Best of 2015- Record Label Edition….Goner Records

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Continuing with my best of 2015, today the spotlight is on Goner Records. When we started this site one of our goals was to someday hope that Goner Records knew who we were. All of us love the Oblivions and we all knew the story of Goner Records . We have now finished our second year of working with Goner Records to bring all of you “The Bands Of Gonerfest” all of that would not have been possible without the support of Eric Friedl. Eric is a big deal to all of us so words fall a little short when it comes to thanking him for working with us. So as we head in to the last full week before Christmas , my suggestion would be for all of you to head on over to Goner Records and get yourself and your loved ones some of the coolest albums on the planet. No one can have a serious Record Collection without having LPs’ from Goner Records, it’s that simple .

Goner Records is an independent record label and record store co-owned by Eric Friedl of The Oblivians and Zac Ives and is based in Memphis, Tennessee. We are known for releasing albums by punk and garage rock bands such as Ty Segall, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Toy Love, Lost Sounds, The Barbaras, John Wesley Coleman, Ex-Cult, Toxie, Manateees, King Khan & BBQ Show, Jack Oblivian, Limes, Sector Zero, TSOT, and the late Jay Reatard.

The label also hosts Goner Fest, an annual Memphis music festival held every September and with the help of Eric and Madison 50thirdand3rd highlights these bands during the summer months.

Shadow In The Cracks is Jim and Mike Blaha, who you might (or should) recognize as leading Minneapolis trio The Blind Shake with their full frontal assault of baritone guitar, guitar and vocals, while co-founding friend Dave Roper beats a backbone into everything so solid and huge it seems each song will outlive the human race and stand amongst the overgrown, vermin-ruled urban wastelands left behind. From September 2014 to May of 2015, the Minneapolis trio released two proper full-length albums (the excellent and crushing Breakfast of Failures on Goner Records and Fly Right on Slovenly Records, each respectively bookending the timeframe in question), a VHS release of the 2011 film Hey Hey What with the band in its longtime side-role backing bent-rock legend Michael Yonkers, and Modern Surf Classics-a truth-in-titling collaboration with Swami John Reis (he of Rocket From The Crypt/Drive Like Jehu/Hot Snakes and of course, Swami Records) released in January 2015. And all of this was supported by The Blind Shake’s earnest and unforgettable live showmanship to the tune of 29 dates across the U.S. and Canada followed by an 11-date April/May tour of Europe. Therefore regarding some slivers of downtime that punctuated summer 2015, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for one to assume the sibling faction (that’s Jim and Mike Blaha for those with very serious attention deficit issues) of the trio might choose an activity other than sitting across from one another in a room to write and record the nine-songs that make up the self-titled Shadow In The Cracks debut full-length. Credit a drum kit that wasn’t fully set up for the spark that lit a burn completely different from anything in The Blind Shake’s rapidly-growing, stylistic sweep of a discography, especially the recent fortifying of an infectious though not-to-be-fucked-with-heavy read on noise-rock somewhat informed by the band’s own approach to garage-punk.

HIEROPHANTS – Parallax Error LP/CD
Out October 23rd, 2015

Hierophants are not an oldies group, they are not a glitter group, they don’t play boogie music and they don’t play the blues. Hierophants are an original Rock and Roll group of 2015, and their songs are brief, to the point and every one a potential hit single.The quartet consists of Zak, Daff, Paris and Jake. They started in 2010 when Jake moved from the coast north of Sydney down to Geelong and found himself hanging out with a bunch of teenage paisley clad skaters who swapped their Vans for boots at night, snuck into the pubs and started a dozen bands. Zak and Jake did some recordings one weekend, asked the two best looking people they know to join them live and the four of them have been writing songs altogether ever since.Zak, the guitarist, plays with such free-spirited freedom that his sound has been compared to Lou Reed donking Mark Mothersbaugh over the head with his guitar.Paris, the keyboardist, is an arch villain whose diminutive frame stands aloof left (or right) of stage.Daff is bass guitar and the acknowledged handsome one of the group, and Jake is the drummer who’s chimp-like playing underpins the simian sound of the band.The Hierophants mostly originate from Geelong and kids who grew up there either became musicians, uni students or surfers. Hierophants are a little of each. Their sound is not unlike throwing your calculator in the ocean.
– So, what’s the story with Fagg Hopp?
Jake Robertson: Zak wrote “Fagg Hopp”. I think it is about moving away from Geelong, the place Zak grew up and has lived all his life, and the place I moved to for four years. There is a shop in Geelong called “Fagg’s Mitre 10,” I think he was using referencing that. But also I got no idea what’s going through Zak’s head.Zak Olsen: The song “Fagg Hopp” doesn’t have any particular meaning lyrically, I just wanted to make song with a poppy, wimpy, late night lonely, ’80s sound. It’s called “Fagg Hopp” because there’s a street in Geelong called “Fagg St.” and that’s hilarious. Also another band I used to play in had a song called “Drag Hop.”

