Nick Blakey’s Five New & Five Old for 2013
1. Lenny Lashley’s Gang of One: Illuminator (Panic State) What, you didn’t think someone like Lenny Lashley could come out of the beat ‘em up and ask no questions assault of Darkbuster showing that he does have, in fact, another side? Well, sure, lose just about everything and try to put yourself back again and this is what you get: good, honest songwriting that draws equally from Cash, The Clash, Cohen, and Hardin (not to mention a good dose of Bragg.) And if “Anti-Xmas” or “Hooligans” doesn’t at least make you sit up and pay attention, then maybe it’s time you stopped listening to music altogether.
2. Mark Eitzel: Glory (Décor) America’s greatest living songwriter delivers yet another moving home recorded album in the vein of the previously brilliant Klamath, Brannan Street, and Candy Ass that makes up for the not as pleasing professionally produced and recorded sidestep that was Don’t Be A Stranger. This is Eitzel at his very best: raw, emotional, warm, and alone. Stop agonizing over the death of Elliot Smith (he was a fucking hack anyways) and pick up this album now. It will distract you, convert you, or make you want to kill yourself. Cheers!
3. Bruce Gilbert and BAW: Diluvial (Touch) The former secret weapon of Wire and Dome returns to wow us once again, this time in collaboration with husband and wife duo BAW. This album discusses the inevitable Waterworld our planet will become and frankly it frightens me so much that I have yet to make it all the way through. Worth it for that reason alone.
4. The Guild of Funerary Violinists: The Art of The Funerary Violin (Mississippi/Change) Stunningly beautiful, somewhat mysterious LP of a genre I was completely unfamiliar with put out by the always incredible Mississippi Records folks. There are armchair snobs out there who will wonder openly why this isn’t pitch perfect or pristinely played, but one must remember if you’re playing solo violin at a funeral you probably didn’t make it to the orchestra try-out’s in the big city. Warren Ellis fans should definitely check this out.
5. MOON: EP (Wrong Island Communications) So you didn’t think they made techno records like this anymore? They do and MOON (who has some familial ties to LCD Soundsystem) does. While you’ll swear this was made by someone of a vintage persuasion with years of experience in sweaty nightclubs, it was actually made by a teenager on borrowed equipment before he ever played a live set. Hey, believe me, I was shocked by that too.
6. Elder Otis G. Johnson: Everything – God Is Love (Numero Group/Holy Spirit) Somehow, someway in a suburban Detroit Pentecostal Church in 1978 a homemade gospel album was created by one Elder Otis G. Johnson that sounded uncannily like a fusion of early Suicide and those moody, brooding slow jams Prince was doing around the time of Purple Rain (such as “The Beautiful Ones”). It also, at times, sounds as if a random and unable parishioner is helping out on keyboards. Regardless, this is one record that has to be heard to be believed. Bonus: Elder Johnson is still making and releasing music on the internet.
7. Patrick Cowley: School Daze (Dark Entries/HNYTRX) The late, great Patrick Cowley is noted for being Sylvester’s best collaborator (“Do You Wanna Funk?”), Donna Summer’s best remixer (the punishing 20 minute version of “I Feel Love”), the creator of Hi-NRG (what came after is not his fault), and one of the earliest AIDS casualties in music (he died a year before Klaus Nomi.) He also scored some gay porn soundtracks in his spare time, and those can be found on this lavish double LP set. And sure, it’s ok if you want to say you only bought this for the liner notes.
8. Cybotron: Enter (Decision/Fantasy) Gorgeous reissue of this Detroit proto-techno classic. Clean lines like the hood of a Monte Carlo, warmth and comfort like the back seat of a Sedan DeVille, darkness lurking like the gas tank of a Pinto. Maybe one of these days we will be blessed with a reissue of the pre-Cybotron Richard Davis 45 “Methane Sea” which is frankly the only thing missing here.
9. Various: The Ecstasy of Gold series (4 volumes) (Semi-Automatic) Awesome and frankly spellbinding compilations of Spaghetti Western soundtracks that despite being named for a Morricone standard the big man is nowhere to be found here. Guaranteed there will be films and composers you have never heard of and after listening will wonder why you hadn’t. Hell, just buy these for the cover art alone.
10. Slayer: entire catalogue on vinyl (American) Never mind their later shit: Reign In Blood, South of Heaven, and Seasons In The Abyss should be required listening for any person who calls themselves a fan of metal (or frankly of music in general.) If you don’t own one of these already, you have no right to claim you know the real reason Jeff Hanneman died or that the guy from Exodus who replaced him sucks.
Amanda Nichols’ Top Ten
10. Nile Rogers everywhere!
9. The Satanics at the Middle East on Halloween. The alter-ego of the Titanics got their “peace and love Satanism” thing going this year for one show on Halloween. One of those shows I didn’t think I’d ever get to see.
