RICH'S BEST OF 2005
It's difficult to whittle down hundreds of records down to a select twenty or so at the end of the year. Even more difficult is deciding what it actually is that makes a record great or even just good. Does a year (and in most cases less) even give you enough hindsight to make such a decision? I'd say no. I can look at my list from last year and eliminate a few records that made the cut and add a few that didn't. Happens every time. What blew your mind in 2005 might not be so incredible sounding in 2007. Such is the of-the-moment nature of these year end lists. When I'm rewinding the year in music to hastily assemble such lists, I try and think of what records actually physically hit the turntable the most. What records were good enough to end up getting ripped to CD for listening in the car? What records remained out in the active stacks next to the record player all year, and didn't get filed away after a couple of weeks? And the most difficult question to ask, what records do I think I will still be listening to two or three years from now, and not think "Man, that really wasn't so great." Tough calls, these questions, and 2005 was full of them. After it practically rained great singles in 2004, the field of 2005 was much easier to thin out. A lot was deemed "really good", but very few actually broke into the "great" category. The LP short list this year might actually have been stronger, and I'm not even a huge fan of LPs. I like the short attention span friendliness of the 7" much better. But so many LPs demanded attention. Also, looking back, I'm the type who is more likeley to remember the good moments about a record than the bad. Sure such-and-such a single might not have been an instantly great classic, but maybe that one song was really good. But I'm a guy that's happy with "good" records. I listen to them all the time. Not everything is going to be an absolute classic, but there will always be singles with that one great cut you always go back to, or a record you think might not be that great, but the memories of shows, times, or people that you experienced it with keep you returning. So, I guess what I'm getting at here, is I can't say how well this list will hold up next year, or even next week. But as of right now, these are the records that filled the criteria at the moment, and the ones I thought made a difference.
Runners Up: Busy Signals, Clockcleaner, the other Angry Angles 7", more Black Time...
10. Angry Angles "Crowds" EP (P.Trash) - Honestly, I never thought this band would be this good. The Alix sung tracks are the best and the cover of "Blockhead" is incredible.
9. River City Tanlines "Gimme Whatever" 7" (Goodbye Boozy) - The best (and first) of three RCTL singles to hit the shelves this year. Something that initially seemed like a side project has blossomed into a great band in its own right, in large part to the two killers on this record. As if we would expect anything less with Alicja writing the songs.
8. Sultanas "You're the One" 7" (Boom Boom) - Another sensation from the Boom Boom stable, this one was actually even better than any Flying Dutchniks platter released this year. I'd like to see a knock-down drag-out battle of the bands between these gals and The Lids.
7. A-Frames "Police 1000" 7" (S-S) - It's really not fair judging A-Frames records every year. This one could've finished higher, but I felt bad and handicapped it.
6. Final Solutions "My Love is Disappointing" EP (Shattered) - While everyone's still talking about the newly reformed Reatards, the Final Solutions have been steadily releasing better records than the "new" Reatards stuff. Two original old-style bitch slaps and a sweet-ass cover of "Sex Head" on this one seals the deal for me. How can they be so punk and so post-punk at the same time?
5. Dutchmasters "Mississippi Helicopter Shark Attack" EP (Goner) - I was shocked when no one flipped over this single like I did. Simple punk rock from some older dudes with nothing to prove. Except that they do it better than most of you young 'uns with yer funny haircuts.
4. Tokyo Electron "Will Put A Charge In You" EP (Shattered) - I think this ended up being better than the first monster 7" they put out. Total blood and guts rock from Ryan Wong, and miles away from the band that showed up on the LP. Which was still great.
3. Black Time "New Vague Themes" EP (P.Trash) - Say what you want, this just an EP dressed up all fancy, so it gets judged as such. Every Black Time release is a sort of concept record (at least that's the theory I'm working on), and the fusion of their heavy vampire sound with the French New Wave is a marriage made in heaven for assholes like me. Sexy and melancholy, just like the films.
2. Beat Beat Beat "Cheap Time" EP (Douchemaster) - Basically, I spent the entire year waiting for something to knock this record out of my top slot. I fell in love with it early in the year, and listened to it often. All four tunes on this baby slay. Some of the catchiest shit of the year, perfectly hooky tunes with an essence of scum and snot to make me dig.
1. Carbonas "Blackout" EP (Shattered) - The title cut is probably the song of the year, and the other two tracks on this aren't far behind. The hottest young gunslingers in town right now, if you ask me.
Runners Up: Regulations, Vaz, Golden Boys...
10. Pissed Jeans "Shallow" (Parts Unknown) - Well, it hasn't technically been released as an LP yet, but I'll let that slide. Desperate and ugly rock that rubs your face in the dirt. Great live show too.
9. Jeffrey Novak One Man Band "Southern Trash" (P.Trash) - It was hard to pick a favorite release from this kid this year, as there were a ton of 'em, and they were all good. This thing left scorch marks on my turntable.
8. Lamps s/t (In the Red) - Dark and dirty, just how I like it. A really under-rated band, if you ask me.
7. The Intelligence "Icky Baby" (in the Red) - Great tunes married to amazing blown-out production. It took the addition of Popular Shapes for me to really like this band, how fucked up is that? This record is to blame for blowing the speakers in my car. Lars, I demand reparations.
