see you next year fuckbrains
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December 21st, 2015
6. Trees and Timber – Hello, My Name is Love
T&T is your basic somewhat modern Tacoma band. You know, Sonics leads to Girl Trouble leads to Trees and Timber. That sort of thing. They are primarily a guitar trio but there is actually a fair amount of keyboards tossed in on the disc. They have very catchy pop tunes that they rock up in a most satisfying way. When I saw them down at Slim’s Last Chance in Georgetown I was initially impressed by their raw groovin’ 1-2-3-4. The disc is comparatively poppier than live, but not to the point of being wimp rock (for you-know-whats). This band is super cool. I say buy this disc (on vinyl for the super-hip and CD for the lazy like me) and go see ‘em. You can do both and enjoy the full benefit of each! Damn.
December 21st, 2015
7. Sam Phillips – The Man Who Invented Rock and Roll
I don’t normally pick anything that is reissue stuff for my Top 10, but this is just too great. The songs were picked by Peter Guralnick for a companion piece to his new book on Phillips and he did a great job. It’s got all the things you expect, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee and Carl Perkins however, at least half of the things on here I have never heard or even heard of. Hell, I didn’t even know that he had recorded the superlative first Howlin’ Wolf tracks released on Chess Records. This collection is much more varied and musically diverse than I expected. And it sounds cool as hell. Sam Philips had it going on. So it’s on the list. I went to buy a copy for my brother for Christmas and every store I checked in Seattle was out of it– even Amazon. Wowza!
December 19th, 2015
8. D’Angelo And The Vanguard – Black Messiah
Yes, I know this came out Dec 15, 2014, but my daughter got me this for Christmas, well after I had posted last year’s Top 10, so there! I had barely heard of him before this – I just remember he had some video with no shirt years ago and figured it was your basic hip hop/ R&B stuff. This is way weirder than that. First, it’s all played by humans with high level chops and proudly recorded to tape. Okay. But what is the music about? It is this blurry, murky stuff where nothing sticks out most of the time. No corners and time intentionally drifts. Things appear and leave randomly. Double tracked vocals slip and slide through. Now you might think that sounds less-than-pop for a guy that gets compared to Prince. Well it is, but it is pretty damn cool. I’m still figuring it out a year later and I think that’s ok.
December 19th, 2015
9. Minus 5 – Dungeon Golds
Scott and his occasional minions present selected highlights from the five LP “Scott the Hoople in the Dungeon of Horror” that he put out on Record Store Day like a year ago (you can still get it for two hundred bucks on Amazon). As usual, it is Scott with a variety pack of kinda famous musicians doing a bunch of songs in a variety of ways. As usual, none of those ways are too slick, nice semi-garage rock that is a different kind of fuzzy than D’Angelo (see #8 on the list). As usual, there are some sonic surprises from time to time. As usual, there are a bunch of great, if somewhat quirky songs, particular favs being “Audios Amigos.” “It’s Beautiful Here” and “Remain In Lifeboat.” And as usual, I think it is a fine collection that you would be remiss to avoid!
December 18th, 2015
10. The Cheaters – See You Next Year Fuckbrains
In 1980, The Cheaters put out a deadly 7” single. Bought it. Have it. Thirty-five years later they have put out an album. Su-weet Jesus.
The Cheaters were the band of the high school bothers Bloch – Kurt and Al. In their pictures they look like they were having fun. On their record they SOUND like they are have fun. Kurt went on to The Fastbacks and Young Fresh Fellows and is a regular bon vivant about Seattle town (he is rumored to be the mad genius behind Full Toilet as well). Al played in Concrete Blonde and Wool and now lives in Virginia or Maryland or somewhere.
This is all done before they knew better and just wanted rock like all good kids do. Proof? They vigorously cover Blue Oyster Cult’s “The Red and The Black” in 1978 when everybody else was full on into the world of punk rock. Sweet, sweet Jesus.
This year Kurt decided to pull the Cheaters finest works together and release them on a 12” slab of pretty blue translucent vinyl. Plus you get a download with an extra 10 songs. If you like to rock with abandon and give not two hoots about pretty – I advise you to get on this. Kurt only made 250 – when they are gone, they are gone, gone, gone.
December 17th, 2015
11. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
Lots of entities in the world think this is like the best record of the year (Mojo – #2 and probably Macklemore) and it is really good, kind of the alternate pop universe to Taylor Swift, Adelle and all that sort. This is super catchy (“King Kunta”), occasionally super weird (Impulse jazz styled “For Free? Interlude”), articulate hip hop with a mostly real live band. Mr. Lamar even uses The Isley Brothers “That Lady” with the mighty Ernie Isley riffage as the basis for the tune “i.” Brilliant I say, yes. Hell yes.
December 17th, 2015
Ok – time for Tom Dyer’s Top 10 Albums of 2015. You want all this stuff.
First the rules. I don’t put any Green Monkey stuff on my list even though it is the BEST. Not even my own album, which is the BEST. Ok. Done with rules. I will present 12 albums this year over 12 days in honor of my dramatic debut as the Partridge in a Pear Tree in the Twelve Days of Christmas at Griffin Elementary. Let us begin.
#12. Future Fridays – From Fun-zo to Done-zo
This is the work of Seattle quirky music dude, Eric Padget, last seen as the main dude in Sigourney Reverb on my label. For this album he fell in love and started a band with circus star Sari Breznau and they made songs about falling in love. Then after a while things went the other way and they made songs about falling out of love. A compelling storyline to say the least. As with Eric’s previous music, this is not particularly pretty music (although it does get a little cutsie at points) but it is quite enjoyable and perhaps even heartfelt. In theory these guys still exist as a band but I cannot say with certainty that is true. You may obtain this fabulous music directly from the band at: http://futurefridays.bandcamp.com/