Saturday, November 23, 2013

Parquet Courts - Light Up Gold/Tally All the Things That You Broke EP (What's Your Rupture?) 2012/2013

So first things first. This is mainly a review of the brand new EP but I have to address the fact that Parquet Courts hit one completely out of the park on their second album "Light Up Gold". Easily one of the best things I have heard in the past year. The bands this album references are all excellent ones but you can't really call it a rip off. The band touches upon The Fall, Sonic Youth, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Pavement and definitely The Modern Lovers. All these influences swirled together make for an excellent sound that owes a great deal to the past while having one foot firmly planted in the future. The melodies these guys write are all their own and damn catchy, every one of these songs could be a single(and should be) This is one of the most fun albums to have come out in years and everyone should give it a spin, it's pretty much ideal for any situation. Now having said all that I will address the EP and some of the issues I have with it, for better or worse. The EP is very short, 5 songs, 4 of which dont break the 3 minute mark. These 4 songs are very much in the same vein as the previous album. I really cant complain about em except that a couple dont really grab you as much as the earlier material(i am assuming these were made during the same sessions and they were cut out of the full length) I'll take those songs and be happy we have access to them. Now the final track is the one most people are no doubt talking about. This track is a 7+ minute pseudo rap about riding your bike through the city called "He's seeing paths". The song rides a cheesy drum machine/synth beat for the entirety of its 7 minute run time with a few detours into deconstructed noise. I have to say I love this new direction, albeit it could have been paired down a minute or two but i do like that they are stretching out and trying something new/old but new to them. The track is very reminiscent of Beck's Loser or something along those lines. So yeah these guys are definitely worth your time, Light Up Gold is essential listening and the EP is good for a download. CHECK THESE DUDES OUT!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Colleen Green - Sock It To Me (Hardly Art) 2013

This is the second album by Los Angeles resident Colleen Green. It is a laid back fuzzy affair. The music is mostly fuzzed out and distorted guitar and bass over cheap drum machine beats. The style is in that of the hazy sounds of some of the more lo-fi Breeders songs. Throw in a little Best Coast vocal melodies and lyrical influences and you have an ode to "alternative" rock era songwriting as well as a healthy dose of pop punk attitude. This music is very "high school" in a good way. It captures a young spirit, one that embraces the rush of young love and the mundane simple pleasures that are, to a 30 year old, lost to time. The lyrics read like naive diary entries(in a good way). Songs about crushes and who you eat lunch with, etc....This also has the attitude of a turned down Be Your Own Pet. Youthful exuberance after it's told to "shhhhh" by the chemistry teacher. There is nothing relevatory about this album, nothing shocking, just chilled out, fuzzed out punk rock without pretension. Some will love this, others might find it boring and played out. I find it to be pretty alright.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Daft Punk-Random Access Memories(2013)

After 8 years since their last studio album(a dud) and 2 years after the TRON soundtrack(another dud) what do we get? Let me take a minute to break it down for you. Do you like Steely Dan? Do you like Chic? Do you like dollar bin disco and funk? Do you like music that should have been left and forgotten in the late 70s? Do you like music polished within an inch of it's life? Do you like late period Prince albums? Do you like cheesy R n B? Do you like pretentious spoken word over said cheesy disco and R n B? Down with Yacht Rock? Do you love Loggins and Messina? Do you like albums that sit at good will for years and years and are never sold for good reason? If you answered "yes" to any or all of these questions then congratulations! The new Daft Punk album is tailor-made for you! If you answered "no" to the above questions then I would suggest staying very far away from this album. This is schlock masquerading as "fun" music. This album is so cheesy it hurts in a not very nice way. Don't get me wrong I love cheesy stuff but this is like a bad soundtrack to a shitty romantic comedy about robots. They use too much vocoder, almost none of this album is electronic but the instruments are so polished you wouldn't really be able to tell anyway. There is very little soul on this album, there is plenty of "soul" though. Cues taken from the past to illicit emotion and to me it reeks of plastic. The guest vocals have absolutely zero personality, I mean when Pharrell is the best vocalist on an album with much greater vocalists there is something to be said, something horrible to be said. They flush Julian Casablancas right down the toilet. They smear Panda Bear's vocals all over their studio walls like a kid playing with his own shit. The sheer corniness of this album is insulting to the listener on many levels. This album is the exact opposite of what the Knife did a month ago. They both were coming from similar territory(electro pop). The Knife went intelligent. Daft Punk took it vapid and soulless. I guess they are in that camp that thinks Donald Fagen and Steely Dan are geniuses instead of the over polished smooth muzak studio musicians they really are. This is the album equivalent of a Keytar or one of those asshole fretless basses. If you are into this, by all means eat it up and dance to it but i'm sending mine back to the kitchen for a little more flavor, some more spice, hell I actually just want a brand new dish entirely. sorry guys but this one tastes like shit served on a gold platter with way too much PR and hype. NEXT!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Great, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly-PINK FLOYD

