Friday, January 3, 2020

Guest List: Jerry Lardieri of The Brixton Riot

Jerry Lardieri and The Brixton Riot

Favorite Albums of 2019

By Jerry Lardieri

[Jerry Lardieri is a friend and fellow lover of guitar-based power pop and rock music. He's frontman and guitarist for The Brixton Riot, a band that delivers on those sounds in spades. A great songwriter, a Yankee fan, and a cooldad, Jerry has been kind enough to share his favorite albums of last year with us here today.

The Brixton Riot will be playing on January 11th at The Danny Clinch Transparent Gallery in Asbury Park along with Lost Romance and Joe Zorzi. They'll also be part of a soon-to-be-announced CoolDad Music showcase on February 7th at The Asbury Hotel.

Thanks, Jerry.]

2019 was a bit of a disjointed year for me music wise. While I did do a lot of listening, I found that connecting with full albums was a little tougher than in the past. If I had to guess, I'd say it has more to do with time and listening habits online versus the quality of the records. Trend and technology changes are inevitable, and we've been on this road since the first iPod came out, but it has made it harder to be a music fan.

Fortunately, there were still records that I connected with in 2019; and, rather than describe them as "the best" records of the year, I'm going to just call them my favorites.

Foxhall Stacks, The Coming Collapse

Over the past year, I played his record than any other, and I always played it all the way through. It never failed to put a smile on my face. The most powerful pop married to a variety of topics including moments of social commentary that are more fist-pumping rallies (not the Jersey kind) than pulpit sermons.  Guitar based rock records are plentiful, but The Coming Collapse is a reminder that they're not only relevant but still cathartic at the right volume.

Big Quiet, Interesting Times

Two things I was already looking forward to on New Year's Day: the new Big Quiet record and the last Star Wars movie. One delivered in every possible way, and the other had Ewoks. Again with the damn Ewoks. As for Big Quiet, with Mitch Easter at the helm, the R.E.M. tendencies are amplified though never threaten to take away from the band's signature sound.

Pernice Brothers, Spread The Feeling

My introduction to the Pernice Brothers came via their spinoff project Chapaquidick Skyline and their beautiful cover of New Order's "Leave Me Alone." Spread The Feeling has an underlying sense of warmth to it that makes it a joy to listen to over and over.

Sheer Mag, A Distant Call

I don't know where or why this revival of 80s guitar rock blended with power pop came from, nor do I care.  Please don't let it stop.

J. Robbins, Unbecoming

J. Robbins spends so much time making great records for other musicians, it's wonderful to hear him work his magic on a set of his own solo songs. Musically, this is a close cousin to Robbins' Office of Future Plans output; and, similarly, it is consistently great from start to finish.

A Giant Dog, Neon Bible

Is this cheating? I'm not sure. What I do know is that A Giant Dog took something that wasn't in my wheelhouse, turned it inside out, and made something new which I thoroughly enjoyed. I think that's definitely worth a mention.

Upset, S/T

November releases don't get the love they deserve on year-end lists, likely because they're due to editors in advance (Much thanks to CD who was kind enough to let me submit one AFTER the 1st).  If you enjoyed Upset's first two records or if you simply long for the wonderful sound of 90s college radio al a Velocity Girl or Sleepyhead, don't skip this one.

Bob Mould, Sunshine Rock

Bob Mould has found his happy place. He's also on a crazy hot streak, releasing another fantastic record, his fifth since returning to the louder guitar-based sound on 2012's Silver Age. A wonderful collection of songs that serve as a reminder to find the light and joy in life, even (or especially?) in dark times.

The Successful Failures, Saratoga

Yet another fine collection of songs from one of the most consistent bands in New Jersey (or any state really; I'm name checking our shared home state here out of pride). This one definitely has a little more twang to it than most of my regular listening material, but it perfectly suits Mick Chorba's sepia-toned vignettes.

Swervedriver, Future Ruins

My favorite live music of 2019 was being right against the stage for Swervedriver at The Saint in October, riding shotgun for CoolDad as he did his CoolDad thing. I've had never had my internal organs rattled by the sheer volume of a band before. It was a jarring if strangely pleasant experience. Future Ruins is loaded with excellent songs that fit right alongside Swervedriver's best. And they'll rattle your guts when they go to eleven.

The Figgs, Shady Grove

An engaging double LP's worth of music that works both as a complete set (loaded with sonic detours) or as a trimmed down set of pop gems.

The Anderson Council, Worlds Collide

Speaking of fine songs and consistency, The Anderson Council dropped this psychedelic gem in our laps this year. It would be disingenuous for me to write about this record without mentioning my long friendships with the members of this band. Familiarity still didn't prevent me from being gob smacked by the finished product, even if they did leave my favorite song off the final track list. There's a reason why we don't follow them when our bands share a bill. They make it all look so easy. The great ones always do.

Guided By Voices, Sweating The Warp Zeppelin 

Guided By Voices released not one but THREE records in 2019; and, while all are solid entries into an already loaded vault of classic albums, each had moments of absolute perfection. This made it all but impossible to pick just one (and impractical to list all three), so here is a compilation of my favorite GbV songs of 2019. Sure to piss off purists but hopefully inviting enough to attract the uninitiated. I apologize for its rudimentary sequencing.

Joy Cleaner, You're So Jaded

Ah, the November release date again.  Almost missed this one.  Don't miss this one.

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