Ty Segall ‘Ty Rex’ LP/CD
Release Date: November 27th, 2015

The pseudonymous “Ty-Rex” corner of Ty Segall’s oeuvre represents the nom-de-rock behind which Segall puts his spin on favored Tyrannosaurus Rex & T. Rex compositions. On November 27th (2015), Goner Records presents the release of the Ty-Rex full-length. After some time in out-of-print monetary nether-regions, this album compiles six-song Ty Rex EP (aka Ty Rex 1) originally released by Goner as a limited edition 12” for Record Store Day 2011 with the RSD 2013 two-song Ty Rex 2 7”. As if this wasn’t enough of a corrective gesture, Ty-Rex is expanded to include a previously-unreleased T. Rex cover as a bonus, but first…For those who missed out on this nook of Segall’s rapidly-growing footprint across the rock landscape, here is a cursory rundown: The compilation showcases a nice balance between T. Rex’s ’67 – ’70 psych-folk incarnation under the name Tyrannosaurus Rex and the better known pioneering and perfecting of glam-rock that defined the first ’71 – 73 era under the shortened T. Rex moniker. Kicking things off is the thick, woozily-rocking interpretation of “Fist Heart Mighty Dawn Dart”; one of two covers pulled from Tyrannosaurus Rex’s fourth and best album, 1970’s A Beard of Stars. Ty then double-dips into the consummate T. Rex (and for that matter, the entire glam-rock movement) achievement, The Slider, with a rendition of “Buick MacKane” followed by an excellent dirtying-up of the title track. Clearly digging deep with the ear and understanding of a super-fan, next up is Ty’s awesome tackling of “Woodland Rock”-an Electric Warriorouttake that also surfaced on the B-side to 1971’s non-album “Hot Love” single. Returning to Tyrannosaurus Rex fare for the two tracks that originally concluded the Ty-Rex 1 EP, we have “Salamanda Palaganda” from 1968’s Prophets, Seers & Sages: The Angels of the Ages and A Beard of Stars’ “Elemental Child”. Rounding out this much-needed collection are “Cat Black” (from Tyrannosaurus Rex’s 1969 album, Unicorn) andElectric Warrior’s closing song, “The Motivator” from the Ty-Rex II 7”. Wrapping up this compilation discography of Ty-Rex material is the aforementioned previously-unreleased bonus track, Ty’s cover of “20th Century Boy” (a non-album T. Rex single from 1973).

Reatards ‘Grown Up Fucked Up’
Release Date: August 21st, 2015

Shortly after the release of Teenage Hate, the debut album from the Reatards, an 18-year-old Jay Reatard started working on a new album. He was spitting out punk rock anthems a mile a minute at this point, so a new record made sense. And what else was there to do? He’d quit school a couple years back so a normal day for Jay meant he was bumming around midtown Memphis winding people up. At this point, Eric Friedl had introduced Jay to Meghan Smith, via mail or phone or something. And they became fast friends. Smith and Blake Wright ran Empty Records out of Seattle, and the label made plans to release Grown Up Fucked Up. After a complete mess of a European tour with the Persuaders, Jay came back and recorded the album with some help from his girlfriend at the time (and future Lost Sounds bandmate) Alicja Trout. It soon became clear that there was a harder edge to everything. While Teenage Hate had been nasty, it was rooted in the Crypt / Oblivians scene of scuzzy rock, with covers of Fear, but also Buddy Holly, Grown Up Fucked Up was a power pogo into Killed By Death-style punk rock. The songs jumped off the record and grabbed you by the throat. They were passionate, ridiculous and utterly authentic. It wasn’t too long afterwards that he put out the equally amazing “Your So Lewd” single (now included on the album as well). Like everything Jay did, he did it his way. His recordings hold up because they are completely unique. He created a scene full of imitations, but no one duplicated him. Goner wanted to make sure they stayed true to Jay’s aesthetic with the repress, so they didn’t mess with it much. Smith sent over the original DAT recordings and the record was sourced directly from them. Kyle Johnson at Rocket Science Audio handled the transfer, and Jason Ward mastered to vinyl. Doug Easley took care of the digital mastering. The record was pressed at Memphis Record Pressing. Man, Jay would have loved that so much of this happened in Memphis.

OTS “Virgin Mary” b/w “Shelf Life”
Release Date: June 23rd, 2015

“Virgin Mary” is the first synth-induced single to follow NOTS’ debut LP, ‘We are Nots’. Recorded half on Natalie’s 4-track in the industrial dazed storage unit where NOTS practice, and half in Burgundy Studios with Keith Cooper (the rock n’ roll warlock responsible for capturing the 2 previous NOTS 45rpm assaults), “Virgin Mary”‘s hellish synth and guitar swirl around the hypnotic rhythm section as the band simmers into the sonic void.

and for all the fans of Goner Records , here are a few words from Eric on what Goner Records will be bringing our way…

Goner’s looking forward to a bunch of new records in 2016 but the biggies we’ve got lined up so far are:

ANGRY ANGLES – Band featuring Jay Reatard and Alix Brown (ex-Golden Triangle)… Singles and unreleased tracks. This is Jay after Lost Sounds and pre-Blood Visions… a very crucial time. Great, tense, Jay Reatard- styled poppy punk/ post-punk.

AQUARIAN BLOOD – First full-length from these Memphis freaks- to be able to wallow in their power for 40 minutes or so will be truly magnificent. Pounding psychedelic punk.

NOTS – Follow up to the fantastic debut We Are Nots. Non-stop touring has mutated their guitar/synth attack into a whole ‘nother monster. Can’t wait to unleash this on the world!


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Co-founder of 50thirdand3rd, stepped away to spend time with family and write. From Pittsburgh, now in Florida, Cool Canadian artist wife, 4 great kids, and two granddaughters!! I'm a lucky guy!

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