Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012: This is a list of music from this year.

Scott wishes you a nurturing, compassionate, caring holiday season!

Come December, I just can't help but be bit by the year-end-list-making bug. This bug - a spider, if you will - weaves its way across the world wide web, and... I can't keep up this awful metaphor (is it a metaphor? Whatever...). Anyhow, let's just say that year-end lists are ubiquitous, and it's fun, albeit in a moderately narcissistic way, to make your own. I encourage you to do so, too. So keep on reading - assuming I haven't turned you off already - to find my favorite albums (fifty of 'em), songs (seventy-five!), EPs (twenty-five), and reissues/compilations (ditto) of 2012. Ah, 2012! Ah, humanity!

Some old favorites, some new ones. There's really no overarching trend at play here - 2012 was a year during which I could spend all my web-surfing efforts trying to find cool and obscure bands and end up thinking the Dirty Projectors put out one of the year's best albums. Tres lame, right? So I don't know what to say. Here are my fifty favorite albums of the year, listed one through twenty-five and then with twenty-five honorable mentions because it got hard to keep ranking them.

1. Scott Walker - Bish Bosch
2. Pelt - Effigy
3. Spacin' - Deep Thuds
4. Sun Araw, M. Geddes Gengras, The Congos - Icon Give Thank
5. Mount Eerie - Clear Moon / Ocean Roar

6. Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland - Black Is Beautiful
7. Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan
8. Swans - The Seer
9. Constant Mongrel - Everything Goes Wrong
10. Actress - R.I.P.

11. Julia Holter - Ekstasis
12. Laurel Halo - Quarantine
13. Running - Asshole Savant
14. Liars - WIXIW
15. Merchandise - Children of Desire

16. Carter Tutti Void - Transverse
17. Traxman -  Da Mind of Traxman
18. Thee Oh Sees - Putrifiers II
19. Andy Stott - Luxury Problems
20. Looks Like Miaou - Looks Like Miaou

21. Whatever Brains - Whatever Brains
22. Sun Araw - The Inner Treaty
23. Solid Attitude - BB Gun Picnic
24. Scott & Charlene's Wedding / Peak Twins - Split LP
25. Daughn Gibson - All Hell

Honorable Mentions, listed alphabetically by artist:

Altered States of The United Snakes - Pagan Tiger Swing Band
Angel Olsen - Half Way Home
Ariel Pink & R. Stevie Moore - Ku Klux Glam
Bits Of Shit - Cut Sleeves
Blanche Blanche Blanche - Wink With Both Eyes

Chromatics - Kill For Love
Creem - Creem
CS Yeh - Transitions
Daywand - Temporary Sanctuary
Death Grips - The Money Store

Earth - Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
King Tuff - King Tuff
Lantern - Dream Mine
Mad Nanna - I Made Blood Better

The Men - Open Your Heart
Moon Duo - Circles
Nathan Bowles - A Bottle, A Buckeye
Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It
Sissy Spacek - Wastrel Projection

The Soupcans - Good Feelings
Spiritualized - Sweet Heart Sweet Light
Super Minotaur - Super Minotaur
Ty Segall Band - Slaughterhouse
White Suns - Sinews

Check out this sick-nasty vid of a song from 2012's greatest album.

: as an addendum to the above list, here's an example of fifteen albums that came out this year that I'm sure I'd like - and would likely place on this list - if I listened to them all the way through, or at all. There are a bunch more albums that I'm aware I might like, and surely even more of which I'm unaware; this is just a sampling.

Aaron Dilloway - Modern Jester
Blank Realm - Go Easy
The Caretaker - Patience (After Sebald)
Dan Deacon - America
Daphni - Jiaolong

Evening Meetings - Defended By Clouds
Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
Jason Lescalleet - Songs About Nothing
Macintosh Plus - Floral Shoppe
Protomartyr - No Passion All Technique

Raime - Quarter Turns Over a Living Line
Ricardo Villalobos - Dependent and Happy
Sky Needle - Rave Cave
The UV Race - Racism
X-TG - Desertshore / The Final Report

(UPDATE: I've now listened to the UV Race's album. (I ordered it from Midheaven near a month ago after trying to buy it at Permanent over Thanksgiving break - it was sold out - but it didn't come until today, December 19, the day after I published this damn list. smh, Midheaven / Columbia package center.) Anyways, so I listened to it once, and it's amazing. I'll listen more, surely, but I'll say now that it's a definite top 25-er for 2012. If and when I revise this list, I'll be sure to include it.)

