Pull it out, turn it up, what’s your favorite song?
That’s mine, I’ve been crying to it since I was young
So now is the time of year for everyone’s best-ofs, top-tens, and favorites from 2012. Things are no different around here, so let’s get started. My best records of 2012 are…
The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
When American Slang came out two years ago, I was lukewarm to it after the first few listens. It took seeing and hearing those songs live to really enjoy them, and now I do. Although I still don’t really love the production on that one, the songs underneath are really good. With Handwritten, the songs are great from the drop of the needle in both songwriting and production. And I know they will sound great live as well. Since the first time I heard The Gaslight Anthem they have been one of my favorite bands, and with Handwritten they did not disappoint. Deluxe album includes Nirvana and Tom Petty covers, both worthy of hearing.
Propagandhi — Failed States
For the past 12 years, Winnipeg’s Propagandhi have been pushing their sound further and further away from the Fat Wreck-Chords sound they were synonymous with for so many years before. Beginning with Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes, Propagandhi have shed most of that old style, exposing a laser-tight, heavy, thrash/punk machine that impresses with every record. Failed States continues that progression from 2009’s Supporting Caste with even more refined melody and power. The trademark political content is there, just as you would hope it would be, but with an added bit of tenderness on tracks like “Unscripted Moment”. There isn’t a single lightweight in these twelve bangers. Embrace them all.
Converge — All We Love We Leave Behind
If you run in hardcore/punk/metal circles, then you’ve probably read or heard a lot about this album this year. It has been very well received, and rightly so. Converge are a household name in all of those genres by transcending them across a twenty-plus-year career. And this latest effort does even more to further them as mainstays in the area of aggressive music. Seventeen pummeling tracks of hardcore filth that leave one wondering how they are still so good at this after all these years.
Brother Hawk — Affairs of Plain Living
And now for something completely different. And by different I mean fucking awesome. This four piece Atlanta outfit lays out epic bluesy rock n’ roll from and for the heart. After years of cutting their teeth in their local hardcore/punk scene, a few of these guys decided to showcase a different set of influences that were just dying to get out, and do those shine here on Affairs of Plain Living. Track after track of beautifully written and expertly performed blues that makes you wish you knew more bands that sounded like this. And don’t let the six tracks fool you either. The final jammer on this one clocks in at over 12 minutes.
Those are some of my top records from this year. Here are the rest, all fully recommended:
Japandroids — Celebration Rock
La Sera — Sees The Light
Burning Love — Rotten Thing To Say
Out Crowd — Just Us 7″
Black God — II EP
Hot Water Music — Exister
The Cranberries — Roses
OFF! — OFF!
Lemuria — Varoom Allure 7″
Make Do And Mend — Everything You Ever Loved
The Shins — Port of Morrow
Title Fight — Floral Green
Corrosion of Conformity — Corrosion of Conformity
Bob Mould — Silver Age
No Age — Everything In Between
Listened to once or twice, need to revisit:
Municipal Waste — The Fatal Feast
Dinosaur Jr. — I Bet On Sky
Code Orange Kids — Love Is Love // Return To Dust
Strife — Witness A Rebirth
Trash Talk — 119
Ceremony — Zoo
Mindset — Leave No Doubt
Soul Control — Bore Core
Goodtime Boys — What’s Left To Let Go
Tragedy — Darker Days Ahead
Others I want to hear but haven’t had the time or just realized their existence are Tommy Guerrero’s Lifeboats and Follies, The Menzingers On The Impossible Past, Big Boi’s Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, and Pig Destroyer’s Book Burner.
As always, please include your selections below. It can be major label pop fluff all the way to your favorite local band’s new 7″. If you liked it, list it.
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Before & After: ← Don’t blame me…
Here is mine in order.
Deviated Instinct “Liberty Crawls”
High on Fire “De Vermis Mysteriis”
Neurosis “Honor Found in Decay”
Mindset “Leave No Doubt”
Tragedy “Darker Days Ahead”
Deathbed “Reduced to Nothing”
Hardside “Time is Punishment”
Down “IV Part I The Purple EP”
My top albums for 2012:
1) Death Grips – Exmilitary (came out in 2011 but I didn’t hear it till 2012. Easily my most listened to album. The Money Store and No Love Deep Web both came out in 2012. I didn’t like The Money Store but liked No Love Deep Web)
2) The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
3) JD McPherson – Signs & Signifiers
4) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – The Heist (Much more intelligent than whats on the surface)
5) Jimmy Cliff – Rebirth
6) Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls