant rock. "Was I at this
show?" you ask. Of course. We all were. It's still
goin on, right now, can't you hear it...?
Six Organs of Admittance - 'School of the Flower'
(Drag City) - Not even my favorite by Mr. Ben Chasny, but certainly
a fine distillation of his mesmerizing guitar-playing
and distant, forlorn voice. Meditative, enveloping, it
feels kinda womb-y. Bring in Chris Corsano on some
traps and you've sold me.
Sightings - 'Arrived in Gold' (Load) -
This might be last year. Black hole, but still rock
somehow. Even fleeting moments of chromium funk.
'Drawings of Patient OT' Neubaten discovering its
sexuality via intravenous use of cocaine. Not
Psychic Paramount - 'Gamelen From The Mink
Supernatural' (No Quarter) - Gives me hope for the coming days. Hits sweet spots
previously charted by Laddio Bolocko, Guru Guru, and
Hovercraft. Completely blasting instrumental power
trio abstract avant rock, for what has become the
leading US label for such things.
Lightning Bolt - 'Hypermagic Mountain' (Load) - A bludgeoning of operatic proportions. Not necessarily
my fave LB LP, but nobody does it better than these
fools. Individual tracks will smash you silly like a
giddy, newborn super-hero.
Times New Viking - 'Dig Yourself' (Siltbreeze) - Late entry, but liking it for sure. Crushing
semi-heavy on this perfect encapsulation of all things
that were good in indie rock circa '92-93: noisy,
squalling guitars, simple but highly effective
melodies, boy/girl "harmonizing," lo-fi, but boomy and
powerful production (courtesy of golden oldie Mike
Rep). Let's do the Time Warp again! It's great! And
from Columbus, of course. Don't burn that city down
These records also yanked my crank: Intelligence -
'Icky Baby' (In The Red), Tokyo Electron - s/t
(Shattered), Animal Collective - 'Feels' (Fat Cat),
Konono no.1 - 'Congatronics' (Ache), The Locust -
'Safety Second, Body Last' (ThreeOneG), Et Sans - some
long French title (Alien8), Futureheads - s/t (some
major), and probably more I'm forgetting...
Some 7"s that set mine ears alight:
Functional Blackouts - "Chemical Bath" (Wrench) - I could still go for a 10 minute version of "Chemical
Bath," but I'll settle for this well-recorded
noise-punk chaos. When they finally get into the riff
it sounds bad-ass.
Final Solutions - "My Love is Disappointing"
(Shattered) - These guys have become damn near top dogs with their
take on jerky, neurotic post-ness. This one has 3
slices of perfect, spiky pop.
Tyrades - "On Your Video" (SmartGuy) -
This band will last and their singles will last and
this one matches their previous high points. They get
swirly and ominous on the A-side, then bring it back
home, cuts and all, on the flip.
Parts and Labor - "A Great Divide" (Cardboard) -
A band that has never stopped evolving and has only
grown more adept at balancing their twin obsessions
with melody and noise. A sudden twist into anthemic
Husker Du-crossed-with-Lightning Bolt (for some quick
shorthand) territory and things seem strangely
Catholic Boys - "Hurt To Hate" (Bancroft) -
Was this this year? Ah well, I'm a bit late to the
altar, but this band kicks ass. I dig the 50s rock
getting beat up by 80s hardcore thing that they got
But really, the best albums of every year are the
reissues. Finally a chance to acquire much-loved
records that I only had on cassette or CDR or, even
worse, never could find or afford. Or were just never
available. Things like:
The Ex - 'Singles. Period' (Touch and Go)...'Vancouver
Complication' comp (Sudden Death)...Mirrors - 'A Green
Dream' (Birdman)...Karate Party - 'Black Helicopter'
(S-S)...Scritti Politti - 'Early' (Rough Trade)...The
Fall - 'The Complete Peel Sessions' Box Set
(Sanctary)...Dirtbombs - 'If You Don't Aleady Have a
Look' (InThe Red)...George Brigman - 'Jungle Rot'
(Solid/Bona Fide)...Black Time - 'Blackout' (InThe
Red)...'No New York' comp
(Universal/Lilith)...Reatards - 'Teenage Hate'
(Goner)...Delta 5 - 'Singles and Sessions' (Kill Rock
Stars)...Not to mention the remastering/issuing of albums by
Stooges, Brian Eno, Can, and The Gun Club.
Ulitmately, though, music is best experienced live:
Tyrades, USA is A Monster, Roue', Black Lips, Fatal
Flyin Guilloteens, Gris Gris, Hunches, Animal
Collective, Get Hustle, Human Eye, We March,
Federation X, Gogol Bordello, Lives of the Saints,
Parts and Labor, King Khan and BBQ, Lives of the
Saints, Green Milk From The Planet Orange, and The
Mirrors were some of the best bands I saw in the last
year. Chris Corsano (drums) and Paul Flaherty (sax) may
have provided the most spellbinding performance I saw
all year. I will say that I miss having bands play at
my house. And now I must go earn some more bacon from
the pigs. Out.
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