Eric Davidson

Top Six of the Year

Well, since losing my job, I’m too broke to hit every show and/or go buy lots of stuff, and I find downloading incredibly impersonal and 1930s sci-fi dystopian creepy. Hence, I’m out of whatever loops may exist in the indie world. So, in an attempt to turn that personal pity party into a social commentary, I will mimic the downsizing zeitgeist of our times and reduce my usual hard-to-trim-down Top 20 list to a more practical Top Six, or Seven, and in no particular order. Man, everything’s so mixed-up these days, which is kind of exciting...

Cee Lo Green
“Fuck You!”

Aside from it being a Herculian task to come up with a production handshake that grabs/spans generations, it’s just a monstrously catchy tune, so refreshing to hear in tough times. And it reinvigorated the simple strength in a good ol’ smile.

Sex Church

Their Hozac 7-inch (“209” b/w “Paralyze”) makes like the Weirdos in slow-mo; the Convulsive mini-LP (Six Songs by Sex Church) was more zippy Cheater Slicks. Either way, it bodes well if they can avoid the fate of seemingly every other modern guitar band and not implode under blog-fueled directives to immediately change the sound they’ve yet to perfect.

On the Bowery (1956)
directed by Lionel Rogosin

Finally showing again in a beautiful print, On the Bowery is not just more grist for the “Man, Manhattan was so much cooler when it was shitty” mill, but a truly unique flick experience, a kind of documentary poem about drifters in that famously dour ’hood in all it’s foreshadowing dying industrial-era glory. Populated by real bums, including the lead character whose amazing performance got him offers from swells at NYC parties, which freaked him out and had him walking off drunk into the train-hopping horizon, never to be seen again. Luckily, this film will put back into circulation. Expect a Criterion DVD any day now.

Nightmare Alley
by William Lindsay Gresham
NYRB Classics

A long lost, but not forgotten (as it was reprinted this year), classic of gutter-guginol, this 1946 novel follows a delusional drunk carny through his “dreams” of bilking sad millionaires via slight-of-hand spiritualism, only to find his wallet, women, and mind draining twice as fast.

Gibson Bros.
Build a Raft
Ron House
Blind Boy in the Back Seat
Columbus Discount

Classics of Columbus curmudgeon comedy, already covered in the Best Reissues section. I’ll just add that this lifer has had the original cassettes of both of these, but these reissues —especially the Gibson Bros—add amazing stuff I hadn’t heard, and packaged them all hefty-like.

Last Laugh Records

Brooklyn mini-imprint that in the last year has reissued some of the nastiest obscuro first-era punk 7-inch singles and actually tracks down the bands, getting as-close-to-possible original masters and artwork. Had they simply made “Bummer Bitch” available again for green ears to be turned black, they would deserve a Kennedy Center Honors soiree, complete with Pabst and stained rented tuxes.