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2010: Nate Knaebel

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Nate Knaebel revisits his favorite garage records of the past year.

2010: Nate Knaebel

Label: Richie | Release Date: January 19

While Daniel DiMaggio gets lumped in with the clearing house of lo-fi punkers that have dotted underground rock in the past few years, his talent is beyond that of his often underwhelming contemporaries. His single and LP from this year showcase mastery of a sound that is immediately familiar — built on smart pop hooks — but almost confusingly off-kilter. It’s hard to pinpoint why Home Blitz is so much better than the rest of the pack, but Out Phase and the "Perpetual Nights" 7” are solid evidence of the fact. From the always excellent choices in covers (Cock Sparrer and the Searchers this time around) to the random forays into experimentalism, the guy is simply different, and it makes for fantastic results.

• Read the Dusted Review

Label: In the Red | Release Date: April 27 & Nov. 9

Sort of two sides of the same coin: Wounded Lion and Tyvek both walk the geek-pop border of punk. Tyvek is somewhat enigmatic with their style, while Wounded Lion, the less prolific of the two, sticks to a more accessibly jangly template. With Nothing Fits, Tyvek stormed back from last years contentious self-titled Siltbreeze LP with a ferocious gut-punch of a record that only gets better and deeper with multiple listens. Wounded Lion, on the other hand, turned in a completely charming, completely infectious pop record that recalls fellow nerds Modern Lovers and The Feelies.

• Read the Dusted Review of Tyvek’s Nothing Fits

Label: Soundway | Release Date: July 18

I wrote a lengthy review of this that took me about four months to complete, and I still don’t believe I did it justice. A sprawling 33-track collection of funk, psych, rock and soul from Nigeria, The World Ends is an invigorating display of music at its most urgent. The set sheds light on a tumultuous period in Nigeria’s history when the nation’s youth found their collective creative voice. Influenced as much by American and British rock as the sounds of their own country, the bands on The World Ends are all brimming with enthusiasm and energy. It’s a contagious feeling.

Label: Delmore | Reissue Date: September 7

In the running for the reissue of the year, Grandma’s Roadhouse is a deep gem for fans of county- and roots-driven rock. Before he was pouring his heart out as perhaps the definitive honky-tonk singer of the 1970s (if not all time), Gary Stewart lent a hand to Michigan trio Riley, named for frontman Riley Watkins. Though Stewart doesn’t stand front and center as a vocalist, you can hear even in the background why he could give Terry Reid a run for the crown of "superlungs." Barely released in 1970 in an edition of just 500, Grandma’s Roadhouse is very much a record of its time, recalling bands such as Buffalo Springfield, Moby Grape and Creedence, while also remaining a straight-up-greasy country romp. Delmore Records has done us all a service.

Label: Goner | Release Date: March 16

The third, and arguably best, full-length by this excellent Australian combo. It’s a tight, smart punk record (with a tad more pop this time), sporting brilliant rock hooks that’ll zoom by if you’re not paying attention. The members have their fingers in various musical pies and are leading the charge of Australia’s new New Wave.

• Read the Dusted Review

Label: Siltbreeze | Release Date: April 27

Straight-up, slow-burn classic rock from this Columbus trio who, apparently, stand firmly outside of the Columbus Discount/Times New Viking/Psych Horseshit cabal. Real talk: I’ll often forget which song I’m on or if one song has finished and another one started; they’re all too long and they sort of sound the same. But if you’re a fan of used 1970s vinyl that still has some old burn-out’s seeds in the sleeve then you’re just not going to care — the dose is that heavy. Turn that shit up, son.

Label: Last Gang | Release Date: April 13

Released in Canada on Last Gang, $ could have been a major release, piggy-backing on the success of brothers in arms Black Lips and partner-in-crime King Khan. For whatever reason, though, Sultan’s second solo album under his own name came out of nowhere and pretty much returned to it in short time. Stories of King Khan and BBQ having a falling out on the other side of the world only made matters more suspect. $, in reality, is a great, strange record that offers far more than meets the eyes. The standard Sultan/BBQ sounds are all accounted for: doo-wop, punk, nuggets garage, vintage R&B. Yet there’s also this creeping sense of total chaos right around the corner. It makes for a much weirder and better album then a mere well-crafted nostalgia trip.

• Read the Dusted Review

Publishers: Backbeat & Bazillion Points | Release Date: June 1 & June 30

A fantastic romp of a book, We Never Learn gives proper respect to all the ‘90s garage punk goons you know and love. Touch & Go: The Complete Hardcore Zine is like the Rosetta Stone of bratty, opinionated record reviewing. I pray that I never end up in the sites of Tesco Vee and Dave Stimons — they could make a Hell’s Angel cry, and every one else laugh their asses off. Interestingly, it turns out these guys liked Simple Minds much more than Simply Saucer. Go figure.

• Read the Dusted Feature on We Never Learn
• Read the Dusted Feature on Touch & Go

Label: Richie | Release Date: September 28

I’ll call this practice-space punk. Philly-based Mike Polizze, who also puts in work with cult shredders Birds of Maya, lets loose with a fury of high-octane psych chaos on Hissteria. While Polizze apparently handles most of the duties here, the album reminds one of late-night jam sessions in dank practice spaces where the beer cans pile up to the ceiling, the cigarette smoke makes you want to cry, and the walls sweat. Hissteria is one of two Pulring Hiss albums released in 2010, the other being a collection of more pop-oriented meanderings on Woodsist.

Label: Goner | Release Date: October 26

Teamed with last year’s Steal My Mind, Bad Lady Goes to Jail makes for a fantastic set of sloppy, trashy rockers with a much smarter sense of songcraft and melody than the deliberately lo-fi production might suggest. Here’s one of those elaborate music similes: Imagine if Cisco Pike got turned on by Lou Reed, ditched Los Angeles, and hitched his way to Harrisburg, Ohio, to make a record with Mike Rep. Goner will be reissuing Steal My Mind in 2011.

Label: Tee Pee | Release Date: April 20

I can understand why some people might not love this record. It’s big and brash and glossy and seemingly kind of dumb. But it’s also a sly, well-crafted hard-rock record with smart glam and power pop reference points. John Petkovic is a natural-born frontman and an underrated lyricist, and J. Mascis has ascended to the level of guitar god at this point. Together, they make a pretty joyful noise. Love & Desperation is a testament to the cathartic thrill of rock.

• Read the Dusted Review

By Nate Knaebel

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