Tag Archives: pestghost

The Year. Interlude – Top 12 New Beano Characters for 2012

This guest post is by cartoonist and comedian Mark Baldwin of Silly Beggar. It features new Beano characters. If you are American and don’t know what the Beano is, it’s a comic. You could’ve figured that out. Anyway, visual content! Poetry about CERN and, for balance, cartoons about things called Simon Growl. Click one and proceed.

The Year. Interlude – The Greatest Guest Post In The History Of Sports Entertainment

In 2011, I concluded my rumspringa and returned to my natural state of watching and caring about professional wrestling. Weirdly, it happened by coincidence about two months before CM Punk did the thing that made other people like me go back to caring about professional wrestling. I just watch a lot of television and noticed that it was still the kind of thing that rewards consistent attention.

Michael Healy, who wrote this guest post, is a serious wrestling fan, as you’ll find out in this post. This is his take on the CM Punk thing, and an interesting look at what the Greatest Sports Entertainment Company In The History Of Sports Entertainment’s apparent proffering of a hand to the smarks looked like to the people it may or may not have been aimed at.

CM Punk, Success and Disaster, My Fragile Emotional State

Sitting down to write this wrap-up for the year in pro wrestling, my first impulse was to put on my independent wrestling fancypants and drop some esoteric internet Knowledge about the diverse, often remarkable performances of pro wrestling’s finest artists. Manly tears were shed in Ring of Honor, skinny men chopped one another in Chikara, Fergal Devitt continued to proudly fly the tricolour as he kicked Asian gentlemen unnecessarily hard in the head for New Japan.

But the real wrestling story of 2011 was the momentary, fleeting, maddeningly tantalising instant where mainstream professional wrestling became relevant, engaging and culturally unique once again. WWE’s American ratings, their share of the Monday night prime time viewership, has been justifiably declining over the year, now boasting the same numbers that Vince Russo managed to draw in WCW with strokes of brilliance like “the KISS guy” and outrageous creative abominations like “Jeff Jarrett.” The WWE is a bland, bloated, politically fraught, creatively bankrupt, embarrassing product, a complacent monopoly aimed at delivering consistent paycheques to incompetent, disinterested employees onscreen and behind the scenes, exploiting the vulnerabilities of especially dumb children.

I say “especially dumb children” because I have no recollection of having had such terrible taste as a kid. Nor do I remember ever fawning over the pederastic gestures of the company’s most visible babyface. One of my earliest wrestling memories is seeing Brian Pillman pull a gun on Stone Cold Steve Austin when Stone Cold attacked him in his home, as they literally tried to murder each other. These were the guys I got interested in. I liked Mankind because he punched himself in the head. My sister and I liked the Undertaker because he was a magical wrestling corpse. I did not like seeing Shawn Michaels dance around the ring with his pants down as small boys reached out to touch him. Those kids were dicks. Point is this: In 2011 it’s for some reason socially acceptable for children to watch High School Musical and iCarly and to cheer John Cena instead of playing Quake and screaming for the bad guys to mutilate people on live television. If the WWF of 1997 had run an anti-bullying campaign the way the WWE of 2011 is doing I wouldn’t have watched. But the dumbass children of 2011 are lapping it up.

Point is this: the WWF that every single friend I have loved growing up, lads and woman-lads alike, is now the very antithesis of what it once was. Instead of the counter-cultural, rebellious, unique television we watched as kids (which led some of us to appreciate pro wrestling on whole new, possibly ill-advised levels) the WWE has become a company obsessed with trying to prove its relevance by engaging in po-faced stories about inclusiveness and inoffensiveness and wide-eyed schlock. I don’t know what it’s going to be like for the grown-up Glee generation in a few years time (I suspect most children watching now will simply forget about the wrestling show much as our generation don’t really run around dropping Biker Grove or Echo Island references to get cheap pub laughs) but for my friends the memories of the WWF from 1997 to 2001 are very strong.

