10. Police Teeth - Awesomer Than the Devil (Latest Flame)
I copped this off of Shiny Grey Montone (I have a physical copy now, thank you) at the suggestion of Soulless Brother #1 (aka Black Nathan) and it fucking blew me away. Imagine if Superchunk went full on balls out with the volume cranked, hints of Future of the Left, Seaweed and Fugazi and you've got this kick ass bit of wax. "Summertime Bruise" hasn't left my head since I heard it.
9. Smith Westerns - Dye it Blonde (Fat Possum)
These kids are just so goddamned good. Much more polished this time around, the Smith Westerns are still obsessed with Marc Bolan, Teenage Fanclub and I Should Coco era Supergrass (just listen to "Weekend" or "Imagine, Pt. 3" and tell me I'm wrong) and seem to effortlessly craft sublime pop songs. I was surprised to see these guys land on so few year end lists but I guess that's what happens when you can't hype a band beyond their first record and the follow up comes out at the beginning of the year. Go back and listen to this along with their self-titled and tell me your not stoked about what they'll lay on us next.
8. Lords of Altamont - Midnight to 666 (Fargo) The Lords don't reinvent themselves or their scuzzed up 60's inspired (duh) psych/biker punk but unlike their previous release, The Altamont Sin, the band cranks the fuzz and Farfisa up to 11 with a nice thick sound to muddy your ears. Maybe it's the addition of members of the Fuzztones and Cramps that brought the band back to their former glory (Lords Have Mercy). Bonus points are awarded for their cover of the Dead Boys' "Ain't it Fun."
7. Davila 666 - Tan Bajo (In the Red)
Let's put off the critical discussion for a moment and go into total fanboy territory. First, you need to listen to this. And then this track from the Pepper Pots. If they hook up we are assured some bad ass pop music in the future. Anyhoo, the finest group of garage enthusiasts out of Puerto Rico have returned with a lo-fi compilation of punked up Richie Valens tunes that will provide the perfect soundtrack to your summer bar-b-cue. In between the hepped up rockers ("Patitas") there are some straight Phil Spector ballads ("Eso Que Me Haces"). I love this record so much I included one of the songs on my ill fated wedding playlist which you can dig below.
6. The Gaye Blades - S/T (Norton)
This spot should've been reserved for the Night Beats LP (and hey, I can still change my mind but I wanna at least get half of this list up tonight) but this was a last minute listen that really hit me hard. Pretty much what you get is the Black Lips meets Gentleman Jesse and that's because it's Jared Swilley and Jesse Smith (who also slays in the Carbonas) and it results in the only band that can be mentioned alongside greats like Shoes, the Action and the Exploding Hearts. No, this won't shake your world like Guitar Romantic but it will remind you to have faith that power-pop ,in America, will eventually burst through to the mainstream once again. Sure, the production and vocals are (intentionally) raw but it just makes the album more endearing and highlights the strengths of the songwriting. So what if they don't harmonize perfect and the guitar is slightly out of tune? This is going to be stuck in your head for eons. Essentially, it's a long lost Bomp! record released in 2011. We should all be happy as a pig in shit for that.