The Ten Best Musical Happenings of 2012: Humble Edition

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Chain and the Gang rocked Pig Slop so hard it closed forever. Or at least, I think that's what happened.
3) Chain and The Gang, Pig Slop Studios. An absolutely incendiary performance by Ian Svenonius and Katie Alice Greer, with a fine backing band including members of Vivian Girls, Coasting and Toxie.

2) DJing for the first time in almost a decade: An hour-long set at the RFT Music Awards' VIP room in June, and then in September for Toxie and Bruiser Queen at the Firebird. I don't have the talent or the drive to play in a band (believe me, I've tried), but playing records or iPod tracks for people is about as fun as it gets. Hopefully more to come in 2013.

1) Numero Group's Shoes reissues. This Zion, IL band has been creating some of America's best power pop since for almost four decades. Not only did it release Ignition, the first new CD in 18 years, but the Chicago label Numero Group released four albums of the band's earliest material, including One in Versailles, Bazooka and Black Vinyl Shoes. These included meticulous attention to detail: Black Vinyl Shoes included the original inner sleeve and T-shirt iron-on transfer, while One in Versailles reproduced the original's pasted-on paper cover. Numero also released an entire LP of demos from Present Tense, Shoes' major label debut.

Honorable Mention: Big Dipper, Crashes on the Platinum Planet (Almost Ready CD); The Trypes, Music for Neighbors (Acute CD); Toxie, five-song EP (Goner cassette); WTNG: Solid Bronze (Numero Group LP); Frankie Rose, Interstellar (Slumberland CD); Jennifer O'Connor, live at Foam just after SXSW.

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