The end of the year means promises of better things, but also a look back at wasn’t completely awful in the last spin around the sun. It also means all the year-end lists from your favorite opinionated assholes.
In this installment, we hear about the top 5 record picks from Monty O’Blivion — head honcho of Manual Sex Drive and former member of local favorites The Limit Club and The Video Nasties. He’s pretty much one of the most opinionated people you’ll ever meet and possibly the best fucking guitar player to come from The Valley in recent history (even if he’ll never admit it.) You can check out all you need to know about MSD and even hear some of their tunes here.-The Ed
5. YAAWN – “Big House”
YAAWN breathe new life into their unmistakable sound, and this might just be their most polished and memorable songs yet. The fury in Jessica GZ’s vocals feels as satisfying as watching Richard Spencer’s face being pummeled on a 3 hour loop, over Candace Hansen’s drumming wizardry and Josh’s innovative guitar work. I can’t even talk about it without NEEDING to hear “Big House” and “Callate” both right now. Brb.
Gil Rodriguez has always had a knack for songwriting, evident in his band, The Combat Medic, and he has taken it to another level with Ghost In The Willow. “Missing Persons” consists of seven unforgettable tunes. Each melody and word has a very tangible feeling behind it, feelings of loss, nostalgia, personal redemption, it’s almost as if you’re in the room with Rodriguez as he writes, head bowed over his acoustic guitar. The indie rock sensibilities of “Favourite Company” will absolutely get branded into your mind for the foreseeable future, and it makes it hard not to listen to the EP in its entirety from that point. “Once you pop you can’t stop”. Songs like “Around The Bend” and “Swings At Your Hips” are gently delivered, but confrontational. They confront emotions otherwise buried, leaving you with a stoic sense of acceptance.
“Planet Shame 1.0” was the first EP, and I listened to it every day. So by the time this self-titled release finally dropped in September, I was full of anticipation, and Plasmic did not disappoint.
Powerful synthpop hits that are energetic, dancable and full of attitude. Plasmic has such a way with words, and as with “Planet Shame,” every line is clever and quote-worthy, interwoven in the wave-like synth layers and frantically pulsating drum beats. And if you get too tired dancing to these irresistible melodies, the EP gives you a satisfying wind-down with “So Called Way,” an atmospheric groove that you can really close your eyes and drown out the world to.
Hesperus is stacked with talent and style, and might come from the future. The mind-bending poetry of MC/DC layers elegantly onto exciting and often bizarre experiments in sound from JD as she alternates between her ethereal guitar tones, bass grooves, electronic drums, and the modular drone of the MicroKorg. Gimpheart expertly cuts samples and beats while manipulating MC/DC’s voice on the KaossPad like a mad scientist. This amalgamation of sound makes for a delightful listening experience chock full of unpredictability.
This 7″ never ventures far from my turntable. “Human Condition” and “Tell Me Something” might just be my two favorite songs of the year. They have a reverb-dampened indie rock feel that would’ve fit comfortable nestled in the 4AD catalog. The arrangement of the guitars, bass and drums are orchestral, simply wonderful on both the songwriting and the mixing side, and compliment Jackie Cruz’s stellar vocal melodies perfectly. Get it on vinyl!