Lists can be hard and not really capture the spirit of the year. For me this year was all about lo-fi garage/punk/post-punk/whatever. Instead of doing a “Best of 2008″, here are some of the more garage-y and rock’n’roll albums, EPs and singles that I’ve been really into this year.
Spider “EP” s/r
Spider put out one of 2006’s finest synth-punk singles on HoZac Records, full of weird and dirty hook-laden minimal synth tracks. Limited to 500 pressings, the 7″ disappeared pretty fast. Luckily for those who missed out the first time around, the band have pressed this EP, which features their debut single on side two. “Witch Cookie” sounds just as euphoric as it did the first time around, and the three new tracks on side one keep the sinister punk vibe going. As “Boozetown” shows, Spider doesn’t need much to craft a messed-up and addictive synth gem.
Nobunny “Love Visions” 1234 Go! Records
Nobunny doesn’t make any attempt to hide his influences– “Love Visions” starts off with a hook ripped from the Damned and even has a track called “Chuck Berry Holiday”. Still, this debut is an awesome collection of punk rock tunes with some rockabilly thrown into the miх. Sure it’s silly and dumb, but what else would you expect from a man who performs wearing a bunny mask and singing to a cassette? Nobunny knows how to have fun, and with tracks like “I Am A Girlfriend” and “Boneyard”, there’s no reason that you won’t either.
Black Orphan “Circuits” UFO Dictator Records
The only band might actually know what the aliens will be playing during the apocalypse. Thick vocals that you can’t even try to understand seap into heavily distorted synth lines, and a simple drumbeat in the back that rings out like the sole voice of reason in this glimpse of the future past or past future.
Children’s Hospital “Alone Together” Sacred Bones
Bizzare music that sounds like the perfect soundtrack to a 1930s car factory where all the workers are aliens. Slick and droning but with enough fuzzed-out weirdness to always demand your attention, this record could be your passport to another planet.
Eddy Current Suppression Ring “Primary Colours” Goner Records
This group from New Zealand sounds like protopunk meets post-punk– kind of like if Rip Van Winkle played garage punk and slept through 1977. This record, the group’s second, doesn’t try to be clever, but it’s sheer force and unbridled enthusiasm makes this one of the best listens of the year.
Blank Dogs “The Fields” FuckItTapes
The latest from Brooklyn’s anonymous and super-prolific one-man band Blank Dogs is much more catchy than past releases, while still maintaining his distinct lo-fi alien synth sound. Still, the mess of distortion layered on distortion can’t hide Blank Dogs’ love of melody, which comes through on each track on this release, and tracks like “Now Signals” even come across sounding like “Is This It” run through a flanger. At 6 tracks, this release is really just a teaser for 2009’s “Under and Under” on In The Red, but if that full-length is anywhere near as good as this EP, Blank Dogs will have trouble keeping such anonymity.
Other choice picks…
Thee Ohsees “The Master’s Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In” Tomlab
Sic Alps “U.S. EZ” Siltbreeze
Catatonic Youth “Piss Scene EP” HoZac