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Top 17 Records of 2010: 11-17

December 24, 2010 Leave a comment

While most people do a top twenty, I couldn’t come up with 20 records that deserved to be on such a list, so here is the second half of my 2010 Top 17. Look for 1-10 in the  next day or two.

11. Envy on the Coast – Lowcountry

The best record that no one listened to this year, Lowcountry suffered from awful distribution and the band’s unfortunate implosion. Despite all of this, the album successfully manages to strip away the extra layers that at times bogged down 2007’s Lucy Grey, and helps the band to go out on a high note.

12. The Wonder Years – The Upsides

When  I get depressed and think about how much I hate the daily grind, I just put on this album and let The Wonder Years do the complaining for me.

13. Neon Trees – Habits

How did this 8 song mini-album make the list? Well, two reasons really. “Sins of My Youth” and “Our War.” These two songs show why this band could be rock’s next big thing, if they aren’t already.

14. My Chemical Romance – Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys

I give this one bonus points solely because it isn’t The Black Parade Pt. 2. I also admit that this record has some great tracks, including “The Only Hope For Me Is You,” which is one of the strongest songs the band has written. However, we had to wait four years for a record that is not nearly as good as the two records that preceded it.

15. Senses Fail – The Fire

While they probably didn’t win over too many new fans, it was another solid addition to the Senses Fail catalog, and featured some of their best work, including “Landslide,” which is one of the best songs of the year.

16. Hollerado – Record in a Bag

After winning me over with their live show, I purchased the appropriately titled “Record in a Bag,” which does, in fact,  come in a confetti-filled zip-lock. While it doesn’t shine in the lyrics department, the songs sure are fun.

17 – Free Engery- Stuck on Nothing

If there is a California sound, Free Energy embodies it perfectly.  This record features a handful of sunny, bouncy tracks that beg to be blasted through the speakers  while driving with the top down (in the convertible I don’t have). However, it also features quite a bit of filler, which is why it’s at the bottom of this list.

“I Bet You $20 None Of You White People Can Kill Me.” – Foxy Shazam Live in Providence

October 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Foxy Shazam
Hollerado
Jerky’s Music Hall, Providence RI
October 13th 2010

I can honestly say I found out about Foxy Shazam long before they got big. Unfortunately, anyone could  make the same claim after reading this blog post. That’s because Foxy Shazam isn’t big… at all. After witnessing their performance in Providence last night however, I must say it isn’t from lack of effort on their part. Based on their stage presence alone, an innocent bystander could have easily mistaken the Cincinnati sextet for one of the world’s biggest rock bands. Their blend of swagger, style, and sing along-choruses made it easy to forget they  were playing a dive bar in a grimy section of Providence and not at a stadium full of 80,000 screaming fans.

Now if you’ve gotten this far and were at the show (which is doubtful, considering there were all of 100 people there), you’ve probably realized I haven’t mentioned the headliner, Free Energy. That’s because I didn’t stay for Free Energy. Hopefully I can report back on them when this tour returns to New England next month. Until that time, you’ll have to search for a hipper blog than mine to find the full story. Mainly one that isn’t written by someone who had to work the next morning.

Kidding aside, the night began with a short set from Canadian indie rockers Hollerado. Being that this was a $12 show and there were probably 20 people in the room at the time, I wasn’t expecting much from the opening band. Maybe it was because of those low expectations, but wow was I impressed by what I heard .

The quartet played a brand of simple but ridiculously catchy power pop that seemed to catch even the bouncer and bartender by surprise. In between songs, the band joked about their fellow countrymen, mainly pathetic French rappers driving Honda Civics with “post production mufflers.” An opening band that’s not only good, but also amusing between songs? Now those are hard to come by. After the set, I certainly wasn’t the only one picking up their debut full-length, “Record in a Bag.”

Next up, of course, was Foxy Shazam. Prior to their set, keyboardist Sky White (easily noticeable with his enormous beard and shaved head) mingled with fans while doing a pre-set stretching routine. After limbering up, the band jumped on stage and grabbed the crowd’s attention by the throat.

Their appearance in itself would be enough to turn heads on any street in America, for the band looked like Motley Crue on a thrift store budget. Their fashion sense quickly became an afterthought though, as lead singer Eric Nally jumped into a convoluted and downright strange story about his childhood and the inspiration for “The Only Way To My Heart…”, which the band then opened their set with.

Nally’s stage antics were hard to ignore, as he jumped, twisted, and generally hammed it up throughout the entire show. In the meantime, Sky White could often be seen stomping on the keyboard with his feet. At one point he even donned a set of football shoulder pads adorned in candles and other nick-knacks. Despite this, the band still somehow sounded great.

The setlist consisted mainly of songs from their recently released self-titled album. The songs from this record are the stuff that rock legends have been made of.  They beg to pumped through the speakers at Madison Square Garden or shouted along by thousands of fans standing in a field at a summer festival. Of course, this isn’t likely to happen any time soon, but don’t tell Foxy Shazam that.

Singles “Oh Lord” and “Unstoppable” garnered the biggest reaction from the crowd, but the band treated every track like they were in a high-stakes “battle of the bands” contest and a $1 million dollar prize was on the line. This even included the Misfits cover they threw in for good measure.

After abruptly ending the set, Nally encouraged one fan to grab the bolt that had fallen off the drum set and make a necklace out of it. He then spiked the mic to t he floor, and walked off stage. A very appropriate ending to a short, yet very memorable show. Luckily, Foxy Shazam will be touring most of the US and Europe over the next few months. If you haven’t had a chance to see this ridiculous spectacle live, I strongly encourage you to do so. And bring your camera. You won’t regret it.

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