I have to keep my knees in shape to support all of the love I have for the music we play at Bubbles in the Think Tank.
I don’t fall in love easy, but, when I do, it’s in a big way. Â Like head over heels, I don’t know where I’m at, not sure if I can stand up kind of ways.
Luckily, I’ve got you, the listener, always there to keep me from falling down and to encourage me loving more. Â And for providing so many of the listener comments about the music.
And make that double lucky to have the Ever Embiggening Staff to make my task here just a little bit easier. Â Special thanks for extra help from Ambassador Feelgood Scott Cornish, Associate Producer and Valet (when Chandler isn’t using him) Fred Boak, and Titular Head of Research Marshall Frederick Stockwell Junior.
So let’s get this thing underway. Â I give you the B’s Knees, Belinda’s favorites from 2012, starting with the archive.
Actually, before the list begins, I just have to point out someone who isn’t on this list.
Ray Mason. Â Ray didn’t release a new album this year, yet he is featured in the B’s Knees broadcast 3 times from some of my favorite compsÂ andÂ he recommended one of the other musicians send his cdÂ and he inspiredÂ The Petite 7 Inch Record. Â That takes someone special. Â That takes Ray Mason.
During the Bâ€™s Knees broadcast, I played FOUR tunes from this incredible compilation.Â I could have just as easily played 10.Â Or the whole dang thing.
Charlie Chesterman is a Boston pop-punk songwriting icon.Â Whilst an unaware teenager, I was lucky enough to see Scruffy the Cat at the Jockey Club in Newport, KY back in the mid 80s, a show that stayed with me.Â Little did I know that so many years later, I would be captivated by a tribute to their vocalist/guitar player/co-songwriter on a release featuring so many current Boston area acts that Iâ€™m blessed to orbit.Â Even if you donâ€™t know a thing about Charlie Chesterman, this collection will drop you into a whole world of goodness and help fund Charlieâ€™s battle against cancer.
Really.Â Do it.
“Back when Charlie was recording regularly, his albums were always on my “best of” for the year … what a fucking great talent, one of the great Boston area songwriters”
Ok.Â So you totally expect for me to put anything Chandler Travis releases on any list I make.Â I understand that.Â But this time itâ€™s different.Â Really.
Stripped down from the Philharmonic and embiggened beyond the solo work on â€œAfter She Leftâ€ (Chandlerâ€™s most swoon-worthy release ever, and thatâ€™s saying something), I found these lil Bâ€™s knees weakened in the best of ways.Â When I listen, I feel like Iâ€™m in another time, another place.Â And theyâ€™re the only time and place I ever want to be in.
“Camel, Passing” is one of my favorite songs all year, makes me so happy every time I hear it.
“OOh my Little Things !!!! I always imagine some mysterious gnomes in the deep forest in medieval times……”
No, reallyâ€¦ both Chandler Travis releases are scrumptious!
A man not content to produce just one release in 2012 that makes my breathing change, this record is my favorite loud record of the year.Â The sound of Rikki Bates viborates through my core, the louder the better.Â And you can just imagine what that does to Chandlerâ€™s bass and me.Â As for â€œSteve Woo Wooâ€ Wood, he does his woo woo thing.Â And Dintyâ€¦might as well save him for the listener comment below.
Please do this again, Chandler.Â Please.
“I like when Dinty goes ‘HRTDTBBBLGH !!!!!'”
A much-anticipated release in my little sliver of the universe, I was so happy to finally get this EP on the turntable that I forgot everything else I needed to do that day.Â And these four songs had me feeling so much that I had to listen again immediately.Â His voice warms me and his songs fan something in me I forget is there sometimes.Â I am ready to listen again.
Whodathunk a band that was supposed to be a one-off could make a second record all about those toys my parents wouldnâ€™t let me order out of the back of comic books?Â Each song is clearly inspired by the toy it tells of, and for that I am humbled.
When Deke Dickerson handed this disc to me, I simply had no idea.Â I had to text him I was so taken with it.Â And so it took our listeners, too.
Expecting a straight ahead Link Wray tribute (and who wouldnâ€™t already be pleased by that), what I got instead was some of Deke at his finest, not just covering Link tunes but really paying tribute.Â And I thought I loved the Go-Nutsâ€¦
â€œRather ribald! What would Roy Head, the turbulent Texan say??â€
How this disc has not been on multitudes of Bubbles in the Think TankÂ episodes eludes me.Â Damn me for not just writing a theme around a tune on it.
