‘2012 is already happening’: The Mid-Year Review

Around this time last year I found myself hard pressed to seriously recommend 5 albums from the past six months. This year I found it impossible to narrow it down to 10.  The live music scene has been somewhat weak compared to years past,  but to say 2012 has more than made up for a lackluster release schedule in 2011 would be the understatement of the decade.  What you’ll find below are my favorite albums, artists, live shows and biggest disappointments of 2012.5.  They range from metal to electronic to hardcore ‘g’ shit — from the beautiful to the grotesque.  Some mine the past for inspiration, while others look to (like they do in) the future.  But despite their differences, they all have one thing in common — they have defined my first half of 2012.  I listened, now it’s your turn…

11 Favorite Album.5:

Alcest – Les Voyages de l’Âme
(Prophecy Productions)

…stray even further than previous albums from what most would consider extreme music… fans of Alcest’s atmospheric soundscapes should not be disappointed in their latest…

Arliss Nancy – Simple Machines
(Suburban Home)

…not only did they get Micah Schnabel to help them open the record…I don’t think it would be too much to say Arliss Nancy have the potential to be the next Two Cow Garage…about to be known well outside our little scene here in Colorado…

 Chromatics – Kill For Love
(Italians Do It Better)

synthpop revivalists…dance, synth, post-disco and film music…epic 2-CD opus…only going to expand Jewel’s following…

Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory
(Car Park)

…Cloud Nothings have arrived with Attack on Memory…‘addictive’ is the right word to explain this 33 minutes of lo-fi garage punk…

El-P – Cancer 4 Cure
(Fat Possum)

…soooooo worth the wait…lives up to all expectations…El-P in full effect….the logical next leap…

Grimes – Visions
(4AD)

…her mallrat-on-acid giddiness…down the rabbithole into an alternate 80′s…where Tiffany and Debbie Gibson are replaced with Korg keyboards and indecipherable vocal loops…

Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music
(Williams Street)

…stories in the vein of Slick Rick…recycling lines from OutKast songs….80′s throwback album…also an album of current events…one of the most addictive hardcore rap albums in recent memory….catapult him from the underground…

Pallbearer – Sorrow and Extinction
(Profound Lore)

…some of the most emotive doom metal…descend through the layers of depression… break through the heavy fog…rejoice in the celebration…experience the gift that was presented…the sound of a man who had successfully dug himself out of the grave…cannot deny metal as masterful as this…

Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N 2 It
(Matador)

…something very frightening about how free Mike Hadreas is with his inner-most feelings…the way he confesses to strangers…painfully beautiful in his delivery…a pop sensibility…redefines how emotionally deep and moving a medium such as simple music can be…

PS I Love You – Death Dreams
(Paper Bag)

…loud, noisy, garage rock ‘n roll that hurts so good you can’t help but love the abuse…part snarling punk, part paranoid pimply teenager…abrasive…fuzzed-out…pop hooks and classic rock riffs…

Sun Kil Moon – Among The Leaves
(Caldo Verde)

…prolific songwriter would be an understatement…claiming Among The Leaves among his best works would not…17 tracks and well over an hour…album never seems to drag on or get boring….humor and heartbreak…in that same dry, haunting voice…

The Next 10 Album.5:

Big K.R.I.T. – 4Eva N A Day
(self-released)

Clams Casino – Instrumental Mixtape 2
(self-released, 2012)

In Mourning – The Weight of Oceans
(Spinefarm)

Japandroids – Celebration Rock
(Polyvinyl)

Joe Pug – The Great Despiser
(Lightning Rod)

Loma Prieta – I.V.
(Deathwish Inc.)

The Men – Open Your Heart
(Sacred Bones)

Mgła – With Hearts Toward None
(Northern Heritage)

Mirrorring – Foreign Body
(Kranky)

Whirr – Pipe Dreams
(Tee Pee)

The V.I.P.5:

El-P
for the incredible comeback album, as well as Killer Mike’s production

Grimes
for seemingly coming out of nowhere and polarizing the Internet

Fionna Apple
for an amazing comeback, and still being batshit crazy

Lana Del Rey
for the pure amount of coverage

Brian Wilson
for the incredible suite that closes out the mediocre Beach Boys reunion album

Rap Music
for El-P, Danny Brown, Killer Mike, Big K.R.I.T., Death Grips, Joey Bada$$, the Black Hippy crew…

Garage Rock Revival
for The Men, Japandroids, Ty Segall, White Fence,  King Tuff, Cloud Nothings…

Best Live Experience.5:

02.04 Alabama Shakes @ Fox Theatre
02.13 Craig Finn w/ Mount Moriah @ Larimer Lounge
03.06 EMA @ Hi-Dive
04.09 Alcest @ Larimer Lounge
04.10 Willis Earl Beal @ Fox Theatre
04.21 Micah Schnabel w/ Micheal Dean Damron & Arliss Nancy @ 3 Kings
05.31 Bon Iver w/ Feist @ Red Rocks

Biggest Disappointment.5:

post-“212” Azealia Banks material
The Magnetic Fields – Love at the Bottom of the Sea
Miike Snow – Happy to You
The Walkmen – Heaven
Willis Earl Beal – Acousmatic Sorcery
SXSW 2012
seeing Radiohead live for the first time

2012.5 Albums