It’s happened again, the year, slow and ponderous, has churned to an inevitable conclusion. It’s been a year of vast changes in the world and right here in the underground liar of Light In The Attic. And so much change has occurred – from the death of pop stars to the election of an African-American president – we knew that our little lists couldn’t do it justice. Thus, as we’ve done now two years running we’ve reached out the good folk that we love the world over and asked them for their top ten lists. And we’ve deemed it, again,:
We’ve got lists from musicians, writers, editors, bloggers, co-owners of certain record labels, Spanish music curators, and on and on and on and on … there’s a staggering pile of information below and we implore you, dig in, it’ll be well worth your while.
This year we’d like to thank our main man Strath Shepard for bringing together that fantastic image above. You’re a gem Strath Shepard, a goddamn holiday gem.
So please, order some pizza, cracked three or four beers and get ready …
IT’S THE 3RD ANNUAL LIGHT IN THE ATTIC YEAR END EXTRAVAGANZA!
Our Light In The Attic Brethren:
Favorite Things of 2009
All Time Entertainer/Performer – Michael Jackson
a. Wheedle’s Groove, the Movie
b. The Temptations
Food – Mexican
Club to Perform In – The Triple Door
Holiday – Christmas
Music – ANYTHING by Michael Jackson
Candy – Butterfingers
TV Show – America’s Most Wanted
Stephen John Kalinich,
5 Favorite Poets…
Rainer Maria Rilke
5 Favorite LA Restaurants
Le Votre Sante
Pacific Dining Car
5 favorite Home Run Hitters
Tiny Human Publicity
1 The Sheng: It’s a bowl of flutes!
2 Chipotle peppers: Still awesome despite media oversaturation.
3 Milt Jackson: So vibey!
4 Eggs over easy
5 Pre-verbal toddler-speak: language of the nitrous-huffing wood elves.
6 Owen Roe
7 Starting your own company: terrifying, and terrifyingly gratifying.
Happy New Year, Light in the Attic.
Having had my first fifteen minutes of fame and now my second fifteen minutes, to be a Monk does not feel all that bad. The group survived because the Monks are a “we” group, not an “I” group. There was no “I” until there was a “we.” Let’s face it. I’m a monk. You’re a monk. We’re all monks – just like the people monking around, above.
For 2010, I am finishing a new book PASSING THROUGH MINNESODA AND OTHER ALTERED STATES (732 pages). There are a couple of chapters about the monks in it, but basically it’s about a trumpet player who thinks he’s a pigeon.
Even as I do a lot of text writing, music is still the defining activity for me. I don’t like to listen to old music because the moment of its relevance is normally past. I’m always looking for the new. I’m looking for salvation. I’m looking for an answer.
FAVORITES FOR 2009
Favorite places to hear new music: Austin, TX (naturally) and Buffalo, NY
Favorite new groups: (changing all the time) Here’s a couple –
1. Ghostland Observatory – Two zany/weird guys prove that the smallest group possible, is not a trio. They’re way out there – probably causing a lot of people to scratch their heads and say, “Huh?”
2. Phoenix – There are a couple of different versions of them.. When they test the limits they go somewhere.
3. And there are my friends: The Nuns – Them Bird Things – Kelley Stolz – Grave Brothers Deluxe – 5,6,7,8s – Mike and The Ravens. – Nista Niji Nista – The Raincoats – I have forgotten a few, I know.
Favorite older groups:
1. Nine Inch Nails – I saw Trent Reznor live in Reno. It was my favorite live performance; better than Charles Aznavour who I saw in L.A. (even through I did like his performance). Who says French Chanson singers are not interesting? NIN was over the top. “I want to Fuck You Like An Animal” made me hide underneath my seat.
2. Radiohead – Their pop music always sounds new, even as the singer often sounds like he’s whining. That’s a compliment because there is a lot to cry about.
3. Faust – Klangbad never gets old – so perhaps the context from which it came was ahead of its time.
4. Masserati – A group of guitar players who know how to arrange and play. Great guitar music.
5. Propelerhead – for hip hop, of course – as well as Chemical Brothers – and Eminem – don’t tell anyone.
6. And there are my friends: Henry Rollins – Wayne Kramer – Mark E Smith – Genesis P’Orridge – I have forgotten a few, I know.
For me, jazz lasts longer than pop-rock-country-folk. At one time or another almost all the jazz musicians were my favorites. My favorites change from day to day. For today they are:
1. Flatland – interesting arrangements
2. Brad Mehldau – jazz piano – rock drums – rough on purpose.
3. Mathias Eick – German trumpet player who plays sparse long notes. On a long rough airplane ride from Warsaw to NYC, he kept me totally in one piece (meditating).
Favorite Country: I haven’t been near a cow or a pig in a long time.
1. Charlie Haden’s new release, Rambling Boy – Charlie is also a great jazz bass player – best known as working with Ornette Coleman.
1. Still it’s Henryk Górecki – perhaps classical music has a longer shelf life.
Favorite Light in the Attic Recordings: I haven’t heard all the Light in the Attic artists.
1. Karen Dalton – LITA’s Billie Holiday. My wife listens to it constantly.
2. Wheedle’s Groove – reminds me of a group I used to work in. “Jesus Christ Pose” got my attention.
3. Black Angels – Rough, raw – in your face. I could get in a barroom fight with this music in the background.
4. Oz Mutantes – a lot different than Milton Nasciemento (one of my favorite Brazilian singer/songwriters. These songs make me think because they have so many different influences.
5. Free Design – They were too good to make it in NYC – part jazz, part Hi-Lo’s, part ABBA; good singers. Some groups sound better live. Free Design is one of them. They have great back-up musicians. One of my favorite cuts is an old Duke Ellington tune, “I Like The Sunrise.” I first heard this song, many years ago, sung by Mahalia Jackson. Yes, they are too good to be pop/rock stars.
Mr. Blog, Criterion Quest
It’s been a hell of a year folks. Big moves, upheavals aplenty on the emotional front, and hell, I moved in with a lady. Along the way I’ve listened to a whole lotta tunes, eaten a whole lotta good food, and seen a whole lotta good shit on various sized boob-tubes.
It’s been a challenging one, but let me agree with Matthew Sullivan when I say, one of the best.
Hope it was just as hard and just as rewarding for you.
Top of the Pops – 2009
1. Justin Vernon. The man does nothing wrong. Call me a softy, call me a sell-out, this man makes my heart swell and my pants short. You, you’re a cold-hearted grinch.
2. San Francisco. Fuck bread bowls and rice-a-roni, this is the wackiest city in the U.S. of A. Nicknamed the “City of the Perpetual Teenager” and for all the right reasons.
3. The Sandwitches. A late entry to my playlist, but this trio manages to ride the line between 50s doo-wop, Neko Case and oh, I’ll say it, Dolly Parton. Matt Sullivan poo-pooed this, but I poo-poo him.
4. Discovering the ones I previously spited. My brother used to try and push his twangy country crap on me and I rebuked him at every turn … turns out the dirty bastard was correcto and now I’m swimming in the seas of Cohen, Waits, and Bill Callahan. Justin, you’re not so much a wanker after all.
5. Garage rock’s gritty revival. Perhaps I’m a little deeper ’cause of the SF scene, but Jesus I dipped myself baptismal style in to modern garage rock this year, and for every cigarette burn, I found a gem or four. Call it hipster music, I call it rock ‘n’ roll.
