A selection of annotated top ten lists from some of our favorite artists and industry folks.
Weasel Walter (Flying Luttenbachers, XBXRX, Curse of the Birthmark)
Top 10 of 2004, including the sort of thinly disguised ranting and megalomania that has partially hindered my musical career for the last decade and a Half:
1. Burmese - Men (Load Records)
Smothering heaviness and brutality featuring double drummers and bass players vs. violent, distorted, non-politically-correct vocal ejaculations. It was an honor to record this great band – and to be the first guy to get it right! This is their best record so far after years of amazing, assaulting shows and wrongly mixed recordings. If you want to hear Filth-era Swans getting fucked by Whitehouse and early Napalm Death, run to this release immediately and meet your master. Bianca from Erase Errata is taking over one of the drum chairs and the group has also added a power-electronics operator!!!
2. Albert Ayler - Holy Ghost (Revenant)
OK, so, not every single minute of this is mindblowing, but the tracks with the Cecil Taylor unit, and those from Cleveland '66 and Newport '67 rip fucking ass. Look, I NEVER pay for retail CDs, but I just had to bring this sucka home and fetishize it. All I had to do to pay for it was have Glenn Branca yell at me (and everybody else, and the universe…) for three straight days! No regrets. What a beautiful package – too bad Albert's not alive to see it. He wouldn't have killed himself if this came out in '69 and this many people had bought it. Fuck. The first time I heard Ayler was when I was 15 in '87 and it changed my life instantly – his music gave me the courage to make my own as idiosyncratic and obsessive as it could be.
3. The Flying Luttenbachers - The Void (ugEXPLODE/Troubleman Unlimited)
Sorry, but I'm waaay underrated. My newest album is really good and it kills poseurs on contact. I still listen to it once a week because I like it so much. We stripped things down this time – more power, less arithmetic. Ed Rodriguez is a great guitar player, period. I'm lucky to be working with him. The editor of The Wire poo-pooed writing a feature on us recently, so feel free to send this joker a jar of your piss to help wash down his jolly old fish-n-chips. Unfortunately, it seems like we need kudos from rags like that to get any further in this socially retarded, sheep-like domain of "the experimental music underground." These kinds of elitist culture-vultures are only going to be able to deny it for so long. Of course, ragging on the system generally gets one a door shut in the face. Oh well. Change is created by resistance and I'm not scared of the consequences.
4. Glass Candy - Live in Oakland, winter 2004
I really like Glass Candy – this might seem incongruent, but it really isn't. I'm consistently bemused and fascinated by their uniquely warped perspective and eerily obsessive approach. Their artwork and music has otherworldly, anachronistically stylized aura. To be blunt, this gig (out of the dozen I've seen since 2002 or so) was the first time I'd ever witnessed Johnny and Ida truly kick ass live. There were no horrible 30-minute string changes, no dead air, no malfunctions…everything was well-balanced and audible and the group performed with peak intensity. The solid foundation of prerecorded Moroderized-electric-clave clatter PLUS a hard hitting live drummer kicked the band into a gear their records had hinted at for years. I always knew they'd deliver the goods, and when they did it was devastating. A real dance party of death!
Everything, always. If you like this shit, I'm glad you understand. If you don't, shut the hell up and go away. There's an uncommon, Henry Darger-like intensity and single-mindedness that motivates the conception and execution of these succinct musical labyrinths. The structures might not be obviously apparent, but they're all bright as day to those who have the patience to listen conscientiously and repeatedly to this ingeniously crafted music of a truly higher level. Not for people looking for the dumb old backbeat (…and stay out!)
6. Yowie - Cryptoology (Skin Graft)
This youngish St. Louis trio of guitar, guitar and drums has upped the 'brutal prog' ante light-years forward with an epic release that successfully mates insane, mathematical non-repetition with a frenzied, dissonant, microtonal attack that has more in common with the grittiness of prime Magic Band rather than the wimpy, uptight sub-Weather Report "pro sound" that so many math-rock dweebs aim for. Music is in the fingers, not in the awesome gear, you Guitar Center devotees! Those that want to hear an album that those hacks at The Wire will probably canonize and rave about in 20 years (but not a minute sooner), this is one of them. Yowie is just too vital, aberrant and sick to be understood by cultural dilettantes…The real stuff never is in its own time. People like things to be long gone or watered-down by time so it can't spit in their faces with real, raw life.
