LOWLIGHTS OF THE YEAR!
Now that might be more than a "tad" off mark since, once you get down to it, 2010 wasn't really that suck-like! In fact, even an old curmudgeon such as I must 'fess up that the past rotation had quite a few surprises in it that made the past 365 bearable despite us heading deeper and deeper into that monstrosity we're all stuck in that's goin' by the name 21st century! Naturally for some people 2010 sure might have been pretty dire indeed and yeah, I've had my own ups and downs during the past rotation that I'd prefer not to bore you with, but there were still plenty of interesting if occult occurrences which made me glad that I didn't deep six outta boredom back when the bleak future we're now living in seemed like a strange ominous prediction.
Of course things just ain't like they were back in dem so-called "good ol' days" of the sixties/seventies when we were still runnin' on postwar baby-boomer (in the best suburban UHF-TV Studebaker Lark speak) gas fumes. Why, just recently I was thumbing through that oddly-dimensioned third issue of CAN'T BUY A THRILL reading Russell Desmond's William Tell-esque rundown regarding his own bests and worsts during the Year Of Our Ig 1976. I couldn't help but just think about how important rock & roll (and overall snide kultur) was back then to the point where a man like Desmond could at least pick out enough subject matter to comment coherently about and within the sturdy frame of a firmly-cemented rock mindset t'boot! Yeah, some might have considered them seventies a big dull dark era that was just beggin' for them punk rockers to come around and save it (and to an extent they were RIGHT), but as Russell's picks and opines proved there was still a strong current of interesting and perhaps even meaningful sounds being made that would warrant a good five or so pages of etapoint commentary regarding what was and wasn't so hotcha during a time which I do remember quite fondly (in some respects)! And this from a guy in Louisiana who certainly wasn't what you'd call a big name in the rock screeding game yet whose opines were way more relevant and important than the vast majority of tastemakers with their own columns in big city newspapers nationwide.
Even when Desmond would carry on about his disappointment at the way Patti Smith's career was developing at least some interesting ammo with which to express his dismay was being utilized. His unique proclaiming regarding the TEENAGE PERVERSITY AND SHIPS IN THE NIGHT as being the best bootleg of the year which is where Patti should have continued the creative trek she began on HORSES 'stead of RADIO ETHIOPIA has a particularly truthful ring to it, not forgetting his quite snide observation regarding her sunglasses (!) winning the "Worst Prop of the Year" award showing that her need for a pose had overcome her control and use of it! Shifting to today what kind of analogy could be made with whatever celebrity out there is capturing the hearts and minds of people in general...could Lady Caga's choo-choo train tattoo be considered a "prop"? Sheesh, I am so old that I remember when the avant garde was supposed to be some funhouse-mirror reflection of contemporary values and mores, not just another arm of the corporate powers that be who "pretend" otherwise.
So yeah, I will try to do my darndest (despite 2010 being the year where I burned myself out seemingly for all eternity!) in relaying to you just what and wasn't worth my, or perhaps your while this year. Don't come down on me too hard if I fail...and like I said it ain't gonna be as fun or special as it woulda been back in the past century when music and entertainment were geared towards people who think like I do (and really, how many of that rare breed are left on this earth?) but, as usual, I will try to translate it all into a down-to-earth talk-to-you language you can understand. But all I gotta say here in the early years of a century that certainly ain't an Amerigan one nor a Western one for that matter (methinks it's a Muslim one, or at least it's turning out that way) is...boy do I sure have my work cut out for me!
***ALBUM OF THE YEAR!: JAS's LIVE AT JEROME'S comes to mind as being perhaps thee most indicative of the cyborg world in which we are all forced to live in. It may suit some and repel others, but I find it particularly conduit to the particulate clime where we have all been reduced to having the emotions and reasoning of machines. Runners up, the Sir Plastic Crimewave and Derek Rogers disques on Kendra Steiner Edition, also indicative of a number of things I wouldn't want to be indicative about for a million years but they sure know how to make it all the more engaging. You can bet that I'm looking forward to more from Mr. Painter, one of the last true intellects in "rock", and Kendra Steiner Edition's new Cee-Dee imprint in the coming months.
***SINGLE OF THE YEAR!: Actually a tie between the Rudolph Grey and Rudolph Grey/Arthur Doyle discs on the Foreign Frequency label! Between the artwork and the actual recordings extant (late-period no wave vintage sounds circa TR3/last days of Max's) these are the bold under-the-underground records that I was hoping and praying for back during those cold winter nights of 1980! Reminds me of the time I would spend thumbing through the New Music Distribution Service catalog looking for anything related to the avant garde jazz/underground rock crossover happening in New York City! Thirty years is a long time to wait, and who knew that I was the patient type?
***EP OF THE YEAR!: The Sediment Club one on the Soft Spot label...second-generation underground rock in a post-generation world. Or something like that.
***REISSUE OF THE YEAR!: The latest version of the Doug Snyder/Bob Thompson DAILY DANCE CD with the bonus track. C'mon, you can use ten copies of it like I have!
***ARCHIVAL RARITY OF THE YEAR!: the Josef Vondruska/Umela Hmota 3/Dom 2-CD set on Tamizdat. Review forthcoming in UGLY THINGS and hey, if you wanna get it you should know how to do so by now!
***BOOTLEG OF THE YEAR!: Can's OGAM OGAT, those outtakes from the TAGO MAGO sessions which are so intriguing they make me wonder why hours of classic Can remains locked up in the vaults at Sloss Norvenich when it should be widely available for us fanatics. C'mon Schmidt, Czukay and Leibzeit, issue more your early wares for us starving fans 'stead of boring us with those extremely dodgy solo releases you've been doing these past thirtysome years, savvy?
