Saturday, January 4, 2003

C-Dog's CD Faves of 2002

1. The Flaming Stars - Sunset and Void I have to confess it's actually Bring Me the Rest of Alfredo Garcia I love, but this year's entry from the wildly underappreciated Flaming Stars rocks as well. The garage/lo-fi thing is done all over and I'm not even that fond of obvious influence Nick Cave -- can't get enough of these guys though. It's the lyrics. I'm constantly nodding my head and smile-smirking. "It's all overrated, Baby Blue." I tried to hook HD on these guys, but he wasn't biting. It may just be a me thing. Naw, it can't be. They're so freaking good. What the hell's wrong with you, HD!!

2. Jughead - Jughead It's just power pop. Hooky stuff with non-cutting edge songs with titles like "Halfway Home to Elvis". When Tif (she's my fiancee now, I don't think I mentioned that here yet!) and I drove out to Cooperstown this fall this CD got a ton of play. As long as I'm on the p-pop trip, I'll mention liking Ash's Free All Angels as well, especially for the video of the Jackie Chan song, and no less for trifles like "Candy". It can't make the list though. Not really.

3. Streets - Original Pirate Material I almost didn't list this because it's making *everybody's* list and I don't think it's the revolutionary bit of genius everyone is hailing it as. It's fun, and hilarious at times, but for an album that's supposed to owe so much to the legacy of ska, I can't imagine actually dancing to any of the tracks. Ignorant to the 2-Step whosamacallit movement, I'll let someone in the know tell me if you're supposed to want to dance to it. It sounds like it was made in a kid's bedroom and is the perfect listen on your bedroom stereo while blogging about how rad it is. I feel like 'the inevitable critical backlash' for not joining in the unanimous praise, but can console myself my pointing out I did like it enough to make it one of my half dozen faves of the year.

4. The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones - Jacknife To A Swan I see you rolling your eyes and 'there goes C-Dog again'-ing. Stop. Really. It's time people let the B-Tones off the hook for some mid-90s missteps, then making it big due to "The Impression That I Get". Don't be a hater because they're old and still ska-core. I'd rather go to this show and pogo around than stand next to kid with the thick black frames at the Streets gig.

5. Yo La Tengo - The Sounds of the Sounds of Science I'm kicking myself now for looking at the listing in the Boston paper for the show where they played live with a showing of the documentary this album scored and thinking, "uh-oh, this smells like a descent into art-rock dissonant noodling, I'll stay home." I had this image in my head of James McNew, back to the audience - watching the screen, banging two blocks together in time with some crab snapping its claws, or something like that. I can't abide art-rock noodling. Me, I likes the old-timey music with the rythm and the melody. I only heard this after grabbing a mostly corrupted file off a usenet and I couldn't stop listening to it for a week. Reminded me of the That Is Yo La Tengo EP I love so well. I'll mention the Nuclear War single here even though it in no way makes this list but on account of you get to hear Georgia sing, sweetly, "motherf*cker ... kiss your ass goodbye."

6. / 7. Waco Brothers - New Deal / The Mekons - Oooh! In any given year with some combination of Waco Brothers / Pine Valley Cosmonauts / Mekons releases, you can bet at least one album belongs on that year's best list. We got all three this year. These albums edged out The Executioner's Last Song for honors. Well, more than edging; I didn't care all that much for TELS on the whole. Shouldn't dissuade people from loading up other Pine Vally Cosmonaut releases though.

8. Frodus - And We Washed Our Weapons In The Sea I'm dangerously close to making this list the best of what I heard in 2002 regardless of release date. I won't do that though; this is the one exception. This album's actually a 2001-er, but I didn't know about it last year. You'll find these guys near the Fugazi section in the CD bins of your local record store and it wouldn't hurt let the alphabetical linkage be your guide in this instance.

9. The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Sly knows what I'm talkin' about.

10. Luna - Close Cover Before Striking Not a real album, as such. Real good though!

Honorable mentions: Minus 5 - Down With Wilco. If I knew when this was (will be?) released, I'd know whether or not I could put it on the list. I still have a mostly corrupted usenet copy and couldn't find a reference to this thing anywhere on the web. Maybe it's a pre-release thing? In any event, it's great and now I need to stop overlooking the Young Fresh Fellows and the other Minus 5 releases. Despite my bad burn with songs that end abruptly and whatnot, I'm totally sold. "Dear Employer, The Reason I Quit..." is an instant classic. Neko Case - Blacklisted, which I just remembered thanks to trying to justify sneaking in 2001's excellent Thalia Zedek release, Been Here and Gone. I'm sticking with my one exception rule though.
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