Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Guest Post! Rob from Waxeater Delivers His Favorites of 2011

(l-r. Rob, Elliott, Red Dog)

Waxeater are my boys, and some of the HiFi's most crucial of band bros. Their guitarist/singer, Rob Montage, is a HiFi pal from the days of yore (specifically, the yore days of June 2008), back when he played bass in Tremendous Fucking and we introduced ourselves to them by taking them to Stars Cabaret in Manitowoc, WI, North East WI's most...something...strip club. (The TremFu song "Covered in Bruises" was named as a direct result of that night, and that's just one of the stories the Wizard missed out on by reading in the van instead of buying $2 lap dance raffle tickets and $16 pint glasses of straight gin.)

Rob needed a public outlet for his Best of 2011 list and asked me if my dozen readers could be it. Why would i refuse? It's not like i was gonna get to letter C in the Great Record Excavation tonight (tomorrow, maybe?), and like any blog worth its SEO salt, my aim is to get my readers THE MOST CHOICE AND VIRAL WEB CONTENT. But i don't have that, so here's Rob's picks instead.

By the way, if you haven't listened to Waxeater yet, don't be a douche. You're missing out.

Music in 2011: The Year I Slept on Everything

I’m not kidding. I think I got one album right when it came out. I am usually a more devout music fan than this...but there was something weird about this year. Everyone I knew was getting knew records weekly and loving the shit out of them; meanwhile, nothing was clicking with me. Eventually I stumbled ass-backwards into some really quality stuff, but it sure felt like a long time coming. Here’s what I listened to in my admittedly narrow headphones:

THE BEST (in Alphabetical Order):

EPs: Future of the Left – “Polymers are Forever”/WHORES – “Ruiner”/Big Business – “Quadruple Single”

I’m certainly not giving a whole spot to three individual records that only total like 38 minutes between them. However, these dudes got very heavy rotation. I predicted last year that I would love the new FOTL and I was not let down. It took me a couple spins (like all their stuff does) but it wasn’t long before I was all SWEPT BACK JOE PESCI’S HAIR. The WHORES record came out, like, two weeks ago but fuck it that is some POWERFUL dolt-rock (being a genre I came up with to describe heavy, simple, yet awesome jams in the vein of early Helmet). Speaking of, these guys just sound like early Helmet, which rules since modern Helmet has exactly 0% John Stanier and Paige Hamilton looks like he is in a 24/7 Daniel Tosh lookalike contest. Also, their records are bad now. As for Big Biz, this EP was just a welcome return to form after the incredibly dire “Mind the Drift”. And speaking of dolt rock: guns are better than everything else.

Joe Lally – “Why Should I Get Used to It”

My god, this is the worst victim of my sleeping on it. It came out in March and I didn’t find out about it until November. Whoops...not like this guy was in one of the most influential bands in independent music. This for me, like Big Biz, was a welcome return to form. I found his last one, “Nothing is Underrated,” to be a snooze, especially after his baller debut record. I guess moving to Italy helped him discover the secret to me liking it: speed it the hell up.

My Disco – “Little Joy”

I’m fairly certain this came out at the beginning of January in the states, so it qualifies. I loved their last album and was stoked for this but boy is it different. It has the same repetitive/droney/stoney vibe, but there is just something weird and tinny about the drum he’s hitting Tabla’s Danny Carey style. I wasn’t feeling it at first and then it was eleven minutes later and the song was still on and I wanted to buy a bigger knife. I wish these guys would stop touring the states with Young Widows so someone would actually come to their shows and experience how awesome they are.

New Brutalism – “Personal Record”

These jerks. They recorded this TWO YEARS AGO as one of a double LP (in a custom aluminum box, natch) for their friend’s wedding. What a dick move! I mean, granted I’ve had the album for two years but they finally released it publicly. If you’ve heard one Brut song you’ve heard them all (as I have) and that is sort of what makes them brilliant.

Police Teeth – “Awesomer than the Devil”

This record is a goddmaned beast. Catchy as all hell, yes: but what really gets me about these guys every time is the lyrics. They are cynical about exactly the same stuff I am which makes me want to marry them. Especially Richy, because he gets the drunkest.

True Widow – “As High As the Highest Heavens and from the Center to the Circumference of the Earth”

There’s no way that fits on the spine of the CD, right? Maybe that’s the trick...force their label into getting vinyl. Realllll clever, guys. This band is great. It actually makes me wish I lived near my parents in Dallas. I don’t know really what to call it...slow-core? Too distored. Shoegaze? Not enough pedals. These guys do a slow burn very very well. I get hints of late period Swans, cool bands with paper-thin voiced girl singers and even a little Radiohead at times but louder and with some stones. This is some perfect cold weather walking around jams.

Wugazi – “13 Chambers”

I almost said fuck this on pretentious concept/cleverness alone. I am SO GLADD (puns!) I didn’t! Is there an original note on the record? No. Did they recontextualize two musical canons with gusto? I think so. This might have gotten the most rotation all year.

