Archive for February, 2010

The Best Thing I Heard All Year

Posted in Opinions on February 10, 2010 by Billy Shears

As 2009 is but a memory, it is time for a re-cap…

When I’ve shamlessly ripped off others ideas in the past, I’ve usually done it discreetly. That has now fallen by the wayside. With this feature – The Best Thing I Heard All Year – I have 100% stolen the idea from MOJO magazine.

I'm always ready to steal an idea

Their idea, and a good one, is to have several enteries by well known musicians/people involved with music, which give a couple examples of the best thing they heard all year. Doesn’t have to be newer stuff (though most of the time it is) but just what the person in question was into in the year previous.

So, I have decided to take that same idea and run with it. Hopefully in time, you will find folks associated with the music scene that this blog promotes, or into music in some of the same respects as myself, and what they feel are the best things they’ve heard all year.

(As of right now, all of the people who agreed to submit, only three have done so. The rest of you douches know who you are, so let’s get your picks submitted so that the other 3 people who follow this blog can see what you have to say. Ugh.)

Regardless, take note, as there is much good music to be discovered in this way. Tally ho.

– BRIAN LOGAN (Terror/Nail/Call(er)/Promoter): London Diehards demos, T.H.U.G. s/t record, and the various mixes on the CRAZEE KIDS SOUND BLOG comps, with lots of pre-punk/oi!/terrace bands like Slade, The Rivals, The Squad, The Jook, The Faces, Skrewdriver, Sweet, Rejects and on and on and on.

– MATT KELLY (Hairdresser’s cousin): 2009 was a year for quality, not quantity.  The RIFLES’ new album “No Love Lost”, as well as their live performance at Great Scott in Boston, the aptly-named T.H.U.G.’s promo CD (which is now available on vinyl through Rock and Roll Disgrace Records), the new album from PLAN OF ATTACK out of Brisbane,  and probably my favorite of ’09 was “Welcome To the Empire Club” by the London outfit THE CONCRETE GODS. 

– BOB BELMONTE (No cred whatsoever/Rock’n’Roll Disgrace Records): Best things I heard/saw/read all year-

1. Dude on the blue line heading to Boston, yelling at some beat welfare oven and her 9 kids to shut the fuck up and tells her to close her legs and get off the system, there is a Dunkin Donuts hiring somewhere.

2. Getting the pre-paid cell phone for the R77 tour and having the rather hefty girl at Wal-Mart bendover to get it at the bottom of the rack, max out any of her bodily functions and just rip the loudest most repungent fart. It sounded like the kickstand kid was lifting wheelies with his 1982 Huffy Moped with no seat thru a mud bog.

3. T.H.U.G. – S/T LP/CD


5. NEW LOWS taster tape on Painkiller. 3 songs to hold you over till the LP drops. (Awesome cover of Jerry’s Kids – Raise The Curtain)

6. CONCRETE GODS – Welcome To The Empire Club CD

7. THE BOOK OF BASKETBALL – By Bill Simmons (He has turned into Rick Reilly at this point, but this book is a must for any fan of the NBA/Basketball).

8. JUDGEMENT “Live” @ Chaos In Tejas 2009

9. CLOSE CALL “Live” while Jimmy Flynn wore a shawl from some grandmother he purse snatched on the way to the show.


– SATURDAY NIGHT’S PICKS: We were impressed with several things in 2009, from old stand-bys like Naked Raygun returning to form with their Riot Fest 7″, as well as the amazing Madness release The Liberty of Norton Folgate. From excellent oi! courtesey of Evil Conduct & Frankie Flame, to the power pop leanings of Stamford Bridge, to newer stuff such as demos from Boston’s Hammer and the Nails, San Francisco’s Sydney Ducks, as well as demos/debut ep by NYC’s 45 Adapters, to discovering  Richard & Linda Thompson’s I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, it’s been a busy year.

Still on the stereo round our way is Battle Ruins debut ep, Gang of Four’s Damaged Goods ep, Mayer Hawthorne’s A Strange Arrangement LP and Elvis Costello & the Attractions Get Happy LP! Also played alot: Another Sunny Day’s album London Weekend. The choices were many.

However, with gun to head and forced to choose, the best thing we heard all year at this blog would be:

The Concrete Gods. Welcome to the Empire Club


Gods of Concrete

Nostalgia is a time honored subject in the rock’n’roll canon. British bands that are afforded classic status – from The Kinks to The Jam, to Madness and Blur – have all made records (and in some cases, careers) that pine for simpler days, whether with a wink and a nudge, or with earnest seriousness. The danger in being swept up in such a tide is complacency. Reminiscing turns to apathy, and that is that; a cycle of repetitive stagnancy and acceptance, with no outlook for the future.

The Concrete Gods latest offering, Welcome to the Empire Club, exists as something far more relevant than blissful nostalgia discussed over a few pints in the new art deco pub. No, this work actually stands as a call to resistance in the face of change for change’s sake; for progress that few see as progressive. While others are simply swept away in the tide of a changing world, The Gods emerge as soldiers of the last bastion willing to stand and put two fingers in the air and say ‘no more.’

To those familiar with The Concrete Gods, the delivery will come as no surprise; a mixture of a shared heritage with bands like aforementioned groups The Jam (the title cut and “Britpop Collector” amongst several others) as well as Slade (“My Old Man”) and mid-period Who (“Will You Stop Dancing?”) The unfolding of the newest offering showcases a band that is simply getting better and better. “Maturing” is a word I’d hesitate to use, but the sound reflects that. Songs need not be top-speed to be angry; they don’t have to be thrashy to voice dissent. Several of the songs are slower tempo, but sacrifice no power.

Built as a near conceptual record, it is as intelligent as any other of the aforementioned groups. The lyrics are smart and avoid simple moaning and groaning. Arguments are formatted and delivered, and grievances aired in an angrier Ray Davies voice. The album includes a perfect choice in cover as well; a reworking of Pulp’s class commentary “Common People,” that seamlessly melds in with the band’s own efforts.

The landscapes of the wayward youth of the band members have all but disappeared, with modern Britain not caring much; The “Boring British Town” of old pushes out its residents, and less and less is afforded to those that built the country. Rather than muse about it wistfully, The Gods have chosen to present their own social critique with aggressive rock’n’roll, complete with a last spit of venom aimed at “those who have conspired.”

The result is this blog’s choice for the best album of 2009. Simple as that.

Here to buy: Rock’n’Roll Disgrace Records.