Saturday, December 31, 2005

BEST OF '05!

Gonna keep this short/sweet w/o any longwindedess and w/plenty of linkage (you may have to scroll down to catch some of the writeups in question) so's you can read what I wrote about these top spinners and grinners for '05 back when they were fresh 'n new in my ears. (Not that I've heard all of the top tracks for '05 yet...after all, I've yet to lend lobe to such must-haves as the new Mahogany Brain album which I'm sure would get mentioned here if only I did have the chance to give it a listen.) And true, some of this tuneage might be of an '04 or even '03 vintage if you wanna get technical picky-nose about it, but remember...although """you""" may be up-to-date and Johnny-on-the-spot 'n all, in BLOG TO COMM-time, what's here IS now!

BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR-Lou Rone's ALONE (Gulcher). What else can I say? Thurston Moore once referred to Suicide as being "heavy metal Kraftwerk" but this is the only true heavy metal electronic record of all time, or at least since I heard the last one (Chrome?). Kinda sounds like one of those groups you woulda heard at Max's Kansas City back inna late seventies only you were too busy scarfing up your three-drink minimum to care. Second best of the year goes to NOISETET OBSCURE, who prove that you can have an avant garde fusion jazz punk rock group...and get away with it! Fantastic playing (plus you get a cover of Eric Dolphy's "Hat and Beard"), and what's more is that these upstarts outta nowhere sound much better live! #3 disque---the Earth People's NOW IS RISING which also mixed the avant-jazz and rock to surprising effect and without succumbing to the tasty raunch of Return to Foreverisms that have become so prevalent in "fusion" o'er the years!


BEST REISSUE OF THE YEAR-This was a great year for reissues, archival digs and whatnot which certainly kept me happy considering how all the stuff this music ultimately led to bites the big fanabla. The best reissue award for '05 goes to Chinaboise's THE GREATEST STORY EVERY TOLD (Gulcher), which was released as a cassette back in '75 but'll be totally newz to yewz if you were outside the confines of the Bloomington Indiana music scene in the mid-seventies. (And, of course, the title track can be heard on the not-so-obscure BLOOMINGTON ONE sampler on the Bar-B-Q label alongsides such groups as MX-80 Sound, the Screaming Gypsy Bandits and a buncha thingies w/Caroline Peyton mugging alla the attention.) An interesting collection of wares laid down by future MX-80 Sound vocalist Rich Stim and crew that foreshadows a lotta the more creative home production n* w**e (using pure 1978-speak) to come out, and they were doing this in 1975 before anyone hadda tell them to do it! Also tops on my reissues of '05 list...Arch Hall Jr's WILD GUITAR (Norton) which was a great surprise at least for sagging early-rock fans like me, complete with the singles, live tracks and dialogue from various hot-to-trot Hall movies thrown in (of which Norton has DVD's available!). And I can't forget the reissue of the George Brigman JUNGLE ROT album on Bona Fide either. A real schmoozer!

BEST ARCHIVAL DIG OF THE YEAR-By this I mean an item which has material never before unleashed upon an unsuspecting rockism audience. This year's award goes to The Magic Tramps' KICKING UP MOONLIGHT DUST (, a more than complimentary collection of this infamous yet way undocumented New York proto-punk group that featured Warhol star Eric Emerson on most of the lead vocals. Also top to pop this year was Umela Hmota II's VE SKLEPE 1976-77 which I must admit was one of the better proto-punk raveups heard by these ears in quite awhile. You may not consider this a pure archival exhumation because one track on this 2-CD set was "previously released" (and by ME!), but since I never figured into the affairs of the "serious" underground world one iota I think I'll let this one slip by.

BEST BOOTLEG OF THE YEAR-Hands down winner has to be The Velvet Underground-AT THE FACTORY: THE WARHOL TAPES, where we can finally hear those early Velvets rehearsals w/o the annoying room clutter the original bootlegs had. Not only that, but the entire tape has been restored to its correct length so we can also revel in the Velvets working out an early Pickwick-era track as well as that bizarre take of "Venus in Furs" with a blues backing! Makes my mouth water for more, which is always a good sign!

BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR-ALL YESTERDAY'S PARTIES compiled by Clinton Heylin. Nothing but classic Velvet Underground critiques written while the band was still alive, and what's best about it is you don't have to read over-and-over ad infinitum the by-now cliche quote of Eno's (or was it Elliot Murphy's) about how the Velvets only sold X amt. of albums when they came out but everyone who bought a copy formed a band!

DEATH OF THE YEAR-Too many to mention, such as Link Wray's, Carson's and of course Gilligan, but the one that kinda struck me the hardest was that of political columnist Sam Francis. Francis was a man who, as part of the paleoconservative movement, was saying loads of things that perhaps had to be said and were, but because of his at-times caustic (and perhaps truthful even if controversial) opines not too many people got to read him because he was too "over-the-top" for most newspaper publishers. And you know he was good because he really drove most of the current leftstream crazy with some of his views which you can read on the Vdare site if you so desire. Oh well, with Francis gone I guess I'll have to stick with Taki and nothing but when the current postmodern bluegeon gets to be too much.

BUMMER OF THE YEAR-The eventual closing of noted rock dive CBGB's thanx to owner Hilly Kristel's tapped-out-ness with regards to trying to come to a deal with the landlord who want his club out and wants it out NOW! Well, at least Mr. Muzzy Rosenblatt'll get his wish in October when Kristal must vacate, and dunno about you but for sentimental ol' me it's gonna be sad seeing the place which booked many original music group of varying stripes having to go the way of the 82 Club, Max's Kansas City and all those other haunts which meant something positive in rock & roll at a time when cover bands and horrid disco music ruled the musical roost. I guess that once Hilly moves to a new location, the seventies'll finally be dead!

BLOG TO COMM POST OF THE YEAR-Personally I think my writing this orbit was pretty good 'cept for the last month or so where I took a nosedive (getting lazy and all in my old age), though of all the goodies that I've written such as my Mencken appraisal or Meltzer filmography (not forgetting the interviews conducted with Paul Marotta and Dee Pop), the one this writer is the most proudest of can be found here.


Rick said...

Wow! At least you stuck to music till the last one, but I think you need to have more ink on your arch enemies personal hygiene. It provides more humor and ammo for rascist homophobic attacks. As Artie Lang put it--"If it means fear of being fucked in the ass--damn right Im homophobic!" Thanks for being astute enough to include George Brigman's Jungle Rot in your list amongst all that other good stuff! Moderate that stiggy!

tomfarr said...

Not-so-obscure Bloomington One??? I have lived in Indianapolis all of my life, and my copy I bought back in '75 is the only one I have seen!

You say you like metal. There is some I really love. Rammstein comes to mind! :)

Well, Caroline Peyton singing Lay In Your Groove just sends me off! It has NEVER gotten old!

I don't know if you will see this, or even remember entries this old, but thanks for the Bar-B-Q exposure on the web!

Rob Valdez

Christopher said...

Judging from the copies that have been springing up on ebay as well as the fact that both of the copies I have came from the Indianapolis area, there were probably more BLOOMINGTON ONE samplers available to the collector's scum than there were a lotta similar-minded mid-seventies offerings!

And yeah, a Bar-B-Q label history would be a nice affair, if only some ex-Screaming Gypsy Bandit or MX-80 type would write one!