***BOOK OF THE YEAR (ROCK & ROLL DIVISION)!: Nick Kent's APATHY FOR THE DEVIL, an autobiography/seventies rock history which only goes to prove that a feller can spend the entire decade not only becoming a respected rock writer for a major English music weekly but a close confidant of the Stones, Led Zeppelin, Iggy, T. Rex and Rod Stewart while helping form the Sex Pistols and breaking up and making up with a future "I'm My Own Woman" eighties rocker (Chrissie Hynde), all the while harboring a huge heroin addiction while living on the streets. And what's more, actually survive well into the upcoming century and live to tell us worshipers from afar about it either as a warning or perhaps a snide self-congratulating homage! (Not quite since Kent admits to his own personal failings throughout the book, but still I get the sneaking suspicion that he considers himself to have been quite a Jerk the Lad!) Makes me wish that the violent, decadent, addled seventies never did give way to the squeaky clean eighties with all of the pomposity and heavy-handedness we were unfortunately subjected to!
***BOOK OF THE YEAR (OTHERWISE)!: The collection of ARCHIE comic strip dailies which was "about time" considering how talk about such a series had been going on for years. But hey, better these strips get reprinted now than after I go blind. And of course anyone who reads this will go blind after looking at the outright pulchritude of Betty and Veronica drawn Bob Montana-style! If only women looked like this in real life...
***FANZINE OF THE YEAR!: The entire run of Gene Kehoe's IT'S A FANZINE received last spring, which certainly helped re-invigorate my love for the classic Golden/Silver/early-Bronze Age titles that made being eleven less gnarly. Highly recommended and worth the relative pittance it costs to obtain 'em all!
***DEATH OF THE YEAR!: Out of many (Mitch Miller, Alex Chilton, Ari Up, Leslie Nielsen, Blake Edwards???), one: CAPTAIN BEEFHEART. This really did take me by surprise especially since I was only writing about him on this blog a good week before he died! Well, at least I gave him a good enough review which I won't have to go back and revise due to some personal shame kinda like a lotta people who dumped on DOUBLE FANTASY did after Lennon deep-sixed. A man to be reckoned with (despite claims of a heavy Mansonoid influence on his bandmates) mainly because he knew when to scat from the music business when the scatting was good! Close second: Tuli Kupferberg, a man who proved that you could wander about the lower Manhattan stratum for decades and still be considered punk extraordinaire, w/o even really knowing what a punk is! (Tho I know he did...witness his Woody Guthrie-inspired ode to the New York punk scene published in a 1977 VILLAGE VOICE.)
***BLOG TO COMM POST OF THE YEAR!: Time to be subjective and toot my own honker here, my fave of the past hundred-plus posts just having to be my "trip down seventies decadence lane" where not only do I get to refresh myself as to the inner dimensions and workings of the mid-seventies New York rock scene via some old articles in THE AQUARIAN but sneak in a snap of Anya Phillips looking beautifully squeaky-clean right before she decided to go the s&m route! And wasn't it a week or so earlier when I clued you in to all of the first wave-era Cleveland underground information heretofore unknown information copped from some microfilms??? No wonder I have such fond memories of the late winter season!
***BLOG OF THE YEAR!: Although I had a strict rule not to give this award to the same blog twice I feel that I must do otherwise...THE HOUND BLOG continues to be the most information-packed (w/o the standard bullshit filler) blog extant anywhere and that includes this very read you're perusing with your own eyeballs. As far as rock & roll or blues or country or music in general, Jim Marshall just can't be beat and we all look like pretenders when lined up next to him. Other bests of the year include YOWP, your guide to the early Hanna-Barbara cartoons that I find a gas re-living myself, WAITAKERE WALKS and the various Serena WmS. Burroughs blogs that can be easily enough picked up on the left. All the others have stayed the same or nose-dived into utter feh. Hope '11's the year for a big blog upswing!
***THE "HIGHLY-TOUTED PROTO-PUNK REISSUE OF THE YEAR" CD THAT STILL MAKES ME WONDER...WHY?": Los Saicos
***THE BEST THRILL YOU CAN GET FOR NOTHING!: Death
***GAG OF THE YEAR!: My fake five-minute retirement which actually got a few faithful souls worried that this blog really was down for the count!
***SURVIVOR OF THE YEAR!: Imants Krumins
***ASSHOLE COMMENT OF THE YEAR
***BUMMER OF THE YEAR!: FOUR individuals who promised me some items that really would have brightened up my life (fanzines and a rare recording) but did a c.t. on me and failed to deliver leaving me frustrated to no end! If the initials "C.T." don't mean anything to you, just ask...someone other than me!
***HERO OF THE YEAR!: Julian Assange...a whole lot better to stick up for this free speecher than it is to champion Theo Van Gogh if you ask me! Makes me glad to know that the internet can be used for more than self-appointed arbiters of whatever prattling off about their deep-seated knowledge of feh, while being supported by deep-pocketed parents no doubt. And what's really strange about the entire affair is that it was none other than Millionaire Marxist Michael Moore who got the guy bailed out...sheesh, you'd think a staunch left wing subversive like Moore would have nothing but disgust and ire for the entire Wikilinks project considering how just about every political angle extant (even some that Moore champions!) falls victim to its (deserved) prey. Well, I guess the guy was put on Earth for a good purpose after all!
***MOST EXCITING THING TO HAPPEN TO ME OF THE YEAR!: my colonoscopy.
***THE THING THAT'S BEEN BUGGING THE DAYLIGHTS OUTTA ME ALL YEAR AWARD!: does that article by Meltzer about him being a bunkmate of Charles Manson at Boy's Town (which reportedly infuriated the former cult leader) even exist?
***See you in the gnu year!