So this isn't an original idea at all but i am co-opting it to Speed Glue and Music. This is a new series I(maybe "we") am starting where we take a look at a band with a large catalogue of albums and discuss in chronological order where they fall in the categories of Great(a masterpiece or near-masterpiece), the Good(something definitely worhty of checking out), the Bad(something pretty shitty that might be worth your time depending on your taste) and the Ugly(something that no one should listen to and possibly should never have been made). These critiques will not go into a lot of depth but they will give a feel for where these albums lie in their discography to act as a guide for your future listening. For our first entry in the series we are focusing on Pink Floyd. A band with many different phases and faces with a few different songwriters who helped shape the band into the megolithical powerhouse they are today. So beginning with the psychedelic 60s on thru to their last album in 94. here we go! Piper At the Gates of Dawn(1967) Sometimes drugs are a good thing. Sometimes a band just starting out is at their best. Sometimes combining drugs and youthful energy yields your best album. In this case the manic energy Syd Barrett(their original singer/songwriter) brings to the table really elevates the mood and the overall creativity to the music that I feel hasnt been reached since. Overall I feel this is the pinnacle of Pink Floyd's output. "THE GREAT" A Saucerful Of Secrets(1968) This album still resides in their short lived psyche-rock mode. This would be their last album to feature Syd Barrett in any capacity. He ends up only writing one song(the last one) on this album but his presence is still felt throughout. The psyche rock on here is still good but doesnt quite reach the acid drenched heights of the previous album. This I would consider to be a transitional album, they would soon start to explore more ambient textures, nearly abandoning all that came before them. "THE GOOD" Soundtrack From the Film "More"(1969) Honestly I havent heard this one, i am not going to rate it. I have heard it is ambient droney rock stuff. so no comment until further investigation. ???? Ummagumma(1969) To be honest it's just kind of meandering boring by the numbers space rock. not highly recommended but definitely not their worst. "THE BAD" Atom Heart Mother(1970) A nice foray into having a bit of a sense of humor. This album feels light and airy compared to the somber dense live/studio noodling of Ummagumma. The title track and the closing track are great examples of well done long prog rock suites. I recommend this album to people looking for a more light hearted chilled out Pink Floyd. "THE GOOD" Meddle(1971) Another album where it's split up between short, fun songs and in the case of "Echoes" on Meddle, one 28 minute track. I have to say i really enjoy the humor and light hearted nature of the shorter tracks especially San Tropez(which predates Ween in a lot of ways) and Seamus(a nice acoustic ditty with back up vocals by a dog). Now these short tracks are nice but my main beef comes with Echoes. Echoes is the exact opposite of the bookended tracks on Atom Heart Mother. Were they had exciting elements that formed a long suite that always kept the listener on their toes, Echoes was an excercise in boring. This track is just boring and since it is half the album I have to throw this album in the negative category. "THE BAD" Obscured By Clouds(1972) Now they are just treading water in a sea of mediocre overblown "arty" rock. totally boring and not worth your time. "THE UGLY" The Dark Side Of the Moon(1973) All I can say about this is that some of the tracks are great, more tracks are alright. The female soul vocals are terrible and cheesy. The beginning to Breathe is awesome. Money is pretty tight. Some of it is overrated some of it is rated just fine. It's a solid "BIG" 70s album. "THE GOOD" Wish You Were Here(1975) By toning down the "hugeness" of Dark Side and tackling more meaningful subject manner they were able to tap into something both epic and emotionally resonant. There isn't a lot of cheese on this album which is nice when returning from some of the more cringeworthy moments on Dark Side. The ode to their frontman who they mentally lost to acid is touching and one of the better compisitions they ever made. This album is relaxed yet very large in it's scope. I can definitely recommend this one. "THE GREAT" Animals(1977) Honestly the high reviews for this thing seem a bit weird to me, aside from the advanced political lyrics and the fact they seem to be a bit more pissed off. My question were they really pissed off? or was it just a response to punk rock and fashionable at the time. The answer will probably die with the members. At any rate this is basically a second rate angrier version of "Wish You Were Here". Yes, the songs are a little more brittle and spiky but the songwriting is the same. For a band considered by so many to be so revolutionary, doing the same thing for multiple albums is a little shitty. This wasnt a step forward, this was them walking at the same pace just with something different coming out of their mouths. "THE BAD" The Wall(1979) Some good tracks, most of it overbloated. Trying to one up the Beatles and it didn't work. Tried to be a prog rock masterpiece about 5 years too late. I kind of like the samples to Another Brick In the Wall. Overall this is some misguided attempt at cultural relevancy. No thank you "THE UGLY" The Final Cut(1983) Basically a Roger Waters solo album. It is very political in parts the music is good for the 80s, pretty mediocre for Floyd. This isn't a total disaster. Some ok tracks. This album seems to get a lot of friendly praise, especially starting in the 2000s with everyone's nostalgic love of the 80s, which is weird because it doesnt sound like a stereotypical 80s album. so yeah this album is pretty much just ok. "THE BAD" A Momentary Lapse of Reason(1987) They should have totally saved this tital for The Wall or Obscured By Clouds or maybe they shouldn't have, I have never heard this one either. No judging. ???? The Division Bell(1994) I remember this being a lot like the album "POP" by U2 in the way that this was a seemingly cash grab of a band to try and remain relevant in an era that has quickly surpassed them musically instead of doing what they should have done after The Final Cut, BREAK UP. This album has a lot of "modern" for 94 sounds on it and is basically a rehash of their late 70s material(that made them millions) updated for the dumbass baby boomers all grown up in the 90s, i remember my dad loved this album...and that says a lot. "THE UGLY"

