Monthly Archives: December 2010

FAREWELL Music World Passings of 2010

We pay our respects to
Alex Chilton, Mark Linkous, Captain Beefheart, Ari Up, Solomon Burke, Jay
Reatard and many more.




This annual ritual – cataloguing those we lost in the year
that’s just completed – might be considered depressing by some, a morbid
exercise that doesn’t serve any concrete purpose other than providing busywork
for the compiler. That may be true, but having performed this ritual for years
now, I’ve learned to take a quiet comfort in pulling together notes and combing
the internet to learn names, dates, causes of death – and the artistic
achievements that prompt us to memorialize the people in the first place. So as
you scan down the list of those who did leave us this year, pause when you
reach an artist who was particularly special to you, and meditate momentarily
on why he or she was special. The list isn’t comprehensive, but it
does dovetail into virtually every musical genre and discipline (it
additionally includes a handful of non-musicians), and it touches equally upon
the obscure and the well-known.


I’ll forgo any unnecessary commentary and simply provide the
list this time around. In addition, links are included for those artists we
wrote about at BLURT this year and you can follow those links if you want to
read more. You’ll come across names that will cause you to open your eyes wide
in surprise, as I did,  because you
hadn’t heard they’d passed, and perhaps hadn’t even thought about in years; and
you’ll come across others that will find you nodding your head as you remember
getting the news (was there a 2010 death more abrupt and startling, and yes,
unsettling, as Alex Chilton’s, coming as it did when many of you were in Austin
in the thick of SXSW revelry and maybe even anticipating the Big Star
performance that had been scheduled?).


And then what I hope you’ll do is this: after you pay your
last respects, pledge to seek out those artists who are still with us and who
are important to you, and let them know in some way how much you appreciate
them. As I wrote in this space last year:


It’s certainly a cliché to go up to a
musician and say how much you’ve loved the records, the concerts, etc. But just
because it’s a cliché doesn’t mean the musician doesn’t want to hear it from
you. Let them know how you feel
before it’s time for a posthumous tribute. Need I add that when you learn of
an artist who’s in need of help – many musicians can’t even afford health
insurance, for example, and an illness or an injury not only can rack up huge
bills but also keep them from their one reliable source of income, performing –
open up more than just your heart and donate something.


Meanwhile, this week The
New York Times
posted online a wonderful audio/video tribute to some of the
artists who passed away in 2010. (The Times made a similar film at the end of 2009; you can view both of them below
following the main list.) Titled “The Music They Made,” it merges artist images
to short, signature musical passages, and if it doesn’t bring tears to your
eyes at times, you’ve surely got a heart of stone.


Read also:


*BLURT’s farewell to music passings of 2009


*BLURT’s farewell to music passings of 2008





Earl Gaines, Dec. 31, 2009

Lhasa de Sela, Jan. 1

Gregory Slay (Remy Zero), Jan. 1

Willie Mitchell (producer/Hi Records owner), Jan. 5

Art Clokey (Gumby), Jan. 8

Mick Green (Johnny Kidd & the Pirates), Jan. 11

Brian Damage, aka Brian Keats (Misfits), Jan. 12

Teddy Pendergrass, Jan. 12

Yabby You, Jan. 12

Jay Reatard, Jan. 13 (feature/interview)

Bobby Charles, Jan. 14 (feature/interview)

Carl Smith, Jan. 16

Kate McGarrigle, Jan. 18

Ian Christie, Jan. 19

L.A. Johnson (producer, Neil Young associate), Jan. 21

Apache, Jan. 22

Shirley Collie Nelson, Jan. 27

Howard Zinn, Jan. 27



Greg Pianka (Dirty Looks), Feb. 5

Iain Burgess (producer), Feb. 11

Jake Hanna, Feb. 12

Dale Hawkins, Feb. 13

Doug Fieger (The Knack), Feb. 14

Lee Freeman (Strawberry Alarm Clock), Feb. 14

Lil’ Dave Thompson, Feb. 14

Will Roy
Sanders, Feb. 16

T-Bone Wolk, Feb. 28



Fred Wedlock, March 4

Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse), March 6 (feature/interview)

Micky Jones (Man), March 10

Lesley Duncan, March 12

Herb Cohen (Zappa manager), March 16

Alex Chilton, March 17 (feature)

Charlie Gillett (journalist), March 17

Marva Wright, March 23

Johnny Maestro (The Crests), March 24

Jim Marshall (photographer), March 24



Guru (Gang Starr), April 1

Mike Zwerin (musician/critic), April 2

Malcolm McLaren, April 8

Steve Reid, April 13

Peter Steele (Type O Negative), April 14

Mississippi Slim, aka Walter Horn Jr., April 14

Will Owsley (Semantics, Amy Grant band), April 30



Dave Fisher (The Highwaymen), May 7

Lena Horne, May 9

Ronnie James Dio, May 16

Hank Jones, May 16

Larry Dale, May 19

Paul Gray (Slipknot), May 24

Judy Lynn, May 26

Slim Bryant, May 28

Dennis Hopper, May 29

Ali-Ollie Woodson (Temptations), May 30



Dana Key (DeGarmo and Key), June 6

Marvin Isley, June 6

Stuart Cable (Stereophonics), June 7

Phillip Petty (Point Blank), June 8

Crispian St. Peters, June 8

Ken Brown (Quarrymen), June 9

Jimmy Dean, June 13

Jim Pugliano (The Jaggerz), June 15

Bill Dixon, June 16

Garry Shider (Parliament-Funkadelic), June 16

Tam White, June 21

Larry Jon Wilson, June 21 (feature/interview)

Peter Quaife (The Kinks), June 23

Fred Anderson, June 24

Benny Powell, June 26

Rammellzee, June 27

Bill Aucoin (KISS manager), June 28

Robert Byrd, June 28



Harvey Fuqua (The Moonglows), July 6

Sugar Minott, July 10

Tuli Kupferberg (Fugs), July 12

Hank Cochran, July 16

Carlos Vila, July 16

Fred Carter Jr., July 17

Andy Hummel (Big Star), July 19 (Big Star feature)

Phillip Walker, July 22

Al Goodman (Ray, Goodman & Brown), Aug. 26

Ben Keith (Neil Young band), Aug. 26

Derf Scratch, aka Fred Milner (Fear), July 28

Lorene Yarnell (Shields & Yarnell, mimes), July 29

Mitch Miller, July 31



Mitch Jayne (The Dillards), Aug. 2

Bobby Hebb, Aug. 3

Catfish Collins (The J.B.s), Aug. 6

Chris Dedrick (The Free Design), Aug. 6

Jack Parnell, Aug. 8

Calvin “Fuzz” Jones, Aug. 9

Richie Hayward (Little Feat), Aug. 12

Abbey Lincoln,
Aug. 14

Robert Wilson (Gap Band), Aug. 15

Ahmad Alaadeen, Aug. 15

Kenny Edwards (The Stone Poneys), Aug. 18

Michael Been (The Call), Aug. 19

Tito Burns, Aug. 23

George Weiss (songwriter), Aug. 23



Mike Edwards (Electric Light Orchestra), Sept. 3

Rich Cronin (LFO), Sept. 8

Gus Williams, Sept. 13

Alphonsus “Arrow” Cassell (“the King of Soca”), Sept. 15

Jerry Williams (Th’ Cigaretz/Workdogs/Hi Sheriffs of Blue),
Sept. 19

Buddy Collette, Sept. 19

Don Partridge, Sept. 21

Eddie Fisher, Sept. 22

Dick Griffey (Solar Records founder), Oct. 24

Tony Thibodeaux, Sept. 30



T Lavitz, Oct. 7

Albertina Walker, Oct. 8

Solomon Burke, Oct. 10

General Johnson (Chairmen of the Board), Oct. 13

Eyedea, Oct. 16

Stephen Calt (blues historian/author), Oct. 17

Dennis Taylor (Delbert McClinton band), Oct. 17

Marion Brown, Oct. 18

Ari Up (The Slits), Oct. 20 (feature/interview)

Tom Winslow, Oct. 23

Gregory Isaacs, Oct. 25

Walter Payton, Oct. 28

Andrew Midgley (Cola Boy), Oct. 28

John Sekula (Mushroomhead), Oct. 28



Ruben Basoalto, Nov. 3

Mimi Perrin, Nov. 16

Little Smokey Smothers, Nov. 20

Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson (Throbbing Gristle), Nov. 24



Helen Boatwright, Dec. 1

John Leslie (porn star/musician), Dec. 5

James Moody, Dec. 9

Woolly Wolstenholme (Barclay James Harvest), Dec. 13

Captain Beefheart, Dec. 17 (feature)

Robin Rogers, Dec. 17

Harold Blanchard, Dec. 19

Magnolia Shorty, Dec. 20

Teena Marie, Dec. 26

Bernie Wilson (Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes), Dec. 27

Billy Taylor, Dec. 28

Bobby Farrell (Boney M), Dec. 30


2010 BLUES REPORT: The State of The Blues, Today

A primer for the discriminating listener: Tommy
Castro (above), John Nemeth, Nick Moss, Watermelon Slim, Janiva Magness, Duke Robillard
& more.




years of wandering in the commercial wilderness, blues music is beginning to
creep back into respectability. Cyndi Lauper, often just unfairly remembered
for “Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” recently released a collection of
blues standards called Memphis Blues. Steve Miller, rather than returning
to the “Take The Money And Run” era of pop-rock chart-toppers, has
instead returned to his 1960s blues roots for a new recording. Hugh Laurie,
star of the Fox television drama House and an accomplished musician in his native England,
is said to be preparing an album of blues music, while on cable TV you can find
Jason Lee starring as a homicide detective that solves crime by day and sings
blues tunes in Memphis
clubs at night. Even a pop music lifer like Sir Elton John has announced that
he’s only fit to sing the blues from now on.


blues music may be finding new fans among those music lovers disenchanted with
the cookie-cutter sounds of modern rock music, or the increasingly pop-oriented
strains of country music being sold to bored housewives by Taylor Swift and her
ilk, you couldn’t tell it by the mainstream music media. Seldom will you see a
review of a blues album in Rolling Stone or Spin,
America’s two
leading music magazines, while to Pitchfork and its many web clones, blues may as well be invisible. Blues artists have all
but disappeared from the rosters of the major record labels, and their reissues
of classic blues albums has slowed to a mere trickle.


Truth is,
since guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan first spun his Texas blues/roadhouse rock sound into gold
during the mid-to-late-1980s, blues music has survived and thrived as an
alternative subculture apart from the mainstream music world. Blues music has
its own record labels (Delmark, Alligator, Blind Pig, Red House and many
others), magazines (Blues Revue, Living Blues), websites, festivals, writers
and historians (Paul Oliver, Bill Dahl, et al), artistic awards (The Blues
Foundation’s Blues Music Awards), and the same sort of hats, t-shirts, and
ephemera that you’d find in the closet of any punk or heavy metal fan. Blues
music also has the widest range of artistic voices that you’ll find in any style
of music, ranging from 12 year old Taya Perry of Homemade Jamz Blues Band to 97
year old Pinetop Perkins. Male or female, black or white, American or
Australian, blues music doesn’t discriminate by race, creed, gender, or
nationality, and everybody is invited to the party. The only artistic
requirements are sincerity and dedication, ’cause nobody – and I mean nobody –
starts singing and playing blues to get rich. You’re either all in or you drift
off and become an investment banker or something.       


A lot of
newbie blues fans may have heard a B.B. King song, or even have a passing
familiarity with names from blues music’s storied past like Muddy Waters or
Howlin’ Wolf. Artists like the aforementioned giants of the music, or fellow legends
like Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, or Sonny Boy Williamson, to name but
three, created the music that would inspire a bunch of pasty white British
teens to pick up instruments, resulting in the likes of Eric Clapton, the
Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin, who would in turn sell American blues and
R&B music back to American teenagers in the form of rock ‘n’ roll. The
purview of this primer, however, is not to rehash the triumphs of those
touchstone artists of the blues, but rather to introduce the discriminating
listener to those contemporary talents that have picked up the torch and are
working to adapt and evolve blues music for the new century.   




These are the talented, but relative newcomers
that are reinterpreting the blues with youthful vitality and a unique vision.
The next generation of the blues is in good hands with these freshmen artists.


Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm

Known as
the “Two Man Wrecking Crew” to their fans, drummer Cedric Burnside –
grandson of Mississippi blues legend R.L. Burnside – and guitarist Lightnin’
Malcolm take the primal, century-old, rhythm-based Mississippi Hill Country
blues sound and throw it in the blender along with Memphis soul, 1970s-era
funk, and vintage 1980s hip-hop to create a sound that is equally menacing and
mesmerizing. This is the muddy Delta sound that a generation of garage-blues
bands like the White Stripes or the Black Keys sought to capture in the early-2000s,
but Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm got there honestly, by banging the
gong night after night in some greasy Southern juke-joint until they’d honed
their houserockin’ performances to a dangerous edge.

the duo’s second album, 2 Man
Wrecking Crew
(Delta Groove, 2008) is also their big-league debut and a
red-hot scorcher that has made them a hot property on the festival circuit.     


Homemade Jamz Blues Band

youngest bunch on this list, Mississippi’s
Homemade Jamz Blues Band is comprised of three siblings – guitarist Ryan Perry
(18 years old), bassist Kyle Perry (16 years old), and sister Taya Perry (12
years old) – guided and managed by their father Renaud. Despite their tender
ages, the Homemade Jamz kids are remarkably seasoned, with half-a-decade of
performing and recording under their collective belts. Pursuing a sound that is
pure rotgut electrified Delta blues with a rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic, the young
‘uns create the music while dad writes the words. It’s a style that’s tailor-made
for live performances, the brothers wielding homemade guitars constructed from
Ford car parts while Taya proves to be one of the most instinctual beat-keepers
you’ll ever hear. The band’s acclaimed 2008 debut Pay Me No Mind earned them a coveted Blues Music Award nomination
as “Best New Artist Debut” (which they lost to Burnside and Malcolm),
but they’ve since released two more acclaimed albums.

Homemade Jamz’ sophomore effort I
Got Blues For You
(Northern Blues, 2009) shows growth and maturity to go
with the enthusiasm and energy of their debut.      


Joanne Shaw Taylor

music has often been a refuge for any flash guitarist who can play a twelve-bar
shuffle. This type of artistic scoundrel, who prizes style over substance,
generally doesn’t last an album or two before blues fans show them the door.
England’s Joanne Shaw Taylor, however, is the real deal, a talented fretburner
capable of launching sparks from her fingertips as well as picking out an
elegant line worthy of, say, B.B. King. Unlike many of her axe-wielding peers,
however, Taylor
is also a soulful vocalist who brings passion and emotion to her singing, a
trait that won her a British Blues Award as “Best Female Vocalist” in
2010. With two albums in the can – 2009’s entrancing White Sugar and 2010’s Diamonds
In The Dirt
– Taylor
is primed for big league success, and could easily find mainstream acceptance
in a manner similar to Bonnie Raitt.

Diamonds In The Dirt (Ruf)
features Taylor’s considerable vocal and guitar
skills as well as an impressive and still-maturing songwriting style influenced
in no little part by the artist’s recent relocation to Detroit.  




These are those artists that, while more
seasoned, perhaps, than their freshmen peers, are nonetheless still making
inroads into the blues world with their individual take on the music.


Gina Sicilia

Growing up
in Philadelphia,
singer Gina Sicilia was exposed at an early age to the city’s rich heritage of
soul, doo-wop, and R&B music. She began singing at the ridiculously young
age of 3 years old, and started writing her own songs at the age of 12. It was
when she heard Bobby “Blue” Bland sing at the age of 14 that,
inspired by the raw emotion and passion of the blues, Sicilia knew she had found
her true calling. Sicilia continued to write throughout her teens, and many of those
early songs were used for her 2007 debut, Allow
Me To Confess
. Sicilia began singing professionally while in college and
would earn a degree in journalism from Temple University.
Reminding the listener of a cross between Etta James and Aretha James, Sicilia
layers her performances with fiery emotion. With a new album scheduled for
early 2011 release, she is poised for a major breakthrough on the worldwide
blues stage.

Sicilia’s second effort, Hey
(Swing Nation, 2008), features her powerful vocals and a songwriting
voice that is growing in confidence.    


Jason Ricci

flamboyant Jason Ricci sports multi-colored hair, dresses like some sort of
Goth-punk, and is openly gay…just the sort of stuff that is supposed to be the
antithesis of allegedly tradition-bound blues music. On the contrary, the
hard-performing Ricci has been embraced by blues fans for his gruff, soulful
vocals, raging harmonica play, and unpredictable songwriting. While he channels
the raw blues spirit of legendary harp players like Sonny Boy Williamson or
Little Walter Jacobs, Ricci blends his blues roots with elements of free jazz
(think Sun Ra), hard rock, funk, and even Arab and Asian sounds, all delivered
with uncompromising, punkish intensity. Ricci has found the perfect musical
foil in guitarist Shawn Starski, whose metal-edged guitar adds another
dimension to Ricci’s sound. Not for nothing was Ricci named “Harmonica Player
of the Year” in the 2010 Blues Music Awards as the old school recognized
the young turk’s undeniable talents.

Ricci’s second for the Eclecto Groove Records label, Done With The Devil (Eclecto Groove,
2009), ranges from the eerie acoustic country blues of the title track to a
loud-n-fast cover of Glenn Danzig’s “I Turned Into A Martian.”   