Itâ€™s a perfect blend of enthusiasm and silliness with an appreciation of the primate for good measure.Â And letâ€™s not forget that our very own Sweet Joe Silver, Churlman of the Board, NYC office, has a featured electric tenor uke solo on this release.Â As though there could be more to love about it.
“Well I gotta buy that dang thing.”
Bubbles in the Think Tank listener, Kingsley Flood guitarist and all around good guy George Hall gave me this disc last year with the passing mention that there wouldnâ€™t be anything on it to play for the show.Â Undeterred, I kept it in the show back, still shrink-wrapped, for months until one night I didnâ€™t know what the end song would be.Â I saw the title â€œI Donâ€™t Wanna Go Homeâ€ and stuck it in the CD player.Â I was up all night after that.
“I like the horn’s on this one.”
The men from Greenpoint proved who was mas macho when they made an EP during their last tour of Spain faster than you can say “Speedy Gonzales”, including this cancion which is a cover of a one hit wonder by Walter Egan and the second greatest song about magnets ever written.
“This is the best Spanish language cover of a Walter Egan song that I’ve ever heard…”
When Big Al Anderson tells someone (his bandmates? his fans?) “Don’t be pussies” before one of the cuts here, well you’d best pay attention and hang on for the ride. Marshall Frederick Stockwell himself declared this album a “great, solid record”, and he’s right. Big Al doesn’t have to work this hard anymore, but he does. The least you can do is thank the man.
What a lovely concept.Â Two bands each doing two songs by one anotherâ€¦a simple song swap on an EP.Â Â It was Golden Bloomâ€™s version of The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Libraryâ€™s â€œAmyleeâ€ that stopped me in my tracks one day during a random shuffle. Heavenly to me in so many ways.
Imagine my delight to find out that the first cover in Marshall Crenshawâ€™s new 2 year subscription EP series would be The Moveâ€™s â€œNo Time.â€Â And then this beautiful record arrives and I had totally forgotten that there would be two more tunes on it.Â And then, I listen to it.Â Itâ€™s a crowd-funded project at itâ€™s best.Â What?Â Iâ€™ve got two more of these coming?Â Be still…
A fan of Michaelâ€™s WFMU show for years, I felt so special when he dropped his highly edible â€œGoodbye Cheaterâ€ disc on me a while back.Â Â So when I learned of the arrival of â€œLeftoversâ€ I got right on that.Â Itâ€™s a taste treat of odds and ends that is pure feelgoodery.
“this show is gonna cost me money”
Sweet really is the word for this disc.Â It swings and sings from start to finish.Â And then I started it all over again.
“I really like the guitar on this Miss Tess song!”
“Reminds me of that cd with Ry Cooder and Manuel Galban !!”
With a tune like â€œYour Mouthâ€ on this comp of previously unreleased tracks and such, there was no way it wouldnâ€™t make this list.Â â€œTonight You Belong to Meâ€ simply sealed the deal.Â Â But thereâ€™s such a gob of Nobunny goodness on this record that I couldnâ€™t bring myself to cut it when I realized today (post-radio show) that it wasnâ€™t actually released in 2012.Â I donâ€™t care.Â I love.
“It’s official. I love Nobunny !”
Just popping through each tune for seconds trying to decide which track to play for the show is enough to give me all kinds of quivers.Â I can hear the tiniest slice of this â€œYes, Yes, Yesâ€ and be on my way to melty.Â The start of â€œGet a Gripâ€ gets me giddy knowing Klem Klimeck is coming.Â Every song from this live set at Bearsville makes me happy the second it starts and then does it more.
Soon David Greenberger will require his own shelf in my collection.Â I think it will be the top shelf.Â This CD will be another of my go-to discs from him, especially with the great Paul Cebar providing the music.Â It will be hard to wait two months for another release.
When Bubbles in the Think Tank favorite Ray Mason heard this disc, he got in touch with Rick and told him to mail it to Belinda immediately.Â Iâ€™m so glad he did.
So bright, so poppy, this disc spent many spins making food with me.Â It all tasted better for it.
“‘Maybe the Girl’ was a fabulous track!”
I donâ€™t think I can say it any better than Saint Slade said it during the show:
“Stereo Total makes me feel good.”
Songs about fire hazards, the Monkees and a record collection.Â Dances, love songs and giggles.Â All with that fab Hi-Risers guitar and dance beat with the sweetest harmonies.Â Â I never seem to get enough of them. Â Nor do I want to.