For me and people like me, cursed with the psychological weakness of pro wrestling bearing the same cultural relevance, the same bearing on life and learning as any book or film or piece of arcane religious knowledge, have kept this period of wrestling with us and explored many many more. Most of my friends have naturally drifted away, alienated by the deteriorating quality of mainstream wrestling, embarrassed that they were ever fond of a product that aspires to (and fails to meet) the standards of the worst trends in popular culture that we have to endure in early adulthood. Last week the WWE ran a commercial for their new network with a dubstep soundtrack running over it. Jesus Christ.

I wish to God that when I said to a group of people the other week that a mutual friend of ours “had that kind of El Generico physique” that they wouldn’t have looked at me like I was having a stroke. My brain, like the brains of the afflicted, wants to be able to express its thoughts and emotions by talking about Terry Funk promos from 1988. I want to tell people that I totally dropped a Macho Man elbow on a sandwich at lunch without people thinking I’m a fan of that show that their 5-year-old cousin with the cleft pallet and divorced parents always wants to talk about at awkward family dinners. And while I could try and tell the world about ROH’s bro-hugs and Chikara’s svelte gentlemen in funny masks and the guy from Bray wearing the Junior Heavyweight Gold in Japan, the industry leader is all anybody knows. The WWE is the touchstone for pro wrestling everywhere and every real fan has to deal with it. Our interest will forever be associated with this weak, bland, failing nonsense.

And then there was hope.

CM Punk, having suffered the same obscurity in the WWE as every other passionate indie-alumnus with the company, used the leverage of his expiring contract and their evident need keep him onboard to build the first significant angle in the company for years. First he cut a shocking promo as Raw went off the air, calling Vince McMahon and Triple incompetent, telling the world he was about to walk away from this terrible company and sprinkling a bit of kayfabe magic into what seemed to be a legitimate shoot promo, telling the audience he’d be taking the WWE championship with him. In the weeks that followed he would promote this view on TV and in proper, grown-up, real world interviews with intrigued news and sports organisations. ESPN listened to him talk about the creative deficiencies behind the scenes in the WWE, that John Cena (the champion and his opponent at Money in the Bank) represented all that was wrong with the company and all of the true fans’ frustrations. He told the world that the wrestling industry might just die out this generation if Vince McMahon and Triple H continued down this path of apathy and irrelevance. One way or another he was wouldn’t be a part of it.

In a space of a few weeks, Punk created from scratch single-handedly what every great mainstream wrestling storyline comes eventually to contain: Two strong personalities with clear but sophisticated moral positions, on the same competitive footing in the continuity of the sport, the outcome of the feud unknown and promising tremendous change. A story the fans could invest in, a philosophical dispute the world could scratch its head over, glowingly debate about in pubs and bars and restaurants, the promise of something new and unknown to think about and emotionally react to. Every relationship in the story, The Cena/Punk, McMahon/Punk and even Cena/McMahon dynamics were multifarious and gave the impression of depth and sophistication. It was a story that I could direct my friends to go watch, link them to Punk’s promos on YouTube and have faith that they were going to get excited. Two sides of a profound argument, a dispute over values, loyalty, change and moral relativism were to collide and be creatively expressed through the medium of the wrestling match. It was truly riveting and, best of all, the cyber-bullying hysteria generation had no idea what was going on.

Remarkably, unexpectedly, the match delivered. A rabid Chicago crowd made up of mostly adults, unique these days outside of Wrestlemania, followed and reacted to every hold, every turn, every shift of momentum, every gesture of defiance issued by both wrestlers. As Punk and Cena toyed with the expectations and hopes of a volatile audience, Vince McMahon walked down to the ring to interfere in the match, ordering the bell to be rung as Cena held Punk in an STF. This was the same Vince McMahon we remembered as kids, not the steroid-loaded cartoon character we’ve had to endure now for years. Cena, true to his square-jawed heroism, released the hold and stopped McMahon from cheating on his behalf, allowing Punk to hit his finish and take the title away from him. McMahon ordered Alberto del Rio to the ring to challenge for the belt with the shot he’d earned earlier in the evening, only for Punk to knock him out and flee into the adoring Chicago crowd, leaving McMahon behind with a look of trauma on his face, his hand outstretched following the new champion out of the building and out of the company.

