Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Lord Rutledge Awards 2016

It's New Year's Eve, and you know what that means! I am happy to present my sixth annual Lord Rutledge Awards! 2016 was, for a lot of people, a crappy year. But it wasn't all bad. In the world of punk, garage, power pop, and rock n' roll music, it was a damn fine year. And at the rate we're going, the new year looks to be even better! I will now salute some of the bands, individuals, and labels that brought exceptional music into the world in 2016.

Album of the Year:
Radio Days- Back In The Day (Surfin' Ki Records)
You can read my full list of top 20 albums here.

Song of the Year:
Pale Lips- "Mary-Lou Sniffin' Glue"
Song of the year - and probably song of the freakin' decade

EP of the Year:
Fashionism- Subculture Suicide (Dirt Cult Records)
Fingers crossed for a full-length in 2017! Runner-ups: Slow Faction- This Machine Kills Fascists, Lovesores- Rock and Roll Animal, Ergs- Goddamn Death Dedication.  

Single of the Year:
The Crazy Squeeze- "To The Lonely Ones" b/w "Red Rosie"(Pure Punk Records)
There was plenty of competition with the likes of Maniac, Aerosol Burns, The Gaggers, TV Crime, and The Breakdowns also turning out excellent singles. But this long-delayed return of The Crazy Squeeze was well worth the wait. The world can never have too many anthems. 
Best New Band:
Murph and the Gazorpos
Murph is Charles Murphy (Red Cords, Planet Jazz) doing heart-on-sleeve power pop with lo-fi/garage production. A must-hear for fans of King Louie and Gentleman Jesse. Honorable mention for this award goes out to Private Interests and Sore Points.   

Album of the Year (Masters Class):
Teenage Fanclub - Here (Merge Records)
This award goes to the best album released by a band that's 25 years or more into its existence. Here is TFC's best album in nearly two decades - and proof that great guitar pop bands are capable of aging like fine wine.

Solo Artist of the Year:
Nick Piunti
Even the most extraordinarily talented solo artists are only as strong as their backing bands. So Andy Reed, Donny Brown, and Ryan Allen (who almost took this award himself!) must be commended here as well. Second runner-up: a guy named Bob Mould. 

Split of the Year:
Pagans/The Guillotines - Split EP (Just 4 Fun Records)
"Hopped Up", in my humble opinion, is up there with some of the strongest Pagans 7" tracks from back in the day. The Guillotines feature Robert Conn (ex Pagans, The Defnics) on guitar and vocals and play real deal old school punk rock n' roll. One of 2016's most essential 7" releases!

Compilation of the Year: Various Artists: The Wild Angels (Girlsville)
Released for International Cassette Day, this 10-song comp from Girlsville features a great mix of heavy-hitters (Black Time, Mr. Airplane Man), up-and-comers (City Slang, Murph and the Gazorpos), and gone-but-not-forgotten garage greats (Purple Wizard, The Prissteens) - plus a previously unreleased Aislers Set cover from The Primitives! A great showcase for one of the best labels going.  

Best Live Album:
Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band - Live At Grumpy's (Rum Bar/ADD Records)
This is a new category this year since I cannot recall ever enjoying a live album in my adult life. But there's always a first time for everything. Live At Grumpy's will make you want to go see Nato Coles & The Blue Diamond Band. And if you've already seen the band, it will surely bring back fond memories. Features THE definitive version of "An Honorable Man".

Best Cover Song:
The Dahlmanns - "Do You Want Crying"
I love that The Dahlmanns frequently include cover tunes on their releases. They always give a song that unique Dahlmanns touch. "Do You Want Crying" is a largely overlooked track from the second Katrina and the Waves album. I'm still undecided which version is better - they're both great!

Vault Treasure of the Year:
The Prissteens - Demos and Rarities (Girlsville)
Here's a second mention for Girlsville! Demos and Rarities packages tracks The Prissteens demoed for what would have been their second LP with the A-sides from their long out-of-print early singles. Essential stuff from a band that massively influenced the intersection of punk, garage, and girl group pop that flourishes today.

Best Singles Collection:
Stiletto Boys - When Wolves Emerge (The 1996-1998 Studio Sessions) (Zodiac Killer Records)
All the earliest, rawest stuff from one of the greatest punk rock bands ever!

Best Album of Late 2015:
The Bloodtypes - Pull The Plug 
There always seems to be that one album that comes out so late in the year that it misses the cut for my year-end top ten list - although it totally would have made the list if I'd heard it just a little sooner. And, then of course, it doesn't qualify for the following year's list. It's not right that such a record would fall between the cracks like that! So let us now celebrate the remarkable second album from The Bloodtypes, which would easily make a revised list of my top ten albums of 2015!   

Best Release I Did Not Review in 2016:
Sheer Mag-  III
Sometimes when bands are heavily acclaimed by a large number of publications much bigger and better than mine, I see no point in adding my two cents. That said, I think Sheer Mag is one of the best bands on the planet. For once, the critics are right! If you've been living under a rock and aren't aware of the band's three singles, track them down by all means. 

Label of the Year:  
Surfin' Ki Records
Italy's Surfin' Ki has been one of the best labels going for many years now, and it finally takes the hardware in 2016. The label was responsible for my #1 (Back In The Day by Radio Days) and #19 (You Ain't Gonna Rock And Roll No More by Juvie) albums of 2016, plus a great new Shanghais EP and the recently-released smokin' debut album from So What. And that's only a portion of what Surfin' Ki released this year!

Most Welcome Digital Reboot:
Midnite Snaxxx - self titled 
I'd been wishing upon a star for a digital release of this album since it was released back in 2012. I finally got it! 

The F & L Championship Belt:
The Connection 
The championship belt is awarded annually to my current favorite band. The Connection retains the title from last year - and will have to battle the likes of The Cheap Cassettes and Something Fierce to make it three in a row in 2017!

I hope this led some of you to discovering something cool! Thanks to all of you for taking the time to stop by. Have a safe and happy new year! 


Archive of Lord Rutledge Awards:

1 comment:

mickfletcher said...

in the words of abba, thank you for the music, josh

here's to the thus far unheard classics that 2017 will bring