Rich's Greatest Shits of 2006
2006 was again one of those years where it just seemed to rain good singles. I had a "short" list of about 40 I had to narrow using a patented secret formula I devised back in the Blank Generation days. In short, I just try and figure what records I physically put on the turntable the most. Meaning, sure, there were plenty of records I thought were good in theory. But which were the ones that were great enough to demand the physical action of constant plays and inclusion on CD mixes for the car? As far as LPs, it was a fairly thin field. The top five or six were no-brainers, but then it was dicey trying to fill up the rest of the slots. Plenty of "good" but little of "great" in the full-length department. I'm sure this list will change tomorrow, and after a full year elicit some "What was I thinking?" retrospective recants (I looked at my list from last year while compiling this list and noticed some glaring errors), but here's where it stands for now. Twenty-one singles you should have bought and a dozen long-players.
SINGLES/EPs (Twenty One Gun Salute format)
1. HOME BLITZ - "Apocalyptic Grades 2000 AD" and "Stupid Street" 7"x2 (self-released)
The easy pick for number one, the first came out of nowhere and charmed it's way into this slot early on, and then the follow-up turned out to be just as good. Daniel Dimaggio for president.
2. PISSED JEANS - "Don't Need Smoke..." 7" (SubPop)
Who would've known I'd still be buying records on SubPop at this point in time? The A-Side is one of the best tunes of the year, and my fave PJ song ever. This band was tailor-made for me to dig.
3. HOMOSTUPIDS - "The Glow" EP (My Mind's Eye)
All-too-brief, but constantly in rotation all year long. What began as the best unsolicited CD-R I got all year turned into a fine slab of pink vinyl.
4. CPC GANGBANGS - "Mechanical Man" and "Teenage Crimewave" 7"x2 (SSLD and Die Slaughterhaus)
Everyone was all "They're too RAWK maaan" at The Blackout a few years back, but I stuck with these guys all along. Blown-out hardcore meth-chug all the way, "Teenage Crimewave" was another fave tune of the year and the SSLD single was gravy. I hope the LP murders me in my sleep.
5. BRAINBOMBS "I Need Speed" 7" (Big Brothel)
There really is nothing to say about this record except that it was well worth the wait and Euro-import pricing. I just hope there's more.
6. GENTLEMAN JESSE AND HIS MEN "I Don't Want to Know..." 7' (Douchemaster)
Absolutely amazing power pop record that even dudes who don't really even enjoy power pop so much (like me) have to love.
7. THOMAS FUNCTION "Vanity Lights" 7" and "The Insignificants" 7" x2 (DNH)
A late entrant that immediately caught on. Infectious VU/Modern Lovers sounds from some ex-Panic Buttons(!).
8. FE FI FO FUMS "In the Summertime" 7" (Boom Boom)
Hows this for budget rock: Let's not even write a new song, just take one from the LP and slap some new lyrics on it! Fuck me. Probably the best bang for your buck all year too, as this contains four bonafide hits.
9. LIVEFASTDIE "Pissing on the Mainframe" EP (Douchemaster)
Camero Werewolf strikes again! LFD's finest moment. Dumb. Punk. Genius.
10. SPIDER "Charlie" 7"
Another late-entrant, I think it could have ranked higher with more time. I actually prefer the B-Side. Sounds like the Spits after they smoked a ton of weed.
11. THE FEELERS "Just Can't Get Enough" 7" (Contaminated)
Another four song banger, all punk hits. Lean mean and frantic.
12. BLACK TIME "Dance Party" and "Message from the Control Tower" 7"x2 (Bancroft/Rehab)
Black Time managed to put out two really good records this year. They also put out two pretty mediocre ones. 'Dance Party' showed off their garage-rockin' side, and 'Message...' is a great example of their experimental/concept ideas. Hey, batting .500 ain't bad...
13. NOTHING PEOPLE "Problems" EP (SS)
Truly a grower, as I liked this more and more with repeated listenings. Probably the hardest to categorize record of the year, managing to elicit comparison to dozens of bands but still forge an original sound.
14. ANNIHILATION TIME "Cosmic Unconsciousness" EP (Tank Crimes)
I was a late comer on these guys, but I'm totally on the bandwagon. Probably the most fitting use of a River's Edge soundbite ever, these guys exude the drug-addled stoners listening to hardcore and Sabbath vibe that film reeked of.