It was as good a story as has ever been told in a wrestling ring. The mainstream sports media gushed over the show for weeks to come, filling column inches with enthusiastic endorsements of WWE’s first triumph in a decade, encouraging them to keep delivering, often going so far as to predict a new golden age for the wrestling, a new well of creativity having seemingly been tapped. I watched the match the morning after it was broadcast. I remember jumping up and down, screaming at the TV, cheering Punk to his fake victory in a manner that a cynical wrestling aficionado seldom does anymore. Credit is due to John Cena for his facilitating of the story, no doubt. But this was Punk’s baby, the dream of a child of the independents finally getting the chance to do something new on the biggest wrestling stage in the world (smaller though it might have gotten over the years).

But then the hope faded. And once again I looked like an idiot for recommending the WWE to proper, full-on adult friends.

Punk’s contract renewed, the company went back to its old ways. In what could have been a cutting parody of WWE logic if produced by anybody else, Punk’s return landed him inexplicably in a feud with Triple H and, of all people, Kevin Nash, losing the title at Summerslam because of them. Next month, he lost a no disqualification match to Triple H. Online, people were hopeful. Punk had lost after interference from no less than three people, they said, he’ll get his win back in the future. What they failed to realise was that this was classic Hulk Hogan in WCW booking. Hogan used to justify winning by ending the match in nonsense and controversy. What nobody could verbalise was that the hero losing, even losing against significant odds, pours a whole lot of cold water on that previously superlative hero, as well as making everybody look silly. Hogan knew this. Triple H knew this. The WWE knew this. This piece of baffling booking ended what was a glorious month of pro wrestling TV, driving away all the press and lapsed fan attention they were getting, letting the company settle back into its comfortable little rut of appealing to unintelligent children and frustrated, captive wrestling fans.

So that is the story of 2011. For five minutes everybody sat forward, paid attention to wrestling for the first time in a decade, offered me and my wrestling-addled brain the hope that once again I could express my fondness for this unique art form in public and share this ludicrous passion I’ve had to carry with me since childhood with other normal human beings. And then that hope was smothered by the same hideous booking that made WCW a joke back when adults were actually watching. Money In The Bank 2011 will forever be recorded as a classic, Punk’s masterpiece built against the odds in adverse circumstances, but it’s clear the WWE wanted no part of it. So in 2012 I’ll again be spending more time and money on the manly emotions of Ring of Honor, the nerdy humour of Chikara and face kicking antics of New Japan than on the most successful company in the sport’s history. Everything now seems more hopeless in the wake of that optimistic spark of creative insight. Ultimately, 2011 may have only lent credence to Punk’s prediction that this might well be the last generation of pro wrestling in America, such is the incompetence and offensive negligence of the industry leaders.

Also, Randy Savage died.

The Year. Interlude – A Poem

In keeping with the tradition of spacing out the year-end list with guest posts, I have taken the perhaps unusual (for a music blog) step of commissioning a poem. But then Nialler9 did once say this blog took music “as serious as most scholars take James Joyce” in the top selling daily newspaper in Ireland, so here we are. This is by Conor Leahy, who edits Icarus, the literary magazine in Trinity College Dublin, and it relates to the third most important thing that happened this year after Stressmatic doing a Slick Rick impression on Rear View Mirror and Dublin winning the All-Ireland. Neutrinos being faster than it was previously thought possible for anything in the universe to be, that is.

Proceedings at CERN, 2011

Lend me the apparatus to esteem
This addle gumbo split – from the outside

In, to itemise each piece of air
And calibrate the function of the murk.

