Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mike in Taiwan

A significant world event may have happened earlier this month with the legendary Mike C. alleged visit to Taiwan on the way back from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. However, this one giant leap for Mike-kind cannot be verified because no photos (as usual & characteristic) were taken. The provenance of the above postcard is questionable.

Best Sounds of 2005

1.Outrageous Cherry- Our Love Will Change The World
2. The Quarter After-s/t
3. Ugly Beats-Bring on the Beats
"Bring on the Beats" is the most impressive contemporary
beat-folk 'n' roll-garage long player I have heard
since "The Wigged Out Sounds Of Freddy and the Four Gone
Conclusions." It plays like one vital single after another!
4. High School Sweethearts-Heels N’ Wheels
5. Clicks-Magic of White
6. Tralala-s/t
7. Chocomates-s/t
8. Volebeats-Like Her
9. Portugal Japan-s/t
10. Barbary Coasters-Honey for Sale
11. Killer’s Kiss-s/t
12. DMBQ-The Essential Sounds from the Far East

Best of 2004

01. Ted Leo/Pharmacists-Shake The Sheets
02. Jonathan Richman-Not So Much To Be Loved as toLove
03. The Divine Comedy-Absent Friends
04. Denise James-It's Not Enough to Love
05. Dear Nora-Mountain Rock
06. The Thermals-Fuckin’ A
07. Brian Wilson-Smile
08. The Heavy Blinkers-The Night and I are Still Young (tie)
08. The Hellbenders-Today We Kill…Tomorrow We Die (tie)
09. The Marked Men-On the Outside
10. Lolas-Something You Oughta Know
11. Embrooks-Yellow Glass Perspections
12. The Indikation-In Terms Of
13. Saturday Looks Good to Me-Every Night
14. Chris Stamey-Travels in the South
15. The Thrills-Let's Bottle Bohemia
16. Mystic Chords of Memory-S/T
17. Knockout Pills - 1+1 = Ate
18. Visqueen-Sunset On Dateland
19. The Sadies - Favourite Colours
20. Palomar- III The Revenge of Palomar

Reissues and Collections
(Rev-ola):Chuck & Mary Perrin-The Last Word
Bergen White-For Women Only
Hard Times-Blew Mind
The Everpresent Fullness-Fine And Dandy: The Complete Recordings
Various Collections:
Sigh Cry Die-29 Garage Rock Tales of Woe and Despair from the Sixties (Arf! Arf!)
A Soldier's Sad Story: Vietnam Through the Eyes of Black America 1966-73
Best Label Sampler: Hey, It's a Teenacide Pajama Party!
Best round-up of b-sides and unreleased tracks: Fastbacks - Truth, Corrosion And Sour Bisquits

Best of 2003

1.Saturday Looks Good to Me-All Your Summer Songs (and they were…the soundtrack of summer 03)
2.High Llamas-Beet, Maize & Corn (Warm welcome back after drifting off course with a couple of albums of vapor pop. Sounds like the missing link recording between the bucolic “Hawaii” and “Cold & Bouncy.”)
3.Aislers Set-How I Learned to Write Backwards-(short,slanting, sweet and sad)
4.Fleshtones-Do You Swing? (Instant party fun factor and “Are you Ready for the Mountain?” shoots this one near the top. The vanguard ‘80s garage revival bands(i.e., Fleshtones, Cynics and Chesterfield Kings) have come back with a vengeance in the last couple of years. Are the Swingin’ Neckbreakers ready to step tothe plate for the ‘90s bands?)
5.Thanes-Downbeat and Folked Up (sounds like Lenny Helsing has been listening to some Freddy Fortune records! Their Sandy Coast cover of “I’m a Fool”gives me the chills, it’s that good and jangly.)
6.Singles-Better Than Before (I have read Sire-era Flamin’ Groovies comparisons, but they sound morebetween a less indie Chisel, a less psych Resonars and less punk Hi-Fives).
7. FM Knives-Useless & Modern
8. Outrageous Cherry-Supernatural Equinox (“If You Want Me” Song of the Year? Yes!)
9.Riverdales-Phase Three (“I Believe in You and Me” is stripped-down, look-up brilliance.)
10.The Apricots-Swingin’! Smilin’!
11.Ted Leo & the Pharmacists-Hearts of Oak (This TL is frequently compared to Thin Lizzy, but notice the similarities in the travelogues of “The Ballad of aSin Eater” and Frank Black’s “Calistan.”)
12.Woggles-Ragged but Right ("Collector Of Broken Hearts," could be the best in their canon.)
13.Fondas-Coming Now (Sounding somewhere between theDetroit Cobras, Ko and the Knockouts, Gore Gore Girls and the early Pretenders.)
14.All Girl Summer Fun Band-2
15.Thermals-More Parts Per Million (Play loud)
16.Cuts-2 over Ten (It’s all so wrong with those Cars-esque vocals, but somehow it sounds almost right)
17.Hidden Cameras-Smell of Our Own (If they cut down on their lengthy lengths of their songs, they could be the new Chills.)
18.Chargers Street Gang-Through the Windshield (Not the breakthrough of their debut, but still a palimpsest of guys trying to make it through the bleak Midwestern muck.)
19.Thrills-So Much for the City (If only they didn’t parrot chunks of songs by the Carpenters and Nancy Sinatra.)
20.Visqueen-King Me

