2012: A Year In Retrospect, via List Format
If the world is really going to end tomorrow, I might as well talk about some cool shit that has happened musically in 2012. Well, to be honest, not all of it is cool. Some of it may be pretty terrible. Its up to you I suppose. Anyways, some dopeness that dropped in 2012.
10: Death Grips- The Money Store
This album had quite a lot of hype built up to it, especially since their previous release Ex-military turned out to be on of the sleeper hits of 2010. Off kilter beats, odd sounds, and MC Ride’s barking on the mic made Ex-military really hot, and the same can be said for The Money Store although now we have much cleaner production as well as some really cool electronic sampling.
09: Fiona Apple- The Idler Wheel…
She got busted for some hash in Texas. So that sucks. But her album is great. Fuck it, they’re all really great. She’s probably one of the most consistent female singer/songwriters in modern times. This album furthers that idea. Go listen to it.
08: A Place To Bury Strangers- Worship
These guys are still kind of new on the scene. They’re also real fucking loud. Take elements of shoegaze and noise rock, and maybe a little post-hardcore, and you get these guys. Not the loudest on this list, mind you, but they’ve got some cool wall of sound dynamics, so all you My Bloody Valentine fans should enjoy this.
07: Macintosh Plus- Floral Shoppe
I don’t really care what people say about vaporwave, I think its genius. Chopped and screwed elevator music? That sounds weird enough for me to like. That being said, this album is probably not the poster child for vaporwave, that title would go to Chuck Person’s Eccojams Vol. I, but this definitely makes its mark. Really choppy editing through a lo-fi filter gives everything a really spacey vibe. This album may have greater impact on those who have never listened to Sade or Diana Ross, but theres still something interesting here. Interesting enough to listen to anyways.
06: Billy Woods- History Will Absolve Me
I had no idea who Billy Woods was until I heard this album. I have no idea what his previous material is like, but God damn, I love this album. Woods has a pretty cool vocal delivery, it reminds me of E-40 sometimes, but perhaps more of an emphasis on wordplay. To be honest though, for me, I’ve kind of stopped listening to rap for rapping and more for production, and in that aspect, you need to get this album. Really fucking grimy, but in a really heavy way.
05: Chrono Trigger –Gato’s Theme (REMIX)
I know this isn’t an album. BUT FUCK THAT. Gato’s theme is the fucking best song in all of Chrono Trigger, and this guy made a trill ass instrumental using that theme. Its great. Its fucking great. What more needs to be said?
04: Swans- The Seer
Swans are one of those bands who like to constantly alienate their fanbase by wildly changing their musical styles. Their debut in the mid 80’s saw them at their harshest, with distorted, dissonant guitars coupled with Michael Gira’s furious screams. From there, Gira would incorporate clean vocals, multi-track melodies and acoustics into Swans, resulting in the dichotomy of sounds from album to album. The latest album is by no means a record breaker. Neither their longest, nor their heaviest, nor their prettiest album, what The Seer instead aims for is head pounding, hammer smashing repetition. I sometimes felt that I was listening to a new age krautrock album, with the almost endless grooves forcing you into a trance. Its crazy. Listen to it in one sitting if you’ve got the balls.
03: Action Bronson & Alchemist- Rare Chandeliers
Peanut butter. A clean shave. A perfect ass. These are all things that are smooth. So is Rare Chandeliers. Like, really smooth. Bronson goes hard as usual, his flow is real wacky this time (“My bitch thick like Don Lovitz,”) but this time, with Alchemist on production, things go WAAAY harder. The samples are these funky jazz and soul beats, like they were pulled straight out of a Melvin Van Peebles movie. And… just… its really great. I mean thats all I can really say about it. Its fun. You can’t not like this album. If you have any love for rap music, you’ll like this album.
02: Scott Walker- Bish Bosch
Probably the scariest thing on this list. Scott Walker’s musical legacy is quite the tale, but let me boil it down to its key elements. Walker made middle of the road pop-music in the 70’s, started experimenting with his sound in the 80’s and 90’s, took a very long hiatus, and released an album in 2006 called The Drift, an album so dark and bleak, it was literally fear inducing. Bish Bosch continues this iteration of Scott Walker, perhaps even more so. If you want to talk about someone who knows how to clash musical dynamics, Scott Walker is your guy. Lots of cacophonous sounds juxtaposed with barely audible whispers make this a really intense listen. Plus, its his longest album to date, petering out at just over an hour. Don’t listen to this in the dark if you can help it.
01: Lil Ugly Mane- Mista Thug Isolation
I have a confession to make. I really like trap music. Southern gangster rap just has so much more going for it. Some of you may have heard of Lil Ugly Mane off of Spaceghostpurrp’s Blackland Radio 66.6, but before he was a rapper, Ugly Mane used to make noise music and atmospheric black metal on cassette. However he has always professed a love for Southern rap, citing Three 6 Mafia, UGK and Screwed Up Click as some of his major influences. With Mista Thug… Ugly Mane fashions himself an album in the same vein, with some absolutely amazing results. I mean, fuck. His production is fucking great, with Purrp and RaiderKlan throwing some verses here and there. Fuck. This is another album where it does me no good to try to explain why this album is amazing. I mean, the production is fantastic, with enough variety in the sampling to keep it fresh. As far as subject matter goes, its nothing you wouldn’t have heard before, rock-slanging, bitch-fucking, braggadocios, swag rap. But to me, that’s kind of the essence of trap music; creating a narrative of incredulity to proclaim yourself better than others. It’s actually kind of absurd if you think about it, which makes it more enthralling for me. It’s probably the same reason I like Lil B or Action Bronson for that matter. Shit bumps in the whip. Thats probably the best review of this album you’re gonna get too.