In the past, I've been able to use my best songs of the year list to publicize my semi-lame taste for indiesphere mega-hits - Pitchfork-approved top 40, plus "indie" electro-pop and Grizzly Bear and shit like that. Well, this year, there seemingly weren't many good songs of that nature; most of the ones  the blogs are listing ("Climax," "The House That Heaven Built," et. al.) don't do much for me. Too bad. Also too bad is the fact that, while these songs are all very good, none of them are, like, instant classics or anything. The top two songs both rocked me pretty hard, but even they don't stand up to most of my favorites from years past. Anyways, below you'll find those two songs, plus twenty-three other ones ranked - and then fifty honorable mentions. Hot diggity dog.

1. Dean Blunt feat. Inga Copeland - "The Narcissist"
2. Dirty Projectors - "Impregnable Question"
3. King Tuff - "Alone & Stoned"
4. Burial - "Kindred"
5. Scott & Charlene's Wedding - "Gammy Leg"

6. Sex Church - "Wrong Side"
7. Liars - "No. 1 Against The Rush"
8. The Men - "Open Your Heart"
9. Thee Oh Sees - "So Nice"
10. Meat Thump - "Feel Good"

11. Mystikal - "Hit Me"
12. Blawan - "Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage"
13. Spacin' - "Empty Mind"
14. King Tuff - "Bad Thing"
15. Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland - "2"

16. Daughn Gibson - "Tiffany Lou"
17. Super Minotaur - "Trip"
18. Chromatics - "Kill For Love"
19. Julia Holter - "Our Sorrows"
20. Ariel Pink & R. Stevie Moore - "Come My Way"

21. Andres - "New 4 U"
22. Merchandise - "Time"
23. Outside World - "Outside World"
24. Mad Nanna - "My Two Kids"
25. Dawn Of Humans - "Jazzmonster"

Honorable Mentions, listed alphabetically by artist:

Alden Tyrell - "Touch The Sky"
Alex Body - "The Light In The Mirror"
Andy Stott - "Numb"
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - "Only In My Dreams"
Bat For Lashes - "Laura"

Better Psychics - "Jingles In A Jar"
Blonde God - "Diggin'"
Buck Gooter - "Consider The Grackles"
Cave - "Thai I Am"
Ceremony - "Hysteria"

Cheap Time - "Other Stories"
Chromatics - "Back From The Grave"
Coffin Pricks - "Group Home Haircut"
Constant Mongrel - "No Nonsense"
Death Grips - "I've Seen Footage"

Dirty Projectors - "Just From Chevron"
Evening Meetings - "Forgotten In Seconds"
Fhloston Paradigm - "The Chase"
Funkineven & Fatima - "Phoneline"
Gorillaz feat. James Murphy & Andre 3000 - "DoYaThing"

Hygiene - "Hygiene"
I Dream In Transit - "Absolute Peace"
Icona Pop - "I Love It"
Jeremih - "773 Love"
Joy Orbison & Boddika - "Froth"

King Blood - "Vengeance, Man"
Kitchen's Floor - "Bitter Defeat"
Lantern - "Out Of Our Heads"
Looks Like Miaou - "Present Birthday"
Magic Milk - "Girls"

The Men - "Turn It Around"
Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire - "Good Pussy In Chicago"
The Native Cats - "Ten Years Transportation"
Neneh Cherry & The Thing - "Dream Baby Dream"
Perfume Genius - "Dark Parts"

R. Kelly - "Share My Love"
Scott & Charlene's Wedding - "Two Weeks"
Sensate Focus - "(X) Untitled"
Solid Attitude - "Black Pocket"
The Soupcans - "The Horla"

Spacin' - "Sunshine, No Shoes"
Spiritualized - "Hey Jane"
Swans - "The Apostate"
Thee Oh Sees - "Will We Be Scared"
Total Control - "Scenes From A Marriage"

Ty Segall & White Fence - "I Am Not A Game"
Uncanny Valley - "Rising"
War - "Brodermordet"
We Shave - "Green Streets of Leather"
White Fence - "Balance Yr Heart"

Here is what I believe to be my favorite song of 2012.

