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Making Some Sense of 2012.....musically speaking


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Initial post: Dec 25, 2012 4:57:08 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 26, 2013 7:21:02 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
Here I go again. Like everyone on these boards, I've been throwing out names of 2012 releases all year but with little comparative sense to them. Then M. Topper listed his Top Ten for the year on one of the Deep Purple boards and asked me for mine. That was November and I'm still fumbling around. Still, I'll probably come up with my assessment of the year's music sooner this year than any year in the past several decades.

So, as usual, I've been trying the alphabetical approach. I'm rating albums from 2012 and trying to put them in some sense of order of preference, letter by letter.

Yes, it's anal and another excuse to make lots of lists, but I'm having fun in a frustrated kind of way.....

The A's, in order of preference:

(I've done my last update for awhile and added short comments for each album listed. It's a NEW listing, 3/26, as all of them will be eventually.)

ed.

Posted on Dec 25, 2012 6:23:56 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 6, 2014 6:40:55 PM PST
E. Dill says:
Now to the B's...(after slightly changing the numbering system)

1. Beach House - Bloom (Indie Rock/Neo Psych)(9.8)

2. Bjork - Bastards (alt dance/electronics)(9.6)

3. Bahamas - Barchords (Indie Folk)(9.5)
4. Big Brother & the Holding Company - Live At Carousel Ballroom 1968 (Psych Rock)(9.5)
5.Azealia Banks - 1991 (Hip House) (9.5)
6.Bear in Heaven - I Love You It's Cool (Indie Rock/Neo-Psych)(9.5)
7.Big K.R.I.T. - Live From The Underground (Dirty South/Southern Rap)(9.5)

8. Band of Skulls - Sweet Sour (Punk Blues/Alt Pop/Rock/Indie)(9.4)
9. Paul Banks - Banks (indie rock)(9.4)
10. Bat for Lashes - The Haunted Man (Art Pop) (9.4)
11. Ryan Bingham - Tomorrowland (alt country)(9.4)

12. Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself (Alt Indie Rock)(9.3)
13. Band of Horses - Mirage Rock (Indie Rock/Americana (9.3)
14. Joe Bonamassa - Driving Toward the Baylight (Blues Rock)(9.3)
15. Between the Buried and Me - The Parallex II - Future Sequence (Alt Metal)(9.3)
16. Bleeding Knees Club - Nothing to Do (Garage Punk)(9.3)

17. Baroness - Yellow & Green (2)(Sludge Metal)(9.2)

18. Balkan Beat Box - Give (Turbo Folk)(9.1)
19. Big Pink - Figure This (Alt Pop Rock/Neo Psych)(9.1)
20. Beachwood Sparks - Tarnished Gold (Alt Indie Rock/Alt Country)(9.1)
21. Eric Bibb - Deeper in the Well (Blues)(9.1)
22. Bhi Bhiman - Bhiman (Singer Songwriter)(9.1)
23. Zac Brown Band - Uncaged (country)(9.1)

24. David Byrne/St. Vincent - Love This Giant (Art Pop)(9)
25. B.T. - Laptop Symphony (comp/electronic)(9.0)
26. Bowerbirds - The Clearing (Contemporary Folk)(9)2
27. Tommy Bolin - Great Gypsy Soul (Blues Rock)(9)
28. Balmorhea - Stranger (alt indie folk) (9)
29. Big Boi - Vicious Lies & Dangerious Rumors (rap)(9)

28. Buckethead - Electric Sea (Ambient/Acoustic Rock)(8.5)
31. Kishi Bashi - Alt Pop/Alt Pop/rock (7.8)
32. The Beach Boys - That's Why God Made the Radio (8.4)
33. Brandon Benson - What Kind of World (singer/songwriter)(7.8)
34. Dierks Bentley - Home (Country)(7.4)

not yet rated:
The Bad Plus - Made Possible (avant garde jazz)
Baton, Masaki - Brain Pulse Music (electronic)
Alan Bibey/Wayne Benson - Mandolin Chronicles (bluegrass)
Birthday Massacre - Hide and Seek (industrial rock)
Blaudzun - Heavy Flowers (alt s/s; indie folk/alt indie rock)
Blut Aus Nord - 777:Cosmosophy (post metal; alt metal; black metal)
Erik Boggraal - Hotel Terminus (soundtrack)
Billy Bragg/Wilco - Mermaid III (plus 2 Xtras from Mermaid II)
Brandy - Two Eleven (r&b)
Breakbot - By Your Side (alt dance/alt indie rock)
Brian Jonestown Massacre - Aufhoben (neo-psych, drone, raga rock)
Jack Bugg - ST (indie rock/indie folk)
Burial - Street Halo/Kindred (future garage)

Comments:
Bjork's album is actually a remix of Biophilia but WHAT a mix! No "covers" here. These are quite original
BT is a compilation but besides being a 2012 release, I suspect a lot of the songs were NOT previously released on albums. I was taken by the beats.
I first heard the Big Brother album and hated it....I thought it sounded muffled. Then I picked it up again and was taken in by the guitar work. The only thing I had to withstand is the horrible balance between Janis and Sam Andrew when they were doing their "whoah whoah's"....Andrew WAS a guy searching for a key....
I'd never heard of Band of Skulls before but the harmonies between the male and female singers made the album for me.
What happened to me and Big Pink? I think it's all their fault. Was there a melody on that album? (Edit) Ok, now comes the final straw. I've just added an album by Between the Burial and Me and I gave it a HIGHER rating than Big Pink. Can this be possible...a death metal band? Ok, admittedly, the "charm" was the way BTBAM uses pretty interludes between their longer growls, and even uses regular voicing with the growls within songs as well as an overall sense of instrumental prog as well as death metal riffage. I changed them back. Big Pink wins by default.
I should have given a slightly higher rating to Bleeding Knees....I graded them down for the sameness of the songs....did I ever do that to the Ramones?
I appreciate Buckethead's eclecticism but I didn't want to hear his take on ambient music. Where's the shredding?
I may have given the Beach Boys a bad shake. Ok, I didn't love the album but ANY album they make has elements of their sound that I love....even with Mike Love present. Sorry guys. You beat out Dierks Bentley and even a popster I DID love...at least previously... Brandon Benson.

