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Another great year! I need 15 spaces for my top ten and could have easily added a few more ….

  1. Krill, Alam No Hris
  2. Autochrome, Separation Realms
  3. Various Artists, Boston & Beyond: SXSW 2012
  4. Future Carnivores, Future Carnivores
  5. Foolish Ida, Book II
  6. Dirty Dishes, Most Tarnished Birds
  7. Hands and Knees, Red Hot Minnow
  8. Milling Gowns, Something Dangerous Loves Me
  9. Novel Ideas, Home
  10. Plumerai, Mondegreen
  11. Avoxblue, A Place Without Time
  12. Mission of Burma, Unsound
  13. Black Fortress of Opium, Stratospherical
  14. Mean Creek, Youth Companion
  15. Exusamwa, Phase IV
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And so the story continues.

“Opener”

“Not a Photograph”

Only one band in the world right now could blast nonstop through a 75-minute “rock opera” and still leave you wanting more. And that band would be Fucked Up.

With “David Comes to Life,” moving one step closer to the circle that includes the Clash, the Gang of Four, Mission of Burma, and not too many others.

“Queen of Hearts”

Album Promo, Matador Records

Young Adults – Black Hole

December 11, 2010

This new release by Young Adults was the one I had been looking forward to more than any other this year. In terms of local music, that’s a designation that usually gets reserved for one of my old favorites, like Mission of Burma. But based on the strength of the band’s five-song demo, released earlier in 2010, I couldn’t wait to hear more.

The full-length “Black Hole” combines those five outstanding tracks from before with six others, no less excellent, plus two short instrumental compositions. The songwriting remains strong throughout. And the energy level, as high as it was on the demo, seems to get ratcheted higher still on the lp. Maybe that’s because the sound benefits from additional production. Or maybe just because I liked the album so much I kept turning up the volume.

As I’m sure you will too. Check out a brilliant live performance of “Rip it Up,” below. Or the entire album, streaming here. Because Young Adults are a band that has arrived. And hopefully come to stay.

2009 was a great, great year for rock in Boston, and so I could have easily expanded this list into a top 20. But, anyway, here are my ten most favorite local recordings from the year just past.

  1. Old Furnace, Hidden Hills
  2. Pants Yell!, Received Pronunciation
  3. Neats, 1981-84 The Ace of Hearts Years
  4. Chriss Sutherland, Worried Love
  5. Arms and Sleepers, Matador
  6. Mission of Burma, The Sound The Speed The Light
  7. Joe Pernice, It Feels So Good When I Stop
  8. Technoir MA, Technoir MA
  9. Appletown Gun Shop, Ghosts of Green
  10. Animal Hospital, Good or Plenty, Streets + Avenues
For me, the sublime moment on the new Mission of Burma lp, “The Sound, The Speed, The Light,” comes when the fury that builds over tracks 1 through 3, culminating in the excellent “Blunder,” segues into the even better “Forget Yourself,” a stunning slow-burner in the tradition of “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver” and “Trem Two” that reminded me of that commencement talk by David Foster Wallace, both for what it said and for what happened after that.
But, the truth is, there’s not a weak track on this album.
Amazing that even after 30 years, we can listen to a new Mission of Burma lp; that even after 30 years, it would stand tall with their very best; that even after 30 years, we’d need it more than ever.

ole-878For me, the sublime moment on the new Mission of Burma lp, “The Sound, The Speed, The Light,” comes when the fury that builds over tracks 1 through 3, culminating in the excellent “Blunder,” segues into the even better “Forget Yourself,” a stunning slow-burner in the tradition of “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver” and “Trem Two” that reminded me of that commencement talk by David Foster Wallace, both for what it said and for what happened after that.

But the truth is, there’s not a weak track on this album.

Amazing that even after 30 years, we can listen to a new Mission of Burma lp; that even after 30 years, it would stand tall with their very best; that even after 30 years, we’d need it more than ever.

Last Friday, February 20, Rick Harte of the legendary Ace of Hearts record label visited the WZBC studios to talk with James, host of friday-morning “Kick out the James.” The topics of conversation ranged from Rick’s earliest recordings of the Neighborhoods, Mission of Burma, and many other Boston greats to his most recent work with the London-based Heat From a Dead Star. If you missed this fantastic interview, or caught it live but to want listen again, you can find an audio-archived version at James’ radio interview page.

And, speaking of the Neighborhoods, check this one out …