25. Everything I loved and was meaning to get to this year. Fatherhood and the demands of work and life are slowing me down, but I’m going to get to your review soon, I promise.
R.I.P. ugEXPLODE, but the band rolls on.
23. Florian Kupfer – Lifetrax 12” EP (L.I.E.S.)
For the first half of the year I was diligently able to keep up with the onslaught of releases on the L.I.E.S. label, with the intention of reviewing each one for Still Single. Clearly this did not happen, and it seems like another dozen or so have come and gone in the meantime, with no hopes of me picking them up. I’m out of my depth here (and am unduly concerned with what Ron might feel about me reviewing his releases), and I have no intention of becoming a DJ again just to play dance music, but I really enjoyed this particular release, cassette-borne, slowed-down hissy house that transported me to a cloud of bliss for a brief moment.
22. Stillsuit – s/t (self-released)
21. Counter Intuits – s/t (Pyramid Scheme)
20. Joel RL Phelps and the Downer Trio – Gala (12XU)
Review forthcoming. Glad you’re back, Joel.
19. The Courtneys – s/t (Hockey Dad)
18. Maximillion Dunbar – House Of Woo (RVNG Intl.)
17. Life Stinks – s/t (S-S)
Lights out, San Francisco. Lights out.
16. Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys – Ready For Boredom (R.I.P. Society)
15. Gun Outfit – Hard Coming Down (Post Present Medium)
14. Robert McDougall – Unfinished Studies (Angklung Editions)
13. Constant Mongrel – Heavy Breathing (Siltbreeze)
12. UBT – Ego Orientation (Psychic Handshake)
10. Una Bestia Incontrolable – Observant Com El Mon Es Destrieux (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Ex-Destino Final/Invasion crew turn in the heaviest hardcore record of the year. This thing sounds like a fucking bulldozer coming at your ankles. Look out.
8. Dichroics – Short Dirty Threads (self-released)
Currently on “indefinite hiatus,” this Queens trio resurrected an indie rock that some of us never forgot, and embodied the bold, stoned spirit of late, beloved SST band Slovenly.
7. Daughn Gibson – Me Moan (Sub Pop)
Plenty of people took the opportunity to flog Daughn Gibson this year for deigning to appropriate a deeper “hot country” sound into his collage. This is ridiculous. What a tremendous, risk-taking record, fearlessly leaping over genres and customs. No two tracks sounded alike, but all of it came, unmistakably, from the same source.
6. Run The Jewels – s/t (Fool’s Gold)
Killer Mike and El-P continue their fruitful creative partnership. Masterful and sly, this one killed it.
5. Retribution Gospel Choir – 3 (Chaperone)
I am no fan of Low (yeah, yeah), but had heard some of the RGC material released on Sub Pop and was curious how Alan Sparhawk and co. would handle their acquittal. 3 presented the band in long form, laying down a pair of 20-minute exercises covering both the hot and cold sides of the pillow; one side exploring “Whippin’ Post” style abstract blues jamming so dense and acidic it could saw a Cadillac in half lengthwise, the other going for an iced-down Crazy Horse mantra that could seal it back together.
4. Steve Gunn – Time Off (Paradise of Bachelors)
I might as well extend this to all of the Paradise of Bachelors releases I enjoyed this year (Chance, Chris Forsyth), but Steve Gunn made the darkest mark with Time Off. This is a beautiful record of focused, accomplished folk-rock in a number of traditions, but I like it best when he approaches the offhand soul-country grace of Nashville Dirt by Rob Galbraith. You could get lost in this record.
3. Endless Boogie – Long Island and Matinicus EP (No Quarter)
Feels like this is the year that they finally got over, with plenty of room to keep moving. Good for them.
2. Polvo – Siberia (Merge)
For those of you still buying CDs, all three of these releases are being comped on that format via Anyway in the coming weeks.