By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Martin: Record Hop and Radiant*--every time I see either band I'm blown away. Record Hop's Ashley Cromeens is Dallas' PJ Harvey.
Sutlief: Little Grizzly's last show at Rubber Gloves was the perfect ending to one of my favorite local bands--a sweaty, sad affair attended by fans from down the street and across the country.
Most Overrated Album
Sutlief: Morrissey, You Are the Quarry. Previews called the album the new Your Arsenal, a throwback to Moz's day of rough-and-tumble glam, and the first single, "Irish Blood, English Heart," reinforced that. But what I got instead was a handful of great songs ("The World Is Full of Crashing Bores," "First of the Gang to Die") and a bunch of forgettable filler.
Machkovech: The Faint, Wet From Birth. For a band that became more experimental and crazy with each new-wave release, this tepid, simplified effort was a real let-down.
Hepola: TV on the Radio, Desperate Youths, Blood Thirsty Babes. I just don't get it. I really don't.
Martin: Los Lonely Boys, Los Lonely Boys. After all the hype, I finally heard that asinine single "Heaven" and nearly had to pull the car over I was so queasy. Now LLB been nominated for Grammys? Go fucking fish.
In the spirit of a New Year, is there anything you wrote this year that you regret?
Hepola: I was so disappointed by Wilco's A Ghost Is Born that I almost felt offended. Eleven minutes of white noise? Fuck you, too, Jeff. But seeing the band at the Granada totally changed my perspective. It's still not my favorite album, but like a special-needs child, I love it for what it is.
Wood: Though I wish it weren't so, Le Tigre's This Island is padded with more filler than I originally thought. Also, its pop moments aren't pop enough, and its punk moments aren't punk enough.
Is there anything unpopular that you wrote this year that you don't regret?
Machkovech: The only way I cope with my job is assuming I've never written anything unpopular.
Martin: Blues Explosion's Damage sucked ass and had no focus whatsoever.
Wood: A positive review of the Ashlee Simpson CD. Autobiography is catchy and emotional and dynamic and fun and sounds great. Who gives a shit if robots made it?
Hepola:I love you all. Oh, and that Tom Waits album? Baaad.