Posted on Dec 25, 2012 7:23:31 PM PST
Last edited by the author on May 19, 2013 11:23:48 AM PDT
E. Dill says:
1. Can - Lost Tapes (3)(Krautrock/Experimental Rock)(10)
2. Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory (Lo Fi/Noise Rock/Indie)(10)
2b. Anna Clyne - Blue Moth (modern classical)(10)
3. Nenah Cherry & The Thing - The Cherry Thing (jazz)(10)
4. Cold Specks - I Predict A Graceful Expulsion (singer songwriter/indie folk)(10)
5. Caspian - Waking Season (Post Rock)(10)
6. Calexico - Algiers (alt/indie rock/americana)(10)
7. Cohen, Leonard - Old Ideas (singer songwriter)(10-)
8. Carolina Chocolate Drops - Leaving Eden (old timey/bluegrass)(10-)
9. The Cookers - Believe (jazz)(10-)
10. Gary Clark Jr. - Blak & Blu (r&b)(10-)
11. Cat Power - Sun (Alt/Indie Rock)(10-)
12. Cave, Nick/Ellis, Warren - Lawless (Soundtrack/Compilation)(9+)
13. Ry Cooder - Election Special (Electric Blues)(9+)
14. Shawn Colvin - All Fall Down (singer Songwriter)(9+)
15. Cursive - I Am Gemini (Indie Rock)(9+
16. Christian Mistress - Possession (heavy metal/stoner)(9+)
17. Counting Crows - Unknown Sunshine (alt rock covers)(9+)
18. Coheed & Cambria - The Afterman: Ascension (Prog Rock)(9+)
19. Alex Chilton - Free Again (Roots Rock)(9)
20. Brandi Carlile - Bear Creek (Indie)(9)
21. Chairlift - Something (Indie Pop/Rock)(9)
22. Mary Chapin-Carpenter - Ashes & Roses (singer songwriter/americana(9)
23. Jimmy Cliff - Rebirth (reggae)(9)
** Kelly Clarkson - Greatest Hits (9)
24. Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind (9)
25. Cancer Bats - Dead set On Living (hardcore punk)(9-)
26. The Cult - Choice of Weapon (hard rock/post punk)(9-)
27. Curren$y - The Stoned Immaculation (southern hip hop)(9-)

not rated yet:
Crystal Castles - III (synth pop/electropop)

Comments:

The lost Can tapes were a real treat for me.
Cloud Nothings is a local band (Cleveland) that's gotten some National buzz. I detect a Nirvana influence.
After Nenah spent 16 years bringing up a family, she decided to get back to music and made a wonderful album integrating her voice with some rather free/avant garde instrumentalists.
Cold Specks - I can't remember this Canadian female's name but her voice and folk style is her own. Wow!
I know I've had this discussion before with M. Topper, but this "post rock" band (Caspian) sounds quite progressive to me.
I almost got high listening to the Curren$y album....I mean, Snoop Dogg loves his reefer but this guy has made it his life's work...smoking it and singing about it.

ed

Posted on Dec 25, 2012 7:55:39 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Aug 1, 2013 8:02:09 AM PDT
E. Dill says:
1. Deerhoof - Breakup Song (Indie Rock/Noise Rock)(10)
2. Death Grips - The Money Store (Experimental Hip Hop) (10-)
3. Decemberists - We All Raise Our Voices... (Indie Folk) (10-)
4. Iris Dement - Sing the Delta (americana/country gospel)(10-)
5. Dirty Three - Toward the Low Sun (Post Rock)(10-)
6. Diamond Rugs - st (indie rock/lo-fi/garage rock revival)(10-)
7. Dead Sara - ST (Alt Pop Rock) (10-)
8. Deftones - Koi No Yokan (alt metal/indie rock)(10-)
9. db's - Falling of the Sky (alt pop rock)(10-)
10. Lana Del Rey - Born to Die (singer songwriter)(10-)
11. Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan (indie pop/art pop)((10-)
12. Dr. Dog - Be the Void (Psych Rock)(10-)
13. Mac DeMarco - 2 (jangle pop/lo fi indie)(10-)
14. Dr. John - Locked Down (New Orleans Blues)(10-)
15. Dinosaur Jr. - I Bet on Sky (alt rock)(9+)
16. DIIV - Osain (Dream pop/indie pop)(9+)
17. Ani DiFranco - Which Side Are You On? (alt. folk)(9+)
18. Divine Fits (Indie Rock/Synth Pop)(9+)
19. Bob Dylan - Tempest (singer/songwriter)(9+)
20. Dead Can Dance - Anastasia (Dream pop/Ethnic Fusion)(9+)
21. Dry The River - Shallow Bed (Alt/Indie Rock)(9+)
22. Dan Deacon - America (Indie Electronic)(9+)
23. Django Django - ST (Indie Rock)(9+)
24. Arizona Dranes - He is My Story: The Sanctified Story (pre-war gospel blues/spirituals/country blues)(9+)
25. Demolition String Band - Gracious Days (alt country)(9+)
26. Daphni - Jiaolong (electronic)(9+)
27. Delta Spirit - st (alt country rock (9+)
28. Delicate Steve - Positive Force (alt indie rock)(9)
** Dion - The Complete Laurie Singles (2)(pop/rock)(8)

not rated yet:
Dead Prez - Information Age (hardcore rap/underground rap)
Dees, Sam - The Show Must Go On (r&b/soul)
Donovan - Essential (folk rock/psych rock, COMPILATION)