Various Artists â€“ Super Hits of the Seventies â€“ Original Hits, Todayâ€™s Stars
How I only played one track from this crackerjack comp, Iâ€™ll never know.Â So many great artists and tunesâ€¦all I can really say is that Michael Shelley is a brilliant mastermind.Â Plus it supports WFMU.Â Thatâ€™s the best.
Released three years after his passing, this is easily my favorite Tim Krekel album.Â Itâ€™s so full of love and friends that I could never have not loved it. Â Simple and honest production with some of the most lovely songs Tim ever wrote, this record will always have a special place in my heart.
Yeah, I said last year that I should learn more about these cats.Â Didnâ€™t do it.Â Yet somehow they managed to sneak into my 2012 acquisitions.Â How a song like this could ever sneak up on me with its sultry psych sound is beyond me.Â I promise I will learn more this year.
“that was super-fuzzy and super-great”
It sounds like it could be right out of a Bubbles in the Think Tank monologue.Â Â And Hunx has this soundâ€¦a male lead of a girl group as sloppy as a wet kiss.Â This is the theme song of my times.Â I know this night wonâ€™t last forever, but we could make it last all night.
When I do Bubbles in the Think Tank, I am actually happy. Â Right song at the right time. Â Ralph clearly understands me.
“Ralphy boy ! He is so talented……….”
A curious wordplay in a poppy garage rock wrapper.Â Iâ€™m glad I stumbled onto this one.
Merely a taste from their upcoming release, I can not wait to hear Warm Sodaâ€™s debut album.Â It was one of those tunes I stumbled on doing research for a theme.Â It grabbed me from the opening notes and hasnâ€™t let go yet.
“Very T-Rexxxy !!”
The way the rhythm creeps right up at the start and turns to a gritty groove that I feel like I could float away inâ€¦wellâ€¦I like that.
Sleepy Kitty â€“ â€œDonâ€™t You Startâ€ b/w â€œAll I Do Is Dream of Youâ€Â (Euclid Records)
So much reverb on the A side and nearer to none on the B side, this singleâ€™s dreamy vocals do a number on me.Â A special thanks to Joe Schwab at Euclid Records for sending a copy my way!
Yet another in the fabulous string of 7 inches from Euclid Records Records, this platter is a power pop pleasure.Â With Ian McLagan on keys, these tunes did everything right to latch right on to this Bâ€™s Knees.
“Love that Wurlitzer electric piano!”
NRBQ put out a new vinyl single this year, which features some of the last studio recordings of Tommy Ardolino, whose talent as a drummer was eclipsed only by his sweetness. The record is wonderful, but you know that. Should you buy it? I say yeah, Catbirds say yeah, aww heck…everybody say yeah!
Koudede was one of those artists that I learned of only through theÂ RadiObituaries.Â I was riveted by the sound of his guitar that had a voice like Iâ€™d never heard. Â Â This is one that I want to make sure more people hear.
In which our hero Deke (country) packs his double necked guitar and flies south to record with Memphis soul generals The Bo-Keys (featuring Scot Bomar, Ben Cauley and the late legendary Skip Pitts) to cut a hit single like the hired gun session men in days of old. Done and done.
Albany’s fuzziest combo wore their heart on their striped sleeves with this passionate tribute to Brooklyn’s last band standing, The Fleshtones. The lyrics are simply a laundry list of Fleshtones song and album titles and really, that’s all you need. That, a garbage can of blue whales and the Fleshtones. That is all you need to save your life.
This one really got me with a cover of Chuck Berryâ€™s â€œCome Onâ€ featuring Jessi Darlin of Those Darlins.Â Then the flip covers â€œJust One Moreâ€ from George Jones.Â How was I going to skip this?Â Right.Â I wasnâ€™t.
I donâ€™t know where it came from.Â I didnâ€™t know who they were.Â Just found out now trying to figure out what in the world to say about this tune.Â I donâ€™t think I should tell.
But there was just something about this one.Â ItÂ feltÂ like floating action.Â And who doesnâ€™t want more of that?
“This record has a real atmosphere to it.”
Various Artists â€“ The Petite 7 Inch RecordÂ (Bubbles in the Think Tank)
It seems wrong for me to write about a record that I masterminded, let alone include it in this list.Â But in my humble opinion, I believe it is the best fucking record ever made.Â I hope you agree.
“It’s a petite n’ purple gem!”