6. Upheaval – emotional, locational, whatever – it’s good for the soul.
7. Alex Healy.
Art Director/Graphic Designer, Pacific Standard
Eirik Johnson at the Henry (up through the end of January).
No Age playing a live score to L’Ours (The Bear), the 1989 film by Jean-Jacques Annaud at the Triple Door.
Richard Avedon at ICP.
The opening of the Highline.
Isabel Toledo at FIT.
This Miranda July and Roe Ethridge photo series for Vice Magazine.
Jake One “Home” video (directed by Zia Mohajerjasbi).
1) The Sadies featuring The Mighty Pope – Wow! Late addition y’all. From the ashes of Jamaica to Toronto comes Canada’s #1 soul brother with holy musical backing from cosmic country/rock/garage/R&B brothers, The Sadies. LIVE on this year’s The Hour Christmas Special (CBC, airing late December 2009, check your listings for local airtimes)! More history in the making!
2) Vancouver – Returned to the coast after 3 years living in Toronto. Loving the beach (Third), ocean (Pacific), mountains (North Shore), Power River (Haslam Lake), friends (you know who you are), family (ditto), food (Chinese, Japanese mostly), and nuff music (Sports, Lightning Dust, and Pink Mountaintops all released new albums in 2009!)
3) Sweet Grass Music – Was stoked to lay down a new 2009 mix (“Sweet Grass Music”) for long time homies, Sandinista/2Step from Tokyo, Japan. All-Canadian folk, rock, and psych from the archives.
4) Rodriguez in Vancouver – June saw Vancouver’s first taste of Detroit-singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez at the dearly departed Richard’s On Richards. Was lucky enough to play vinyl at this event (which also included a solo set from Stephen McBean’s Pink Mountaintops and more than able backing from SF’s The Fresh & Only’s).
5) Vinyl recap – Well, my passion for vinyl has ebbed and flowed quite a bit over the past year. Blogs and Ebay have killed many musical mysteries for us. At this point, I’m looking for the unknown. All genres. Listening with open ears. Biggest find of 2009 is easily Art Snider’s Corny Songs I Play On My Organ (Sound Canada). Here’s to more…
Co-Owner, Light In The Attic
No question the best year of my life…
Tying the knot
Wheedle’s Groove film wraps. Soon after wins Audience Award at Indie Memphis Film Festival
Kris Kristofferson & Merle Haggard at The Paramount Theater, Seattle
Visiting Stax Museum and meeting Stax alum Lou Bond, Deanie Parker and Al Bell, along with Communications Director Tim Sampson.
Eating the best meal of my life at Table, Asheville, NC followed by good times with the crew from Harvest Records
Leonard Cohen at WAMU Theater, Seattle
Big Star – Keep An Eye On The Sky
WFMU Record Convention – every record you’ve ever wanted under one roof
“Song of a Sinner” by Top Drawer from the compilation Forge Your Own Chains (Now Again) – highly recommended when cruising the Los Angeles highways. Put on repeat and float away
New sounds… Bill Callahan, Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers, Soundcarriers, Naomi Shelton, The Amazing, Heartless Bastards, Fruit Bats, Animal Collective, The Fresh & Onlys, Phosphorescent, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Malakai – Snowflake 12″, El Perro del Mar, Strange Boys…
Best Blog – Pacific Standard
Still Bill – I could sit and listen to Bill Withers talk for hours.
Seeing the premiere of Twilight: New Moon in Houston, Texas with my wife, her two girlfriends, and thousands of fanatical teenagers and forty year old ladies. 8 sold-out screens in one theater all at 12:01 am. Could this be the end of the world as we know it?
And working on our 2010 release schedule. Thanks for making this far and away the greatest year at Light In The Attic. All of us here at the label are incredibly grateful for your continued support!
The Mighty Pope,
Jamaica to Toronto
Calgary Folkfest. working and meeting great people/artists
Working with Jason Wilson and friends
Road trip to Montreal in the summer
Hanging with the Mighty Sip
CBC The Hour
Discovering a new way to cook salmon
Grateful for good friends and family
Top 5 releases of 2009:
Big Star – Keep An Eye On The Sky – Rhino
Neil Young – Archives (Volume 1) 1963-1972 – Warner/Reprise
Rolling Stones – Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out! (3 CD box & DVD) – Abkco
John Martyn – Solid Air(2 CD deluxe edition) – Island
McCabe & Mrs. Miller – Time For Leaving – Magnetic
Film & Television Guru, Light In The Attic
I had a lot of things to be grateful for in 2009, here are a few of them in no particular order;
The Monks “Boys Are Boys And Girls Are Choice” on Californication
The Black Angels ”Bloodhounds On My Trail” in the Harley Davidson Iron 883 commercial
The Black Angels ”Manipulation” in Drew Barrymore’s Whip It starring Ellen Page
The Black Angels “Sniper At The Gates Of Heaven” on CBS’ Numb3rs
Finally getting to see The Black Angels ”Black Grease” in the film No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos air on PBS’ Independent Lens. I’m a HUGE fan of both of those guys, and it was awesome that our music was a part of that film.
The Free Design ”Love You” again rocking the global ad world in 2009 with a Toyota spot that spanned the EU
The Free Design “Love You”, in addition to being the closing song for the WEEDS season 4 finale, also appeared on the 2009 soundtrack release along side The Soul Swingers ”Brighter Tomorrow” (Wheedle’s Groove). So yeah, that’s two of our songs on the WEEDS soundtrack release. Damn.
Patrinell Staton’s”I Let A Good Man Go” (Wheedle’s Groove) appeared in film Fighting starring Terrance Howard (Hustle & Flow)
Sleepy Sun “Lord” (for ATP Recordings) on Showtime’s Californication, also appearing on the soundtrack release.
The Blakes “Don’t Bother Me” appearing on 90210
The successful completion and release of 3 films that I worked on this year, True Adolescents (Mark Duplass, Melissa Leo) which premiered at SXSW this year, The Wheedle’s Groove documentary that won the Audience Choice Award at the Indie Memphis premiere, and Funky Prairie Boy which is still tearing up the festival circuit.
The LITA 2009 Road Trip with Black Daisy. From what I remember (i.e. whatever was filmed) we had one hell of a good time. How could you not have a good time with that crew while spreading the gospel according to LITA. Hallelujah!
And last but not least, another wonderful year with my amazing girlfriend Leigh. I’m grateful for every day that she puts up with me. Thanks baby!
=> end transmission, Kirk out <=
And the rest of you beautiful people …
10. The Beatles Box
9. Barack Obama
8. The L.A. Food Truck Scene
7. Lacoste Red! Collection
6. Green Shoots In The Economy
5. 3 weeks in France
4. David Weidman’s art
3. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression by Stud Turkel
2. Elizabeth Vitanza (and her pizzas)
1. My dad, William Ballon, my he rest in peace
1) My Cameras: Nikon F2 and Canon AE60. This is gonna sound dramatic, but taking pictures literally changed my way of thinking and, more so, changed the way I see everything.
2) Visiting Ernest Hemingway’s Birthplace in Oak Park, Illinois: According to Hemingway himself, Oak Park was a place of “wide lawns and narrow minds.” He had no great love for the Chicago suburb as he did for Paris, Key West, Venice, and Idaho, but standing there in the very room in which he was born, everything about the man made sense.
3) Bob Dylan @ WaMu Theatre 10.5.09: The man was on fucking fire this night. Hunched like a vulture over his keyboard, oggling the ladies as he traded licks with Charlie Sexton on “Lay Lady Lay”, striking Bobby Darin poses during “Beyond Here Lies Nothing”, and that voice…it’s not about delivering words anymore, but about pure raw energy and emotion, siphoned up from his charred lungs through a rusty tailpipe of a throat.
