Why choose a “Top 12,” you ask. SIMGE will answer your question with its own inquiry…why not? The truth, if you must know, is because I couldn’t bring myself to cut the list down any further. It’s better for you really, so suck it up and enjoy.
12) Broken Dreams Club by Girls
It had escaped me that there was a genre of music called Jangle-Pop, so, I learned something from this record. Girls transports the listener back in time to the birth of Buddy Holly-esque Rock N’ Roll with beautifully simplistic chord progressions and plenty of brass accompaniment. Maybe the most intriguing element of the entire EP is the drumming, it’s far from impressive, which is what makes it impressive. It takes a great deal of discipline to climax but never quite get to the point where your drumming overpowers the rest of the music. But then again, maybe I’m just delving too deep. You decide.
“Broken Dreams Club”
11. You Guys Like Hip Hop? by You Suck
This mixtape raises a lot of questions like, who is this rap group? Why do these guys feel the need to insult people with their name? And, can a couple of nerdy hipsters from Brooklyn pull off this Rap thing? As for who they are, Sneepy Deep and Kevin Mead are a pair of amateur comedians that “like Hip-Hop…a lot,” and they’re pretty damn good at it. The two draw the listener in by rhyming over reworked beats lifted from The Gza, Christina Aguilara, Chairlift, Sleigh Bells, and Pete Rock, and are able to hold a nerdy white kid like myself’s attention with relatable lyrics about being a broke college student and Final Cut Pro. So, to answer inquiries A and B, they insult you because they don’t give a fuck, and yes, they are talented at what they do.
“Yes (prod. by Gza)”
Grab the rest of the mixtape for free here.
10. Galaxy Rise by Black Birds
There is something sinister about this EP and the Asbury Park four-piece that made it. It’s dark Stoner-Rock played over the vocal work of front-woman Alyssa Javas who’s voice reminds me of Debbie Harry. The combination of Javas’ lush calls over the brooding instrumentals of Sharon Stein’s rip-tide fret play, and a rhythm section manned by Bob DeMedici on bass and Anthony Azzara on the throne.
Download the rest of the EP for free here.
9. Tara Elliot & The Red Velvets self-titled EP
Tara Elliot & The Red Velvets is the embodiment of “Power.” This band makes amplifiers weep, it topples stacks, it shakes the human body to its very core and leaves you screaming for more. This act was only able to capture a fraction of the supremacy it exhibits live on this record, but that’s still good enough to beat out most groups…except maybe The Dead Weather, but that’s fine company to be in.
Listen to Tara Elliot & The Red Velvets’ self-titled EP on the band’s Myspace page.
I find it fitting that Status Green and The Red Velvets ended up back to back on this list with Christmas looming, and both records’ Top 10 spots were well earned. The Asbury Park Pop-Rock quartet was lauded at the Asbury Music Awards for it’s 2010 full-length Cheap Sunglasses, but the albums precursor was enjoyable as well. Tracks like “Denver After Dawn” and “Monroe Street” have these sharp choruses that sink their hooks in deep and forbid you from shaking them off. It’s a lot like the Hellraiser film series, but a lot more enjoyable.
Grab the rest of the EP for free here.
7. Radio Down by The Aquabats
It had been five years since the Superhero Pirates of Southern California Ska had released material. In that time the band’s frontman MC Bat Commander started the trippiest children’s show in the history of kid’s shows. Yes, when shrooms are involved, Yo Gabba Gabba is undoubtedly more frightening than Thomas The Train. Anyway, sticking with the idea of music that’s accessible to children, The Aquabats ditched its horn section for electronic keyboards, self-esteem boosting lyrics and themes, and Biz Markie rapping about food.
“Radio Down (feat. Biz Markie)”
6. 40’+ (read: 40 Inches Plus) by Kid Is Qual
Kid Is Qual has been compared to Daft Punk by a few people, including myself, and although I tried to prove that the two acts were very different, I may have beaten around the bush. So let me set things straight: Not only are the two acts immensely disparate and it would be unfair to Qual, it would not do Qual’s music justice to compare it to those French androids and their computer generated beats. While Daft Punk is punching keys and double clicking on pre-aranged mp3s Jon Sullivan, formerly of Jack’s Mannequin, and Mike Bryant, formerly of Alabama Thunderpussy, are grinding out these spacey dance tunes on their bass guitars. Chris McClish’s drum beats may sound like they’re software induced, but that’s because he is damn good at what he does. In closing, I leave you with this, OLE!!!
“Motel, No Tell”
5) Rock & Roll by Frank Turner
After listening to Frank Turner’s entire catalogue several times through I’m convinced he is one of the best lyricists and song writers around and his latest EP, Rock & Roll, pays testament to that claim as this record may prove to have produced SIMGE’s song of the year in “I Still Believe.” This track calls to arms everyone out there who still believes in the healing power of Rock Music. “And I still believe,” sings Turner, “that everyone/Can find a song for every time they’ve lost and every time they’ve won/And just remember folks we’re not just saving lives, we’re saving souls, and we’re having fun.” Frank Turner believes music can change the world. But will the world buy in before it’s too late?
“I Still Believe”
4. Silver Lake by Almost There
When it comes to Pop-Punk on the Jersey Shore, Almost There is the cream of the crop. The band’s harmonic vocal hooks and multi-genre catalogue have grabbed the attention of a lot of eardrums locally and nationally. Silver Lake is the second of two EPs released by the trio this year and has garnered much acclaim and air play around the country. Expect a lot more to come from this act, in fact, they’re not even done on this list.
“I Cried Wolf”
3. I Am Just A Rapper by Childish Gambino
Childish Gambino has had a shit ton of success this past year and that’s because Donald Glover’s, star of the hit television show Community, stage name is Childish Gambino. Not only can this cat write comedic television and hilarious stand-up routines, but he’s a rather savage Nerd-Rap artist, dropping rhymes over such hipster Indie acts as Sleigh Bells, Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective, and Neon Indian. I guarantee, if not for his rap game, you will know Donald Glover, a.k.a. Childish Gambino, as one of the funniest people to emerge from this generation.
“Bitch Look At Me Now”
Grab the rest of the EP, among other things, here.
2. Adults!!!Smart!!!Shithammered!!!And Excited by Nothing!!!!!!! by Bomb The Music Industry!
Lots of people seem to hate me when I say this, but, I happen to think this is one of best Ska-Punk records to come out since Streetlight Manifesto’s 2007 release Somewhere In The Between. BTMI! is able to capture the feel of the band’s raucous live performance on this EP, it’s raw, it’s gritty, it’s intense, and the upbeat tracks definitely get the juices flowing. In fact, they kind of make me want to punch my roommate…that’s a good thing.
“Planning My Death”
Download the rest of the EP for free here.
1) Losing Someone To Find Yourself by Almost There
Almost There is the owner of SIMGE’s favorite EP of 2010. The record has everything I look for in a great collection of songs, and its only four-tracks long. Guitar maestro Eddie Soles might as well fight the ninja turtles on weeknights…this is a smart crowd, I’m sure you get it. I have no clever comparison for Zach Sicherman’s string plucking capabilities, he is simply superb. And Phill Serzan is the king of the court, pounding out powerful beats from upon his throne. These tracks get the listener on line and reel them in with well written lyrics, accessible themes, and two-part harmonies by Soles and Sicherman that bring the Gods of Punk Rock to their knees.
“Can I Take You Home”