I absolutely LOVE the Deerhoof album!
I often hear things being described as "experimental" in hip hop....with Death Grips, they give new meaning to "experimental", especially operating in that genre.
I always come back to Dirty three. I love their instrumental mix, especially with the violin.
I believe Dead Sara is the group with the ballsy female lead singer (style NOT anatomy) and a dynamite female lead guitarist.
I suspect that the Dirty Projector will grow on me leaps and bounds. I need to take more time with the lyrics. They definitely have their own sound and style.
I believe Divine Fits is a Spoon side project. It grew on me.
Yes, I was disappointed at my first full listen of Dylan's album. I was especially disappointed by those rather long songs at the end (not the last one) that didn't seem to go anywhere musically or, for that matter lyrically. I was reading a critic who suggested that "Tin Angel" was a great example of Dylan as a magnificent storyteller. Boy, if that's true, I surely need to listen to that one again with a lyric sheet. About half way thru the 9+ minute song, I was daydreaming. And I did worse with Tempest. I guess the ship went down, huh? Considering he's like 71 now and this is his 35th album, it's not too shabby. But if he's going to record 10-15 minute songs, give me something I can chew on. I'm not asking for much. Just a "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" or a "Desolation Row".

But the next one could be different. I still remember the first time I heard Love and Theft. I never, ever would have guessed something like that. I couldn't take it off the turntable for days.

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 11:16:51 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 25, 2013 7:34:08 AM PST
E. Dill says:
My E's:

1. Earth - Angels of Darkness 2 (Drone)(10)
2. EL-P - Cancer for Cure (Experimental Rap)(10-!)
3. Eternal Summers - Correct Behavior (indie pop/rock)(10-)
4. Justine Townes Earle - Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now (Alt-Country/Americana (10-)
5. Alejandro Escovedo - Big Station (Roots Rock)(9+)
6. Kathleen Edwards - Voyageur (Singer Songwriter)(9+)
7. Exitmusic - Passage (Dream Pop) (9+)
8. The Evens - The Odds (Alt Indie Rock)(9)
9. Electric Guest - Mando (Alt Indie Rock/Indie Electronic)(9)
10. Enter Shikari - A Flash Flood of Colour (Transcore/Post-Hardcore/Electronic (9-)
11. Europe - Bag of Bones (Hard Rock)(8+)
12. Explorer's Club - Grand Hotel (Sunshine Pop) (8-)

Comments:

I love every album Earth has made to date. Yes, they are built on a drone sound but it is never boring to me. Then again, neither are my lists.
EL-P was a revelation. Another truly experimental rapper. (I'd already reviewed Death Grips, another experimental rap outfit.)
Justin Townes Earle has a way with words and with presenting them, although he does, on occasion, sing offkey. Even with that oddity, this was one emotional record to make his father, Steve and the memory of his "namesake", Townes Van Zandt, proud.
I've seen Alejandro Escovedo twice live and both were dynamite shows. At the time, he was recovering from a serious illness, hepatitis....so serious that a bunch of artists had made a tribute album to his work to raise money for his medical costs. You wouldn't have known it seeing him perform and he's like 61 now! He's been working with Chuck Prophet on his last 3 albums and it's been a good paring.
I really like Kathleen's songs and her voice. Nothing too out of the ordinary but it always works within her songs.
Exitmusic was unknown to me before this. They do have a somewhat "Beach House" sound to them with their version of dream pop. My only complaint is their usual recipe of starting with a soft verse or two and then an explosion of instrumentation at the chorus. This, sometimes, can be wonderful dynamics like with Radiohead's Creep or Stairway to Heaven. Sometimes it ruins, for me, the beauty of the verses.
Enter Shikari is a post-hardcore band with electronics thrown into the mix. One commentor on youtube felt that the use of electronics proved that the band were phonies that would do anything to become popular. I tended to like the less hardcore stuff.
Europe is a Swedish hard core band whose album was pretty decent for me.
Explorers Club was the big bomb here (and I gave it an 8-??). It was described as being a kind of Beach Boy's clone and I'd sue whoever said that if I was a Beach Boy. Their music sounded like pre-rock pop...Patti Page singing "How Much is That Doggie In the Window" and stuff like that.

ed.

Posted on Dec 29, 2012 2:23:23 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 25, 2013 10:53:18 AM PDT
E. Dill says:
The F's - 2012:

1. Flaming Lips - The Flaming Lips and Heddy Fwends (Neo Psych/Experimental Rock)(10)
2. Field Music - Plumb (alt pop/rock; chamber pop/neo-prog)(10)
3. Flying Lotus - Until the Quiet Comes (Exp. Electronic)(10-)
4. Jay Farrar/Anders Parker/Will Johnson/Yim Yames - New Multitudes (Alt. Singer Songwriter/Americana)(10-)
5. Florence & the Machine- MTV Unplugged (alt singer songwriter)(10-)
6. A Fine Frenzy - Pines (alt/indie rock)(10-)
7. John Frusciante - Letur-Lefr (ep)(alt pop/rock/experimental)(10-)
7b. Food - Mercurial Balm (nu jazz/jazz fusion/free improv./modern creative (10-)
8. Bill Fray - Life is People (indie folk/alt singer songwriter)(9+)
9. First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar (Alt Singer/Songwriter/Indie Folk)(9+)
10. Fun - Some Nights (Indie Pop) (9+)
11. Donald Fagen - Suken Condos (jazz rock)(9+)
12. Flyleaf - New Horizons (alt metal)(9+)
13.Lupe Fiasco - Food & Liquor II (rap)(9+)
14.Fanfarlo - Rooms Filled With Light (Indie Rock)(9)
15.Ben Folds (Five) - Sound of the Life of the Mind (Adult Pop/rock-Alt Singer Songwriter)(9)
16.Flying Colors - St (Prog Rock)(9-)
17.Bryan Ferry Orchestra - The Jazz Age (new orleans jazz revival)(9-)
Comments:

