OK folks – a (very) few have been asking, so it's time again for my annual end of year record list…
By far, the two albums I listened to most in 2010:
The (Royal) Baths – Litanies LP [Woodist]
This is dark, brooding, sexy, psychedelica at its best. Debut album featuring Jigmae Baer (ex-Oh Sees, The Perverts) and Jeremy Cox both of the under-rated Tea Elles. There are far too many San Francisco bands on this list, so please start with this one…
Big Blood – Dead Songs LP [Time Lag]
Excellent husband/wife folk psych duo from Maine. Plus, they give away a ton (all?) of their music on the Free Music Archive, so you really have no reason not to check them out. If you're into the more drone-y side of things see "Dark Country Magic," which just came out…
And in no particular order (let's get the San Francisco stuff out of the way first):
(Charlie & The) Moonhearts – Moonhearts [Tic Tac Totally]
These guys finally got a full-length LP out after a batch of solid 7inches and splits. This year, their garage-goodness tops Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees in my book. Thankfully they're all friends and play together so often that a diagram would be necessary to sort things out
White Fence – White Fence LP [Make A Mess]
I spun this one quite a bit in '10 as well. More classic lysergic pop from San Fran, this sounds like it was recorded in 1969 (minus the drum machines)…
Ty Segall – Melted LP [Goner] & San Francisco Rock Compilation or Food or Weird Beer From Microsoft CS [God?]
"Melted" is another strong release by Ty Segall and "My Sunshine" was definitely a '10 favorite. However, I think "Lemons" is still my favorite Ty LP. On the other hand, this little cassette, "San Francisco Rock Compilation", finds Ty venturing to an even heavier, noisy, experimental audio-collage territory and I like it. I like it a lot.
Thee Oh Sees – Warm Slime LP [In The Red] & Quadrospazzed '09 12" [Castle Face]
What would a list be without Thee Oh Sees? I liked "Warm Slime," especially the 10+ minute Side A, which quickly became my summer jam. But to me, it was just not as strong as the back-to-back greatness of "The Master's Bedroom…" and "Help" LPs. But I'll take any Oh Sees I can get and luckily these guys and girl work fast — there is a new album slated for a spring release on In The Red records.
"Quadrospazzed '09" came and went quickly but it was a nice little Oh Sees release for us completists. A one-sided 12" 45rpm release featuring a live jam, Side B had only a sprawling etching.
Sword & Sandals – Good and Plenty LP [Empty Cellar]
Yes, I know, more John Dwyer. But this free-jazz project of his turned out much better than I expected. Worth a mention at least…
Patrick Mullins – Don't Go To Sleep LP [Yik Yak]
(Relatedly and also worth a quick mention): quite literally, early Oh Sees (OCS) minus John Dwyer
Various Artists – In A Cloud: New Sounds From San Francisco LP [Secret Seven]
A little compilation which pretty much sums up why the SF scene is awesome: Sonny & The Sunsets, Fresh & Onlys, Thee Oh Sees, Grass Window, Ty Segall, Kelly Stoltz, Donovan Quinn. Check these mostly mediocre cuts, then go seek out further (better) cuts…
Dan Melchior und das Menace – Visionary Pangs LP
Blistering scornful garage
Sun City Girls – Funeral Mariachi LP [Abduction]
This came kind of unexpectedly, a beautiful swan-song for the SCG
David Cross – Bigger and Blackerer LP [Sub Pop]
Precautionary tales from Mr. Cross
Mark Sultan – $ LP [Last Gang]
Noisy doo-wop garage
The Fall – Your Future, Our Clutter LP [Domino]
This guy is still doing it and doing it well…
Pocahaunted – Make It Real LP [Not Not Fun]
Pocahaunted no more. When Best Coast took off, I pretty much called this one…
Paul Cary – Ghost of a Man LP [Stankhouse]
I think this may be the most underrated album of the year. More mellowed blues from The Horrors (U.S.) leadman.
Golden Triangle – Double Jointer LP [Hardly Art]
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Looking forward to hearing some X-Ray Eyeballs.
