Tuesday, December 31, 2013


So, with all the thunder and lightning and fortune and glory that comes with year-end lists, here we have this one. This will be the third American Gloam treasure chest, mining Louisville and regional musicks released in 2013.  I will say, this year was the biggest year, as far as stuff I immersed myself in from this area. Read and listen.

Instead of a an easily read and organized list, my goal here is more to jumble the brain of the reader/listener as much as my mind is jumbled, what with schizophrenia and overload from too many genres, bands, scoundrels and performers in this area. However, because this list got so big, I did group it into some self-explanatory sections. Everything listed here was something I spent a lot of time mulling over on my work cubicle, car stereo, home computer, or kitchen cassette player, throughout the year.

I've also pared it down to recordings I've returned to the most. These are, out of a river city-full of good stuff, my favorites. It's bigger than ten, but it's far less than what's out there from the L'ville/regional area.

Also, feel free to listen in to the "'13 in Review" episode of my radio show, Club El Rancho on ART-FM (www.artxfm.com)...

Here they be:


NEW BRAVADO - Unconcious Afternoon: A glorious fuzzed-out tight psych-blammo that spills from the glorious cup of 70s rock. That title track makes me day-trip. Full review here. They also released a live full-length this year, Live at Solidarity.

ALCOHOL PARTY - The Casual Sex: Bump and grind odd-timings. Another example of L'ville taking punk/hard rock/hardcore/whatever and pummeling it into something new. Challenging as shit, and heavy. Awesome. Unfortunately, now defunct. Full review here. They also released a split cassette with Tropical Trash.

SALAD INFLUENCE - STT: Lexington droned gazes from Ma Turner (CROSS, Warmer Milks), Joey of The Elsinores and Eldred. The bridge between Nuggets and Pebbles. Full review/interview here. They also released a cassette called Crossed Out/Firestarter.

BABIRUSA  - Pum: City Dog and Little Dalmation's Duet: Brand new musical project made of people I don't know making music that has no boundaries and no fears. Easily switches between very well-constructed pop to torn-down melodies and sounds a la Ween. Also released Mitch McConnell's Grapefruit Stand and a couple of singles.

MIRAGE MONTAGE - Letters to Long Lost Loves: A completely earnest, heartfelt collection of songs by Noah Church and friends, including Lacey Guthrie (Reading Group/Twin Limb) and Sazi Thomas. Songs of joy, love, grievance, loss, Emotion. A New Orleans influence with a singer-songwriter + full band feel. Full review here. They also released two other LPs this year: Past Life and Post Script.

JAYE JAYLE -...It's Jayle Time!: Evan Patterson of Old Baby and Young Widows brings us a solo concept album about loneliness, alcohol and the desert. Full review here.

THE NEW SHITBIRDS - Basement Demo Demo: This album shows me there is hope for the future of sloppy, uncontrolled, loud rock and roll. Rooted in garage, screaming through a telephone receiver, this is a two-piece that attacks rock music with Cramps-ish ions. Definitely one of my favorites of the year.

JULIE OF THE WOLVES - Create/Destroy: "The production of these songs, this album, is gigantic, and it brings the listener into these energetic compositions. Hints of Sleater-Kinney, but much more and many other directions combine and oddball each other through a variety of time signatures. The gun-fanned riffs spread through and into the songs, often reacting to each other much like Carrie and Stephanie's voices weave in and out and sometimes on top of each other." Full review here.

OPPOSABLE THUMBS - S/T: Crud punk forever. "OT is not a band that subscribes to one overall leading factor, which makes the CD a nice well-rounded pop to the head. Every instrument is as key and in your face; none overtake the order of the chaos being preached. It's stripped down post-punk that has a almost considerable dance to it" Full review here.

PLASTIC MELODIES - PM: "David Lucas slaps, pulls and strums his bass guitar until it turns into a different animal entirely at times. There are nasty distortions and clean pops that encircle each other through his expert use of effects, making the instrument sound like two guitars instead of one, gripping rhythms and leading the songs simultaneously...The beat is bound together by Bridget Knight, whom I believe actually has four arms, limbing them around the percussion in an aggressive pound that marries the bass and cracks through the songs, bleeding onto the streets outside the club, quavering the room." Full review here.

ALL DEADRise Below: Brutal three-piece thrash. A great seven-inch EP that doesn't swagger, but just rips and pounds in seconds. Fucking awesome.

NEIGHBOR - S/T: The Neighbor people include bassist/vocalist Adam Kirby, drummer Aaron Sortman (both formerly of Zombie Chickens from Outer Space) and guitarist Sean Gardner (Twenty First Century Fox, Bu Hao Ting). Part punk, part thrash and part noise, "Neighbor" is a machine that never stops the pulleys from moving. Ten songs at close to 21 minutes, it's impressive how powerfully and rapidly the album slams open and never fucking subsides its push.  Full review here.