I had heard so little about this Flaming Lips album that I wondered how bad it could be. I loved it!? Yes, it is even more experimental than before. I was reading a review and it talked about how they cavorted on stage, etc. suggesting they were more interested in attention than music. They were suggesting that this was the same cavorting only with music. I wonder about that and how other bands that are quite experimental are given great praise and latitude while this album is taken as a joke because it's NOT Soft Bulletin, an album I love. I embraced this from the start.
I also read some reviews on the Jay Farrar & Co. album, comparing it unfavorably to Wilco's album of Woody Gutherie songs with Billy Bragg. Here, Farrar, who shares his ex-Uncle Tupelo status with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, does his own version of some Woody Gutherie material is either the ruin of this album to one critic or the only voice worth hearing from another. I don't agree with either. I can't say that I like this one BETTER than the Bragg/Wilco Mermaid Ave. album(s), but I liked this a lot. I've always loved Farrar's voice.
First Aid Kit consists of two Swedish female folkies (sisters) whose indie folk I like alot.
Fun is a rather odd sounding indie pop band who sometimes seem to throw everything but the kitchen sink into their rather big sound. It works for me.
I was somewhat disappointed by Flying Colors version of prog rock. It was quite listenable but I found myself often liking one aspect of a song while not liking another. Often I simply had a problem with the melody/tune even when I liked some of the instrumental virtuosity.

But, again, that Lips album may not be the cup of tea for all those Soft Bulletin fans but I found their new album full of rather reckless fun and wildly imaginative.

ed.

Posted on Dec 30, 2012 4:43:12 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Aug 1, 2013 8:28:02 AM PDT
E. Dill says:
The G's:

1. Guided By Voices - Class Clown Spots UFO (alternative indie rock/lo-fi)(10+)
2. Grimes - Visions (10)(art/indie rock)(10)
3. Grizzly Bear - Shields (alt indie rock/post rock)(10)
4. Godspeed You Black Emperor - 'Allalujah Dont Bend Ascend (10-)
5. Holly Golightly & Brokeoffs - Sunday Run Over Me (10-)
6. Guided By Voices - Let's Go Eat the Factory (lo fi)(10-)
7. Tord Gustavson - The Well (avant garde jazz)(10-)
8. Galactica - Carnivale Electricos (jazz funk)(9+)
9. Robert Glasper Experiment - Black Radio (jazz/alt r&b)(9+)
10. Ellie Goulding - Halcyon (dance pop/alt indie rock)(9+)
11. Green Day - Dos (punk pop)(9+)
12. Garbage - Not Your Kind of People (alt pop rock)(9+)
13. Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten (alt indie rock)(9)
14. Melody Gordot - The Absence (vocal jazz)(9)
15. Green Day - Uno (pop punk)(9-)
16. Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage (death metal)(8+)
(my latest rating is 8+...stretching it)
** Great Big Sea - xx (2)(celtic rock/Canadian folk) (8)

not rated yet:
Gallows - ST (alt/indie rock; post hardcore; punk revival)
Jan Garbarek - Magico Carta De Amor (2)(jazz)
Macy Gray - Covered (adult contemporary r&b; neo-soul)
Guided By Voices - The Bears for Lunch (indie rock)

Comments:
I seem to often forget about GBV, even though they're Ohioans and I have literally dozens of their albums. I listened to this album and was again blown away by the consistency of song after song that are wonderfully listenable even when they barely last a minute long. (Anyone remember the great Minutemen?) Pollard broke up GBV 8+ years ago and in that time made 14 solo albums and a bunch of "pick up group" albums before reforming them.. The man never quits. The claim is that Pollard's solo activity was much less effective (I have a bunch of them) but I can't remember listening to a bad song by the guy. The next time someone asks that "record on a deserted island" question, I may think of this one with all 21 cuts.
I finally got around to listening to Grimes album. This is a great album and Claire Boucher has a very appealing voice.
I liked the Glaspar album a lot but I just saw a list somewhere on RYM that had it as one of the great jazz albums of the year. I didn't hear much real jazz on it....mostly some great female vocals (and some male) backed by a band that is jazzy at times.
Ellie Goulding is a Brit vocalist I really like. Someone said she was the middle ground between Adele and Florence + the Machine. They also dropped Kate Bush's name along the way. Ellie is much less arty than Kate but quite engaging.
I finally warmed up to the new Garbage album. Still a bit disappointed though....even after giving it a 9+. I'm easy.
At first I didn't like Gaslight Anthem's lead vocalist's voice much but I got used to it because I liked their music.
Melody Gardot is a singer who was seriously injured in an accident and somehow managed not only to survive but to fulfill her dream of becoming a professional singer. She walks with a cane, has a special machine on stage with her relating to an injury she received that is permanent, etc. It took me awhile to embrace the album, but when she got ahold of a few tunes that I really liked, she floored me.
Green Day's latest (actually one of three that's out) is pop punk at its poppiest. I can't remember them sounding soooo poppy when they began. Even the vocals have little edge, no matter how many times he uses the F-bomb. It's listenable, hence my generous 9-, but not one of their best by far. I liked Dos much better.
I didn't know what to do with Gojira. It's death metal but it has elements that are almost progressive. I do like some of the instrumental passages a lot. I still prefer Alcest though for a band mixing death metal with another genre (Alcest is considered metal/shoegazer).