4) Duke Ellington – Indigos: Coming home from work one night, my wife said, “Life would be so much nicer if I could walk through the door and hear this every night.” From 1957, Indigos is music that lowers the blood pressure and relaxes the shoulders. And like all Ellington’s work, it is smooth and utterly cool. Though not considered a high water mark in Ellington’s catalog, I think that criticism is unfair and lazy. Anybody who listens to this record and comes to that conclusion must despise beauty. Indigos is as lovely as autumn leaves falling.
5) White Center and Richard Hugo: Middle of this year, I learned my wife and I live two blocks from where the writer Richard Hugo was born and raised, in the South Seattle neighborhood of White Center. Seattle loves to claim Hugo for itself, but he is a White Center boy through and through and I am very proud to live in his hometown. The house was torn down in the 80s, the New Nick is now the Triangle Tavern, the grassy boulevard on 16th Ave SW ripped out and paved over, but much of Hugo’s White Center remains intact.
6) William Eggleston: I never would have considered photography had I not seen the work of Bill Eggleston. Pure fucking art, period.
7) Mushrooms: My wife brought home a pocket guidebook called All That The Rain Promises And More and a massive shroomopedia called Mushrooms Demystified. Walking in the woods became a whole different experience thanks to these books.
8) The Interrogative Mood by Padgett Powell: The most important writer in the country right now, Padgett Powell actually brings something new, awe-inspiring, and, most importantly, fun, to the stale fiction market. The Interrogative Mood is a wild ride driven by Powell’s own impulses. It’s a prose work of nothing but questions, each one telling multiple stories. Do you miss Tab and do you fully understand its disappearance? Do you regard yourself as a connoisseur of anything? Do you anticipate having sex again? Assuming you might have as a child, could you eat Chef Boyardee canned noodles today? Are you lazy?
9) Glacier National Park: We hiked to the tops of mountains where Bighorn sheep looked at us, blankly. We drank beer as we drove. We stood with an Australian couple peering at a mother grizzly and her cubs in the valley below. We ventured to Polebridge, the end of the line. We ate dinner alongside Blackfeet Indians. We did not see any buffalo.
10) Turning 30: For whatever reason, this one felt important-feeling in a way that I cannot quite describe but don’t really need to.
Best of 2009
Mayer Hawthorne, A Strange Arrangement (Stone’s Throw)
Wilco, Wilco (The Album) (Nonesuch)
Mulatu Astatke & the Heliocentrics, Inspiration and Information (Srut)
Dawes, North Hills (ATO)
Staff Benda Bilili, Tres Tres Fort (Crammed Discs)
John Fogerty, The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again (Verve-Forecast)
James Hand, Shadow on the Ground (Rounder)
Jesse Winchester, Love’s Filling Station (Appleseed)
The Avett Brothers, I And Love And You (American)
Long John Hunter, Looking for a Party (Blues Express)
Author, Sonic Boom
Top-5 Fresh Local Artists:
1. The Fabulous Hammers: A band that has captured the old-school ”Northwest Sound” with their all-original instrumental tunes. In a day & age when the sound of this region’s first strains of rockin’ R&B are essentially extinct on the live-music scene, this quintet suddenly appears & brings the form back to life with a vengeance.
2. Lion’s Ambition: A hip-hop group whose original tunes boast endless pop hooks, & whose blend of raps & melodic vocalizing are simply magic. It was my pleasure to serve on the judging panel that awarded them top prize at last summer’s exhilarating Battle of the Tech Bands event produced by the Washington Technology Industry Association.
3. Out From Underneath: Far from being just another same ‘ol everyday rap-metal band, OFU brings it all to the table: pounding rhythms, punishing riffs, excellent musicianship, great vocals, & memorable melodic hooks. Did I mention scary lyrical themes? Great rock (with some addictive hip-hop inspired beats) – & nice guys too!
4. Gameboy: I’m no hip-hop expert — only been studying the music since I first stumbled across KNHC back in 1982 — but I do know what I like. Met Gameboy at the U District Street Fair last May, got his brand new It’s Already A Classic CD, & was immediately impressed by his pop sensabilities. You wanna hear hooks? Try spinnin” Gameboy. In my mind, he’s already a Northwest classic.
5. The Flanagan Precept: It would be forgivable to presume — based on their name alone — that these guys are an Irish band. However, this rock crew are a Seattle-based group whose collective musicianship, winning vocals, & superior songwriting skills should see them in the town’s top ranks before, I predict, next St. Patrick’s Day.
DJ Turquoise Wisdom
2. fitzy’s DOODcast.
follow these instructions:
go to your itunes
at the top click ADVANCED - select subscribe to podcast – copy
paste this URL
and get ready to party!
3. the first showing of STAR TREK at the arclight dome in los angeles. best vibes ever.
4. selected DJ’ing highlights:
the weddings of kevin & amy and ben & zooey. touring with animal collective and then the fleet foxes. every guest spot i jammed at DR WHO. the animal collective big sur after party with me, all the a/c dudes, fitzy, braddax, and cabic all throwing tunes (and getting wasted enough to play the moonshake 45 twice!). the dublab 10 closing party. hearing votel & sheep at hollywood forever. the bobb trimble show in brooklyn.
5. must plays:
darrow fletcher – now’s the time for love pt 2 45
philwit & pegasus – elephant song 45
chico magnetic band – my sorrow 45
affinity – s/t LP
brigitte fontaine & areski – ca va faire un hit 45
u.s. warren & the genghis pea – hard headed woman 45
pentangle – i saw an angel 45
shoes – black vinyl shoes reissue LP
larry sanders – child of december 45
circuit rider – s/t reissue LP
raekwom – only built 4 cuban linx II LP
fairfield parlor – bordeaux rose 45
forever amber – love cycle reissue LP
lifetones – for a reason DIGITAL
john kongos – he’s gonna step on your again 45
mario ft gucci mane – break up DIGITAL
cold sun – dark shadows reissue LP
amon duul II – archangels thunderbird 45
jay-z – the blueprint 3 DIGITAL
alasdair roberts – spoils LP
elephant’s memory – mongoose 45
3 hur el – hurel arsivi reissue LP
the sweet – juicer 45
both the b-music/finders keepers well hung and drive in, turn on, freak out double LP’s
alessi bros – seabird 45
breakout - na drugim brzegu teczy LP
stones throw’s forge your own chains double LP
anything j dilla
anything brian eno
anything kanye (still!)
Les Enfants Terribles
Top Ten Lessons for New Zombies
(Actually, that’s pretty much it.)
Favorite Albums of 2009
Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers – S/T
Vandaveer – Divide and Conquer
Gregory Alan Isakov – This Empty Northern Hemisphere
Amanda Shires – West Cross Timbers
Sam Baker – Cotton
Andrew Bird – Noble Beast
Built To Spill – There Is No Enemy
Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
Cave Singers – Welcome Joy
Monsters of Folk – Monsters of Folk
Top Five U.S. Craft Beers of the year (in no particular order):
Duck Duck Gooze – The Lost Abbey Brewing Company, San Marcos, CA. A Belgian-style sour, this is one of the greatest summer beers ever. Crisp, tart, refreshing and delicious.