John Nemeth

singer John Nemeth is a throwback to the golden years of the 1950s and ’60s,
his deep-throated crooning reminiscent of Otis Redding and Solomon Burke.
Nemeth paid his blues throughout the 1990s, fronting an Idaho bar band that would bring him to the
attention of former Canned Heat guitarist Junior Watson. Nemeth made his bones
touring with Watson, and later with Texas
blues legend Anson Funderburgh, before launching his solo career in 2008 with
the Blues Music Award nominated Magic
. Nemeth has since released two more albums, recorded with R&B
great Nappy Brown, and lent his voice and underrated harmonica skills to albums
by guitarist Elvin Bishop. It’s Nemeth’s dynamic stage show that has made his
reputation, however, combined with relentless touring that has earned the
artist a growing legion of fans.

With 2010’s Name The Day! (Blind Pig) Nemeth achieved a
near-perfect fusion of soul and blues, with a great balance of smoky vocals and
red-hot blasts of harmonica.  




Dave Specter

A veteran
of the Chicago
blues scene, Dave Specter continues to surprise, working to improve his already
considerable skills as a guitarist and bandleader. Although he didn’t pick up a
guitar until he was 18 years old, Specter began performing professionally a
couple of years later. The Chicago native grew
up on the blues of giants like Otis Rush, Junior Wells, and Magic Slim,
sneaking into Windy
City blues clubs with a
fake I.D. He took lessons from guitarist Steve Freund while working at the Jazz
Record Mart and in the shipping department of Delmark Records, both Chicago musical
institutions founded by Bob Koester, and Specter made valuable contacts while
working as a bouncer at the city’s B.L.U.E.S. club. Specter would apprentice
with artists like Jimmy Johnson, Son Seals, and former Howlin’ Wolf guitarist
Hubert Sumlin and has since recorded with singers like Tad Robinson and Barkin’
Bill Smith. Specter is a skilled instrumentalist, mixing a little Kenny
Burrell-styled jazz influence in with his B.B. King/T-Bone Walker influenced blues licks.

Specter’s 2010 album Spectified (Fret 12), released on his own newly-created indie label, showcases the
guitarist’s immense skills, elegant tone, and diverse sound on nine originals
and three inspired covers that firmly place Specter in the rarified top tier of
blues guitarists.    


Nick Moss

Nick Moss is an unabashed Chicago
blues traditionalist, leading his band the Flip Tops in creating a sound that
is familiar as it is unique. With plenty of blistering fretwork and wild blasts
of harp, Moss and his crew deliver a joyous brand of pure houserockin’ blues. Moss
came up through the blues in the time-honored manner, first playing bass with
Buddy Scott and Chicago blues legend Jimmy Dawkins. He moved from bass to
guitar while playing with the Legendary Blues Band, and finished his blues
apprenticeship as second guitarist in the great Jimmy Rogers’ band. Moss lit
out on his own in the late-1990s, and has won great acclaim for albums like
2005’s Sadie Mae and 2007’s Play It Til Tomorrow, which also feature
multi-instrumentalist and harmonica wizard Gerry Hundt as a vital part of the
Flip Tops sound. Moss, with his wife Kate, also runs Blue Bella Records,
releasing albums by talents like Hundt and the Kilborn Alley Blues Band, as
well as his own material.

Moss worked without the Flip Tops for 2010’s Privileged (Blue Bella), mixing his traditional Chicago blues sound
with his blues-rock influences (think Cream or Jimi Hendrix) to great effect.  


Watermelon Slim

Slim (nee Bill Homans) is a true blues music curiosity. Coming to the music
somewhat late in life (he released his bone fide blues debut, Big Shoes To Fill, in 2003), Homans is a
Vietnam vet who dabbled in music in the early-1970s, but has spent much of his
life as a truck driver. Homans holds a degree in journalism from the University of Oregon,
and a master’s degree in history from Oklahoma State
University, his pursuit
of knowledge lending an intellectual heft to his blue collar lyrics. Although
he performed with various bands throughout the 1990s, it wasn’t until the early
years of the new century that he took on the Watermelon Slim persona to chase
music full-time. The formation of his band the Workers provided a solid
foundation for Slim’s erudite lyrics, comfortably drawled vocals, bluesy
harmonica, and skill on the National Steel guitar, resulting in acclaimed
albums like 2007’s The Wheel Man and
2008’s No Paid Holidays, which
re-imagined country blues with scraps of early rock and country music.
Recently, Slim has travelled to Nashville
sans the Workers to record a pair of well-received “country” albums
that add more twang to Slim’s trademark sound.

The Blues Music Award-nominated No
Paid Holidays
(Northern Blues) roars along like a runaway big rig on an
empty highway, the perfect mix of blues and roots-rock with country influences.      



Duke Robillard

One of the
few true legends of contemporary blues music, guitarist Robillard first came to
prominence in the late-1960s when he formed Roomful of Blues with pianist Al
Copley. The band quickly evolved from a mundane blues-rock sound into a
jump-n-jive West Coast-styled blues band with guitar, piano, and horns in the
forefront. Robillard would leave Roomful of Blues, which is still a beloved
institution among blues fans, during the late-1970s; first to play a little rockabilly
guitar behind Robert Gordon, and later with the Chicago blues veterans in the Legendary Blues
Band. He picked a little Texas
roadhouse blues as the replacement for Jimmie Vaughan (Stevie Ray’s older
brother, and a great blues guitarist in his own right) in the Fabulous
Thunderbirds while working to launch his solo career during the early-1980s.
During the past 25 years, Robillard has become a bona fide renaissance man,
releasing better than two-dozen albums that explore every nook-and-cranny of
barrelhouse, swing, and jump-blues; modern jazz, and jazz standards from the
1920s and ’30s; even world music. Along the way, Robillard has earned numerous
Blues Music Awards and a handful of GrammyTM nominations.

Robillard’s 2009 album, Stomp!
The Blues Tonight
(Stony Plain), faithfully recreates the sound and fury of
1940s and ’50s-era blues and R&B.


Janiva Magness

With the
great Koko Taylor passing on, Janiva Magness is the best person to fill the
Queen’s shoes…Magness is an incredible vocal talent, a powerhouse blues and
R&B singer capable of infusing her material with great emotional impact.
After a tumultuous childhood and struggles as a young adult, Magness found
solace in blues and soul music. While there have been several times that Magness
has turned away from her career – she once spent an entire year off the stage
and out of the spotlight – she always comes back to the blues she sings so
well, and to great effect. Magness has released seven acclaimed albums to date,
and has seeming found the perfect creative partner in her husband, guitarist
and songwriter Jeff Turmes. The collaboration has been productive, Magness
becoming one of the best-loved female vocalists in the blues, winning Blues
Music Awards as “Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year” in
2006, 2007, and 2009 before winning the reputation-building “B.B. King
Entertainer of the Year” award in 2009.

Magness’s 2010 album The Devil
Is An Angel Too
(Alligator) is an inspired collection of pop, blues,
R&B, and even a country song; somehow Magness managed to imbue each performance
with no little measure of heart and soul.  


Tommy Castro

the most popular blues artist on the scene today, Castro has twice won the
coveted Blues Music Award as “B.B. King Entertainer of the Year”
while his veteran band earned a little love from The Blues Foundation
themselves as 2010’s “Band of the Year.” Castro played in local bands
around San Jose, California before taking the plunge and
turning pro in the 1980s. After spending a couple of years playing guitar with
popular San Francisco
bay area band the Dynatones, he formed his first Tommy Castro Band in 1991.
Since then, Castro and crew have released better than a dozen albums, the
guitarist’s unique West Coast blend of blues and rock creating a sound that
incorporates, but doesn’t mimic either the Chicago blues or British blues-rock bands. Castro
has found further favor with blues fans by acting as host of the Legendary
Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Castro and his band backing up other artists on the
nightly sea-bound blues jams that often run all night.

Castro’s 2009 album Hard
(Alligator) is a big-hearted celebration of American music and,
from blues and soul to R&B and rock, Castro and his band of merry fellow
travelers kick out the jams with a joy and affection that is downright


 Rev. Keith A. Gordon writes the Blues blog. Accept no substitute!




In which Blurt gives you a few good ideas for exchange
items and gift card pick-ups.




‘Tis better to give than to receive, yeah. But if we’re
bein’ honest here? Loot kicks booty. Everybody likes to re-up their worldly
possessions, and there’s nothing like getting lost in brand-new somethings to make
you forget the stress of maxing out the credit cards on behalf of everybody


You know what’s even better? When you wind up with a cache
of unwanted gifts, gift cards and card-ensconced granny bucks that’s just
blazin’ a hole in your pocket. That’s what Blurt‘s
here to bend your ear about. Forget holiday gift guides: Here’s a pile of ideas
on how to parlay the unwanteds, plasti-cash and crisp two-dollar bills into an
onanistic orgy of materialism-and, again with the honesty: flat-out ignorance
of the current economic clime.



Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition ($59.99)

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare ($59.99)

Call of Duty: Black Ops ($59.99)

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock ($59.99)


Nothing says lazy consumerist American like sitting one’s
fat ass on the form-fitting recess of the couch and pretending to be heroes in
a computer-rendered alternate reality. Not that there’s anything wrong with
video games; we’re just getting into the real post-holiday spirit, here.

            The Mad Max-y first-person shooter/role-player amalgam Borderlands originally
debuted in 2009 and has since sold a bazillion copies. A staggering amount,
yup, and  enough to justify a ‘Game of
the Year’ edition, which bundles the main game along with its four downloadable
packs: ‘The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned’, ‘Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot’ ‘The Secret
Armory of General Knoxx’ and ‘Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution’. As if the
original game-which is hilarious, action-packed, has replay value up the wazoo,
and appeals to the loot goon in us all-wasn’t enough. Er… actually… once you
get hooked on the game ((((and you will)))), it’s not hardly enough. Blurt hereby openly lusts for a sequel.

            Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare is a similar suite, packaging its own titular zombie story into its dusty,
bloody western world, along with the ‘Legends and Killers Pack’ and ‘Liars and
Cheats’ pack. The difference here is that Undead
is a standalone game-you don’t need the original Red Dead Redemption to play these
stories, although you’ll want RDR
just the same.

            Although Call
of Duty: Black Ops
was likely on many Christmas lists, and was easy
enough to procure, Blurt has to call
it out as the most palatable of the war-mongering games. Strictly speaking, the
franchise held little appeal for some of us until it added-yup, zombies-and we
realized the irony that grandchildren of the Commie-averse would be in the next
room playing as a Soviet Spetsnaz soldier named Nikolai. Now we’re addicted.




            Just when
we thought we’d had enough of the Guitar
and Rock Band franchises,
along came Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. Although there’s not much new here, except a weak fantasy story,
its setlist is the strongest and most diverse yet, mixing the ubiquitous
classic rock tracks with indie rock, 90s alt-rock, and radio cheese. Big-ups
for finally putting Night Ranger’s “(You Can Still) Rock In America” on it,
thereby reviving the game’s party-drunk charm. Alas, they didn’t build a way to
perform the eight-finger tapping technique on the plastic version of the
aluminum Swiss cheese guitar, and there are no zombies (just the voice of Gene
Simmons, who looks like the Zombie Bea Arthur, as the voice of the Demi-God).  



Toubab Brewe


Toubab Krewe, one of North Carolina’s most creative and
interesting bands inspired their local brewer of fine beers, Craggie, to create
this ambrosial beverage. According the brewery, TB comes by its crisp, malty,
slightly hoppy flavor when “Organic Munich and Pilsen malts are bittered with
Organic Hallertau Tradition.” We don’t know what that means, but will attest
before God and whatever other deities oversee beer that Toubab Brewe is
flat-out delicious, a beer you’ll savor as much as swill.





The Sinful Dwarf ($29.98)

Santa Sangre ($29.98)

Screwballs and Loose Screws:
Screwballs II
($19.98 ea.)

Hardware: Two-Disc Limited Edition ($29.98)

Stone ($19.98)

Bloody Moon ($19.98)

The Beast In Space ($29.98)


It’s hard to ask mom and dad for some of the movies Severin
Films releases-what’s more, it’s hard to ask your wife. They range from
softcore porn to bloody disgusting horror films to outright sleaze, like The Sinful Dwarf. Of course Blurt wholeheartedly endorses all of the
above, and if we’re gonna recommend you buy DVDs with your post-Xmas barter-ables
and gift cards, we’re not gonna steer you toward major-studio stinkers. With
Severin Films you get the gamut: cult horror (Jesus Franco’s Bloody Moon), indie weirdness (Alejandro
Jodorowsky’s Santa Sangre), 1980s
tits-and-ass comedies (Screwballs and
Loose Screws), Ozploitation biker
films (Stone) and far-out science
fiction (Hardware). All of the films
are lovingly and painstakingly transferred to DVD and Blu-Ray format, and
beautifully packaged in versions that will satisfy collectors of films you
don’t watch in mixed company.


2010 IN REVIEW: The Blurt Top 50

Arcade Fire is artist/album of the year; among
our other top picks are Justin Townes Earle, Deerhunter, Kanye West, Flying
Lotus and Joanna Newsom.




It was the best of years,
it was the… er, well… yeah. It was the best of years. Please feel free
to slap that person standing next to you who is griping about not hearing
anything good in 2010. And ask us sometime about trying to pare down a list of
some 200-odd worthy new releases from this year into a manageable Top 50 (okay,
we cheated; Top 51). We might even let you know who the runners-up were. Seriously.

       But in the end, we don’t take it all
that seriously, because we’ve been doing this year-end stuff long enough to
know that (a) our list is prone to change within five minutes of publishing it;
and (b) the only folks who read these lists are the ones who write them!  The artists themselves are too busy thinking
about their next projects, their upcoming tours… how to pay the rent. Important
stuff. So no navel gazing here; no what
everything means, maaan…
from us. Here’s our list – let’s do this.
(Honorable Mentions follow the main list.)


[See also: Revenge of the Writers, wherein the
BLURT staffers and contributors submit their individual lists of 2010 picks ‘n’
pans. Go here for Part 1, and here for Part 2.]






Really, we were expecting
this… no, no, no. No one was
expecting this. The steady,
step-by-step progression of the Canadian band from their early self-titled EP
to 2004’s breakthrough Funeral to
2007’s complex Neon Bible has been
anything but inscrutable; it was inevitable, not to mention downright
inspiring, particularly in light of the band’s determination to stick with
great indie label Merge. Yet still… a couple of years spent touring and
solidifying even further as group; a year or so devoted to writing songs and
recording; then suddenly this past August a re-emergence with The Suburbs, an album about, well… the

       Uh-oh, concept album alert! But right
from the get-go, with the tuneful, deeply wistful title track, the record
announces its intentions to be anything but grandiose. Sure, there are moments
of densely-arranged grandeur (the
almost baroque “Rococo,” for example), but here, hubris takes a distant back
seat to humanism, with rockers (the propulsive, anthemic “Ready to Start”) and
ballads (the darkly brooding “Suburban War”) alike maintaining a crucial sonic
and psychic balance. Point of fact, you don’t even have to ponder the so-called
concept to enjoy the album, which in a weird way makes the brief final song
–  titled “The Suburbs (Continued)” and
serving as a kind of coda to both the opening track and the entire record – one
of the most delightful musical surprises of the whole year. (Try this little
trick of sequencing: Next time you start to play The Suburbs, cue it up with that last cut positioned as the first
one and then followed by “The Suburbs” as the second one. You’ll feel a tingle,
I promise.)

ado has been made of how The Suburbs did
gangbusters its first week, topping the Billboard charts and temporarily bumping Eminem, not to mention the fact that the
album earned a Grammy nod for Best Album and is also up for two additional
Grammys. Which is as it should be; it’s a fantastic, timeless-in-feel record
with a broad appeal.

       Yet in the independent label world, this
doesn’t happen that often. Actually, it never happens. So it’s as much a vindication for indies – bands and labels – as it
is for those fans who have stuck with the band all this time even as A.F. got
bigger and, inevitably, outgrew the “they’re our band” status that helped fuel the buzz in the first place. With
all the turmoil and transition these days in the music industry, only a fool
would attempt a prediction as to the overall and lasting significance of A.F.’s
success – but you have to admit, it did feel at times like a “Yay! We won!”

       But you can’t read too much into all
this. Simply put, Arcade Fire has worked as hard as any combo out there, while
at the same time not allowing its musical imagination to stagnate or grow
complacent, remaining artistically hungry and unwilling to compromise. Those
are qualities that should be celebrated beyond matters of record sales, chart
placings and awards ceremonies.

       To just add a personal note: when an
“important” and much-talked-about album such as this can also become the
hands-down favorite of a certain nine-year-old child (er, that would be mine) –
a kid who won’t be worrying about what
everything means, maaan
… for at least a few more years and for now simply
revels in how immediate and how engaging the music itself is – well, somehow
that seems, to me, what’s actually significant. It means that a torch is being
passed, and in rock ‘n’ roll, there is no greater gift. Thank you, Arcade Fire.




1. Justin Townes Earle – Harlem
River Blues (Bloodshot)

WE SAID: Not only is Harlem River Blues the third album in three years
for Justin Townes Earle, it’s his third winner in a row. That’s a prolific
streak that should be the envy of his contemporaries. Earle and co-producer
Skylar Wilson maintain consistency through clean, dry production that keeps the
focus squarely on the tunesmith’s plainspoken voice and bullshit-free


2. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest (4AD)

WE SAID: Halcyon Digest blends new elements into
Deerhunter’s already lush template while emphasizing its pop inclinations.
Psych-pop vibes insinuate into the sunny thrum of bells and jangly guitars…
processed beats [and] glam pop plus epic guitar fuzz equals some of the most
weirdly arresting songs you’ll hear all year.


3. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

WE SAID: He’s no Prince.
But once you get past the ridiculous flights of ego disingenuously (sometimes)
cloaked in self-deprecation (this is, after all, a record where a dude talks
about sending photos of his dick to ladies), you encounter a genuinely dizzying
array of soundscapes, as thickly layered as early Public Enemy in places, yet
unerringly tuneful. Songs, even. Orchestral flourishes complete the picture – a
3-D one at that, and not just a snapshot.


4. Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma (Warp)

WE SAID: Through the
utilization of live instruments threaded into the mix of this 45-minute
“space opera”, FlyLo maps out a sonic genealogy directly inspired by
the genius of his aunt, the late Alice Coltrane. While many multigenerational
artists tend to shy away from the shadows of their elders, it is nothing short
of incredible to hear this immensely talented figure in the brave, new world of
West Coast hip-hop embrace his legacy.


5. Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me (Drag City)

WE SAID: Harp-led epics
with turns of phrase and melody, but with less of a wildhorse quality about the
structure than Ys. These
songs are both instantly hummable and enduring.
Kindness prevails“:
If these 124 minutes can be reduced to one sentiment, which they ostensibly
cannot, really – let that be it. That’s the feeling you can’t deny when you’re
bonechilled and gasping after the wave.


6. Best
Coast – Crazy for You
(Mexican Summer)

WE SAID: Girl-group,
garage-rock, shoegaze and just unabashed tingly pop all collide in this
janglysexycool wall o’ sound that is Best Coast, aka Bethany Cosentino and Bobb
Bruno. Cosentino’s torn-from-her-diary lyrics may at times seem too intimate, but ultimately the
sumptious sounds give ‘em the prolonged heft they deserve.


7. Drive-By Truckers – The Big To-Do (ATO)

WE SAID: Frankly it’s the
band’s strongest collection of songs since the mid 2000s heyday of Decoration Day and the Dirty South. Patterson Hood and main
songwriting counterpart Mike Cooley are front porch scribes who both know how
to unearth the down and dirty of Dixie’s
underbelly without cliché.


8. Mavis Staples – You Are Not Alone (Anti-)

WE SAID:  55 years
into her recording career, Mavis Staples is making music that ranks with the
best she’s ever done. She returns with her fellow Chicagoan, Wilco’s Jeff
Tweedy at the helm [and] fills each song with the breath and breadth of life


9. Darkstar – North (Hyperdub)

WE SAID: Darkstar
developed an authentically enigmatic atmosphere for North, steering from the potential black hole of overusing
computer vocals… rather than exploring a nuanced brand of the dubstep that the
producers had already established, they built a Mars-red epic [and a] hybrid of
techno and science fiction film score fanaticism. This record is beaming, even
as every measure is taken to keep out the light.


10. Sharon Van Etten – Epic (Ba Da Bing!)

WE SAID: Van Etten has
moved from the hushed ethereality of her first album towards a warmer, more
propulsive aesthetic, and in the process, created some of her most compelling
songs to date. Her voice is stronger, duskier, surer, easily able to crest over
rough-edged guitar strumming. There’s something elemental about her performance.


11. Alejandro Escovedo – Street Songs of Love

WE SAID: As visceral and
uncompromising as his early solo outings were cerebral and widescreen, Street Songs of Love makes a strong
case for Escovedo being one of our pre-eminent rock ‘n’ roll artists now
operating well outside the parameters of the so-called Americana realm. To hear
him exploding out the gate with material that recalls classic raveups from the
Stones, Mott the Hoople and the Clash is to bear witness to the eternal
fountain of (mental) youth that rock ‘n’ roll has always represented.


12. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening (DFA)

WE SAID: LCD Soundsystem
can do no wrong sonically. James Murphy has the knack and talent for creating
bodaciously catchy tracks that range from ‘80s new wave to dance-punk to
hypnotic trance. And again Murphy contemplates sizeable subjects such as love,
life, and hypocrisy, all behind the upbeat veil of electronics.


13. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – I Learned
the Hard Way (Daptone)

WE SAID: There are any
number of soul and funk revivalists working these days, many of them very good,
but Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are right now the finest at sounding both
old and fresh at the same time… They know the secret to great soul music is
allowing it to breathe naturally and expressively, while absolutely nailing
down the tightly syncopated rhythmic elements provided by every instrument.


14. Robert Plant – Band of Joy (Rounder)

WE SAID: Band of Joy, which features Patty
Griffin and Buddy Miller as key collaborators, explores the American songbook
with strong results. Plant sounds inspired throughout, acting as a curator of
songs by artists like Townes Van Zandt, Los Lobos and indie rockers Low.


15. Of Montreal
– False Priest (Polyvinyl)

WE SAID: A doggedly,
desperately upbeat album, undertaken with the determined notion that sex and
psychedelia will prevent a slide into Morrissey-style miserablism. Ultimately,
this potent mix of effervescent pop and melancholy self-exposure has done more
than any flame demon or horny porcine to vault Of Montreal so far past its


16. Steve Wynn & the Miracle 3 – Northern
Aggression (Yep Roc)

WE SAID: The sonics are
sumptuous from the get-go, feedback-laced thrumming rockers gradually turning
widescreen in the grand psychedelic tradition, equal parts MC5, Spacemen 3 and
Echo & the Bunnymen, but filtered through a thoroughly contemporary
cranium-crunching sieve. The first new studio album from Wynn and the M3 in
five years finds the songwriter at his most vital, both songwriting- and
performance-wise, since the very first M3 release.


17. Janelle Monae – The ArchAndroid (Bad Boy)

WE SAID: She’s equal parts
futuristic new wave and sweat-inducing funk. Her songs are robotic without
being cold. Her vocals are endearingly romantic and passionate with an elegant
operatic howl, clarion clear diction and a soul-sonic scream that’d break James
Brown’s car windshield. And somehow, Monáe’s oddly sci-fi detailed,
character-driven songs are up close and intimately personal


18. Fresh & Onlys – Play It Strange (In The

WE SAID: The attention
bestowed upon these folks should not come as a surprise once you catch wind of
the band’s killer sound – a perfect storm of Gun Club-style goth-punk twang,
Seeds-esque freakbeat and Chronic Town-era
R.E.M.-style jangle stuffed within the echo-laden confines of a homegrown
“Wall of Sound”… In a music landscape cramped with a baby boom of
derivative revivalist garage acts, this sets an immensely talented group apart
from the pack.


19. Four Tet – There Is Love In You (Domino)

WE SAID: Not unlike his
rapidly accelerating eleven-year career, Kieran Hebden’s output as Four Tet has
splintered across the horizon in a dizzying multitude of musical directions.
Crackling atmospherics, unrelenting locked grooves, and layers of immaculately
organized, cascading accompaniment – There
Is Love
In You stirs and sweeps, its loop-centric tapestries as lively and as affecting as its
uncoiling electronic flourishes.


20. Roky Erickson w/Okkervil River – True Love Cast
Out All Evil (Anti-)

WE SAID: After 45 years,
the third shoe has finally dropped. Roky Erickson’s first new album since Bill
Clinton moved into the White House puts an exclamation point to a tale of
personal redemption. Now backed by Austin-based indie-rock hotshots Okkervil River, his latest is a total mindblower.


21. Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the
Sky (Young God)

WE SAID: Michael Gira and
Co. don’t solely go for the raw powered pummel or the broad strokes of
art-damage. There is clever nuance and cool tension throughout – to say nothing
of blame, idolatry, confinement and adoration. This Swan-y moment is all Gira’s
and a testament to his dramatically dire yet rapturously passionate aesthetic.


22. Caribou – Swim (Merge)

WE SAID: For Swim, Dan Snaith seems to be moving
inside his own head, inside the clubs.  This is the first Caribou record
that would sound completely at home being spun from the booth over the dance
floor – it’s trancier, dancier, more solidly rooted in loop and repetition than
any previous Caribou release.


23. Gaslight Anthem – American Slang (SideOneDummy)

WE SAID: In three years,
The Gaslight Anthem has gone from being just another tattooed punk band from Jersey to the closest thing this generation may have to
The Clash thanks to brilliantly memorable songs and lyrics that read like
working class poetry. Their best record to date and one of the great rock
albums of 2010 (punk or otherwise).


24. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – The Brutalist
Bricks (Matador)

WE SAID: This taut, tight
collection of 13 songs that make up the DNA of The Brutalist Bricks find Leo’s trademark indie punk sound
getting the major kick in the ass it so desperately needed. It sounds as though
Teddy boy is out to take over what’s left of the rock radio airwaves.


25. Wavves – Wavves (Fat Possum)

WE SAID: The beauty and
appeal of this new record is how it manages to make slightly off-kilter,
avant-garde rock music entirely accessible. Of course, it could be argued that
this makes that classification null and void. It doesn’t really matter anyway,
because when the fuzzy noise blasts from your speakers, genres and labels
become obsolete. 


26. Beach House – Teen Dream (Sub Pop)

WE SAID: With Teen Dream, Beach House transplant the
woozy pop haze of the vintage West Coast and transplant it beneath the shadows
of the Shawangunk Mountains, crafting the masterpiece many of their fans knew
they had in them all along.


27. Deadmau5 – 4 x 4 = 12 (Ultra)

WE SAID: Whether you like
it or not, you’re familiar with the oversized head and the big mouse ears of
progressive house music maven Deadmau5… There are just enough happily dastardly
surprises afoot at every turn here… lustrously spare and ripe with eerie yet
sweetly catchy melodies that act as through lines through the album’s weirdly
pulsing heart.


28. Surfer Blood – Astro Coast

WE SAID: It’s safe to
assume the members of the band were raised on a steady diet of Weezer, The
Pixies, Built To Spill. But they’ve managed to absorb all of this and more and
regurgitate something all their own… Simple ideas made interesting through
excellent recording and production – no shitgaze, this – and executed by an effusive
bunch of rock musicians more concerned with quality than scoring scene points.


29. Crocodiles – Sleep Forever (Fat Possum)

WE SAID: Sleep Forever, cut in an isolated
Joshua Tree studio with Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford, elaborates upon all
that but is a leaner, meaner affair [than 2009’s Summer of Hate], equal parts fuzzed-out glam slam, Krautrock boogie
and latterday disco-punk… [An] astonishing record that serves up pop’s head on
a platter and makes for one bloody good buffet.


30. Superchunk – Majesty Shredding (Merge)

WE SAID: Unlike some
outfits that draw on an insurgent attitude, Superchunk doesn’t succeed through
intimidation. Rather, they exhort their listeners to share in their celebratory
revelry, so that in a real sense, the new album exudes at least as much modesty
as majesty.


31. Tyvek – Nothing Fits (In The Red)

WE SAID: Cranked, cracked,
bashed and frantic, Tyvek’s second full-length pogos on a tightrope. There’s an
abyss dropping away on either side, an endless bottom one missed mortgage
payment or judicial crack-up away. And yet a sense of manic joy permeates, too…
A quick hit of adrenaline, a battering, disorienting blast of surplus energy
that channels, occasionally, unexpectedly, into tuneful pop. It’s one of the
best punk albums out there right now.


32. Megafaun –
Heretofore (Hometapes)

WE SAID: Praised for its elastic take on Americana,
this North Carolina
trio flexes its know-rules/break-rules muscles on a mini-LP of roots-solid
songwriting and experimental subversions, recalling the subtle roots-and-noise
alchemy of bands like Califone and Akron/Family. [The band displays a] talent
for making the old sound new again.


33. Rangda – False Flag (Drag City)

WE SAID: A jaw-dropping,
landmark sort of record, False Flag documents the all-but unrehearsed collaboration of three exceptional musicians
– Sir Richard Bishop of Sun City Girls, Ben Chasny of Six Organs of Admittance
and Chris Corsano of multiple, much-admired free jazz outfits. It is
alternatingly bruising and serene, harsh and liquidly beautiful – and so
beautifully structured, overall, that it’s hard to believe it came together so


34. Massive Attack – Heligoland (Virgin)

WE SAID: They’re so good
at on Heligoland that they’ve
made a lasting art object – their form-is-statement command of trip-hop is as
masterly as is Pet Shop Boys’ similar work with post-New Wave dance music.
Using sound like a painter uses material to build up color and texture on a
canvas, they use individual songs to create an album recognizable as theirs for
its characteristic traits – an overall introspective, studio-processed swirl of


35. Parting Gifts – Strychnine Dandelion (In The

WE SAID: Together, these
guys (members of The Ettes and Reigning Sound) kick up a dustcloud of Mekons-esque
cow punk and what one may or may not hear as a post-Dolls David Johansen backed
by Thee Headcoats within the confines of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound.


36. !!! – Strange Weather, Isn’t It? (Warp)

WE SAID: !!! has long
survived the dance-punk explosion of the early aughts. Credit its
sustainability not to simply mating drum machine programming with stabbing
guitars, but cleverly roping the sounds of disco, Sandinista-era Clash, ’90s house, and dub into the mix.


37. Tony Joe White – The Shine (Swamp)

WE SAID: White’s voice may
have lost the very slightest touch of the deep swamp rumble that made ‘em
shiver and swoon when “Polk Salad Annie” hit in 1969 but it’s still a
hell of a voice… Mystery haunted Southern Gothic landscapes that draw one into
a world that exists somewhere between William Faulkner and Elmore Leonard, and
where low ‘n’ lazy gets the job done just fine every time.


38. Women – Public Strain (Jagjaguwar)

WE SAID: Women perfectly
capture the industrial dissonance of the [Alberta, Canada] terrain, harboring a
barren, disconnected sound that is equal parts Joy Division, Bastro and
Cluster… further testament to the subtle sea change in the indie rock universe
away from the precious and fey sounds of the last 10 years and back to the caustic
nihilism of the good old days.


39. Giant Sand – Blurry Blue Mountain

WE SAID: It’s the
strongest and most cohesive GS album since 2000’s masterful Chore of Enchantment, and before that,
1992’s blazing epic Center of the
. It features some of Howe Gelb’s most
directly affecting lyrics in years, plus wonderfully fleshed-out arrangements
and a yin/yang balance of rockers and ballads, of guitar-centric numbers and
piano-based ones.


40. Los Lobos – Tin Can Trust (Shout! Factory)

WE SAID: Los Lobos’
creative wellspring is muy ridiculoso. It’s
because their collective heart is huge, and their eye sees all. As usual, the
wolves couch these scenes and stories in lowrider rhythms, vox somnambulant and
spirited, dirty guitars, skronking sax and techie touches.


41. Greg Laswell – Take A Bow (Vanguard)

WE SAID: Laswell has
developed a signature sound that’s served him well, one that emphasizes a
hushed atmospheric ambiance that subtly drapes the music like an early morning
mist but leaves an emphatic impression nevertheless. Self produced and
performed almost entirely solo, Take A
furthers this motif, and yet, it finds a sharper focus than any
of his previous outings.


42. Clogs – The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton (Brassland)

WE SAID: The fifth
full-length for classically-influenced quartet Clogs begins with two voices, at
first staccato and spare, a little later lush with madrigal harmonies and
finally oddly birdlike, the main melodic line twittering and fluttering over
complicated counterpoints… the resulting songs are [as] disarmingly beautiful
[as] the composing process was rigorous.


43. Posies – Blood/Candy (Rykodisc)

WE SAID: With Blood/Candy, they’ve one-upped their
personal best. It’s a feast of sweet, coppery power-pop that’s at once
familiarly spacey and more down-to-earth. B/C is ultimately fresh and diverse with hallmarks intact, and
undoubtedly the Posies’ finest work.


44. Mynabirds – What We Lost in the Fire We Gained
in the Flood (Saddle Creek)

WE SAID: For all the
so-called innovations, experimentation and genrefucking that suffuse the indie
rock world, there’s still nothing like a good old-fashioned song. Reflecting
the ‘70s singer/songwriter tradition of margin walkers like Laura Nyro, Harry
Nilsson or Allen Toussaint, Laura Burhenn (ex-Georgie James) forgoes oddball
arrangements or deliberately jarring production tricks and just gets on with
the business of performing ten soulful pop songs.


45. Bettye LaVette – Interpretations: The British
Rock Songbook (Anti-)

WE SAID: Her song
selection is so spot-on that it’s tempting to lay them all out here, but
suffice to say that on this album LaVette goes as far as anyone ever has to
break down the forced and superfluous barriers between rock and roll and rhythm
and blues. This album will break your heart at least half a dozen times and put
you flat on your ass with your mouth wide open.


46. Neil Young – Le Noise (Reprise)

WE SAID: A series of
atmospheric soundscapes featuring Young alone on guitar, directed through the
ambitious agenda of producer Daniel Lanois. Loud, overdriven chunks of feedback
and distortion blow raspberries at the slightly (just slightly) less unruly
strummed segments, while Uncle Neil delivers – bizarrely, but welcome –
reflective observations on love, hate, peace, war ‘n’ stuff.


47. Bettie Serveert – Pharmacy of Love (Second

WE SAID: Scanning like a
live set keyed to maximum dynamic impact (both sonic and emotional) and
boasting a beefy sound, tuneful gems power past in rapid succession… the most
adrenalin-pumping slice of New Wave garage since Blondie’s “Hanging On the


48. Eux Autres – Broken Bow (Bons Mots)

WE SAID: It’s amazing how
much the band has grown since the early days and this, their 3rd full-length is easily the best thing they have ever done with compact, focused
pop songs that really move. If Broken Bow doesn’t get the band more fans, well, then, it’s obvious those pop fans need
some more education.


49. Tony Allen – Secret Agent (World

WE SAID: With a subtly
stormy style comprising sprightly jazz, R&B, traditional Nigerian and
highlife rhythms, Allen’s cross-cutting beats instantly propel each track. Secret Agent is a spaced-out spacious
work too that benefits from dub and the electronic avant-garde… A party album
with Allen proving to be a most amiable host.


50. Susan Cowsill – Lighthouse (Threadhead)

WE SAID: The songs on Lighthouse are guided by two themes –
loss and hope. Both have been a part of music since the beginning, but Susan
Cowsill (formerly of the family band the Cowsills) taps into some pretty
weighty experiences for inspiration.
Cowsill and her band have the power to their conviction and they pull it off.