7. The 20th Century Classical Ccorpus on used LP
Over this last year, I've spent what few spare dollar bills I've had fishing crucial recordings of modern composition out of a certain 99 cent bin a few miles from my house. Xenakis, Carter, Boulez, Stockhausen, Messiaen, Bartok, Penderecki, Stravinsky, Nonesuch, CRI, blah blah blah, one after the other for a buck a piece. Hah! If I still lived in the Midwest, these would be on the wall for 10-30 dollars (and they'd stay there forever, without a purchaser). Sometimes it feels quite liberating that I generally tend to like music nobody else really cares about at the time – more for me, suckers. Your loss. I spent many hours looking at the scores too, since they're all at the library collecting dust…after all, the music of the future is built on the broad shoulders of masters.
8. Deerhoof - Live
I saw a handful of Deerhoof gigs this year and they managed to reveal distinctly different shades of genius every time, rearranging and re-orchestrating their songs in a wonderfully chameleon-like fashion. Covering balls-out rock ballast to chamber subtlety, Deerhoof has set a standard for versatility in weird rock. One of the main reasons I decided to ditch square, old Chicago for the vibrant, liberal bay area had to do with a fateful night in fall 2002: I watched in disgust as a brilliant and hilariously great Deerhoof – on top of their game – somehow managed to clear half the room at the local venue within a few songs! I swear – “cool people" were shrugging their shoulders in total apathy and walking right out in droves. You know, those same folks that went and bought all of Deerhoof's records about six months ago? That night I thought to myself "FUCK THIS PLACE - if people can't handle this, I'm doomed here." Needless to say, now Deerhoof sell out wherever they play in the windy shitty. Oh, so NOW Deerhoof is cool? Yeah. Fuck you all. DIE fucking poseurs. Deerhoof were always great.
9. XBXRX - Opening for Sonic Youth and Wolf Eyes
We had a BLAST playing five gigs on this year's SY tour. They should take us out for more, because we dropped the fuckin' BOMB and they know it. One thing I've learned is: that a lot of Sonic Youth fans don't like weird, noisy music one single bit. Not at all. Well, it seems, uh, that the band does! To these simps it's kind of like SY never made Confusion is Sex or Kill Yr Idols at all. From overhearing random comments, I would have to conclude that a large selection of audience members seemed only to like winsome, melodic pop blather, and for whatever reason, they've latched onto Sonic Youth for a portion of their fix. Said fans just don't have a clue about anything very experimental, different or challenging – they seem to just desire dumb old beats, dumb chord changes and dumb lyrics. Like, which side of the fence are these dipshits on anyway? They could be heard above the din, nasally squawking into their multiple cell phones, "ohmigod, this is, like, the WORST BAND EVER!" (first, during our set and then, again(!) during Wolf Eyes.) Now, WHO'S the worst – them or us? Well, the joke's really on them after all: they're like the worst, most wax-eared audience members ever! Ha ha ha. Suck it, assholes!
10. Playing in Curse of the Birthmark
They had sent me a demo a few months before I moved across country, but I never got around to listening to it until the day I finished packing. It was a pretty good demo (and I'm used to hearing a lot of bad ones) and I wasn't disappointed when I saw the band open some show in SF a few weeks later. There was a primal urgency and firm solidity to their warped gargoyle-like constructions. I could never understand why more people weren't crazy over them. Needless to say, about a year ago, their keyboard player decided to leave the band. The remaining two asked if I'd take over, and I reluctantly said yes. I mean, I liked the group the way it was…but I didn't want to see it disappear, so I jumped in and learned all these weird little songs on a weird little keyboard. So, we spent 2004 playing some incredibly intense, visceral shows to not very many people and I don't regret a minute of it. After our first record comes out next year, maybe they'll all like us, like, um, the way they all of a sudden liked Deerhoof!!! Goody gum-drops.
