Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Best Records of 2015

As in many past years, for 2015 I ranked numerically my top picks for Best Albums and Best Singles, and also made alphabetical lists of contenders that nearly made those ranked lists.  For the most part, I limited eligibility for the Best Albums and Best Singles lists to “new” recordings made in (or just before) 2015.  However, in a few instances, I admitted new releases containing much older recordings to membership on these lists, so long as the lion’s share of the recordings at issue were never previously released.

For the first time, this year I also ranked my Top Five reissues numerically, before reverting to my usual practice of listing all other Best Reissues alphabetically.  I did so because this year five deluxe box sets reflected scales of scope and ambition (and corresponding price tags) that seemed to separate them categorically from the many other excellent reissues that also were released in 2015.  

Finally, for the first time, this year I made a separate list of Great Local Releases from Cincinnati, unranked and listed alphabetically.   I had several reasons for doing so.   First, mainly through hosting Trash Flow Radio on WAIF 88.3 FM in Cincinnati, I have been exposed to a lot of local music that my out-of-town friends who read this list would not likely discover on their own.  This list seems like a good way to steer curious out-of-towners towards some of the good sounds being made in Ohio’s Queen City.   Second, on my local release list, I have relaxed my persistent bias against non-physical releases, which would otherwise have prevented me from acknowledging many of the digital-only releases listed here.  Third, because I am personally acquainted with members of many of the excellent bands on the local release list (and related at the first degree of consanguinity to the leader of one of them), to avoid unnecessary friction I chose not to rank any of them. 

Top Twenty-Five Albums of 2015 (ranked)

  1. Scharpling & Wurster – The Best of the Best Show 16CD Box Set (Numero Group)   
  2. Jeffrey Lewis & Les Bolts - Manhattan LP/CD (Rough Trade)   
  3. The Chills - Silver Bullets LP/CD (Fire)   
  4. Robert Forster ‎– Songs To Play LP/CD (Tapete)
  5. The Mountain Goats - Beat the Champ 2LP/CD (Merge)   
  6. Mecca Normal ‎– Empathy For The Evil LP/CD (M'Lady's)
  7. The Cairo Gang - Goes Missing LP/CD (God?/Drag City)   
  8. X____X - Albert Ayler's Ghosts Live at the Yellow Ghetto LP (Smog Veil)   
  9. Styrenes - CLE 76-79 Unreleased 3x7"EP (My Mind's Eye)   
  10. TV Colours ‎– Purple Skies, Toxic River LP (Comedy Minus One)   
  11. Twerps - Range Anxiety LP/CD (Chapter Music/Merge)   
  12. Joanna Newsom - Divers 2LP/CD (Drag City)   
  13. Sweet Talk - Double Perfect LP (12XU)  
  14. Neil Hamburger - Entertainment OST LP (Numero Group) 
  15. Spider & The Webs - Spider Magic MP3-Album (Bumpidee)  
  16. Kath Bloom - Pass Through Here ‎LP/CD (Chapter Music)   
  17. Goddess - Paradise LP (self-released)   
  18. Protomartyr - The Agent Intellect LP/CD (Hardly Art)   
  19. Expert Alterations ‎– You Can't Always Be Liked LP/CD (Kanine)   
  20. Dick Diver – Melbourne, Florida LP/CD (Trouble In Mind)   
  21. V/A - Fifty @50 LP (Old 3C) 
  22. David Arvedon ‎– The Best Of Dave Arvedon Volume 2  LP (Mighty Mouth)   
  23. Kurt Vile - B’lieve I'm Goin Down 2LP/CD (Matador)   
  24. Ultimate Painting – Green Lanes LP/CD (Trouble In Mind)   
  25. Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit (Deluxe Edition) 2LP/2CD (Mom + Pop)

Next-Best Albums of 2015 (alphabetical):