Jónsi – Go (XL);
Oval – O (Thrill Jockey); Titus
Andronicus – The Monitor (XL); Marnie
Stern – Marnie Stern (Kill Rock
Stars); Spoon – Transference (Merge);
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Mojo (Reprise); The Sword – Warp Riders (Kemado); Kings Go Forth – The Outsiders
Are Back
(Luaka Bop); Antony and the Johnsons – Swanlights (Secretly Canadian); Budos Band – III (Daptone); Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs – Medicine County (Transdreamer);
Grinderman – Grinderman 2 (Anti-);
Jon Langford & Skull Orchard – Old
(Bloodshot); Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses – Junky Star (Lost Highway); Black Angels
Phosphene Dream (Blue Horizon)






REVENGE OF THE WRITERS: Best & Worst of 2010 (Pt.1)

 In which the folks who work in the trenches get in the last word. Hey,
nothing’s stopping you from doing your own list!




As part of our year-end wrap-up, we first yield the podium to the staffers
and writers and their personal picks for 2010. We think we have a pretty
diverse and lively crew here at the BLURT ward (it helps that we ply them
hourly with tequila and Oxycontin), and their selections reflect a true music
aficionado’s eclectic ideals. Guarantee: all dialogue reported verbatim. (Go
for Part 2 of the Writers’ lists.)


Coming tomorrow: Best Releases of 2010.


2009 Best-Of coverage is here (Artists
Top Tens), here (Revenge of the Writers) and here (The Blurt Top 50).


2008 Best-Of coverage is here and here.


Follow BLURT on Facebook and Twitter.









Top 10 New Releases

Mumford & Sons – Sigh
No More (Glassnote)
Johnny Flynn — Been Listening (Transgressive)

Peter Himmelman  — The Mystery and
the Hum (Minvan)
Band of Horses — Infinite Arms (Brown/Columbia)
Edward Rogers — Sparkle Lane
Truth & Salvage Company – self-titled (Megaforce Recordings)

Greg Laswell — Take a Bow
Carrie Rodriguez — Love and Circumstance (Ninth Street Opus)
Ken Will Morton — True Grit (Sojourn Records)
Blue Rodeo — The Things We Left Behind (Warner Music Canada)


Top 10 Archival/Reissues

Bruce Springsteen –
Darkness on the Edge of Town (Columbia)

Jimi Hendrix -West Coast Seattle Boy (Experience

Various Artists – Apple
Box (Apple/Capitol/EMI)

The Church – various
(Second Motion)

John Mellencamp — On the
Rural Route 7609 (Mercury/Universal)
The Blue Shadows — On the Floor of Heaven (Bumstead productions)

Richard and Linda Thompson
— Shoot Out the Lights (Ryko)
Strawbs – 40th Anniversary Celebration ((Witchwood Media)
Green Pajamas — Book of Hours (Green Monkey Records)

I See Hawks in L.A. — Shoulda Been Gold
(American Beat Recordings)


Music DVDs

Rolling Stones – Stones in
Exile ((Eagle)
Doors – When You’re Strange: A Film About the Doors (Eagle)
The Kinks — You Really Got Me: The Story of the Kinks (Voiceprint)

Tom Petty and the
Heartbreakers – Damn the Torpedoes (Eagle)
Brian Wilson – Songwriter 1962- 1969 (Sexy Intellectual)


Music Books
Peter Doggett – You Never Give Me Your Money (Harper)

Gerald Scarfe — The
Making of Pink Floyd the Wall (Da Capo Press)
Harry Shapiro — Jack Bruce: Composing Himself (Jawbone Publishing)

John Einarson – Forever
Changes: Arthur Lee and the Book of Love ((Jawbone)

Paul Myers – A Wizard A
True Star: Todd Rundgren in the Studio (Jawbone)


Top 5 Concerts

Roger Waters (BankAtlantic Center
– Fort Lauderdale, FL,
Robert Plant/Band of Joy (Bayfront Park, Miami
FL, 7-31-10)

Eagles (BankAtlantic Center,
Fort Lauderdale, FL, 10-27-10)

James Taylor/Carole King (BankAtlantic
Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL. 6-5-10)
David Gray (Fillmore, Miami Beach, 3-27-10)


“Inception” – stood so far
out from the rest, everything else pales in comparison!


Best Record Label

Yep Roc – This label may
position themselves as a down home indie, but their vast roster puts them on
the same footing as any major in terms of both quantity and quality. From Robyn
Hitchcock to Steve Wynn, Paul Weller to Loudon Wainwright, Nick Lowe to Darren
Hanlon, Dave Alvin to Todd Snider, they have it covered in terms of both
veterans and feisty newcomers. Long may they roc!


Coolest Trend/Whatever

Bigger and better box sets
– This year’s release of archival efforts from Bruce Springsteen and Jimi
Hendrix, two artists who offered the impression that all their unreleased
material had already been ransacked and exhumed, demonstrate the fact that
compendiums haven’t run their course and there’s still the possibility of
sharing unreleased material of true value to collectors and enthusiasts.


Most Annoying Trend/Whatever

The continuing offering of
streams and downloads to writers and reviewers. I can add little to the
articulate riposte that editor Fred Mills offered last year. As he pointed out,
they may be a financially effective way of sharing new releases, but it’s also
a cumbersome waste of time for the reviewer who is churning out reviews every
day and seeking only a disc in return. Publicists and labels, wake up! We are
rarely paid for our efforts and usually doing what we are doing in addition to
the full time day job which pays the bills. In other words, we’re doing it for
the love! Not to seem ungrateful, but really – if we can’t get a lousy disc for
our efforts, where’s the motivation? And you want us to either sit and listen
on our computer or take the time to burn and create our own CDs? What?  You want us to do your job for you by firing
up our own enthusiasm? It ain’t gonna work! Wise up – if you want our support
in spreading the word about your clients, send a disc so we can listen at our
leisure without the burden of detracting from our deadlines. Amen (PS – Those
that get it – Love you guys!)


Most Fucked Up

See above tirade.


Best New Artist

Truth & Salvage
Company – Country Rock and Americana
reinvented in the authentic West Coast tradition.


Worst New Artist

Lady Gaga – or should we
say, Lady Gag Gag. First of all, m’lady, your name strikes three blows against
you before we even proceed to the music. Secondly, The make-up thing and silly
props idea was done to death way before you ever came along – by the likes of
David Bowie, Madonna, Elton John and even Cher. Give it up – you already seem


Best New Artist With Worst Name

Mumford & Sons – While
the name implies a torn branch off Sanford & Son’s family tree, this
British quartet provides the perfect mesh of pensive rock, wistful folk and
bleak shoegaze, all purveyed with a compelling dynamic and lots of captivating
melodies. They’re gonna go far


Sex Object Of the Year

Shelby Lynne – She’s a
no-nonsense babe and I love the way she talked dirty when I chatted with her
about her new label and indie release. Yeah, I felt that release alright…


Best Moustache

Bob Dylan – Just ‘cause it
makes him look so friggin’ weird, kinda like Ricky Rat…


Desert Island Bliss: Artist You’d Like to be Stuck on an Island With

Emmylou Harris – need I
say more? Her music would soothe my trepidation and I suspect she could be
convinced to swath us in patchouli oil.


Desert Island Dick: Artist You’d Most Like NOT to be Stuck
on an Island With

Graham Parker – Love the
tunes but Graham seems WAY too cranky. “What?
You don’t have that hut built yet? I told you to gather palm fronds…


On Facebook and/or Twitter?

No — only if someone tags
me. OK, maybe I’m a Neanderthal and not exactly as technically astute as I
ought to be, but for Chrissakes, if you wanna get hold of me, send me a goddamn
email or pick up the phone and dial my number! I can’t remember all these
friggin’ passwords and I don’t have time to take all these extra steps to
communicate with you. And what’s with the 140 character limit on Twitter? I got
too much to say to edit myself as I go along. You want me to edit this tirade
down to 140 characters? No way! And frankly, I don’t give a crap that you had a
cheese sandwich for lunch today. And while I’m at it, I also don’t want to hear
that you’re having the vacation of your life lounging about in Barcelona. I’m at work, OK? I’m working my
ass off and getting crap from my boss. I don’t have the money to go to Barcelona. Nor the time.
Don’t make me even more bitter than I already am. It’s like being forced to
watch someone’s home movies or getting those annual Christmas cards from people
you don’t talk to all year and then they include a ten page letter about what a
wonderful year they’ve had and how Buddy Junior graduated at the top of his
class and little Rebecca is a straight A student and they just bought
themselves a new Porsche and life is so fucking great… I don’t care, OK/wp-content/photos So
go twitter yourself already… (Aren’t you sorry you asked?)


2011 Release You Are Most Looking Forward To

The next Avett Brothers album.
These guys blend urgency and emotion in a way no one else can. Their recent
live album provided further proof they’ve got the goods. Humble guys with big


Favorite story or review you wrote for BLURT

The extended dual
interview with the Posies.









Top 10 New Releases

Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest (4AD)

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

Primal Scream – Live London
11/26/10 (Delica, bootleg)

Giant Sand – Blurry Blue Mountain

Steve Wynn & the Miracle 3 – Northern Aggression (Yep

Crocodiles – Sleep Forever (Fat Possum)

Dot Allison – Room 7 ½ (Arthoused/Absolute)

Alejandro Escovedo – Street Songs of Love (Fantasy)

James Holden – DJ-Kicks (!K7)

Kim Salmon & the Surrealists – Grand Unifying Theory
(Low Transit Industries)

Neil Young – Le Noise (Reprise)


Top 10 Archival/Reissues

Dream Syndicate – Medicine Show (Water/Runt)

Saint Etienne – Tiger
Bay Deluxe Edition

Stooges – Raw Power: Deluxe Edition (Columbia/Legacy)

Various Artists – Psych Funk Sa-Re-Ga! (Psychedelic Funk in
India 1970-1983) (Stones Throw/World Psychedelic Classics)

Rain Parade – Beyond the Sunset (Lemon/Cherry Red)

Rikki Ililonga & Music-O-Tunya – Dark Sunrise (Stones Throw/Now-Again)

Was (Not Was) – Pick of the Litter 1980-2010 (Micro Werks)

The Church – Deep in the Shallows: The Classic Singles
Collection (Second Motion)

Syl Johnson – The Complete Mythology (Numero

Republic – Procession: An
Aural History 1981-2010 (LTM)

Various Artists – Ninja Tune XX (Ninja Tune)

Bruce Springsteen – The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of
Town Story (Columbia/Legacy)


Top 10 Singles /

Was (Not Was) – “Knocked Down, Made Small (Treated Like A
Rubber Ball)” (old track, reissued)

Coast – “Boyfriend”

Lykke Li – “Get Some”

Fitz & the Tantrums – “Moneygrabber”

Parting Gifts (Ettes & Reigning Sound) – “(Walkin’ Thru
The) Sleepy City” (Stones cover)

Eux Autres – “My Love Will Not Let You Down” (Springsteen

Cee-Lo Green – “Fuck You”

Anika – “I Go To Sleep”

Tired Pony – “Dead American Writers”

Bettie Serveert – “Deny All”

!!! – “Jamie, My Intentions are Bass”

Janelle Monáe – “Tightrope” (feat. Big Boi)


Music DVDs

Leonard Cohen – Songs From the Road (Columbia/Legacy)

Tom Petty – Damn the Torpedoes: Classic Albums (Eagle Rock)

Theresa Andersson – Live at Le Petit (Basin Street)

The Rolling Stones – Ladies And Gentleman…The Rolling Stones
(Eagle Rock)

Jack Rose & Glenn Jones – The Things That We Used To Do
(Strange Attractors Audio House)

Runaways (dir. by Floria Sigismondi)


Music Books

Patti Smith – Just Kids (Ecco Books)

Tesco Vee & Dave Stimson – Touch And Go: The Complete
Hardcore Punk Zine ’79-’83 (Bazillion Points)

Mick Houghton – Becoming Elektra: The True Story of Jac
Holzman’s Visionary Record Label (Jawbone Press)

Jeanette Leech – Seasons They Change: The Story of Acid and
Psychedelic Folk (Jawbone)

Rob Chapman – A Very Irregular Head: The Life of Syd Barrett
(Da Capo)


Top 5 Concerts

Massive Attack (Moogfest @ Thomas Wolfe, Asheville NC,
Oct. 30)

Toubab Krewe (Bele Chere, Asheville NC,
July 24)

22nd Annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam (Civic
Center, Asheville NC, Dec. 11)

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (Verizon Amphitheatre,
Charlotte NC, Sept. 19)

Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich + Fussible (Moogfest @
Orange Peel, Asheville NC, Oct. 29)



Inception (dir. by Christopher Nolan)

Mogwai: Burning (dir. by Vincent Moon)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (dir. by Niels Arden Opley)

The Kids Are All Right (dir. by Lisa Cholodenko)

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 1 (dir. by David


Best Record Label

(tie) Stones Throw/Now-Again (for that “global funk and
psychedelic grooves”); !K7 (for amazing funk/dance/archival titles and of
course their “DJ-Kicks” series)


Best Music Website

BigO Worldwide (for discriminating collectors of, er, live


Trend/Whatever why no one thought to create an
aggregator/organizer for YouTube before is beyond me, but no matter – this has
the navigational and selection ease of iTunes or Rhapsody and to a large degree
eliminates the randomness that can make YouTube frustrating.


Most Annoying

MySpace: incredibly, the recent revisions and updates to
this heavily-trafficked band portal have resulted in a navigation system that’s
even clunkier than before (not to mention more prone to pages freezing up);
worse, the pages are now so poorly organized as to be utterly incomprehensible.
I predict MySpace will be defunct within 2 years.


Most Fucked Up

Captain Beefheart dies without returning to music


Best New Artist



Worst New Artist

(tie) Sleigh Bells; Wakey!Wakey!


Best New Artist With
Worst Name

The Drums (formerly Elkland, then formerly Goat Explosion so
I guess things are improving)


Sex Object of the

Lykke Li (for 2011 too)


Favorite Video Game

LEGO Universe


Clear Channel
Presents: Corporate Asshole of the Year

Mark Zuckerberg


Best Moustache

Bianca Casady of CocoRosie


Desert Island Bliss: Artist You’d Like to be Stuck on an Island With

Bob Lefsetz: dude won’t shut up but at least he makes a lot
of sense.


Desert Island Dick: Artist You’d Most Like NOT to be Stuck
on an Island With

M.I.A.: bitch won’t shut up and she ALWAYS is talking right
out of her ass.


On Facebook and/or

No and no… well, not quite and almost… well… sorta.
Performing administrative duties for BLURT means I am on both throughout the
day overseeing our social networking. And both are incredibly effective – and
essential – tools for a small business such as ours; they’ve increased our
reach exponentially. But as a private citizen I am not “on” either platform;
the people I am interested in “sharing” with (such as sharing music biz stuff,
personal information or even photos of my dick a la Kanye West) already have my email.


2011 Releases You Are
Most Looking Forward To

1. Akron/Family – The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT
(Dead Oceans)

2. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes (LL Recordings)

3. Various Artists – Those Shocking Shaking Days: Indonesian
Hard Psychedelic Progressive Rock & Funk (Now-Again/Stones Throw)

4. Drive-By Truckers – Go-Go Boots (ATO)


Favorite story or
review you wrote for BLURT

“Early Kurt Cobain Demos Unearthed” (plus followup)











Top 10 New Releases

Grinderman-2 (anti)

Best Coast-Crazy for You (Mexican Summer)

Titus Andronicus, The Monitor (XL)

Beach House, Teen Dream (Sub Pop)

Superchunk, Majesty Shredding (merge)

Deerhunter, Halycon Digest (4AD)

Spoon, Transference 

Ted Leo, The Brutalist Bricks (Matador)

Mt. St Helens
Vietnam Band,
Where the Messengers Meet (Secretly Canadian)

Gaslight Anthem, American Slang (Sideone Dummy)


Top Archival/Reissues

The Feelies catalog


Music Books

Cheetah Chrome – A Dead Boy’s Tale (Voyageur Press)


Best Record Label

(tie) Kemado, Merge





Most Annoying



Most Fucked Up

Where do I begin? 2010 happened.


Best New Artist

Jamey Johnson


Best New Artist With
Worst Name

Foxes in Fiction


Sex Object Of the

(tie) Zooey Daschanel, Lykke Li


Favorite Video Game

Donkey Kong Returns


Clear Channel
Presents: Corporate Asshole of the Year

(tie) Paste, Gawker


Best Moustache

Franz Nicolay, Nick


Desert Island Bliss: Artist You’d Like to be Stuck on an Island With

Lykke Li, Robert Pollard, Harry Dean Stanton


Desert Island Dick: Artist You’d Most Like NOT to be Stuck
on an Island With

Morrissey, Jack White


2011 Release You Are
Most Looking Forward To

(tie) Lykke Li, PJ Harvey







Top 10 New Releases

The Soft Pack – The Soft Pack (Kemado)

Rose — Luck in the Valley (Thrill Jockey)

– Frauhaus! (Captured Tracks)

– Similes (Temporary Residence)

–False Flag (Drag

Leo –The Brutalist Bricks (Matador)

Fall –Your Future Our Clutter (Domino)

Staples -You Are Not Alone (Anti-)

Jurado — St. Bartlett (Secretly Canadian)

Golightly and the Brokeoffs –Medicine
County (Transdreamer)


Runners-Up List

White Fence – White Fence
(Make a Mess)

Clogs — In the Garden of Lady Walton (Brassland)

Wovenhand —
Threshingfloor (Sounds Familyre)

Kelley Stoltz –To
Dreamers (Sub Pop)

Andreya Triana –Lost
Where I Belong (Ninja Tune)

Sharon Van Etten — Epic

Current 93 — Baalstorm,
Sing Omega (Coptic Cat)

Ty Segall — Melted

Frightened Rabbit —
Winter of Mixed Drinks (FatCat)

Bottomless Pit — Blood
Under the Bridge (Comedy Minus One)

Jonsi — Go (XL)

Wreckless Eric and Amy
Rigby — Two Way
Family Favorites (Southern Domestic)


Top 5 Archival/Reissues

Neu! – Vinyl Box

Jon Spencer Blues
Explosion – Orange/Orange Experimental Remixes/Acme (Shout! Factory)

The Easter Monkeys –
Splendor of Sorrow (Smog Veil)

Psychedelic Aliens –
Psycho African Beat (Academy)

Carissa’s Weird – They’ll
Only Miss you When You Leave: Songs 1996-2003 (Hardly Art)



The Hold Steady (Pearl Street, Northampton,
MA, April 6)

Rangda/Major Stars (The
Flywheel, Easthampton, MA, September 2)

Tortoise (The Iron Horse, Northampton MA
September 6)

Bob Mould and Chris Brokaw
(The Iron Horse, Northampton,
MA November 9)


Best Record Label



Most Annoying Trend/Whatever

Bedroom disco


Most Fucked Up

Russ Feingold lost to a


Best New Artist



Worst New Artist

Was Surfer Blood this
year?  So forgettable. 



