Hi everyone! So 2015 is coming to a close and I thought I would ask some people I have interviewed over the last year if they would make a list of their top musical moments, whether it be records, tapes, shows, whatever! So here they are! Thanks to everyone who participated! Enjoy.
Tyler Fassnacht – Fire Retarded, Proud Parents, ts foss
10 records released in 2015 that made me go “dang dude, this is so good, lemme listen to that again”
Destruction Unit Negative Feedback Resistor
Vacation Non Person
HEALTH DEATH MAGIC
Girlpool Before the World Was Big
Protomartyr the Agent Intellect
Spray Paint Punters on a Barge
Waxahatchee Ivy Trip
Growwing Pains/Bonny Doon I Always Know/Bonny Doon*
Digital Leather All Faded
*tie between two 7”s from the D
Amos Pitsch – Tenement, Dusk,
Top Ten Records I Acquired In 2015:
– D’Angelo – Black Messiah
Also the record of the year. Incredible.
Price: $23.99, brand new pre-order
– Bobby Charles – Bobby Charles
Long lost rainy day album on Bearsville Records from Swamp Rock (and Rock and Roll)’s forgotten king. Produced by Todd Rundgren and featuring performance by The Band, Dr. John, John Simon, etc…
Price: $20.00, 80’s European pressing
– Jim Ford – Harlan County
Obscure soul/country singer & songwriter who wrote for the likes of Aretha Franklin and Bobby Womack. This is his only LP released in his lifetime. And it’s a true ripper. Somewhere between Van Morrison, Wilson Pickett, and some old Hillbilly C&W singer. Best tracks: “Changin Colors” and “Love On My Brain”.
Price: $20.00, original pressing found at a Madison, Wisconsin antique mall
– Amazing Rhythm Aces – Stacked Deck
This is ARA’s best record, and perhaps the only one that sounds quite like this. What does it sound like? Something like Al Anderson singin for The Eagles, post-Parsons Flying Burrito Bros, maybe even a tiny bit of Lynyrd Skynyrd at times. (I love Lynyrd Skynyrd). R&B, country, blues, rock an roll.
Price: $1.00 – found at a Goodwill Thrift Store
– Alice Clark – Alice Clark
Wow, such a warm and hard hitting soul/jazz vocal record. Mostly soul though. This thing is on Mainstream Records, who were known at this time to be true masters of funk/soul jazz production with other records by the likes of Charles Williams, Charles McPherson, Blue Mitchell, Frank Foster, etc…
Price: $50.00, re-issue
– Steve Kuhn/Gary McFarland – October Suite
A third stream jazz masterpiece right here. The October Suite puts you in a world. Perfect mix of beautifully melodic and also dissonant string arrangements.
Price: $8.00, original pressing
– Dillard And Clark – Through The Morning, Through The Night
Truly the best Dillard and Clark record and maybe featuring the best material that either Doug Dillard or Gene Clark ever were involved in. The title track is a tearjerker.
Price: $1.00, original pressing, DOLLAR BIN JAMMER!
– Charles Kynard – Charles Kynard
This guy and this record finally got me interested in jazz organ. Another heavy Maintream Records number, and featuring a conga player and CAROL KAYE on the bass and she knocks it outta the park, especially on the extended jam of Carole King’s “It’s Too Late”
Price: $1.00, original pressing, DOLLAR BIN JAMMER!
– The Eagles – Greatest Hits Volume 1
Who thought I would start caring about The Eagles this year? “Already Gone” is a perfect song. Glen Frey has one hell of a Detroit twang.
Price: $0.39, found at Bethesda Thrift Store
– Dorothy Ashby – Dorothy’s Harp
One in a series of brilliant lush (at times psychedelic) harp jazz LPs by Dorothy Ashby. This is perhaps the rarest of the bunch. Produced and arranged by Richard Evans, one of my favorite producers, who also did work with The Soulful Strings, Ramsey Lewis, Marlena Shaw, and Ray Bryant, and played bass for a short time in SUN RA’S ARKESTRA in the Chicago period.