1. SCTV Vols. 1 and 2 on DVD
The best palliative for existential pain I know.
2. Vampyres on DVD
Superb little known 1974 bisexual Vampira sex and gore romp starring the fabulous Marianne Morris and pet of the month Anulka. Not much in the plausible narrative department but delivers the goods nonetheless.
3. Blood on Satan's Claw on DVD
This slipped under my radar when it was released by Tigon in the 70's. One of the greatest of English witchcraft films, right up there with Witchfinder General. An exercise in controlled erotic horror featuring superstar Linda Hayden as demoness Angel Blake (only available through Amazon.co.uk, unfortunately, but if you invest in a 4. Phillips DVP 642 DVD player, you can render this cheapo machine ($70) into an all-region DVD player with a couple pushes of the remote control buttons and knowledge of the secret code (surf the web, you'll find it). And voila!
5. Culloden on DVD
Peter Watkins (The War Game, Privilege) directed this incredible 1964 black and white faux documentary re-enactment of the brutal 1746 battle that tore the Scottish highland clan system apart. The last major battle to be fought on English soil.
6. V/A - Popular Electronics – Early Dutch Electronic Music (Basta)
A beautiful boxed edition compiled by Kid Baltan and Tom Dissevelt. Some of the trippiest, most haunting and creative electronica I know from the early ’60s. I was weaned on this music, and to hear it again and have it available in all its glory (plus out-takes, film and commercial music, work tapes, etc.) has made this a banner year for music lovers.
7. Brian Wilson - Smile (Nonesuch)
As good as the legend would have it, this album would have kicked Sgt. Pepper's ass if it had been released on schedule in 1967. I've seen the live show thrice (at Royal Festival Hall and Carnegie Hall). Go and see it if it comes within a 1,000-mile radius. It is that transcendental, and can make grown men and women weep for joy.
8. Super 700
Amazing Berlin-based band fronted by the incredible vocalist Ibadet Ramadani and her two lovely sisters. Check out their website at www.super700.com and go to www.projektdemo.com to hear their hypnotic songs.
9. V/A - My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama (Lenox 1012)
This has been out for awhile, but what the hey…a compilation devoted to obscure electric blues that features little known ’50s R&B dude Sly Williams doing Guitar Slim one better with a yowling psychotic vocal and a manic, twisted guitar solo that sends me every time on his magisterial "Boot Hill" (a re-write of "Look Over Yonder's Wall"). You should buy it just for this track. You also get a couple choice Earl Hooker sides on it as well.
10. Miles Davis - Seven Steps: The Complete Miles Davis Columbia Recordings 1963-1964
What can I say, beautifully recorded ensemble playing featuring Victor Feldman, Herbie Hancock, George Coleman, Tony Williams et al....Gorgeous package, lush sounds, slip it on and make the world go away.
Fat Bobby of Oneida
1. V/A - A Nonesuch Christmas: Christmas Works from the Baroque, Renaissance, and Middle Ages (Nonesuch)
This might be the greatest record ever released....
2. Daryl Hall and John Oates - Rock 'n' Soul Part I (BMG)
…closely followed by this one. I actually bought two copies of this within weeks of each other, ’cause one had a bunch of scratches in "Adult Education" – and, frankly, that was unacceptable (no can do).
3. Animal Collective - Sung Tongs (FatCat)
Just casually putting all those fucking FRAUDS on notice about what "psych-folk" and all that bullshit actually should be. Look, people, if you want to pretend to be Marc Bolan ’69 and split crazy peaches, you know, that's fine, just stay the fuck off my radio. This record is the way it's supposed to be done, and if you can't do it right, please go away.
4. Dan Melchior's Broke Revue - O Clouds Unfold (Not Released)
I'm sorry to put an unreleased record on this list, but this is too incredibly good to disappear. Consider this a plea, a call for some sweet-natured patron of the arts to step into the middle of whatever kept this record out of stores and MAKE IT HAPPEN. This is 80 minutes of the greatest rock and roll of the decade, trad-style. It's also the only record on this list I didn't pay for.
5. Giorgio - From Here to Eternity (Casablanca)
I hope Giorgio Moroder is a wealthy, wealthy, wealthy, wealthy man.
6-8. Wipers - Is This Real?/Youth of America/Over the Edge (Zeno)
So I picked up the Wipers box set this year, after owning just this one live record since high school. You can't say enough about dudes – or ladies, it's cool either way – who just do their thing and tell everyone else to fuck off. These records are amazing, even 25 years after the fact, and I'm so glad I waited so long before I found them, just ’cause it's so rare to find shit this cool – it’s nice to spread it out, you know?
9. Bobbie Gentry - The Delta Sweete (Capitol)
Well, all right – experimental swamp pop time! Finally, a friend comes through, pulls the whole "no, seriously, shut the fuck up and listen to this record" thing, and it works! And you can always find it for cheap anywhere you go! This is beautiful, unexpected music, sung by a really, really amazing singer.
10. V/A - Trojan Records: Nyabinghi box set (Trojan)
Sometimes the hillbillies say it better than the city folks. Lots of times, actually. This is like reggae's version of the deepest, hurtingest country gospel stuff, or at least it sounds like it to me. Smells like fear. Fear and weed.
Kid Millions of Oneida
1. Shy Child - One With The Sun (Say Hey)
The band that, for me, went in the direction I was hoping they would: they got rid of the prog and dug into the beats. This duo has no f'in limits unlike a lot of duos out there.
2. Mott the Hoople - Mad Shadows (Atlantic)
Picked this platter up for a buck at a Princeton radio station sell-off and stumbled across a lost …nay, a misplaced classic of flawed proportions. I love this record for what it captures: a band clearly at the end of its rope, mentally, physically, psychicly. This was recorded all live in the studio by nut job Guy Stevens, the band is dropping beats, biffing notes and straining vocals everywhere but beneath it all is pure unedited emotion and it cuts through everything. From the opening blast of “Thunderbuck Ram” to the vocal ad-lib improvisation of “When My Mind's Gone” – you have a band captured about to hang up their soul and give up. It’s brutalizing but killer. The British version of Tonight's the Night.
3-4. V/A - Hallucinations: Psychedelic Nuggets from the WEA Vaults and Come to the Sunshine: Soft Pop Nuggets from the WEA Vaults (Rhino Handmade)
All you haters of the soft need to step up to these Rhino Handmade comps and realize where the weird academy dudes ended up after LSD fucked up their intonation. While most of the stuff on here isn't going to change your world its such a fucking period piece that it transcends its dated surface and is just plain groovy.
5. V/A - The Third Unheard - Connecticut Hip Hop 1979-1983 (Stones Throw)
Some truly naive slices of out-outer borough exploitation makes me happy for more reasons besides than the obvious: I grew up in Connecticut. Mainly its that Pookey Blow song about Getting Up and going to School. I hear you man.
6. Animal Collective - Sung Tongs (FatCat)
Bobby from Oneida said it right when he talked about this. These guys don't think they take drugs and write songs about feeling like they wanted to take drugs. These dudes don't fucking care about drugs. . . hello? It’s music and it’s next level.
7. The Killers - Hot Fuss (Island)
OK, now's the time for guilty pleasure time. Yeah – I can listen to this stuff at work and get through an hour. Fuck y'all who can't get with that.
8. Dionne Warwick - Best Of (Compendia)
It wasn't released this year but I'm feeling it right now. She knows how to blow an emotional gasket. And Bacharach/David know how to write 'em.
9. Aa - live show Mighty Robot
This band is exciting to me. They strike me as a cross between Animal Collective, Black Dice and Kraut and they blew me away.
10. Comets on Fire - Blue Cathedral (Sub Pop)
I like these classicists for stretching shit out and then putting it together totally off kilter. And they burn through ambivalence in the process.
11. Sightings - Arrived in Gold (Load)
I haven't heard it but when I do it'll be on the list.