Best New Artist With Worst Name



Sex Object Of the Year

I dunno…Twin Shadow


Favorite Video Game

Madden NFL


Clear Channel Presents: Corporate Asshole of the

/wp-content/photos Hard to choose


Best Moustache

Ryan Kattner (Honus Honus)


Desert Island Bliss: Artist You’d Like to be Stuck on an Island With

Eddie Argos


Desert Island Dick: Artist You’d Most Like NOT to be Stuck
on an Island With

Mark E. Smith though he’d
probably just send his wife.


On Facebook and/or Twitter?

No, already wasting plenty
of time without them.


2011 Release You Are Most Looking Forward To

The new Mogwai is blowing
me away. 


Favorite story or review you wrote for BLURT

Clogs: Song with (and
without) words










Top 10 New Releases

Laurie Anderson – Homeland (Nonesuch)

Susan Cowsill – Lighthouse (Threadhead)

Roky Erickson with Okkervil River
True Love Cast Out All Evil  (Anti-)

Hot Chip – One Life

Elton John and Leon Russell – The Union (Decca)

Janelle Monae – The

Mike Patton – Mondo

Portico Quarter – Isla (Real World)

Mavis Staples – You
Are Not Alone

Tracy Thorn – Love And
Its Opposite


Top 10 Archival/Reissues

Linda Bruner – Songs
for a Friend

Brute Force – I, Brute
Force: Confections of Love

Iggy and the Stooges – Raw

Syl Johnson – Complete
(Numero Group)

The King R&B Box

Monkees – Head (Rhino

Stuart Moxham
Personal Best

Ola Belle Reed – Rising
Sun Melodies
(Smithsonian Folkways)

Rolling Stones – Exile
on Main Street

You Baby: Words and
Music by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri
(Ace – U.K.)


Music DVDs

Leonard Cohen – Bird
on a Wire
(MVD Visual)

The Rolling Stones – Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones (Eagle Rock)

The Sacred Triangle: Bowie, Iggy & Lou
(Sexy Intellectual/Chrome 

The T.A.M.I. Show (Shout! Factory)

Who Is Harry Nilsson
(And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?


Music Books

Patti Smith – Just

Keith Richards – Life ( Little, Brown)

Tommy James – Me, the
Mob and the Music

Greil Marcus – When
That Rough God Goes Riding: Listening to Van Morrison

Sean Wilentz – Bob
Dylan in America


Top 10

Laurie Anderson – Only an Expert

and the Johnsons – Thank You For Your Love

Frog Eyes – A Flower in a Glove

The Hold Steady – We Can Get Together

Jones & the Dap-Kings – I Learned the Hard Way

Tift Merritt – Mixtape

The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio

Pomegranates – Anywhere You Go Kanye West – Monster

Paul Simon – Getting Ready for Christmas Day


Best Music Website

Blurt Magazine


Top 5 Festivals

Big Ears Festival (Knoxville,
March 26-28)

Nelsonville Music Festival (Nelsonville OH, May 15-16.)

Ponderosa Stomp (Detroit
Breakdown, New York,
July 31.)

Ponderosa Stomp (New
Orleans, Sept. 24-26.)

Moogfest (Asheville
NC, Oct. 29-31)


Favorite Story I
Wrote for BLURT

Just Walk Away, Renee: Renee Fleming vs. Barb Jungr







Top 10 New Releases
Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Roc-A-Fella)
Codeine Velvet Club – Codeine Velvet Club (Universal-Island)
Broken Bells – Broken Bells (Columbia)
VV Brown – Travelling Like the Light (Island)
Nneka – Concrete Jungle (Decon Inc)
Youssou N’Dour – Music From the Motion Picture ‘I Bring What I Love’ (Nonesuch)
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Crazy Heart (New West)
The Upsidedown – The Town With Bad Wiring (Reverb)
Buddy Guy – Living Proof (Silvertone)
Girl Talk – All Day (Illegal Art)

Top 10 Archival/Reissues
Fucked Up – Couple Tracks: Singles 2002-2009 (Matador)
Jay-Z – The Hits Collection- Volume 1 (Roc-A-Fella)
Various Artists – African Boogaloo- The Latinization of West Africa (Honest
EPMD – Strictly Business (Priority)
Sweet Talks – The Kusum Beat (Soundway)
Various Artists – How Sweet It Was — The Sights & Sounds Of Gospel’s
Golden Age (Shanachie)
Lee Dorsey – The New Lee Dorsey (Rev-Ola)
Various Artists- Ouaga Affair, Hard Won Sound of the Upper Volta 1974-1978
Willie Colon – Asalto Navideno 1 & 2 (Fania)
Various Artists – A Reference Of Female-Fronted Punk Rock: 1977-89

Top 10 Singles/Tracks
Freshlyground “Chicken To Change”
Omarion “I Get It In”
Surfer Blood “Swim”
Big Boi “Fo Yo Sorrows”
Jesse Malin “All the Way From Moscow”
Janelle Monae “Tightrope”
The Hold Steady “Rock Problems”
Cee-Lo “Fuck You”
Nas & Damien “Jr. Gong” Marley “As We Enter”
Ciara “Gimme Dat”

Music DVDs
Rolling Stones – Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones (Eagle Rock Ent)
John Lennon – Lennon NYC (A&E Home Video)
Albert King/Stevie Ray Vaughan – In Session (Stax)
Beyonce – I Am… World Tour (Columbia)
Johnny Cash – Christmas With Johnny Cash (The Yule Log DVD) (Sony Legacy)

Music Books
Alex Ross – Listen to This (Farrar,
Straus and Giroux)
Keith Richards – Life (Little, Brown
and Company)
Patti Smith – Just Kids (Ecco)
Adam Bradley, Andrew DuBois – The Anthology of Rap (Yale University Press)
Greil Marcus – Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus:
Writings 1968-2010
Top 5 Concerts
Arcade Fire (Madison Square Garden, New York NY 8-4-10)
Ty Segall (Cake Shop, New York NY 8-12-10)
Flaming Lips (Central Park Summerstage, New York NY 7-26-10)
Bang on a Can marathon (World Financial Center, New York NY 6-27-10)
The Heavy (Bowery Ballroom, New York NY 6-16-10)
The King’s Speech
Terribly Happy
Ghost Writer
Get Low
Best Record Label

Matador (runner up: Duck

Coolest Trend/Whatever

Tristan Perich’s 1-Bit
playable CDs (too bad they’re not cheaper)

Most Annoying Trend/Whatever

Major labels and media
outlets still clueless about how to survive in a digital age

Most Fucked Up

FCC’s spinelessness about
allowing mergers and consolidation of huge media companies

Best New Artist

Bear Hands

Worst New Artist


Best New Artist With Worst Name

Wild Nothing

Sex Object Of the Year

Lady Gaga and her flaming
bra (not the gun one)

Video Game

Angry Birds

Clear Channel Presents: Corporate
Asshole of the Year

Irving Azoff, hands down

Best Moustache

For facial hair, it’s a
three way tie – Joaquin Phoenix, Rick Ross, Zach

Desert Island
Bliss: Artist You’d Like to be Stuck on an Island

Brian Eno, because he’d
have all these strange, interesting, wacky ideas about what to do with the
sand, coconut trees, ocean water, etc..

Desert Island
Dick: Artist You’d Most Like NOT to be Stuck on an Island

Kanye West, even though he
put out the best album this year.

On Facebook and/or Twitter?

Yep and yep. It’s where
the action’s at, baby! &

2011 Release You Are Most Looking
Forward To

Jandek’s duets album (so
far Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber, Jessica Simpson & Mark E. Smith have
signed on)

Favorite story or review you wrote for

Richard Thompson interview








Top 10 New Releases

Richard Bennett – Valley Of The Sun (Moderne Shellac)

Willie Nelson – Country Music (Rounder)

Merle Haggard – I Am What I Am (Vanguard Records)

Colin Hay – Deep Fried Satisfied (Ingot Rock)

Jon Langford & Skull Orchard – Old Devils (Bloodshot)

Justin Currie – The Great War – (Ryko)

Jim Byrnes – Everywhere West (Black Hen)

Wendy Bird – Natural Wonder (Beaumont Classic Records)

Jan King & Medicine Ball – Things To Hide

The Buicks – Biscuits n’ Chicken (Teletone Records


 Top 10 Archival/Reissues

Hank Williams – The Complete Mother’s Best (Time-Life)

Jimi Hendrix – West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology (Sony

Ray Charles – Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters (Concord Records)

Bob Dylan – The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964/The Bootleg Series
Vol. 9 (Columbia

The Blue Shadows – On The Floor Of Heaven (Bumstead Records)


Music DVDs

The Rolling Stones – Ladies And Gentleman…The Rolling Stones
(Eagle Rock)

The Everly Brothers – Reunion
Concert: Live at the Royal Albert Hall (Eagle Rock)

Rory Gallagher – Ghost Blues: The Story of Rory Gallagher
& the Beat Club Sessions (Eagle Rock)


Music Books

John Einarson – Forever Changes: Arthur Lee and the Book Of
Love (Jawbone Press)

Chris Salewicz-Bob Marley: The Untold Story (Faber &

Ken Sharp – Starting Over: The Making of John Lennon and
Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy (MTV)

Antonio D’Ambrosio – A Heartbeat and A Guitar: Johnny Cash
and the Making of Bitter Tears (Nation Books)


Best Record Label




 “American Idol” is
dying at last.


Most Annoying

David Gray/Ray LaMontagne style head shaking.


Most Fucked Up

The results of the mid-term elections.


Best New Artist

The Zut Alors


Worst New Artist

 Appeared on SNL


Sex Object Of the

The Merle Haggard Signature Model Fender Telecaster


Favorite Video Game

Fox News


Clear Channel
Presents: Corporate Asshole of the Year

How many ducks are in the barrel?


Best Moustache

Elisabeth Hasselbeck


Desert Island Bliss: Artist You’d Like to be Stuck on an Island With



Desert Island Dick: Artist You’d Most Like NOT to be Stuck
on an Island With

Michael Bublé


On Facebook and/or

Leaving and no. (Think: George Orwell)


2011 Release You Are
Most Looking Forward To

Wesley Snipes








Top 10 New Releases

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Def Jam)

Neil Young  – Le Noise

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – The Brutalist Bricks (Matador)

The Last Electro-Acoustic Space Jazz & Percussion
Ensemble – Miles Away (Stones Throw)/Young Jazz Rebels – Slave Riot (Stones
Throw) (TIE)

Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma (Warp)

Gorillaz – Plastic
Beach (Virgin)

Eminem – Recovery (Aftermath-Interscope)

Twin Shadow – Forget (Terrible)

Four Tet – There Is Love In You (Domino)

Gonjasufi – A Sufi and a Killer (Warp)


Top 10 Reissues

Various Artists – The Apple Records Box Set (Apple-EMI)

Jimi Hendrix – West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology

Syl Johnson – Complete Mythology (Numero

David Bowie – Station to Station: Deluxe Edition (Virgin)

Orange Juice – Coals to Newcastle (Domino)

The Cure – Disintegration: Deluxe Edition (Rhino)

Incredible String Band – The Incredible String Band/5000
Spirits or the Layers of an Onion/The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter/Wee-Tam and
Big Huge (Fled’gling)

The Dream Syndicate – Medicine Show (Water)

Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos
1962-1964 (Columbia-Legacy)

R.E.M. Fables of the Reconstruction: 25th Anniversary
Edition (IRS-EMI)


Music DVDS

Bruce Springsteen – The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge of
Town Story (Columbia)

Ladies and Gentlemen…The Rolling Stones! (Eagle Rock)

The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights (Third
Man-Warner Bros.)

Rock ‘n’ Roll
High School: Roger
Corman’s Cult Classics (SHOUT! Factory)

Michael Jackson’s Vision (Epic-Legacy)



Faith No More (Williamsburg
Waterfront July 5, 2010)


Best Record Label

Warp Records



A regression to the meaner days of indie rock


Most Annoying



Most Fucked Up

The rise of the Tea Party


Best New Artist



Worst New Artist



Best New Artist With
Worst Name

Allo Darlin’


Sex Object Of the

Brie Larson


Favorite Video Game

NOT Angry Birds


Clear Channel
Presents: Corporate Asshole of the Year

The new music editor at Billboard


Best Moustache

Jerry Fuchs (RIP)


On Facebook and/or

Yes to Facebook, because I can keep up with people in my
personal life. No to Twitter because what I have on my mind measures up to a
lot more than 140 characters (although Weingarten’s 1000 TImes Yes and Yo La
Tengo’s James McNew’s Tweets are both essential reading)


2011 Release You Are
Most Looking Forward To

The new Aphex Twin album


Favorite story or
review you wrote for BLURT

Titus Andronicus “Channeling Penny Rimbaud”










Top 10 New Releases

Megafaun — Heretofore

Holly Miranda — The
Magician’s Private Library (XL Recordings)

Holy Sons — Survivalist
Tales (Partisan)

Hiss Golden Messenger —
Root Work (Heaven & Earth Magic)

The Love Language —
Libraries (Merge)

Sin Ropas – Holy Broken

Sun Araw — On Patrol (Not
Not Fun)

Broken Social Scene —
Forgiveness Rock Record (Arts & Crafts)

Woods — At Echo Lake

Greenhornes — **** (Third


Runners-Up List

Glasser — Ring (True

The Scottish Enlightenment
– St. Thomas (Armellodie)

Wild Nothing – Gemini
(Captured Tracks)

Kings Go Forth — The
Outsiders Are Back (Luaka Bop)

Antony & the Johnsons – Thank You for Your Love

Siskiyou — Siskiyou

Secret Cities — Pink
Graffiti, Pt.1 (Western Vinyl)

Deerhunter/Halcyon Digest

Cee-Lo – Lady Killer

Bonnie Prince Billy & Cairo Gang/Wonder Show of the World (Drag City)

Arcade Fire — The Suburbs (Merge)

Swans – My Father Will
Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky (Young God)

Warpaint — The Fool
(Rough Trade)

Julian Lynch – Mare (Olde
English Spelling Bee)

Tindersticks – Falling
Down a Mountain (Constellation)

Quasi – American Gong


Top 10 Archival/Reissues

The Rolling Stones —
Exile on Main Street

Galaxie 500 — Today/On
Fire/This Is Our Music (Domino/20-20-20)

The Cure – Disintegration

Morrissey – Bona Drag

Pavement – Quarantine the
Past (Matador)

KC Accidental — Captured
Anthems For An Empty Bathtub/Anthems For The Could’ve Bin Pills (Arts &

Robert Wyatt – Rock Bottom

Iggy & the Stooges –
Raw Power (Legacy)

Springsteen – Darkness on
the Edge of Town/The Promise (Columbia)

Bob Dylan — The Bootleg
Series, Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 (Columbia)



Wye Oak (Local 506, Chapel Hill, NC

Tortoise (Hopscotch Festival,
Raleigh, NC

Bonnie Prince Billy &
the Cairo Gang (Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte, NC  12/3/10)

Scout Niblett (Snug Harbor,
Charlotte, NC 3/7/10)

Sin Ropas (The Milestone, Charlotte, NC







, CA


Top 10 New Releases

Admiral Radley – I Heart California (Anti-)

Jigsaw Seen – Bananas
Foster (Vibro-Phonic)

Steve Wynn & The
Miracle 3 – Northern Aggression (Yep Roc)

Roky Erickson &
Okkervil River – True Love Cast Out All Evil (Anti-)

Orange Peels – 2020
(Mystery Lawn)

Apples In Stereo –
Travellers In Time And Space (Yep Roc/Simian)

Richard Barone – Glow (Bar

Frightened Rabbit – Winter
Of Mixed Drinks (Fat Cat)

Beach House – Teen Dream
(Sub Pop)

Various Artists – Through
A Faraway Window: Tribute To Jimmy Silva            (SteadyBoy)



Rain Parade – Beyond The
Sunset (Lemon/Cherry Red)

Explosives – 3 Ring Circus


Top 5 Concerts

Buffalo Springfield –
Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View
CA  10-24-10

Admiral Radley –
Somebody’s Barn, Escalon CA 7-24-10

Apples In Stereo – Blank
Club, San Jose CA 10-31-10

Teenage Fanclub – Great American
Music Hall, San Francisco CA

Avett Brothers – Mountain
Winery, Saratoga CA 7-1-10



The Social Network

Animal Kingdom

Jack Goes Boating

Get Him To The Greek

Red Riding Trilogy


Most Annoying Trend/Whatever

Audience members bellowing
out inane comments to onstage performers, the only time the “open
carry” laws might come in handy.