Price: $1.00, original pressing, found at Goodwill Thrift Store
Justin Kibbel – High Noon Saloon, This Means War!, Strictly Discs
1) Murder By Death – ‘Big Dark Love’ (Bloodshot)
2) Courtney Barnett – ‘Sometimes I Just Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit’ (Mom + Pop)
3) July Talk – ‘July Talk’ (Island)
4) Titus Andronicus – ‘The Most Lamentable Tragedy’ (Merge)
5) Father John Misty – ‘I Love You, Honeybear’ (Sub Pop)
6) Colleen Green – ‘I Want To Grow Up’ (Hardly Art)
7) The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – ‘Harmlessness’ (Epitaph / Broken World Media)
8) Ezra Furman – ‘Perpetual Motion People’ (Bella Union)
9) Screaming Females – ‘Rose Mountain’ (Don Giovanni)
10) Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear – ‘Skeleton Crew’ (Glassnote)
11) The Hussy – ‘Galore’ (Southpaw)
12) Eagles Of Death Metal – ‘Zipper Down’ (Downtown)
13) Tallest Man On Earth – ‘Dark Bird Is Home’ (Dead Oceans)
14) Christopher Gold – ‘Don’t Get Lonesome’ (self-released)
15) EL VY – ‘Return To The Moon’ (4AD)
Bobby Hussy – The Hussy, Fire Retarded, Cave Curse, Kind Turkey Records
BEST 5 NEW RELEASES OF 2015
Digital Leather – “All Faded” Digital Leather’s most cohesive and ballsiest record to date (a live band in tow for the whole thing!)
Damaged Bug – “Cold Hot Plumbs” John Dwyer in weirdo analogue synth mode. Sign me up!
Thee Oh Sees – “Mutilator Defeated At Last” Excellent work from Thee Oh Sees. On par with Putrifiers II or Floating Coffin (both of which are also excellent).
Courtney Barnett – “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit” Witty indie rock from an extremely promising Australian! Liz Phair with a bit more grace or something.
La Luz – “Weirdo Shrine” Great “surf “rock with less beach influence than straight up pop influence. I can dig on that. The best thing Ty Segall did all year was produce this.
Best new OLD records I purchased this year – These are records I’d never heard before that I picked up this year for the first time and fell in love with.
B-52’s – “Whammy” Had never heard this one before. “Legal Tender” has some of the best keyboard tones of the 80s. This record is an underrated masterpiece. Some of the guy/girl vocal interplay is missing, but it’s kind of neat to hear each singer get their own song for a change.
Tubeway Army – S/T Picked this up in the Netherlands. Gary Numan pre solo career. Guitars a blazing but still plenty of synths to go around! Proto synth punk at it’s earliest. Very well done.
The Damned – “Phantasmagoria” I’d never given this one a chance. It’s more poppy than the rest and slick, but it sounds fantastic!
Empire – “Expensive Sound” Obscure UK band that ONLY Washington DC fell in love with in the 80s. Finally reissued. A strong punk precursor to first generation emo and hardcore bands. Fugazi/Rites of Spring/Minor Threat and Dischord Records as a whole were definitely listening.
The Jesus and Mary Chain – “Stoned and Dethroned” This was my soundtrack to early 2015. I fell in love with its super simplistic pop songs. Plus it inspired me to write my own “Stoned & Dethroned” for Cave Curse.
Favorite record finds of the year 2015
Out Of Sight Design records 1967
Lou Reed Early Lou Comp (bootleg)
If you dig for records as much as I do, surely you’ve seen his plain looking out of sight compilation. rescued from a middle aged woman’s basement for $2, this is gold wrapped in generic 60s comp cover art. This LP contains Some of Lou Reed’s session work while employed under Pickwick Records as a staff writer. He sings and plays on “Cycle Annie” and I assume plays on the other made up groups on here The J brothers and the Liberty bells. also on here is the completely astounding haunting strut of Lou Rawls (though it is argued by some that it’s not really Lou Rawls singing) but check it out anyways the foot stomps and at the string section stabs are chilling. absolutely worth owning this strange but common LP.
