Here was some good stuff last year:
Tops of 2007
Vivian Boys “Une Fille dans le vent, elle s’appelle Vivian” E.P. (http://www.myspace.com/vivianboys)
Picked this up only a few weeks ago off the internets. Means, “A Girl In The Wind, Her Name Is Vivian". Delicious 60s garage rock amped to the punk level. Two dudes on the bass & guitar and a little drummer girl. 5 songs, no apologies. Raw energetic and necessary. A dedicated line to all things grooving, 60s style and wild. More from this group already please!
Erik Friedlander “Block Ice & Propane”
Road Trip music at it’s finest. Take avant-garde cellist EF and let him compose and improv basically his thoughts on childhood summers traveling across the country and you get this fantastic Solo Cello CD. This thing percolates with mood and emotion and just the vibe of being on the road. Combining elements and style, from classical string jerked epiphanies to almost blues or bluegrass backwoods ditties, it keeps a listener busy with imagery and wheels turning. Block Ice & Propane is a roots music odyssey well worth the trip.
Tinariwen “Aman Iman”
I first heard this band playing them here on my Breakfast Blend Friday show, the song, Tamatant Tilay, being a recommended track. It was early, I was kind of awake. It had a great groove, full sound, kept the head bobbing. I played it a few more times over the course of a week or so. But it wasn’t till I was meandering around the local record store one weekend when the song from the album, Imidiwan Winakalin, bubbled throughout the place that I fully appreciated it. The hand clapping, the smooth hammering on the strings of a dusty electric guitar, there is the feeling you are there around some campfire in the Mali desert, the spirituality and rebellion in these words you can’t understand. It’s then I could feel what the music was about : warmth. This is the album of the year.
Polysics “Polysics or Die vista”
Basically it is a MySpace Records reissue of the Polysics or Die (originally on the Tofu Records label) except with extra songs from their 2007 Japan release “Karate House”. A great introduction not only to Japanese punk pop new wave but also just a fantastic band! Imagine Devo has gone to 11 on the controls…. They’ve reworked some of their older songs too, so older fans won’t be disappointed. And here is another reason it's so damn tasty: a bonus DVD with 8 videos (including live). This CD should put them at the front of the US Invasion force!
Best purchase from the past:
Megababe “Speak Japanese or Die”
Wow! If this doesn’t rattle your bones you must be dead. Kind of silly name, but they are damn cute gals! And don’t let the first three pop-punk numbers, which kick butt by the way, fool you. The title track is practically an anthem! They can get almost thrash-nasty. This trio is stripped down old school metal punk 80s sound mixed with some pretty delicious new inspiration. It cannot be beat. Popping bass lines, tight traps, a swell crunchy guitar all fronted with some fine vocals. My favorite CD of the year, but it came out in 2004. This CD will make you do a bit of elbow flailing, happy to be alive and punking out. You'll feel the Ramones-jones inside you for sure. Sometimes you just need to flail and this year; this is the CD to do it to.
Best show in town:
Seen the Mad Tiger Video (from the SXSW Show) online yet? Well, if you have, you have only scratched the surface of what their live punk show is like. They played only 5 songs, lasting a little over an hour, but EVERYONE in the place was involved. The first song, the moniker “Mad Tiger” ended with them opening a chest full of instruments for the audience to play along with. Moritaka (Peelander Yellow, you see they are color coded) lead the crowd to crouch down real low then jump up in the air. Then...AGAIN! And.....AGAIN! We were putty in their big cartoon gloved hands. Ever seen a whole club of about 40 leather jacket, sideburn punks do a conga line around the inside of the venue? You would have…. The finale was them giving up their jobs on the last song, holding up the signs “Guitarist wanted” “Bassist Wanted”, “Drummer wanted”, letting chosen audience members take over the instrument playing while they set up human bowling in the middle of the pit. There was Yellow again, dressed as a giant bowling pin. Peelander Pink worked the giant portable spotlight on him standing on the table in the back while Peelanders Blue and Red set up the pins near the front of the venue. The first run and slide down and…Gutterball! Ahhh! Perhaps if the crowd did more of the crouch low and jump up for encouragement? Okay! One last shot and…. STRIKE!!!! Let’s all celebrate! What a blast. It was my daughter’s first punk show. She loved it, banging away on instruments on top of the piano on the stage. I loved it. What a pure live band should be and they were so friendly and approachable and just freaking great! Show of the year!