The third edition of Artists Pick Em’ features the hard-rocking bells of this ball, Tara Elliott of Tara Ellitott & The Red Velvets, and Alyssa Javas of Black Birds.
Tara Elliott Tells Her One And Only Of 2010
“I have one favorite album of 2010. When the word favorite comes to mind I am quite selective. My favorite album of 2010 is Sea of Cowards by The Dead Weather. Almost anything Jack White touches I instantly love. He has the midas touch when it comes to records. Sea of Cowards captures dirty blues, rock & proto-punk influences yet reveals them in a truthful, in-your-face demeanor similar to my band, Tara Elliott and The Red Velvets. Sea of Cowards succeeds where many records do not. Many records possess these same wonderous influences however, when executed during this digital age, loses it’s magic and morphs into an over-produced piece of garbage. My favorite song of the album is ‘The Difference Between Us” which is decorated with double entendres, an epic Shirley Bassey approach of attitude, and the vibe of a James Bond theme with a modern twist. Pure, raw sexuality pours out and quenches my thirst for honest rock n’ roll.”
Tara was gracious enough to share a track off her band’s self-titled EP (#9 of the year on SIMGE’s list). On behalf of Tara Elliott & The Red Velvets I present to you “Teenage Secret.”
Alyssa Javas Counts Down Her Top 10
10) Pregnant’s self-titled release
“Though some of the songs on this lp were previously released, it’s great to have them in this full-length format, along with some kick-ass new rock’roll jams. From the opening screech and driving riffs to the closing taunts trailing out into the last “ooohs” you feel like your in the middle of the best beer-soaked basement show of your summer. Love them!”
9) Descending Shadows by Pierced Arrows
“Thank life, the universe, and everything that Fred and Toddy from Dead Moon are still making music, and it’s still heavy as shit, visceral, and down and dirty. This record stirs up all sorts of weird feelings inside me. Pick it up and check out what I mean.”
8) Phosphene Dream by Black Angels
“What can i say, it’s the Black Angels at their atmospheric best. Moody, psychedleic, sexy as hell. I love this record. At times it’s even reminiscent of one of my all-time favorite bands, The Shocking Blue, so, bonus round there for me! You can do anything while listening to it. And I do mean anything.”
7) Beat The Devil’s Tattoo by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
“Speaking of moody and sexy, this is probably the record that I listened to most in it’s entirety this year. For me, this record is pretty perfect. Bluesy rock with driving beats and fuzzy tones galore; hip-shaking breakdowns and evocative lyrics sung with serious sensuality. And can we touch on the INSANE rendering of Edgar Allen Poe’s, “Annabel Lee?” I believe this a download-only bonus, but WORTH it. Even with just a simple piano melody and a poem, BRMC brings down the house.”
6) Prior To The Fire by Priestess
“Epic metal perfection with lyrics about lycanthropy and robo-cop. If you know me at all, then you know I have total lady-wood just writing that sentence. Blisteringly right on. Touchstones here range from dead-on stoner rock to Iron Maiden-y solos to Jupiter-era Cave-In and who knows what else; it’s very technical and yet so easy to listen to, an incredible feat. Priestess is my absolute favorite live band playing right now. Get this record and see why.”
5) Big Eyes’ 7′ Demo
“I debated including any EP’s on this list, but again and again as I thought it over “You Ain’t the Only One,”off this 4-song demo, kept popping back into my head, and if you’ve heard this record, you know why. These songs are so well-crafted, but come across effortlessly. Endlessly catchy Descendents-style riffs, and dark pop lyrics sung with a whole heart, will get under your skin and bounce through your head for hours or days after the four short songs come to an end. I can’t wait to see what they release in 2011!”
4) Patience/Fury by Trophy Wife
“I just adore this band. Everything about their sound and philosophy hits right at the center of what i think is punk and D.I.Y.’s greatest strengths. This two-piece brings incredibly big and innovative sounds, as well as a feminist, though never exclusive!, ethos and an incredibly winning sense of sincerity. They are able to deal with some heavier issues emotionally in their words yet they play with such abandon that you feel an immense sense of fun goes into this music as well the anger being exorcised. Another absolutely AMAZING live band. You can catch them in philly almost any weekend for a quick mind-melt.”
3) I’m Having Fun Now by Jenny & Johnny
“Pop genius. Disclaimer: I have been pretty much ape-shit for everything Jenny Lewis has done, especially The Wizard. Here she is just as dreamy and brooding as ever, with that voice that I have been sacraficing babies to Satan weekly in the hopes of someday possessing, and that turn of phrase that is at times heart-breaking and at times laugh out loud funny. Her partner in crime here, and in life, Johnny Rice, tempers the sound with almost Beach Boys style sensibilities and a smoky delivery that compliments the sound perfectly. There are even “la-la’s”. Le sigh!”
2) Red Is The Color by Hunchback
“This was also a debate in my mind as to if it qualified for the list, as technically it’s only two songs on this 12” which was my first release on my new label, So Inside Records. But if I can’t plug myself, who will? On a serious note though, I had to include this record as it features my favorite song ever, by anyone, the title track, as done by my favorite New Jersey band ever. There is about 25 minutes of previously unreleased music between these two songs, and the sounds run the gamut between gnarly psych, beautiful quiet harmonies, pure noise, insane surf guitar, and sexy synth/organs. The reason for the posthumous release from this band that went on to form Black Wine, Full of Fancy, Night Birds, Blank Dogs and Weird Fantasy Band is because of the benefit for bass player and vocalist J Hunchback’s family, as his mom, an amazing lady, battles cancer. If you would like to donate or purchase a copy, feel free to contact me. It’s a truly amazing record for a truly worthy cause.
1) Lovey Dovey’s self-titled album
“Oh, I saved the record of my year for last. Though I only picked it up this summer, for me it became immediately indispensible and when I think back across this year it seems to summarize a lot of my experiences. I think a mark of truly great music is when it has this kind of capability to make you feel nostalgia even for a place you’ve never been, to connect dots in your own emotions, to put a daydream into your head that inspires some thought or action. I had the good fortune to catch this New Orleans-based three-piece live, my own band played with them twice on tour, and I found both the performance and this self-released record invigorating and affecting. Sounds here seem to have been influenced by 90’s indie and grungy stuff, and certainly draw on Dino Jr. and old Smashing Pumpkins, I also think The Wipers, who I love, but it still comes across fresh and new. The lyrical vernacular feels personal and straight-forward, and the slow, sexy vocal delivery peppered with urgent yells and harmonies are right up my alley. There is high energy, temperance, sincerity, sick musicianship, despair, love, sludge, and even a feeling of redemption somewhere in here. I probably listened to the song “Stained Sleeve” a hundred times since I got this, it is definitely my favorite track of the year. Spookiness, hopelessness, sarcasm, driving low-end, and a beautiful, sparkling guitar sound over it all, this to me is one of those songs you wish you wrote. Can you tell I love this record? I guess I love this record.”
The record that is ranked second on Alyssa’s list, as she mentioned, is not only the first pressing to be released on her brand new label, So Inside Records, but is for a great cause, to benefit J Hunchback’s mother’s fight against cancer.
There are a limited amount of these albums left. They are hand screened and numbered up to 250 and can be purchased for $20.
If interested please contact Alyssa at firstname.lastname@example.org.