In all manner of things is intermingled time,
Lest from the soil one see a cow coa-

Lesce, or, hatching from the sky, a bird.
But this is an invitation to disprove

That a swerving, here, of my limbs to life
Occurred a bit before my having willed it

Hip Hop Monday #7: ‘sGucci

It’s Monday, which means it’s time for hip hop. Next Saturday, there’s a Gucci Mane-themed night on in the Bernard Shaw. I was going to do a Gucci-themed piece, because Gucci is mental and often deadly, but it seemed better to just ask the guy putting the night on to do it. So here’s an out of season guest post, by Orlando.

When he told me about the night, I asked him if anyone in Dublin cared about Gucci Mane. “They will,” he replied. Evangelism.

“Dear Friends of Karl’s Blog,

My name is Orlando. I really like all sorts of music, but hip-hop music specifically has been a big interest of mine for a considerable amount of time. I would be mostly interested in Golden age stuff, but recently mostly due to the fact I have been spending some time in America (where it is bigger than pop music) I have been developing an interest in new rap artists like Rick Ross and Mannie Fresh.

The appreciation I have for this style of music is not comparable to how I feel about hip-hop music in general. The feeling that these “rap” artists give me as they arrogantly drawl over the sub kick drums, and pitch shifting snare rolls is far more superficial than anything I have ever gotten from the talented rappers I have held in such high esteem for the past years. But, at the same time I enjoy the way this music makes me feel. I can identify that the feeling I am getting from this music is hardly down to the lyrical content of the artist or the talent of the producer making the track, it is more down to the attitude, image and tone of the track.

So, keeping this is mind, Gucci Mane is with out a doubt my favorite of all these rappers. He has a complicated and interesting persona as an artist and I can honestly say that he enthralls me. I want to celebrate him as person, not just his music.

This Saturday in the Bernard Shaw, will probably be the best possible low budget salute to Gucci Mane imaginable. Gucci Mane Vs. The World is going to not only have every second track as Gucci Mane, but the rest of the music will be made up of some of the best new and gangsta rap tracks you have ever heard. My great friend Kathi is going to be painting ice-creams onto peoples faces. On top of that we will be showing the Gucci Mane Raw Report and there will be a contest to win a 1017 Brick Squad T-shirt. So, hopefully I will see you there to enjoy some mind numbingly stupid lyrics and erratic hi-hat patterns.

I would also love it if the people coming would tip their cap to the man, by donning “street threads”, anything from a new era cap to a grill for the boys to fake nails and weaves for the chicks.

Anyway that’s everything,
Thank you,

Orlando.”

‘ssssssssssssssssssssGucci.

The Year: Interlude – The Year That Was in Pop Lyrics.

This is a guest post by Ailbhe Malone, full real life journalist for the NME, Nylon, the Irish Independent and various other things.

In terms of the Year That Was, there were two main trends in pop music lyrics. One was the amount of stuff that was happening in tha club (so many clubs – why so many clubs? There may be valid reasons why there are not many pop songs about sitting in and drinking a bottle of Lidl wine while Youtubing clips of animals behaving like humans, but by gosh there ought to be). Aside from all these songs about entrance fees and waiting in line for a pint of watery Heineken and seeing your mate grinding with a guy who wears gel in his hair, there was another, slightly more overwhelming theme.

I’ve blogged about this before – over at On the Record – but if 2010 stood for anything in pop, it was for an odd crossover – where teenager and kidult met. We had the youngest ever artist to have a single in the Top 5 in the form of Willow Smith – a startlingly adept 10 year old, with enough swagger to sink a ship full of Nicki Minaj’s hairpieces. Then there was Lil P’nut – who trumped Willow in being, y’know, a seven year old rapper featured on Ellen DeGeneres’ show, subsequently recording a diss response of sorts to Whip My Hair. Oh, and NME have just profiled Lyrikkal (any relation to Mysti of the Kaal clan?), another 9 year old hip hop sensation.