Posted on Dec 31, 2012 3:42:59 PM PST
ALCEST actually has no death metal influence...but rather black metal as the beginnings for the band...I can,, however, understand the mistake.

Here is a list of other similar artists you might enjoy....

FALLOCH
COLD BODY RADIATION
AGALLOCH
FEN
LANTLOS
DEAFHEAVEN
WITCH FUNERAL
URFAUST
CIRCLE OF OUROBORUS

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 31, 2012 7:44:19 PM PST
E. Dill says:
@Markhantonio Yeatts:

Yeah, I've made that mistake before, i.e., using the wrong subgenre as if it's really no different. It's like referring to someone as being Korean and they say, no, I'm Chinese and you reply "whatever".

Of those you've listed, the only one I have some familiarity with (and albums by) is Agalloch.

ed

Posted on Dec 31, 2012 7:57:42 PM PST
Last edited by the author on May 19, 2013 1:15:53 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
The H's:

1. Laurel Halo - Quarantine (Experimental Electronics) (10)
2. Patterson Hood - Heat Lightening Rumbles in the Distance (10-)
3. Holly Herndon - Movement (Experimental Electronics)(10)
4. Ray Wylie Hubbard - Grifter's Hymnal (roots rock)(10-)
5. Jesca Hoop - The House That Jack Built (alt. singer songwriter)(10-)
6. Hospitality - St (indie rock)(10-)
7. Horse Feathers - Cynic's New Year (alt pop/rock)(10-)
8. The Heavy - The Glorious Dead (R&B) (10-)
9. Hot Water Music - Exister (alt indie rock)(10-)
9b. Helio Sequence - Negotiations (indie rock)(10-)
10. Julia Holter - Ekstasis (Art Pop)(9+)
11. Richard Hawley - Standing at the Sky's Edge (Alt. Indie Rock/Neo-Psych)(9+)
12. Hilary Hahn/Hanschika - Silfra (Classical Crossover/Avant Garde Music/Experimental)(9+)
13. John Hiatt - Mystic Pinball (singer songwriter/roots rock)(9+)
14. Kelly Hogan - I Like to Keep Myself in Pain (alt country)(9+)
15. Howler - America Give Up (alt pop rock)(9+)
16. Heartless Bastards - Arrow (Alt Rock)(9+)
17. Missy Higgins - the Old Razzle Dazzle (singer songwriter)(9+)
18. Glen Hansard - Rhythm and Repose (Alt. Indie Rock)(9+)
19. How to Dress Well - Total Loss (Ambient Pop)(9+
20. Hot Chip - In Our Heads - (Indie Electronic)(9)
21. The Hives - Lex Hives (alt/indie/garage punk)(9)
** Heart - Strange Euphoria (hard rock/contemporary pop/rock)(9)
22. Halestorm - The Strange Case (alt metal)(9)
23. Here We Go Magic - A Diferent Ship (Experimental Rock)(8)
24 High on Fire - De Vermis Mysteris (Stoner/Sludge/Alternative Metal)(8)
25 Heidevolk - Batavi (Folk Metal)(8)

not rated yet:
Beth Hart - Bang Bang Boom Boom (blue rock)
Hiromi - Move (jazz fusion)

Comments:

Laurel's Experimental Electronics and Julia's Art Pop were quite impressive to me. I'd only heard them a few times before and were still on the fence.
Giving preference between Hood and Hubbard is like chosing between steak and pork chops. With Hood, it's that voice. With Hubbard, it's as much the songs and his way of presenting them....and those impeccible instrumentations behind him.
The Heavy was a new brand of funky r&b for me....r&b with Tom Waits in mind.
The Heartless Bastards are worthy even when the songs are only ok because of their lead singer....she has style and a voice
As soon as I began listening to Hansard's latest, I began looking for my copy of his movie. I think I fantasized having bought a copy. I immediately went to Amazon and took care of that. I loved that movie (Only?) and his then relationship with the Czech woman whose name I can't remember.
How to Dress Well is one of those indulgences of mine. I love falsetto (ok, maybe not Frankie Vali) and that's what he does with every song....sing falsetto. And, for me, it works
Even though I gave them both 9's, I was disappointed by both Hot Chip and The Hives. With Hot Chip, I liked the experimentation with sound but I simply didn't like a lot of the melodies they were building from. With the Hives, they seemed to be in the same bag as Green Day.....they want to sound punkish but they don't. Ok, gentleman punks.
Halestorm was a unique experience because, while I'm not sold on the group for my taste, I thought the female lead singer was wonderful! Her voice and attitude seem just right for the music they're playing. She is almost a perfect balance between the hard rock women (Lita Ford/Heart, etc) and those than were into more of prog.metal thing....but she sounds real. I'm not really into their brand of music, but she makes me more willing to try.
Here We Go Magic is/was an experimental rock band? What kind of experimentation are/were they doing? This is listenable but their goal is unclear. The music seemed quite lacking in excitement and a definable style. (And I gave them an 8?).