I Found out about the 60s design comp from this bootleg LP I bought in the 50% off bin at our local Appleton exclusive company. The same beach nuts song is collected on here, as well as a dylan-esque version of Heroin and the first Reed/Cale composition ever Why Don’t You Smile Now. But don’t sleep on these early 60s solo sessions Lou did under the name Lewis Reed, which are also on here. You can tell he’s going for 50s teen idol sorta thing. but really you can hear the first evidence of his monotone speak sing signature here.
electric prunes release of an oath
1968 reprise promo copy
acquired by trade from local Appleton record establishment TOP SPINS. the guy who runs the place regularly indulges me in unfair trades but this Time I think it was fair in me letting go a mid period press of a pretty great Roky Erickson and the aliens LP. Anyways. you may be familiar with the electric prunes. they had hits in the 1960s with “I had too much to dream last night” it was included in the absolutely essential “Nuggets” box set. This LP though was produced and arranged by the great David Axelrod. an incredible weirdo. he’s responsible for such highly sampled hits such as “the house of mirrors(sampled by dj shadow) and the edge (sampled by dr dre) which were “performed” by David Mccallum (what he does on those records I’m not sure) but arranged and written by David Axelrod. anyways. this LP from what I gather is essentially David Axelrod with none of the members of the original electric prunes. I love the first two electric prunes LPs and I bet garage nerds are really annoyed by this one. that might make me like it more. this is a great LP of trippy religious-esque orchestral pop.
the psychedelic sounds of the 13th floor elevators recent reissue.
for some reason I’ve never bought this record for myself even though it’s incredible. so I acquired it days ago straight from the hands of a person who shaped the end of my year immensely in both the best and worst ways possible. in the form of essentially a parting gift. it’s strange how a record can be related to a time in your life, and this one has followed me for years, assuring me life goes on. this shaped an entire generation of psychedelic music by introducing the world to the character of Roky Erickson. the song thru the rhythm is one of my favorite tracks of all time. what a groove. and the back cover is wonderful. full of strangely relatable ramblings presumably from erickson himself.
here’s thru the rhythm. a track that expresses loss. a track that literally screams the questions, who am I? where are you?
Guy tones-Your Hearts Bigger Than Mine/b/w Tell Me How I Was To Know
Snagged from the trash the day of this writing I initially got this to sell. I think it’s worth a pretty penny. and I’d really like a new tremolo pedal. but I liked it so much I’ve decided to keep it. super dreamy sorrowful A Side Your Hearts Bigger Than Mine really sealed the deal. I love the little nuances in this guys voice. and of course the overall picture of pain and loss is extremely evident even in the name of the traxxxx. a great example of obscure and forgotten about 50s R&B/Doo Wop.
the beach boys-smiley smile brother records
acquired as a sorta gift from my roommate. I had recently just got into the madness and hidden dark vibes held within the grooves of this record after years of talking shit about pet sounds (I’ve since changed my tune). I started telling my roommate Matt stranger all about it. he remembered finding a really fucked copy and selling it to his work, so I ended up going there that day and shelling out a whopping $1 for this water damaged masterpiece. you can really hear the mental breakdown Brian wilson was going through inside of this record. it is extremely present in the song wind chimes. my favorite cut from this record. the completely jarring organ coming in outta nowhere is my favorite part.
Curtis Mayfield-Curtis 1970 curtom records
After years and years churning out hits with The Impressions this is Curtis Mayfield’s first solo LP. Acquired for cheap on the the Internet for a fucked up copy with split seams. I traded my roommate for a better copy a few weeks ago. The track (Don’t worry) If There Is A Hell Below We’re All Gonna Go is timeless. starting with the most interesting and jarring intro of all time, it finally gets into an funky groove with lyrics that could’ve been penned in any decade you apply it to.
I’ve had multiple arguments with my roommates about this LP being way better of a deep political soul record than Marvin Gaye’s’ what’s going on.
Spectrum- Highs, Lows, and Heavenly Blows 1994 silver tone records
This record means the world to me. It’s never been reissued. it’s incredibly hard to find. Acquired off eBay for the most money I’ve ever and will ever pay for a record ever in my life. I made a tape of this to listen to at my job before i got it. it didn’t leave my Walkman for about 2 months. after suffering a mental breakdown in the beginning of summer this LP acted as a sort of sonic medicine. It’s the most relaxing thing I’ve ever heard. On this effort Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3 fame and his “band” Spectrum really give Brian Eno a run for his atmospheric ambient money. With tracks like Take Your Time (covered by my solo project BLACK THUMB) and Then I Just Drifted Away Spectrum take you to a place of complete relaxation and acceptance. Sure, reality is allowed in with lines like “I’m leaving here today lord, I feel my life is done”. but the end result to me always feels optimistic. Here’s “Then I Just Drifted Away”. I honestly feel this song saved my life more than a few times this year.