Various Artists – Ecstatic Music of the Jemma El Fna LP [Sublime Frequencies]
Blown-out Moroccan street jams
TV Buddha – The Golden Period [Trost]
Heavy two-piece Israeli psychedelica
Tyvek – Nothing Fits [In The Red]
It took me a while to get into these guys' garage-noise, but I dig this way more than their first LP. I think it must have been that horrific artwork on the first LP.
Sex Church – Six Songs By Sex Church [Convulsive]
Garage-Punk + Kraut
Night Beats – H Bomb 7" [Trouble In Mind]
Baby Dinosaurs vs. The Soft Spots 7" [Die Slaughterhaus]
Various Artists – Their Hispanic Majesties Request 2×7" [Norton]
A Lost People – Big Booty Bitches digital single [self released]
Drop Z – Tha King of Pop [no label]
Vinyl-Geek Reissues/Not New:
Earth – A Bureaucratic Desire For Extra Capsular Extraction 2xLP [Southern Lord]
This one wins the packaging award this year. Beautiful gatefold with full color printed inner-sleeves, full liner notes, and THICK vinyl (some on clear, even). This early doom drone metal is so good I'm embarrassed I didn't know it before. Kurt Cobain's signature vocal-screams don't hurt on the last track either…
Amon Duul II – Tanz Der Lemmerage 2xLP
Krautrock shred masterpiece. Previously a hard one to track down…
Les Rallizes Denudes – Heavier Than A Death In The Family 2xLP [Phoenix]
Since all this stuff is so blown out I'm not so sure how crucial a vinyl release is, but it's fun to finally have my favorite Japanese band finally on vinyl…
Various Artists – Alan Lomax Southern Journey 5xLP [Mississippi]
I'm glad these important southern field recordings are available on vinyl. This was a great opportunity to put together a nice little series with excellent artful packaging. Instead Mississippi failed in the art department (unlike them) and opted for fake typewriter font and some lazy photoshop filters. Boo.
Henry Jacobs – Around The World With Henry Jacobs CD [Important]
"Absurd folklorist Henry Jacobs returns with a selection of rare interviews, odd loops, sales pitches, early
synthesizer demos, an ether-infused evening, and more!" Need I say more?
The Fall – This Nation's Saving Grace LP
Wins the award for cheapest vinyl reissue – I didn't know it was possible to make vinyl so thin. On the other hand, I'm glad to have this without having to pay $30.
The Mummies – The Mummies Play Their Own Records LP [Estrus]
Man or Astro-Man? – Is it Man or…Astro-Man? LP [Estrus]
Since Estrus isn't putting anything out anymore, at least they've started repressing the good stuff…
Lou Reed – Metal Machine Music 2xLP [Sister Ray]
Velvet Underground – The Quine Tapes 6xLP box [Sundazed]
Featuring a whole side of Sister Ray recorded at Wash U…
Spacemen 3 – Perfect Prescription LP & Sound of Confusion LP & Performance LP & Playing With Fire 2×10" & Taking Drugs to Make Music To Take Drugs To 2xLP [Fire & Taang]
About time this happened. Still waiting for the "Dreamweapon: An Evening of Contemporary Sitar Music" LP though
Mazzy Star – She Hangs Brightly LP & So Tonight That I May See LP & Among My Swan LP [Plain]
Some of the most beautiful psychedelic music ever recorded
Sonic Youth – Sister LP
My favorite Sonic Youth LP, now back in print (and in purple).
Parson Sound – Parson Sound 3xLP Box [Subliminal Sounds]
Stoned 1960s Swedish grooves. Throw this on the table and let it roll. Can't be beat.
C.C. Hennix – The Electric Harpsichord CD [Die Schachtel]
Praised by La Monte Young and frequently a Henry Flynt collaborator, it's nice to finally see this 1970s material released into the wild.
Various Artists – Excavated Shellac: Strings [Parlortone]
Guitar, oud, violin and more from the 78rpm era. Excellent.
2011 – Everything's going to be alright,