Polly Watson is a musician, writer, and editor based in New York.
TAMIO SHIRAISHI (67th Avenue station, Queens, NY, March 26)
The experimental saxophonist will occasionally issue last-minute announcements, via his Instagram, that he’s playing the vast columned mezzanine of the subway station near his home.I caught him on a chilly Saturday evening, firing discordant shrieks into the icy ether.A few girls in high suede boots hurried by giggling, covering their ears.
SUBVERSIVE RITE, THE END IS NEAR (Chaotic Uprising)
Just a fucking wind tunnel of a cassette channeling early UK warp-speed crust progenitors Sacrilege but swapping vocal rasp for outraged clarity and keeping the bass player working overtimeon melody. Charged!
NYC NOISE (nyc-noise.com)
An invaluable resource for those living in or visiting NYC who would like to hear the strangeand wild sounds of the likes of Steve Reich, Kowloon Baby, or the New York Reviewof Cocksucking in places ranging from Carnegie Hall to a desolate stretch of Brooklyn train track.
OHIO HISTAIRICAL MUSICK SOCIETY (OHMS) ARCHIVES (YouTube)
A cathode-ray-tube rainbow of comet-hot videos compiled by Jimi Imij, of the great early-’80s Akron rippers Zero Defex, and spanning decades of weirdo bands playing drywall drop-ceiling dives throughout central Ohio and the surrounding regions. Highlights include Cleveland sax popsters the Adults on local TV in 1984; a collaged video byImij of late-’70s Akron surf punks theNelsons; and a Crucifucks/MDC yardshow getting broken up by East Lansing, Michigan, cops in 1983.
The artist andzine maker took time out this yearfrom relentlessly drawing and painting candy-colored butterfly girls weepingblood from every orifice to design tourtees for the sweet and buzzy Brower and direct a video for synthy dreamer UVRapture, and that’s why I’m able to mention her in a music top ten. You should really check out her work.
THE REFLECTORS, “ALL MADE UP” (Neon Nile)
Sugary, heartbreaking, Raspberries-level power pop so polished and professional that I was blown away by the childlike naïveté of the accompanying video, which I didn’t click on until I’d listened to the song three hundred times.
PAMELA Z, “POP TITLES ‘YOU’” (Freedom to Spend)
Originally released in 1988,this brain-smashing track features the pathbreaking Bay Area artist flatly pronouncing the titles of various songs, each beginning with the word you, by artists ranging from Sharon Redd to Supertramp. In the background, a stuttering array of electronically manipulated “yous” falls like rain.
GEL/COLD BRATS, SHOCK THERAPY (Convulse)
Eight tracks divided by two blistering hardcore bands, one from New Jersey and the other from Romania, equals one long hull-breach-warning siren!
HÜSTLER (Project Reach, New York, October 29)
Dark, screaming, whiplash punk blasted out at tear-inducing volume inside a Chinatown youth center populated by circle-pitting Halloween-happy ghouls splattered with fake blood. I nearly tookone in the teeth from a child dressed asan MTA worker.
MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE REUNION TOUR
The emo monsters tapped comparatively underheard acts like Philly thrashers Devil Master, self-described“nü jungle, digital hardcore U.S. grime band” Ghösh, and incendiary ragers Soul Glo to open for them, proving you don’t have to be bad to be big.