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Knife - Shaking the Habitual (2013) Mute

So a few years ago I made some music. Some I made by myself and some I made with my neighbor. Nothing was remarkable or groundbreaking about what we were doing in terms of sound necessarily, yet the reason i bring it up was, to a cetain degree we didnt really know what we were doing, we just knew we wanted to create something that was against what we were normally exposed to. You could call it improv, you could almost call it free jazz(though not nearly played as well as the greats). whatever it was it was full of intent and thought to be apart of the pack. there are three distinct songs on this double album that bring the actual tonal quality of what we made years ago to mind. 2 extremely short tracks and one 3 minute track of, pretty much, atonal noise and screeches. sounds like crap right? well in the context of the album and the context of the musical landscape these tracks of pure noise are a revelation, especially considering the artist putting them out. The Knife for years now has been championed as an electro/pop/arty top of the class musical act. People(including myself) loved their 3rd effort "Silent Shout". That album was dancy, dark, weird, poppy and intelligent in it's sound design. This band was supposed to deliver on that album again, and they did it, but they did it a bit differently than expected. A lot of the same sounds are still around(steel drums, bjork like vocals, dancy drum beats etc...) this time though they put art in front of accessibility. not completely, just a little. Where once there was a 4 minute concise blast of tweaked dance pop now there is a 9 minute beast of a track that still retains the same energy and excitement from that track in the past but this time stretches it, adds a trance-like quality and expands on themes that might not have been attainable in the shorter time period. This album is divided up between the fun/exploratory and the heady/meditative. This is achieved with great effect. Ambient soundscapes bump up against electro bangers and so forth. The old sound is definitely evident but there is a sense of growth and wide eyed exploration and just the right amount of punk attitude. The songs are supposedly very political but aside from a few confrontational phrases the politics are lost on me. This album feels like another excellent case of the low-brow meets the high-brow worlds of art. Where the gutter meets Artforum. Where a trashy free zine meets the Wire. I appreciate artists who do this, it shows their intelligence, it shows their open-mindedness, it shows their wide range of taste. These things make me want to listen, to absorb every note. These are the kinds of people i respect. Yes this album is a lot to take in, yes it doesnt make a lot of sense as an easy follow-up but you would be sorely mistaken to think this is crap and anything short of an exploratory mind expanding listen. get lost in this shit and try and dance your way out. I fucking dare you....