The Court And Spark
1. The Makaha Sons of Ni'ihau - Keala (OOP)
Scott found this record by these Hawaiian boys (featuring the late Israel Kamakawiwo'ole) at Village Music in Mill Valley. Apparently, they are Godlike in Hawaii, even today, although this came out sometime in the 70's. Beautiful, full harmonies, lots of uke and acoustic guitar, wonderfully played lap steel, and the crown jewel of the record: "Pakalolo," a song about smoking doobies. Perfect Sunday morning music.
2. Ghost - Hypnotic Underworld (Drag City)
Incredible record by an incredible band. It must be all that communal living. Never have pastoral psyche jams and true rock cohabitated so well together (this year). "Piper" is always a good name for a song, and it just happens to be the best song on the record.
3. V/A - Nonesuch's Explorer Series
You start collecting these things and it starts to take you back to the days of baseball card collecting. "I'll trade you my extra copy of Javanese gamelan music for your extra copy of the Bahamian music, volume 2..." Anyways, the music is pretty much always stellar, field recorded beautifully (usually just on one or two mics), full of passion and glory. And, it is always a treat to stumble upon one that you didn't know existed!
4. The Rise of Folkmusik
I'm not sure why, but folk, psyche folk, free folk and all those other folky genres with shitty names were the big thing this year, and that's rad. It all of a sudden became possible to go to any hipster's house and have a discussion about the Incredible String Band, C.O.B., Fairport Convention, Barry Dransfield, Michael Hurley, John Fahey, Robbie Basho, Richard & Linda Thompson, Dando Shaft, Vashti Bunyan, Dr. Strangely Strange, and so forth, and segue perfectly into what rad records Devendra Banhart, Animal Collective, Jack Rose and Espers made in the last 12 months. Or was that just me that was having those conversations? How did that happen? I'm not sure, but it's rad.
5. Caribou - Up In Flames (Domino)
I literally ran from the Japanese restaurant that Scott, Janna, Abby, and myself were having in Japantown so I could catch then-Manitoba's opening set for Stereolab at The Fillmore a few months ago. What they lacked in precision, they more than made up for in energy. Three guys and shitloads of sampled wackiness equaled a big, beautiful symphony of noise. The record is one great piece of work. They got sued by the guy from The Dictators over their name. That's kind of silly.
6. Madvillain - Madvillainy (Stones Throw)
One of the best hip hop records I'd say we've all heard in a long time. When I finally "got" it, it was probably the night after a show in New York, driving, shattered, to Philly. The show sucked, but the drive, with the light streaming through the trees along the New Jersey Turnpike, was like an acid trip. BIG bonus points for the fact that MF Doom was Zev Love X in KMD. Complete art.
7. Jammyland, NYC
Not really a record, but one of the few (OK, only...) reggae record stores that I know of. You can find shit there that you didn't even know existed. Last time through, Scott got Keith Hudson's Flesh Of My Flesh… and I got a dub record called Dubbing With The Royals that rules. Also, Scott got a Jammyland T-shirt. Nice.
8. Wilco - A Ghost Is Born (Nonesuch)
Of any new record this year, I'd say this one (speaking solely for myself here) touched me the most. It's a beautiful, confused, brash, loud, complicated, deeply personal record full of awesome playing and great songs. It's so great that they had no fear whatsoever about totally going for it in a direction that probably doesn't sell a lot of records (although I think they're probably doing OK) simply because that's where their hearts are. As a little addendum, we did do a very fun cover of Led Zep's "Your Time Is Gonna Come" at some point this year in Chicago with our friend Angie Mead singing, and I looked over to see John, Wilco's bassist, playing guitar with us. Huh? That was rad.
9. The Grateful Dead - Reissues on Rhino
Is it OK to fly The Grateful Dead flag yet? It's not like we're wearing tie-die or anything. Yeah, Deadheads can be lame...but they were a good band.
10. Juana Molina - Tres Cosas and Segundo (Domino)
The best description of this music is probably “squiggly.” Got turned on to her by our friend Michael Talbott while driving around the Marin Headlands. Weird electronic folkiness. Just check her out, if you haven't before. She was some kind of big comedian in her native land. That's cool.