15. OUT WITH A BANG s/t 12"EP (Vida Loca/PTBI)
The next best thing to The Grabbies. Totally out of control and supremely pissed off.
16. KAZALOK "Chandrakesar Limit" 12" (SYA)
Even I'm surprised I like this one so much. Psych-garage with some folk-like underpinning that had just enough of everything to keep me coming back. "CIA" could be song of the year.
17. FRUSTRATION s/t 7" (Ss)
Best French weird-punk record of the year and this band's finest moment so far in my opinion.
18. MAGNETIX "Time After Time" 7" (Nasty Product/Senteneza)
Best French non-weird-punk record of the year. Time-travelling way-out garage rock.
19. TIME FLYS "Reality Is A Rock Band" 7" (Birdman)
Seventies dirt never sounded so cool. A real tease while waiting for the next LP.
20. WRISTS "Freak of Natures" 7" (Die Stasi)
Another one I was waiting for, I think we all knew these by heart from the demos before the vinyl ever hit. So are The Wrists done now? I love that Wax Museums 7" too, but this one just did it for me a little more.
21. HIBACHI STRANGLERS "Our City Doesn't Stink..." 7" (Florida's Dying)
I was anticipating this one for a while, and it was more than I hoped for. Strange yet undeniably and sloppily punk-rock sounding.
ALBUMS (Dirty Dozen format)
1. FE FI FO FUMS "Shake All Night" LP (Boom Boom)
The undisputed heavyweight champ this year. This one owned the turntable (and disc player in the car) for a good six months and still gets play. At heart, I'm just a big old dumb garage-punk fan I guess, and this one hit me where it counted. Where else can these doofuses go from here?
2. COUNTRY TEASERS "The Empire Strikes Back" CD/LP (In the Red)
That they have released what is probably their best album after this long is testament to their power. And it keeps getting better.
3. CLOCKCLEANER "Nevermind" CD (Reptilian)
A band I was born to like. Put it on vinyl already.
4. JAY REATARD "Blood Visions" CD/LP (In the Red)
The culmination of all phases of Jay's career to date. Remarkable one-man-studio-band craftsmanship. So well done Jay decided he needs to start playing metal now.
5. CARBONAS s/t LP (Raw Deluxe)
The Raw Deluxe CEO does not think jokes about how long it took for this thing to come out are funny. But c'mon...it took forever and shit. Amazing cover backed with amazing tunes though.
6. BEAT BEAT BEAT "Living in the Future..." LP/CD (Alien Snatch/Dirtnap)
All I wanted it do be and more. Hooky, punky, spunky, full of hot guitar action.
7. LIVEFASTDIE "Bandana Thrash Album" LP/CD (Dead Beat)
See comments in 7" section. Genuinely dumb, genuinely brilliant.
8. HAUNTED GEORGE "Panther Howl" LP (Hook or Crook)
A record you really have to be in the mood to listen to, and I was in that mood often. One man's disturbing vision on some of the best-looking wax of the year.
9. KING KHAN & BBQ SHOW "What's For Dinner?" LP/CD (In the Red)
SUre, it wasn't as good as the first. But what really is? This one actually got better as the year went on. Doo wop!
10. DC SNIPERS "Missile Sunset" LP/CD (Dead Beat)
Another band I had a really hard time pinning down. Lots of points of reference but still very unique. This one was a favorite for rocking on the way to work in the morning for some reason.
11. FUNCTIONAL BLACKOUTS "The Severed Tongue..." LP (Criminal IQ)
Really difficult to listen to at times, but I think that's where its charms lie. Viscerally rewarding.
12. TRACTOR SEX FATALITY "Black Magic, White Pussy" CD/LP (Big Neck)
No one likes this band as much as me it seems. Criminally under-rated.
REISSUE OF THE YEAR:
NUMBSKULL "Final Days of Torture" LP (My Mind's Eye)
Flipper fans rejoice! Top notch shit from the Clevo weird-punk annals. Fantastic basement bummer rock from the Eighties for all you outsider-punk freaks. I wish I was in this band.
Runners-up: Dicks 7" and live 10" (Delta Pop) and Ralphs LP (EV)
COMPILATION OF THE YEAR:
GONERFEST II: ELECTRIC GONEROO CD/DVD (Goner)
A classy and top shelf effort all the way through, from Eric/Zac ringleading the whole thing, to the fantastic multiple-angle live footage, to the amazing recording job from Rocket Science Audio. The Final Solutions live segment was one of my favorite things of the year.