Nelson – Alpine Beer Company, Alpine, CA. They call it a Golden Rye IPA, I call it the hoppiest loaf of Rye bread you’ll ever drink. Insanely great and probably my beer of the year.
Theobroma – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE. I may be cheating on this selection since it may have come out in 2008, but it is by far the most complex, incredible beverage I’ve ever tasted. Hints of cocoa, chilies… it simply has to be tasted to be believed.
Consecration – Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, CA. This Cabernet barrel-aged monstrosity is another genius addition to the Russian River slate of Belgian-style Ales, this one brewed with Currants. Complex, complicated and amazing – and for me definitely a sipping beer at 10% abv.
Sculpin – Ballast Point Brewing Company, San Diego, CA. As tasty as an IPA gets, this limited edition single is happy with hops – do whatever you can to get your hands on a few of these.
Factory Twenty Five
Julian Cope – POSTPUNKSAMPLER…A streaming album of the month on Cope’s Head Heritage site.
Stone Roses 20th Anniversary Limited Collector’s Edition…One of the best Box sets of all time w/Vinyl, Prints, CDs, a lemon shaped usb, and a DVD.
92nd Street Y in Tribeca…It may be a pain to get to but has turned into the film venue with the best curation in NYC.
Food at the Brooklyn Flea…Papusas, Fish Tacos, Brick oven pizza (from a home made portable oven) and so much more…best food and deal in town…I’ve waited 45 minutes for a Papusa-and it was worth it.
WFMU’s Free Music Archive…So many discoveries made on this site (which did lead to many vinyl purchases)
FAVORITES OF 2009
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Team Edward forever, y’all.)
The bands in my particular area of North Carolina (So crazy right now, y’all.)
Andrew WK (His thoughts alone are worth the soul-evaporating cost of signing up for Twitter, y’all.)
Touring with The Avett Brothers for some magazine (Nicest dudes, y’all. Greatest live band at the moment, y’all?)
Inauguration Day (Snow in North Carolina. No work. Outdoor hot tub party? Barry O)))bama, y’all)
The prolificacy of Tiger Woods’ “one-iron” (Hopefully he’ll be on Season 8 of VH1′s terr(ific/ible) Sex Addicts, y’all.)
Big Ears (Knoxville, Tenn., experimental festival with P. Glass, Antony, Matmos, The Necks? Fuck yeah, y’all. KNOXVILLE!)
Counter Culture’s Ethiopia Idido Misty Valley (Blueberries-n-coffee via Ethiopia via Durham, y’all.)
Barista (Revolutionary Portland coffeeshop, y’all.)
Meeting Neil Young (at a gas station in Texas, y’all.)
Hometapes (This label’s killing it, y’all. Best SXSW party people, too.)
The Jazz Loft Project (And we thought we knew jazz, y’all.)
Alice (the name of my dog, the name of the remarkable finale on Sunn O)))’s new record, and the hottest Twilight character, y’all! )
Top 5 Things with “5″ in the Title (in no particular order):
The Jackson 5 (1964 – 1976)
Full Fathom Five, Jackson Pollock (1947)
Take Five, Dave Brubek Quartet (1959)
Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut (1969)
Five Fingers of Death, Chang-hwa Jeong (1972)
TOP TEN THINGS FROM 2009
Herb & Dorothy, a documentary film about a librarian and postal worker from New York who amassed a world-class art collection
The awesome SuttonBeresCuller exhibit at Lawrimore Project
Working with Greg Pecknold, the phenomenally talented creative director of SHOUT, on a new open for ArtZone
Breaking a King Size Nestle Crunch Bar into approximately 32 equal sized pieces, placing them into a small blue bowl, and savoring each chunk while watching old episodes of Perry Mason
Local actress Amy Thone in absolutely anything
Eric Elbogen’s new record Oohs and Aahs
Attending the first annual Theatre Puget Sound Gregory Awards
Serving Cafe Lago lasagne at my husbands 54th birthday party
The debut of Humpday from the wonderful writer/director, Lynn Shelton
The seriously talented Reggie Watts & Tommy Smith in Transition @ On the Boards
Music wise. Stuff that keeps repeated again and always. In no special order:
1- BIG STAR BOX SET . The due is paid, and the set is awesome. None can ever get tired of that stuff, listening to that thousands of times.
2- KAREN DALTON VINYL. The first album delivers so many THINGS that is priceless. You can just play that over and over and get hit harder and harder
3- FRED NEIL – ELEKTRA LP on Sundazed. Released a long time ago but still gets played over and over again. No folk revival gets any better than THIS.
4- JONATHAN RICHMAN LIVE. Nowdays hes giving much better shows than in the past 20 years. He’s even playing Modern Lovers songs
5- THE RATIONALS REISSUE. One of the best groups of the 60’s finally reissued properly. All you would expect from white kids from Detroit loving the Kinks and Motown. NOW its time for a BOB SEGER plan.
6- WAU Y LOS ARGGGHS LIVE. Not so many bands deliver so mucho on stage these days. Imagine Jello Biafra fronting We The People.
7- 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS – SIGN OF THE 3 EYED MEN. The Box set
8- STRANGE BOYS LP. From Austin Texas, same as the 3 Eyed Men. Very good debut album with all the elements that a juvenile rock & roll combo must have.
9- FATAI ROLLING DOLLAR. A master of African music that must be reissued no later.
10- PLASTIC PEOPLE OF THE UNIVERSE. From Prague. The definition of Underground . You got to learn the lesson.
Mt. Fuji Records
Favorite 10 records of 2009 (that I can remember, and in no particular order)
The Intelligence – Fake Surfers – I really wish I could have played guitar on their fall tour. Amazing record. How does Lars do it?
Future of the Left – Travels With Myself and Another – Best live band going today. Best live show of the year x 2. Great record. I miss Mclusky less now.
Box Elders – Alice and Friends – One of the funnest records of the year. Great songs, super catchy rock n’ roll.
Pains of Being Pure at Heart – S/T – horrible live band, but this record kills me. Blissed out pop gems that are so infectious.
The Dutchess and The Duke – Sunset / Sunrise – someone called them campfire punk. I just call it great folk, rock n’ roll.
Obits – I Blame You – I am such a sucker for Rick Froberg’s songs. Great record but I still miss the Hot Snakes
Reigning Sound – Love and Curses – Like a lot of folks, I couldn’t wait for this one. Greg Cartwright and crew delivered again. Great rock n’ roll album.
Cass McCombs – Catacombs – Beautiful record that got a million spins on my turntable.
Arctic Monkeys – Humbug – I never knew I liked the Arctic Monkeys. Maybe it has something to do with Josh Homme producing. Killer record.
Sonic Youth – The Eternal – Arguably the most important band of my generation makes yet another classic record.
Favorite Albums of 2009: (No particular order)
Passion Pit – Manners
Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
Freelance Whales – Weathervanes
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz
Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
Say Hi – Oohs & Aahs
Flaming Lips – Embryonic
The Xx – Xx
We All Have Hooks For Hands – Made Up Of Tiny Lights
Noah and the Whale – The First Days Of Spring
Favorite Artists/Bands of 2009:
Sunbears, Princeton, The Middle East, Animal Collective, Micachu & The Shapes , Girls, Cold Cave, Mumford And Sons , Spiral Stairs, Lost In The Trees, The Avett Brothers, Yacht, Nurses, Dirty Projectors, Florence And The Machine, The Drums, Port O’Brien, Fever Ray, The Antlers, Sunset Rubdown, Tempo No Tempo, The Cave Singers, Winter Gloves, Electric Tickle Machine, Free Energy, Neon Indian, Banjo or Freakout, Washed Out, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Cribs, New Ruins, Matt & Kim, Cursive, Hot Panda, Memory Tapes…
Short and Sweet NYC
Top Singles of 09
Solid Gold – Get Over It
Neon Indian – Psychic Chasms
Papercuts – Future Primitive
Hockey – Too Fake
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll
Yeasayer – Ambling Alp
Silversun Pickups – Panic Switch
St. Vincent – Actor Out Of Work
Jay-Z – Empire State of Mind
Franz Ferdinand – No You Girls
My business travels this year took me to Las Vegas 5 or 6 times (lost count…go figure).
