It's a dumb tradition here, but one we maintain nonetheless where those associated with this label in one way or another get to beef about their favorite stuff from this year.
I enjoy knowing what other people were digging, especially those whose opinions I value. So I always get a kick out of seeing what's on the lists.
Personally, I thought 2010 was a great year. Just overall. Saw a lot of great bands, heard some great music, went a lot of fun places, spent a ton of time in my garden, went to a lot of weddings (strangely enough), and there were no disasters. It was a good year to just be doing what I do, and that's all I can ask. So let's just hope next year goes as swimmingly!
OK, enough babble, here's some lists from a few people I dig.
JEFFREY POSO, Uno world champion, The Helm
1. Getting married.
2. The Helm/Owen Hart Summer tour
3. Kylesa- Spiral Shadow.
5. Cursed -John Peel 7".
6. My October bike crash.
7. My November bike crash (not as bad).
9. Rope Swings all Summer long.
10. Recording the new Throne of Bone full length.
SEAN DOODY, Self Defense Family Man, End Of a Year
I’m awful at keeping up with current music, underground or otherwise. There are some current tracks I’ve dug (“The Weekenders” by the Hold Steady; “I Can Change” by LCD Soundsystem; “Ready to Start” by the Arcade Fire) and some I haven’t (“Barricade” by Interpol is so bad that it makes me wonder why I liked their first two LPs), but I haven’t checked out any of those full albums yet. So instead, I’ve listed my Top 10 new experiences, new discoveries, or what-have-you of 2010:
1. Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, Rattlesnakes. On the recommendation of Patrick Kindlon, I found this album, the Commotions’ 1984 debut, at the library and uploaded it to my iTunes last March. Cole’s lyrics sound like he was born to be a literature professor at a New England liberal arts school; indeed, he now lives in the Pioneer Valley, writing, recording, and playing lots of golf. Ultra-cool Eighties British indie, with a distinct soul influence and a singer who has impeccable taste in books, clothes, and everything else.
2. Taking care of myself, i.e., eating vegan again and quitting smoking. This is simple: I realized I was turning into a cartoon slob from a Replacements video. Quitting smoking was easy, actually, once I realized that I hate being around other people who are smoking. And I’ve felt much healthier and lost weight once I stopped inhaling every Hungarian street sausage or slice of sketchy pizza I could find, just because I hadn’t had it before and it was cheap. Yeah, I haven’t had the mumps either; doesn’t mean I want to give it a go.
3. Reevaluating my record collection. Goodbye, later Gang of Four records. Goodbye, mod revival bands that “sound like the Jam,” except that they can’t come close. Goodbye, every hardcore record I hung onto out of nostalgia and nothing else. Hello, more Talking Heads and Julian Cope and Belle & Sebastian and Pixies records. We’re going to get along great.
4. Dramamine, self-titled LP. End of a Year played with this band in Münster, Germany, on our European tour last spring. Live, they just sounded like any one of the rash of Wipers-influenced bands that have cropped up over the past several years. Feh. On record, though, Dramamine are much more than that. Sure, the Wipers are in the mix, but so are Fugazi, the Jesus Lizard, and – crucially – a strong sense of how to put their influences together to build something new and distinct. Check out Dramamine at the Sabotage Records website and definitely pick up their LP if you can find it.
5. Swans, My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky. Michael Gira is older than my parents and has been playing in bands longer than I’ve been alive, yet he still has a constant desire to make music he hasn’t made before. And I appreciate his approach towards reviving the Swans name: he felt that what he was writing would be better as a Swans album than as a solo album or Angels of Light, so he put together a Swans lineup and that was that. I hope to be as driven a musician as Gira when I’m his age.
6. My new Rickenbacker 4003 bass. I’ve never bought an instrument new before, and I’m thrilled with this one.
7. Being employed again. I appreciate the paycheck, but more than that, my current job has finally solidified the fact that I need to move out of Albany and never move back.