Posted on Jan 1, 2013 11:41:43 AM PST
Last edited by the author on May 19, 2013 1:17:17 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
The I's:

1. Vijay Iyer Trio - Accelerando (piano jazz/prog. jazz/post-bop) (9+)
2. In This Moment - Blood (alt metal/heavy metal) (9+)
3. Imagine Dragons - Night Visions (alt pop rock)(9-)
4. Islands - A Sleep & a Forgetting (alt indie rock)(8+)
5. Ice Choir - Afar (alt indie rock/new wave)(3)

(note: added and then removed an album from a Danish group, Indians. Evidently it is considered a 2013 release.)

not rated yet:
iamamiwhoami - Kin (electronic//alt/indie rock; indie electronic)

Comments:

In This Moment was one of two surprises here. They feature a female lead vocalist and she IS the show! (This is the second strikingly effect hard rock female voice I've "discovered" for 2012). In the beginning, I was fighting liking this because it seemed, on the surface, that she (or the character she was playing) was somehow inviting abuse. I had to search out a lyric sheet to give me "cover". After reading the the lyrics, I was convinced it wasn't that at all. Ok, still NOT for everyone. One youtube critic's entire review consisted of "B.S. and t*ts". Maybe so, but you can't HEAR t*ts, unless you're suggesting that the album/songs/image are B.S. BECAUSE it's coming from a female. (We surely hear enough macho B.S. coming from male singers in hard rock.) Anyway, as over the top as it sometimes is, I truly liked the sound of the group. Maria Brink is her name and the "other one" I found before was "Lzzy Hale" from Halestorm. I didn't like Halestorm's overall metal as much as In This Moment....hopefully, my preference wasn't because of their emphasis on sexual fantasies involving the power struggle between men and women.

I have an earlier album by Islands but I can't recall much about its sound. Evidently it was quite different from this one since this is essentially an ode to the lead singer's marriage breakup. It's hard to take in places, since the lyrics are often simplistic to the point of sounding juvenile....then again, maybe we all sound either juvenile or just angry when such a breakup occurs. There's a few tunes that stand by themselves but the others depend on one's involvement with the situation. I didn't like it much. (So why an 8+?)

During my critiquing of 897 albums on another pop forum, I quickly became known as a soft touch, critically speaking. As a matter of fact, some might think I was NOT a critic at all because I seldom criticized and when I did, I'd wind up giving the album an 8 out of 10 anyway. But I decided, early on, to use my own semblance of numerical rating which emphasized "listenability". If an album was "listenable" without major reservations, I'd give it an "8". Anything more exceptional would get a "9" or "10". I did not want to label a pretty good album with real low numbers....so low that I might think of scrapping it or ignoring it forever. I wanted the rating(s) to reflect the worth the album had for ME as listening material. The recurring criticizm was that a "listenable" album would be an "average album", i.e., a "5", not an "8". My arguement is actually stricter in that I'm convinced that the average album is NOT "listenable without reservation". Of the 10,000 albums released each year, does anyone think a random sampling would find most of them listenable without any significant reservations? I don't. But I'm not usually listening to "random albums". I select them, usually, based on either past performance of the artist/group, the genre they are operating in or some promising critiques I've read. Besides, the 897 albums had already been, by a consensus of radio listeners, been deemed the best EVER. I found most of them quite listenable, if not MY best of the best.

So here we have Ice Choir. I've gone thru over 100 albums released in 2012 that I have in my possession and the lowest I've rated any album before this one, is a 7. Ok, some of those lower ones are frankly in genres I seldom like a lot. So, I collect some every year (metal/rap) to see if I've changed my mind or found a piece of a genre I DO like. But Ice Choir, which oddly, didn't get a really bad rating from "rateyourmusic" (they seldom give bad overall ratings to death/black metal groups but usually are overly critical about various forms of pop). I found Ice Choir's updated version of 80's new wave/synth pop to be virtually unlistenable over the length of an album. Frankly, I found listening to one song difficult. I was not a huge synth fan in the 80's but I found things I DID like. Some of it, like OMD, etc. seemed a bit too "cocktail pop" for me at times and I didn't care much at all for Duran Duran. Wow. After listening to this, DD sound downright edgy. And to think one critic of this album was comparing them to Tears for Fears. Even the Tears later stuff was better than this. But I began to question whether it was pure sound that I found quite unlistenable or the fact that most of the singing was done by a man. Most of my least favorite of the new wave bands of the 80's also had male vocalists with a "sweet" sounding voice. So was it the "macho" in me (what macho?) that rejected the songs because they were extremely light and poppy and sung by a man and not a woman? I don't think so. One of my favorite singers of today is Antony of Antony & the Johnsons. Antony is gender non-specific, either a transvestite, a pre-op transsexual, a bi-sexual, or all three. I absolutely LOVE his voice. Anyway, regardless of what is REALLY going on in my mind, I do NOT like Ice Choir much at all. So, I'll keep it around as a reminder. Besides, the last track, #9, Everything I Spoilt By Use, was downright listenable....I think a female vocalist came in near the beginning.



ed.

Posted on Jan 3, 2013 5:58:06 AM PST
Last edited by the author on May 19, 2013 1:18:50 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
J's:

1. Japandroids - Celebration Rock (Indie Rock)(10)
2. J.J. Doom - Key to the Kuffs (Abstract Hip Hop) (10-)
3. Jamey Johnson - Living for A Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran (Country)(10-)
4. Norah Jones - Little Broken Hearts (Singer Songwriter)(9+)
5. Damien Jurado - Moraqopa (Singer Songwriter/Contemp. Folk)(9-)
6. Carly Rae Jepsen - Kiss (pop) (8+)
7. Joyce Manor - Of All Things.... (Indie Rock/Emo)(8(-)

not rated yet:
Shooter Jennings - Family Man (alt country/roots rock)

