Posted by: dougery | December 18, 2012

2012: My Year in Music (Part 1 of 3)


I don’t mean to alarm anyone but I’m eschewing the list format for this year’s music round-up.

I know, I know, I love lists, too! But looking back on this year I found it more pointless than ever to rank the music of one artist above the work from a completely different type of musician. Do I actually prefer some of these albums more so than others? Of course. Do I think some are better, will stay with me longer, will have a longer lasting influence than others? Yes. But you’re just going to have to figure those things out by actually reading what I have to say. Bummer, I know.

Approaching this piece I decided to look at the year, month by month, and choose an album or two from each month that I really enjoyed. In reality this is a survey of the first 10 months of 2012 because, I think you need a little time to digest something in order to deem it’s worth. So I’m straight tossing out this month (December) as it hasn’t even finished existing yet and am only including an entry from November because it has been available online for free for over a year and I think I got a handle on it (but we won’t be seeing that entry until the third part of this series, obviously).

Also, this was a huge year for hip-hop, so I am thinking of doing a separate post just for those releases. Their absence on this list subsequently explained.

Here is My year in music, January-April.

I’ve included a few stand-out tracks as embedded youtube clips. I think there is a fairly broad range of sound, so if one doesn’t grab you I’m sure some other song will. At least I hope so anyways. Enjoy! (and as always, tell me I’m wrong in the comments below).

[January 24, 2012]

Cloud Nothings Attack on Memory [Carpark]

“I THOUGHT. I WOULD. BE MORE. THAN THIIII-IIIS!” howls Dylan Baldi in Attack on Memory‘s “Wasted Days.”

Holy shit this record is awesome! Sorry to lay all my cards on the table like that. There have been a few notable articles this year about the ‘return’ of some kind of more ‘pure’ rock’n’roll (as if adding synths or anything electronic to rock makes it something less than it would be otherwise) and yes, there were a lot of excellent ‘guitar’ albums in 2012. I’ve spoken in the past how my musical interest in rock/pop is heavily shaped by Nirvana and Radiohead, with the former fostering my love of lo-fi, angry, loud, for lack of a better word, ‘punk’ sound, and the latter encouraging a look at more experimental, glitchy, somber, and yeah, dance-y songs. Cloud Nothings fall firmly in the first camp.

[February 14, 2012]

John Talabot fIN [Permanent Vacation]

From one extreme to the other. I’ve listened to fIN dozens of times at work (perhaps that is damning praise, the whole work appropriate-ness thing) and every time I enjoy it more. AllMusic classifies this album as ‘left-field house’ whatever the hell that is. ‘House’ music, for me, when used in a positive manner, means a simple form of electronic dance music. None of your dub-steppy wub-whumps or the breathy stretches of nothingness found in more ambient electronic music. No, a straight forward beat. So maybe the ‘left-field’ thing means ‘indie’ or ‘non-commericalized’? I have no clue. I just know that I could listen to “Destiny” for days on end and not get tired of it.

[Februrary 21, 2012]

Perfume Genius Put Your Back N 2 It [Matador]

Even I have a soft spot for ‘sad-bastard’ music every now and again. This is NOT the record to put on for dinner guests. No, you will get a reproachful glance from your wife and be told that you’re ‘bumming everyone else out.’ Mike Hadreas’s voice is the main attraction here, if by attraction one can simultaneously mean utter desolation. I’ve listened to black metal dirges that leave me feeling more hope. Yet in an odd way all the fragility makes me feel happy. As if all the hateful shit in the world wasn’t enough to destroy everything and that something as delicate and beautiful as this managed to survive.

Grimes Visions [4AD]

Claire Boucher has become everyone’s favorite whipping girl for the indie music scene. Presumably because of her many many looks. As in surely she has no clue who or what she is, and is manufacturing herself as she goes along, blah blah blah.

a) This is what we all do, every day, at least it’s what I do, as I haven’t my shit together thoroguhly enough to plan ahead and

b) Is there some reason an alt-music starlet is exempt from chameleoning herself while say, Lady Gaga or Madonna is not?

Make no mistake, Visions is 2012 through and through. I can’t think of a more timely record, so if I had to guess which one of the records on this list would age the fastest, it might be Grimes. But that’s only because so. many. records. will be coming out soon trying to sound just like this.

[March 26, 2012]

Chromatics Kill For Love [Italians Do It Better]

For me this is a throwback. So much of the music I listen to is designed around singles. I can’t remember a time where I was as thoroughly whelmed (as opposed to over- or under-) by an entire album as I was Kill For Love. Maybe as far back as Funeral. Or when I discovered Turn on the Bright Lights years after it’s release. It’s good is what I’m saying. Through and through. Hushed, dreamy, and yet just enough jitters to make the whole thing seem a bit haunted, too.

[April 24, 2012]

Actress R.I.P. [Honest Jon’s]

Ambient in all the best ways. Invigoratingly odd. You can practically feel it rearrange your brain-cells, tearing up old districts and stitching together others. I love its playfulness, its weirdness.

OK, so that’s part one. In a few days I’ll dig a little deeper into 2012 with releases from May-August. See you then.

To continue on to part two, click here.


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