Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Al's musical top 10 for 2014

Alex Varty beat me to the punch on this one, article-wise - was writing about it before I even knew it existed - but I am so glad I bought it: Native North America Vol. 1 is on a bunch of top-10 lists on the Straight website, and I heartily concur. In fact, now that I've heard it, I look askance at any critic who DIDN'T put this on their top 10 list! I expected a mixed bag and am stunned at how cool song after song is - check the link and listen if you don't believe me. Simply a must-have for any music lover.

Hard pressed to put together my own top 10 for the year - I don't listen to a lot of new stuff these days - but, besides the above, I think it would include:

The Rebel Spell: Last Run - passionate political punk; I like the songs a smidgen less than the ones on It's a Beautiful Future but the sound is wayyy better. My big feature for the Straight is here. They have a big New Year's gig at the WISE Hall, eh?
The Ecstacy of Gold Vol 4-5: I think these both came out in the last year. Stuff I just want to spin over and over: a massive hoard of music from non-Morricone spaghetti western soundtracks. Volume 1 is already fetching collector's prices: the run of each was pretty limited. I got all five!

The Dishrags' Three: see my feature in the current Big Takeover. Essential, and mostly previously unheard.

Bishop's Green: Pressure. Best local punk band that I'd never heard before being assigned to write about them! (I COULD have seen one of their early gigs, opening for The Meatmen, but this drunken, somewhat irresponsible girlfriend-of-a-friend said she wanted to be comped into the show and I ended up stuck outside the club waiting for her while they played. I wish I had caught that show! Grrr!).

Gerry Hannah: Coming Home. I don't like every song on Gerry's album, but the great stuff on it is great - especially the reworking of "Holy American Empire" with Mike Graham on lead guitar, and one of the new songs, "You Can Take It From Me." Long-form review here. Nice that this stuff is out there again (Songs From Underground should get reissued, too, though).

Most cherished reissues on vinyl: the New Creation's Troubled, on vinyl, all that cool Roky Erickson stuff that came out, the Flesh Eaters' A Minute to Pray, A Second To Die. and Red Herring's Taste Tests, out now on CD for the first time (Red Herring feature here). Did those Dicks reissues come out this year, or was it last year, already? I can't keep it straight. Lot of great reissues, which is what I mostly buy these days.

I've run out of ideas but I kind of liked the Meatmen's new album, too! "The Ballad of Stinky Penis" sure is fun. Big Tesco Vee interview here.

Favourite movies in the theatre were Nightcrawler and Whiplash. Favourite director's cut: Nightbreed. Honourable mention goes to Guardians of the Galaxy, which I expected nothing from and so was quite amused by. Haven't seen Wingard's The Guest yet, but I'm very interested. Oh, and I liked a lot of V/H/S 2 and The Raid 2, and am now going to try to watch everything Gareth Evans (not Edwards!) does.

Happy holidays!

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