Sunday, January 18, 2009

2008 Round Up. We. Are. Done.

This is it. I am finally done. 2008 has been fully digested and placed into little lists. I still lose a little sleep thinking about what I might have missed.

Favorite Records Labels of 2008

Sacred Bones. NYC-based label that released one of the first Blank Dogs singles and also issued his "On Two Sides" LP on CD has had an amazing run in its first completed year of existence (see my last blog entry for more info) and is poised to have another great run in 2009. Upcoming releases by 13th Chime, Gary War, Spirit Photography and a highly anticipated split 7" by Meth Teeth and Christmas Island should help continue the frenzy that this little label has stirred up.

Not Not Fun. Another great year for this still rather young label. More LPs dropped this year on NNF than any other previous year, though they still put out plenty of great looking/sounding cassettes, not to mention the monolithic full length CD by The Goslings, "The Occasion". The Pink Lumionous Invocation and Blank Realm cassettes were especially amazing, while LP releases by Scorces, Raccoo-oo-oon, Barn Owl, Magic Lantern, and Sun Araw get high grades, too. The future releases seem dedicated to LP with upcoming full lengths by Ducktails, Sun Araw/Predator Vision, and Mythical Beast, among many others. Don't forget to sign up for their always amazing 7" subscription series.

Sloow Tapes. Got hep to this cassette-only label earlier this year and have been collecting every release since. Great aesthetic that Thurston Moore once dubbed "earth-psych", and I would have to agree. Most of the groups, who hail from all over the globe, usually employ unusual instruments and add enough damaged effects to help take them to new realms. Very collectable label too. Many of the releases from the first two years (2006-07) have flipped for 5 times the original value.

Arbor. Best year yet for Mike Pollard's fledgling cassette/LP/CDR/7" label. Awesome cosmic jams from Infinity Window, Strange Water, Bee Mask, Steve Hauschildt, and his own solo drone project, Treetops. Best release, however, goes out to the downer-dub drones of Pocahuanted's "Island Diamonds", which is one of their best releases in a loooong line (almost 30 in two years!) of steady output. Upcoming LP releases from Infinity Window, Kites and Dead Machines should keep up the growing interest in the label.

Stunned Records. Phil, who also drums in Magic Lantern, started the label up this year and has released a myriad of sounds on either CDR or cassette, all of which have had pretty amazing artwork. The Sun Araw "Boat Trip" 3"CDR was recently re-issued as 12" vinyl on Woodsist, but you regular readers already knew that. Short runs of 50 or less have kept releases hard to find, the growing interest in the label should hopefully change that. Try DNT's distro or Fusetron to catch up.

Plustapes. Don't have much info on this very very new label, but I can tell you that the focus of this cassette-only imprint, at least so far, is re-issuing hard-to-find/long-lost world psych albums. I managed to scoop up a copy by a fuzzy surf-garage band from Peru named Los Holy's, who had a member go on to the infamous Tarkus. Three other releases came from an Indonesian all-girl garage group, Dara Puspita, all 3 of which were snapped up in the first few hours of the Aquarius new release listing. Keep an eye out for these, as Aquarius Records seems to be the only supplier right now.

Sweet Rot. After being prescient enough to put out one of the first Blank Dogs releases (seems to be the second), Vancouver's Sweet Rot Record's stock rose quickly and has since gained distribution by every major independent distributor from here to Western Europe. Subsequent releases by Meth Teeth and Love Tan quickly sold out, though you can still nab some recent 7"s by Dead Luke (very recommended) and AH Kraken at yr local grocer. Next year Sweet Rot will make the big leap from 7" releases and into LPs. Upcoming full lengths by Nerve City, Robot Assassins and Meth Teeth. Watch for 'em.

Woodsist/Fuck It Tapes. Pretty much a perfect year for Jeremy Earl's (also of the band Woods) Woodsist imprint. Revered work by Vivian Girls, Wavves, Robedoor, Blank Dogs, Crystal Stilts, and Pink Reason have kept interest in the label at an all-time high, helping his short runs sell out quickly.

Awesome Vistas. Absolutely LOVE this label. Run by San Francisco-based artist Chris Johanson, AV put out 5 releases this year, and all of them have been stunning and packaged with thee utmost love and attention to detail. The releases have been incredibly hard to come by due to small one-time pressings of burgeoning bands in the underground scene like Sic Alps and Thee Oh Sees. I managed to scoop up both those 12"ers from the dependable AQ. Two recent releases by Dragging An Ox Through Water and Jackie-O-Motherfucker were sent via Fusetron. There is no online home for the label, so I would suggest jumping on their releases when you see 'em offered.