Here are the top places I enjoyed (or remembered). There is “another” list but I can’t post it in public
XS Nightclub at Encore
Lavo Nightclub at The Palazzo
The Foundation Room at House of Blues Mandalay Bay
N9NE Steakhouse at The Palms
Koi Restaurant at Planet Hollywood
Mon Ami Gabi Restaurant at Paris Las Vegas
Pho Kim Long (Vietnamese restaurant in a strip mall away from the main strip)
1. The Megabus – Get most anywhere in the Midwest, for cheap. Sometimes the bus is late and sometimes you get stuck in a corner and can’t open the windows, but it’s always cheap. Why argue with cheap?
2. Seeing Your Friends Dress Up – So we used to dress all punk whatever, right? But a couple of times this year – weddings, funerals, elections, etc. – we’ve dressed for reasons other than Immediate Self-Expression. Other than Getting Laid. It’s not selling out! It’s getting better at listening and lasting and coming home. Plus it’s not like we got rid of the combat boots or anything. I’m really proud of us
3. This poem, again
4. The Public Collectors Tumblr
5. Kate Greenstreet reading her poetry – holy shit, man. If she was a band and I was sixteen, I’d wait in a block-long line and buy the t-shirt, too
6. The Martians Meet the Clock – as my sister pointed out, it would be nice if we could hide our eyeballs in our lips every time we got scared
7. At Random – There’s this bar in Milwaukee and it has mirrors and mood lighting and waitresses who say “Sweetie” and a chandelier and statues of naked people and ice cream drinks with liquor in them. Amazing!
8. Steel Shavings, a journal publishing oral histories from Calumet, IN
9. Kristine McKenna, asking Iggy Pop which songs make him cry. “Dionne Warwick’s,” he says.
10. John Ashbery on A Wave. Molotiu on Blogspot. Woodring on Youtube. My So Called Life on Hulu (“Life of Brian” especially). Beth Ditto and Lady Gaga, owning weird on national television. Asterios Polyp. Wave Books. The Raincoats! You. And the bells in Los Jaivas’ “Foto de la Primavera Comunion”
1. The Decemberists- Hazards of Love
2. God Help the Girl- God Help the Girl
3. A Place to Bury Strangers- Exploding Head
4. Sharon Van Etten- Because I Was In Love
5. Au Revoir Simone- Still Night, Still Light
Music Lover, Vinyl Junkie
1. Famous as The Flying Sweet Angel of Joy LP.
2. Sensational Brown Brothers – Stand By Me: A Tribute To Mother
3. Carol Kleyn – Love Has Made Me Stronger LP
4. Guitar Ensemble – The You-N-You LP
5. Ronaye Shandler – Affinity LP
6. Ed Hartman – The River LP
7. Gabrielle – Time Journey 7″
8. Alice Baze – The Gift 7″
9. Daniel Schell & Dick Annegarn – Egmont and The ff Boom LP
10. Little Ann – Deep Shadows
Furloughed writer/bar stool pundit
Random things I generally enjoyed about 2009
1 – Weddings. I’m not a romantic by nature, but the three weddings I attended this year were soirees of the highest caliber. A tip of the hat to each party, ace gents and fine dames all.
2 – Old Overholt. Economical and Don Draper approved. I take mine in an Old Fashioned.
3 – Mad Men. The finale was worth watching the entire season alone. Wow.
4 – Tacos El Asadero. LITA co-jefe Matt Sullivan will beg to differ, but my vote for best taco truck (it’s actually a school bus painted white) in the city.
5 – The French Onion soup at Cafe Presse. Nothing hits the spot better on a fall evening in Seattle.
6 – The 69 series at Northwest Film Forum. Great idea, perfect execution.
7 – Wallace Stegner. Can’t believe it took so long for me to discover him. A true Western writer (in the best sense), and criminally unappreciated.
8 – The Roanoke Tavern. For being the quintessential neighborhood bar (in the best sense), and also within two blocks of my house.
9 – Girls, Album. I don’t know if this was the best record I heard all year, but I listened to it more than any other. I’m listening to it right now.
10. Kanye West. Pop stars don’t act like stars anymore. Kanye, I love you for your unabashed narcissism, rampant egotism, and doing your damnedest to personally embody all the excesses and untoward behavior of pop stars past.
Boulder Weekly, Westword, Alibi
Favorite albums of 2009:
1. Andrew Bird - Noble Beast (Deluxe Edition)
2. Alela Diane – To Be Still
3. Cotton Jones – Paranoid Cocoon
4. British Sea Power – Man of Aran
5. Flaming Lips – Embryonic
6. Heartless Bastards – The Mountain
7. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
8. Phosphorescent – To Willie
9. Dodos – Time to Die
10. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
Les Enfants Terribles
1. Alabama football: As an Alabama alum, I couldn’t be more thrilled about the season my beloved Tide has had. Undefeated and gunning for a national title (#13?), and the school’s first Heisman winner to boot (yay Mark Ingram). 2009 was a great year to be Crimson.
2. SXSW 2009: For a first-timer it was daunting, but a thrill. I loved my introduction to Austin’s biggest fest, from the numerous Bang! Bang! Eche! sightings to the crazy intimate and amazing Ringo Deathstarr gig at Headhunter’s, to the walking all over downtown Austin in not-yet-broken in cowboy boots. Visting Waterloo Records was an added bonus.
3. Records: Records make my list for the second year in a row. I’ve accumulated several hundred over the past year, and am still convinced vinyl is just better. I’m obsessively collecting Rolling Stones records, and seem to keep buying Leon Russell. Send recommendations, please.
4. Netflix: I tend to be behind the curve on things, but this year I signed up for Netflix and have been constantly glad I did so. My queue always hovers around 400 things, so I’m probably way behind the curve seeing movies, too.
5. Turning 30: It’s the new 20, I hear.
6. Living on Richmond’s Monument Avenue: Sure, my apartment leaks and the heat doesn’t really work, and I don’t have many mod cons, but living on THE poshest (and very historic) street in Richmond makes me really happy.
7. The Nine Inch Nails/Jane’s Addiction Tour: Seeing both of these bands together in June (in Maryland) was so very special. Definitely one of the best shows of all of 2009. And of course, meeting one Mr. Reznor, didn’t hurt either.
8. Trysts: probably shouldn’t require explanation.
9. Music Trivia at Cous Cous: One of my favorite activities in Richmond happens every Tuesday night, at my favorite Richmond watering hole. Music trivia, not for the faint-of-heart (or light of knowledge) at its most unfailingly entertaining, especially when my former team, David Bowie’s Nipple Antennae, was constantly emerging as champs.
One Reel, Bumbershoot Festival
TOP 5 LIVE SHOWS IN SEATTLE
Leonard Cohen – WAMU Theater (one of my Top 5 for the decade!)