My Friends – Various Albums

I know there are supports of music I make but goddamnit some of my friends make me look like a stone cold asshole when they pick up an instrument. This was a banner year for records by my tight bros from way back when. The following are awesome bands I have the privilege to call friends who put out tight shit this year (in the order I could remember): Trophy Wives, Cartographer, Memory Map, Jabberjosh, Powerlifter, Girlfight, IfIHadAHiFi, The Men, and Humans.


Das Racist – “Relax”

This was a tough choice for me. Honestly I’m giving them this not just for "Relax," which is a great but imperfect record, but for their entire catalog thus far. These guys give me a serious case of QOTSA disease (wherein I just love everything they do. it’s a symptom of my Mcluskyim, if you feel me.) I just love what they do. I’m a sucker for literate rap and these jokers make me laugh, and make me think...just like John Frink do. Sorry, but I will be an apologist for these guys for at least two more records.


Hail Mary Mallon – “Are You Gonna Eat That?”

I love Aesop Rock but something about his collabo album with Rob Sonic just didn’t do much for me. Maybe it was the fact that Aes’ vox sounded like they were coming out of a garbage bag. Dude spits like 4596853847 words per verse, I’d love to hear a couple.

Iceage – “New Brigade”

So hypey. So so hypey. I gave it an honest 5 spins and I still can’t tell you if I’m feeling it or I hate it. Faint praise if I’ve ever heard it.

Fucked Up – “David Comes to Life”

Take a fucking pill, guys. This album is gruelingly long. Aaron made me turn it off in the van because I guess 74 straight minutes of this band is enough to break ever Red Dawg. Honestly there’s nothing wrong with it, there’s just too damned much of it. And why the hell is everyone freaking out about this thing? It sounds JUST like their last album, if not less catchy.

Obits – “Moody, Standard, and Poor”

Another honest five spin listen. I don’t think it’s totally my bag but I wanted to try because everyone my age and older I know loves it. There’s just something about the guitar tone that’s too surfy for my tastes. Oh well...I still like duder’s other bands and at least he’s still out there doing it and not making beats for Robyn or some shit.


“Ain’t it About Time Award” (make a new record already): this is a tie between Part Chimp and A Place to Bury Strangers. You are two of my favorite contemporary bands...time to shit out a new one, it’s been like three years. (and Part Chimp, less like thriller, more like I am come, kthnx)

“Thought it would rule, sucked a bag of dicks: The Award” (self explanatory): another tie! This time between Arctic Monkeys (who I genuinely enjoyed) and TV on the Radio. AM: I should have known from that fucking title. “suck it and see”? more like “see, it sucks” AMIRITE. And TVOTR: booooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnng.

“Best Old Find Award”: a tie! This time between Helmet and Superconductor. Oh the early 90’s...why did I have to be 7-10 during you? I missed so much dolt rock. Also, what the fuck happened to Helmet? Was it the sweater vests? As for Superconductor, they
taught me a valuable lesson: A.C. Newman wrote a song called “Ride the Big Penis.”

“Bummer of the Summer Award” (worst music news of the year): Bloomington legends The Coke Dares look to be finally finished, what with their members being spread in Portland, Blooms and North Carolina. Funniest live band of all time (intentional category. Non-intentional winner: KISS). We’ll always have Fourth of July.

“Hummer of the Summer Award” (best music news of the year): Elliott survived.


- Austin: thanks everyone in Texas for your support during Waxeater’s ordeal! Especially Kelly, Dani, and Joe.
- Police Teeth: could you have been funner tourmates?
- Vanne Frank: thank you for not killing us this year
- Everyone that plays in a band I’m in: Ell-bo, Red Dawg, Joshy, Rachey, Rinne-Rinne,
Baby Drew, G, and last but least, Joey Haircut
- Milwaukee: still the best host city in America
- America’s 1%er Motorcycle Clubs: for not stabbing me...yet.
- Stroh’s Beer: for always making it easy to see who stole your hooch at a party
- Racist Husker Du: for being the funniest bit I’ve ever come up with on stage

- Austin: really? Thanks a lot GOD. Is this because we made fun of the thumb drive
- Police Teeth: fuck it, I’m saying it. I’m going to miss Frenchie.
- Vanne Frank: dude. No A/C and we spent five days in Austin in july. Youz a bitch.
- Tyler, the Creator: that shit was unlistenable, dude.
- The one guy who was a dick to Waxeater about canceling this summer: that’ll
come back on you, just wait.
- Magic the Gathering: for plunging me back into irrevocable nerdiness. Also, it’s a money-pit.

Ok, now everyone comment and congratulate me on a job...done.



  1. Rob, True Widow describes their music as "stonegaze." You were on the right track. Maybe they'll be playing a show while you're in town. Bad news, dude. Part Chimp is breaking up. Chunklet put out a split with them and Torche, and they did a short E. Coast stint that would be their last.

  2. Guns is maybe the best Big Business song. EVER.

  3. On. The. Fucking. Ball.

    My Indiana hero.


  4. It's amazing how similar our tastes are. I'd love to invite you to check out and hit me up Rob!!

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