No case needs to be made for the importance of Chuck Berry to our modern world. He was simply one of the giants who shaped it. Pretty much every speck of sound spattered across these UHM posts wouldn't exist without his contribution to the continuum. And while it's true he had a long run and we all can't live forever, it's also true that Chuck took as good a shot at immortality, armed with nothing but a guitar and an idea, as is humanly possible. Goes to show you never can tell.
1. The Regrette5 A Living Human Girl
2. Dude Y0rk Tonight
3. B1ack Joe Lewis Wasted
4. Ba5h & Pop On The Rocks
5. Chuck Pr0phet If I Was Connie Britton
6. Vant I Don't Believe in God
7. Cl0ud Nothings Enter Entirely
8. B0ss Hog Black Eyes
9. Hanni E1 Khattib Gun Clap Hero
10. C0c0 Hames Tiny Pieces (Bash & P0p cover)
11. The G0dfathers You Don't Love Me
12. The Orwe11s They Put a Body in the Bayou
13. Ron Ga11o Young Lady, You're Scaring Me
14. Manche5ter Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
15. Samantha Fi5h I'll Come Running Over
16. Two C0w Garage Let the Boys be Girls
17. The Pi1grims Fuckuitude
18. Wy1d1ife Get Loud
19. White Reeper The Stack
20. Po1ish Club Whachuknow
21. T.S.0.L. Why Can't We Do It Again
22. Granddaddy Way We Won't
The 2016 train may have left the station, but that doesn't mean there isn't a bunch of stuff still to catch up with. As usual, I only heard a fraction of what was released over the year - and it always amazes me how much great music drops into the void without even a peep from the hypeosphere of modern media. Some of these tracks are just singles - teases, one hopes, for an album in the coming months - but most appeared on full-length releases that simply slipped by my antiquated radar.
1. Tim East0n Right Before Your Own Eyes
2. The Dead Sh1ps Company Line
3. James Wi11iamson (w/ Maia) Sickkk
4. F1rst Base If I See You With That Girl Again
5. G00d0 Ordinary Girl
6. The Exc1tements Hold On Together
7. P1nk Turns Blue Something Deep Inside
8. Shake Some Act1on The Only Way Is Up
9. Miss Cha1n & the Broken Hee1s Uh Uh
10. The Cheap Ca55ettes Disappear With You
11. Ex1t Verse Silver Cup
12. The Jean1es Amilee
13. Happyne55 SB's Truck
14. Nick P1unt1 One Hit Wonder
15. The C0mputers Crucifixed On You
16. The Evers0ns Emily
17. U1ysses Law and Order
18. 1an Hunter Dandy
19. The Je5us and Mary Cha1n Amputation
20. Curt Baker Baby's Gone Bad
21. M1ng City Rockers All I Wanna Do Is Waste My Time With You
22. Earth Gir1s I Thought You Knew
23. Vega5 With Rando1ph Three Red Hooks
24. Pretender5 Alone
Dot Dash, one of UHM's perennial faves, have created a five song sampler (one song from each of their releases), and the generous souls have made it available for a free download on Soundcloud! Jump on it, then support the band by picking up one or all of their albums. My personal fave is Earthquakes & Tidal Waves, but they're all of an amazingly high quality. We're barely two months into the new year, and I'm already anticipating whatever they do next - definitely a band to watch!
Sometimes I don't know if I should be proud or embarrassed that the UHM year's best lists are always so far removed from our pop culture status quo. All I can say in my defense is that these lists aren't mere obstinate contrarianism; they honestly represent the albums I listened to and enjoyed the most over the past year. That is my only criteria (although, in the interest of full disclosure, this year I actually found myself enjoying Lady Gaga's Joanne (which by itself should be bad news for her, at least economically speaking) but disqualified it on the basis of not quite fitting in the Un-Herd purview, so there is a certain conscious avoidance of the mainstream at work). Next up: the '16 Orphans mix that compiles everything I missed over the year - so let me know if I missed one of your faves!