I think the Japandroids album is a great one.
JJ Doom is now one of my select lists of rappers I want to listen to....
Jamey Johnson, in his tribute to the music/compositions of Hank Cochran would have fared better, as good as it is, by doing the singing himself. I'm a shocked to say that considering he used the likes of Alison Krauss, Merle Haggard, Vince Gill, Leon Russell, Emmylou Harris, Ray Price, Asleep at the Wheel, Elvis Costello, George Strait, Ronnie Dunn, Bobby Bare, Willie Nelson, Lee Ann Womack, and Kris Kristofferson on one or more of the tracks to share vocals with him. But his voice seems perfectly suited to the songs being sung. And, oh yeah, scratch those violins. Fiddle yes, violins no.
I don't know why, after Norah Jones' initial success, she seemed to suffer a backlash against her. Other than the fact that she had a great voice, played piano, wrote and was beautiful to look at, admittedly she didn't have much going for her. Maybe that was it. She didn't work hard enough, or so it seemed, to be cast in the spotlight. But I still like her, with Danger Mouse adding to the mix with his inventive production/instrumentation.
I HAD to check out this Jepsen girl who turns out to be a woman. A few of her songs are pretty good teen pop but most of it destroys her voice amidst a lot of production crapola. A lot of the critics seemed to like her album anyway. Who can figure?

ed.

.

Posted on Jan 3, 2013 10:48:10 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 25, 2013 11:45:39 AM PDT
E. Dill says:
My recently improved K's:

1. Knight, Chris - Little Victories (cd)(alt country)(10)
2. Katatonia - Dead End Kings (cd)(doom metal/neo-prog)(10-)
3. Killing Joke - MMXII (cd)(post-punk/industrial rock/metal)(10-)
4. Kweller, Ben - Go Fly a Kite (indie rock/pop)(9+)
5. Diana Krall - Glad Rag (vocal jazz/traditional pop)(9+)
6. Mark Knopfler - Privateering (2)(adult contemporary singer/songwriter)(9+)
7. Kadavar - ST (heavy metal/stoner metal) (9)
8. Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music (rap) (9)
8b. Kreator - Phantom Antichrist (thrash metal)(9)
9. Ke$ha - Warrior (dance pop)(9)
10. Killers - Battle Born (alt indie rock)(9-)
11. Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again (r&b)(7)
12. Kindness - World, You Need a Change of Mind (electronic/alt dance/indie electronic)(7)
13. R. Kelly - Wite Me Back (r&b)(5)

comments:

I was admittedly, a bit kind with the ratings for the first two. I think I'm starting to grade on a curve of sorts. I like the "stoner" part of Kadavar's sound. The trad heavy metal is not that important to me.
I was a bit suprised that some critics REALLY seemed to embrace the sound of Kindness. I thought their sound is quite unappealing most of the time. I mean, to have a band that is lightweight synth pop doing a Paul Westerberg/Replacements song and read critics gushing about what a wonderful job they did retooling the original made me a bit nauseous.

Nuff said.

ed.

Posted on Jan 4, 2013 8:59:20 PM PST
Last edited by the author on May 19, 2013 1:24:39 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
L's:

1. Lower Dens - Nootropic (indie folk/indie rock/dream pop)(10)
2. Liars - WIXIW (indie rock/experimental rock)(10)
3. Lumineers - ST (indie folk)(10-)
4. Lost in the Trees - A Church That Fits Our Needs (10-)
5. Led Zeppelin - Celebration Day (2)(hard rock/2007 live)(10-)
6. La Sera - Sees the Light (indie pop)(9+)
7. Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, MAAD City (rap)(9+)
8. Lynyrd Skynyrd - Last of a Dyin Breed (southern rock)(9+)
9. Lindstrom - Six Cups of Rebel (Electronic/Experimental/Techo)(9+)
10. Lucas - Women & Work (alt country)(9+)
11. Lifehouse - Almeria (alt indie rock/post grunge)(9+)
12. Lambchop - Mr. M (alt country rock)(9)
13. Lone - Galaxy Garden (Electronic/Club/Dance/House)(9)
14. Lightships - Electric Cables (alt indie rock/indie pop)(9)
15. Cher Lloyd - Sticks and Stones (dance pop)(9)
16. Linkin Park - Living Things (alt metal/alt indie rock)(9-)
17. Jeff Loomis - Plains of Oblivion (metal)(8)

not rated yet:
Slim Langhorne - The Way We Move (alt rock/alt indie rock)
Left Lane Cruiser/james Leg - Painkillers (blues//punk blues; alt/indie rock)
Jens Lehman - I Know What Love Isn't (chamber pop)

Comments:

Who are the Lower Dens anyway. And where are the Higher Dens? Leader/vocalist and native Texan turned Baltimore transplant, Jana Hunter, has been compared to Beach House's Victoria Legrand with the sound of her voice. This is a dynamite album.
The Liars album was my favorite until I came upon Lower Dens.
I just listened to the charming alt folk of the Lumineers.
Lost in the Trees' A Church That Fits Our Needs is quite a harrowing, at times, album dedicated to bandleader Ari Picker's artist mother who committed suicide after a life filled with tragedy. She lost twin girls in child birth, split from her husband after years of abuse, fought the vestiges of cancer and mental illness before finally taking her own life. Ari is classical trained and uses his knowledge to great advantage....and that voice of his! It is a beautiful album.
La Sera is Vivian Girls bassist Kay Goodman under an assumed name. Oddly, the favorable critics I've read seem to rave about her voice in a way that seems misleading. Her voice is not particularly powerful or strong. It is a voice that conjures up 60's girl bands and some from the 80's too. But it IS full of charm if not emotion. The songs are quite simple in structure and the album, as a whole, is wonderful, without pretense.
In a few days, I went up and down with Kendrick Lamar's album. I heard much praise about the album on www.rateyourmusic.com, all about how everyone was waiting patiently for his first album to be released after hearing bits and pieces of his work on compilations. My first listen made me wonder why. I just didn't see or hear anything that special. Vastly overated. Then I took the cd with me in the car to do some chores and was flabbergasted by it. I loved the rap, the beats, etc. Then I took it home, listened again, and was back to thinking it was "somewhat" if not "vastly" overrated. Eventually, I'll make up my mind.
I had some real problems with the Lambchop album. When they're on, they are amazing. It all stems from leader Kurt Wagner's skewed lyrics and matter of fact voice coupled with his beautiful melodies often layered with strings and other orchestral florishes. But the album is missing much of his usual charm here. And the humor.
Lightships is Gerald Love's first crack at going solo after 20 years with the great Teenage Fanclub. I think he should go back. Here, he's softened his music so much that it limps along with little to give it substance. It's pretty in places but that's not enough.

