Rounding Out the Local Music Roundup
The week between the Christmas and the New Year is a tough one for journalists, who generally don’t like to work anyway. That’s why papers everywhere have been light on real stories, and heavy on yearly retrospectives: When you’re full of nog, good ideas are hard to come by.
To this pile of retrospective introspection, the Globe today contributed a roundup of the best local music from the past year. And while the inclusion of Drug Rug’s self-titled debut and Hallelujah the Hills’s Collective Psychosis Begone displays a shocking degree of competency for a paper that was recently responsible for this, a few gems always fall through the cracks of these best-of lists.
That’s why we’re here to catch them. Here’s some of the best local records that didn’t make the cut in today’s roundup:
Nate Gibson and the Gashouse Gang, All the Way Home. A raucous collection of old-time country and rockabilly covers, as well as original songs about trolleys, Wal-Mart winos, and dogs that ain’t no good at hunting. Don Pierce, the late founder of Starday records, provides commentary for the intro, intermission, and outro tracks. Nashville should watch its back.
Vagiant, Public Display of Infection. Disgustingly loud and joyously crass girl-punk from Allston. They’re famous locally for drinking, rocking, and hating stuff, and gained national notoriety when their song about wanting to burn down some bar landed on the Guitar Hero II soundtrack.
Emergency Music, You’ll be the Death of Us All, Honey. Emergency Music gave away all the physical copies of this record that ever existed at their two-night CD release show last month, but the entire album’s available for download, free, right here. Nothing overly complicated going on here, just lush, feel-good pop.
Hands and Knees, S/T. “Indie” is a useful tag for arts writing, because it sounds so much better than “moody, melodic thrash-pop-core.” Their self-titled debut veers wildly between aggressive bubblegum numbers about medication and public television (“The Charlie Rose”) to brooding outbursts (“Into the Cold Lake”) and gleefully random covers (the Tall Dwarfs’s “All My Hollowness to You”), but it’s excellent stuff all around.
Dropkick Murphys, The Meanest of Times. I was kind of disappointed with that record from The Departed – you know, the one that everybody fell in love with two years after it was actually released – and feel like this year’s Dropkicks effort, The Meanest of Times, sounds a lot more authentically Boston. The formula’s the same as it has been for nearly a decade (tin whistles, power cords, banjos, lots of screaming), though the shoutouts to A Street, DSS and Florian Hall are much appreciated.
The Capstan Shafts, Environ Maiden. The guy responsible for these lovely two-minute bursts of lo-fi Americana, Dean Wells, is actually from Vermont, but if the Globe can lump stories from Vermont into their City/Region section, we can corral the state into this list, too.
We’d be remiss to not throw honorable mentions to two bands that released great records, then packed their bags and broke up with Boston in 2007: the Dead Trees and Frank Smith. Rest in peace guys. Or, in Portland and Austin, as it were.
RELATED: Our friends at Bostonist have a handy link guide to other’s Best Lists.