Spacemen 3-Playing With Fire BOMP! US issue
Acquired in a trade earlier this year involving a few S3 records for a rare garage 45 I found in the trash with local label hero and musician and historian Todd Trickknee. This LP houses two of Spacemen 3’s most famous works. Revolution and Lord Can You Hear Me? It’s a roller coaster of a record. with soft and sweet eventually building into the Spastic pulse of Revolution on side one and Suicide on side two. eventually ending with the plea Lord Can You Hear Me? this is one of the most perfect records of all time folks. check the music video for Revolution (essentially Mc5’s Black to Comm). initially when I saw it I thought “wow this is pretty ridiculous” and now I’ve grown to appreciate it as probably my favorite music video of all time. For All The Fucked Up Children Of The World I Give You….
Bo Diddley-Have Guitar Will Travel 1984 Chess Records reissue + Nico 1970 original us reprise issue.
These records hold a special place in my heart. Bo Diddleys’ have guitar will travel is pretty typical Bo. my favorite track is I Love you so” It’s also the last record I ever bought from one of my heroes Stan Erickson, who devastatingly passed away this year. Stan was a musical tastemaker, an incredibly funny person, a wonderful story teller, and an enormous personality. He blew our minds with the music he knew and loved. I miss him dearly. I also acquired Nico’s masterpiece Desert Shore from him a few months prior. its one of the most haunting records i own. produced and arranged by the always genius John Cale, it emanates a sadness that I almost always find strangely comforting in records. The fact that they came from somebody I deeply admire makes these records so much more special to me. here is “All That Is My Own” and “I Love You So” respectively.
Sir Douglas Quintet-Mendocino Us Smash Issue
Bought from discogs for a mere $5. This LP is chock full of country rock stompers. With their biggest hit She’s About A Mover on here, it’s easy to think this is just a 60s r&b rip off outfit, but this group rips. With Doug Sahm’s deep and powerful voice, they are leagues ahead of their English and American counterparts, and incorporate their own take on country tinged rock and roll with incredible arrangements like “Texas Me” and get introspective and nostalgic with tracks like “At The Crossroads”.
Here’s Texas Me.
Gene Clark-No Other Original Asylum US issue
After months of obsessing over the most mournful and sorrowful member of the Byrds, my best friend Amos came home with this for me tucked under his arm from our local antique mall. This is GC’s most produced effort. Almost to a fault at times, but still the songwriting shines through. Here’s one of the more subdued productions, and my favorite from the LP The True One. It’s a perfect end of the year retrospective song with the chorus begging you to think twice. “There’s always a reality in what you are doing
Sometimes it’s so hard to see which one is the true one”
Gram Parsons and The Fallen Angels Live 1973 Sierra records issue 1973
snagged from our local goodwill for a cool $1. This LP is from the only tour GP ever mustered during his solo career. and introduced the world to Emmy Lou Harris. The two sing incredibly together, and certain songs on here beg the question of what was going on with those two. Here’s the relatable to everyone (or maybe just me because it’s been a weird fuckin year) We’ll Sweep Out The Ashes In The Morning
“we’re two people caught up in the flame that has to die out soon
I didn’t mean to start this fire and neither did you
so tonight when you hold me tight we’ll let the fire burn on
and we’ll sleep out the ashes in the morning”
The Everly Brothers-Roots RSD2014 reissue
grabbed from the Appleton exclusive company in the 50% off bin. Around the time DUSK started, I picked this up after years of being told that it’s the first “country rock LP” I suppose it is. but what really struck me was the very modern and psychedelic rendition of their earlier side “Wonder If I Care”. probably the saddest song I’ve ever heard, it really pulls at your heart strings. the blood harmonies crooning “the tears that I have shed by day
Give relief and wash away
The memory of the night before
I wonder if I’ll suffer more” With the instrumentation sounding a lot more like Spiritualized than anything Everly Bros would ever do again. Listen on headphones for a truly heart wrenching experience. I hope to care a lot less in 2016….