Raphael Saadiq – Bumbershoot Festival
Paul Weller – Moore Theatre
Motorhead – Showbox SoDo
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears – Tractor Tavern
TOP 5 CD RELEASES
The Clientele – Bonfires on the Heat
Mayer Hawthorne – A Strange Arrangement
Shawn Lee – Soul in the Hole
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears – Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is
Various Artists ”Where The Action Is! – Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968
Honorable mentions to Atlas Sound, Devendra Banhart, The Heavy, and The New Mastersounds
Top 21 list of the best psyched-out, sitar-laden, organ jams and library sounds I stumbled upon in 2009:
1) Affinity ”Night Flight” (1970)/Brainticket ”Radagacuca” (1972)/Julian’s Treatment ”6th Chapter: Altarra, Princess Of The Blue Women” (1970)
I’m a sucker for any psych with floating, sometimes Leslie-soaked, female vocals and these three tunes are prime examples. They’re what you’d expect to hear while going down the rabbit hole.
2) Al Stewart – “Turn To Earth” (1966)
Yes, THAT Al Stewart. Mr. Year-of-the-Cat started as a psychedelic goof ball. Regardless (or because of that), this Yardbirds cover eclipses the original with its haunting vocals and jazzy instrumentation. Broadcast (who I love) totally ripped this song off!
3) Annie Girardot ”La femme faux cils” (1968)/Delphine ”La fermeture éclair” (1966)/France Gall ”Laisse Tomber Les Filles” (1964)
I thought I’d had my fill of the French pop ladies, but there are still a few nuggets out there that ruled my world this year. Each one of these sends me into fits of yé-yé rages.
4) Aphrodite’s Child ”The Four Horsemen” (1972)/”Altamont” (1972)
If The Who were a Greek proto-prog band that did Kenneth Anger soundtracks? Yes! Both songs are off the album “666.” Yes!
5) Roger Roger ”Safari Park” (1972)
Library music master “Roger Roger” wrote countless songs, background music and themes for the BBC and Chappell studio. Not all of them are great, but this sleek, dirty and downright funky song may be his finest moment.
6) David Axelrod ”The Smile” (1968)/The Electric Prunes ”Holy Are You” (1968)
Axelrod’s production always floors me and these two songs of his are at the top of this year’s most-played list.
7) Ennio Morricone – “Svolta definitiva” (1970)/”Fruscio di Foglie Verdi” (1968)
In my constant search for more of his work, El Maestro never ceases to astound me with his output from the 60′s & 70′s. “Svolta definitiva” grooves hard ala Vampyros Lesbos and “Fruscio di Foglie Verdi” with its haunting mix of Italian choir vocals atop a go-go beat shakes the senses.
8) Los Bravos – “Getting Nowhere” (1967)
Los “Black Is Black” Bravos top their more famous hit with this sweet, fuzzed-out rave up. Imagine Gene Pitney doing “My Little Red Book” or just see for yourself.
9) John Cameron – “Swamp Fever” (1973)
All around amazing British studio composer, arranger and musician, Cameron did it all including this brooding, flute-filled solid groover. One of the best library tracks ever written.
10) Ozdemir Erdogan Ve Orkestrasi – “Uzun Ince Bir Yoldayim” (late 60′s/early 70′s)
If Procol Harum were Selda’s back up band you’d have something closely resembling this sun-soaked, Turkish instrumental delight. Thank-you Ozdemir Erdogan Ve Orkestrasi!
11) Piero Umiliani – “Nostalgia” (1975)/”A New Experience” (late 60′s/early 70′s)
Like fellow composer Morricone, Umiliani was also cranking out some of the sweetest soundtracks and library jams back in his day. These songs both represent what Piero did best: his own brand of hazy, mellow early 70′s synth sounds.
12) Marc Moulin/Placebo – “Humpty Dumpty” (1974)
Sounding like the theme to a gritty 70′s crime drama, Moulin (with his band Placebo) laid down some serious Herbie Hancock-style, punchy horn/smooth rhodes jazz with this mind-blowing track.
13) Serge Gainsbourg – “La Horse” (1969 with Jean-Claude Vannier)
I really can’t believe how fantastic this Serge instrumental is. It starts off sounding a bit like a John Barry espionage thriller until the beat drops around the 30 second mark and then it’s all over. It grooves so hard (fleshed out by a sweet bass line and Vannier’s string section) and then, when you think it can’t get any better, the drums break it down, followed by a moment of silence, a BANJO SOLO(!), and then it kicks right back into the original jam. My favorite song of the year.
That Petrol Emotion live at The Bellhouse, Brooklyn, NY- the band rocked, jumped, wailed and thumped like it was 20 yrs ago. There was kicking of ass AND fun!
Animal Collective live at Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY- I got to work their merch booth with my pal Adam and give away posters to fans on a perfect summer night.
Dirty Projectors live with guests The Roots and David Byrne at Bowery Ballroom, Manhattan, NY- It just felt like a special night even without the guests.
Jesus Lizard live at The Fillmore at Irving Plaza, Manhattan, NY- 15 or so years since I last saw them and Yow is still in your face incredible while being quietly funny.
Tour Managing Max Tundra at SXSW and meeting his Japanese superfan. He spoke to her in Japanese sending her into an ecstatic laughing fit where all she could say was “Oh, Max Tundra! Oh, Max Tundra!” then ran away.
Rainbow Bridge – Big Wave Rider
Atlas Sound – Walkabout
Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Jay Z – Empire State of Mind
The Big Pink – Dominos
Stuff that I can’t exclude
Guest spinning with DJ Mona D on East Village Radio
The Beastie Boys reissues
Nirvana – Bleach reissue
Stuff I came to late
Q-Tip – The Renaissance
Various – Born Bad Vol 1-7
Robert Wyatt – The EPs
I will deeply miss Jim Carroll and Lux Interior
Top 13 Albums of 2009
001 | Natureboy – Natureboy Self Released
002 | Warpaint – Exquisite Corpse Self Released
003 | Masterface – Freedom Tower Self Released
004 | Real Estate – Real Estate Woodist
005 | Cass McCombs – Catacombs Domino
006 | The Antlers – Hospice French Kiss
007 | Sharon Van Etten – Because I Was In Love Language of Stone
008 | Beat The Devil – Idiot’s Guide Self Released
009 | Grizzly Bear – Vecktimest Warp
010 | Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers – A Fish Hook An Open Eye Self Released
011 | The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – S/T Slumberland
012 | Volcano Choir – Unmap Jagjaguwar
013 | Wildbird & Peacedrums – The Snake The Control Group
Neumos / Wake Up Productions
(in no particular order)
The Avett Brothers
Bourbon and Ginger
Matts in the Market
1. Dennis Coffey every Wednesday night at Northern Lights Lounge in Detroit…jamming from 7 to 11 PM…four hours of funk and fuzzbox freakout.
2. Amboy Dukes reunion…4/17/09 in Detroit…Ted Nugent’s feedback-drenched solos blaze like an expression of anarchistic hippie idealism that threatens to undermine Ted’s weird political notions…especially on “Baby Please Don’t Go”!
3. Rhys Chatham’s “A Crimson Grail”, performed at Lincoln Center, NYC, 8/8/09 with 200 electric guitars…an incredible experience…and Liquid Liquid was on the bill too!