Meanwhile, as I mentioned in my guest post for OTR, the adults are yearning to be younger – all Teenage Dream this, and ‘let’s have a good good night’ that, as a 16 year old Justin Bieber sups a Horlicks and sings of finding the right girl to settle down with. At the risk of getting all Pseud’s Corner, one could posit that this reflects the current economic circumstance- unwilling, and unable to cope with overwhelming financial difficulty, adults are reverting to a childlike state, while young’uns, overhearing parents’ conversation topics, try and act mature and knowing. Or, you know, it could just be that ‘we’ll be young forever’ makes for a better rhyme than ‘soon we will die, and don’t forget the mortgage payment’s due on Tuesday’.

Unfortunately, some casualties must fall along the wayside, and as such, it means that songs like Tracey Thorn’s subtle and touching ‘Hormones’ – about a mother and her teen daughter (including lyrics such as ‘And either way these days/ we’re not as in control as we think/ you’re stamping up the stairs/ I’m crying at the kitchen sink’) – are left to languish at the bottom of end-of-year lists, waiting to be picked out of the bin when the kids grow down, and the adults grow up.

The Year. Interlude – Straight Gangsterism

This guest post is by Seán Mc Tiernan, a guy from Kilkenny who likes hip hop. He’s on Twitter here.

I was originally going to do a big post on Odd Future but there’s probably enough about them written on the internet as it is. Instead I’m going to post some rap videos I really liked from this year and talk a bit about them. Good eh? These aren’t particularly obscure cuts, you’ve probably heard most of them already but I just really liked them and am glad to get an opportunity to enthuse about them. Same goes for the “other music” I’m also going to bang on about. I don’t write about music at all in a professional capacity or even regularly in any capacity so this might be a bit obvious and “fan-ish” but they’re all a lot of fun.

click here to play this ish (the video was good but Glen didn’t want you to see it)

Usually The Misfits and appreciation of them by anyone over about 15 is cause for headbutts and insults (incidentally at age 16, I purchased a pair of Misfits-themed skate shoes which I still wear at summer time). This is interesting and awesome production though, great use of the guitar-and-danzig sample without a “whistle or a bell on it” and not sounding like much anything else that came out this year (aside from ELP’s album, a clear influence). A-1, although occasionally being a bit hammy and strident, is rad on this too. Good concept, well-executed and “I’m half black but I feel like I’m three fifths until i get the other four tenths no peace, bitch” is a Great couple of bars to end a song on. He did a great mixtape of TV themes that’s worth checking out, Sorry about no video, I guess Glenn didn’t appreciate being sampled.

Poor Gangrene. I didn’t see anyone hyping them much this year, even though they had excellent videos and heavy-amazing songs. I love this one the best off their record (it’s my ringtone actually so going by that barometer it is THE BEST SONG EVER). It’s a pity the audience for this was too busy convincing themselves Das Racist invented a type of rap music that’s been going for years (they let me hear ELP rap again though so yay for that and seem as bemused by this opinion of themselves as I am) or getting mad excited about Odd Future. It’s hard to be the dudes who were obviously not for the hip hop crowd but too hip hop for the token crowd either. At least that’s what I think happened. Worth noting that in this video full of traditional Disturbing Music Video things the iphone-on-mouth effect is actually legitimately disquieting and weird. Check out their other videos they put out and cop their album. Alchemist and Oh No played the game perfectly this year. It’s just few actually watched them.

There are plenty of songs to love on bay area legends E-40’s double album Revenue Retrievin’. Lightweight Jammin really isn’t the one to start with either, that’d be any of the the many by 40’s bizarrely talented soon Droop-E. But we’ll get to him. For now, here is the song I danced to the most this year, the one I caught odd stares for rapping along with while walking in town most regularly and the one with the goofiest/coolest video around. Shit. Any video where the man who made the beat walks on, gets chest bumped and then strolls away (take note, Swizzy) is going in the good books no matter what else. Huslah is having the best time here though, both on record and on camera. Rockin’ around hilariously through a serviceable Cylde Carson verse (is there any other kind?) before murdering the track so hard he has to shout his name twice. Brilliant. If only he could get out of prison more often. Oh and of course my favorite rapper, 40 water, manages to make his first verse be about the song itself and still be more gangsteronic than anything else you got at this year. Excellent music for goin’ dumb.