Neil Young S/T 1968 Reprise records issue
Given to me as a gift by the great love I lost in 2015, This is Neil Young at his most full and produced, and psychedelic. Fresh outta Buffalo Springfield you can tell there’s a lot more label input than Neil would’ve liked. But it made for an incredible record. I Hear though, this is his least favorite. I didn’t really care for reactor, Neil. here’s “I’ve Been Waiting for you” Later covered by David Bowie. I love the breaths in the intro.
The Troggs-Love Is All Around 1968 Fontana Issue
Bought at a rummage sale for a dime. This is the Troggs at their finest. Tracks like the haunting orchestral and super creepy tale of incest “Cousin Jane” coupled with songs like highly relatable “Give It To Me”. This is the Troggs at their best. easily blowing the more coveted Seeds outta the water.
TENEMENT-Predatory Headlights 2015 Don Giovanni
Last and absolutely NOT least we have the only record on this list that came out this year. Acquired from Amos straight outta the box they were mailed to him in. This LP is absolutely stunning “Ants and flies” is a mournful and sparse piano song with incredible lush string arrangements toward the end. absolutely breathtaking. “You Keep Me Cool” is a perfect pop song. originally written for our band DUSK, it reminds me of the Wildweeds. I’m glad it ended up on this LP with a wider reach. This song deserves to be driven into your head, weather you like it or not “Near You” is my favorite. A true and pure rock and roll song served up in a hardcore punk amount of time with Early marvin Gaye-Esque high notes thrown in to seal the fuckin deal. Wish this song was an hour long. my favorite song of 2015. my favorite record of 2015.
Claire Nelson-Lifson – Proud Parents, Disembodied Monks
Records that I listened to the most of and were especially formative in 2015
⦁ Beyoncé – 4
⦁ Mitski – Bury Me at Makeout Creek
⦁ Electric Light Orchestra – Out Of The Blue
⦁ Kevin Morby – Still Life
⦁ Billy Bragg – Life’s A Riot with Spy Vs. Spy
⦁ Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac
⦁ Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
⦁ Dion – Wonder Where I’m Bound
⦁ Ex-Cult – Ex-Cult
⦁ Jim Croce – You Don’t Mess Around With Jim
⦁ Josie Cotton – Convertible Music
⦁ Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers – Hard Promises
⦁ The Men – Open Your Heart
⦁ The Pampers – The Pampers
⦁ Hank Wood And The Hammerheads – Go Home!
⦁ Total Control – Henge Beat
⦁ Donny Hathaway & Roberta Flack
A phrase I coined to indicate certain songs that I would listen to on repeat, many times a day, at the expense of my roommate’s sanity. Bold indicates songs that had their very own playlist, because I can be very difficult to be around! Once I was skyping with my boyfriend, listening to “Back On The Chain Gang” on repeat I thought only loud enough for my ears, when he said, “have you been listening the same song this whole time?” My song jail is a prison of my own design that holds the ones closest to me captive, too! The price to pay for my company I guess
⦁ “Take It Easy” – The Eagles
⦁ “Touch Of Grey” – The Grateful Dead
⦁ “You Better You Bet”/”Let My Love Open The Door” – The Who/Pete Townsend
⦁ “Birthday” – The Sugarcubes
⦁ “Angst In My Pants” – Sparks
⦁ “Be Stiff” – Devo
⦁ “Back On The Chain Gang” – The Pretenders
⦁ “American Girl” – Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
⦁ “Hotline Bling” – Drake
⦁ “Sister Golden Hair” – America
Max Jewer – Minotaurs, Double Ewes, Brazen P
1. Future- Dirty Sprite 2
2. Knxwledge- HUD Dreams
3. Father John Misty- I Love You, Honeybear
4. Vince Staples- Summertime ’06
5. The Hussy- Galore
6. Courtney Barnett- Sometimes I Sit And Think, Sometimes I Just Sit
7. Kendrick Lamar- To Pimp A Butterfly
8. Toothtaker Vo. 1
9. Earl Sweatshirt- I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside
10. Wood Chickens- Live At Karl’s Kastle
Chris Joutras – Coordinated Suicides, Dumb Vision, Momotaros, Healer Man, Dharma Dogs
Since I can only really speak from personal experience, I decided to make a very personal list of favorite moments this year. Let us now step through the looking glass……
My Top 10 Favorite Moments in Music 2015:
1. Not Dying In a Fire: Blue Ridge Parkway. Our vans’ breaks caught on fire while taking an in advised “short-cut” through the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. Beautiful country and as good of place as any to turn to ash if you have to. HOWEVER, weeks prior, punk sage Elijah Vasquez told us a HORRIFIC parable of a van fire he experienced all the way back in COLUMBUS, OHIO, so we had grabbed a fire extinguisher on our way out of town before our pissed britches could even dry… somehow I knew we’d use it… and we did…. no tour vehicle should be without one. We made it just in time for the show in Raleigh and got to see Davidians play one of the best sets I saw this year.