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

ATOM tm - Hd (2013) Raster-Noton

Cold, calculated, dark, glitchy and fun as hell. The sounds on this album all point to the ultra-modern. This is electronic music with the mind and body both on equal footing. Beats snap and crackle and fade away with as much urgency as they came in on. This man definitely has a sense of humor. He throws on a really nice cover of "My Generation" he attacks modern pop artists with a lazer guided barb on the track "Stop(Imperialistic Pop)" On the same token he lets Jamie Lidell do his best impersonation of Justin Timberlake on a track which shows he isn't totally averse to pop music. It comes off like a mutant prince filtered through Daft Punk. This is the music Kraftwerk would make had they been dissatisfied with where electronic pop went after they pioneered it. This shit is super fun and super heady. This is dork, rock inspired electronic music with a cold heart. Get with it for a party and then sit and listen for the comedown. Shake your ass and stimulate your mind. One of the best of 2013 for sure.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pissed Jeans - Honeys (2013) SUB POP

So another couple of years go by and here we have a new Pissed Jeans record. Do you like them? If the answer is "yes" then you have either heard this already and love it. If you haven't heard it, go listen to it...i'll wait...then we'll agree it's awesome. For those of you who don't like them; this album wont change your mind, unless you liked them but just hated/had no patience for their long plodding psuedo doom metal songs, those are gone. It's mostly all punk inspired fast tunes. So what do Pissed Jeans sound like? Pretty much take later period Black Flag, mix it with a tiny bit of Flipper and then lay that on top of a base of Jesus Lizard and In Utero era Nirvana. The cherry on top of all that is the truthful, nasty "hold a mirror up to your face" cynicism/skepticism and all around hater-perspective lyrics. If you don't like a lot of society's common tropes then there is a lot to love in what Matt Korvette howls about. Some of his favorite targets are the mundanely painfully boring aspects of the working world, the corruption found everywhere, relationship dynamic struggles, materialism, loubs, health care plans, stick figure family stickers on the backs of cars, shitty bosses, the virtues of wishing someone dead, yuppies, and the list goes on and on. The one song with a (somewhat)positive message is "Male Gaze" which tackles the issue of the seemingly inevitable conundrum of asshole males (and some females) keeping other females down within the punk rock community. I said "somewhat" positive message up there because Matt Korvette admits that he is guilty of doing some of the oppressing but the chorus is "i'm trying to get better" so there's that. This is truly angry music for people that call bullshit on a lot of things. There is a lot of truth in the power of the music and the power of the lyrics. This band says a lot of what people think but are afraid to say. This might be their greatest virtue. This music is ugly, confrontational and critical of the world surrounding it. These guys work white collar office jobs and hate the way they feel but realize that it's hard to move around and once you find a niche where you can live compromisingly comfortably and create your art that you have, somehow, kind of made it but that doesn't mean for a second that they can rest with their opinions railing against the exact system they are forced the be a part of. This is therapy music for anyone who feels that this world should offer something much better because like a best friend you can go and shoot the shit with over a beer, this music is oddly comforting.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

