First Sniff

Last year I made it clear that my Top Ten list for the year’s best records was definitely not the best. It wasn’t the best. It was just my favorites.

This year, I am scaling it down to my Top Five for the sake of space. There are far too many important things going on in the world to dedicate and entire 900 word column to the best TEN records of the year. After all –

I have people to offend and bands to book.

Responses to your responses…

Most of you see my point very clearly on the accidental death of Sarah Channick. I was impressed by the amount of e-mails that I got. It reminds me that people are really sensitive and caring about issues that aren’t directly associated with themselves. Aside from one of you – whom I won’t name but should so that people could lynch your racist ass – your responses were thoughtful and aligned with the most rational of thoughts: that an accident is an accident. And it should be left at that.

Here’s to hoping that this Holiday Season brings the Channick family some time to reflect upon the years that they did get to spend with her – and to realize that her memory will be preserved by the love that she shared with the people she loved the most. Not by a lawsuit.

Just so you know…

I have started booking tours for The Living Blue amongst other bands. It’s not an easy thing – this agent life. My girlfriend told me that I was talking about it in my sleep. Something to the effect of, “I can’t package that just yet. It just doesn’t make sense financially.” Okay – I need help. I know. But here is why I mention it. I was scoping out Nashville for the boys and I was close with confirming a hold at the Exit/In club. It all looked great until I got an e-mail from the buyer that said this: “Can’t do that date – gotta go with Ron Jeremy that night – any others that will work?”

That’s right my friends. Our boys got bumped for The Hedgehog himself. Evidently, the people in Nashville would rather be next to the still-banging away King of Porn than listen to The Living Blue. Word has it that he could have shown up at Highdive to hang out too. All 15″ of him. My friend makes a good point. What are you gonna say to the guy anyway? “Uh. You gotta huge penis, dude. You make me look like a child.”

Top 5

Here ya go. For real. These were my favorites this year. And yes, I am biased. All of them were either bands I book or bands that I brought through, save for one. Nonetheless, I love these records and you should all go to or stop in at Exile on Main St. and pick them up very soon.

5. Shipwreck – Origin (Independent)

This is a band that has truly come into its own over the last year. The record has been out for almost a half a year but it just gets better with every listen. Now they are hitting the road more and are becoming a favorite amongst local hipsters alongside The Beauty Shop, Headlights and Lorenzo Goetz. They play Friday Dec. 16 with Mad Science Fair at The Brass Rail. That band also put out an amazing record this year. Mike Clayton has never recorded a bad tune in his life.

4. Common – Be (Geffen)

I am not a hip-hop head. That being said – this album defies stereotype. It’s not for hip-hop kids. It’s for people who simply love music that is REAL music. Common always delivers in my book. His absence was the reason that I gave up my Kanye ticket.

3.The Living Blue – Fire, Blood, Water (Minty Fresh)

Another album. Another fireball. These kids bring the heat and they know it. You know it. They play this Saturday at Canopy Club at 10 p.m. If you haven’t seen them – don’t be a fool. As I am typing this they are having dinner in NYC with MTV2. Just sayin’.

2. Sufjan Stevens – Illinois

Best live show of the year. Best concept of the year (OK, we’re biased). Every song on it bleeds truth and simplicity. All the while, it’s wrapped up in a Prog package and delivered to us in an Elliot Smith box. Just simply beautiful. It seems he is not capable of writing bad songs.

1. Skeletons and The Girl-Faced Boys – “Git”

Once again. Three years straight. Matt Mehlan is potentially the best musician in the world as far as I am concerned. Same deal as last year – and most likely next year as well. Go to and buy the album. If you don’t love it after five listens, I’ll buy it from you without question. His albums drip with honesty and they are not easy to understand. Once you get it though – it’s like nothing you’ve ever heard.

Seth Fein is from Urbana. When he isn’t writing he runs a booking agency called Nicodemus and runs a production company called Urbana Booking Co. He feels it’s safe at this point for you to trust him on what good music is. Like Ambitious Pie Party put out an amazing debut this year too. Buy that one also. He can be reached at

About The Author

Related Posts