A lot of zines and blogs emailed me this year to hand over a list of top records, bands, shows, etc.. for 2014. Sadley, I ignored most of them and I apologize my friends, next year I will create the lists for you and submit. Because I ignored them, I thought long and hard about my top ten records of 2014 or at least top ten of 2014. Here it is:
Musk – S/T Holy Mountain – Best Goddamned album of the year, hands down!
Golden Pelicans – S/T Total Punk – Best new punk in years
Off With Their Heads – Home Epitaph - I know it was released in 2013, but I didn’t listen till 2014
Fire Retarded – Scroggz Manor Big Neck Records – Love seeing Bobby Hussy getting into punk
Sonny Vincent & Spite – Super group of super Groups!
OBN III’s – Third Time to Harm Tic Tac Totally – if you love rock n roll, you must love this band
Pissed Jeans – Shallow (reissue SubPop) – Great reissue and very much needed
Bloodstains Across Buffalo V/A Extra Evidence – If you are from Buffalo you will love this record
Activations – Radio On/Attack Big Neck Records – Best new punk single in years! Dan Radiobeat kills it.
Sammy Hagar Birthday Bash in Las Vegas – Are you kidding? It’s Sammy Hagar and we were in a private tent drinking next to the stage! I know this is not a record it was just the best damn time that year.
Jameson Shot: 7” EP
Jameson whiskey goes down fine, and finer still are the X-Rays! of Nottingham for supporting neighboring Ireland’s economy. What isn’t fine is the way waking up to the aftertaste of whiskey has cross-wired my brain to think that whiskey actually tastes like hangovers. But that’s my problem. For the strong eared and stomached, every song on Jameson Shot will please, neat or with ice or water. G-Man’s guitar roars with bottom dollar distortion and Gary X-Ray’s weasely shouts are perfect on tracks like “Drinking for My Baby,” crafting gleefully shitty rock of the street punk feel, minus the aggression and double the cheese. I can just get through these three tracks before the X-Rays! liquor slap overwhelms my system, which needs some watery lager (tempo changes) mixed in with the hard stuff so I can stand on solid legs and flip the record, which comes on marbled vomit grey vinyl. –Jim Joyce (Big Neck)
Come on bands and labels, everyone is slacking on sending us cool rock n roll swag. We need records to list and review.
Best Freeby: The Xrays Calendar - The Xrays took the time to create a cool calendar with Live Pics of the band and pics of their record covers. Pretty sweet.
Best Demo: Burnt Thrones Club
Burnt Thrones Club is a two piece rock n roll outfit from Berkeley and rock they do. They play a loud noisy fast rock n roll with a lot of blues thrown in the mix. This stuff is really good. Sounds a lot like the early rock n roll releases that Big Neck Records put out early on in the labels lifestyle. Stuff like Sagger, Bantam Rooster, and Blacks. If we weren't so booked up with releases this year I would be all over this.
FATAL FIGURES-Caterwaul (Big Neck, LP)
Most of this band’s membership was in The Blowtops, who hammered out dirty, noisy garage blues churn. There’s still something of that here and they drag their songs through the muck pretty well. The songs that favor a spirited shuffle work best here—“Party Girl,” “Break Me” or “Blue Zed,”the latter song previously appearing on a 2011 single. It’s less-successful for the dragged-out “Wayne Bent” and “New God,” sounding like a musical interpretation of a hangover. Maybe not as much “VROOM” as their previous band (you should check out the Blowtops’ Blackstaticif your curiosity is piqued) but they have the right idea at times. (PO Box 8144, Reston, VA 20165, www.bigneckrecords.com)
PLATES-s/t (Big Neck, LP) Like Kim Phuc, Plates have been around for a few years, as well and and their self-titled LP is a volume-drenched head messer. Thick, huge slabs of guitar and, especially, bass (played by Biff from I Object/Brown Sugar/etc) stake out the band’s pummeling attack. I’m not sure about the point of calling one side “Flashing The Steel” and the other “Gang Shower,” but plenty of musical steel is flashed here (damn, that’s some crappy rock critiquery). This is the type of heavy, semi-abrasive rock that wouldn’t have been out of place on Amphetamine Reptile in the 90s. Nods to Hawkwind, with some of the whizzly guitar effects, and “Sentimental Jenny Jones Fodder” manages to be crushing and somewhat trippy at the same time. For pure punk-imbued raucousness, look no further than “Sociology 101” or “Under Suspect Tutelage.” Something tells me I’d need heavy-duty earplugs if I saw these guys live. I hope I get the chance. (Big Neck, PO Box 8144, Reston, VA 20195, www.bigneckrecords.com) – Al quint
FATAL FIGURES-Blue Zed/Alright (Big Neck, 7") Ugly, bluesy garage/slop with echo on the vocals for this pair of songs, one an original, the shufflin' "Blue Zed" and the flip being a cover of Pussy Galore's "Alright." The latter title sums things--'tis alright and nothing more. (PO Box 8144, Reston, VA 20195, www.bigneckrecords.com)
HOLLYWOOD-Stunts (Big Neck, CD) If you didn't tell me, I'd swear this was a new Mudhoney album, with the Mark Arm-type vocals, tongue in cheek lyrics and somewhat grungy, swampy guitar sound. It could even have been a new Monkeywrench disc, the sporadic collaboration with Mark and his Mudhoney compatriot Steve Turner, Tom Price from Gas Huffer and Tim Kerr. I've heard a new Mudhoney album in recent years and Hollywood's album is quite a bit better. Enough about those bands--let's get to Hollywood's rock 'n roll stew. The best song here is the raucous, rump-shaking "Toe-To-Toe," with a spacy instrumental break. The opener,"(Scary) Cemetery," borrows a lyrical line from the Ramones "Pet Semetary," and pounds along nicely on a sturdy bass-line, thunder-crack guitar and single note piano plink during the chorus. Bluesy, garagey, down 'n dirty rock done with simple, enjoyable aplomb. ( www.bigneckrecords.com)
WHITE WHALE-Widow's Peak/Rats In The Snow (Big Neck, 7") White Whale's previous demo and 7" were decent-enough but the two songs here don't immediately grab me. Frayed, semi-melodic punk working best on the higher-energy "Rats In The Snow," but something's missing, that extra spark to singe the ears. (PO Box 8144, Reston, VA 20195, www.bigneckrecords.com )