THE TOP 25 ALBUMS OF THE YEAR

#25----CONVERGE-ALL WE LOVE WE LEAVE BEHIND(EPITAPH) Award for the most intense music I heard all year goes to half the songs on this album. The other half were kick ass hard rock songs that also punished. This album is on the list for the sheer intensity of it all, I cant understand what he is saying but man can I hear all that pummelling noise.
#24----CHRIS COHEN-OVERGROWN PATH(CAPTURED TRACKS) Much like a close cousin to the mac demarco album(they are on the same label) this is kind of what I imagined an unplugged normal deerhoof would sound like. since Chris has had time in haunted graffiti and deerhoof it's no surprise that this is indie rock with just that little bit more to push it into "great" territory. The music on this is full of some of the best guitar work I have heard all year. I dont mean that in a blazing solo kind of way. it's all in his tones and subtlety. The effects pedals he uses, things like that. It's understated greatness and that's what this whole album reeks of, understated greatness that seems tossed off while we all secretly know it's not.
#23----THEE SATISFACTION-AWE NATURALE(SUBPOP) The two twin sisters who provided vocals to last year's kick ass Shabazz Palaces album. This is a dark funk/hip hop album with great harmonies. The lyrics are very pro strong women making this kind of a hip hop version of a riot grrl album. The funk grooves are deep and dark and the lyrics can get quite nasty at times but it's always a party around the corner.
#22----KENDRICK LAMAR-GOOD KI,D M.A.D.D. CITY(INTERSCOPE) Straight outta Compton comes Kendrick, we all heard section 80 last year but this one was bigger and better. I would have shaved off the drake/mary j blige/dr dre collaborations but hey that's just me. He came out with one of the most interesting big singles of the year with "swimming pools(drank)" and he managed to pull off an amazing narrative hip hop album in the age of the quick fix single. Backseat freestyle is jawdropping so is madd city. The lyrics are raw and this feels like a classic.
@21----DEMDIKE STARE-ELEMENTAL(MODERN LOVE) What can i say? dark/throbbing/cold/bleak/atmospheric these are all things that make up all demdike stare releases and this was no exception. Much like Tryptich this was a tour de force of what these guys can do. Fully capable soundscapes that twist and turn and never let go. This was and always is the most interesting electronic music of the year.
#20----ANNA MEREDITH-BLACK PRINCE FURY EP(MOSHI MOSHI) Classical maximalist electronic music, yes please, this short little ep gave us big things. The opening track "nautical" is all huge classical ensemble mixed with a stuttering juke rhythm backed by huge dubstep sounds. The next 3 tracks were all great excercises in vintage synth lines. Highly original and a lot of fun and it pretty much came outta nowhere to blow my mind right under the gun of 2012.
#19----FRANKIE ROSE-INTERSTELLAR(SLUMBERLAND) Hated her other stuff. Thought her first album was derivitive garage crap. Her work with the dum dum girls and vivian girls was "meh" and then this. She teams up with one half of fischerspooner and pumps out a classic modern 80s throwback album. The synths have just the right amount of muscle behind them to really take your breath away. Her singing is up in the clouds and soars like something not quite of this earth. It's all very "big" and I am glad she went big because the garage defintely was too small for her talents.
#18----DJANGO DJANGO-DJANGO DJANGO(BECAUSE) We all miss the Beta Band right? I mean come on admit it the Beta Band pretty much kicked a lot of ass then left the indie rock party. Well I am glad Django Django liked them too because this album feels like a complete modern update of the Beta Band sound. Is it a rip off? Maybe, but I think there is enough newness injected into it that it becomes more homage than blatant rip off. These guys wrote catchy as shit modal music with hints of Clinic and a lot of Beta Band and we got one of the best albums of the year because of it. Also award for best liner notes go to them for listing off every single kick ass band ever known in small print.
#17----FOXYGEN-TAKE THE KID'S OFF BROADWAY(JAGJAGUAR) This is what happens when you roll Lou Reed, Bowie, T.Rex,Roxy music and the Velvet Underground together and then toss in the songwriting of the Fiery Furnaces. All over the place glam rock that never ceases to show it's inventiveness. Always twisting, always turning, never stopping. These two kids from Westlake made good on Jagjaguar this year and I hope their album next year will yield the same results, if it does we will have a powerhouse for years to come.