2. Blue Light. Set back in the hills of Highland, WI (country that Frank Lloyd Wright loved and in the shadow of the House on the Rock), Spencer Bible threw a two day camp out/music shindig out of a sand floored tobacco shed. It was beautiful. My band, Dharma Dogs, played for the first time in a year and a half and Spencer himself reunited with the Big Waves of Pretty for a rare set of their unique improv indie. The best moment for me was Richard Album.
Richard had set up on the smaller side stage (front porch of a house) where many of the more electronic or acoustic sets were being performed. He began performing his solo pop set, singing and dancing to pre-recorded tracks. Halfway through his set, the next band in the shed began sound checking. They completely cut into Richard’s set and he was LIVID! Throwing the mic down and suing promoter Spencer for some decency and common courtesy, Richard then lead the crowd into the barn to give these yahoos a piece of his mind. We walked down the road to where the band was playing and found them all in matching royal blue polo shirts Turned out it was Richard’s own backing band The Singles. They were a little miffed that Richard had ditched them to start his pop-solo career. They thought he lost his edge. They said he couldn’t rock anymore. There HAPPENED To be a spare guitar, which Richard slung over his shoulder, join his band, and with their help proved them dead wrong. Forget the funny stuff, one of the best sets of music I’ve ever seen. Imagine the Talking Heads or Television playing in a pop punk band. Biting. Smart. Funny. Catchy. Perfect.
3. Graem Menzer dancing like a fool to Tenement at the Vault. Graem from Madison grind/hardcore/snark comedy band Mellow Harsher threw quite the hootenanny this past fall. Treating the denizens of the V to two of the best jazz prog whatever core bands in Scaphe and Gas Chamber, things were capped off me personally when Tenement TORE through a set of the catchiest soulful power pop punk rock. It was the best time I’ve seen them out of many and I can’t get this image of Graem shimmying around like a 60’s teenie-bopper fool out of my head. I’m still smiling like an idiot.
4. “Leaf” performed by DUSK at the Frequency. DUSK played the Frequency the other month and the absolute highlight and moment that I still think about is Julia Blair singing the song “Leaf.” A co-worker of mine described it well: he was watching/listening, mouth agape, and seemed to be slowly walking forward towards the stage, even through he wasn’t consciously moving his feet. The gravity of the song demanded everyone’s attention and compacted the room. Time was lengthened while space was shortened. Julia braced herself by clutching her arm with her opposing hand to stop the song from creating a black hole and devouring us all. Great song. Powerful performance.
5. Toothtaker #1 Zine Release. This show was crazy for a zine release! The bar was packed, and the zine and accompanying mix tape was great! Amazing collaborative job by Claire Nelson-Lifson, Aiki Coxhead, and Mary Dahlman Begley. They’ve since released another zine and continue to tackle social issues that everyone’s thinking but maybe not always talking about. I hope they continue to do the zine and I’m also excited about Claire’s new label, Rare Plant, which maybe exists because of the initial success of these Toothtaker tapes, who knows!
6. The Hussy Record Release Show/Hussy Big Band, Screamin’ Cyn Cyn & the Pons/Proud Parents: This show packed the High Noon, was great all around, and as the Hussy ushered in their newest LP, GALORE, they did something new… They played with a full-on family sized band, with lap steel guitar, theremin, violin, rhythm guitars, and I can’t even remember what else. It made for a unique experience and a super full and dynamic sound for the two-piece band that unfortunately would be next to impossible to take on the road, I’d imagine. Screamin’ Cyn Cyn & The Pons got back together for a decisively great set. Their reunions that happen once or twice a year or so are a Madison delicacy that would have to be witnessed to believe/get, wardrobe malfunctions and all.