Best New Artist

Los Campesinos


Desert Island Bliss: Artists You’d Like to be Stuck on an Island With

Rebecca Hall and Russell


On Facebook?

Facebook is sooo boring. I
look at it once a month, why I’m not sure. If I want to know what people are
having for lunch, I’ll ask.


Favorite story or review you wrote for BLURT

Buffalo Springfield
Live @ Bridge Benefit   









Top 10 New Releases

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

The Black Keys – Brothers (Nonesuch)

Justin Townes Earle – Harlem River
Blues (Bloodshot)

Robert Plant – Band of Joy (Rounder)

Jones & the Dap-Kings – I Learned the Hard Way (Daptone)

Sleigh Bells – Treats (Mom + Pop/NEET)

The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang (SideOne Dummy)

Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest (4AD)

Drive-By Truckers – The Big To-Do (ATO)

Superchunk – Majesty Shredding (Merge)


Top 10

Bruce Springsteen – The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of
Town Story (Columbia)

Richard & Linda Thompson – Shoot Out the Lights (Rhino

Miles Davis – Bitches Brew: Legacy Edition (Sony Legacy)

Jimi Hendrix – Valleys of Neptune
(Sony Legacy)

Otis Redding Live on the Sunset Strip (Stax)

David Bowie – Station to Station (EMI)

Stevie Ray Vaughn/Albert King – In Session (Stax)

Superchunk – No Pocky for Kitty/On the Mouth (Merge)

John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers – So Many Roads: An
Anthology (Hip-O)


Top Concerts

The Black Keys (Classic Car Club, NYC, 5/15/10)

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings  (Prospect
Park, Brooklyn, NY

Wilco (Wellmont Theater, Montclair, NJ,

Allman Brothers/Gov’t Mule/North
Mississippi All-Stars: One More for Woody (Roseland, NYC, 11/22/10)

The National (Radio
City Music
Hall, NYC 6/16/10)

Arcade Fire (Bank of America
Pavilion, Boston,

The Dead Weather(Prospect
Park, Brooklyn, NY

Peter Wolf (The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY

The Hold Steady (Bowery Ballroom, NYC 4/17/10)









Top 10 New Releases

The National – High Violet

Kanye West – My Beautiful
Dark Twisted Fantasy (Roc-A-Fella Records)

Junip – Fields (Mute)

Damien Jurado – Saint
Bartlett (Secretly Canadian)

Broken Social Scene –
Forgiveness Rock Record (Arts & Crafts)

The Black Keys – Brothers

Dr. Dog – Shame, Shame

LCD Soundsystem – This Is
Happening (DFA/Virgin)

Yeasayer – Odd Blood
(Secretly Canadian)

Everest – On Approach
(Warner Brothers)

Big Light – Animals in
Bloom (reapandsow)


Top 10 Archival/Reissues

Bruce Springsteen – The
Promise (Columbia/Sony)

The Rolling Stones – Exile
On Main Street

Various Artists – Next
Stop Soweto 1-3

Miles Davis – Bitches Brew
Nirvana – Bleach (Sub Pop/Universal)

Paul McCartney & Wings
– Band On The Run (Concord)

Elliott Smith – An
Introduction To… (Kill Rock Stars)

David Bowie – Station To
Station (EM I)

Spiritualized – Ladies And
Gentleman We Are Floating In Space (ATP)

Syl Johnson – Complete
Mythology (Numero Group)


Top 5 Concerts

My Morning Jacket with
Preservation Hall Jazz Band (4/24/10 – Preservation Hall, New Orleans, LA)

Thom Yorke Atoms For Peace
(4/15/10 – The Fox Theater, Oakland,

Levon Helm Band Ramble
with Jim James & Phil Lesh (8/13/10 – The Independent, San Francisco, CA)

The Mother Hips (9/18/10 –
The Fillmore, San Francisco,

Paul McCartney (7/10/10 – AT&T Park,
San Francisco, CA)


Best New Artist

Dawes.  Though the debut dropped in 2009, in 2010 I
saw them and became fully swept up.


Desert Island Bliss: Artist You’d Like to be Stuck on an Island With

Tim Bluhm – The Mother


Desert Island Dick: Artist You’d Most Like NOT to be Stuck
on an Island With

Justin Bieber


2011 Release You Are Most Looking Forward To

Tie: My Morning Jacket and







Top 10 New Releases

Beach House – Teen Dream (Sub Pop)

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today (4AD)
Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM (Because Music/Elektra)

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Rock-A-Fella
Records, Def Jam)

Twin Shadow – Forget (4AD)

LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening (DFA,Virgin)

Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest (4AD)

The Walkmen – Lisbon
(Fat Possum, Bella Union)
Girls – Broken Dreams Club EP (True Panther Sounds)
The National – High Violet (4AD)


Top 10 Singles/Tracks

Surf City”
– The Walkmen

“Dance Yrself Clean” – LCD Soundsystem

“When We’re Dancing” – Twin Shadow

“Palaces of Montezuma” – Grinderman

“Little Wig” – Ariel Pink

“Like a Tourist” – of Montreal

“Everlasting Light” – Black Keys

“Big River” – Secret Sisters (w/ Jack White)

“Who Makes Your Money” – Spoon

“Sprawl II (Mountains
Beyond Mountains)”
– Arcade Fire


Top 10

David Bowie – Station to Station (EMI)

Bruce Springsteen – The Promise (Columbia)


Top 5 Concerts

LCD Soundsystem (Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD

Spoon/Deerhunter (Radio
City Music Hall, New York,
NY 03-29-10)

Dean Wareham Plays Galaxie 500 (Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY

The National (Radio
City Music Hall, New York,
NY 06-23-10)

Of Montreal (Theatre of
Living Arts, Philadelphia, PA 05-29-10)



Winter’s Bone

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

The Social Network


Valhalla Rising


Best Record Label




The Creators Project (New


Most Annoying

Elections (all of them, regardless of outcome)


Most Fucked Up

Plenty of options this year, as with any year, but, frankly,
North Korea
scares the shit out of me – more than double-digit unemployment percentages


Best New Artist

Twin Shadow


Worst New Artist

Sleigh Bells


Best New Artist With
Worst Name



Sex Object Of the

Gemma Arterton


Clear Channel
Presents: Corporate Asshole of the Year

BP President Lamar McKay… and Kings of Leon.


Best Moustache

Jim James


Desert Island Bliss: Artist You’d Like to be Stuck on an Island With

St. Vincent (for purely
artistic reasons, of course)


Desert Island Dick: Artist You’d Most Like NOT to be Stuck
on an Island With

Bono (obvious, but true)


On Facebook and/or
Twitter? Why or why not?

Yes and yes (but mostly to the latter). I like to think of
myself as a modern man using modern tools in the modern world.


2011 Release You Are
Most Looking Forward To



Favorite story or
review you wrote for BLURT

The National, Radio City Musical Hall, June 2010









Top 10 New Releases

Holly Golightly & The
Brokeoffs – Medicine
County (Matador)

The Sadies – Darker
Circles (Yep Roc)

The Black Angels –
Phosphene Dream (Blue Horizon)

The Parties – Coast Garde
(Rainbow Quartz)

Blue Giant – Self Titled

Screaming Females – Castle
Talk (Don Giovanni Records)

Nobunny – First Blood

Cheap Time – Fantastic
Explanations (and Similar Situations) (In The Red)

Thee Sgt. Major III – The
Idea Factory (Spark & Shine)

Harlem – Hippies (Matador)


Runners-Up List

The Soft Pack – Self
Titled (Kemado)

Dungeon Honey – Pacific
Motion (Scotch Tape Records)

Jaill – That’s How We Burn
(Sub Pop)

The Service Industry –
Calm Down (Saustex Media)

Wooden Shjips – Vol.2
(Sick Thirst)

The Golden Boys – Thee
Electric Wolfman (Alien Snatch/Dagger Man)

The Fall – Your Future ~
Our Clutter (Domino)

Fuck, I’m A Ghost – Self
Titled (Futurerecordings)

The Growlers – Hot Tropics
(Everloving, Inc.)

Surfer Blood – Astro Coast
(Kanine Records)


Top 10 Archival/Reissues

The Dream Syndicate –
Medicine Show (Water)

The Soft Boys – Underwater Moonlight & Can of Bees
(Yep Roc)

The Fleshtones – It’s
Super Rock Time! The IRS Years, 1980-85 (Raven)

Syd Barrett – An
Introduction To Syd Barrett (Capital/EMI)

Pavement – Quarantine the
Past (Matador/Domino)

The Beatles catalog
reissue from LAST year is still reverberating strongly. (Apple)

Cap’n Jazz –
Analphabetapolothology (Jade Tree Records)

Sorrows – Bad Times Good
Times (Bomp!)


Music Books

Jack Boulware & Silke
Tudor – Gimme Something Better: The
Profound, Progressive and Occasionally Pointless History of Bay Area Punk From
Dead Kennedy’s To Green Day

(Penguin -2009)

Davidson – We Never Learn: The Punk Gunk
Undergut, 1988 -2001
(Backbeat Books)

Earles – Husker Du: The Story of the
Noise-Pop Pioneers Who Launched Modern Rock
(Voyageur Press)

Chrome – A Dead Boys Tale: From the Front
Line of Punk Rock
(Voyageur Press)

Simpson – The Fallen: Life In and Out of
Britain’s Most Insane Group
(Canongate UK)



Kick Ass

Scott Pilgrim Conquers The

Nowhere Boy

The Runaways

Sex & Drugs & Rock
& Roll


Best Record Label

Sub Pop


Coolest Trend/Whatever

The Beatles released on
iTunes finally. We get to pay for them all over again!


Most Annoying Trend/Whatever

The Tea Party “movement.”
The Klan’s PR person suggested the less repulsive name change.


Most Fucked Up

Sarah Palin’s Alaska on the Learning
Channel. WTF? (And we thought the “turkey incident” from two years ago was in
bad taste.)


Best New Artist

 Dungeon Honey (aka Jeremy James) – Pacific
Motion (Scotch Tape Records)


Worst New Artist

I avoid commercial music
like the plague, to avoid hearing any. My credo for decades has been, ‘the best
music is always in the underground.’


Best New Artist With Worst Name

Ferocious Few – Juices (Birdman Records) (I fingered this to be the Best Debut
album of ’10. Currently they’re on tour with Cyndi Lauper, the oddest pairing
since Jimi Hendrix opened for the Monkees.)


Sex Object Of the Year

I’ve got a major thing for
the lovely young lady in the AT&T commercial, where she appears to be
sitting in her living room, watching a movie on her smart phone, and suddenly,
a woman with a cat carrier sits next to her, and then it shows other people
sitting around the room like on a subway car. Doors open, she jumps up and goes
out to the platform and pauses the movie, then throws her head back, presents
her darling up-turned nose and marches off.


Clear Channel Presents: Corporate Asshole(s) of the

All the banks that
accepted Federal bail-out money, then sat on it and refused to lend it out to
small businesses or individuals, and refused to re-finance people’s mortgages
so they could foreclose on them. May there be a special, lower circle of Hell
for all the Wall Street group.


Desert Island Bliss: Artist You’d Like to be Stuck on an Island With

Well, as stimulating as
long, intellectual conversations around the campfire might be, I’d prefer to be
marooned with a female artist. I’d have to go with the smart and beautiful
Rachel Cox from Oakley Hall, and hopefully her guitar survived as well.


Desert Island Dick: Artist You’d Most Like NOT To Be Stuck
on an Island With

Scott Ingram, bass player for The Clash at Demonhead.


On Facebook and/or Twitter?

I’ve given in and drank
the Facebook Kool-ade finally. At least that’s where your real friends are,
while Myspace is all of your fake friends who never respond or interact. But,
Myspace is still where the music is, so I’m keepin’ it for now. As for Twitter,
your life and comings and goings just don’t interest me that much.


2011 Release You Are Most Looking Forward To

The Meat Puppets

Nic Armstrong

The promised Beachwood
Sparks reunion album from Sub Pop.


Favorite story or review you wrote for BLURT

Holly Golightly & The
Brokeoffs – Medicine




REVENGE OF THE WRITERS: Best & Worst of 2010 (Pt.2)

In which the folks who work in the trenches get in the last word. Hey,
nothing’s stopping you from doing your own list!




We continue with our Writers’ lists
for 2010. Go here for Part 1.





Cultural Pharmacist at Dr. Bristol’s Prescription


Top 10 New Releases

Len Price 3 – Pictures
(Wicked Cool)

Christine Ohlman and Rebel
Montez – The Deep End (Horizon)

The Jim Jones Revue – Burning Your House Down (Pias)

The 88 – The 88 (88

The Grip Weeds – Strange
Change Machine (Rainbow Quartz)

The Mother Truckers – Van
Tour (World Records)

The Sights – Most of What
Follows Is True (Alive)

Edward O’Connell – Our
Little Secret (Oaf Ramp)

The Greenhornes – Four
Stars (Warner Brothers)

Farrah – Farrah (LoJinx)


Top 10 Singles

Ce Lo Green – “Fuck You”

(rest of list conceded defeat)



No – H8 Abrv8ng



No – prefer real walls and
real friends


Most Annoying Trend/Whatever

Being a celebretard. Or
keeping them famous. Probably both.






, CA


Top 10 New Releases

Terry Adams Rock ‘n’ Roll
Quartet – Crazy 8’s (Clang!)

Robert Wyatt – For the
Ghosts Within (Domino)

Lake Street Dive – Lake
Street Dive (Signature Sounds)

White Noise Sound – White
Noise Sound (Alive Records)

Jaill – That’s How We Burn

Kelley Stoltz – To
Dreamers (Sub Pop)

Surfer Blood – Astro Coast
(Kanine Records)

Dead Confederate – Sugar –
(Old Flame)

Unnatural Helpers –
Cracked Love and Other Drugs (Hardly Art)

Ty Segall – Help (Goner


Music DVD

Howard Armstrong – Louie
Bluie (The Criterion Collection)

Ghost Blues: The Story of
Rory Gallagher + The Beat Club Sessions (Eagle Rock)

Free – Free Forever –
(Eagle Rock)

Various Artists –
EarGoggles (Bull Terrior Productions)

Black Sabbath – Classic
Albums: Paranoid (Eagle Rock Entertainment)


Top 5 Concerts

Thee Oh Sees with So Cow
and Bare Wires (Bar Pink Elephant, San
Diego CA 3-12-10)

Gary Wilson (Bar Pink
Elephant, San Diego CA 5-30-2010)

Lyle Lovett and His Large
Band (Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay, San
Diego CA 7-25-2010)

Marcelo Radulovich (Tin
Can Ale House, San Diego CA 6-30-10)

Golden Triangle (Bar Pink
Elephant, San Diego CA 7-11-10)


Top 10 Singles/Tracks


Jaill – “On the Beat”

Jaill – “Thank Us Later”

White Noise Sound –

Dead Confederate – “In the

Unnatural Helpers –
“Sunshine/Pretty Girls”

Dead Confederate – “Run
from the Gun”

Lake Street Dive – “Neighbor Song”

Coco Rosie – “Lemonade”

TV Buddhas – “Defies

Avi Buffalo – “Truth Sets

Avi Buffalo – “Jessica”



Rory Gallagher – “In This

Rory Gallagher – “Hands

Nitin Sawhney (on Gilles
Peterson: Worldwide – A Celebration of His Syndicated Radio Show) – “Tides”

Jose James (on Gilles
Peterson: Worldwide – A Celebration of His Syndicated Radio Show) – “Dreamer”

Little Dragon (on Gilles
Peterson: Worldwide – A Celebration of His Syndicated Radio Show) – “Twice”

Best Music Website

Crawdaddy! (then Blurt,
then my blog at San Diego Entertainer)


Best Record Label:

Get Hip


Coolest Trend/Whatever

(1) Lots of red-hot,
creative “garage rock.” (2) More people finally waking up to the idea that
environmental issues are real, and of critical importance.


Most Annoying Trend/Whatever

)1)”Dream Pop” – although
there’s hope the trend is fading. (2) Women who sound like little girls; anyone
who ends sentences with that whiny, question-mark lilt. (3) Bashing President
Obama without seeing or understanding a byzantine jungle of problems, created
by at least several previous terms of political decisions, with which he’s
confronted – and without getting it that change… takes… time…


Most Fucked Up

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico


Best New Artists

Lake Street Dive, Heavy Hawaii,
White Noise Sound


Worst New Artist

(not completely new, but
still just awful in relation to the buzz he’s generated):  The Love Language


Best New Artist with Worst Name

Male Bonding


Desert Island Bliss: Artist You’d Like to be Stuck on an Island With

Danny Kirwan and the
entire Future Games/Bare Trees posse,
The Beatles, John Cage, The Ramones, Anita O’Day, The Hot Club of Cowtown,
and/or The Skatalites


Desert Island Dick: Artist You’d Most Like NOT to be Stuck
on an Island With

Brian Setzer and… I dunno
– tend to delete annoying people from memory banks


On Facebook and/or Twitter?

FB – finally broke down,
was reconnected with a slew of friends from b.i.t.d; Twitter – no, that’s one
social network too many, and it’s boring.