#16----DEEP TIME-DEEP TIME(HARDLY ART) In the early 2000s there was a sound by two bands. Young People and Quixotic. It was unmistakable. Very minimal instrumentation, a vocalist that is very remeniscent of Nico. kind of that non-emotion but full of it at the same time kinda thing. Earlier this year 3 1/2 Bangs and Britches had that sound. It's a sound I love and is very unique and Deep Time had it and they had it in the most consistent lp of it's kind to come around in a long while. if you like the aforementioned bands and Stereolab with a little Raincoats thrown in there this is definately your bag.
#15----TRAXMAN-DA MIND OF TRAXMAN(PLANET MU) It's crack it's crack it's crack it's crack it's crack it's crack it's cr...is that annoying? Well then you would probably hate this album. In fact I dont think you would like Juke at all. But for those of us that do this was a gift. It took the typical repetitive style of Juke/Footwork and lifted it somewhere else. Sure DJ Rashad and DJ Storm did this also but to me this is the one that stood out. It pushed the boundaries further and at the same time added a much needed sense of humor to a genre that is funny by nature but I feel the artists sometimes forget that.
#14----MICACHU AND THE SHAPES-NEVER(ROUGH TRADE) Stripping down their sound. Using minimal repetition to create melodies you wouldnt expect. This is post punk done right. It blurs the lines between electronic based composition and rock n roll. It tested the ears. It didnt so much sound like the Raincoats anymore, instead opting for more of a Renaldo and the Loaf sound. It sounded hi-fi and lo-fi at the same time.
#13----TAME IMPALA-LONERISM(MODULAR) Amazing throw back psyche rock. This takes cues from all the best and gives it a modern kick in the pants. To realize this all came from one guy is astonishing. The melodies are catchy the guitar work is intensely good. The lyrics are all there. This is easily one of the, if not, the best rock album of the year.
#12----MAC DEMARCO-2(CAPTURED TRACKS) This is perfect lazy summer music, the guitars shimmer with just the right amount of brown to make these songs sick in the head. This is Real Estate for the mentally ill. If you like to think while you chill out then this funk/indie/jangle shit will get your head movin.
#11----FRANK OCEAN-CHANNEL ORANGE(DEF JAM) If you are a fan of soul music then this is a 10 a perfect 10. It's like a long lost "classic era" stevie wonder album. It's that good. If you dont love soul. This is still great. The production is fantastic and mature. It's minimal when it needs to be and cranks up the volume when appropriate. The lyrics are fantastic. A lot of the lyrics are from a rich kid standpoint who is questioning his position with his upbringing. What is morally right/wrong? Does he want to be included in this rich world? Shit like that. It's an interesting lyrical standpoint and a ballsy one. This is a great album for anyone.
#10----DEATH GRIPS-THE MONEY STORE(EPIC) Like a shot to the gut we knew was coming. It still hurts. It still has an impact, but unlike Exmilitary we could see it coming and it still kicked our asses. Fusing tons of styles together while remaining truly hip hop this is one of the more consistent albums of the year on this list. The shit was dark, scary, pissed off, fun and just a little bit dancey. Why i've seen footage and hacker were not huge hits this year is beyond me. The hooks were there, the major label money was there, but I guess Power 106 just wasnt listening. Good thing we all were.
#9----JAM CITY-CLASSICAL CURVES(NIGHT SLUGS) Slick, corporate, dirty, sleazy a hint of daft punk a hint of electro, samples of basketball games, samples of camera shutter speeds. This was funky and extremely robotic. Makes for one of the best most exhilarating electronic releases of 2012.
#8----DAUGHN GIBSON-ALL HELL(WHITE DENIM) Blending country and minimal techno may sound like shit on paper but the end result Daughn comes up with is anything but shit. Like Johnny Cash behind a turntable. Like the Magnetic Fields with none of the twee and bitterness instead with all the dread and darkness of a great film noir. The samples sent shivers down the spine and the lyrics were like a roadmap to a lost highway. This was late night creeper music and it was much needed. Oh and not to mention he had the 2nd best set at FYF.
