Damnably Acts – 2014 Lists

AARON THEDFORD – American Werewolf Academy


Centro-matic – Take Pride In Your Long Odds
Wussy – Attica!
American Sharks – American Sharks
King Tuff – Black Moon Spell
Red Fang – Whales & Leeches
Daniel Markham – Pretty Bitchin’
Purling Hiss – Weirdon
Underneath The Rainbow – The Black Lips
Favorite songs
Strand Of Oaks – Goshen 97
Sweet Apple – Wish You Could Stay
Electric Wizard – Sadiowitch
I don’t read a lot of books. When I do they are usually non-fiction about bands or people. Other than that it’s usually trashy magazines about guitars or naked boobies. I did read a neat book called The Factory World by Joseph Edward Ryan. It was full of great characters and was very nightmarish and sad. In the right hands it would make a great movie.


CHRIS BROKAW – (Solo; Wrekmeister Harmonies; The Empty House Cooperative; The Lemonheads; The New Year; The Martha’s Vineyard Ferries.)

This year I listened to a lot of new and old music by: Kevin Drumm, Rene Hell/Jeff Witscher, Shifted, The Rolling Stones, Knifestorm, The Velvet Underground, Vertonen, Rhys Chatham, Shellac, Noisem, Rivulets, Letha Rodman Melchior, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Les Rallizes Denudes, Fennesz, Grunt, Peter Kolovos, Iancu Dumitrescu, Tom Verlaine,  Maurizio Bianchi, Matthew Mullane, Kiss, Mark McGuire, Wold, EyeHateGod, Corrections House, John Olson/Spykes, Nate Young/Regression, and anything on the Tuff Scout label. Several of these artists (Kevin Drumm, Jeff Witscher and Rivulets, in particular) released what I consider some of their best work to date in 2014, and are especially recommended.

I had the opportunity to play a lot of live shows, collaborating with a ton of great musicians in some terrific venues/environments. These were some of my favorite gigs from 2014:

—Duo with Insect Factory, at Death by Audio, Brooklyn NY
—playing guitar with Wrekmeister Harmonies, at the Bohemian National Cemetery, Chicago IL
—playing drums with The Martha’s Vineyard Ferries at The Plough and Stars, Cambridge MA
—duo with Geoff Farina, house concert in Seattle WA
—duo with Alexander Hacke at Cairo, Seattle WA
—playing drums with The New Year at the Masonic Temple, San Francisco, CA
—solo house concert in Charlottesville, VA
—‘Chris Brokaw Band’ with Carrie Neumayer and Kevin Coultas at Dreamland, Louisville KY
—‘Chris Brokaw Band’ with Doug McCombs and Tony Lazarra at The Burlington, Chicago IL
—playing guitar with The Lemonheads at Whitespace, Manila, Philippines.

Huge thanks go out to all who played, all who booked, and all who came out to the shows. Mega thanks to the great labels who released and supported my musics. And huge thanks to the great artists who released such exciting and inspiring stuff this year…your work enriches my life more than you can imagine.



Shonen Knife


Shonen Knife went to India for the first time!


GEORGE – Former Utopia/Damnably

Shellac – Dude Incredible (We first listened to this with Joel RL Phelps, Robert Mercer and Bill herzog in our Kitchen. They were also doing Canadian tuxedo jokes that day)
kahoots – Take To The Fields (complex, dark and funny distortosurfypop)
Flaum Adger – Flaum Adger (from 2013 but slow on uptake perfect solo’s and clinically precise songwriting)
Ex Hex – Rips (Mary’s songs were the best in Wild Flag so it was good to see her produce an album as good as her solo output)
The Gotobeds – The Poor and Revolting (bursting with ideas)
Amanda X – Amensia (natural sonic world of their own making)
Lucinda Williams – Where the spirit meets the bone (She sounds an awful lot like toothless drunk mumble-rocker Mark E Smith in parts)
Burn Permits – Ochs (Tall Chris of Policeteeth is living the Chicago dream many of us aspire to)
Monster Island – The House Of Lancaster (magpie like ability to cherry pick from the newspeak)
Damnably released 4 records I loved this year and it was wonderful to see them get more appreciation in the US/UK/Europe than any of our releases had before.
Heard the 2015 released Zebra Hunt & Dick Diver that are super and I imagine Mitski, Negative Scanner &  The Beverleys will do well next year too.

Joel RL Phelps & The Downer Trio @ Sebright & Windmill (We’d all been longing to see them for years and both gigs were quite extraordinary maybe #2 in best gigs EVER)
Shonen Knife @ Dingwalls show of the tour w/ Atsuko drumming ‘I am a cat’ (I love Dingwalls, there is always a huge roar from the crowd, great sound, good sight lines & cool staff)
smallgang Glasgow CCA (w/ their biggest fan Ally Gourly in the audience)
speedy Ortiz  (four finger guitar magic)

Guardians of the Galaxy
Mr Turner
Journey To The West

(new version of Monkey backstory directed by Steven Chow)
True Detectives
The Lego Movie

KK’s Trashflow radio
Jon Solomon’s keepingscoreathome
Ally Gourley’s Art School Dancing

Personal-Lee Childs whose addictive books are also devoured by Haruki Murakami (he likes that they are all the same).This one was based in Romford/London.
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage – Haruki Murakami
Work Done For Hire – Joe Haldeman
Harry Pye