8. Rediscovering my enjoyment of music and writing. Two things that I had felt burnt out on for years, frankly, because I’ve been expecting too much out of them, both as an experience and as something I make. Psyching myself out of enjoying anything is a really bad look, and I’m glad to get away from it.
9. Unknown band whose album I heard on the U-Albany radio station the other week. I have no idea who it was, just that it sounded like the Swell Maps or some other jerky Seventies post-punk band tried to write Damaged. The results were fascinating. I called the station to find out what it was, but no one picked up.
10. Ke$ha, Animal. Yes, it’s beer-and-lifestyle music. It’s not the beer I’d drink, and it’s definitely not my lifestyle, but I can take a peek at both from a distance without having to clean up the puke afterwards. Yes, I’m serious about this.
RYAN HEX, pick pocket, label person
Here’s a combination of favorite records, as well as best shows since there weren’t enough ‘favorite records’ that stuck to make a top 10, but there were a heckuva lot of great shows.
1.) 108, “18.61”
2.) BLACK BREATH, “Heavy Breathing”
3.) END OF A YEAR, “You Are Beneath Me”
4.) TORCHE, “Song For Singles”
5.) COLISEUM, “House With a Curse”
6.) BLACK THROAT WIND demo
7.) MAYFLOWER, “Second Best Sunsets”
2.18- Mission Of Burma @ First Unitarian Church, Philly (intimate atmosphere, killer set, great new record)
3.27- Rollins @ Westcott Theater, Syracuse (finally got to meet the man)
6.11- Shaun Luu Horrorfest day 1 w/ End Of a Year, Mandate Of Heaven, Like Wolves, Mistletoe @ Westcott Community Center, Syracuse (Best MoH set in ages, hilarious EOAY set, Like Wolves letting me sing “Merchandise” with them)
6.22- Tortoise @ Bug Jar, Rochester (been waiting about 15 years to see this band and on a microscopic-sized stage no less)
7.7- Devo @ Town Ballroom, Buffalo (small-ish venue, great vibe, so much dancing)
8.11- Public Enemy @ Town Ballroom, Buffalo (again, smaller venue, excellent set of mostly their best two records and I’ve been waiting 20 years to see them)
9.7- Unsane, Keelhaul, Surroundings @ Ottobar, Baltimore (loudest, most punishing Unsane set I’d ever seen. My ears were numb afterwards)
10.3- Achilles/ Another Breath @ Bug Jar, Rochester (one of the wildest reactions I’ve seen in years for Achilles. So much fun)
10.28-11.2- Soul Control tour/Gainesville Fest (best vibe, and hanging out with great dudes)
WESTON CZERKIES, Founder www.Westonsucks.com, Oak and Bone
1) Nina Worf Wolfpaw DeVoe Czerkies....the kitten.
2) New Syracuse DIY show space!
3) Merchandise LP
4) Burning Love - Songs For Burning Lovers LP
5) White Walls - new tape and live performances
6) Eyehategod live @ Maryland Deathfest
7) Iggy & the Stooges live @ All Tomorrow's Parties (for free!)
8) Oak & Bone disaster tour. It had its moments.
9) birth of Hunger Pains. vVv.
10) Girls Nite in Glen Spey with KDV, DP, SOB
RORY VAN GROL, Achilles Van Grol Control
- Another Breath - A God Complex
- Dangers - Messy Isn't It
- Torche- Songs for Singles
- Fang Island - Day of the Great Leap
- Black Angels - Phosphene Dream
- Rochester, NY , including me moving home and The Owl House (owlhouserochester.com), and Like Wolves Live
- RVIVR - Dirty Water EP
- Coliseum - House With A Curse
- Black Breath- Heavy Breathing
- The Body - All the Waters Turn To Blood 2XLP
ROB ANTONUCCI, Achilles, “Proctor”
Terror - Keepers of the Faith
Black Label Society - Order of the Black
Against Me - White Crosses
The Damned Things - Ironclast
Katy Perry - Teenage Dream
Soilwork - The Panic Broadcast
Sleigh Bells - Treats
Holy Grail - Crisis in Utopia
The March - Demo (7")
The Curl and Drag - Demo