Can't forget about DNT, Digitalis, Important, Night People, Florida's Dying, S-S, Siltbreeze, Plastic Idol, Permanent, Castleface, Kill Shaman!, Mt. St. Mtn., and Sound And Fury.

Laziness and just plain old wanting to get this year end shit over with has caused me to skip out on the links. I'm sure everyone knows how to cut and paste. Also, FYI, everything (unless noted) that is listed below and on all the previous lists have come from actual objects in my possession. MP3's do NOT count...unless noted, but it's pretty rare. All links to downloads are merely for previewing and, should you love what you hear, you oughta just go out and buy it. Many of the links provided are to albums that are out of print, which, in that case, I really don't feel bad about sharing.

Favorite Seven Inches

Twin Crystals "Two Girls" (Summer Lovers Unlimited)
Cold Cave "Painted Nails" (Hospital)
Matt K. Shrugg "We Can Just Lie" (Tic Tac Totally)
Zola Jesus "Souer Sewer" (Sacred Bones)
Little Claw "Race To The Bottom" (Siltbreeze)
Meth Teeth "Untitled" (Sweet Rot)
Love Tan "This Land Is No Good" (Sweet Rot)
Dead Luke "Record One" & "Record Two" (Sacred Bones)
Wounded Lion "Carol Cloud" (S-S)
Dan Melchior Und Das Menace "Madame Nhu" (Plastic Idol)
S.I.D.S. "Winter" (Rob's House)
Cave "Butthash" (Trensmat)
Wooden Shjips "Vampire Blues" (Sick Thirst)
FNU Ronnies "Meat" (Richie)
Vivian Girls "I Can't Stay" & "Wild Eyes" (In The Red) & (Woodsist)
WAVVES "Beach Demon/Weed Demon" (Tic Tac Totally)
Ducktails "Beach Point Pleasant" **Never managed to get this one, but the MP3's haven't strayed far from my winamp.
Mayyors "Mayyors" & "Megan's Lolz" **Missed the boat on this one too. Probably will never see it either, considering either 7" go for $50 a pop on ebay now.

Favorite shows

My Bloody Valentine@ The SF Concourse (San Francisco)
Stars of the Lid@The Triple Door (Seattle)
ER LP release party@The ER (Vancouver)
Thee Oh Sees@Pub 340 (Vancouver)
Wet Hair, Peaking Lights and Temptation@The Sweatshop (Vancouver)
The Rita@Anti-Social (Vancouver)
Robe And Allied debut show@Emily Carr Parkade
Barn Owl@Hoko's (Vancouver)
Grouper@Hoko's (Vancouver)
Tunnel Canary reunion & Blue Sabbath Black Cheer@VIVO (Vancouver)
Times New Viking, Health, King Khan, Ghostface/Raekwon and No Age@Pfork Fest (Chicago)
Sebadoh performing "Bubble and Scrape, Mission of Burma doing "Vs." and Public Enemy playing "It'll Take A Nation of Millions..."@ATP's Don't Look Back at the Pfork Fest (Chicago)
Wolf Eyes/The Rita/Sick Buildings@Pat's (Vancouver)
AH Kraken & Love Tan@The Sweatshop (Vancouver)

I'm sure I'm forgetting a few here, but these are the ones I either wrote about or have very fond memories of.

Re-Issues (Vinyl only)

