Archive for December, 2009

Top Ten: 11/2009 & 12/2009

Posted in Monthly Top Ten on December 20, 2009 by Billy Shears

Closing out the year with yet another combined Top Ten (maybe a few more) list. This is the stuff I’ve been checking out as the year comes to a close. The Bears suck, but The Hawks are tough and Illinois basketball is going to be up and down, with a prediction for a fairly deep run in March.

The year ahead promises solid releases from across the board – from Superyob reissues, to Tommy and the Terrors, to the the long awaited debut from Hammer and the Nails, 2010 may yet be one to remember. And then there’s the Cubs season to look forward to….

…are you hanging up the stockings on the wall……..Merry X-Mas Everybody!

Help the Economy. Send Me Records and Whatever Else.

Naked Raygun – Riot Fest 7″. Chicago’s favorite sons return, and rather than deliver embarrassing results as others from their scene have, the two songs here are actually solid. While not afforded “classic Raygun” status, they are still very worthwhile and do not tarnish legacies. “Mein Iron Maiden” has a traditional Raygun “whoa oh” sound, along with militaristic subject matter, while song two “Out of Your Mind” has a bit more experimentation to it, but still a catchy as hell melody, something that wouldn’t be out of place on a record by The Bomb. Well done, NR!

Concrete Gods – Welcome to the Empire Club CD – Likely my call for “Best of 2009” The Concrete Gods return to deliver their masterpiece. Kind of recalls mid-period Who with touches of Glam and Power Pop all over it, the voice of a disappearing Britain speaks as loudly in this as it does in Davies, Weller, Suggs and Albarn. A Must-Buy for true fans of British rock’n’roll.

Evil Conduct  feat. Frankie Flame – “The Way We Feel” ep. By rights, this should not work as well as it does. But Evil Conduct, like AC/DC, know the positives associated with sticking to a winning formula. This is simple, catchy oi! at it’s best, and when ANY band adds Frankie Flame’s keys, as well as his classic East End voice, that makes for an over-the-top good release. Tunes like “Brogues and Crombies” might be laughable if delivered by a new band feeling themselves out, but here, it works as one of the best oi! tunes I’ve heard in recent years. A must have, really.

Gang of Four – Entertainment! – Really kind of learned to appreciate this one late in life as well. Their influence is vast, and this LP is tight as a drum from start to finish. A classic.

Big Black – Racer X ep. Local faves re-visited by me re-buying this ep. My favorite era was when Pezzati and Durango were in the band, so this is in my tops of their back catalog.

Sydney Ducks – demo. A really excellent new band from the SF area. Likely to be compared to The Templars and French oi! due to clean guitar work, that lazy comparsion overlooks the really original guitar work (Prog oi!?) as well as the vocals, that are fairly unique themselves. A band with a bright future.

Tommy and the Terrors – Unreleased tunes for upcoming ep and comp appearance. You know ’em, you love ’em. Boston’s prodigal sons return with new tunes that are the angriest they’ve done yet. Shameless self promotion for  new ep coming soon on Rock’n’Roll Disgrace.

No For An Answer – pulled a discography of sorts off a blog and have been playing like it’s BNHC circa 1988/89.

Awaydays – Film. Despite lukewarm reviews, and a kind of blah response on my first viewing, I have come to really dig this flick. Apart from what I’d consider to be unrealistic results from all the fights – The Pack win EVERY skirmish they’re in, handily, without ANY casualties – and Elvis’s obviously homoerotic feelings for Carty (let’s face it, running with “the pack” is pretty gay, though), I give the flick high marks. From the top notch soundtrack, to the fashion and wedges circa Liverpool 1979, I think the film delivers its message with the subtly of a Stanley knife in the face.

Slade – Live at the BBC. Double CD. Let’s face it, what would Christmas be without SLADE? A really awesome collection of BBC appearances, including top notch covers. A must have for fans.

Jamie T – Kings and Queens CD – Picked this one up for $5 (including shipping) on If you like Jamie T, this album is his best stuff yet. If you’re unsure, I’d sample it, but he’s been called the illegitimate son of Billy Bragg, meets the Clash as mixed by Mike Skinner. Contains his most accessible (re: catchiest) work in “Sticks’n’Stones” the rest of the album works similarly, and turns out really nice. And hey – he samples The Upstarts, so there’s that!

Various Dischord – from Flex Your Head to Fugazi (alot of Fugazi) been playing the classics from harDCore scene alot the past few weeks.