7. Kitsch-As-Kitsch-Can III. I allegedly threw some kind of show last year, and while I know HOLY SHIT! were great, I don’t really remember the mic’ed opposing wrestling promos Mike Noto and I cut mid-show. Please ask Uzi Ferrari to destroy the tapes (or press to vinyl). Hope to not disappoint this year *coughcough*
8. ATTEMPT in Detroit. Leisure suit clad 70’s adult contemporary Jesus coke rock ala Steely Dan freaks out all the jean jacket burger heads.
9. Mecht Mention. Part Two of the the Columbus Odyssey. Not only would I find tools to later save my life, but the Dinosaur Jr. entourage decided to crash the shows at the adjacent clubs and surprised everyone with a Stooges cover set. I spoke briefly with Lou Barlow, one of my favorite bass players, and he said Coordinated Suicides (band I play bass in) reminded him of early 80’s Madison hardcore like MECHT MENSCH and the early TAR BABIES stuff. I reminded him that we were FROM MADISON and he did NOT know that. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? I’ve listened to that stuff and I like it, but it’s not a conscious influence on us–WHAT FORCES ARE AT PLAY HERE!? AM I JUST A VESSEL? THE MOUNDS ARE CALLING TO US ALL.
10. Vanishing Kids at Mickey’s Tavern. After years of missing this band’s scarce performances, I finally caught them at Mickey’s Tavern, and they did not disappoint. A real gem of a band that we are lucky to have in Madison (and playing slightly more often!). They both create atmosphere and Nikki Drohomyreky’s vocals are otherworldly.
Top 10 Albums of 2015:
1.Tenement’s – “Predatory Headlights” – Pretty great for mortal carbon based humanoids from WI – ALBUM OF THE YEAR. So catchy. Interesting record(s). Absolutely blistering live. Lyrics. Art. Soul. Guts. MUSICS. It’s like a dance.
2.Whatever Brains – “____” Swan song of one of the best bands of my era.
3.Toupee – “Leg Toucher” – Freakazoid post-punk. This is their 2nd LP, you need to hear this.
4.Vacation – “Non-Person” This cool. So catchy and great songwriting. Love the subtle and not-so-subtle melodies and amount of hooks packed into the whole album. It flows. Bombastic-yet-introspective in the best way possible. Killer record.
5. D’Angelo and the Vanguard – “Black Messiah” Everyone thought they were waiting 15 years for this but they were probably really waiting 30 years for this.
6. Radioactivity – “Silent Kill” I was late to this party but now I can’t stop listening to this and the first Radioactivity LP (plus the old Marked Men stuff) and I will soon be joining the droves of bands trying to rip this off as much as possible.
7. Nervosas – s/t – They really create their own world and they are the soundtrack. Like some dark Neil Gaiman novel and you and your significant other have to fight against nightmares incarnate while still having cool hair.
8. Pleasure Leftists – Occupy a similar space as Nervosas, but Rutger Hauer saves you from falling off a building and you don’t know if he’s gonna murder you or not and it’s raining and you gotta run through neotokyo… then you find out you’re in love with a replicant
9. Sheer Mag – They even compiled the new ‘II’ with the old ‘I’ – more like SHEER FUN, AMIRIGHT?? I am.
10. Utah Jazz – Ivory Wave – Punk rock Black Sabbath. I’ve listened to this a bunch this year and its PURE rock ‘n roll. Good for dogs. (Incidentally, also great at 33 1/3 rpm’s).
Emily Massey – Modern Mod,
10. Girlpool – Before the World Was Big
9. Gobbinjr – Manalang
8. Deerhunter – Fading Frontier
7. Jessica Pratt – On Your Own Love Again
6. Waxahatchee – Ivy Tripp
5. Sunflower Bean – Show Me Your Seven Secrets EP
4. Ought – Sun Coming Down
3. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit
2. Unknown Mortal Orchestral – Multi Love
1. Beach House – Count Your Lucky Stars
My Brother Ryan’s List!
10. Sofi Needs a Ladder, deadmau5: Feel like giving up in the middle of a workout? This song won’t let you. It helped keep me motivated and smiley.
