Awwwwwright!!!!!!!! Finally, the culmination of 2012, the Top 10 of the Big Rock Candy Mountain Best Records of the Year, busting out yr eardrums! The finest rekkids, made to make you fuck, fight and forget! Kick it kids, the righteous religion of rock'n'roll lives and breathes, killing yr speakers and screw that pussy indie or Top 40 shit. Preachin' and prayin', put a cape on us (can we get a witness?!), and rise up to holler more!
Take the mic, Mr. Scratch!
The Big Rock Candy Mountain Best Records of 2012, Part The Final!
10. Barry Brusseau: The Royal Violent Birds LP
Another deep Autumn record by Mr. Brusseau (who we wrote about here), like red and orange leaves falling all about, droned and sad. A monumental record, from a supremely talented, independent and idiosyncratic artist. More on Mr. Brusseau and his fledgling label coming up soon.
Barry Brusseau: Plymouth Fury (car ride) (mp3)
9. Owen Mays and the 80 Proof Boys: Nobody Love You When You're Down
Boozed-up, bad-livin' honky tonk glory, like the good lord intended. Mr. Mays is our next post, so we'll have more say then. Gird yr pansy "alt-country" loins, kids, this is the real deal.
Owen Mays and the 80 Proof Boys: 80 Proof Nights (mp3)
8. Outer Minds: Outer Minds LP/ Behind the Mirror LP
Two mighty psych-scuzz platters from Chicago's finest, space is the place with rockets burning stars into oblivion, droned jangled chanted swirly cream universe, free yr mind and explode a million times the Sun.
Outer Minds: Kings and Thrones (mp3)
Outer Minds: Look Behind the Mirror (mp3)
7. Reverend Frost: Bloody Tomahawks 7"/ Every Goddam Thing To Hell LP
Perennial Mountain fave Reverend Frost gives us a proper album and a hell of a 7". Rickety, creaky, jesus on a bender trash galore, Tom Waits meets the Cramps in a rumble, knives pulled, there's gonna blood on the moon tonight, and the horror movie in yr mind is a living thing, greasy and jumpin' jive. The Devil's on yr tail, the road is winding, with only one headlight and the breaks are out, the darkest canyon below, belching fire, and who's yr savior?
Reverend Frost: Every Goddam Thing to Hell (mp3)
6. catl: Soon All This Will Be Gone
What we said in our review:
A trashy glory of of an album, full of strange back road ramble, bruised, bloody, and anglin' for a fight. Nasty, filthy gutter blues, ready to move yr ass and shoot you busted and broken into the night... This is a band, and a record, that wants you to fuck, drink, and get got-damn lowdown... blown-out tire, voodoo-kissed, burn the white-trash porch down ravers, all organ-drenched, harmonica blistered, geetar-fucked, rhythmic groovers, hollerin' and scuzzed, bleeding sweat and kerosene, white lightning and mad dog cocktail. Main man catl his very own self rakes the unholy coals of hell with his mud-stained voice a prophet.
catl: He'll Make A Way (mp3)
5. Dynamite Pussy Club: Church of Yeah!
Holy fuckin' shit!!!! Revved to the red rawk'n'roll, busted speaker trash gospel sleaze, testifyin' the apocalypse, booze broads and hollerin' sanctified gut bucket tear this motherfuckin' roof down. Nothin' was nastier this year, big fuzz wailing soulpunkgarage destruction. We're out of breath listenin' to this holy mess of rawk scuzz!
Dynamite Pussy Club: Testify! (mp3)
4. Ian Hunter and the Rant Band: When I'm President
This was a year when critics rushed to praise a few oldsters who made less than exciting records. Springsteen showed he was a better keynote speaker than his newest bland record (which Rolling Stone named "best record, showing how out of touch they are) would prove. Dylan officially went off the deep end, and not in an interesting way, despite what folks will tell you, and gave us a tiresome rehash (and possibly theft) of tropes we've heard over and over. Neil Young released an un-listenable 2-disc set of tedious hippie jams, looking backwards. The Rolling Stones just looked stupid and their new single was a by-the-numbers turd. Good lord, can anyone over 60 (other than Tom Waits) make an interesting record?
Well, yes, yes they can.
Ian Hunter (you might know him from Mott the Hoople...you know...the classic "All The Young Dudes") is yr man! Wait, come back!
