22 Feb 2010

2010, you cheeky bitch.

It’s true, another year has come and 2009 has gone. 2009 was a year full of ups and downs, good music and bad but mostly, it was just another year. It wasn’t particularly memorable, but it also wasn’t immediately forgettable. It was somewhere in between. It was basically like getting slapped with a well moisturised hand, if you know what I mean.

I learnt a lot about myself last year and I am dead set on applying all these wonderful new findings to my life this year. Fuck, what schlep, don’t mind my ramblings, let’s get down to brass tacks here, let’s delve into the world of music, well, Rick’s world of music in 2009.

There were a couple of really memorable albums released last year, but before I tell you how much I loved some of them, I would like to just say that Jay Reatard died this week, it is incredibly sad, he was a true punk rocker. He hated his band members, fired them often, he punched his own fans, but he believed in the magic he created with his guitar and my goodness, he will be missed. Dearly. Be good Jay and try not to punch your fellow fallen musicians, although you could sock Bono one when he finally arrives and give Ian Curtis a big hug from me. Sentimentalities are out of the way, let’s do this.

2009 gave us new Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth albums, two of my all time favourite bands and I am happy to report that their efforts were solid and entertaining and I will keep listening to them. That is the only test of a good album isn’t it? If you can keep listening to it, longevity is what the “experts” call it I’ve been told. If you are into noisy indie and solos that will melt your eardrums, then Dino’s Farm is a must hear. They are awesome, you don’t agree? Fear not, I might have something up my sleeve that you might agree with, or not, I never can tell what will spew forth next.

Okay, let me get this out, I am one of the 90’s babies, that just loves Evan Dando, if you don’t I can dig it, but you really should give Evan another shot. The new Lemonheads album, Varshons, was released this year as well and it was a solid effort, although I am slightly disappointed that it consisted of other people’s music, but it’s Evan Dando and he can do very little wrong in my eyes. Well, except for agreeing to be on the same bill as Ray Phiri at last year’s Grahamstown Festival here in South Africa. But other than that, Evan is golden.

I was also pleasantly surprised this year by a South African band…you better believe it, BLK JKS can make some groovy and arty indie with the best of ‘em. If you haven’t yet, do it, go and listen to After Robots, it is a great alternative listen. It really is just incredible and these guys restored my faith in the South African music scene that I think has become a little stale, but that is another story for another day, this is going to be a positive post, because 2010 is all about being more positive for me. I get called a cynic and negative rather often, so sod it, let’s look on the bright side.

And you will know us by the trail of dead also released a new album, it was a solid effort, I enjoyed it a lot, the same goes for the new Jarvis Cocker, Kevin Devine and The Decemberists. Jay Reatard recorded and released his last album, Watch Me Fall, and although it’s not my favourite of his, it demonstrated his willingness to try new things, clean up his sound and the album, a poppy blend of straight up punk / garage rock really made me appreciate him even more. A seriously talented guy died, the world should wear black. For a week or something, I am, but only on the inside considering the scorching temperatures that have been plaguing Cape Town.

Another of my favourites released an album this year and Brand New’s Daisy, didn’t disappoint, it’s angry, angsty and Jess Lacey clearly does not give two flying fucks what you think about it. Brand New make music for themselves, luckily we agree on that, so I loved the album, but it wasn’t the best this year in my opinion.

So that only leaves one more album to mention and it is in my opinion the album of the year, possibly the last two years, Them Crooked Vultures’ self-titled effort just blew my mind. Absolutely destroyed my headphones and got me bouncing around in my seat at work as if I had just taken some speed, it is a masterpiece. It has it all, josh’s sultry vocals, John Paul Jones slapping the living daylights out of his bass and Dave Grohl doing what he was born to do, which is play drums with Josh Homme.

“Shut the hell up man!” I hear the Foo Fighters fans screaming, now do yourselves a favour and listen to Queens of the Stone Age’s Songs For The Deaf and Them Crooked Vultures and compare it to ANY of the Foo Fighters albums. My point has been made.

So all in all we got a lot of new music last year and I can’t wait to see what we’ll be treated to, although I have discovered so many older bands that just rock the fuck out of everything this year that even if we only get one new good album this year (please let it be the Alkaline Trio one *crosses everything*) then there is more than enough old stuff to keep me going.

My favourite discoveries of last year would have to be Fatso Jeston, Thin White Rope, Brant Bjork (basically the Desert Rock scene from Palm Desert, because they all just rock out, it’s too cool) and of course, my new love, Wipers. Greg Sage wrote music for me, they’ll pick you up, kick you about a bit and then put you down, gently, because they wouldn’t want to hurt you. They were kind like that. And on that note I shall sign off, it’s been a long rant, I hope you liked reading it, because I always enjoy writing.

“ Let's get just a little too loud
That's the way I've seen it written by the clouds
but I'm so far away
Thought you said I would never get hurt
Then what am I doing crawling in the dirt
Wait a minute
So just give me a little smile
Nothing’s ever gonna change our style ”

- Wipers – Wait a Minute

If you need a motto for the year, use this, thank me later.

“No sympathy for the Devil, keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride.”

- Dr Hunter S. Thompson

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