4. Throbbing Gristle in Chicago 4/26/09…the “hits” set was cool, but the film/improvisation set was T.G. in full flight.
5. Flower Travellin’ Band live at SXSW…the guitarist plays an instrument that looks like a giant cinnamon roll.
There’s been a fare few releases, re-releases, re-visits and purchases this year, which have given The Soundcarriers camp a tilt in their kilts. Well worth mentioning include:
Leonore – Mazzy Star, Among My Swan CD (Capitol 7243 8 27224 2 7) favourite track: “Rhymes Of An Hour“
Hazel – Rodriguez, Coming From Reality
Since 1784, John Smedley have been producing the finest quality knitwear in the beautiful setting of Lea Mills, Matlock, not far from the breathtaking Peak District, Derbyshire - And in 2009 have been keeping The Soundcarriers warm in winter and cool in summer.
John Smedley knitwear is truly sublime, the finest 30 gauge knit is fully-fashioned and hand-linked in the most luxurious Merino wool and Sea-Island cotton.
Pish wears – Hepworth in muscovado
Adam wears – Elliot in pine needle
Dorian wears – Tarquin Cardigan in navy
Leonore wears – Dolly in charcoal and Gabo gloves
Adam – Fraser King – The Witch and Mr. Woo
Two fantastic nights we’d like to mention:
Martin – A good few beers were sunk, and some great 45s spun at Rock’n’Roll Soul. Downstairs at the deliciously loungey club The Phoenix, Cavendish Square, just off London’s glittering Oxford St, there’s a great night happening once a month; previous guest DJs include Acid Jazz legend Eddie Piller, Jazzman Gerald, The Bees, Andy Lewis and a couple of drunk cats who go under the tag The Soundcarriers DJs. Reputed to have ‘More Soul Than A Shoe Shop’ – and endorsed by the late Arthur Lee – this is a top night! London Pride served on draught in proper mugs, too. Expect to hear: Johnny Jones & The King Casuals – ‘Purple Haze’; The Faces – ‘Stay With Me’; Pigmeat Markham – ‘Here Comes The Judge’
Pish – Raw Rockabilly, Blues Stompers, Surf Instros, Garage & Frat, New Orleans R&B and anything Titty Shaker related… all on 45. Not a compact disc insight? Then, that’ll be Nottingham’s strictly dancefloor rock ‘n roll night The Rubber Room
Heavyweight collectors Martin Lawrie and Nick Smith spin the wild sounds up at The Maze, creating a soundtrack made for nipple tassels and leopard print.
Martin – It’s been a real honour to have been featured in some brilliant magazines this year, and none more so great than the fab and happening Shindig!.
Jon ‘Mojo’ Mills and crew have a really good thing going on here. In-depth and informative articles on everything great in this musical world of ours. Highlight – Julie Driscoll feature. Fab!
Adam – Black Snow by Mikhail Bulgakov
Pish – Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley Novels
Pish – The Museum Of Brands, Packaging and Advertising. Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London
Martin – I really drew the short straw here! I couldn’t handle the 30 minute queue at The Royal Academy Of Arts, so left George to enjoy the magical delights of Anish Kapoor on his own, whilst I spent 30 minutes on the tube, and 20 mins in heavy rain to get to the Tate Modern to view Pop Life: Art In A Material World, which I’m not going to even say one word about in case I’m mistakenly accused of promoting this travesty of an exhibition. Whereas George had a time of his life! The towering pile of large chrome balls (Tall tree and the eye) reaching for the sky in the museum’s courtyard: reflecting buildings, people, sky, is breathtaking alone, and sets the standard for a fantastic exhibition of modern, ingenious and challenging sculpture.
Hazel – Passion for Fashion & Fine Textiles including an Important Audrey Hepburn Collection – Kerry Taylor Auctions - Fantastic pre-Auction viewing of Audrey Hepburn’s infamous wardrobe.
Martin – Paul Smith. Love this man’s blog! It’s just hard not to feel lazy when you read how much he gets up to!
Adam- A Serious Man – The Coen Brothers
Martin – Got to be really self-indulgent here, but the event of my year has to be my wedding to my beautiful new wife Hazel. It was an unbelievably special, emotional day. Set in the home where Hazel grew up in Braunston, a historic canal-side village, we were so touched by how many people dear to us traveled great distances to share our special day (cheers Jules for coming all the way over from Japan), eat fresh North Sea lobster, dance to some of the greatest records and drink some of the finest ale. And huge thanks to The Soundcarriers for rocking the World War II marquee!
Pish – This time last year, we were still celebrating the continued success of legendary independent record store, Selectadisc, Nottingham. Sadly, but with dignity still in-tact, Selectadisc ceased trading earlier this year. Ex-staff from all over the shop’s 43 years of supplying records to the residents of Notts and further afield, came along on its last day and leant their services in what can only be described as a wake. As the shutters came down for the last time on this much loved shop, tears in many people’s eyes, the partying continued into the small hours, with many of the staff DJing their record collections purchased over the years from one of Nottingham’s institutions, Selectadisc. Much missed.
We all had a fantastic time at the superbly organised, super friendly festival The Green Man. It was a real treat to open the main stage on the Saturday. Other highlights include:
Leonore – “The Dirty Three live was one of the best things I’ve seen in years”; Joe Boyd reading and expanding on extracts from his book White Bicycles; having a ‘Gong Bath’; Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve slick DJ set… A brilliant festival set in the beautiful Welsh Brecon Beacons
Martin - The Godfathers Of Groove, Jazz Cafe, London. Rueben Wilson, Bernard Purdie and Grant Green Jr. The line-up and title says it all. Legends! Pure Hammond and guitar groove from the originators. Witnessing Wilson’s effortless B3 style was worth the ticket price alone, whilst Purdie’s a complete all round entertainer. Just a shame Purdie’s kit has lost that baggy Blue Note sound and raspy snare – instead a bit flat and Rock School sounding. Apart from that minor gripe, a night in groove heaven. Sookie Sookie
And finally, we’d like to mention a few names who have helped to make 2009 a year to remember in the Soundcarriers world: Dave Cooper at Melodic, Will Lawrence at In House Press, Matt Sullivan at Light In The Attic, Chris Dedrick, White Denim, Justin ‘The Professor’ Spear, Jon ‘Mojo’ Mills, George Vedmore, Jim Cooke, Jo and Danny at The Green Man, Charlotte Foy at John Smedley, Jon Matthews, Keith Haworth, and Kieron Tyler for voting Harmonium as album of the year
Five things I liked this year (not the definitive year-end list, but a LITA exclusive):
an album: The Horrors – Primary Colours
a dog: one specific Dachshund named Dorothy
a country: Brazil
a rookie: Brandon Jennings (got to watch him for the first time last night on my just-purchased NBA League Pass. Milwaukee, who’s psyched?)