Here’s Meek Mill being particularly high energy and breathless about how good he is, going hard with his high-pitched philly flow. The beat, supplied by Jahlil Beats, is legitimately insane. Seriously, listen to it. I don’t even understand half the shit that’s going on in there. It took me a couple of idle listens to twig how weird the whole thing was. A great song from bizarre materials.

Main Attrakionz should be bigger than they are already. I think they may be about to hit the p4k crowd because they did a bit for a These New Puritans remix project. Their music and muddily mixed vocals truly went to unique places this year, and Legion Of Doom probably traveled the furthest. Taking the Imogen Heap cut-up Lil B made famous to it’s logical conclusion, this is a spastic soundscape of competing tones and vowel-noises. All that along with seriously ill rap shit within. Unmissable.( I wrote about this when they dropped the video and so few people were covering these guys Squadda B contacted me to thank me. That’s crazy and cool of him but hopefully in ’11 he’ll be too busy to do stuff like that.)

Danny Brown fucking murdered it this year. There’s no way to describe what the Detroit emcee did to every single beat he brayed his psychotic shit over. I had to pick two songs from him cause I could have picked ten. He’s got killer punchlines and mind of his own (spends most of his time on twitter insulting people for not listening to These New Puritans) and he’s hungry. Re-up is the first video, off The Hybrid, Danny’s album from this year. The growling chorus is a classic, Brown’s delivery is versatile but it always hits as hard as it possible can. His odd yelps are far more threatening than you’d imagine. And the second is DB’s most well-heard verse of the year, another stomping beast full of weird character detail and hilarious punchlines. It also features the best I-Don’t-Fuck-With-Fame-Whores bar I’ve heard in a minute: “If you never knew me then you’ll probably never know me”. 2011 will belong to Danny Brown I think. If there is Justice. (full disclosure: Danny Brown asked me and the dude I produce with to make a few tracks for him, nothing came of it so I’m not so excited because I worked with him, I’m excited despite not getting to. Just to pre-empt some twitter detectives and do a small humblebrag I guess)

It sounds like hyperbole but it’s true: no one sounds like Young L. The rapper/producer from ex-teenage-sneaker-rappers-but-now-grown-ass-men-party-fiends the Pack( who also have a young based god in their midst) has honed his sound in the years since his initial blowing-up. Now it sounds like the music people were trying to make in 60s Sci-fi films when they went into future night clubs. All hoovers from nowhere and disjointed beeping, hewn into that slap that Cali folks cannot not be hungry for. It’s like he makes rap music, but in Europe. If Europe were in the future and in space. That Tremendo Tron Slap. ( He is a serviceable rapper.)

There was good New York rap in 2010. This guy made it. It also sounds like it was made in the 90s. So if you’ve only really been into Wu Tang up to now (which is totally fine!) this might be some cool new shit to get you eased into listening to other rap music. Macberg is a class album, purchase appropriate drugs for it.

Yeah, hipster-sample-bait all over but if it didn’t deliver the goods, it wouldn’t still be in my head. Sitting atop this ceremonial elephant of a beat is Venus In Furs by The Velvet Underground. But while the source may stagger around, this iteration struts towards a ring, a prizefighter with purpose. And so to do the rhymes, headbutting all-comers and viciously savaging anyone who doubts their power. No resolution will save you tonight.

Last March, if you shouted at me in the street and I did not see you, there was a good chance I was listening to this. I bet you forgive me now right? Man, I did some loon-ass dancing to this the mornings I got up and decided to drink all day instead of doing thesis-work. This.Shit.Slaps. (This technically came out in 09 I guess, sorry!)