Runner-up: Tete de Bebe LP (Ss)
SPLIT 7" OF THE YEAR:
LIVEFASTDIE/VCR split (Daggerman)
Honestly, I think LFD kinda mailed it on on this one. But the VCR tracks are where it's at. Some teenagers doing a poppier lo-fi Black Lips-type mash of influnces. Anticipation is high for their next move.
Runners-up: Die Rotzz/Scrip+s (both sides)(Jeth-Row)/ Tyrades side of split w/Le Jonathan Reilly (Holy Cobra Society)/DC Snipers side of the split w/Tampoffs (Daggerman)
CD-R OF THE YEAR (that did not end up appearing in vinyl form):
Honestly, I think this is better than the Rat Traps and Jeff's OMB stuff. A little less savage a lot more punk. If I was a label dude, I'd be jumping through hoops to release these tunes.
Runners-up: LEPER PRINT "Coma" and s/t
COVER ART OF THE YEAR:
SPIDER 7" (HozAc)
A tough field to narrow down. But this one had not one, but two of the best sleeves this year. I'm still not sure which I like more: the Mike Sniper 'humanoid-spider doing lines' version or the more common but just as awesome looking weird-psych-album sleeve. Great job.
Runner-up: both Homostupids singles
BONUS: Worst Cover Art on A Great Record:
The Feelers "Just Can't Get Enough" EP
Absolutely heinous. I don't care if it depicts a beheaded Danzig bleeding pizzas. It hurts to look at.
LIVE SHOW OF THE YEAR:
Country Teasers @ Bug Jar, Rochester, NY
Perhaps the best show I've seen in the past five years or so. One of those moments that absolutely reaffirms your love of music and life in general. I wish I was still at this show.
Runners-up: Chicago Blackout 2006 (of course), The Feelers and Mirrors in particular ; TPT/Blowtops/Self Destruct Button/Homostupids @ a basement, Buffalo, NY; Gorilla Angreb/Bayonettes @ a basement, Buffalo, NY
METAL RELEASE OF THE YEAR: Death Breath "Stinkng up the Night" LP/CD: Lots of great metal this year (including plenty of Bone Awl releases) but this blast of classic Autopsy-styled Death Metal really took the cake. With a lineage that goes back to Entombed, you know these cats ain't fucking around. Silly name aside, they just absolutely shred.
MUSIC BLOG OF THE YEAR: Low Down Kids - Only the obscurest of the obscure in UK punk and power-pop from Steve LDK. Updates make my day.
DISTRO OF THE YEAR: Bistro Distro - While UMed and KnowCrap are still the old reliables, Troy at Bistro has somewhat quietly put together an amazing little operation. Seemingly daily updates, super nice prices, a wide genre-spanning selection, fast shipping, and the guy packs records immaculately.
ZINE OF THE YEAR: Rock Mania - Even though power-pop is not my favorite genre, Rock Mania easily makes me forget such things. Looks beautiful, well written and a heap of fun to read multiple times. I wish it came out weekly.
Ten Things I'm Looking Forward to in 2007:
1. CPC Gangbangs LP on Swami. Seriously, I hope this record maims me. Please tell me they stick with the scuzzy-sounding recording-style of the EPs and don't "slick it up".
2. Thomas Function LP please.
3. New Brainbombs singles/live disc...
4. Homostupids..."The Assistant" 12" perhaps? LP?
5. Clockcleaner's next records...rumors of a 12" on Big Neck..more singles...LP version of "Nevermind"..new LP on Load...Fan Club releases...these kids are gonna be huge.
6. Final Solutions and Carbonas LPs on Goner!
7. Last ever Baseball Furies LP on Big Neck.
8. Newest record by The Rebel (tentatively titled "KUSF"). I've heard an early version, and it's perhaps Ben's strangest yet...
9. Vice City Rockers. Something. Anything. Please.
10. New A-Frames LP? More Homeblitz? Wooden Shjips? New Annihilation time record? Nothing People? Some more Boom Boom party platters? Pissed Jeans? And much much more...2007 looks real good...
Contact Rich: termibore-at-aol.com