SIMON  – smallgang/splintered man
Albums/Eps of the year (no particular order) 
1. Sun Kil Moon – Benji
2. St Vincent – St Vincent
3. Cate le Bon – Mug Museum
4. Mark Kozelek and James LaVelle – Perils from the Sea
5. Scott Walker/Sunn o))) – Soused
6. Captain Beefheart – Sun Zoom Spark Box Set
8. Rodion G.A – The Lost Tapes
9. Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems
10. Splintered Man – Horrible of me to select my own album but this took up so much of my time this year it was at the expense of buying/hearing other people’s albums!
Special Mentions/Rediscoveries
1. Stereolab – All
2. Gravenhurst – Internal Travels
3.Azalea City Penis Club – The Coffin Years
4. Shirley Ellis – Nitty Gritty
5. Sly and the Family Stone – Greatest Hits

Gigs (no particular order, except for 1)
1. Prince – Electric Ballroom (queuing on the off chance on a cold January evening, waiting 3 hours, the friendliest queue I’ve ever been in, £10 on the door, losing it during the megamix set)
2. Meta Meta – cafe Oto (just great playing)
3. St Vincent – Roundhouse (pretty much all of it except for some of the chatty crowd)
4. Sun Kil Moon – St Johns in the Fields ( the most awkward ‘seat off’ ever between two well spoken ladies behind us before the set,  Kozelek puts down the guitar and starts crooning, the ‘perils from the sea’ songs, finally playing full band sets in the uk after the last 4 odd years of solo shows)a
5.Shonen Knife – Brighton May 16th (my birthday)
6. Shonen Knife – Dingwalls May 18th (Heatwave and Ramen Rock)
7. Former Utopia – Bethnal Green (FU lock in irresistably)
8. Joel Phelps – Bethnal Green (post punk gospel)
9. Faith No More – Hyde Park (for the 13 year old me)
10. Neil Young – Hyde Park (for playing Barstool Blues on a whim and dedicating a song to “all you sad bastards”)
Films/TV of the year
1. Guardians of the Galaxy (goosebumps and throat lumps a few times, particularly due to the Abnett/Lanning run of the comic occupying a special place in my heart).
2. True Detective (after the hype subsided, still pretty good).
3. The Fall series 1 and 2 (latecomer)
4. The Act of Killing (bluray extras actually worth watching for once)
5. Mad Men series 7 part 1 (will be sad to see that world go in the new year)
6. The Raid 2 (mind boggling action).
7. Game of Thrones series 1-4 (watching it all in the space of two weeks possibly not healthy).
8. Remember Me (late comer but great homegrown horror)
9. Black Mirror Christmas Special (another latecomer but great combo of cast, writing and future shocking)
10. The Double (Richard ayaoade comes of age)
11. Her – Spike jonze
12. Under the Skin – Jonathan Glazer
Random Things of the year
1. Charles Burns – Sugar Skull
2. Traktor DJ app for iPad.
3. The Sword – The Luna Brothers
4. Hofner HCT Violin Bass CT
5. Squier Bass VI
6. Cinamatic App for iPad
7. Ed Brubaker – Fatale (whole run)
8. Beavertown Gamma Ray
9. Halo E-Cigarettes
10. Crown Prince Squashes



smallgang,Crumbling Ghost, Slowgun, Splintered Man, Russell & The Wolf Choir

Lots of good music released this year and lots of cool musical adventures embarked upon. It was great to see Damnably release Smallgang’s second LP and really exciting to have played on both Splintered Man and Russell and the Wolf Choirs new records. The tour with our good friends Shonen Knife was also a blast, as were Festival Number 6 and the Isle of Wight festival (with Slowgun). Unforgettable suff. Looking forward to more in 2015

My favourite albums of 2014, in no particular order…….

Aphex Twin – ‘Syro’
Scott Walker & Sunn 0))) – ‘Soused’
Swans – ‘To Be Kind’
Sleaford Mods – ‘Divide and Exit’
Earth – ‘Primitive and Deadly’
Frank Bretschneider & Steve Roden – ‘Suite Nuit’
Hatcham Social – ‘Cutting Up the Present Lwaks Out the Future’
Sun Kil Moon – ‘Benji’
Full of Hell – ‘Full of Hell and Merzbow’
Ariel Pink – ‘Pom Pom’
Vladislav Delay – ‘Visa’
Goat – ‘Commune’
Old Man Gloom – ‘The Ape of God (1 &2)’
Fransisco Lopez – ‘Presque Tout (Quiet Pieces: 1993-2013)’
Yob – ‘Clearing the Path to Ascend’

MICHAEL – Lazarus Clamp

Lazarus Clamp - photo by John Bloor
Favourite records released this year

benji – sun kil moon
david bazan and the passenger quartet – vol 1
exit verse – s/t

songs:ohia – didn’t it rain [reissue]

Favorite shows seen this year

the ex
joel rl phelps and the downer trio

honourable mentions:
Courtney barnett; joanna gruesome


Naoko’s Best in 2014


Shonen Knife

Spring: wonderful UK/EU tour
with Small Gang

beautiful Europe

went to Tennis tournament in London

Summer: Yummy Japan tour and private visit to Kyoto
delicious Sashimi in Kagoshima

delicious green tea parfait in Kyoto

Autumn: fun fun US/Canada tour.

wonderful nature


Late Autumn: marvelous Indian tour
cute gift shop at the beach


delicious Indian dishes



Shonen Knife


It was the 1st time for me to go to Goa, India!!
It was like a paradise on earth!!


RUSS – Former Utopia/Russell & The Wolf Choir
I haven’t had a chance to put the energy into analyzing the year. Brief, but the few records I enjoyed throughout the past 12 months.
Sharon Van Etten “Are We There”
Nickel Creek “A Dotted Line”
Cheatahs “Cheatahs”
Angel Olsen “Burn Your Fire For No Witness”
Speedy Ortiz “Real Hair”
La Sera “Hour Of The Dawn”

smallgang “San”