Top Albums from the year of the dragon 2012

Top Albums from the year of the dragon 2012

When I listen to things that i come in via the internets or that I pick-up myself in the store i look for a few things in a band’s music. Firstly does its sound rings authentic in a way that I’ll want to come back to it or does it just fall flat? Secondly does it have a freaking hit or a stand-out track. If there are no instant tunes it’s a looser but if I am in another room and come running back to my desk wondering what that song was I flag it with some random number of stars in iTunes — depending if I am feeling generous – nobody sees this so it’s just for my amusement because seriously I won’t remember a week from then until I look back in my listening history. Thirdly does the album carry a mood and sound all the way through or at least until the 5-6th track am I still listening and am I wanting more? If a record can do any combo of these things then we’re pleased around here. Totally know there are things we didn’t get or heard so this is just a slice of good music that was put out there this year and presented itself to the RS blog. So keep on sending it. We promise if you promise to bring you more in 2013. The last 1/4 was mostly a let down in 2012 but we won’t let that get us down.

Speedy Ortiz Sports EP Review - top albums of 2012
12. Speedy OrtizSports EP – One of our most stalked independent artist is the gal singer from Speedy Ortiz Sadie Dupuis. If you mixed the voice of Tanya Donelly from throwing muses with almost any respectable 90’s noise outfit each song would be finely represented on the Sports EP. Finely dissonant guitar chords chopped up on melodic vocals is this. We happen to know she is a record geek all the way through and it comes across as she brings her bandmates with her to a leve we can understand. So in a way the output is expected and not a missed hit really. Start with “Silver Spring” then visit the rest. You’ll be a fan like we are. We like them better than Screaming Females. [ BUY IT ]

11. Bob MouldSilver Age – Just a solid record that was missing from current rock landscape of crap bands who think they know how to rock. This guy is the master.

10. Nude Beach II It’s a little old school poptopia in a Elvis Costello meets joe jackson kind of way but this makes it very neat. Seriously mostly classic sounding love songs that sound like they were produced by Nick Lowe in the 70’s so if that is your thing. Check them out. We like it.

09. Diamond RugsDiamond Rugs – Call it a super group or whatever. This is just a good record. Maybe it’s a one-off band I don’t care. “Gimme Beer”, “Be God”, “Country Mile” and “I took note” are really good songs.

08. Nada SurfThe Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy Super solid indie pop release from the guy who could make the phonebook sound like magic. Single “When I Was Young” is classic Mathew Caws.

07. Tame ImpalaLonerism – Fuck this is great. Equal parts beatles and stones if they just did psychedelic music. Ok sort of lazy comparison but it you like spacey music that is mixed in a peculiar way then try a track or two. It gets a little formulesque at times but it’s unique. So high high praises for this music.

Harmonicraft - torche top album of 2012
06. TorcheHarmonicraft Its pure rock. A little down tuned with a unique metal sound. No gimmicks other than being great. Melody leads instead of a blatant chorus at times. In your face at other times fast prog. It’s awesome and nobody gets it. If anything their album artwork is awesome. So….

05. METZMETZ – Holy noise! Yes, i was confused I thought bands stopped making records like this but suspect we’ll see more musicians revolt against a clean discernable sound. this record rocks all the way through. Whilst no hits perse it will make you question what you like about bands that are just loud but no identity in their guitar work.

04. Jason LytleDept. Of Disappearance – Mr. Lytle formerly of grandaddy is the dr. of psycho depressing music made for soundtracks. Every note is perfectly spun for a backdrop in a western taking place on a concrete highway littered with broken down cars. A modern odyssey and backdrop to real mayan end of days.

03. The Jon Spencer Blues ExplosionMeat and Bone – Back to basics is this JSBX record. Actually I don’t think they ever do anything else. No disco era for them. it’s either massive guitar swagger or bust. You can’t go wrong with picking this up and just blasting through your boombox. In fact if you don’t do that please stop reading my blog. Start with “Bag of bones” and “boot cut” then do it. Just do it.

