1. kultur shock FUCC The I.N.S. (Kool Arrow)
The first time I heard these guys I jumped up and down with glee. Then I played the album for everyone who would listen. It's Balkan punk rock/metal with deep Zappa roots, a choral arrangement here, some chanting there. And it's political stuff from guys who come from a real war-torn country. How novel is that? FUCC The I.N.S. is all over the board and wicked from start to finish.
2. tom petty & The Heartbreakers The Last DJ (Warner Brothers)
This record has been banned on stations all over the United States for telling it like it is in the big bad music industry, which is so sad it's almost funny. Everyone in the world should buy The Last DJ to show their support. Plus, Tom Petty's views are spot-on and hilarious. A great rock 'n' roller.
3. Joey Ramone Don't Worry About Me (Sanctuary)
Joey was so cool. These tunes from beyond the grave are just a cruel reminder of that. His cover of What A Wonderful World is rockin' and would no doubt do Louis proud.
4. tammy faye starlite Used Country Female (Diesel Only)
This chick is one of the funniest I've heard in a long while. If sweet Jesus is comin' down, Tammy Faye is waiting for him to come all over her. Includes great versions of Cheap Trick's Surrender and the Judds' Don't You Hear Jerusalem Moan.
5. warren zevon Genius: The Very Best Of Warren Zevon (Rhino)
Zevon is such a great songwriter it makes you wanna cry. And laugh. This collection of work from his entire career is just wonderful, and now that he's terminally ill there's an inescapable poignancy to the whole thing.
6. the heelwalkers (Brobdingnagian)
Nova Scotia rawks! No kidding! This is full-on, balls-out rock 'n' roll. It's old-skool Motörhead metal, Detroit rock-style, with unapologetically stoopid lyrics that you can't help but love. The fact that they're from Halifax somehow makes it even better.
7. hell city love (Brobdingnagian)
Oooh! I almost forgot these guys, and guess what? They're from Halifax, too, and on the same label as the Heelwalkers. I love this label. If this hard-rocking EP is any indication, Hell City Love are gonna make a fantastic full-length, hopefully soon.
8. Mariza Fado Em Mim (World Connections)
Fado is sad, beautiful traditional Portuguese music. Mariza's lovely voice has a haunting quality that takes you right out of your body and makes you feel like you're in Portugal, which is impressive if you've never been there and have no idea what Portugal looks like.
9. black sabbath Past Lives (Sanctuary)
Being sick of Ozzy is one thing, but this Sabbath warts-and-all release is still a gem, with lots of the best songs you expected to hear and even some you forgot all about.
1. 02 skinnee j's Volumizer (Volcano)
02 Skinnee J's are terribly clever, and this is danceable, catchy hiphop and punk rock from the Beck school of mishmash that makes you giggle. Capricorn records collapsed shortly before the 2000 release date of this record, leaving it homeless for two years until it was picked up by Volcano, a subsidiary of Jive Records. Totally worth the wait.