Michael P. O’Shaughnessy

Top 10 Albums

Moon Duo

Put this on repeat on a Sunday morning when you’re sweeping up the cat hair. Next thing you know, it’s Tuesday and you’ve de facto quit your job, friended up a group of travelers, joined the bodhrán troupe, and learned how to say “please feed me” in Gaelic.

Public Strain

Well, if the Swans record wasn’t goth enough, and the Kisses album didn’t satisfy your “dark clothes on the dancefloor” vibe, Women’s Public Strain is the long-player you should put on when its time to drink alone, scratch evil pictures in to the wall, and pray to Satan.

Ty Segall

I saw Segall a few years ago opening for Thee Oh Sees—alone, sitting at half a drum kit blasting on a guitar and howling Lennon-style into a microphone. I vowed to myself that I’d follow him closer than I promised my 12-year-old self I’d follow Pearl Jam. He sounds just as crazy as he did live here, except I can re-cue the needle as many times as I want.

My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky
Young God

Describing Swans to a young goth relative, I described them as “like Sword Heaven but more song-based.” He knew what I meant right away. Long have Swans been a relevant point of reference for those producing ultra-tragedy pain sludge, though Michael Gira and his gang haven’t had a current entry in the catalogue since he pronounced them dead in ’97. Gira asked for alms from fans in a reverse funding plan to produce My Father and they got their money’s worth. This is everything Swans was—elegant, mean, cold, and humongous—plus this is brand new. It gives me a smug feeling, the way a preacher would feel just before Armageddon.

The Fresh & Onlys
Play It Strange
In the Red

The Fresh & Onlys, along with the rest of the pizza punkers cabal in San Fran, must have some sort of secret manual from the future that they consult when it’s time to write a new album. Maybe there’s a magic herb that only grows in California—I can’t figure it out and I prefer willful ignorance. These dudes just keep nailing it; every album of hazy, pop-tinged psych (or is it psych-tinged pop?) is all-killer no-filler, and I hope that never stops. I almost skipped this one entirely because I still have last year’s Fresh & Onlys songs stuck in my head half the time anyway. If that’s cheesy, I don’t care. Maybe I’m the one that ends up writing that hitmaking manual in the future.

Beach House
Teen Dream
Sub Pop

One of those records that got played so much that I need to put it down for a while. So many memories got stamped down to “Zebra” and “Silver Soul” that instead of trying to find out the real lyrics, I just decided to make up my own so that the songs talk about what I was doing when I listened to them. A huge leap, musically, from the self-titled debut and even Devotion, Teen Dream will be a classic the way Bookends is.

Black Tambourine
Black Tambourine

Technically this is a reissue, but there are six new songs on it, so it’s like one-third new stuff. Whatever—I missed the band the first time around, and it’s uncanny how, one, they made the new stuff sound so much like the old stuff and, two, I didn’t know that the one girl went on to form the Heartworms. Super drums and massive reverb make this record/compilation thing the logical conclusion when you get sick of listening to the Jesus and Mary Chain.

Wild Nothing
Captured Tracks

My pal Scotty, who used to book the biggest independent music fest in the Midwest (the one where Pat from the Black Keys double-half-nelson-suplexed two of the guys from the Locust into a pile of recycling), turned me on to this out of the blue. He’s never steered me wrong before, so I knew it would at least be okay. I was wrong, because the worst song on this record is on par with anything off of Morrissey’s first solo record. At their best, Wild Nothing will replace the Pains of Being Pure at Heart as my go-to mopey Monday morning soundtrack.

The Unholy Two
$$kum of the Earth
Columbus Discount

Full disclosure: I’m Bo Davis’ understudy for live shows when he’s got paternal obligations, and I have also been neck deep in CDR’s incestuous side-project pool for long enough to lose track of how good some of the music is. If Nevermind killed hair metal, $$kum of the Earth is the evil villain that will smite everything else. Dive into the mass grave of feedback and you might just poke the eye in the apex of the illuminati pyramid.

The Heart of the Nightlife
This Is Music

Raving never sounded so smooth. I can’t believe I’m putting a dance album as my #1, but I seriously can’t get the blend of early-80s New Zealand crooning and Chicago house drum-machine rhythms out of my head. And there are slow songs too.

Honorable Mentions

White Dress, White Dress EP (self-released)

Phantom Payn Days, Phantom Payn Daze (De Stijl)

Tyvek, Nothing Fits (In the Red)

Guinea Worms, Sorcererers of Madness (4rd Year in a Row!) (Columbus Discount)

Sword Heaven, Gone (Load)