The Best Album of the Year By a Band That Broke Up After They Released It
I took on four albums this year that, barring any reunions down the road, were their respective bands last albums. These particular bands, for their own reasons, decided to call it day, and, believe it or not, I’m actually not that torn up about it. You see, I subscribe the the three-and-out theory, which simply means that I think most bands do their best work on their first three albums and should stop making music after that. Obviously some bands blow this theory apart, but most of them don’t, so it is with the utmost respect that I salute these bands for bowing out at the right time…and on a high note, which they all have done.
Of the four, The Kings of Frog Island left us with a dark and gloomy masterpiece, III, that almost makes me wish they weren’t leaving. The album always had an eerie air about it, but its somber reflections on death take on a whole new meaning now, and the mesmerizing psych-rock of many of the albums songs foreshadow the fall of a kingdom due to the death of its kings. And for that, III is the best album of the year by a band that broke up after they released it.
We also have to say goodbye to Dirty Sweet (I’m really gonna miss that beard), who made a huge fan out of me with their second and last album, American Spiritual, Dragontears, who dropped their third and final (or at least it’s supposed to be) album Turn On Tune In Fuck Off!! on us (looks like it’s back to Baby Woodrose for our friend Lorenzo), and Josiah (that’s two of Mat Bethancourt’s many lives), who signed off with Procession. All awesome albums.
The Top 9 Small Stone Albums of the Year
Ever since I started this site, no label has shown me the kind support that Small Stone, and its head Stone, Scott Hamilton, has. For that, I’m gonna give them their own space in this year’s recap. I guess you could title this My Sell Out Moment of the Year. Anyway, I reviewed nine Small Stone albums this year, and when it comes right down to it, they’re completely interchangeable with one another because they all sound exactly the same. Okay, that’s not entirely true, but Small Stone does have a niche, and what makes one album great can generally be applied to the rest. You just gotta like heavy, dirty, fuzzy, stoner rock. Thankfully, I do.
9. All Time High – Friends in High Places
“There’s a dissident air of teen spirit here, a place crowded by zombie children in silver pants, with unwashed hair, with uncashed cheques.”
8. Skånska Mord – The Last Supper
“A bunch of denim-clad longhairs with one boot heel planted firmly on the neck of the ’70s and one hand grasping a big, foggy bowl…walk(s) a rather fine line between heavy, organ-fried, stoner rock and alternative, radio-friendly, arena rock.”
7. Gozu – Locust Season
“With the lo-desert chicanery blasting away…I feel like all four walls are closing in on me fast and hard. The whole damn deal is raw, reeks of rancid rubber, and is as rough n’ tumble as a Boston bar brawl.”
6. Black Sleep of Kali – Our Slow Decay
“It all rolls heavily along like an avalanche of Baroness worship…(and) isn’t without its groovy riffs, hardcore fluctuations, and punk metal aesthetics either, which makes for a fairly dynamic, anarchic listen…”
5. Sasquatch – III
“A looser, groovier, knuckle-draggin’ record than any of its predecessors, which just means Sasquatch strips the meat from the bone before beating you with it.”
4. The Brought Low – Third Record
“The Brought Low could easily be the undisputed Glam Boogie Kings of New York City if they wanted to be…Their riffs flow like molasses, but glitter like stardust…an all-out, blue collar slice of Americana pleasure pie.”
3. Lo-Pan – Sasquanaut
“Lo-Pan are true bruisers, man, barreling their way through the eight songs on Sasquanaut like a dump truck driver on PCP, and should throw a wrench into the power rankings over at Small Stone thanks to their Bigfoot-in-outer-space sound (or gorilla as the cover suggests)…”
2. Solace – A.D.
“(Solace) have packed A.D. with the kind of jet engine riffs and world moving grooves that should squash any doubts about them being a bona fide stoner rock band, if there ever were any.”
1. Red Giant – Dysfunctional Majesty
“Thick-chested overlords of the cosmic mean machine with some heavy duty responsibilities…another batch of bad-ass biker metal blues cut from blood-soaked denim and bathroom walls…”
Still more to come on The Ten! Best song, best album, all the best Canada had to offer…and whatever else I can come up with! To be continued once more…
Posted by Jeff on Dec 21 2010 in Reviews Tags: A.D., All Time High, American Spiritual, beard, Black Sleep of Kali, death, dirty, Dirty Sweet, Dragontears, Dysfunctional Majesty, Friends in High Places, fuzz, Gozu, heavy, III, Josiah, Kings of Frog Island, Lo-Pan, Locust Season, Lorenzo Woodrose, Mat Bethancourt, Our Slow Decay, Procession, psych-rock, Red Giant, Sasquanaut, Sasquatch, Scott Hamilton, Skånska Mord, Small Stone, Solace, stoner, The Brought Low, The Last Supper, Third Record, Turn On Tune In Fuck Off!!