Thursday, December 27, 2012

Year in Music 2012 - Part One

I probably listened to more new music this year than I can ever remember thanks to Band Camp and Dead Radio Sound. But ultimately I found myself liking the new releases by older veteran favorites of mine to that of most of the cutting-edge stuff. And in many ways it was the year of the EP release with some stellar 4 and 5-song EPs. 

Generally, my list goes from around November to November. So anything that comes out in November and December of the previous year works its way into the next year’s list. That holds true this year with a few late 2011 releases on my 2012 list. But here are other some notable earlier 2011 releases that I didn’t discover until 2012:

Some Notable 2011 Releases I Missed Out On Last Year

The Black BellesS/T (Third Man Records). Discovered by none other than Jack White and signed to his label, this female Nashville quartet blends bluesy garage rock with a goth look that probably confuses a lot of people. And this was a bit catchier to these ears than anything White's done himself in the last few years.

The DarlingsThe New Escape (Gadsen). If you mixed Bad Religion and I dunno - Blink 182? - they may sound like the Darlings. This was one of these albums I found organically, just from iTunes recommendations and a few mentions in reviews and enjoyed it during a time when very few new albums were in my rotation. Then I realized they were sort of being pushed by KROQ in SoCal. You can definitely imagine their sound being popular on modern rock radio in the late 90's/early 00's, as they meet most pop/punk cliches, right down to the band members all having the last name "Darling." Overall, it's a decent album. It might have even been a huge hit in like 2001. But most likely these guys are probably destined for like 2:30pm slots on the Warped Tour until the end of time.

Hanni El KhatibWill the Guns Come Out. (Dine Alone/Universal). Khatib plays a brand of funky blues-based garage rock that would fit nicely next to the first White Stripes record. And Khatib even branches out into sort of a rock/R&B hybrid on a few tracks. I heard this music in a few commercials and actually thought it was the White Stripes at first. "You Rascal You", "I Got a Thing", and "Fuck It, You Win" are the highlights.

The Horrible Crowes - Elsie (Side One Dummy). In between Gaslight Anthem albums, Brian Fallon recorded this album of more quiet contemplative pop/rock songs.

NothingtonBorrowed Time (Red Scare). Sort-of-named after their lead singer Jay Northington, this Bay area band fuses an old school punk sound with some poppier elements. Think more along the lines of Rancid or Social Distortion.

Now, Now - Neighbors EP (No Sleep Records). Formerly known as Now, Now Every Children this band switched labels and shortened their name. They definitely have Tegan and Sara or Seapony vibe.

Ovlov - What's So Great About the City? EP (Exploding in Sound). Definite 90's Grunge vibe. Sounds like a rawer version of the Smashing Pumpkins or Foo Fighters.

RoomrunnerS/T EP (Fan Death Records). Another band with a definite Grunge/hardcore vibe.

Sneeze - Grandma in the Trenches EP (Bear).

Speedy Ortiz - Cop Kicker EP (Cooling Pie).

Speedy Ortiz - The Death of Speedy Ortiz (Cooling Pie).

Woods - Sun and Shade (Woodsist). I've been a fan of Woods and everything Kevin Morby has done for several years now. I just lost this release in the shuffle of new albums last year and didn't get into it until early in 2012.

2012 Shows

Jeff Mangum - 01/25/12 at University of Pennsylvania - Irvine Auditorium.

Tommy Stinson - 03/09/12 at World Cafe Live as part of WXPN's Free at Noon series.

Cloud Nothings - 03/30/12 at Johnny Brenda's.

Rhett Miller - 06/05/12 at the World Cafe Live. Miller and the Serial Lady Killers performing mostly Rhett's solo material with a handful of Old 97's tracks as well.

Built To Spill - 06/23/12 at Union Transfer. I can finally cross "seeing Built to Spill live" off my bucket list.

Jesse Malin - 06/29/12 at Milk Boy. Solo acoustic gig for Malin.

D Generation - 07/03/12 at Johnny Brenda's. First gig in Philly for the reunited D Gen since 1999. 

Wilco - 7/21/12 at Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden as headliner of the XPN Festival.

Sebadoh - 8/6/12 at Union Transfer. Sebadoh with new music, plus the usual favorites.

Bob Mould - 9/11/12 at Union Transfer. 20th anniversary of Sugar's Copper Blue in its entirety, plus other Mould and Husker Du tracks.

Old 97’s - 10/25/12 at Union Transfer. 15th Anniversary tour for Too Far To Care, so TFTC in its entirety, plus other favorites from the catalog.

Best EP, Singles Compilations, Reissues, etc (in alphabetical order)

Billy Bragg & WilcoMermaid Avenue III. The final 3rd disc full of leftovers and b-sides from the original Mermaid Avenue sessions in the late 90's. It's easy to see why most of the tracks on the first two releases beat out these during the editing process, but about half of it is still very strong.

California XSucker/Mummy 7”

Deer TickTim EP (Partisan). 

Old 97’sToo Far to Care (Reissue)

R.E.MDocument (Reissue)

Rolling Stones – "Doom and Gloom" (single)

RoomrunnerSuper Vague EP (Fan Death Records).

SebadohSecret EP. First new Sebadoh material in over a decade. 'Nuff said.

Shark TapeS/T EP. Shark Tape was one of my favorite Band Camp discoveries this year. They have a very late 80's Modern Rock sound, reminiscent of latter day Replacements or Echo and the Bunnymen.

Shark TapeEyes on You EP

Speedy OrtizSports EP (Exploding in Sound). This is probably the best EP release of the year. 5 killer tracks from a band with a great future.

Speedy OrtizTaylor Swift/Swim Fan (single) (Exploding in Sound).

Times New VikingOver & Over EP

Toy SoldiersTell the Teller EP (Mad Dragon).

Paul Westerberg – "My Road Now" (single)

The Rest of EPs and Singles

The BitersLast of a Dying Breed EPFree Energy – "Dance All Night" (single), Free Energy – "Electric Fever" (single), Heat DustS/T EP, Chris Mars – "When I Fall Down" (single), MetallicaBeyond Magnetic EP, QuiltyMasonish EP, The RaveonettesInto the Night EP, theHellSauve Le Requins EP, Those Darlins – "Pet You and Hold You" (single), Those Darlins – "Summer’s Dead" (single), Wye Oak – "Dance My Pain Away" (single)

Next: Albums 35 to 21 in the countdown

No comments: