Tuesday, December 16, 2008

AFS v. 203 ~ Room at the Top

I almost published my best-of-2008 list too early. Surely, Hairdryer Peace and Take the Sky are still at the tip-top of it, but now the rarefied pantheon of best LPs this year have a couple more nominees a'knockin': Exit Dreams, the new swansong by The Hunches, and the self-titled debut of Druid Perfume. Surely, this makes Chris Gunn the guitar hero of the year since he laid down some of the sickest riffs for both the Hunches and The Hospitals this year. Babyfaced assassin! I still can't believe the shock and awe of watching him murder his two guitars and threatening his amp at the Hunches' live finalé at the East End. I went into the East End thinking there'd be a farewell tour, but during that surprisingly violent destruction, I certainly sensed the finality of the moment. Hell, even singer Hart--usually the volatile x-factor that determined whether the Hunches would be merely good or great--had an immediate wave of soberness wash over his face when he turned his attention away from combating the audience the catch the catharsis. I swear I saw a lump in his throat and look of real concern. Come to think of it, that may have also been the singlemost outstanding live performance I witnessed in 2008, too!

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THE HUNCHES | Unraveling | Exit Dreams | In The Red *new
DRUID PERFUME | It Sleeps | Druid Perfume | Pigs *new
GUINEA WORMS | Lost and Found | Lost and Found 7" | Savage *new
SANDWITCH | I've Had a Few | Assisted Living 7" | Columbus Discount *new
TOMMY JAY | No Place | v/a: Harrisburg Players 7" | Columbus Discount *new
COUNTRY TEASERS | Food + Sleep | W.O.A.R. split LP w/ Ezee Tiger | Holy Mountain *new
THE REBEL | Turtle v. Octopus | Northern Rocks Bear Weird Vegetable | Sacred Bones *new
CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL | If You Find Me I'm Here | Alone Together | Sacred Bones *new
HANGING COFFINS | 21 Guns to Cairo | Black Plague in Mono no. 2 CS | Jerkwave *new
CULTURAL AMNESIA | Repetition for This World | v/a: Messthetics Greatest Hiss | Hyped2Death *new
EZEE TIGER | Crush Medley (A Stupid Rock Opera Kinda) | split LP w/ Country Teasers
LEVIATHAN | My War [Black Flag] | The Blind Wound | Southern Lord 2007
OVO | Ostkreuz | Crocevia | Load *new
MULTIPLEX | Feel Free to Feel | split 7" w/ Exit 13 | H:G Fact 1996
JOSETXO GRIETA | Papa K | The Art of Distraction | Mattin *new
BLOOD! | Dogbite | Love in Vein 2xCS | Jerkwave *new
ZOLA JESUS | Rester | v/a: XXperiments | Die Stasi *new
KLAX | Vremya Geroev | v/a: Analoges Russland | Hertz-Schrittmacher/Kernkrach *new
DEAD LUKE | Critical | Running Scared 7" | Sweet Rot *new
NERVE CITY | Over It | Bars 7" | Severed Hand *new
THE MEATARDS | Blues Cranks | Blues Cranks 7" | Les Disques Steak *new
BLACK TIME | Corpse Life | ICU 7" | Skulltones *new
WAVVES | Teenage Super Party | Wavves | Woodsist *new
HUE BLANC'S JOYLESS ONES | Down on Me [Pink Reason] | split 12" EP w/ Pink Reason | Florida's Dying *new *request
TEENAGE PANZERKORPS | Shopping Blitz | Games for Slaves | Siltbreeze *new
COCONUT COOLOUTS | We Drink Blood | We Drink Blood 7" | Florida's Dying *new
BOSOM DIVINE | I'm Your Animal | I'm Your Animal 7" | Les Disques Steak *new
PHOTOBOOTH | Three in the Morning | Da Me Te Sus Besos 7" | Daggerman *new
EAN ERASER | Illegitimate Love | Illegitimate Love 7" | no label *new
SPIDER BAGS | Hey Delinquents | Hey Delinquents 7" | Daggerman *new
THE HUNCHES | Ate My Teeth | Exit Dreams

Now, about this Druid Perfume album. This is certainly the best rock album with saxophone in it since No Doctors' Hunting Season (2005, right?), and maybe even all the way back to Static Disposal by Debris'. I can dig a James Chance song or exquisite break, but this is surely begging its way into the same sentence as Funhouse. Separated by at least a comma, though...C'mon, I'm not ready to be sacriligious here. These Michiganers have got some ex-Piranhas in 'em, and there's some of the same kinda spirit and spazziness as the Piranhas, but this is about 300-400% heavier, tighter, and in most songs, even hookier. This is my opinion after six consecutive listens today, and two earlier in the week, but I suspect that this one's gonna rate as crucial in a decade or few. Truly, a tremendous first splash.

Sorry, I hacked the hell outta that Guinea Worms song. Wrong speed at the beginning, botched ending. Pilot error...blame my stomach growls. It's gotta rather Wallers-like flavor, but stands up well on its own merits. I do the song justice in an upcoming week.


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