The Un-Herd Music Top 40 of 2016
1. Hunters Dead End
Shaggy pack of garage punks from Finland summon the typical scuzz lineage from the Stooges to the Dead Boys, but also have the style and sense to throw in a classic pop sense of melody, with the end result sounding a lot like what you'd get if Rancid's Tim Armstrong fronted the New York Dolls while mangling a cover of "Suffragette City."
2. Public Access T.V. Never Enough
Comparisons to a certain NYC nu-garage band seem to accompany every review of Never Enough, but a) the Strokes haven't managed this amount of ear candy hooks since Is This It, and b) Public Access T.V. is less a summation of 70s Noo Yawk and more a party hearty compendium of every cool sound since.
3. Twin Peaks Down in Heaven
Continuing their trajectory towards a growing command of pop song perfection, this time out Twin Peaks opted for a cleaner, clearer production style that allowed their seemingly effortless melodicism to stand on its own.
4. Slick! Slick!
The songs mostly clock in under the two minute mark and yet they still manage to touch on 50s rock 'n' roll, 60s bubblegum, 70s glam, and classic punk.
5. The PrettysSoirée
Vancouver band came out of next to nowhere with this one. What could have been standard indie punk bamalama gets rudely goosed by an ultra-melodic guitarist, an advanced sense of dynamics, and a honking, squealing saxophone. More please!
6. Elijah Ford & the Bloom As You Were
Extremely satisfying album that hues closely to conventional classic rock - think Tom Petty for the old school, James Younger for the new - without sacrificing energy or hooks.
7. Pat Todd & the RankOutsiders Blood & Treasure
Madman rock 'n' roll alchemist continues his noble life pursuit of mixing equal parts Johnny Cash and the New York Dolls, which might be slightly less impressive if the songs weren't so damn good.
8. Pale Lips Wanna Be Bad Slammin' Montreal sirens play girl group melodies at Mach III speed with lyrics (sample title: "Mary Lou Sniffin' Glue") that refuse to give a single inch of ground to the patriarchy. All hail.
9. Nick Waterhouse Never Twice The cover image perfectly places Waterhouse in a classy black & white past, out of time with current trends but no less hip for it. This is sleek old time rhythm 'n' blues that moves and grooves without the need for over-bearing volume or hysterics.
10. Telephone Lovers Telephone Lovers
Twelve great proofs that rock 'n' roll is most effectively delivered in a three minute single. Somewhere, Paul Collins must be smiling with an "I told ya so" glint in his eye.
11. Role Models Forest Lawn
12. The Fleshtones The Band Drinks For Free
13. Javier Escovedo Kicked Out of Eden
14. Sheer Mag III (ep)
15. Ronnie Spector English Heart
16. Tim Easton American Fork
17. The New Frustrations Dee-Bacle (ep)
18. Somerdale Shake It Maggie
19. The I Don't Cares Wild Stab
20. The Connection Just For Fun
21. Ryan Allen & His Extra Arms Basement Punk
22. Hey! Hello! Hey! Hello! Too!
23. The Seratones Get Gone
24. Dot Dash Searchlights
25. The Excitements Breaking the Rule
26. Farewell Milwaukee FM
27. Propeller Fall Off The World
28. Margaret Glaspy Emotions and Math
29. Steve Conte International Cover Up
30. Ulysses Law and Order
31. Izzy Bizu A Moment of Madness
32. Belleville Turn the Medicine Down
33. Watts The Black Heart of Rock & Roll
34. Lydia Loveless Longer
35. Kurt Baker In Orbit
36. Ian Hunter Fingers Crossed
37. Papernut Cambridge Love the Things Your Lover Loves
38. Car Seat Headrest Teen Denial
39. Earth Girls Wanderlust
40. D Generation Nothing is Anywhere
1. Hunters Before You
2. S1ick! Coming Down
3. Pub1ic Access T.V. Evil Disco
4. E1ijah Ford The Way We Were
5. Farewell Mi1waukee Figure You Out
6. Twin Peaks Wanted You
7. Ronnie Spector Because
8. The New Frustrations Right as Rain
9. The Prettys Uneasy
10. Te1ephone Lovers Take You Home
11. Pa1e Lips Jangaroo
12. Ro1e Models Bullshit Corner
13. Pat Todd & the RankOutsiders Ole Fortune and Fame
14. Prope11er It's Kinda Why I Like You
15. The Seratones Chandelier
16. Javier Escovedo It's So Easy
17. Hey! He11o! A History of Lovers
18. Sheer Mag Worth The Tears
19. Dot Dash Dumb Entertainment
20. The Connection Stay With Me
21. Somerdale Waiting For You
22. Nick Waterhouse L.A. Turnaround
23. The 1 Don't Cares King of America
24. Watts Bye & Bye
25. The F1eshtones Before I go
2015 may have been a year of personal catastrophe, but 2016 aimed its hurt at everyone. In terms of music we lost an astounding amount of artists, and in terms of global politics we've collectively turned the corner towards some very dark times. All of which explains why this year it felt a little superficial to post a bunch of novelty Xmas tunes. Instead I've compiled a mix of bittersweet songs (some from 2016, most from whenever) with, ultimately, a message of hope. Stay warm out there, my friends.
