Sunday, February 7, 2021

Year-end Recommendations 2020

2020 huh? Pretty much a generation-defining, epochal year - and not for musical reasons.  COVID-19 has ravaged the musical spectrum, be it the live arena especially (and I don’t mean an ‘arena’ but the live, gig-playing band in general) or that of recordings. Oddly, it has also provided the opportunity for bands to record music in a new way, new bands springing up in an isolated digital world, and the ‘streaming’ of live performances on the likes of Facebook.  I’ve caught a few (too many) of those and saw lots that would have previously been a ‘new’ idea rejected within a band practice - even before any booze or substance-of-choice kicked in. I really think life as we knew it has changed; it might only be on the short-term (of years), but it’s changed. 
And you know what??  If you think COVID is a scam... a media-generated deployment to sell copy... a myth? Well - please - fuck off.  I know people who have contracted it, have died from it.  You disbelieve??  Leave ya message below so we know who you are - but please - move to north Greenland.  
Musically, it’s been a surprisingly great year.  THE DAMNED released a record that’s on par with ‘Black Album’ era stuff. I really hope that this line-up doesn’t lose momentum with the original line-up getting back together for some (money-grabbing) reformation gigs.  My most-played, indispensable album isn’t actually in the list below as it’s ‘not quite’ Scanner material.  BOB DYLAN’s ‘Rough And Rowdy Ways’ is the man’s most interesting and intriguing album since ‘Oh Mercy’ and maybe even ‘Slow Train Coming’.  That might mean nothing to most readers, but it means a lot to me. Anyway, let’s get on with the Punk Rock!!
Looking at the ‘Other Contenders’, especially the albums, shows a real depth of quality - and that’s considering the fact that I have not heard BOB MOULD’s ‘Blue Hearts’, X’s ‘Alphabetland’ (I have done the unthinkable and streamed it), either of the ARCHERS OF LOAF singles Merge has released, any of the recent Dirt Cult albums or the PARANOID VISIONS reissues and latest 10” set.  Gutted really as they seem to have got ‘lost’ in the mail - and that’s no disrespect to PV - easily one of the best and most genuine bands I’ve dealt with for many years.   
Anyway - waffle over.  Yes, I know I’ve missed YOUR favourite record - I probably haven’t even mentioned it. Boo-Hoo... Tell me what I’ve missed.  Here’s what go me rockin’ ‘n’ rollin’, movin’ ‘n’ groovin’, shakin’ ‘n’ quakin’, thinkin’ ‘n’ talkin’, inspired and generally thankful to a whole bunch of bands that just fucking NAIL IT.  

1. SPECTRES - Nostalgia {Artoffact}
2. DIAZ BROTHERS - s/t {Boss Tuneage}
3. LITTERBUG - Abstract Melodies Saying Terrible Things {JSNTGM}
4. SCREECHING WEASEL - Some Freaks Of Atavism {Recess}
5. KNIFE CLUB - We Are Knife Club {TNS}
6. DUNCAN REID AND THE BIG HEADS - Don’t Blame Yourself {LBH}
7. FAZ WALTZ - Rebel Kicks {Spaghetty Town}
8. MOVING TARGETS - Humbucker {Boss Tuneage}
9. RUTS DC - 40 Years Of The Crack Live {Sosumi}
10. DEALING WITH DAMAGE - Ask The Questions {Little Rocket}
Other contenders: SENSIBLE GRAY CELLS - Get Back Into The World {Damaged Goods}; WYLDLIFE - Year Of The Snake {Wicked Cool}; JADED EYES - Call Of The Void {Boss Tuneage}; D.O.A. - Treason {Sudden Death}; DIRTY BURGER - Part Time Loser {Pure Lust}; GALILEO 7 - Decayed {Fools Paradise}; PERSONALITY CULT - New Arrows {Dirtnap}; RUTS DC - Electracoustic Vol. 1 {Sosumi}; ANSWERING MACHINE - Bad Luck {Wiretap}; FACE TO FACE - Live In A Dive, WESTERN ADDICTION - Frail Bray {Fat Wreck}; JADE HAIRPINS - Harmony Avenue {Merge}; COCKTAILS - Catastrophic Entertainment {Wizards and Potions/ Alien Snatch}; DON'T SLEEP - Turn The Tide {Mission Two}; LENNY LASHLEY'S GANG OF ONE - Lenny Lashley's Gang Of One Live, SEIZED UP - Brace Yourself {Pirates Press}; OFF WITH THEIR HEADS - Don’t Tell Me How To (Live) {Recess}; FONTAINES DC - A Hero’s Death {Partisan}

1. THE DAMNED - The Rockfield Files {Spinefarm}
2. FAZ WALTZ - Grown Up Guy {Spaghetty Town}
3. SENSIBLE GRAY CELLS - So Long {Damaged Goods}
4. MOVING TARGETS/ THE SWIPES - World Gone Mad {Mad Butcher}\
5. THE SCANERS - Alien Boy {Spaghetty Town}
6. KNIFE CLUB - Lockdown Acoustic EP {TNS}
7. DAVE SMALLEY AND THE BANDOLEROS - Ignited {Little Rocket}
8. THE SLACKERS - Nobody’s Listening {Pirates Press}
9. HAKAN - Drunk Dial #6 {Drunk Dial} 
10. FRANKIE STUBBS - Blood Orange Moon {Little Rocket}
Other contenders: SWINGIN’ UTTERS - Sirens {Fat Wreck}; FANG/ NO IDEA Split {Just4Fun}; DOMESTICS/ PIZZA TRAMP - Split {Kibou/ TNS}; VULPYNES - Dye Me Red {FOAD}; AN UNEASY PEACE - s/t {Dirt Cult}; COURETTES, THE - Want You... Like A Cigarette {Damaged Goods} 

1. THE REPLACEMENTS - Pleased To Meet Me {Sire/ Rhino}
2. VARIOUS - Shellshock Rock {Cherry Red}
3. THE PRIMITIVES - Bloom! The Full Story 1985-1992 {Cherry Red}
4. DEE DEE RAMONE - The Deadline Demos {Overground}
5. VARIOUS - 1978 {Cherry Red}
6. REDD KROSS - Red Cross EP {Merge}
7. THE PARTISANS - 1981-1984 {Cherry Red}
9. HAWKWIND - Roadhawks {Cherry Red}
10. HEAVENLY - A Bout De Heavenly {Damaged Goods}
Other contenders: TALULAH GOSH - Was It Just A Dream {Damaged Goods}; THE REPLY - The Complete Collection {Reply}; VARIOUS - Sweet Time RNR Comp {Sweet Time}; VARIOUS - Tnsrecords Volume 4: Broken Vans and Basement Bar Bands {TNS}; VARIOUS - Stay Home {Drink Dial}


  1. what no viagra boys,Idles,chubby and the gang,the chats, oh and bob dylan can fuck off.

  2. The wonders of anonymity on the internet huh, 'Unknown'? Anyway - thanks for the comment. IDLES I have tried to get into, often in fact, but something sounds... wrong. Of the rest? Can't say I've heard them. You could possibly send me some tunes? Email is on the website. And very insightful comment about Dylan. Each to their own.

  3. the anonymity was a technical mistake and insightful critique is my forte,cheers neil

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