Wednesday, December 19, 2012

the top ten albums of 2012

I'm so short of time as of late, I don't have time for much in my life.  I haven't been to a movie in ages, and I'm miles behind on the 3 or 4 television shows I still try to follow.  Let's not even get into how infrequently I blog.  However, I still have time to listen to music thanks to a long car ride to work.  So, without further ado, here's my favorite music of the last year:

  1. The Dumb Easies--Love! Love! Love!  Think hard rock meets 50s girl group pop...with better songwriting than either genre.  This one is so catchy, I have to keep myself from listening too late in the day, lest their songs sticking in my head keep me from sleeping.
  2. Micah Schnabel--I'm Dead, Serious.  Micah's live performances are so much more than a typical singer-songwriter act.  The same goes for this album, but even more so.  Brilliant songwriting which makes you never realized that it's just a man and his guitar...and on the songs with full backing, it's even better.
  3. Branden Barnett--Verse, Chorus, Curse. Deep, layered songs...both in the lyrics and in the music.  When I heard Branden played 95% of the music himself, my jealousy increased exponentially. Get it on Bandcamp.
  4. Lite--Past, Present, Future.  Prog/math rock from this Tokyo quartet.  It doesn't matter what instrument you play...these guys are better than you.  Yet somehow, it never starts to sound like a bunch of solos glued together.  Instead, it's good intellectual music...and I mean that in the best possible sense.
  5. Patterson Hood--Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance.  I'm a big fan of The Drive-By Truckers.  Hood's previous solo albums were really neat.  This one is pure awesome...the most coherent work he's done in ages.
  6. Redd Kross--Researching the Blues.  Power pop extraordinaire.  While they sometimes veer more toward the pop side than I would ideally like, when they hit the rock, they really hit it.  Plus one of the best guitar sounds I've heard in years.
  7. The Biters--It's All Chewed Up, Okay?  This album sounds like Cheap Trick meets New York City punk rock...only better.
  8. Henry Clay People--25 for the Rest of Our Lives.  Loud, bombastic rock that will bash you against the wall.
  9. The Sword,--Apocryphon.  Proof that not everyone forgot the lessons of early Black Sabbath.
  10. Dinosaur Jr.--Reach for the Sky.  Loud, noisy guitar heroics as always, but a bit more experimental than Beyond.  It veers just a little too close to sloppy for my tastes, but still, really, really cool stuff.
Top three songs:
  1. Micah Schnabel, "Sid & Nancy." A haunting love song between two addicts.  I was hooked once I heard the line "Carve your name into my arm, I will wear the scars that tell the world I'm yours."
  2. The Dumb Easies, "Fading Away."  This is the kind of killer upbeat pop rock song which will have you driving thirty miles per hour over the limit and hitting the repeat button for as long as the drive lasts.
  3. Brandon Barnett, "Last Rites."  Lyrically, this will knock your heart out:  "I wanted you to stay...if only licking wounds was foreplay."  The music is equally deep and catchy