EPs / 7"s
I started buying more 7"s this year. Granted, some of the things below are 12"s, and some cassettes - but, whatever. 7"s are pretty rad. Also, it was just too tough to rank these bad boys - largely because, on the one hand, these are effectively songs, which I've already listed, and, on the other hand, these are effectively albums, which I've already listed -  so I'm not gonna rank them if that's okay. If you want to contact me personally, I can give you my theoretical rankings, I guess... Anyways, I'll say that number one likely belongs to our friend Burial and his Kindred EP. Number two? Probably Meat Thump or Sex Church.

Burial - Kindred
Cave - Party Legs b/w Thai I Am
Cheap Time - Other Stories
Coffin Pricks - Group Home Haircut
Dawn of Humans - Blurst of the Birdfish

The Doozies - Ruby
Drose - A Voice
Evening Meetings - Forgotten in Seconds b/w Hello Mr. Evening
Hygiene - Hygiene
I Dream In Transit - Absolute Peace

Joy Orbison & Boddika - Froth b/w Mercy
Kitchen's Floor - Bitter Defeat b/w Down
Mad Nanna - My Two Kids
Magic Milk - Mellows
Martyr Privates - Martyr Privates

Meat Thump - Box Of Wine b/w Feel Good
The Native Cats / The UV Race - Split
No Tomorrow - Nuclear Exposure
Nomad - Nomad
Outside World - Outside World + Seaside Nowhere

Sex Church - Somnambulist
The Spits - Mude und Einsam
Still Caves - Static Lips
Total Control - Scenes From A Marriage
Tropical Trash - 7"

Here's an amazing video of Meat Thump performing in 2010. To make this post more serious for a minute, R.I.P. Brendon Annesley (guitarist of Meat Thump and head of Negative Guest List). Really a blow to music and the world.

Reissues / Compilations
What makes a good reissue? The music itself? The packaging? The bonus tracks? The increase in sound quality from the original? What about a good compilation? Sheer number of good songs? The flow of the tracklist? New songs? Old songs you haven't heard before? Old songs you've heard before arranged well? And why have I grouped reissues and compilations together? I don't have an answer for any of those questions, so I'm just gonna present you with an alphabetical list of twenty-five really awesome reissues and compilations that came out this year. Check 'em out. (I guess Loop's Heaven's End would probably be my number one if I had to pick. That or Cleaners From Venus, probably.)

Abner Jay - Folk Song Stylist
Can - The Lost Tapes
Cleaners From Venus - Cleaners From Venus
Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland - The Attitude Era
Don Cherry - Organic Music Society

Donnie and Joe Emerson - Dreamin' Wild
Doug Jerebrine - Is Jesse Harper
Drexciya - Journey Of The Deep Sea Dweller II & III
Lee Hazlewood - The LHI Years
Lee Hazelwood - A House Safe For Tigers

Loop - Heaven's End
Michael Chapman - Rainmaker
Monoton - Monotonprodukt07
Moss Icon - Complete Discography
Rob - Make It Fast, Make It Slow

Royal Trux - Accelerator
Sleep - Dopesmoker
Sugar - Copper Blue
The Trypes - Music For Neigbors
Tyrannosaurus Rex - Unicorn

Various - Night People Compilation 4
Various - Oh, Michael, Look What You've Done: Friends Play Michael Chapman
Various - Strange Passion
Various - Tibs Picks: Iowa City Weirdo Scene Comp
Woo - It's Cosy Inside

Here's a taste from Heaven's End by Loop. The song's called "Straight To Your Heart," and that's exactly where it goes.

Ask me tomorrow, and my picks'll be completely different - but thanks for indulging me anyways! (I do feel pretty good about this list, though, to be honest.) Do yourself a favor and buy a bunch of these records for yourself for Christmas if you don't already have 'em all. At the very least, you and I will have somethin' to talk about next time we see each other. Have a relaxing, non-apocalyptic holiday and new year!

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