This is E-40’s son. He not only raps on this, but he produced the track. As the son of a famous rapper, his music should be horrific. Instead it is startling cool, unique and expensive-sounding. Droop-E always studies, not just chops out, his samples (witness his incredible Bjork-approved Bjork flip on E-40’s Spend the night ). He doesn’t just take the sound, he takes the elemental energy of the song and makes it do what he wants it to. Putting in a bit for his dad to rap over is touching, especially when it is the hardest, most goon shit possible that no one on earth can spit over like E40. How he makes this bit fit seemlessly into the smooth Sade-powered latin vibe of the rest of his song is like watching a magic trick. This is the level you need to produce at to not to look like you’re riding your Da’s coattails. Class video too.

I also hit up some non-rap music this year. Most of it’s been covered elsewhere by people with beards and panopticonic grasps of the critical zeitgeist. I don’t have one of them. But I have noticed some of the things I like have slipped down the giant cracks people have dug in the earth(presumbably in an attempt to mine for new superlatives to use for their reviews of Ariel Pink or whatever). I thought you’d might like to know what non-rap I’ve been listening to. It’s probably all really obvious stuff, but I still relish the chance to talk about it.

I’ll be honest with you, people-who-chiefly-listen-to-guitar-based-music, the fact this came out in January and is not the biggest thing ever kind of makes you a pile of bullshit. Of course, having embarrassingly earnest punx roots, enjoying music that sounds like it is being held together solely by anger and surface tension and liking Rocking The Fuck Out more than the currently popular Being Pretty Boring About Surfing predisposes me to liking this. In fact, bullshit angry recommendations like this that are more insult than anything else are probably exactly the sort of thing putting people off White Lung. Still though lads, get a move on re:this one.

If you, like me, watch a lot of low budget, shitty movies from the 70s that have no right to still be recorded anywhere, you’ll have noticed a couple of things. One of these things is probably that a lot of these moves feature extended musical scenes with music written to sound like hip young bands of the time but actually ended up sounded like nothing at all. This is exactly what this band sounds like to me, except a real band and pretty cool. I’m not even really sure if this is a recommendation.

If you click here you should get to listen to a post-punk band who have given themselves the idiotically ungoogleable name 1981. This anti-people-hearing-your-tunes-attitude is a real shame cause this rips off great post punk music that kind of got forgotten while people were ripping of the two main types of post punk music people seem to remember (“mutant funk” and “angular guitars”, both terms used solely by inept wanksmen with poor quality of expression…you’ll notice I haven’t supplied any alternative terms.).

This kind of reveals me as a person who reads Wire magazine and regularly enjoys soft drugs.How awful. I have a really tedious personal reason for liking this relating to my own rejection of religion, the gap that lack of faith leaves when you’re raised to be a devout catholic and the joy I find in the occasional cracks in the wall of poor concentration that exists within my head. If I related this however, we’d both get so bored it would be a race to see who could smother the other and then themselves with their jacket first. And we don’t want that. Suffice to say, despite this fully being the pretentious shit you may have dismissed this as, this is pretty great. As is the whole album, of the same name.

You’ll see from the title of the video this came out this time last year but the album only dropped for me in February. This is fucking angry and fucking great and you should have plenty of split lips while listening to this band, walking into the bathroom and accidentally rocking into the towel rack. Almost filled my brutality quotient for this year.

Luckily I still had some space in my heart for evil shit, which Black Breath filled amply. Sure I listened to Harvey Milk, The Melvins disappointing album and the weirdly-produced High On Fire album too, but Black Breath was the purest, illest, hard, face-melting shit around. Finally, a good band from Seattle (Dear Hypothetical and Upset Hotpress Reader: this is a bit of a joke)

Becoming aware of music at a time when everyone was pretending they’d loved Garage Rock forever, and I got to see the Dirtbombs supporting the white stripes when I was 12 after winning tickets for a Dublin castle gig off gigantically-soppy, Irish-radio-fuckboy Tom Dunne. As I stood there, completely bewildered in my Nirvana hoodie, I think I got the love for the best type of shouty guitar men seared into my giant, inadvertently-Danzig-fringed face. Every year I must seek out more garage rock shit, and it never fails to disappointed. In ’10, apparently less-arsed than usual, I stuck with Best Show adjacents and shouty-rock stalwarts Hank IV. Good song though, in fairness.