02. King TuffKing Tuff – Hey here is indie record on subpop that is not afraid to be a psych rock band with melodies and cheeky song titles. Might be a little poserish but it’s gridy and fun in a more nasal bon scott kind of way. Stand out tracks “Unusual world” which is this light rock ditty akin to psychedelic furs, “Alone & Stoned” and of course lead-off guitar hit “Anthem. If somebody every titles a song like that and it’s not ripper stomper – shoot them.

Criminal Hygiene – Beneath the Flame (Live @ Down and Out) from CRMNL HYGNE on Vimeo.

01. criminal hygieneCRMNL HYGNE LP This is a LA Band that needs to get the fuck out of dodge and over to the east coast. It’s our number one pick because it reminds us of the good ole-days of slanted and enchanted meets Sorry ma forgot to take out trash. Most of you will hate it for which reasons I won’t be able to help you because this record is not polished but shines because of it’s basic elements of song like fIREHOSE were forever loveable . The music stands-out all on it’s own. [ BUY IT ] The standout tracks are “Alan, I’m in Love”, “Immortal eighteens”, “blak water” and “get an education”

Related articles:
The Best of 2011
Criminal hygiene rearrange your record collection
Lucky 13 Best Albums of 2010 – Part II
Speedy Ortiz is Hipsterer than you

What would Keith Richards do?

What would Keith Richards do?

So what the Blues got to do with it? I’ve been watching Treme on the cable and reading Keith Richard’s autobiography and getting back into the roots of american rocknroll and funk for that matter for the past couples year and I realize I don’t know shit. So much music so little time to live and breath it like so many before. Modern music as we know it would not exist if it’s weren’t for the blues. Took me a long to realize this. The army gave folks in the south band instruments and they made music using trombones! Keith obsessed on sounding like Elmore James, Chuck Berry and worked to get a sound out of whatever was at his disposal making him a blueman. Then eventually because he was in The Rolling Stones he just got to jam with whoever he wanted to and adopted tuning his 6 stringer to a five string guitar tuning the 5-1 to G, D, G, B, D to get his sound and write some of the most awesome blues hybrid guitar songs ever written. Not going to deep dive at all the way but instead celebrate just some of the hybrids. I’m sure there are hundreds of examples and I’m not even sure my ear could pick-up on any of them unless you explained; but if you ever wondered why a cover band was not just pulling off a Stones song it’s not because their feel was off or tone but maybe because the tuning was wrong or they just never got high. Other great alt blues songs have a topicality and delivery vibe that you either get or you don’t. When you get a chance to read Keith’s autobiography LIFE you’re going to be pretty impressed by his ability to stay in the zone and function in his heyday. So when you’re up against the wall just ask yourself what would Keef do? Then it ride all night long till the record skips and you’re passed out.

Mississippi Breaks MP3 by Mule – features the guitar playing of P.W. Long. this band came together after Laughing Hyenas would practice with Kevin Munro and Jim Kimball’s badass sidefaced drumming.
The Shakin’ Fears MP3 by P.W. Long’s solo release We didn’t see you on Sunday? is probably as close to a Mule song you’d ever get so just chug the Jack Daniels and everything will be alright.
Nothin’ Man MP3 by R.L. Burnside from Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down
Money Rock’N’Roll MP3 by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Tumblin’ Dice MP3 by Johnny Copeland from the All Blues’d Up compilation which features songs by The Stones.
Leaving Trunk MP3 by Taj Mahal. Great harmonica on this track. Very straight forward blues progression.
Sweet Brown Sugar MP3 by Robert Belfour from Pushin My Luck. This sounds like old blues done right today.
Drinking Muddy Water MP3 by the North Mississippi Allstars from Shake Hands With Shorty. This is a very good contemporary blues band.
Dimples MP3 by John Lee Hooker On Vee-Jay 1955-1958 recordings.
Hustled Down In Texas MP3 by Johnny Winter from Second Winter (1969)
Everybody Needs Somebody to Love MP3 from the movie soundtrack – The Blues Brothers. Probably my first introduction to the blues and what a way to have it delivered. Still one of my all time favorite movies too. Covered by Wilson Pickett, The Stones and originally recorded by Solomon Burke (1964). Was also covered by Gerry Garcia band and 13th Floor Elevators.
All Down The Line MP3 by The Rolling Stones from Rocks Off!