Saturday, March 19, 2011

Music Blog # 4: Top 10 Favorite Indie Releases from 2010

I'm going to try and do this as fast as I can.  First off, I realize that it's halfway through March of 2011 already.  But I'm a slacker and better late than never.  Secondly, what is "indie rock"?  I think it's a misused term.  I'm going to just simplify it and say that each band I'm listing is an indie rock band because they play rock music and they're on an independent label.  That's what the term originally meant and that's how I still take it.  So, by that definition, bands that are frequently called "indie rock" like Iron & Wine, Death Cab For Cutie and Modest Mouse are not even remotely indie rock.  They are big-selling, mainstream rock.  And for the record I like those bands quite a bit.  I'm 33 years old and don't really care if my musical taste is hip or not.  I like some popular stuff and I like crazy underground punk rock too.   So whatever, enough posturing.  These are my ten favorite indie releases of 2010.  Some of the sites that help me regularly discover bands like these are Maximum Rocknroll, Styrofoam Drone, icoulddietomorrow and many more.  Starting with a quick honorable mention:

Honorable Mention: 
Gentlemen Jesse & His Men - "You've Got The Wrong Man 7"" (Couldn't find a link to a song from that 7", so here's something from their 2008 LP.  Awesome power-pop.)
Doomstar! - "Rainbow Bloodsucker" EP (This EP is worth it just for the title track alone!)
Mind Spiders - Self-titled EP (Surfy, punky power pop from members of Marked Men.)
Unwed Teenage Mothers - "Blonde Girls" LP (It's too tricky to google this band and still avoid getting Bristol Palin or soft-porn.  But they sound like a wimpy (in a good way) punk band on pixie sticks.)
Drugs Dragons - Self-titled LP (These guys have channeled the spirit and debauchery of early Butthole Surfers. I like.)  

10) BAD BANANA - "Crushfield" LP 

 Two sisters from P.S. Eliot come together to make the catchiest damn album/demo I've heard in a while.  It's kinda poppy, kinda punky.  They name-drop the Descendents and Dinosaur Jr. so that's all I needed to hear. This one never ceases to put me in a good mood. I'm also pretty sure that this is being offered as a free download, so do some google searchin'!

9) IMPERIAL CHINA - "Phosphenes" LP

I continually struggle to classify Imperial China.  That's probably a good thing.  They are from DC, so there's the Dischord Records influence in there.  If I had to make a really, really bad comparison I'd say it's like if Fugazi were a dance band.  I'm sure Imperial China would fucking hate that analogy but that's all I got.  It's a hell of an album though. 

Find more artists like Imperial China at Myspace Music

8)  FREE ENERGY - "Stuck On Nothing" LP

I first heard about these guys when they lived in Minneapolis and were called Hockey Night.  They were one of my favorite bands.  They sounded just like Pavement meets Thin Lizzy and I couldn't get enough of them.  Then they kicked out a few members, moved to Philadelphia, renamed themselves "Free Energy"and now sound like Weezer meets Thin Lizzy.  And it's as good as ever.  Also, I'd just like to state that if I didn't already know how great this band was, I would never, ever have listened to them after seeing this picture.  Embarrassing.  Gross.  Let's all just move on from this ironic 80's bullshit, please?  Anyway, sonically the band is a monster.


Like early B-52's mixed with Eric Stoltz.  That'll probably only make sense to me. 

6) COWLICK - "Wires" LP

Am I incorrect in thinking this sounds like 90's era Sonic Youth?  Am I incorrect to think that's awesome?  Nope on both counts. 

5) SHELLSHAG - "Rumors In Disguise" LP

Either I'm getting old and really miss the 90's, or a lot of bands are starting to sound like that decade.  Either way, I love it.  These guys sound like they could have played alongside Archers of Loaf back in the day.


Whenever a band is from Australia it always impresses me.  I don't know why.  They have cars and buildings and air.  Why wouldn't they have music?  I guess my ignorant head only envisioned Christian Bale and kangeroos and Christian Bale yelling at kangeroos.  Anyway, this is some nice post-punk that gets better and better each time you listen to it.  I actually didn't like it the first time I heard it, but people swore by it so much that I kept listening and now I'm hooked. 

3) WEED HOUNDS -"Beach Bummed" 7"

It's only a 7" but it's catchy as all hell and I predict (rather safely) that this band is going to get real big, real fast whenever their first LP comes out.  There's an undeniable Pixies quality to them and I ain't hatin' it. I wish they had a less lame name, but what can you do?

2) PURLING HISS - "Hissteria" and "Public Service Announcement" LPs

Boom!  TWO releases in 2010.  I can't pick between the two.  This is one of my newest favorite bands.  The recording is such absolute shit that it has to be on purpose.  Regardless, it's grungy classic-rock that can be catchy or hypnotic or whatever they feel like doing at the time.  Here's two clips of the same song.  One is off the record with the bad recording and the other is live with a slightly less bad recording.  Both are great in their own way.

1) SUPERCHUNK - "Majesty Shredding" LP

Does this count as an indie?  Merge is an independent label, but it's distributed by a company that has major label ties.  Also, the Arcade Fire is on the same label so it's definitely not a small one.  But then again, it's owned by the people from Superchunk, so that might give it the indie nod.  Screw it, who cares?  This is the best album of 2010 regardless of the genre.  They're living legends and they're one of the few bands that can take so much time off (their last record was in 2001) and still kick your ass all over the place.  (The other two who pulled it off were Mission Of Burma and Dinosaur Jr.).  Long live Superchunk!


  1. diggin' this list Mike!!

  2. Thanks Zac! Yeah, I never got those song buttons to work, so Youtube it is. Oh well, we'll all survive!