Michael P. O’Shaughnessy

Top 10 Albums

Jarvis Cocker
Further Complications
Rough Trade

Oh Jarvis, thank you for not turning into Morrissey.

Blues Control
Local Flavor

There are two things wrong with this band’s name: it’s not blues and it’s out of control. No complaints here, though, as I don’s miss either of those two qualities. I absolutely did not expect it to be a Kraut-y freakout for the last three songs; I had to keep checking to make sure I was listening to the same record. What a great surprise!

Atlas Sound

I was skeptical of the merit of Bradford Cox’s newest record when I heard the single, “Walkabout,” which is based around a sample from the Dovers’ gleaming ’60s garage nugget “What Am I Gonna Do?” But I bought the record anyway. Cox isn’t doing anything exactly new as far as Atlas Sound’s sound goes, but it’s a proven formula for good reason. The collaboration with Laetitia Sadier, “Quick Canal,” works so well that she should be a permanent member.

Never Forgive
Rad Key

Work is eviscerating punch rock that grew out of the aural rubble from Columbus’ 16 Bitch Pile-Up and So-Cal’s High Castle. Their poppier pals in Piles also conjoined the midwest and left coast, but ended up with an aggressive primitive synth crunch. This split-LP is so under the radar it’s a stealth bomber: over your head and totally destructive.

Thee Oh Sees
In the Red

What best-of list from the past few years would be complete without an entry from some John Dwyer project? This is actually one of three 2009 releases from Thee Oh Sees, the lo-fi bedroom-style reissue Zork’s Tape Bruise and the latest entry, Dog Poison, being the others. Help is the strongest of the three and more than just another notch on the prolific bedpost for The Oh Sees, as it will blast your face right off from the rip.

Mika Miko
We Be Xuxa
Post Present Medium

It’s punk—total punk. Probably the best total-punk record since the Bikini Kill EP came out 18 years ago.

Eat Skull
Wild and Inside

I picked up Wild and Inside after listening to Hole Class (Rob Enbom from Eat Skull and Beth Murphy of Times New Viking) and thinking it’d be along the same fractured static-pop lines. It was close enough, though much more song-oriented, still weird, fuzzy and loud.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

While most of us at Agit Reader can agree upon the merits of the shoegaze genre (here’s proof), not everyone agrees that a rehash can really be as mysterious or mind-blowing as the original. The Pains are young and new and injecting vitality into an almost-vintage sound that never really burned out or faded away. I slept on this because I thought the cover looked like Urban Outfitters kitsch, but I came around as soon as I heard the dreamy, expertly crafted songs coming over the PA at the record store and thought it was a My Bloody Valentine rarities bootleg (in the best way, really).

The Fresh & Onlys
Grey-Eyed Girls

Thankfully, I haven’t gotten bored with most of 2009’s music, especially Grey-Eyed Girls by San Francisco’s Fresh & Onlys. The more I listen to it, the more the lyrics become clear and completely suitable to the shambly, jangly, reverby super pop; it’s riddled with slang and made-up words that make total sense in context to the music. That they’re from the left coast is just another reason to like them.

Kurt Vile
Childish Prodigy

Kurt Vile filled out his ideas from the first few releases and filed down the rough edges to hand over this already classic (at least to me) long-player to Matador. I haven’t even bothered to put it on the shelf yet, as it’s the current go-to for when I’m bored with every other record I have.