YEAR END! – Top Labels Of The Year

Tiny Engines:
Seriously, Tiny Engines fucking killed it this year. Eight of my top ten records could very well have come exclusively from this label. In fact, check their history, Tiny Engines have not put out a bad record in their entire four year history. This label is that damn good. I look forward to all the things that come out in 2013

Deep Elm:
This year saw a great number of releases come out of the Deep Elm camp. I tend to be bummed on digital only labels, but I can’t be for Deep Elm. Back before they were digital only (and before I was a vinyl snob), a good portion of my CD collection was Deep Elm. They are home to some of my all time favorite records, and to some great up and coming bands that are going to make a big splash in independent music.

Count Your Lucky Stars:
Perfect Future, Dowsing, and Joie De Virve all put out full lengths this year. That alone puts CYLS right near the top of the list, never mind the rest of the amazing stuff they put out this year. They are also ready to come right out the gates in 2013 with a new Annabel 7″ and the debut full length from Brave Bird. This label is all quality.

Best of 2011

So, it is that time. Year in review lists are always kind of annoying. I will make a list now, then look back and disagree with myself later. Sometime in march, I will be pissed at my list. But, before I make the list, I guess I should do a quick thing.

2011 was an interesting year. It was really good at times, and really fucking terrible at others. A lot of stuff associated with this blog fell on the good side. Back in March, I dropped the Emo Is Not Dead article. Initially, it was just going to be a stupid article (not unlike the other “articles” I have written). It seemed like that shit struck a chord. As a result, I got a bunch of people coming here, I started getting promos, and I got my first troll. So, you know, that was pretty sweet. Thank you to all the awesome people who sent me promos, linked to shit I wrote, sent leads about things to check out, and just generally helped me make content happen. Ever since March, I have kind of been forced to feel like this blog is actually something worth doing. Specifically, thanks to Count Your Lucky StarsTiny EnginesSquare Of Opposition, and Topshelf for putting out so much awesome shit this year. I look forward to giving you all my money in 2012.

On the flip side, the latter half of this year has been a shit storm. Goofy shit kept happening, from the stupid MS diagnosis back in August to the current broken molar / swollen jaw I have now. Medically, this year has been stupid as fuck. The reason why there was a drop in content is due in large part to all that. I know that seems like a cop out, but it is what it is. I try my best to keep up with shit though. Whatever. On to the lists.

In no particular order, the top records of 2011 were:

FULL LENGTHS:

  1. Restorations – S/T
  2. Boris Smile – My Love Powered by 10,000 Practice Amps
  3. House Boat – The Thorns Of Life
  4. The Copyrights – North Sentinel Island
  5. Football, ect. – The Draft
  6. Candy Hearts – Everything’s Amazing And Nobody’s Happy
  7. Andrew Jackson Jihad – Knife Man
  8. Algernon Cadwallader – Parrot Flies
  9. Into It. Over It. – Proper
  10. P.S. Eliot – Sadie  
EPS / SPLITS / OTHER:
  1. These Branches – The Payoff
  2. Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) – Home After Three Month Away
  3. Grown Ups – Hand Holder
  4. You, Me, And Everyone We Know – Things Are Really Weird Right Now
  5. Family Lumber – Look To The Sidelines
  6. Dowsing – All I Could Find Was You
  7. Dikembe – Chicago Bowls
  8. Lemuria / Cheap Girls – Split
  9. Circle Takes The Square – Decompositions – Vol I. Chapter 1. Rites of Initiation
  10. Bonjour – Motivational Suicide
HONORABLE MENTIONS:
  1. Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) – On Time Spent Waiting…
  2. Lemuria – Pebble
  3. The Horrible Crowes – Elsie
  4. Laura Stevenson and The Cans – Sit Resist
  5. Thursday – No Devolución
  6. Spraynard – Funtitled
  7. Stage Fright Therapy – Stealing Salt Shakers Again
  8. Deer Leap / The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die – Are Here to Help You
  9. Timeshares – Bearable
  10. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Belong
OK. That is it. Anyone from Chicago going to be at the Dowsing / E!E! (IWALE) show tomorrow, I will see you there. Look for the giant dude wincing in pain. That would be me. Stupid tooth.
In closing, fuck all the bands that I like who broke up this year. Especially you, Snowing.

The Best Shit of 2010

Well, it is the end of the year. This, of course, means it is time to pretend my opinions matter, and compile my best of list for 2010.

Obviously, this list is my favourite stuff of the year. You may disagree with it (I like that I am typing this warning when, honestly, no one actually reads this thing [save that one dude, maybe]). So, yeah.

On with the show, motherfuckers.

TOP 10 FULL LENGTHS (in no particular order):

1) RVIVR – “RVIVR”
2) Blunt Mechanic – “World Record”
3) Off With Their Heads – “In Desolation”
4) Snowing – “I Could Do Whatever I Wanted If I Wanted
5) Grown Ups – “More Songs”
6) Castevet – “The Echo & The Light
7) Best Coast – “Crazy For You”
8) Iron Chic – “Not Like This”
9) The Dum Dum Girls – ” I Will Be”
10) Alkaline Trio – “This Addiction”

TOP 7 INCHES AND EPS (in no particular order):

1) The Get Up Kids – “Simple Science”
2) The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – “Formlessness”
3) Lemuria – “Chautauqua County”

STUFF THAT WAS ALSO PRETTY AWESOME (but, not “top 10” awesome)
1) Candy Hearts – “Ripped Up Jeans & Silly Dreams”
2) The Gaslight Anthem – “American Slang”
3) Mi Ami – “Steal Your Face”
4) Shinobu – “Exhaustive, Exhaustive”
5) Grass Widow – “Past Time”
6) The Thermals – “Personal Life”
7) Japandroids – “No Singles”
8) Bars Of Gold – “Of Gold”
9) Sundowner – “We Chase The Waves”
10) MGMT – “Congratulations”

One record missing from all lists is “Ghosts On The Boardwalk” by The Bouncing Souls. The reason that it is not included is because, while it came out in January of 2010, it is just all the songs from their monthly 7″ series in 2009. As such, it was on my 2009 list as the series, and would be poor form to include it this year again. Though, yes, it is totally awesome.

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So, that is the list. More reviews coming this week, as we wrap up 2010.