Favorite story or review you wrote for BLURT

Rory Gallagher









Top 10 New Releases

The Radio Dept- Clinging to a Scheme (Labrador)


Magic Kids- Memphis (True Panther Sounds)


Justin Townes Earle- Harlem River
Blues (Bloodshot)


The Fresh and Onlys- Play It Strange (In the Red)


Beach House- Teen Dream (Sub Pop)


Wavves- King of the Beach (Fat Possum)


Best Coast- Crazy For You (Mexican Summer)


Surf City- Kudos (Fire)


Phil Wilson- God Bless Jim Kennedy (Slumberland)


Titus Andronicus- The Monitor (xl)








Trashcan Sinatras — In
the Music (LoFive Records

Teenage Fanclub —
Shadows (Merge Records)

Mary Gauthier — The
Foundling (Razor & Tie)

The Postelles —
self-titled (Capitol)

Freedy Johnston — Rain
on the City (Bar None)

Norah Jones —
…featuring Norah Jones (Blue Note)

Apples in Stereo —
Travellers in Space and Time (Yep Roc)

Seth Glier — The
Trouble With People (MPress Records)

Joan Armatrading — This
Charming Life (429 Records)

Edward Rogers  — Sparkle Lane









Top 10 New Releases

Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest (4AD)

Pantha Du Prince – Black Noise (Rough

Darkstar – North (Hyperdub)

Beach House – Teen Dream (Sub Pop)

The National – High Violet

Teebs – Ardour (Brainfeeder)

Four Tet – There Is Love In You (Domino)

The Walkmen – Lisbon (Fat Possum)

Scuba – Triangulation (Hotflush)

School of Seven Bells – Disconnect From Desire (Ghostly/Vagrant)



Various – Next Stop…Soweto:
Township Sounds From The Golden Age Of Mbaqanga (Strut)

Various – Lagos
Disco Inferno (Academy Records)

Antonio Carlos Jobim – Stone Flower (CTI)



Four Tet – Sing (Domino)

Pariah – Safehouses (R&S)

Darkstar – Gold (Hyperdub)

Sepalcure – Love Pressure (Hotflush)

Memoryhouse – The Years (Arcade Sound Ltd.)


Most Fucked Up
Thing That Happened

I think my ballot for Blurt’s 2009 list is no longer online.







Janelle Monae – The Archandroid

Coast – Crazy for You

Earl Greyhound – Suspicious Package

Sleigh Bells – Treats

Surfer Blood – Astro

The Sword – Warp Riders

Shooter Jennings & Hierophant – Black Ribbons

Serena-Maneesh – S-M 2: Abyss In B Minor

Chemical Brothers – Further

Viernes – Sinister Devices








Top 10 New Releases

– Body Talk Pt. 1/Body Talk Pt. 2/Body Talk Pt. 3 (Cherry


House – Teen Dream (Sub Pop)

Weekend – Contra (XL)

Walkmen – Lisbon
(Fat Possum)

Castles – Crystal Castles (Motown/Universal)

Nothing – Gemini (Indie Europe/Zoom)

West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Def Jam)

Bells – Treats (Mom & Pop)

Newsom – Have One On Me (Drag

Soundsystem – This Is Happening (DFA/Virgin)


Top 5 Concerts

By Voices, Warfield

Fanclub, Great American Music Hall

Wareham plays Galaxie 500, Fillmore

& Batteries, Bottom Of The Hill

Chip, Fox Theater








Top 10 Albums

Chocolate Drops – Genuine Negro Jig (Rounder)

Elvis Costello  –
National Ransom (Hear Music)

Crowded House – Intriguer (Fantasy)

Patty Griffin – Downtown Church

Jamey Johnson – The Guitar Song (Mercury Nashville)

Tom Jones – Praise & Blame (Lost Highway)

John Legend and the Roots – Wake Up! (Columbia)

Raul Malo – Sinners & Saints (Fantasy)

Janelle Monae – The Archandroid (Bad Boy)

Robert Plant – Band of Joy (Rounder)










Top 10 New Releases

Justin Townes Earle –
Harlem River Blues (Bloodshot Records)
Dr. Dog – Shame, Shame (Anti)
Anders Osborne – American Patchwork (Alligator Records)
Chatham County Line – Wildwood (Yep Roc)
The Black Keys – Brothers (Nonesuch)
Cadillac Sky – Letters in the Deep (Dualtone)

Joe Pug – Messenger
(Lightning Rod)

Drive-By Truckers – The
Big To-Do (ATO)

Mumford and Sons – Sigh No
More (Glass Note)

Trampled by Turtles –
Palomino (Banjado Records)


Top 5 Concerts

Dave Rawlings Machine (Jefferson
Theater – Charlottesville, Virginia – June 9)

Phish (Merriweather Post
Pavilion – Columbia, Maryland – June 27)

The Low Anthem (FloydFest
– Floyd, Virginia
– July 24)

Appalachian Voices w/Jim
James, Ben Sollee, and Daniel Martin Moore (Jefferson Theater – Charlottesville, Virginia
– July 27)

Avett Brothers (Charlottesville Pavilion – Charlottesville, Virginia
– October 17)


Best New Artist

James Justin Burke


2011 Releases Looking Forward To

Drive-By Truckers – Go Go

Mississippi Allstars –
Keys to the Kingdom

The Low Anthem – Smart


Favorite Story for BLURT

Joe Pug Interview







PHILADELPHIA, PA ( /blogs/author/64)


Top 10 New Releases

The Riot Before (Paper +

Bad Religion – The Dissent
of Man (Epitaph)

The Posies – Blood/Candy

Jesse Malin – Love it to
Life (SideOneDummy)

Off With Their Heads – In
Desolation (Epitaph)

The Successful Failures –
Three Nights (FDR)

Moneybrother  – Real Control (Bladen County)

Ike Reilly – Hard Luck
Stories (Rock Ridge)

Flogging Molly – Live at
the Greek Theatre (SideOneDummy)

David Ford -Let the Hard
Times Roll (Original Signal)



Most Annoying Trend/Whatever

Music publicists/record
labels sending downloads instead of actual CDs.


Best New Artist



Worst New Artist 



Best New Artist With Worst



Clear Channel Presents: Corporate Asshole of the

Don Blankenship, Massey
Energy (a good ol’ fashioned coal mine baron)


Best Moustache 

Franz Nicolay


Desert Island Bliss: Artist You’d Like to be Stuck on an Island With

Willie Nelson


Desert Island Dick: Artist You’d Most Like NOT to be Stuck
on an Island With 

Kid Rock


On Facebook and/or Twitter?

Yes. Takes the pressure
off of actually having to call someone and have a real conversation.


2011 Release You Are Most Looking Forward To   

un (again, dreadful band


Favorite story or review you wrote for BLURT

Interview with James
Williamson from The Stooges










Top 10 New Releases

Sam Amidon-I See A Sign (Bedroom Community)

Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan-Hawk (Vanguard)

Jonsi-Go (XL)

LCD Soundsystem-This Is Happening (DFA)

Aaron Neville-I Know I’ve Been Changed (EMI Gospel / Tell It

Robyn-Body Talk (Konichiwa)

The Roots-How I Got Over (Def Jam)

Sleigh Bells-Treats (N.E.E.T.)

Titus Andronicus-The Monitor (XL)

Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate-Ali & Toumani


Top 10 Singles /

“Pressing On”

Arcade Fire, “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond

Cee-Lo Green, “Fuck You”

The Corin Tucker Band, “Doubt”

Free Energy, “Bang Pop”

Grinderman, “Worm Tamer”

The National, “Bloodbuzz Ohio”

Joanna Newsom, “Good Intentions Paving Company”

The Radio Dept., “Heaven’s On Fire”

Standard Fare, “Philadelphia”


Top 10

All the Fela albums (Knitting Factory)

Dolly Mixture-Everything and More (Dolly Mixture)

Various– How Sweet It Was: The Sights and Sounds of
Gospel’s Golden Age (Shanachie)

Chin Chin-Sound of the Westway (Slumberland)

Bruce Springsteen-The Promise (Columbia)

Orange Juice-Coals To Newcastle

The Rolling Stones-Exile On Main St. (Universal Republic)


Coolest whatever

The Roots playing night after night on Jimmy Fallon


Best New Artist

Sleigh Bells


Best Moustache



Favorite Story For

Sam Phillips interview









Top 10 New Releases

Brought Low – 3rd Record (Small Stone)

Clientele – Minotaur (Merge)

Escovedo – Street Songs of Love (Fantasy)

Gurus – Purity of Essence (Hoodoo Gurus)

LaVette – Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook (Anti-)

– Hey Day (self-released)

Monae – The Arch Android (Wondaland/Bad Boy)

Moran & the Bandwagon – Ten (Blue Note)

Ridgway – Neon Mirage (A440)

Wynn and the Miracle 3 – Northern Aggression (Yep Roc)


Top 10 Archival/Reissues

Season – Misguided Promise: Carnival Season Complete (1984-89) (Arena Rock)

Chad’s Tree – Crossing Off
the Miles (Memorandum)

Church – Of Skins & Heart, The Blurred Crusade, Séance, Heyday, Deep In the
Shallows: The Classic Singles Collection (Second Motion)

Dream Syndicate – Medicine Show (Water)

– Still in Boxes 1990-1994 (Second Motion)

Green Pajamas – The Complete Book of Hours (Green Monkey)

Keene – Tommy Keene You Hear Me: A Retrospective 1983-2009 (Second Motion)

Plimsouls – Live! Beg, Borrow & Steal: October 31, 1981 Whisky a Go Go

Pop & James Williamson – Kill
City (Bomp)

Rolling Stones – Exile On Main
Street (Virgin)



Music DVDs

– In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall (Roadrunner)

Tree – Anesthetize (K Scope)


Music Books

Almond – Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life (Random House)

Lanois – Soul Mining: A Musical Life (Faber & Faber)

Richards – Life (Little, Brown)


Top 5 Concerts

Escovedo/True Believers/Michael Monroe Band/Chuck Prophet & the Mission
Express/Lenny Kaye/Ivan Julian/Grady/Triple Cobra/Carrie Rodriguez (Continental
Club, Austin, TX, 3-21-10)

Jim Jones Revue (Mess With Texas Festival, Austin, TX


Vs. South Festival (Pedaljets, Doctors’ Mob, Grand Champeen, Right or Happy, Leatherbag,
Grant Hart, et al) (Hole in the Wall, Austin,
TX 8-12-14-10)

Legend & the Roots )Austin City Limits
taping, Austin, TX 8-24-10)

Al Yankovic (Fun Fun Fun Fest, Austin,
TX 11-6-10)



Alice in Wonderland

Dad: The Music, Machines & Mystery of Raymond Scott


Man 2

is Harry Nilsson and Why is Everybody Talkin’ About Him?

man, I really didn’t see very many movies this year… at least Black Swan, True
Grit and Tron Legacy await….)


Best Record Label



Coolest Trend/Whatever

“heritage” artists, particularly those from the 80s, making records as good or
nearly as good as their classics, proving they’re more than nostalgia acts.
Examples: Hoodoo Gurus, Stan Ridgway, the Choir, New Model Army, Jason &
the Scorchers, Steve Wynn (admittedly he’s been pretty consistent about this
over the years), even Hawkwind.


Most Annoying Trend/Whatever



Most Fucked Up

Linkous’ suicide


Best New Artist(s)

Devils Blood


Duveen & the Millbanks

Gilded Palace of Sin

Mighty Grasshoppers


North Atlantic Oscillation


Worst New Artist

didn’t listen to anybody I thought sucked long enough to know who the crappy
new artists were this year.


Best New Artist With
Worst Name

Mighty Grasshoppers


Sex Object Of the Year

Burhenn of the Mynabirds


Clear Channel Presents:
Corporate Asshole of the Year

didn’t pay enough attention to the business side of music this year. Can I just
say Irving Azoff on general principle?


Desert Island
Bliss: Artist You’d Like to be Stuck on an Island



Desert Island
Dick: Artist You’d Most Like NOT to be Stuck on an Island



On Facebook and/or


originally to keep up with friends who’s recently been laid off – now it’s a
tool to get the word out about pieces I have online. Twitter is mainly a day
job thing.


2011 Release You Are
Most Looking Forward To

new Feelies record








Band of Horses – Infinite
Arms (Columbia)

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (Merge)

Deerhunter – Halcyon
Digest (4AD)

Beach House – Teen Dream
(Sub Pop)

Das Racist – Sit Down
Man/Shut Up Dude (Mad Decent/Greedhead/Mishka)

The Drums – The Drums
(Island/Moshi Moshi)

Surfer Blood – Astro Coast

The War on Drugs – Future
Weather EP (Secretly Canadian)

LCD Soundsystem – This is
Happening (Virgin/Parlophone/DFA)

Kanye West – My Beautiful
Dark Twisted Fantasy (Def Jam/Roc-A-Fella)








Top 10 New Releases

Joanna Newsom – Have One on Me (Drag City)

Robyn – Body Talk (Interscope)

Toro Y Moi – Causers of This (Carpark)

Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky (Young

Titus Andronicus – The Monitor (XL)

LA Vampires & Zola Jesus – LA Vampires Meet Zola Jesus
EP (Not Not Fun)

Yellow Swans – Going Places (Type)

The National – High Violet (4AD)

Liz Phair – Funstyle (self-released)

Twig Harper & Daniel Higgs – Clairaudience Fellowship
(Thrill Jockey)


Top 10 Singles/Tracks

Big Freedia, “Azz Everywhere”

Coma Cinema, “Flower Pills”

Growing, “Mind Eraser”

Baby Dee, “Unheard of Hope”

Frank Black, “When I Go Down on You”

The Delta Mirror, “He Was Worse than the Needle He Gave You”

Xiu Xiu, “Dear God, I Hate Myself”

“King Night”

Aziz Ansari, “Kanye West vs. Darwish”

Pajamaband, “Fuck You Until You Die”


Top 10 Archival/Reissues

Lou Reed – Metal Machine Music (RCA)

Morrissey – Bona Drag (EMI)

Les Rallizes Dénudés – Heavier Than a Death in the Family (Phoenix)

Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin – Serge Gainsbourg et
Jane Birkin (Light in the Attic)

Prurient – The History of Aids (Hospital Productions)

David Bowie – Station to Station (EMI)

Chris & Cosey – Heartbeat (Conspiracy International)

Hototogisu – Floating Japanese Oof! Gardens of the 21st
Century (Important)

U.S. Senator Robert Byrd – Mountain Fiddler (Country)

R.E.M. – Fables of the Reconstruction (Capitol)


Music DVDs

Animal Collective – ODDSAC (Plexifilm)  

V/A – We Don’t Care About Music Anyway

Dean Wareham & Britta Phillips – 13 Most
Beautiful…Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests (Plexifilm)

Drive-By Truckers – The Secret to a Happy Ending

Monks – Transatlantic Feedback (Play Louder)


Music Books

John Wiese – Drilling a Hole Through the Sky: 30 Years of
The Haters (Helicopter)

Patti Smith – Just Kids (Ecco)

Igloo Tornado – Henry + Glenn = 4-Ever (Cantankerous Titles)

Eric Davidson – We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut,
1988-2001 (Backbeat Books)

Kevin Cummins/Jay McInerney/Bernard Sumner – Joy Division


Top 5 Concerts

“Hole” (9:30 Club, Washington,
DC 6/27/10)

Laundry Room Squelchers (Velvet Lounge, International Noise
Conference, Washington DC 4/27/10)

Half Japanese (Ottobar, Baltimore MD

Burning Star Core (House Show, Arlington VA

Merzbow & Richard Pinhas (La Maison Française, Sonic
Circuits Festival, Washington
DC 9-24-10)




Trash Humpers

Total Badass

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Putty Hill


Best MusicWebsite(s)

Subscription listening (Rhapsody), free listening (YouTube,
nope, I still don’t care who your Top 3 Artists were), illegal
listening (Dirpy, R.I.P.), live streaming (WFMU), Sirius XMU’s Blog Radio blog
(It’s A Trap, before they got dropped/I canceled my subscription), reviews
(Dusted), shows (Brooklyn Vegan), gossip (The Daily Swarm), altruism
(Kickstarter), shits (Drawer B), giggles (Altered Zones), a lotta Tumblrs… and, of course


Best Record Label

From 500-pound ass-raping ape to adorable, limited-run
hummingbird: EMI, Polydor, Merge, Drag City, Editions Mego, Ehse, Old English
Spelling Bee, The Curatorial Club, Space Idea Tapes, Zap Cassettes



Brion Gysin’s Dreamachine cut-outs from Important Records
AND those Ooga Booga mixtapes curated by Calvin Johnson


Most Annoying

Still hearing that insipid trance song at University of South
Carolina sporting events; OR, resentment that an
indie band charted on Billboard


Most Fucked Up

Since death is – typically – pretty fucked, and because they
– usually – happen in threes: “Sleazy,” Pocahaunted and Mo Tucker’s political


Best New Artist

Easy: Antoine Dodson


Worst New Artist

Easier: Best


Best New Artist With
Worst Name

Easiest: OFF!


Sex Object Of the

Sasha Grey in aTelecine > Sasha Grey in Blurt tank top
> Sasha Grey on Entourage


Favorite Video Game

Still, to this day, EA’s Queen: The eYe


Clear Channel
Presents: Corporate Asshole of the Year

The Silver Bullet himself, for making us wait 32 goddamn
years for an authorized ringtone/ringbacktone bundle of “Still the Same” and
“We’ve Got Tonight”…or perhaps that Tony Hayward guy


Best Moustache

The pencil one Bieber drew on him/herself after John Waters
got her/him to sign a bottle of Proactiv


Desert Island Bliss: Artist You’d Like to be Stuck on an Island With

Female: Glasser (aka Cameron Mesi-Wowww!); Male: Blixa
Bargeld; Trans: Genesis Breyer P-Orridge


Desert Island Dick: Artist You’d Most Like NOT to be Stuck
on an Island With

Male: That fey Little Lord Fauntleroy from The Decemberists
(aka Colon Gibbard?); Female: Susan Boyle; Trans: Antony


On Facebook and/or

 Well, my mom’s on FB,
so @logankyoung it is. (That, and I couldn’t give two bits and a shit how fat
so-and-so has gotten or how many illegitimate children my middle school lab
partner now has.)