  • Amen Dunes - Cowboy Worship LP/CD (Sacred Bones)  
  • Lou Barlow - Brace The Wave LP/CD (Joyful Noise)   
  • Blank Realm ‎– Illegals In Heaven LP/CD (Fire/Bedroom Suck)   
  • The Blue Jean Committee - "Catalina Breeze" 12"EP (Drag City)   
  • Bully – Feels Like LP/CD (Startime International)
  • Bob Collins & The Full Nelson ‎– Telescopic Victory Kiss CD (Jigsaw)   
  • Eleventh Dream Day ‎– Works For Tomorrow LP/CD (Thrill Jockey)  
  • James Elkington & Nathan Salsburg - Ambsace (Paradise of Bachelors)   
  • Jad Fair & Norman Blake - Yes LP (Joyful Noise)   
  • Bill Fay – Who Is the Sender? LP/CD (Dead Oceans)
  • Freakwater ‎– Scheherazade CD (Bloodshot)   
  • The Gizmos – Gizmos World Tour 2014 CD (Gulcher)
  • Colleen Green - I Want To Grow Up LP/CD (Hardly Art) 
  • Steve Gunn/Kurt Vile - Parallelogram LP (Three Lobed)
  • Half Japanese - Bingo Ringo 12"EP (Joyful Noise)
  • Roscoe Holcomb - San Diego State Folk Festival 1972 LP (Tompkins Square) 
  • Home Blitz ‎– Foremost & Fair LP (Richie)
  • Susan Howe & David Grubbs - WOOD­SLIPPER­COUNTER­CLATTER CD (Drag City)
  • Joanna Gruesome ‎– Peanut Butter LP/CD (Slumberland)
  • Tommy Keene ‎– Laugh In The Dark LP (Second Motion)
  • Laurice - Best Of Laurice Vols. 1 & 2  LP/CS/CD (Mighty Mouth)   
  • Alan Licht ‎– Currents LP (Vin Du Select Qualitite)   
  • Longmont Potion Castle - 12  MP3-Album (D.U.)
  • Glenn Mercer - Incidental Hum LP/CD (Bar/None)
  • Motel Beds - Mind Glitter ‎LP (Anyway)   
  • Parquet Courts ‎– Monastic Living 12"EP (Rough Trade)
  • Tom Phillips ‎– Mr. Superlove LP/CD (Western Famine)    
  • Royal Headache – High LP/CD (What’s Your Rupture?)   
  • Rozi Plain - Friend LP/CD (Lost Map) 
  • Ravi Shavi ‎– Ravi Shavi LP/CS/CD (Almost Ready)   
  • Shilpa Ray ‎– Is Last Year’s Savage LP/CD (Northern Spy)   
  • Rocket From The Tombs - Black Record LP/CD (Fire)   
  • Joan Shelley – Over & Even LP/CD (No Quarter)   
  • The Silence ‎– The Silence LP/CD (Drag City)   
  • Sleaford Mods – Key Markets LP/CD (Harbinger Sound)   
  • Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love LP/CD/CS (Sub Pop)   
  • Speedy Ortiz ‎– Foil Deer LP/CS/CD (Carpark)   
  • St. Lenox - Ten Songs About Memory And Hope LP ‎(Anyway)    
  • The Treasures of Mexico - Holding Pattern CD (Shelflife)   
  • Vacation - Non-Person LP (Don Giovanni)   
  • Neil Young + Promise Of The Real -  The Monsanto Years 2LP/CD (Reprise)
  • Yo La Tengo - Stuff Like That There LP/CD (Matador)
  • V/A - Different Drum OST CD (Gulcher)

Top Fifteen Singles of 2015 (ranked):

  1. Protomartyr / R. Ring - A Half Of Seven Split-7"45 (Hardly Art)
  2. Woollen Kits ‎– "Girl With Heart" b/w "In The Black" 7"45 (R.I.P Society)
  3. Terry - Talk About Terry 7"45 (Upset! The Rhythm)
  4. The Pagans – “NoWhere Girl” MP3-Single (Ruin Discos)
  5. Bummers Eve - Fly On The Wall 7"45 (Almost Ready)
  6. Jonathan Richman ‎– "Keith" b/w "They Showed Me The Door To Bohemia" 7"33 (Blue Arrow)
  7. The Rutabega - Shiny Destination 7"45 (Triple Eye)
  8. Radiator Hospital/Martha Split-7"EP (Specialist Subject)
  9. Wussy ‎– Public Domain, Volume I CDEP (Shake It)   
  10. Hinds/The Parrots  ‎– Hinds Parrots Split-7"45 (Burger/Lucky Number)
  11. The Pop Group - “Nations” b/w Sleaford Mods - “Face To Faces” Split-7"45 (Freaks R Us/Harbinger Sound)
  12. The Pizza Underground - PU Demos 7" (Jett Plastic Recordings/GranDetroit Records)
  13. The Crabs - Sleep MP3-Single (Bandcamp)
  14. Alex Chilton - Jesus Christ 7"EP (Munster Records)
  15. Laura Cantrell & The Charlatans ‎– “Emanuel” b/w Sinkane & The Charlatans – “Emilie” Split-7"45 (O Genesis)

Next-Best Singles of 2015 (alphabetical):