Country Teasers - Empty Bottle : Chicago IL : February 2004
The Teasers’ early 2004 American tour (the Tour Of Hell! The flyers and billboards were covered with swastikas!) brought them to stinky onion capitol Chicago. They quelled the horny nihilist bastard sentiment present in the audience, a great "fuck you" performance directed generally at the human race. Pounding rhythm and three guitars annihilated any notion that Sonic Youth does it best, even with Mr. O’Rourke. The guitar interplay was an immature kind of genius and is realized fully on their Secret Weapon Revealed At Last LP. There was something magically offensive when they repeated "let me stick my penis in your vagina" and sang about a white man turning into a black man, then back again, the subject left with a crack-cocaine addiction and longing for more glimpses into the world of possessing a bigger member, buh!!
Deerhoof - Empty Bottle : Chicago IL : April 2004
Deerhoof circa the phenomenal Milk Man LP embody all that is great in the loftiest levels of rock and roll – quietly horrific sex melodies & a humor that is complicated only as long as you refuse to drink of its truth. Currently resides alongside my favorite Bach pieces, not that I would ever ask it to. If I could conceive of a Platonic menthol cigarette that would make anyone like a menthol cigarette, this would be it.
Oneida / Ova! - Big V’s : Saint Paul MN : July 2004
Having created, in Secret Wars, one of 2004’s two records to instantly & convincingly assert its argument for serious longevity, Oneida seized the nation by elegant force with an effortless command of their current highly-realized & unique musickal vocabulary, crushing all soundman variables in effecting cosmic nod among the believers. Locals Ova! scoffed at false New England mantles and took to Ibanez like a landlord of a burning ‘woodshed’. Unlimited weight class, the lot.
Black Stool - Heartland Café Open Mic Night : East Rogers Park Chicago IL : August 2004
Rarely has the man found a setting so fitting. We arrived in the best of humors, and did our best to maintain for several hours despite perpetual attacks by slam poets, armchair politicians, artistes and comics, and a new-fangled "punk" band. But when the host took the opportunity to explain the significance between "television" and "politics," it was clear that something had to be done. Half a Black Stool song later, amidst shouted accusations of aesthetic fascism and a--holes, the entire entourage was escorted outside knowing it had made the world a little bit of a better place to be.
Air Conditioning / Heathen Shame / Food Wall / Nom D’Artiste - Boston MA : September 2004
Food Wall created gelatinous palpitations reminiscent of the best cheesesteak sandwich you've ever had with a Listerine aftertaste, smooth and not so forgettable. Wayne Rogers was at it again in his Heathen Shame; guitars were bent sideways and bowel yelps pushed ear decibel thresholds to the maximum, a tantric excursion into sideways distortion and sun salutations. Air Conditioning’s performance was particularly brutal, culminating with the fire alarm exploding at Chinatown’s impeccable Nom D’Artiste. Their album I’m in the Mountains, Call Me Next Year is a crop-wrecking flood, one bite too many at a buffet, and six mimosas at 9 a.m. all rolled into one.
Chapel Hill Super-Orgy - UNC Campus Postal Office : Chapel Hill NC : September 2004
Haunted House. Boner Machine. Six hours of free-for-all street rituals with the boys and girls of UNC, thoroughly knackered, and hey it was CANSAFIS’s 24th birthday. Bourbon blends, bongs, butts, and boobies. Rotating cast of 60-plus musicians. Magic so deep it created fashion shoots weeks later, and no doubt several unplanned pregnancies and preachers.
Miami Sound Showcase, curated by Rat Bastard - Churchill’s English Pub : Miami FL : September 2004
It is an unconquerable task to find a man more saintly than Rat Bastard. He is yet to collect a boring show in his storied career and this two-day extravaganza proved to be no exception. From the elegant harp-and-panties lullabies of Ms. Lyla Sullivan to the post-worldly marshmallow glow of Xela Zaid, and from the quadruple infinitives of the Band With No Name to the earth-sized garage of the Creepy T’s, and even yet still from the charming drunkenness of Syabris to the pounding crotch funk of Phil T. Rich, the showcase had no hopes of being anything less than spectacular. Top it off with one of the best-ever performances by the Laundryroom Squelchers and you've got an instant legend of an evening.