2011 Release You Are
Most Looking Forward To

Whatever The Plums decide to release this coming fiscal


Favorite story or
review you wrote for BLURT

Report: Panda Bear & Deakin Live in MD




DOG SNORTS ‘N’ COMPUTER KEYS Captain Beefheart, R.I.P.

Paying tribute to his
“terrorist’s concoction of gut-shot blues, free jazz idealism, true folk purism
and psychedelic delirium.”




joke, there were two things that reminded me of Captain Beefheart this week
before his passing.


old tomato red suit in my back closet reminded me of when I met the Captain
outside of a New Jersey club named Emerald City before a 1980 show. There for a
sound check, he liked what I was wearing (a red suit, but not the red suit I
recently found), called me “the red devil” asked me to come backstage and drew
my image on a cocktail napkin with a red ink marker.  


next reminder of Beefheart was hearing that Tom Waits had been inducted in to
the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and thinking to myself, not only was Waits’
latterday sound usually a brazen but beautiful Beefheart appropriation, if
Waits had gotten in, why hadn’t Captain Beefheart ever been named or nominated
along with other solidly solitary musical avatars? It wasn’t as if Beefheart
needed what William S. Burroughs had called the paltry medals of societal
accolades, but it was just a thought – how is it that the man whose work so
deeply influenced so many (at least as many as had been influenced by the
Velvet Underground or the Stooges) not be worthy of a Waldorf salad at the
Waldorf Hotel (to crib a Tom Waits joke regarding his nomination)?


way my thoughts were with him last week, not far from where they usually are.
The clutter of “Dachau Blues,” “Electricity,” “Tropical Hot Dog Night,” the
gentle and stark “Evening Bell,” the haunted “Vampire
Suite,” the old time-y “The Dust Blows Forward ‘N the Dust Blows Back” –
these songs are always in my head like the clicking of computer keys or my
dog’s snorting.

That Captain Beefheart – Don Van Vliet – passed away December 17 at age 69 from
complications from MS was just that, a passage, a final slip behind the curtain.
Captain Beefheart’s musical manifesto was a terrorist’s concoction of gut-shot
blues, free jazz idealism, true folk purism and psychedelic delirium. His
squirrelly noise and Dadaist prose and muzzy avant-everything predated all
alternative music by 30 years, yet his influence is easily indelible. DEVO,
Public Image Limited., Half Japanese, Pere Ubu, The Fiery Furnaces, PJ Harvey
and other less abled acts have made his mad act theirs. Eric Drew Feldman,
Frank Zappa, Gary Lucas and Ry Cooder interacted with him.  Yet, Beefheart was simply – is simply – a
lone wolf.


Beefheart’s mangled field recordings of 1969’s Trout Mask Replica is, as many
say, the bible of avant-rock, then Grow Fins 1965-1982 (a multi-disc box
set of rarities on Revenant) is its preface, outline and epilogue, with two
early, angular blues bombs – Safe As Milk and The Mirror Man – a sort-of pre-creation
mud swamp soundtrack. There’s also the blue-horror gem Clear Spot. This
leaves a mewing, coughing Beefheart crawling through the wreckage of stuttering
and silly latterday works 1978’s #Shiny
Beast (Bat Chain Puller),
1980’s Doc
at the Radar Station
and 1982’s Ice
Cream for Crow
to complete the overall rustic masterwork.


hard to deny that Beefheart can, at first, be repellent – the host of a
difficult listening hour. Sinister and grotesque, dragging the blues tradition
to the precipice of psychedelic skronk, his scarred Delta epics are unhinged
live wires looking for muddy waters to settle in. But his primal scream, whether
animalistic and artfully mannered – the sounds of whistling balloons with the
spittle part of the honk – becomes part of you like standing in the wind of a
beach on a sunny sandy day.


understand how the 69-year-old Beefheart  went from being a blues baby to an avant
dandy, listen to Grow Fins‘ riotous outtakes and live tracks, made more vivid
with CD-ROM video clips and taped discussions between Captain and Magic Band
members like John “Drumbo” French, who contributes plenty of
background information in the accompanying hardcover book. Beefheart created a
commune-like setting in order for the Magic Band to breathe life into songs per
his strict instructions, going over and over details carefully, and the process
is as enveloping as the music. Listening to Fins is like watching Michelangelo
sketch the Sistine Chapel with a broken pencil and a head cold. Notorious for
not notating music, Beefheart moved musicians like crusty brushes onto a quickly
moving cracked canvas of blue barn-burners like “Just Got Back From The
City” and instrumentals like “Hair Pie Bake.”


tracks come off as fluid with sweet tonality. That’s the shock of Beefheart. He
and his sound is as jarring as he is beautiful. This is not an ad for the Fins box. I say find and buy out the
collection. But if Fins does nothing else, it displays Beefheart’s ferocious
verbal acuity with songs that barely existed before its existence as well as
offer kind words from friends and contributors.


like it was recorded in a phone booth somewhere between Haight-Ashbury
and Hades, Captain rips items like “Black Snake Moan” from his heart
onto vinyl. His traditional hellhound howl, peaked with a desert’s swirling
brand of adrenaline (found only there that energy -in the desert), is
near-religious, a tongue-speaking preacher looking for the right words and
coming up with those that came straight from his soul and his cryptic thought


the liner notes, scribe David Fricke
and Drumbo say Beefheart was nervous when it came to recording, holding back
his voice as if he was holding onto his soul. In my mind though, Beefheart let
everything go.


in death, it’s all gone in the breezes of the Mohave.


Rock and Roll Hall of Fame could never contain that weird spirit.


Read the Beefheart obituary here. Meanwhile, watch:
(1) Captain Beefheart “on” American Bandstand, 1966; (2) Live w/the Magic Band
in Belgium,
1969; (3) BBC-TV; and (4) David Letterman show 1982

FRUITCAKE AND OTHER DELIGHTS Fred Schneider and The Superions

The B-52s sprechseganger
gets festive in new synth-pop trio.




“I’ve been singing ‘Crummy Christmas Tree’ at Christmas
parties for, I don’t know… many years now,” says Fred Schneider of The
Superions, who also happens to be Fred Schneider of the B-52s. “I’d get
everyone to sing a cappella.”


The Superions is Schneider’s new synth-pop trio, and “Crummy
Christmas Tree” is one of eleven holiday gems on the band’s new album Destination… Christmas! (Fanatic
Records). “Nutty” Christmas and Halloween songs were an early influence on the
vocalist, and “I’ve just been wanting to do this for the past ten years or
more,” he says. When he met Noah Brodie and Dan Marshall in at Orlando’s
legendary record store Rock and Roll Heaven, he’d found the perfect partners.


The first song they wrote was festive, although not Christmassy.
“They had a track they’d put together and asked me to put words to it,” says
Schneider, who told them, “Sure.” The song became “Totally Nude Island,” and the
Christmas idea actually popped up when Schneider was supposed to be writing
songs for The Superions’ first “regular” album. “I was coming up with all these
[Christmas-themed] lyrics, so we decided we’d do a Christmas album.” The trio
cranked out nine songs in eleven days, “one of which was a Halloween song.”


To call Destination…
infectiously fun would insult the intelligence of anyone who’s
heard the B-52s. Strictly speaking, those qualities are expected-inevitable-in
anything Schneider does. “Fruitcake,” though, is (rather ironically,
considering its namesake), delicious hilarity, with Schneider reciting the
recipe in his famous talky sprechsegang vocal
style over an irresistible bass line. But that’s not to take anything away from
the bloody story of “Teddy and Betty Yeti,” the lusty, innuendo-heavy “Jingle
Those Bells,” or the mindlessly appealing “Santa’s Disco.”


There’s another theme tying these songs together, perhaps
you’ve noticed? Sex. Double-entendres and innuendo run rampant in Schneider’s
lyrics, no matter the project-but in his solo work it’s a little more
noticeable. Anybody recall “Monster,” Schneider’s solo hit from 1984? It was
all over KCGL and KJQ and even today makes appearances on X96-and who could
forget the chorus line, “There’s a monster in my pants”? Told how big the song
is in ultra-con Utah, Schneider cracks, “Yeah the elders of the church called
and said they loved the song and
‘we’re gonna have the [Mormon Tabernacle] Choir put it on their next album.”


Pausing for maybe half a beat, he adds his thoughts on the
reason for the season.


“Know what? I think people can see through religion… You
don’t need to be religious to be a good person. I left that all that out of my
Xmas songs. Apparently Christ was born in March or something. But it’s really
convenient that they picked [December 25th to celebrate it], ‘cause
Christmas falls on that day.”


[Photo Credit: Caitlin Sullivan]

Now THAT’s What I Call Alternative Xmas Music 2010!

A heapin’ helpin’ of
the stuff you won’t hear in stores or even on the radio – and may better
express your sentiments this holiday season.




“12.25.61” – Asylum
Street Spankers

Wammo, one of the songwriters in truly acoustic,
amplification-averse old-time music torchbearers Asylum Street Spankers, sings
the blues of being born on Christmas. “Getting ripped off on half the presents”
sucks, sez Wammo, but so does getting asked about it every year. “So lame/but
that’s the game/always the same/you wanna give me something?/ give blood in my
name/on Christmas Day.”


LISTEN: “12.25.61”



“Egg Nog” – The Ramsey
Lewis Trio

Jazz doesn’t have to be about anything, so this instrumental
has nothing to do with the rich, creamy, Christmas concoction that doesn’t have
to look or sound good to be good. Except this smooth instro by the
Grammy-winning pianist is as rich and goes down just as easy. Found it on a
blogger-made comp called Christmas Is for
, but it’s really from their album More Sounds of Christmas (MCA, 1964).


LISTEN: “Egg Nog”



“There’s Nothing I
Want More For Christmas This Year” – Chubbies

My copy of Happy
Birthday Baby Jesus Vol. I
(Sympathy For the Record Industry, 1995) isn’t
the greatest, so I can only guess that this song is about an ex-lover who’s
good in the sack but otherwise a jerk, and despite this, our heroine still
wants something from him. Greatest opening line ever – “Like baby Jesus/in the
manger/you lie so easy, yeah” – and a wistful, anthemic chorus.


LINKS: Happy Birthday
Baby Jesus Vol. I

Chubbies (Rhapsody)



“I’m Dreaming of a
White Jesus” – Edward Schreiber

“…even though he was from the Middle East.” This is from Have Yourself a Merry Little Black Mass,
an album of heavy metal-meets-lounge music Christmas songs either by a band
called Hail Santa! or this guy. Other than the blog where I found this,
Spotlight Music.
I can find only one other reference online – a YouTube video for the song “Deck
the Malls.” That’s a pity, ‘cause once you get past the intentionally crappy
vocals and weird stylistic mating, this is comedy gold.


LISTEN: “Deck the Malls”



“Santa Claus Is
Coming to Town” – Sharks (a/k/a Shark Island)

Much like how Twisted Sister mashed up “O Come All Ye
Faithful” with “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” Sharks – more popularly known as
almost-was hair metal band and Bill and
Ted’s Excellent Adventure
soundtrack contributors – saw similarities
between this Xmas classic and Judas Priest’s “Heading Out to the Highway,” as
heard on this lo-fi demo from the early 1980s.


LISTEN: “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”



“Lew On Carols” –
Lewis Black

To promote his book I’m
Dreaming of A Black Christmas
, comedian Lewis Black wrote his own version
of “Carol of the Bells”-at least it’s mostly based on this song, whose melody
may be more popular as the other Xmas novelty song “Ding, Fries Are Done.”
Black’s caustic carol is all about using sex and drugs to take one’s mind off
what has, to him and many others, a ridiculous exercise. Favorite line: “I need
a shot/have you got pot?/where is the scotch?/please touch my crotch.”


DOWNLOAD: “Lew On Carols”



“Here Comes Santa’s Pussy”
– The Frogs

The Frogs (pictured at top) wrote ambiguously worded songs
about race and homosexuality that elicit guilty belly laughs and/or profound confusion
(see their album Racially Yours, in
which they write about race from both sides). This jaunty little number imagines
how much Santa enjoys sodomy (“He’s takin’ a candy cane up the…reindeer!”),
which should only offend Santa and PETA.  From Rhino Records’ outta-print collection, Punk Rock Xmas (1995).


LISTEN: “Here Comes Santa’s Pussy”



“Fuck Christmas, I’ve
Got the Blues” – The Legendary Tiger Man

Most of us have at least one time each holiday season when
we’re just not in the mood for festivities. Portuguese one-man band Paulo
Furtado virtually bottles that essence on this tune, which could become the
next holiday classic. From the album of the same name, released in 2003 via
Subotnick Enterprises.


DOWNLOAD: “Fuck Christmas, I’ve Got the Blues”



RESHUFFLE, RESHIFT Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier

After two decades with
the mothership, the singer takes a solo trip.




One door closes and another opens.  And then sometimes, the first one opens


At least that’s what happened to Laetitia Sadier when Stereolab
went on hiatus after nearly 20 years.  “I
did fear that the ‘Lab going on indefinite hiatus would leave a massive
emptiness,” she said, in a recent email interview.  “It was interesting to observe that as soon
as there was room, my project naturally moved to the fore to occupy into this


Her project, a solo album called The Trip, came out
on Drag City in September of 2010.  Then, a bare two months later, Stereolab
resurfaced with Not Music, a collection of songs originally created
during the Chemical Chord sessions of 2007.  Suddenly Sadier was at the center of a lot of
activity, hardly the “massive emptiness” she’d been apprehensive about. 


“Retrospectively, I can see that things and events happened
in a sequence that just flowed from and into one another,” she recalled.  “All happened naturally and nothing was
forced into any contrived position.”  She
added that she is not even ruling out further chapters in the Stereolab story,
“A long term musical project came to a natural end, but might not be a final
end if I dare say so myself,” she observed. 
“At the same time I had already put in place my own musical structure
and entity with Monade. So nothing came out a void but more of a reshuffle and
reshift of sorts.”


Sadier had broken out on her own before, primarily through
Monade, a mostly solo project (though Pram’s Rosie Cuckston was also involved)
that released three albums in the 00s.  The
Trip, released under Sadier’s own name, is a little different.  “Monade felt more like my private play or testing
ground — the one where you are allowed to try out stuff because no one’s
looking,” she confided.  “Maybe I put
more expectations on going under my own name. I expect more mature work, more
wholesomely connected to what ever subject, idea or emotion I want to express.”


Sadier wrote most of The Trip in July of 2008,
shortly before recording started.  The
album’s basic fabric of the album will be familiar to Stereolab fans – dreamy,
jazz-tinged vocals, undulating rhythms, a bit of drone layered onto percolating
pop keyboard lines. Richard Swift, Sadier’s producer, helped her incorporate
more electronic sounds into the mix, but it’s not a radical departure.


Yet the album is, perhaps, less abstract and more personal
than the typical Stereolab effort, with the lyrics reflecting a fair amount of
loss and introspection.  “The theme is
reflective indeed as well as being openly therapeutic,” said Sadier.  “I wanted the pain and sadness of loss and
separation to not be blocked and rest inside me. I knew I could put a lot of it
into my work into my music and I kind of used it to make a strong connection to
my feelings in a nonfatal way.”


Sadier involved a number of other musicians in the recording
and arranging process, including Swift, Elinor xxxxxx who records as April
March, Yukki Matthews on bass and Rebecca Gates of xxxxx.  One night at Swift’s Portland home studio, a bunch of neighbors
came over and recorded handclaps.  “I
love that, doing hand claps together with the neighbors,” said Sadier.


The album includes many different kinds of songs, some
bubbly and percolating with rhythmic energy, others wistful and
slow-moving.  “Un Soir, Un Chien,” with
its skewed funk syncopation, is a daydream you can dance to.  Sadier called it one of her favorite songs
ever, and explained it as “a poetical and abstract story of masochistic love as
well as a quest for reassuring tenderness against the threat of solitude.” 


At the other end of the spectrum, the cover of Jerome Kern’s
“Summertime,” is limpidly, serenely beautiful. 
Asked how she picked it, Sadier reverted to all-caps, saying, “THIS SONG
CHOSE ME!!!”  She added, “It really had
its way of popping up one night and insisting it would end up on the record. As
it is my philosophy that I have with my work to let it guide me as well as I
guide it, we had a little chat – the song and I -and we agreed that it would
make it on.  There are other songs that
didn’t succeed the agreement.”    


Sadier is also very pleased with the way that Stereolab’s
post-mortem Not Music turned out and has taken to calling it “my real Chemical
.  “We wrote many, many songs in
one go. I remember running out of ideas and having to look in the paper for
stuff to write about,” she said.  “Actually
a really nice one came out of that, ‘Nous Vous Demandons pardon.'”   


Even so, she seems to be focused primarily on her own
album.  I caught her by email just after
she’d finished up a solo tour.  How is
that different from touring with STereolab, I asked.  “I am enjoying my own company really,” said
Sadier.  “I never enjoyed touring with
the ‘Lab very much in as far as the some band members didn’t enjoy it
themselves and made sure it was a general thing; although playing the songs at
night would bring us together, thank God!”


She added, “I have had great fun times touring with Monade
however, so that proved me that one COULD have fun on tour. It has been a
challenge this year to travel alone around Europe
and South America but a fantastic opportunity
to learn to enjoy my own company!”


Sadier is home now, but still quite busy juggling personal
and professional projects.  “At the
moment I am mostly involved in qualifying as a Shiatsu practitioner,” she
said.  “Musically, I am working on a
jingle for radio BBC6 nd have been asked to write some music for a movie – which
I haven’t seen yet… mysterious story.” 


Sounds like more doors, opening and closing, every which