As 2010 comes to an end I like to look back on all the CD's that came out throughout the year. This year I fell behind. I really focused on filling in a lot of gaps in my collection that I didn't buy a lot of new albums. The new discs I did buy, though, are incredible.
Here's my Top 5 of 2010:
5. Bigger Thomas- Steal My Sound
Bigger Thomas formed back in 1988 in New Brunswick, NJ. They started as Panic! and then changed their name to Bigger Thomas and in 1989 put out their first album. 21 years later they are still playing and still recording. This, their 5th album, contains some of their best songs yet: "Matinee Idol", "Permanent Error", and "Pure". They are keeping that 1980's sound alive and doing it well. In keeping with that theme they even got John "Teflon" Simms, the artist behind much of the 2 Tone artwork, to design the cover. I've known these guys for about 6 years and I've never been disappointed with a show or an album and they've certainly kept the streak alive with this one.
4. Budos Band- III
Budos Band exploded onto the scene back in 2005 with the release of their debut full length. It is now 5 years later and they have released their 3rd album on Daptone Records. This might be their best one yet (I haven't spent enough time with it yet to say for sure). Budos Band are one of the best instrumental bands out there. The rhythm section never falters and they have the best sounding horn section I've heard in a long time. I bought this album as soon as I saw it and I was blown away. The production is far superior to their first two albums and the grooves are darker and scarier but just as funky.
3. Mondo Drag- New Rituals
I got turned onto this band pretty soon after this album was released and I bought it immediately after hearing it. I hadn't been so excited about a new band in a very long time. This album is a hard one to write about because it doesn't really fit under any umbrella terms other than "modern psychedelia" but that doesn't really tell you anything about what it sounds like. It is as bluesy as it is spacey. The guitar goes from heavy to soft from song to song and the bass player takes a page out of Geezer Butler's book and doubles the guitar melody/riff a lot throughout the album. Start to finish it's an amazing album but it was one specific song that made me buy the CD as soon as I did after my first listen. The song is "Serpent Snake" and it's equal parts early Queens of the Stone Age and Hawkwind.
2. King Hammond- The King and I
I went to England in June/July of '05 and bought tons and tons of records and CD's. It was like a trip to Mecca for me. I was finally able to get the Madness CD Box Set with all of the studio albums, a ton of 2 Tone singles, some Dave Clark 5, etc. One specific CD I found was a comp called Ska Crazy. It's focus is post 2 Tone British ska. This CD is soley responsible for getting me to look at the fact that there was a gap between 2 Tone and the so called "3rd Wave" which has now become something of an obsession of mine. It had songs by Bad Manners, The Loafers, The Hotknives, Maroon Town, Judge Dread, and King Hammond. I always loved the King Hammond song from this comp, "Skaville UK", and I noticed Bad Manners did this song too but I always preferred the King Hammond version. I always tried to find out more about this King Hammond guy but there never seemed to be any information about him on the internet other than a few other compilations he was on. It wasn't until recently that I found out the history of King Hammond thanks to The Duff Guide to Ska breaking the news that King Hammond was putting out a new album. Turns out King Hammond is the alter ego of Nick Welsh (late 80's Bad Manners and Skaville UK). He put out two albums back in the day and returned after many many years to put out The King and I. It's a fantastic album filled with great, danceable skinhead reggae like only King Hammond can do.
1. Danzig- Deth Red Sabaoth
This one should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me or read my Danzig/Misfits/Samhain article from last Halloween. I fuckin love Danzig and this is his best album since Danzig IV. His last album, 2004's Circle of Snakes was decent but not nearly as exciting as this one. For this album, as on Circle of Snakes, Tommy Victor(Lead singer/guitarist for Prong) plays guitar and adds a really interesting new sound to the band. The pinch harmonics mixed with the vintage, 1970's bass amps Danzig decided to record a lot of the guitar tracks through give it a really classic heavy metal sound. This album has Danzig's best songwriting since the early 1990's and the package features lots of busty undead women. Classic Danzig.