  • Courtney Barnett ‎– "Boxing Day Blues (Revisited)" b/w "Shivers" 7"45 (Third Man)
  • Bonnie 'Prince' Billy ‎– "On Raglan Road" b/w "Go 'Way From My Window" 7"45 (Palace)
  • The Crabs ‎– 5 More Steps CDEP (Jigsaw)
  • Destiny 3000 ‎– Destiny 3000 7"EP (R.I.P Society)
  • Feedtime - Flatiron 7"45 (Sub Pop)
  • Girl Band ‎– The Early Years 12"EP (Rough Trade)
  • The Gories ‎– "Be Nice" b/w "On The Run" 7"45 (Third Man)
  • Hinds ‎– Very Best Of Hinds So Far  10"EP (Mom + Pop)
  • Robyn Hitchcock & Emma Swift ‎– “Follow Your Money” b/w “Motion Pictures” 7"45 (Yep Roc)
  • King Kong – “Pawnshopolis” Video-Single (Youtube)
  • Dan Melchior ‎– For Letha 7"EP (Vin Du Select Qualitite)
  • Mint Mile ‎– In Season & Ripe 12"EP (Comedy Minus One)
  • The Nots ‎– “Virgin Mary” b/w “Shelf Life” 7"45 (Goner)
  • Sleaford Mods ‎– "A Little Ditty" b/w "I'm Shit At It" 7"45 (Emotional Response)
  • Slum of Legs - Doll Like 7"45 (Tuff Enuff)
  • Sophie's Dream - "Michael" b/w "Independence" MP3-Single
  • Tuff Love / Lazy Day ‎– “Groucho” b/w “Portrait” Split-7"45 (Lost Map)
  • V/A - 7 Inches in Heaven 7”EP (RSD 2015) (Bubbles In The Think Tank)

Top Five Reissues of 2015:

  1. Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge 1965–1966 Collector’s Edition 18CD + 10 MP3-Album Box Set (Columbia) (1965–66)
  2. V/A - Ork Records 16x7"45/4LP/2CD Box Set (Numero Group) (1975-79)
  3. Velvet Underground – The Complete Matrix Tapes 4CD (Universal) (1969)
  4. V/A ‎– When I Reach That Heavenly Shore (Unearthly Black Gospel 1926-1936) 3LP/2CD (Tompkins Square) (1926-1936)
  5. The Go-Betweens ‎– G Stands For Go-Betweens: The Go-Betweens Anthology Volume 1 4LP+4CD (Domino) (1978-84) 

Next-Best Reissues of 2015 (alphabetical):

  • Beat Happening ‎– Look Around 2LP/CD (Domino) (1984-2000)
  • Bikini Kill - Revolution Girl Style Now LP/CS/CD (Bikini Kill) (1991)
  • Shayne Carter & Peter Jefferies – “Randolph's Going Home” b/w “Hooked, Lined And Sunken” 7"45 (Captured Tracks) (1986)
  • Alex Chilton - Ocean Club '77 ‎2LP/CD (Norton) (1977)
  • The Clitboys ‎– We Dont Play The Game 7"EP (Beer City) (1983)
  • Crime ‎– Crime 7x7"45 + CD Box Set (Munster) (1977-79)
  • The Dictators ‎– Go Girl Crazy! 2CD (Real Gone Music) (1975)
  • Bob Dylan - The Basement Tapes LP (Other Peoples Music) (1967)
  • Dredd Foole – In Quest Of Tense LP (Feeding Tube) (1994)
  • Kim Fowley - "The Trip" b/w "The Underground Lady" ‎7"45 (Norton) (1965)
  • The Girls - Punk-Dada Pulchritude LP (Feeding Tube) (1977-79)
  • Fannie Lou Hamer - Songs My Mother Taught Me CD (Folkways) (1963)
  • Inflatable Boy Clams ‎– Inflatable Boy Clams 2x7"EP (Superior Viaduct) (1981)
  • Chris Knox ‎– Seizure LP (Captured Tracks) (1989)
  • Lead Belly - The Smithsonian Folkways Collection ‎5CD Box Set (Smithsonian Folkways)   (1933-49)
  • Owen Maercks  ‎– Teenage Sex Therapist LP (Feeding Tube) (1978)
  • Momus - Circus Maximus CD (Manufactured Recordings) (1986)
  • David Peel & Death - King of Punk LP (HoZac) (1978)
  • Pere Ubu ‎– Elitism For The People 1975-1978 2LP+2MP3 (Fire) (1975-78)
  • Sand In The Face ‎– Music Made To Riot: New Jersey Hardcore 1982-1983 LP (Mad At The World) (1982-82)
  • The Scientists - The Scientists LP (Numero Group) (1981)
  • Tall Dwarfs - Weeville LP (Captured Tracks) (1990)
  • Teenage Jesus And The Jerks ‎– Live 1977-1979 LP/CD (Other People) (1977-79)
  • Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments – Straight To Video LP (Straight To Video) (1997)
  • Vulgar Boatmen - You and Your Sister CD (Time Change) (1989) 
  • V/A ‎– Back From The Grave Vols 9 & 10 2LP/CD (Crypt) (1965-69)
  • V/A – Creation Artifact: The Dawn Of Creation Records 1983-1985 10x7"EP/5CD Box Set (Cherry Red) (1983-85)
  • V/A ‎– Early Indiana Punk And New Wave: The Crazy Al's Year(s) 1976-1983 2CD (Time Change) (1976-83)
  • V/A ‎– Punk 45: Burn Rubber City Burn! Akron, Ohio : Punk And The Decline Of The Mid West 1975-80 CD (Soul Jazz) (1975-80)
  • V/A – Punk 45: Extermination Nights In The Sixth City! Cleveland, Ohio : Punk And The Decline Of The Mid West 1975-82 ‎CD (Soul Jazz) (1975-82)
  • V/A ‎– Souvenirs Of The Soul Clap Vols. 3 & 4 - Jonathan Toubin's New York Night Train LPs (Norton) (1963-72)