The Flying Luttenbachers / Comets on Fire / Ezee Tiger - 12 Galaxies : San Francisco CA : October 2004
We arrived in San Francisco to more open arms & heads than could ever be expected, and within hours of unloading the moving trukk ended up face-deep at the 12 Galaxies tending to road-flayed eyebrows while solar-phenom Ezee Tiger destroyed all notions of nominally “accomplished” one-man ensembles; like Haunted House w/ an anti-PhD. Comets on Fire re-directed the lower brain to total previous wha-envy while apocalyptic echoplex chopped the night into rough-hewn sequential bits for all comics connoisseurs. The Flying Luttenbachers re-aligned the higher chakras with aplomb – Ed Rodriguez has mastered worlds’ most tasteful pedal-dance while Green bass adds all kinds of gauze to both guitar & skins; we delighted in finding Weasel – 2,000 miles west & on the eve of his new record release – more righteously & enthusiastically bitter than any Chicago roof-top could ever yield.
Cock ESP / Ovo / 36 / Unconditional Loathing - Grandma’s House : Oakland CA : October 2004
Cock ESP less one half of Zartan plus one half of Ova!; add Miami and Madison, smoke machines, a large Norwegian crooner, body slams, hair pulling, rapid noise, and buh! the next show was cancelled due to injuries. Unconditional Loathing wore baby masks, spread jesus as a floor mat, and rubbed power tools on doll parts through amplifiers. Ovo provided two-piece druid metal, amplified hair bowing, tight, pot brownies. 36 with guests, space drumming octopus arm style stonerock with tenor sax and booze. A donkey man in a tent, ass cracks, and a techno bath house burrito beach party next door.
Curse of the Birthmark / Harry Merry / Tarantism - Edinburgh Castle : San Francisco CA : November 2004
Post-IDM maestros Taiwan Deth out due to mechanical injuries. In place we got power electronics, duo noise coupling sans masks, & a real bucket of bottles. Harry Merry is great music. Being stayed a month or so in the states, he is an excellent dancer, a Beatles fan club member, and produced on this occasion some anxiously-received abbreviated self-karaoke. Moody Bus Driver. Curse of the Birthmark gave much and asked mere face-time in return; sometimes a synth is not a synth. There was trivia in the other room. People cheated on cell phones in the showcase, as is inevitably expected in a market like Scotland.
Zach Cowie (Drag City Records)
Bill Fay - From the Bottom of an Old Grandfather Clock (Wooden Hill, reissue)
Flawless. Where did he come from?! Even Bill's out-takes and rarities are better than 98.9 percent of the recorded matter in this universe.
Judee Sill - Heartfood and Judee Sill (Rhino Handmade, reissue)
Everyone should own both of these. Definitely on my list of favorite albums of all-time. Light soundz / heavy lyricz.
Joanna Newsom - The Milk-Eyed Mender (Drag City)
P.G. Six - The Well of Memory (Amish)
Didn't hit me as hard as Parlor Tricks… but I've grown to really dig it.
Sandy Denny - A Boxful of Treasures (Fledgling, reissue)
This is by far my box set of the year. Amazing selection of tunes with awesome ultra-hobbit packaging.
Anything Animal Collective related
I love these guys. Probably the most forward group of dudes currently jamming.
Relatively Clean Rivers - Relatively Clean Rivers (Radioactive, reissue)
Killer mid-’70s rural sounds from unsung hero Phil Pearlman.
R. Kelly - “Happy People / You Saved Me”
Dan K. got me completely addicted…I don't think I'll ever understand why, and I'm totally cool with that.
Anything Grateful Dead reissues
My most listened to and loved band of 2004 is officially The Grateful Dead. I dare you to find anything radder than the Dead jamming “New Speedway Boogie” in the Festival Express DVD. Back off haters.
Comets on Fire - Field Recordings From the Sun (Sub Pop)
More bong rattling sounds from my favorite group of dudes ever put in one room.
By Dusted Magazine