WHITE REAPER - The Conspirator: Great debut from a great new band. A Ramones-ish punk that gets catchy and stays stuck in the head.

QUIET HOLLERS - I Am the Morning: Excellent debut from this Americana band. I returned to this one several times during the year. A very John Prine-styled grounding to it.

WEEKLY SINGLES FROM MISSED CONNECTIONS - Weekly Singles: A solo project by Will Allard (Xerxes, Whips/Chains), this collection of songs is an experimental project that sees him collaborating with musicians (including Lacey Guthrie), as well as exploring complete solo ponderings that tend toward a poppier and often electronic sway.

KP AND ME - EP: I keep coming back to this EP over and over. This is a garage band split between Bloomington and Louisville, between his vox and her vox, between garage, punk and pop. And it works. Really well. Organ-drive rock n roll for the now sound of today. As far as a full piece, one of the ones that hit for me this year.

GREAT NEW ALBUMS BY BANDS we've heard from before 

BLOOD PLANET - Summer Demo(ns): A feedback race to the death. Two-piece band makes two song EP that serves to scare and confuse. I loved this short release. Full review here.

TROPICAL TRASH - Think Back Kick a Beer: I've talked about this band a lot. They went through more lineup changes in 2013. Put this out and that split with Alcohol Party. "Where Fear of Suffering ripped open the cadaver of noise-punk and pulled out its organs and just started sprinting headfirst into an occult, Think Back, Kick a Beer gut-hooks the corpse, lubes it with aloe, sets it on fire and sleds it down Satan's inner thigh with a loathing grin. Jordan makes for a fucking sick bass player. Jeff's drums are a dismaying, frenzied, monstrous attack. Jim screams and harrows his guitar faster than ever." Full review here.

Madame Machine/Twenty-First Century Fox - split seven inch:
This is Madame Machine's second seven-inch, and it's TFCF's followup to their 2012 EP debut GuitarsGuitarsGuitars. Both of these bands create very energetic and often elaborate music...MM seems to mine more of a prog-metal, whilst TFCF comes from a more prog pop side. Sort of. Very creative and interesting groups...definitely looking forward to full-lengths from both bands hopefully in 2014. Full review here.

WEIRD GIRL - All I Wanna Do/When I Wake Up: I really dug Weird Girl's 2012 pop-surf-punk recordings. This single dropped in June and immediately became a favorite summer tune. Fuzzy, drugged-out sludgy Wipers-ish garage-pop on ludes.

THE DEBAUCHEES - Big Machines and Peculiar Beings: One of those big releases to hit Louisville in '13. I came across The Debauchees opening for Alcohol Party about two years ago, and have been a champion ever since. I'm glad to see them finally get accolades. This is the follow-up to their self-released debut (full review here). It contains some of the same songs, but a lot more production was sunk into it. People are talkin about their quirky, creative, almost New Wave style.

THE BOTTOM SOP - Outlaws Like Us: Their second EP, The Bottom Sop created a slightly slicker follow-up to the honky-tonk they touted on their 2012 self-titled debut. But this still finds its roots in 70s outlaw-country, and the songwriting here is stellar. "This is a record that shoots whiskey and thinks of Red-Headed Stranger, swinging into a faster-paced 21st century production, but with the same teeth." The band went on to release two more EPs and several singles during the year. Full review here.

WILLIAM BRYAN RAGLAND - Cosmonaught: This was the year I was introduced to William Bryan Ragland's music. I already knew of his metal bands All Dead and The Revenants, both of which released albums this year. He also plays guitar for Dirty Bitch, who released two singles this year. Besides writing bludgeoning music that he growls and screams into the night, he also creates drone-ambient-electronic-noise recordings. These monsters ferment like the lost soundtracks to space-horror films. Truly strange and scary. Ragland released TEN of these electronic unholy pieces before embarking on the grander scheme of the Cosmonaught idea. Two full-lengths, each consisting of collaborations with various musicians in town, aiming for a completely ghostly and doom-laden beauty. These albums are black magic. One of the most prolific people in town.

RUDE WEIRDO - We Are Whores: The creative insanity that Rude Weirdo smears over the playing field of a group of dive bar stragglers immersed in swill and debauchery, or even over the shitty stereo speakers as you sit naked at your desk at home, is as rapid-fire and hard to pin as greased shards of lust shot from a righteous, erect machine-pistol." Easily one of my favorite bands in town. Why? They don't give a FUCK. Really. Their songs and shows are completely unpredictable, and in a way, scary. Balls out with shrimp breaks during chants. This EP contained one of my favorite songs of the whole year: "Hi Death." Find it. Hell, I'll rip it for you. Full review here.