8. The David Bowie record that came out this year sounds better on a turntable than on an iPod. It’s a different experience entirely.
7. The In Out’s Agenda E.P. Side two sounds like (good) Dinosaur Jr. “Poseur Alert” cracks me up.
6. Parlour Bells “Bachelor Hours.” The video is beautiful, and the song? Well, anyone who gets the line “it’s like St. Patrick’s Day in this motherfucker” without sounding like they’re trying too hard to be abrasive deserves to be heard.
5. Lenny Lashley’s Gang of One –“Anti-Christmas.” Who would’ve guessed that one of the guys from Darkbuster could make like Johnny Cash? He’s been touring with the Street Dogs lately and they’ve been doing this tune live.
4. Township. Just see them.
3. Videodrome Discoteque’s custom mix of Scissor Sisters’ “Let’s have a Kiki.” Videodrome exists in the land in between classic MTV, Studio 54 and a hangover after a really memorable David Bowie concert. They made this video for fun, and it sums up all that is awesome about attending one of their shows.
2. Gene Dante and the Future Starlets– “We Are All Whores.” The song’s a great commentary on our selfie-obsession, but did you know that the lead guitarist is Scott Patalano from Mistle Thrush?
1. Telegram – “Follow.” Did you happen to see the Nightingales when they toured with their really young guitarist? This is his new band. See them before the tickets are too expensive.
Pete Wilkins’ Top Ten of 2013
The Bees – Voices Green and Purple 7" (UT records) – Essential garage dementia for moptops and rockers, fuck the squares
Cuntz – Solid Mates LP (Homeless) – Antipodean repetetive mongdom that is way more punk than you are
Basically –Johnny Moped DVD – Top drawer doc directed by the captain son – stick it in ‘er lughole
Flowers – Live and on 45 – witnessed 3 great performances and a couple of great 7"s from this London twee piece, the forthcoming LP on Fortuna Pop should see them household names
Sleaford Mods – Austerity Dogs LP (Harbinger Sound) – yeah yeah, everybody is on this but it’s still one of the most honest records you’ll hear, plus it’s got lots of swearing which IS big and clever
Paul Messis – Case Closed LP (State) – The Sussex kid does it again on his 2nd album, peerless garage rock that only a handful ever truly nail, he’s not into garage punk – he IS garage punk
Nubs – Job 7" (Last Laugh) – KBD Klassik, pissed off perfection in a spot on reissue
Lee Hazlewood – There is a Dream I’ve Been Saving box set (Light in the Attic) – okay okay full disclosure, Henry is a great friend BUT we’ve been friends well long enough for him to not expect me to just blow smoke up his arse, this box set is hands down my favourite thing I got last year, just perfect music/design/execution, i still look at this everyday and just marvel at it. So much went into this and it shows, and Henry didn’t even use his trademark font size fuck up like he did on the live Jesus Lizard LP cover – the boy done good.
Sam Knee – A Scene in Between book (Cicada press) – holy shit more nepotism, Sam is my oldest friend but that only accounts for a tiny part of why this book is so great, They say "if you remember the 80’s, what the fuck are you still doing posting top 10s on blogs you irrelevant old bastard" and they may be right, but if you wanna know what being a kid in the UK was like when you didn’t conform then this is year zero.
The Nightingales – Live in Preston at the Peel all dayer – Just formidable, no looking back from Robert and the crew, just flat out commitment to culture.
Oh and a late entry, I mean 2 years late cos this Chinese cracker came out in 2011 but i’m such a goon that i rarely reach the vanguard these days:
The Offset: Spectacles LP (Rose Mansion Analog) – Far East and Far Out Cantonese VU worship that does it right.
Remain untamed in 2014.
Dr. Jonathan Waks’ Top 10 Sandwiches thus far- Based on Universal appeal, longevity and
(Department of Happiness and Ritual Circumcision Run by the Earl of Sandwich)
1. Peanut Butter and Jelly– This blast from your past remains a contender
2. Bahn Mi– A relative newcomer to the world fusing French and Vietnamese
deliciousness, but it is here to stay. (There is a sriracha shortage)
3. The Hamburger– There is not a corner of the earth without one.
4. The Falafel– fun to say and to eat- this one brings out the heat and even
works for the vegetarians.
5. The Grilled Cheese– It comes in many forms from around the world- the
Cuban, the montecrisco, the Panini- but you mix toast and cheese and this
stands the test of time.
6. Burrito– They made the wrap a reality but its Latin older brother is
7. Crepe– It is the omelet you can each with your hands and anything goes
inside of it.
8. Deli– This is a real general category for the turkey and Swiss, egg
salad, ham and cheese lovers.
9. The Pulled Pork– BBQ made its own and it was deemed good
10. Italian hot hero– Meatball Sub, Eggplant parm, Chicken Parm- You know it
when it comes out hot and saucy.