Music of the Year 2012

December 21, 2012

New Stuff that’s rocked my world this year.

Cerebral Ballzy: Cerebral Ballzy – A blast of 80’s style hardcore punkrock with great tunes and brilliant production.

Burial: Street Halo/Kindred – Streets ahead of any other post rave/dubstep/bass music producers. Melancholy and exciting at the same time. Listen on a big bass heavy sound system.

The Eccentric Research Council: 1612 Underture – Maxine Peak (Shameless and film actress) and the Sheffield based “All Seeing Eye” conjure up a psychogeographic and contemporary evocation of the Pendle Witch trials. Really different and really good.

Ichabod: Dreamscapes from Deadspace – Psychedelic, stoner, sludge rock of the highest quality.

Bob Mould: Silver Age – A return to Sugar style pop rock blasts and a renaissance of sorts for the ex-Husker Du frontman. Sunny day psyche music.

The Seer: Swans – Just awesome, troublesome and epic.

Alexander Tucker: Third Mouth – Beautiful, gentle, finger picked guitar with an electronic backwash. Introspective, rainy, Sunday afternoon edge-of-sleep listening (and the cover art is great)

Hirsuite Pursuit: Tighten that Muscle Ring – Filthy techno disco from Bryin Dall (Thee Majesty), Boyd Rice and Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson (Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV and Coil). Sleazy, hardcore and just Ace.

Dragged Into Sunlight: Widowmaker – Take last year’s DIS album and chuck in some Godspeed and the result is terrifying from this bunch of anonymous scouse noise merchants.

Gravenhurst: The Ghost in Daylight – Just lovely guitar and electronica gentleness with a hint of darkness from Nick Talbot.

Rangda: Formerly Extinct – Improv psychedelia from the ‘supergroup’ of Ben Chasny (Six organs of admittance), Sir Richard Bishop (Sun City Girls) and Chris Corsano.

Pig Destroyer: Book Burner – 19 tracks in 28 minutes. Blistering grindcore.

TurboNegro: Sexual Harassment – This is just brilliant. Like The Dwarves, Lazy Cowgirls, Cheap Trick and The Stooges got stuck in a mixer with a modern twist. I’d love to see them live.

Sandy Denny: Box Set – 19 CD’s and accompanying books, artwork and other stuff from her entire career. Has all the recordings with Fairport, Fotheringay and solo performances. Just stunning.

That’s it for new stuff. Other sounds that have rocked my world this year include:

Rihanna: Can’t stop playing her Loud LP.

Phil Spector: Playing all the wall of sound stuff on repeat all year.

Bobby Beasoleil: Scorpio Rising – Soundtrack to the Kenneth Anger movie recorded by BB in prison following the murder of Sharon Tate.

Stephen Stills: Manassas – Country rock at its best.

Roxy Music: CD boxed set of all the albums. Just brilliant.

Liszt: Bartok in the desert – Scratchy recordings of Bartok played on piano by the pyramids of Giza. Great train window gazing soundtrack.



February 13, 2012

Listening to David Grubbs’ beautiful album, Rickets and Scurvey on the train. When I was a teenager, my mate Chris brought an album called Skag Heaven by an obscure, independent hardcore band from Kentucky called Squirrel Bait from a (back then) exotic holiday in the USA back to Bramhall, Stockport that we listened to over and over. I still own the cassette that I taped off his bedroom stereo, bought the CD years later and still regularly play it when I need a shot of energy and enthusiasm that only music from that era can provide.

They released a couple of musically interesting and melodic post-punk albums before fragmenting and going on to form, join or directly influence Bastro, Gastr del Sol, Red Krayola, Slint, the Lemonheads, Tortoise, Papa M, King Kong, The Sea and Cake, Will Oldham’s Palace Music and Jim O’Rourke’s solo outings.

David Grubbs went onto record several beautifully crafted solo albums; The Spectrum Between; Rickets and Scurvy and A Guess at the Riddle. Go buy ‘em, or listen online they’re fabulous.