Sunday, January 22, 2012

I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House - Menace (2002)

These Portland shitkickers mine the same southern rock goldmine as the Drive-by Truckers, although being from the Pacific North-West they're understandably less interested in myth and tradition than the Truckers (though thankfully much more likely to goose their tunes with punk rock irreverence). So while the epic heaviness of songs like "Dust And Sun", "Fall Down", and "Pauline" could form the basis of their own Northern Rock Opera, tracks like the profane "Westboro Baptist Church" and the steamrolling "Gone" are closer in spirit to Mojo Nixon than Lynyrd Skynyrd. It's a good mix, to my ears, both fun and thoughtful without sacrificing anything in either direction. These are some good ol' boys capable of tolerance and introspection, bringing some dignity back to the term redneck, and having a blast while they do it. When vocalist Mike D. commands "C'mon y'all, let's fuck the president!" in a voice that lands squarely between Mojo's rasp and a swamp frog's croak, it's as much a gesture of solidarity with gays and lesbians as it is a fun call to arms against Bush 43. And on top of everything else, they may possess the best band name of all time.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Grouplove - Never Trust a Happy Song (2011)

Although an occasional tune bubbles to the surface, this reeks of what L.A. major label music executives must think "the kids" are listening to these days. Jump rope singalongs, schoolyard backing vocals, plus arrangements that borrow cliches from both rock and electronica. It's like some exec called for the next Foster the People, even while we're still not sure if we want the first one. Ultimately, I suspect "the kids" won't be all that interested in this, but TV commercials will lap it up.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Top 30 Albums of 2011

1. The Breakdowns - The Kids Don't Wanna Bop Anymore
2. The Booze - At Maximum Volume
3. Biters - It's All Chewed Up, OK?
4. The Meows - All You Can Eat
5. Yep - Once
6. The Dum Dum Girls - Only In Dreams
7. Meyerman - Who Do You Think You Are?
8. Oh Mercy - Great Barrier Grief
9. Van Buren Boys - Up All Night
10. Watts - On The Dial

11. Barreracudas - Nocturnal Missions
12. The Kills - Blood Pressures
13. Redondo Beat - Meet Redondo Beat
14. Marvelous Darlings - Single Life 
15. Apex Manor - The Year of Magical Drinking
16. Locksley - Locksley
17. Daniel Tashian - Arthur
18. The Weight - Nowhere Now
19. Ryan Allen - Ryan Allen and His Extra Arms
20. The Postelles - The Postelles

21. Butch Walker & the Black Widows - The Spade
22. Black Rabbits - Hypno Switch
23. Warren Zanes - I Want To Move Into The Daylight
24. Giuda - Racey Roller
25. The CRY! - The CRY!
26. Sun Wizard - Positively 4th Avenue
27. Bare Wires - Cheap Perfume
28. King Louie's Missing Monuments - Paint It White
29. The ACBs - Stona Rosa
30. Tommy Keene - Behind the Parade

more about each release here