Wildly careening our way towards the end of the Big Rock Candy Mountain Favorite Records of 2013, with Day 4 on tap today! Warning: Things get a little loud this time around, but ya knew that was coming.
Some old favorites pop up (hey, it aint our fault they keep making brilliant records...once they become million sellers, we'll maybe give 'em a rest...until then...). Some new cats make the list. And a very influential band makes a triumphant return.
The final Top Ten (coming soon!) should provide y'all with some nifty surprises (Country fans...we haven't forgotten ya!), so hang on to yr wigs!!!
Now, on with the show...
The Big Rock Candy Mountain Favorite Records of 2013, Part 4!
20. The Jeffrey Lewis and Pete Stampfel Band: Hey, Hey It's...
Noted anti-folkie (whatever the hell means, these days) Jeffrey Lewis teams up with the legendary Peter Stampfel (of the The Holy Modal Rounders and The Fugs) for a record of sheer unadulterated hoedown, loose and joyous, but subversive as well. Plenty of fiddle do-si-do abounds, so shout along and grab yr nearest partner and swing 'em round and round the back porch!
The Jeffrey Lewis and Pete Stampfel Band: Hey Hey (mp3)
19. San Dusky and Brijitte West: The American Dream
A modern sand-noir cowboy record, collecting the "Americana" recordings by Brijitte West, a fully realized vision that highlights West's astonishing voice, now with added twang. Subtle electronic touches burble deep in the mix, like water from a cactus, but the instrumentation is pure barroom honky tonk via Bloodshot rawkpunk. Highlighting the depth of West's songwriting (she's a true storyteller) and her Neko-like voice, we were suitably (sawdust) floored by this rekkid. Essential and howling at the moon!
San Dusky and Brijitte West: Lonely Satellite (mp3)
18. Heavy Times: Fix It Alone
An opus of scuzzy GBV sized tracks from notoriously scrungy psychtrash merchants. Perfect blasts of fuzz and distorto sleaze, the way the good lord intended.
Heavy Times: American Love (mp3)
17. Possessed By Paul James: There Will Be Times When I'm Lonely
The ultimate lazy summer night bonfire artist, Konrad Wert (aka Possessed By Paul James), a master fiddler and geetarist, drops yet another brilliant record, full of stomping country blues and joyous sing-alongs, leavened by beautiful long dark road workouts of introspection and love. An artist of enduring hope, Wert seeks the best and the transcendent in every moment, and in these cynical times, his voice is a boon and a salvation, never sappy, never clichéd, but full of wonder. Stand proud over the flickering flame, embrace the stars, let yourself be transported by the swirling, swinging joy that is a Possessed By Paul James record. You'll thank us, you'll thank him, and you'll thank the beautiful life around you.
Possessed By Paul James: 38 Year Old Cocktail Waitress (mp3)
16. Willis Earl Beal: Nobody Knows
A true Renaissance man, Chicagoan Willis Earl Beal defies every category modernity would paint a wall with. His unique history can be found here....but let's just talk about the record...a soulful piece of work that suggests some of the deepest 70's r'n'b cuts and some of the most modern of soul, from dj spun glamspangle to quiet storm burners....chain gang handclappers and Mississippi dirt farms....trip hop downbeat and bop jazz noir....distorted grunge and gospel salvation....again, defying category. What could have mess is a complete whole and unique vision that fascinates, moves the loins, and lifts the spirit. Beal's voice is the highlight, a rubbery deep burnt thing, earthy and starry at once.
A remarkable record that can only hint at further brilliance to come. We'll follow where he goes.