Best reissues and reissue collections:
1.The Sonic Adventures of Zekley & Grady (Retro ZG)
2.The Last-L.A. Explosion (Bomp)
3.V/A-Byrds Won’t Fly Today (Misty Lane)
4.The Spectors-Cockfights & Cakefights 92-96 (Get Hip)
5.Lolas-Silver and Gold (Snap Records-Espana)
6.Deep Six-s/t (Revola)-They could have competed with the We Five if the female vocals of Dean Cannon had a place of their own instead of sharing space with all those guys.
7.Five Americans-The Best of the Five Americans (Sundazed)

Top 10 albums of 2006

1.Jim Noir-Tower of Love-(A great overall disc of melodic wholeness for Beach Boys listeners.)
2.Saturday Looks Good to Me-Sound on Sound-(A singles comp, but I’m gonna count it!)
3. Denise James-Promises-(Another consistently strong folk & roll album from Denise and produced with lavish reverb by Matthew Smith of Outrageous Cherry, the Volebeats)
4.The Now People-The Last Great 20th Century Love Affair-(is finally here!)
5.The Marked Men-Fix My Brain-(An apt punk-pop album for driving through the middle of the city in the middle of summer at midday during the midweek.)
6. Outrageous Cherry-Stay Happy-(Two great “singles," but some filler and a tad bit too much glam seeping in keep this out of the top 5.)
7.The Higher State-‘Round Here-(They accuately state on their website, “We play authentic garage/psych with touches of folk rock - the sound is a blend of west coast byrdsy jangle and harder edged texas punk!!”)
8. Dear Nora-There is No Home-(Disappointing final album, but it still has its moments and it’s still unmistakably Dear Nora.)
9.The Hidden Cameras-Awoo-(This is the year they finally shortened their Chills-like songs—like I wished they did a few years ago.)
10. The Cuts-From Here on Out-(produced by Matthew Smith)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Top Ten of 2007

Now that 2008 is more than half-way over, it's time for best sounds released in 2007. I based my list on just a rough-estimate of rotations.
1. Glenn Mercer-Wheels in Motion
2. The Surfites-Big Pounder
3. Sean O' Hagan/Tim Gane-
La Vie d'Artiste Soundtrack
4. Lloyd & Michael-Just as God Made Us
5. The Griefs-Throwing A Tempo Tantrum
6. The Ugly Beats-Take A Stand With
7. The Resonars-Nonetheless Blue
8. The Queers-Munki Brain
9. The Milkees (Japan)-Lover Soul
10. The Choir Practice-s/t

Honorable Mentions (aka their previous albums were better):
Ted Leo-Living With The Living
Jens Lekman-Night Falls Over Kortedala

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Return to Cypress, CA

Last weekend, our family was in Anaheim for the American Library Association Annual Conference. It was good to feel the ocean breezes once again and return to the first place (Cypress) that I lived in California (back in early 1999). On Saturday night, we it made to an outstanding Korean Tofu restaurant called Kaju. It's located along the thoroughfare of Valley View in Buena Park on the edge of La Palma. Oh yeah, they serve purple rice!

Another highlight was hearing Bich Mihn Nguyen read from her book Stealing Buddha's Dinner. In the words of the Fastbacks, I was able to "meet the author" and receive a signed copy of her book courtesy of Penguin. I mentioned to her that I have not thought about the Purple Cow at Meijer Thrifty Acres since about 1982, until I saw it mentioned in her 2007 memoir of growing up as a Vietnamese-American in GR=Grand Rapids, MI.