As always, I make my “best of” list from the records I purchased in any given year. Oddly, this year, most of the records are actually from this year or at the very least last year.
Prince Rama – Shadow Temple – LP Paw Tracks 2010
Hands down, best record of the year! This band blew my mind live and I promptly bought the entire merch table. This is their current record and usually I can find 1 or 2 cuts that I like more than others, but this record is the whole damn record. I can play it over and over and over again and it’s been at least 20 years since a record has been stuck on my turntable. The music is one part trance/mantra, one part Caroliner, one part Bali, one part ? And the Mysterians, one part Amon Duul, one part Tiny Tim, one part pagan ritual music, One part Sun City Girls, one part Hindi pop, one part well you get the picture. See them live and BUY the record.
Stereolab – Not Music – 2xLP Drag City 2010
Having seen Stereolab quite some time ago and not hearing much since, I just assumed that they were defunct. In a package of promos from Drag City comes this record. WTF? A new Stereolab record and a double record at that. Looking at the credits, it seems they are using all vintage synth that can’t be sequenced. Which means they played the whole damn thing! Well, it’s not a surprise…it sounds like Stereolab and it’s refreshing! ALL 4 SIDES!
Havohej – Tungkat Blood Wand – 10″ Hells Headbangers 2007
Havohej – Kembatinan Premaster – LP Hells Headbangers 2009
“Black Perversion” came out in 1994 and I thought that was it, but it seems the crypt has been opened. On a recent tour I was looking through the “recent arrivals” at Amoeba in SF and found these two records. I snapped them up, knowing that I had liked the Black Perversion and was surprised to see something relatively new.
Let me digress for a second. Whatever you think about Black Metal…throw that out! Black Metal is the last outpost for the most out there, severe avant garde. Avant Garde your name is Havohej! These records are the weirdest collection of drone terror I can think of. You feel scared when you hear it and it’s NOT metal, you just don’t know when it’s gonna hit you in the face. It’s like the Wolfman, starring Lon Chaney. You know you’re in the wrong place, you know it’s the wrong time and you know that your face is going to be ripped off of your fucking skull! All this fun led me to …
Profanatica – Disgusting Blasphemies Against God LP Hells Headbangers 2010
Again…WTF and NEW Profanatica! AND the label that issued this is re-issuing basically everything else that preceded it? I must say that I’m really NOT into the old Profanatica stuff, but this new record kills your brain like no other. There is definitely a turn towards the more bizarre and avant garde on this record, given that Havohej is a solo project of one of the members, but MAN! This band is so anti-christian they are almost christians! Thumbs up!
Sun Ra – Nubians of Plutonia LP El Saturn 1966
Sun Ra – Super Sonic Jazz LP El Saturn 1956
For a few years now, Saturn has reissued the oldest Sun Ra records on vinyl at a great price! I wasn’t paying attention until I came across a few record in Chicago on a recent tour. Shit! $10 for Nubians! I’ll do that. I ended up buying 25 Sun Ra records this year, all on vinyl and I’m so glad I did. This jazz isn’t as “out there” as is commonly thought. It’s just good jazz, played by great musicians that push the limit a bit. While I recommend you buy everything, start with these two.
Omar Khorshid – Guitar El Chark LP Sublime Frequencies 2010
In the midst of recording Sir Richard Bishop’s – Freak of Araby (my new name is Abdulla Basheem ), I was hipped to a plethora of Khorshid. I was so glad when this collection came out (yeah, it’s all in the family) because it had those aboriginals that I had heard originally. Little did I know how great his music really was. This comp let me in to the dirty little secret and I didn’t even have to work on it.
Sun City Girls – Funeral Mariachi – LP Abduction 2010
What year would go by where I didn’t mention my favorites that I actually recorded. Well, this Sun City Girls record is up at the top of my list, not only for the year, but a contender for “best artistic achievement of all time”. That’s right guys! I feel Funeral Mariachi is some of the best producing I’ve done since Feels! It may actually be better than Feels. We labored over this record. Doing all kinds of stereo trickery, sound manipulation. Trying to get the tracks that I didn’t record to fit into the decades long sonic concept. It was a battle, but it worked and I came out the other side and said, “this is my best work to date”
So go out and BUY the fucking thing alright, don’t download it for free! Listen to it in full fidelity and cherish this moment.
Dada Trash Collage – Neighbors CD 2010
Even though this was recorded in 2009, it was issued in 2010 and it’s just a masterpiece of song writing. Yeah they are influenced by Animal Collective but so are a 1000 other bands. Yeah AC write great pop songs, but I don’t think they are capable of writing a great pop song that is this complex. Animal Collective has influenced a whole generation of music makers and I think it’s time to forget about the great uncle and pay attention to the nephews
Feral Children – Brand New Blood CD Sarathan 2010
Yikes! If this isn’t a great record. It’s got radio friendly pop songs, Lynch inspired dark comedy and a complex rhythm section that will blow your mind. Not to mention the DK influenced guitar sounds of the final track. PLUS what other band out there does cover art that requires the subject to be suspended, totally flat, in the air, ON HIS OWN POWER, which means that after every shot, he does a belly flop ON A COLD HARD FLOOR! That’s dedication to the concept.
And last but not least, two bands that we should all watch out for next year…