I don’t have a problem with beautiful music, you shouldn’t either.

Rarely have I been more wrong about anything as my announcement on my briefly-existing and fucking doomed blog that Lonelady was the next big thing. I see you don’t like PJ Harvey as much as I believed you all did and I certainly do (yes, I’ve successfully deprogrammed myself from liking most Nick Cave bullshit but can’t seem to free myself from his female counterpart in black-hair-dye-miserbilism). This was some bouncy jazzy shit, all spare space and tension. It was also, yes, a bit put-on seeming and is pretty forgettable. I should have known when I looked to my metaphorical left on the critical landscape and saw Paul bastard Morley marching forward, maintaining steely eye-contact while menacing her with his flaccid Northern Music Means More agenda-penis and then grimly wanking all the joy from her music. If you noticed how I just mocked Paul Morley with a sentence full of the kind of meaningless rubbish he writes, then well done. If you didn’t, that’s perfectly understandable but please don’t think I am some kind of bullshit warlord that peddles sentences like that unironically. I just make it all about me, which is actually worse. Still, Lonelady eh? She should’ve been a contender.

Phillip Jeck makes music that is emotionally affecting in a way that’s genuinely difficult to explain. Here is some of that for you to be getting on with. It doesn’t sound like it comes from an instrument and it’s not immediately obvious where to put it in your head. It’s good to have some stuff like that.

The Ex are an amazing band, going on longer than you or I have been alive and always sounding like a tank made of a thousand tiny gears barreling unstoppably towards an unimaginable climax. Seeing them live is a genuinely trance-like experience and they really do rip it apart like no one else on earth. Few people structure exciting music as bizarrely as they do, fewer still wear their jazz, folk and african musical influence so proudly while also making music as committedly political or as bloody fun. I’m not sure if Catch My Shoe is out officially yet but it’s all I’ve listened to for the past 2 months. I believe in The Ex, I have since I first heard them off soulseek by accident years ago and I will until they or I stop breathing. (they also all wear semi-co-ordinated polo shirts and three quarter lengths, like a weird rap crew which is pretty ace)

And lastly, my favourite band on planet earth released two Eps this year. I enjoyed them more than any other music I heard. This is probably why Nomeansno are my favourite band. If you saw them play the Button Factory, I was front row centre, leaning over the barrier and barking every word to literally every song. Because every time I listen to them, I am reminded someone gets it. And not even some weird, stalker “this music is ME, mahhhn” bullshit that Doors fans say( although I do try to live by the messages in their songs and Rob invents some of the best weirdo characters ever). I mean Nomeansno get the mix of hooks, dissonance, impossibly funky shit, misery, catharsis, amazing rhythmic bounciness and fuck-off vocals better than any group I’ve ever heard. They make it happen every time, what they put out this year (their 33rd as a band) was no different.

The Year. Interlude: Grand Pocket Orchestra

As is customary, I try not to write about this especially in list context, but have asked Ruan, mogul of Popical Island and drummer in the awesome Squarehead and Tieranniesaur, to do a guest post on the topic instead. Here’s what he came up with.

I find it really hard to write at the best of times, but i was honoured to be asked to write this post and psyched to talk about an amazing album by one of my favourite bands. I failed, it’s proven too hard. At first i thought it’s because of my friendship with the band (one of them is sitting beside me right now, i have my monitor turned towards the wall). But that’d be odd, the music that’s excited me most this year has mostly been made by friends.

So i think that maybe i just listened to it too much, it reminds me of everything. ‘The Ice Cream’ is my 2010. Most of my memories, good and bad, are wrapped up in it. How can i put that into words? Really i just want to thank them so i drew this picture, the band as the Happy Tree Friends, I hope they like it.

And here’s a No Monster Club song.

No Monster Club – Wish Me Well