Magnetic Fields "Get Lost" & "Charm of the Highway Strip" (Merge)
Debris "Static Disposal" (Anopheles)
Mission of Burma "Vs." & "Signals, Calls & Marches" (Matador)
Metallica's first four albums, especially the over the top 4LP boxset of "...And Justice For All" (Warner Import)
Whitehouse "Total Sex", "Ascetisists" & "Erector" (Very Friendly)
Scott Walker 1-4 (4 Men With Beards)
Silver Apples "s/t" (Phoenix)
Tim Buckley "Starsailor' (4 Men With Beards)
Animals & Men "Never Bought. Never Sold" (Mississippi)
Simon Finn "Pass The Distance" (Mayfair Music)
The Clean "Compilation" (Little Axe)
Mayo Thompson "Corky's Debt To His Father" (Drag City)
Gary Higgins "Red Hash" (Drag City)
July "s/t" (Sweet Dandelion)
Damon & Naomi "More Sad Hits" (20/20/20)
The Left Banke "Walk Away Renee" & "Too" (Shasam)
Brainbombs "Live At Smalands Nation, Lund, Sweden, May 29 1993" (Richie)
Kain "Blue Guerilla" (bootleg)
Soggy "s/t" (Memoire Neuve)
Skull Snaps "s/t" (GSF)
J.T. IV "Cosmic Lightning" (Drag City/Galactic Zoo)
Jandek "Ready For The House" (Corwood)
A Sunny Day In Glasgow "Scribble Mural Comic Journal" (Ruined Potential)
Silver Apples "The Garden" (Bully)

Re-Issues (CD only)

Lazy Smoke "Corridor Of Faces" (Arf! Arf!)
Philip Glass "Music in 12 Parts" 4CD (OMM)
Teenage Filmstars "Star" (Artpop)
Brainbombs "Obey" (Armageddon Label)
Sissy Spacek "California Ax" 4CD (Helicopter)
The Replacements everything from "Sorry, Ma..." to "Pleased To Meet Me" (Rhino)
Embryo "Rocksession" (SPV)
Kollektiv "s/t" (Longhair)
Everything on the Showboat/Skystation Japanese psych re-issue label...Taj Mahal Travellers "July, 15 1972", Hiro Yanagida "Hirocosmos", JA Caeser, Takehisa Kosuigi...the list goes on.
New Order "Movement" & "Power, Corruption & Lies" (Rhino)
Shop Assistants "Will Anything Happen" (Cherry Red)
The Mo-Dettes "The Story So Far" (Cherry Red)
The Heads "Dead In The Water" (Rooster)

Top 10 Cassettes (Gonna have to limit myself in this category)

Meth Teeth "Indian Spirits" (self-released)
Steve Hauschildt "Rapt For Liquid Minister"
Dead Luke "s/t" (Ski Fi)
Blank Dogs "Year One" (Woodsist)
N. 213/Jesse Taylor "15 Minutes/Soft Disco" (Isolated Now Waves)
Blank Realm "The Returner" (Not Not Fun)
Eternal Tapestry "Seas Of Silk" (Digitalis Limited)
Acre "Volcanic Legacy" (Bone Tooth Horn)
Brave Priest "Precious Summers" (Stunned)
Predator Vision "II" (Abandon Ship)

Favorite Local Releases

Nu Sensae "s/t" One-sided LP (Isolated Now Waves)
Twin Crystals "Two Girls" 7" (Summer Lovers) & s/t LP (Needs More Ram)
Empress "Movements of the Hand" & "Malleable Shore" (self released)
Connect_icut "They Showed Me The Secret Beaches" (CSAF)
Tunnel Canary "Jihad" 2xLP w/poster (Rundownsun)
Emergency Room compilation LP w/photobook (Grotesque Modern/Nominal)
Defektors "Secret Trials" 7" (Nominal) & "Torn To Pieces" 7" (Hockey Dad)
Flatgrey/The Rita/Sick Buildings/Taskmaster 2x7" (Ketchup Cavern)

Local live action

V. Vecker
Robe And Allied
Empty Love
Nu Sensae
Sex Negatives
Twin Crystals
Shearing Pinx and all related (ie. N. 213, Aerosol Constellations & Les Beyond).

Favorite Blogs

Art Vs. Spastics
Raven Sings The Blues
The Blogglebum Cage (RIP)
Mutant Sounds
7 Inches
FM Shades
7, 10, 12
Scrapyard Forecast

Ok, ETMS is hereby kicking it '09. Regularly scheduled programs like Hip-Hop Fridays and Monthly Cassette Reviews are back in action. Also working on a couple mega-uploads from some sorely forgotten about bands. Thank you for entering Thee Expressway.


Sean Orr said...

holy crap amazing list. a little blown away that you mentioned Taxes.

Mark E. Rich said...

Thanks! Please tell me we can expect some Taxes releases next year...maybe even a few more shows than in '08. You guys are poised to kill it in '09.

Jason said...

Really great year end round up...shocked to see little ole 7inches mentioned....your picks in that dept were ace. If you have a copy of that Wavves single count yourself one of the lucky few....bastard.