a concert: Nine Inch Nails live at Bowery Ballroom
Top 10 events/albums/songs, etc. of 2009
1. Getting married
2. Dining on Octopus, tuna and patatas bravas at Inopia in Barcelona
3. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
4. Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” (but not so much the rest of Blueprint 3)
5. covering Fugazi’s “Waiting Room” with a tuba player for Musical Pursuit at the Whistle Stop
6. Baroness at The Casbah
7. Baroness’ – Blue Record
8. Raekwon’s – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II
9. 30 Rock
10. Grizzly Bear at The Belly Up, incorporating mason jars as lights into their stage setup
Top Eleven Albums Of The Year
The Soundcarriers – Harmonium (Melodic)
1. The Amazing – S/T (Subliminal Sounds)
2. Benjamin Biolay – La Superbe (Naïve)
3. Shogun Kunitoki – Vinonaamakasio (Fonal Records)
4. Blk Jks – After Robots (Secretly Canadian)
5. Oh No Ono – Eggs (Morningside)
6. Soap & Skin – Lovetune For Vacuum (PIAS Recordings)
7. Papercuts – You Can Have What You Want (Memphis Industries)
8. Mayer Hawthorne – A Strange Arrangement (Stones Throw)
9. Pierre Lapointe – Sentiments Humains (Audigram)
10. Múm – Sing Along To Songs You Don’t Know (Morr Music)
Top Eleven Reissues Of The Year
1. Various – Where The Action Is (Rhino)
2. Harmonia & Eno ’76 – Tracks and Traces reissue (Grönland)
3. Various – Clap Your Hands Stamp Your Feet (Excelsior Recordings)
4. 13th Floor Elevators – Sign Of The 3 Eyed Men (Charly)
5. The Inner Space (i.e. Can) – Agilok & Blubbo (Wah Wah)
6. Various – Saint Etienne Present Songs For The Dog & Duck (Ace)
7. The Master’s Apprentices – S/T (Aztec Music)
8. Various – Britain Learns To Rock (Fantastic Voyage)
9. Jacques Dutronc – Et Moi Et Moi Et Moi (RPM International) – I know it’s one of mine, but it’s great, so there.
10. Heldon – S/T (Wah Wah)
Pari Zangeneh – The Series Of Music For Young Adults Iranian Folk Songs (Institute For The Intellectual Development Of Children And Young Adults) – ok, it’s a bootleg, but how else are you going to get an Iranian album for 1976?
Host, KEXP – The Roadhouse
Pickathon (in Portland): the heat! the dust! the music!
Cliff Lee trade to M’s: solid one-two in the rotation!
Frank Fairfield LIVE In The Roadhouse: time travelin’!
Mad Men: the set designs alone….
Rodriguez @ Triple Door (& party at Sully’s pad): sugarman!
No Depression Fest @ Marymoore Park: rapping with the stars!
The Roadhouse Summer Sell-Out Radio Show: cuz it’s summer and it feels good…
Breaking Bad: tuco! ring!
Wheedle’s Groove Documentary: bold soul sister!
Alela Diane: #2 album- super sweet
Fire In My Bones Compilation: #1 album- old rare raw black gospel!
My Wedding @ Sodo Park: featuring performances by Michael Vermillion, Mark Pickerel, Shane Tutmarc, & Zoe Muth! thank you!!
Top 5 Cheats While Trying to Lose 25 lbs:
5: Entire package of Pinwheel Chocolate Covered Marshmallow cookies
4: Large Double Chocolate Fudge milkshake from Steak n Shake
3: Twelve 100 Calorie Packs of Chips Deluxe cookies in one less than one hour
2: Two Limited Edition Fudge Snickers candy bars in less than twenty minutes
1: Wendy’s Double w/ Cheese for lunch, Steak n Shake Double w/ Cheese for dinner
Some highlights of 2009:
The Hunches – Exit Dreams. Oddly emotional, completely vicious, the Hunches were a unique band, and this swan song is worthy of the titanic legacy that will grow up around them.
Cold Sun – Dark Shadows - I don’t know when the fancy new version actually came out (the ’80′s version on Rockadelic was awesome, but this is even better), but I played it a lot in 2009, and it really is that rarest of things, a lost psychedelic masterpiece. If it had come out when it was recorded, there would be bad tribute albums to it. Get the vinyl, get the CD, download it, or sing it to yourself.
Francis Harold & the Holograms – Who Said These Were Happy Times? An illustration of the subjectivity of the listening experience. I play this, and feel waves of bliss like when Loveless was new, I play it for other people and they cover their ears and run away. Folks compare FHH to other things and I just don’t know what they’re talking about.
Lost Abbey – 10 Commandments Ale – Event Beer. If I’ve got one in the fridge, II look forward to opening it all day. I should also mention Golden State on Fairfax, because Jason there has real enthusiasm for what he does, and he always has great beers on tap.
The Thomas Function – I love “In the Valley of Sickness.” The words that come out of Josh Macero’s mouth surprise me every time.
Lucky Luke – Traveling for a Living- As mossy and flinty as the best UK folk, with real forward momentum. This album has been a few years coming, but when you play it it’s whenever you want it to be. Harvest, Vertigo, Trailer, Transatlantic, Mexican Summer.
Ed Solo- Watch Your Eyes - Maybe there is lots of electronic music this odd and immediate, if so please tell me. At my house, this is a game ender.
Scrotum Poles- Auchmithie Forever – I haven’t actually played the vinyl yet, but just the idea that this came out in 2009 makes me happy. And I have all the songs, and they’re all great, so it’s not a complete abstraction.
Where the Wild Things Are – (the movie). Beautiful, odd, soulful. A great, insightful film. I don’t know if it’s for kids, but it’s for me.
The Denver Post
1. Metric – Fantasies (PIAS/Metric)
2. Smug Brothers – Fortune Rumors (self-released EPs)
3. The Flaming Lips – Embryonic (Warner Bros.)
4. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Glass Note)
5. Siriusmo – The Uninvited Guest (Monkeytown Records)
6. Tortoise – Beacons of Ancestorship (Thrill Jockey)
7. Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career (Merge)
8. Telekinesis – Telekinesis (Merge)
9. Kings of Convenience – Declaration of Dependence (Astralwerks)
10. The Mountain – Heartless Bastards (Fat Possum)
Jawbox – For Your Own Special Sweetheart
Headlights – Wildlife
Boston Spaceships – Zero to 99
David Bazan – Curse Your Branches
The Thermals – Now We Can See
The Appleseed Cast – Sagarmatha
The Cribs – Ignore the Ignorant
Albums from Denver bands:
1. The Jim Jims – Bottom of the City EP
2. Everything Absent or Distorted – The Great Collapse
4. Houses – Summer EP
3. Wentworth Kersey – (O) EP
5. Bad Weather California – Young Punks
6. d. biddle – Beds and Monsters
7. Aakash Mittal – Videsh
8. Pacific Pride – Pacific Pride
9. Meese – Broadcast
10. Pretty Lights – Passing Behind Your Eyes
11. Everything Absent or Distorted – The Lucky One
12. Gregory Alan Isakov – This Empty Northern Hemisphere
13. Houses – Spring EP
14. Paper Bird – A Sky Underground
15. Churchill – Churchill
Editor/producer, Wheedle’s Groove, Editor, Scout’s Honor
Favorite meats I have eaten this year after 18 years of vegetarianism:
1. roasted duck with creme de foie gras
2. oxtail stew
3: lamb birra tacos
4. wild boar sloppy joe
5. uncured applewood smoked bacon
Top 11 Experiences of 2009:
Getting yelled at on the phone–twice!–by Country Joe McDonald (who later apologized)
Flying 3000 miles to see Van Der Graaf Generator
“Take Me Round Again” by The Fiery Furnaces
Everything that has ever been–or will ever be–released on Ghost Box
The Experience Music Project Pop Conference
Being nominated for a Grammy
The Tuscan Vegetarian sandwich at Columbine in Tribeca
Stumbling across Noveller’s “Brilliant Colors” on a rental car radio while driving through the middle of nowhere
Tearing the shrink wrap off of a sealed original of David Axelrod’s Earth Rot
The ceeFrenzy iPhone app
Ommegang Rouge sour ale
Ed. Jonathan Zwickel threw together a list for you and yours this holiday season. All you need to do to download it is send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Well worth the small bit of effort. We promise.