#7----ARIEL PINK'S HAUNTED GRAFFITI-MATURE THEMES(4AD) Is this the best worst album of the year? The worst best album of the year? Who cares! Is it one of the best things since "the pod"? Absolutely! If you appreciate shittiness for the sake of shittiness and being a punk ass you will like this. Not all of it is goofy shit, some of his most focused songs are on this thing. This is an album to be hated/loved by just about everyone. There are Byrds like numbers, a Dame Funk appearance, songs about Del Taco and schnitzel. It's all here. He never sells out he only buys in.
#6----FIONA APPLE-THE IDLER WHEEL IS WISER THAN THE DRIVER OF THE SCREW AND WHIPPING CORDS WILL SERVE YOU MORE THAN ROPES WILL EVER DO(EPIC) Stripping down to just drums and piano for this one I feel Fiona really wanted to focus on her voice and the emotion carried by the voice, especially given the last track "hot knife". This album is probably her deepest emotionally. There isn't too much to say about this album other than it is a welcome addition to her discography, it's incredible, and if you like her and havent heard it yet you need to.
#5----LE1F-DARK YORK(GREEDHEAD) With surprising production choices and sounds, this was the one hip hop album that kept me guessing for half of 2012. His flow is great. Dark mixed with light. The lyrics are preposterous and like I said every song is different and twists and turns within itself to reveal a very easy to listen to but thick album, heavy on warped synths and fucked up dirty south rhythms.
#4----BETH JEANS HOUGHTON-YOURS TRULY, CELLOPHANE NOSE(MUTE) The best debut album on this list. This is one of the best singer songwriter albums I have ever heard. She created her own voice while infusing each song with it's own distinct musical voice. This is powerful shit. her voice needs to be compared to the likes of Adele or whoever is the big "great singer" right now. Her music is a bit more adventurous than her peers. This went virtually ignored and I think that is a crying shame.
#3----SCOTT WALKER-BISH BOSCH(4AD) The most pretentious high art piece of shit this year and the most low brow scum sucking release put out by a major indie this year and everything in between, is genius. This guy is almost 70 and he has the balls to create Swans like industrial clamor amidst sounds of actual farts. Yes, my friends, actual farts. That brings me to the best musical moment of 2012. In the middle of his song "corpse de blah" after about 4 minutes of dread and deep baritone vocals and screeching violins and terrible things...a light emerges from the left speaker. A question mark in the form of a fart. Then another and another and three more followed by him singing about sphincters. This collision of seriousness and pure childishness is what makes this album one of the year's best.
#2----ZAMMUTO-ZAMMUTO(TEMPORARY RESIDENCE) So you quit the Books. Apparently it was a pretty shitty breakup. What do you do? Well, you take the sound you pioneered and add whatever you want to it. What do you add? You add autotune, robot voices, acoustic guitar, tons of echo, a huge dose emotion and a lot of pop music bubbling under the surface. This is how you create one of the most exciting and fun albums of the year.
#1----BLACK DICE-MR. IMPOSSIBLE(RIBBON) I said it before and I will say it again. There is no other band like Black Dice. This is the best Black Dice album. Yes they have made similar sounds and have been doing basically the same thing since 2005 now but this, I feel, is where it all came together. Like a disgusting mashup of funk, punk, blues, soul, noise, pop, hip hop, industrial...you name it they threw it in and swirled it around until it was something they could call their own. This is probably the most forward thinking album I have heard this year and therefore deserves a spot at the top, for pushing shit forward, for not compromising, for forcing you to listen to music differently I award them the top honors for 2012. RUNNERS UP: RYAN POWER-I DON'T WANT TO DIE(NNA TAPES) DEERHOOF-BREAKUP SONG(POLYVINYL) LILACS & CHAMPAGNE-LILACS & CHAMPAGNE(MEXICAN SUMMER) JULIA HOLTER-EXSTASIS(RVNG INTERNATIONAL) THE MEN-OPEN YOUR HEART(SACRED BONES) TRAILER TRASH TRACYS-ESTER(DOUBLE SIX) RAIME-QUARTER TURNS OVER A LIVING LINE(BLACKEST EVER BLACK) ANGEL OLSEN-HALF WAY HOME(BATHETIC) ANIMAL COLLECTIVE-CENTIPEDE HZ(DOMINO) ZEBRA KATZ-IMA READ(JEFFREE'S) AZAELIA BANKS-FANTASEA(SELF RELEASED) OF MONTREAL-PARALYTIC STALKS(POLYVINYL) MOUSE ON MARS-PARASTROPHICS(MONKEYTOWN) DEAN BLUNT AND INGA COPELAND-EBONY(HYPERDUB) TAKEN BY TREES-OTHER WORLDS(SECRETLY CANADIAN) ANDY STOTT-LUXURY PROBLEMS(MODERN LOVE) HIGH ON FIRE-DE VERMIS MYSTERIIS(EONE)