Great Cincinnati Local Releases of 2015 (alphabetical):

  • Birdie Hearse –s/t MP3-EP (Bandcamp)
  • Black Planet – Mild Discomfort MP3-EP (Bandcamp)
  • Bummers Eve - Fly On The Wall 7"45 (Almost Ready)
  • Cincinnati Royals - First Four CDR (self-released)
  • Dinosaurs and Thunder - Worry Wart MP3-EP (Lo Fi City)
  • Leggy - Nice Try MP3-EP (Bandcamp)
  • Little Trees – Feel Factory MP3-EP (Lo Fi City)
  • Mardou – “Rimbaud” b/w “Bounty Hunter” 7"45 (Torn Light)
  • The Night Divided - Disruptor LP (Requisite)  
  • Old City - The Sun Is My Light CS-EP (self-released)
  • The Ophelias – Creature Native MP3-Album (Bandcamp)
  • Plastic Ants – “Tintype” & “Imperial Phase” MP3-Singles (Requisite/Bandcamp)
  • Sleepy Drums - Lucy MP3-EP (Lo Fi City)
  • Sophie's Dream - "Michael" b/w "Independence" MP3-Single (Ouroboros/Bandcamp)
  • Swim Team - Swim Team CDR (self-released)
  • Vacation - Non-Person LP (Don Giovanni)
  • The Wonderful Sadists – “Alive In America” & “Knever” MP3-EPs (Male Fraud/Bandcamp)
  • Wussy ‎– Public Domain, Volume I CDEP (Shake It)   
  • Alex York – “1” & “Implicit Memory“ MP3-EPs (Bandcamp)
  • V/A - CinCinCrimCram Holiday Sampler 2015 CD (Art Damage)


Sunday, March 22, 2015

RIP Steve "Chile" Rigot (Trash Flow Radio Special - March 21, 2015)

On Sat March 21, 2015, Trash Flow Radio celebrated the life and work of Louisville punk legend Steve “Chile” Rigot, who passed away the previous day after a long illness.  Best known for his work as the vocalist in The Endtables (1979-80), Rigot was legendary for his unique voice and also for his courage, creativity, grace, humor, and dignity.  Over the course of his post-Endtables career, he collaborated with many Louisville musicians of note, in combos including The Monsters, Skull of Glee, In The Vines, and Phantom Love (whose tracks were played) as well as Women Who Love Candy, Common Law Cabin, Funhouse, and Martine (whose tracks will have to wait six weeks, until Derby Day).   Our March 21 broadcast included phoned-in remembrances from archivist Steve Driesler (who compiled The Endtables retrospective CD issued on Drag City Records in 2010), Louisville rock iconoclast/historian Robert Nedelkoff , and Louisville guitar legend Tara Key (Antietam/Babylon Dance Band), who shared stages with Steve Rigot periodically from 1979 to 2014.  We also aired a remarkable never-before-heard 25-minute long 1987 home recording of Steve Rigot composing the song “Carnival of Death” in real time.

The world may little note nor long remember what Trash Flow Radio said here, but it can never forget what Steve "Chile" Rigot did here.   You can download the March 21 broadcast, ad-free, in two parts, from:
Download: Trash Flow Radio March 21, 2015 (RIP Steve Rigot) - Part 1 of 2 (67 mins | 62 MB): <https://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/sa6fcf>.

Download: Trash Flow Radio March 21, 2015 (RIP Steve Rigot) - Part 2 of 2 (50 mins | 46 MB): <https://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/tapdyn>.