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Every week (or so...), the proud employees of Landlocked Music attempt to help guide you along the path of auditory redemption. We take time away from our busy schedules and craft, in our own words, a tiny little review of a great piece found in our bin that is for sale. We are happy as a clam when a customer purchases our picks, we gotta feed our egos somehow, right? But don't just take our word for it... or rather, DO take our word for it!
Here is our 2008 Year in Review lists.
You might think the Bros were just jumping on the country-rock bandwagon with this one, and you'd be partially right. But let's not forget who invented the wagon--nay, the whole damn wheel itself! The Everly's were mixing country and country back when McGuinn was learning how to tune his 12-string banjo. However, hot on the heals of the Byrd's genre-defining /Sweetheart of the Rodeo/, the Everlys released this mock old-time radio show concept album that sought to connect the duo's country roots with the new hippy rock scene. And it works: they cover the Beau Brummels as effectively as Merle Haggard, with just a hint of timely psych-fx coloring the Everly's trademark close harmonies. As a cash-in LP, it probably didn't work as well as Warners wanted it to, and it didn't stop their mid-career slide onto the oldies circuit, but the album has grown in stature over the years and is now rightly recognized as a country rock classic. - Jason
Initially, I was taken aback to hear such a raw rock album on Tomlab, a label known for its more experimental/electronic artists. It sounds more like it should be on In The Red. The opening track was even covered by In The Red artists The Intelligence. Although it took a few listens, this album has burrowed itself deep under my skin and now I can't stop listening to it. Hailing from San Francisco, Thee Oh Sees have seemingly appeared out of thin air to unleash a total garage-stomp-psych masterpiece on the unsuspecting public. After making your way through the record's foggy layers of spring reverb and disorienting echos, you could easily imagine the band itself materializing out of nowhere and then vanishing again in a puff of smoke. It's not all a smokey haze, though. Raw garage grooves abound, chocked full of punishing beats and beautifully raw, insistently slashing Syd-esque guitar lines that grab you by the throat and never let go. Dual boy-girl megaphone vocals deliver irresistable melodies time and time again, not even giving you a chance to sit back and realize how great the last one was. Truly all killer no filler, this one deserves your full attention. - Cyrus
Hamilton, Ontario is the Cleveland of Canada: a bombed-out, post-industrial rust spot at the ass-end of Lake Ontario. It was probably not a fun place to be in the mid-1970s, unless of course your goal was to form a legendary lost psychedelic proto-punk band. Maybe the greatest band to never release an LP during their existence, Hamilton's own Simply Saucer have a lot in common with their Cle-rock brethren downstream: a bleak outlook, a love/hate relationship with technology, highbrow/lowbrow art fixations, and a deep love of the Stooges. It's easy to imagine them sharing a bill with Rocket from the Tombs and the Styrenes... all opening for Hawkwind! Cyborgs Revisited collects most of their output, and serves as their one-and-only album. Absolutely essential! - Jason
Of all the Takoma-esque solo guitarists out there, Sandy Bull is probably the most underappreciated as well as one of the most experimental and inventive. He only released four albums from 1963-1972, but they contained some of the wildest sounds to ever emerge from the scene. This is a compilation drawing heavily from his first two brilliant records. Sandy's compositions consist of often multi-tracked layers of acoustic guitar, banjo, oud, electric bass and heavily effected electric guitar, sometimes collaborating with jazz drummer Bill Higgins to stunning effect. Sandy was one of the first guitarists to draw from all varieties of traditional and ethnic music, especially indian raga and western classical. The 21-minute 'Electric Blend' is a great representation of his eastern influence as well as his experimental side, featuring a heavily reverb-and-tremeloed electric guitar creating a pulsing, trance-inducing drone. Equally strange is his cover of Chuck Berry's 'Memphis, Tennessee,' chocked full of hazy reverb and heavy drums. Amazing, totally groundbreaking stuff for '63-'64. This is a nice introduction to the always beautiful and often otherworldly sounds of the great Sandy Bull. - Cyrus
Arguably the first British punk band (depending on how you define it), the debut album from the Damned is also the link between pub rock to punk. Produced by pub lynchpin Nick Lowe and released on Stiff, the songs are simply amped-up pub rock - what's different is the style and delivery. These guys were listening to the New York Dolls & the Stooges (who they cover here) and wanted little to do with the laid-back rootsy American vibe of so many pub bands. Relatively apolitical, this album spawned a couple minor UK hits and enabled them to do an extensive US tour. Their breakneck live sets in the States helped inspire the hardcore movement, particularly in L.A., where they were stranded for a time. The line-up that cut this album lasted sadly for just one more; the band then morphed into a more conceptual, proto-goth outfit. - Jason
Death Vessel is the name under which the songs of Joel Thibodeau appear. This sentence alone shouldn't cause pause until you first hear the voice. A high pitch that if not a woman, is certainly a child. Every person who hears it stands in disbelief. Rest assured, its a guy. However, its the music that makes it all the better. Confident, folk-tinged, modern yet timeless. Haunting and atmospheric yet traditional. This is not freak folk. It has flavors of bluegrass and campfires, songs rich in folktales and death. Mandolins, fiddle, banjo, uke and more fill a space wide enough to carve out its own niche. Features Micah Blue Smaldone and Meg and Laura Baird (Espers). Maybe you caught him on tour with Iron & Wine, Low, Jose Gonzalez or the Books. Or many years ago when he played downstairs at the Runcible Spoon. Look for his long-awaited second album next month on Sub Pop. - Heath
The Flamin' Groovies are one of the longest-running and most often overlooked groups to come out of the mid 60s San Francisco scene. Originally playing a mixed bag of Lovin' Spoonful-influenced straight-ahead rock n roll, they were out of step with the acid rock of the other Frisco bands and were subsequentially ignored and unsuccessful. However, the Groovies were not disheartened and continued to release records for the next 30 years. 'Shake Some Action' finds them fresh off of an extended tour of the UK and with only one original band member left, they shed some of their rootsier influences in favor of a classic british invasion-fueled, guitar-heavy sound that is now commonly referred to as 'power pop.' Classic melodies, tons of ringing guitars and soaring vocals help cement their new direction. Indispensible for anyone fond of melodic rock and power pop, this is easily one of the best (and coolest) no-frills rock albums of the 70s. - Cyrus