9. La Marseilles, The National Anthem of France: We were all French that day.
8. Teenage Color, College: Number 8 for 80’s, yo! A new found keeper, can’t go wrong.
7. Hold Music at 1-800-MEDICARE, CMS: It’s so soothing and continuos. But, do you have an Election Period?
6. Tick of the Clock, Chromatics: This song is so bad ass, it makes me want to break the law.
5. Getting Ready to Get Down, Josh Ritter: Whelp, it’s finally happened, I found a country song that I can jam to.
4. Ooh La La, Faces: Life’s brilliant, but I already knew that even when I was younger.
3. 1234, Feist: Because love.
2. Animal, Miike Snow: Reminds me of my work peep Jonathan while volunteering at Gilda’s Club. Whistle this song nonstop.
1. Walkin’ After Midnight, Patsy Cline: For Grandma. I miss you.
Tony Leskinen – Sir! No Sir!, Skintones
Top 10 of 2015
1. Faith no more-Sol invictus
2. Eagles of death metal-zipper down
3. The sword– high country
4. Patton Oswald– tragedy plus comedy equals time
5. Rock the Kasbah– soundtrack
6. Iron Maiden-book of souls
7. Intronaut– the direction of last things
8. Louis C.K.-hilarious
10. (Biased) Sir! No Sir!-Scavenger
Eva Marley – Co-worker and Anthropology Major, Music fan
5. Chic Gamine, Light a Match
These amazing Montreal-based ladies (and dude) are a self-professed group of “Motown souls, French Pop spirits, and Rock and Roll hearts.” Their latest album takes their sound to new heights and proves just how much they’ve blossomed over the years while always staying true to their roots.
4. Aoife O’Donovan, “Crossing Muddy Waters,” Sugar Hill Records
I first heard O’Donovan and her trio I’m With Her on “A Prairie Home Companion” this past summer and I’ve been hooked ever since. Her lush, bluegrass sound is a scintillating mix of contemporary shine and traditional, ground-shaking Americana folk that always makes my prairie heart sing.
3. Broad City’s Abbi Abrams dances to Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory”
This scene captured bliss in its barest form as Abbi celebrates finally having the apartment she shares with her gross, man-child of a roommate to herself with a full-on dance party in the nude. So simple, relatable, and free of all the judgement we normally put on women who exude pure confidence and joy without shame.
2. The New Pornographers, Live on King Street, Madison, WI.
As a Wisconsinite who spends the majority of her time in British Columbia, I’m always grateful when bands from the Northwest opt to ditch the cool mountain air for our hot, sweaty Midwestern summers. Vancouver-based The New Pornographers have long been a favorite of mine and seeing them perform in the heart of Madison felt like worlds colliding.
1. The Hussy, The Shitty Barn, Spring Green, WI.
I don’t even have the words to describe how happy and amazed this show left me…just perfection. The Barn gave the show an intimate, round-the-campfire-like feel that contrasted perfectly with the explosive garage grit of The Hussy’s set.
Lori LaCour – My boss
I talked to Lori about this list of favorites, and Lori told me her fave music memory this year was all the people that played at my party earlier in December. I also secretly thinks she likes that one chainsaw song by Jackyl.
Heather Sawyer – The Hussy, Proud Parents, Heather the Jerk, this is also my blog!
I’m not gonna number anything, so in no particular order, here is what i liked musically in 2015.
-Tenement – Predatory Headlights
What a great double record! This record was one of favorite releases this year, hands down. Faves on this one are Hive of Hives, Garden of Secrecy, Ants + Flies. But really, every song slays on this one. Pick it up if you haven’t already!
Digital Leather – All Faded
Another favorite record of mine that was released this last year. It is probably one of my fave Digital Leather records they have. Stay In Bed, So Warm, and Moron Embrace are some of my favorite songs on here, but really, the whole record is very good. Glad I saw them play some of these songs this summer. Love them.
Toothtaker Vol. 1 Cassette – Rare Plant
Awesome, awesome tape put together by the ladies that organized the Toothtaker zine (Claire, Aiki, Mary). Every song is a hit. Some good jams on this are Open Secret by MAMA, Hangman by The Minotaurs, and A Hole In Yer Heart by Absolutely Not. Not sure if you can even get this tape anymore. Maybe they will re-issue it someday?