1. Find1ay Brown Everybody Needs Love
2. Is1ands Christmas Tree
3. Butch Wa1ker Can We Just Not Talk About Last Night
4. Chuck Proffet Tell Me Anything
5. Chris Mi11s All's Well That Ends
6. Attic Lites Winter On
7. Tim Easten Killing Time
8. Secrat Sisters I Cannot Find A Way
9. La Rocca Ripping Down
10. Pernice Bros. Let That Show
11. Izzie Bizzu Lost Paradise
12. The Breakers If You Need Someone
13. Over the Rhine Last Night On Earth Again
14. Shove1s & Rope w/ JD McPherson Nothing Takes The Place of You
15. Justin Townes Ear1e Slippin' and Slidin'
16. Cash Bros. Night Shift Guru
17. Belleville Universe
18. Mark Sandman Patience
19. Push Starz Drunk Is Better Than Dead
20. Driveby Truckers Everybody Needs Love
Teetering on the very brink of societal collapse tends to put me a little on edge. If you're feeling the same, then maybe this is the time to appreciate a small sprinkling of good vibes in the form of another Faves mix.
This one's been a long time coming, so you know it's crammed full of the best of what I've found out there. It also breaks my primary, if arbitrary, rule of keeping the running time down to what fits on a CDR: it's one minute over, for those who care. That means you'll have to customize your burn by deleting your least fave track. I have to admit, I'm kind of curious what that would be. Use the comments if you feel like volunteering that info (regardless of whether or not you use the primitive technology of CDs) .
In the meantime, let's all try to stay on the same side.
1. The Dah1manns P1ay It (On Repeat)
2. Te1ephone Lovers Downtown Girl
3. S1ick! Mother Fucker!
4. Pa1e Lips Doo Wah Diddy Shim Sham Shimmy (Bama Lama Loo)
5. The F1eshtones Rick Wakeman's Cape
6. Dot Dash The Infinite
7. The Richmond S1uts I Wanna Know
8. The Loved How Do You Fall In Love
9. Steve Adamnyk Band Broken Arms
10. The Legal Matters Short Term Memory
11. Cymba1s Eat Guitars Wish
12. Luke Hanes Marc Bolan B1ues
13. C.R.X Ways to Fake It
14. Margaret G1aspy You and I
15. Bosco Rogers The Midd1e
16. The Ro1e Mode1s The Ditch
17. Ginger St James Hair of the B1ackdog
18. Nik Waterhouse The Old P1ace
19. Somerdale The Coolest Kid in the Room
20. A1ejandro Escovedo Shave the Cat
21. Fashionism Subcu1ture Suicide
22. Night Schoo1 Last Disaster
23. Ryan Allen & His Extra Arms Watch Me Explode
24. Sweet Thangs Love to Leave
25. Belleville Looking For My Place
26. Car Seat Hedrest Drunk Drivers/Ki11er Whales
SWM, slim, attractive, likes candle-lit dinners, romantic walks in the rain, the purring of contented kittens, and pointing and laughing at the handicapped. No head games please.
Everything on this blog is an attempt to support bands and artists that I feel deserve more attention. If you have a problem with my use of a song or a link, please contact me directly and I'll simply remove it. T'ain't no big thang.