Willis Earl Beal (with Cat Power): Coming Through (mp3)
15. Ten Foot Polecats: Undertow
The Polecats continue their assault on the Blues, with a wailing and crackling set of deepdeepdeep guitar and hollering fury, burning down the sugar cane with blistering songs that, like a hurricane, lift you up and transport you not to Kansas but to the very heart of the Delta, the mighty Mississippi churned and flooding, undertow indeed, roiling up the muddy bottom into a churning land-breach of filth and magnificence....Jim Chilson may be the most important guitarist out there, strangling sheer godhead out of shale and filth, carrying down the road in a battered Ford full of snakes and salvation. Jay Scheffler channels the ghost of Howlin' Wolf and all the forgotten spectres of bluesmen who sparked and howled in lost jukejoints long forgotten, a mighty voice in the apocalyptic maelstrom of end of times, a prophet. Chad Rousseau pounds the skins of ancient civilization, tribal and bleeding, the darkest rhythm a voodoo rite fucking the very corpse of the lost and sanctified. Combine and verily...the Blues at the end of the world. And, without any doubt, the best live band out there. Worship, ye sinners!
Ten Foot Polecats: Moonshine and Mud (mp3)
14. Rev. Tom Frost: Bloody Works
Reverend Frost has been blowing out the roof of Waits/Cramps/Trash inspired music for awhile now...and on this record his voice becomes truly his own...a mélange of horror and sleaze, executed with chilling brilliance, a soundtrack to yr darkest dreams....Bloody, indeed....satan's envoy banging guitar, piano intonation garbage can joy, beating the gore encrusted buckets raw with the stuff of nightmare and bad dreams. A gloriously loud and infernal barrelhouse boogie sending ya straight to hell, demons and creepy creatures intact!
Rev. Tom Frost: Gotta Travel On (mp3)
13. My Bloody Valentine: mbv
Loveless changed the way we listened to music, blasting crappy stereos to full volume to piss off the neighbors (in our case, fellow dorm room dwellers) a mutant sound that suggested busted speakers and the world stopped to revel in the beauty of sound. Lo, these many years later My Bloody Valentine return, with no apologies, and further downtuned murals of sound and fury, tinny beats under guitar deconstruction, whispers of vocals fading in and out, Kevin Shields abusing the guitar like no one before, strange and distorted, questioning the very nature of how we hear.
At long last, then, a triptych...dropped unexpectedly... from soaring Britpop bastrdized to it's burnt ends to psych blowout starved into submission to rhythmic workout tweaked and fucked with, swirled around you...
The speakers are still busted...nobody even comes close....welcome back ye pranksters of sound, holy and obscene...So many contemporary bands owe allegiance....yet none come close to the monster that raised 'em.....yowza!!!!
(MBV does not wish for mp3 samples...their whole record can be heard on youtube, in lo-fi resolution....get the record proper and prepare to lay back and be overwhelmed...perfect headphone music!)
12. Left Lane Cruiser: Rock Them Back To Hell
One of the finest bands around, and a Big Rock Candy Mountain favorite...y'all knew that already. Continuing their tradition of crafting sonic splatter over Mississippi groove and splutter, deep holler hollerin' and grimy guitar godhead, a maniac behind the drum kit transporting sex and sin into a rumbling tidal wave. One often forgets how goddam funky they are amidst the shards of muddy bottom sediment. You can dance, you can swirl, you can throw yr fist in the air, you can set yr beard afire....you can eve smoke a little...A hugely transportive rekkid, perfect for parties and long road, white line drivin'....Man, does any other band offer so much rawk and so little crap? Kick it, motherfuckers.....
Left Lane Cruiser: Neighborhood (mp3)
11. Bloodshot Bill: The Lonesome Road
One of the last of the great greats...Bloodshot Bill (welcome back to the U.S.A.) bends the honky tonk stick into a warped, fuzzy, traditional pretzel, short sharp blasts of Jimmie Rodgers meets Hank meets all yr Buffalo Bop obscurities, killing it with hiccupped laments (lots and lots of "babys") and hootenanny breakdowns. A real songwriter, which some forget to mention, Bloodshot Bill invites you to the jamboree, flailing limbs and stomping sawdust two-steps, where the punch is spiked and the gingham rides up risqué. All the tropes and none of the cliché, this record will swing ya to break of dawn...and beyond...
Bloodshot Bill: Moon Is Hiding (mp3)
No major labels, once again....Only good old fashioned rawk'n'roll rekkids! Support the artists! Ya like what ya hear in crappy mp3 format? Think how good it sounds otherwise!!!