Still urgent, still full of glam situation, horns and plinking shack-styled piano, Hunter knows what moves the spirit, and boogie-fried southern growl, swing a bar band round the rosy, man just wants to rawk and fuck the introspection, it's all about the big sound and the end of the night where yr dancing with yr guy or gal and yr not gonna get fucked over with irony. The gravel voice, the rock'n'roll, the silent sweeper while you clutch the one you love over the big sound. Nobody else came close.
Ian Hunter and the Rant Band: Comfortable (Flyin' Scotsman)
3. James Hand: Mighty Lonesome Man
Honky Tonk. Country music the way you remembered, stripped of Nashville nonsense. The mightiest man, with pedal steel and fiddles and the loneliest whistle. James Hand, whom we have been in love with for years, solidifies his place in the pantheon of Hank, Merle, Lefty, George, and Waylon. They're of a piece, and James Hand carries the tradition.
No pretenses, no nod to "alt", no compromise.
What James Hand does is transcend the expected, delivering a set of pure country gold, lonesome desert, deep-hearted and purely old-school (not a bad thing).
Put yr boots on the hardwood floor, raving up sawdust and dirt, swing yr partner and dance and cry and drink and dance some more.
James Hand: Now Not Later (mp3)
2. Neneh Cherry and the Thing: The Cherry Thing
The most unexpected of records, a jazz "thing", from the daughter of a legend (that would be "Don"), best known for a 90's hit. But, good gravy, transforming how we think about music, and the stuffy preclusions taken.
Deep Soul, punk cover, layered and defiant, furry and sex groove, a helium balloon voice slinking in and out over transcendental soundsoundsound, oh yes.
Sun Ra backing Billie Holiday, when you dream, deep dream the constellation lighting up the walls around yr lonely bed. Wake and feel the tremor of the earth, the moon shining just for you, and you alone, the sound of all yr hopes laid bare, and be, and be, and be.....
Neneh Cherry and the Thing: Dream Baby Dream (mp3)
1. Daddy Long Legs: Evil Eye On You LP
Rock and Roll was informed by the Blues. With that, we give a tip o'the hat to Nick Tosches and Greil Marcus. And where does that leave us? A crossroads, as it were, between the holy Southern jukejoint and the New York transposing, a posture on both ends, a fight between the sacred and the profane. Where white boys, now, mimic and flagellate on a created altar, the battle of Ghost World's "Blues Hammer" and Fat Possum's crate-digging attempt at revival, complete with hip-hop re-workings of the assumed standard, standing in stark contrast to tradition, whatever that is.
A little over a year ago, we attended Norton Record's big anniversary fest in Brooklyn. It was a great festival. On the last night of the fest, a band came on early, and we missed the first half of the set. What we saw of the remaining set blew our minds, and put that band on our radar....what records could we buy from them, this insane band that was suddenly our favorite band in the world? Well, nothing, really, other than an A-Side on Norton's famous Rolling Stones tribute series (they did "Cocksucker Blues"....a great choice). So, we bided our time, listened to other great records, pushed this band into the recesses of our mind, figgering well...at some point they'll release a record, and it 'll probably be pretty nifty.
We had no idea. No idea at all.
What Daddy Long Legs unleashed upon these cynical ears was nothing short of masterwork. A shot in the dark of the deep trembling heart of rock'n'roll, all desperation and harmonica short-fuse mess-around, blowing yr ears, yr speakers, yr very rhythmic pulse, whoopin' and stompin' from the get-go, going deep down into yr soul and pulling you into frenzy, wailing the chug a chug and chug a lug, spilled beer on the barroom floor while you kick and shimmy the slide on down to Satan's very personal lounge, the sound of the damned and the sound of the "we don't give a fuck", because the shack is open 24-7 and we're gonna grind and fuck the latest morning and the deepest night, blow, baby, blow, the train is haulin' and we're in the caboose, the back end of respected society, hootin' it up to the end of the line.
Yeah, it's 3 white boys from Nooo Yawk. And, yeah, they kick yr ass from every direction. Full throttle, nuthin' you heard this year comes even close!
Best Record Of The Year!
Daddy Long Legs: Shackin' Up (mp3)
Hey, support the artists and the labels! Donate to the mighty Norton Records, who got fucked by Hurricane Sandy! A world without Norton Records is no world we wanna live in!