6. The Feelers "Learn to Hate..." (Deadbeat) - I am the only person in the world who likes the production on this record. All American punk, no garage junk.
5. Tokyo Electron s/t (Shattered/Empty) - Completely different from the singles. Yet nearly as good. They seem to have invented something that actually deserves to be called desertpunk, and it works out well for them.
4. Black Lips "Let it Bloom" (In the Red) - It would be ridiculous to ignore the greatness of this record. And the smokingest live band on the planet right now, to boot.
3. A-Frames "Black Forest" (Sub Pop) - Far superior to "2" if you ask me. A bit more scientific, and they sound a bit more comfortable. The fact that they are evolving scares me.
2. Time Flys "Fly" (Birdman) - Ok, once I got by their Sweathog-like look/gimmick, and the fact that the Splash Four mined almost this exact territory years before, I really, really got into it. Completely inane and excitingly likable songs made this a repeat listen for months. Ridiculously great lyrics as well.
1. King Khan & BBQ Show s/t (Goner) - Ok, maybe there were more "creative" records made this year, or more polished, or more punk, or whatever. Pound for pound, this thing ruled everyone's ass for more than a few months this year. And I think this one will hold up over the years. It deserves the title.
Karate Party "Black Helicopter" 12" (s-S) - A reissue that I waited a long time for, and that was every bit worth it. I honestly wish more bands sounded like this, and wish KP could have released more records in their time. I know there are more recordings out there, let's see those now too.
Runners Up: Dirtbombs 2XCD (In the Red) and Shit Dogs "World War III" (Rave Up)
Current: "Zine:White" (Borax) - Who on earth would think an 8.5" record would be a good idea? Then put four heavy-duty bangin' bands on it and package it with a zine, all sealed inside a white envelope? Well, if you've ever met the CEO of Borax Records, it all kind of makes sense. A great concept, that was executed well (and even managed to include The Lamps best song), and that took a chance on some lesser known bands that don't sound like everything else out there. A really commendable effort that I don't think was appreciated enough. I hope 'Zine:Yellow' is still in the works.
Past: "Staring Down the Barrel" (no label) - I honestly thought "No One Left to Blame" was the absolute last gasp of the '78-'83 KBD-game, and that the next great wave of comps would be coming from the late Eighties/Nineties. Well, GG one-upped himself here and spat some certifiable punk nuggets right in our faces. Secret Savior? Ducky Boys? Fuck.
Runners Up: None. These two are the only comps you really should have looked at this year, outside of stuff like Soul Jazz, which I'm not counting.
Alicja's 'Black-chick-with-laser-eyes' cut-n-paste job on the cover of RCTL's "Gimme Whatever" single was surely great, but I have to hand the hardware here to the magic happening on the cover of The Dutchmasters' single, excitingly named "Mississippi River Shark Attack" or something by somebody (not me). It just enhanced the charm of the record as well. A++ effort there, guys.
Some other songs and shit I need to mention:
(In no particular order)
-Haircuts "Are No Fun" - The B-Side was kind of a clunker, but man this A-Side was the fucking shit. Laugh it up, funny boys.
-Fucked Up "Generation" 7" & 12"- I listened to Fucked Up a lot more than most other bands on this list, but they didn't make a really great record last year. Even this song is done better on the "Epics in Minutes" CD, but I had to throw it in here somewhere. And I'm all for repressing seven-inches as twelve inch EPs.
-FM Bats "All You Do is Jerk" - Dance stupor inducing twangy post-punky shit, I dunno what the fuck to call it. Really, really catchy tune, and as good as anything Hot Rod Todd's voxxed on.
- Black Time "I Hate the World and the World Hates Me" and "Rocket Rumble"- It's really hard to disect a Black Time record, but I just thought these tunes were such top notch material. Actually, I probably could have listened to only Black Time records this year and been Ok with it.
- Regulations "Anna's Eyes" - I really liked the LP, even though many bagged on it, and this cut was most reminiscent of the killer-ness of the singles.
- Rat Traps "Gimme Scanners" - A real cool killer with a Cronenberg theme. I think the Rat Traps are going to rattle a lot of cages next year.
Die Rotzz "What I Need" - If this band could write more tunes like this, they could be contenders.
-Reatards "Sick When I See" - The version of this released on the "Not Fucked Enough" LP is just amazing. Slowed-down to near dirge speed, blown out church-sounding organ, crashing drums, this thing is such a mess it's near Tampaxian in its greatness. I'm a huge sucker for old Reatards, and I wish there was a whole LP that sounded like this.
- Tyrades "On Your Video" - Amazingly, they only released 1.5 records in 2005. Killer tune though.
- Popular Shapes "Song 2" - I listened to this one way too many times. Complex and original, I finally fell in love with a Popular Shapes tune, and then they called the whole thing off. Figures. Best looking vinyl of the year too.
- The Evolutions "Me and Lee Harvey" - At one point this was my favorite song of the year. Then some other things came out, but I still love it a lot. Everyone should own this record for just this song and play it at people you hate.
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