Wednesday, December 16, 2009

end of the year post including top ten records.

I am convinced that within my lifetime they will find some form of life on another planet / in another galaxy.

Wrapping up the end of the year is interesting, and this one was.
Stuff happened - some were there to witness it, some weren't.

Reviews for Portraits of Past should be published next month (the very few of them).
I am not selling any more color vinyl through the store - putting those few remaining copies aside for the time being - particularly for when people attempt to sell them on ebay.
However, I do have a few test press versions for sale for ultimate nerds (like myself), with different artwork by me and printed by Jarod at In Case of Emergency Press - which is a silkscreened CMYK print based off a photograph I took when Liann was visiting last August (there is meaning in everything). E-mail me if you're interested.

Top Ten records of 2009 (that I feel you should check out):
1. Towers - Full Circle - I "reviewed" this sometime this year on here. I really hope they keep active cause they are one of the best heavy bands. Good dudes, backed hard, etc. Atmospheric, technical, beautiful, ugly, hopeful and other one word adjectives. I'm jealous of this band having toured South America all while remaining true to DIY ethics. Amazing.

2. Morrow - My best friend, ex business partner, ex band mate outshines all of our musical endeavors with this record. I say that with full awareness that our extended musical family tree is now connected to just about every band that ever existed, or is separated by less than one degree (due mostly to Josh Kuntz) - so that's saying something. While some politicians want to be vultures and manipulate people into thinking they are comfortable with talk of hope and change, this record is the sound of that hope we all have, the change that would naturally follow it's fulfillment - it is the sound of love. The sound of music.

3. Algernon Cadwallader - Fun 7"+CD - Perhaps the "funnest" (yeah I know, most fun) band ever, from the best dudes ever. I never liked the "midwest emo" these guys constantly get compared to, and are obviously hugely influence by (ride in the van with them for an extended period and they will all sing along and have a good time to those bands), but really, there's something Algernon has that those predecessors were lacking. Maybe it's just my love for my friends, but that's what it's all about.

4. Portraits of Past - Cypress Dust Witch - An all time favorite band (in the top 5) that "changed my life", reunites, writes new material and asks me to release it. The result is a 4 song ep "picking up where they left off" and leaving most of us hoping for more - and rumor has it, there might be...

5. Dinosaur Jr - Farm - Another all time favorite band (also in the top 5) that "changed my life", reunites, records, and tours - Dinosaur Jr is the reason I play guitar, the reason I play(ed) music, and a bonding experience with so many of my friends. Again destroying any fears of some phoned in reunion record, these dudes still have it. And I mean who wasn't a little touched during that moment in the video for Over It when J puts his hand on Lou's shoulder? -

6. Narrows - New Distances - The singer of Botch has a new band (with other people that are in other bands) and it is awesome. I really don't have much more to say than that. It kinda sounds like Botch, which is a good thing.

7. Converge - Axe To Fall - Surprisingly good from a band that reached their peak in 2001 with Jane Doe - Since then they've had moments that definitely justify their continuance. I was really weary of the collaboration with Ghengis Tron - who I think is a terrible band with even worse fans - sorta like the Grateful Dead - but I love their collaboration track! But then again I'm a sucker for Converge's more epic tracks: Minnesota, Jane Doe, You Fail Me, Grim Heart/Black Rose, and now Wretched World - which leads to a wonder of calculation.

8. Jay-Z - Blueprint 3 - I actually think this isn't all that good of an album, it's just better than a lot of other records released this year (that I've heard). It absolutely has some pretty amazing moments, particularly "Empire State of Mind" - easily proving that Jigga can still bring the singles that far outweigh the lack felt from his albums as a whole. Since Blueprint 2 was named as such, it's hard to say Blueprint 3 as an album doesn't belong in the Blueprint trilogy - it definitely doesn't hold a candle to the original Blueprint - so like Converge - Jay reached his peak in 2001 (ironically both Blueprint and Jane Doe were released on September 11, 2001) but has had many more justifiable moments for his continuance than Converge (but recognize that it's a different medium altogether). And hey where else would you read Jay-Z and Converge mentioned in the same breadth, other than from me?

9. Cold Cave - Love Comes Close - I saw Cold Cave open for Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth (with Peter from Algernon Cadwallader) and honestly I didn't want to like them but I did. I was shaking my leg and nodding in time and was captured by certain melodies (particularly Theme From Tomorrowland). Then I found out that Wes Eisold is in the band and that made me look it up. Music for bullshit hipsters, but whatever. Somewhere in that whole Joy Division/New Order vein that will always be returned to by said bullshit hipsters. While JD and most of NO are timeless, the bands emulating them sound dated within weeks and no one remembers them - however, Cold Cave might actually have something here, even if it is just a fleeting moment.

10. - I really wanted to find a 10th record that was released this year that wasn't a reissue, and I'm already pushing it with #'s 8&9 therefore no such luck, so: Nirvana - Bleach - I got into Nirvana from a radio station out of Detroit that was powerful enough to have the ability of being picked up all the way in Findlay, Ohio. I was listening the night the DJ played "Smells Like Teen Spirit" back to back to back despite complaints from listeners. (I'm pretty sure it was one of the very first places it was heard, outside of people on the inside - the days when radio mattered). The DJ responded that he'd play whatever he wanted because "Alternative" didn't really mean anything. Then proceeded to play either Johnny Cash, Elvis, or Willie Nelson - or something of the sort. Anyway, that was about the time I became "punk" and this band wasn't "punk" enough - oh remember all the arguments of being a "sell-out"? A more mature me couldn't deny their power, particularly "Milk it" and "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter" from In Utero. Like most people I discovered Bleach after the fact, something that doesn't seem to hold as much power these days. If it's not new, it's not relevant. Bleach is a good record. I totally appreciate the rawness of it - which is succinctly captured by "...recordings by Jack Endino for $600" written in the linear notes. I still think this is one of the best bands of all time (however Nirvana is not in my top 5 personal favorites, oddly enough) and admire their integrity given the time frame, not to say it is not without it's criticisms, but whatever. I absolutely love the fact that they consciously didn't buy gas from Exxon or Shell for political reasons (based in business ethics) - something I adhered to in all my time in touring bands. So much heartache, nostalgia, and happiness wrapped up in the memories of this band, thus rightfully earning it's place.

also worth mentioning: Hatred Surge, Vaccine, Damages, Black Kites.

It was pointed out to me that it is also the end of a decade, but I'm not making a list for that.

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