THE TEETH -  Brenschluss - "The Teeth don't chaw on just any post-punk muck, never spending too much gulping the molasses and butter of predictable no or new wave that gangrene some punk. It's a descendant of victuals of the crud-garage, as well as the surf-math that can walk barefoot far back into certain Louisville bands of the past." These guys are legends in L'ville at this point. Learn them, love them. Full review here.

ULTRA PULVERIZE - Toxic Vacation: Always one of the most inventive bands in town, I'm sad I missed UP's live re-scoring of Robo-Cop, a Happening that occurred twice this year. I've heard rumors it will be released as a recording, which I look forward to. This EP was a welcome release, and showed how much this trio of cyborgs do not stop recreating themselves and their takes on electronic-rock-n-roll sound. "Two Hugs" is such a good song.

STRAIGHT A'S - Humility the Hard Way: A welcome return from a circus of rockers. "It's an aggressive avant-punk that dwells here, well-recorded and in your face, with every song offering something different that the preceding one. Fifteen songs that present intelligent and demanding rock that showcases the talent of each musician." Full review here.

BLACK KASPAR - Schizo-Tech: A biggie. Loud sunuvabitchin layers of noise. Bill Zink's orchestra of sound. "The lead-off track "Space-Truckin' Part II" is that layered volume, and is the hypnotic impetus that kept me crouched until far too late in the dark. Beastly electronics, savage guitars, aggressive horns, frantic drums; it's the mammoth descent led by Dan Willems on a Hawkwindish bass guitar riff occurring near the seven minute mark that shifts my mind into my palms and restructures my spine, making everything indeed sound like a helicopter chewing its blades through a freight truck." Full review here.

MA TURNER - The Vibrant Light: Ma Turner put out a shitload of music this year. Only Derrick Manley and William Ragland really compete. It's so much so, he's releasing a box-set in Feb '14 called Zozma Turner, and has a sample of the recordings he posted all year, besides his work in Salad Influence and Cross. I've been a big fan of his takes on songwriting, where it goes, how it goes. One of the most important songwriters/composers of Kentucky. Full review here of only one of his 2013 releases.

TRIM - Deerskull: I had originally planned on a full-length interview with Trim's Douglas Maxson for a looong time. We worked on it for a loong time. Then I lost my mind inbetween two residence moves and time between jobs and crap like that. This fucking thing was finally released this year, and should have been one of the biggest deals of the year. I've still got my interview with Douglas that I will be printing in 2014 at some point. Recorded by Jon Cook (RIP) in the mid-90s, Douglas and this band represent an anchor to this scene, FOREVER.

J MARINELLI- The Moray Eel East J Marinelli: One of my favorite songwriters in the world, and as prolific as they come. One man garage band that makes the best goddamned anthems ever written.

The deal is, folks, I can go on. And on. There is so much amazing music that came out of this area in 2013, I can't keep up, and I don't know if the blogspot can even handle all the links. And I'm only paring it down to the stuff that I liked.

Gubbey Records released Head Cleaner, for hell's sake. A compilation of 46 currently active L'ville bands of all types and sounds. It's an amazing archive of what this town is currently offering. And it's mind-boggling.
> Artist/musician Yoko Molotov introduced me to the output of Eviction Records, and her noise project Harpy and her garage-rock band Sweatermeat, as well as the side projects that have stemmed from that. Brilliant stuff.

Douglas Lucas' ongoing project Mu, and his work with the Louisville Experimental Festival, has brought about some amazing performances and recordings, including his work with Thaniel Ion Lee.

Electronic musician Ellie Herring, of Lexington, released an astounding album called Kite Day. Her song "Always Just OK" was perfect.

RED.M was mysterious...and released an amazing electronic soundtrack album: The Elephant's Garden.

Hair Police alum/artist Robert Beatty's solo soundtrack album, was just as captivating. The death metal albums from both Seidr and Anagnorisis were perfectly orchestrated destruction pieces, to the point of beautiful. Sapat's seven-inch. Axelrod Nemoy. Leopold Zimmerman. Jovontaes' cassette Paranoia Makes a Great Gift. Raw Thug's Black Walmart. Anything by Wet. Black God's Three. Mote's Dirty Water. Gangly Youth's seven inch. COLISEUM and The Decline Effect for god's sake.

I'm old school. If you say, "back in the day," I know what you mean (unless you mean the 60s and 70s of local...no I wasn't there). But, goddamn, this area is cranking out some amazing stuff now, too. 2013 was fascinating with the output from River City and beyond.

2014...bring it. Shit.

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