ed.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2013 11:42:33 AM PST
Killing Joke's "MMXII" is one very IMPOSING K.

Posted on Jan 8, 2013 8:45:29 AM PST
E. Dill says:
@Thomas A. Corpino:

Thanks! I know I had theirs on an early list of "wants" for 2012 and I evidently skipped it or kept waiting for the price to go down (with the number of albums I collect, I must be frugal or give up eating and go live at the Y.) I'll give some of it a listen on youtube and then find it at a local used record store. Thanks again. (I have 12 albums of their's already, so I AM a fan!).

If you notice anymore albums I didn't list that you think I might like, lay them on me. I can make lists all day and still miss some. How many albums are released each year.....about 5000-10000?

ed.

ps. Maybe I had found the KJ album at a decent price but gave up buying it so I could grab that R. Kelly classic. (I AM kidding!)

Posted on Jan 8, 2013 9:19:46 AM PST
Last edited by the author on May 19, 2013 1:29:34 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
The 2012 M's

1. Aimee Mann - Charmer (singer songwriter)(10)
2. Mitchell, Anais - Young Man in America (alt folk) (10)
3. Mewithoutyou - Ten Stories (alt indie rock)(10-)
4. Menomena - Moms (indie rock)(10-)
5. Bob Mould - Silver Age (alt. indie rock/noise pop) (10-)
6. The Melvins - Freak Puke (experimental/sludge/noise rock)(10-)
7. Mountain Goats - Transcendental Youth (indie folk)(10-)
8. Father John Misty - Fear Fun (indie folk) (10-)
9. Melody's Echo Chamber - st (ambient pop/dream pop)(10-)
10. Mynabirds - Generals (indie folk) (10-)
11. Mobtown Modern Big Band (big band/crossover jazz)(10-)
12.Mumford & Sons - Babel (folk)(10-)
13. Mars Volta - Noctourniquet (neo-prog.)(10-)
14. Micachu & the Shapes - Never (lo fi/indie/noise pop) (9+)
15. Metric - Synthetica (indie rock)(9+)
16. Men - Open Your Heart (alt pop rock)(9+)
17. Mission of Burma - Unsound (pop rock/indie rock)(9+)
18. Magnetic Fields - Love at the Bottom of the Sea (alt rock)(9+)
19. Madonna - MDNA (dance pop)(9+)
20. Marina & the Diamonds - Electric Heart (dance pop)(9+)
21. Alanis Morissette - Havoc & Bright Lights (9+)
22. Menzinger - On the Impossible Past (punk rock)(9+)
23. Janiva Magness - Stronger For It (blues)(9+)
24. Pat Metheny - Unity Band (post bop)(9+)
25. Brad Mehldan - Ode (post bop/straight ahead)(9)
26. Moe - What Happened to the La La's (jam band)(9)
27. Loreena McKennitt - Troubadours on the Rhine (folk)(9)
28. Rhett Miller - The Dreamer (country)(9)
29. Matchbox 20 - North (alt pop rock)(9)
30. Miike Snow - Happy to You (alt pop rock)(9)
31. Paul McCartney - Origin of Love (9)
32. Muse - The 2nd Law (alt indie rock/neo prog)(8+)
33. Dent May - Do Things (electronics)(8+)
34. Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream (r&b)(8+)
35. John Mayer - Born & Raised (adult alt. pop/rock/blues rock)(8)
36. Georgia Anne Muldrew - Seeds (alt r&b)(8)
37. Amanda Mair - ST (indie pop/alt indie rock)(8)
38. Municipal Waste - fatal Feast (speed thrash)(8)
39. Mika - Origin of Love (singer songwriter)(7+)

not rated yet:
Macklemore/Ryan Lewis - The Heist (alt rap/west coast rap)
Metheny, Pat - Orchestrion Project (2)(contemp. jazz/modern creative)
Metz - ST (indie rock; noise rock)
Mogwai - A Wretched Viral Lore (Electronic - remix)
Ashley Moore - Like a Rose (country pop)

COMMENTS:

For some odd reason, I always seem to forget about Mann when listing my favorite female singers. She IS one for sure.
Anais Mitchell came out of nowhere for me. She has a somewhat quirky voice and I love her songs. A real surprise.
Mewithoutyou was another unexpected treat. What can you say about an album about talking circus animals surviving a train crash in 19th century Montana. Aaron Weiss is a genius of sorts.
Menomena is now a duo and their music is often fractured as they explore their own relationships with their mothers.
B. Mould, ex-Sugar/Husker Du singer/songwriter/guitarist extraordinare with another batch of great songs and performances
The Melvins ARE an eclectic bunch and here they engage in experimental rock, sludge metal, noise rock and some things not yet identified.
John Damielle IS Mountain Goat for all intents and purposes and this is #14, another album of melodic wistful tunes....but more on the dark side.
Joshua Tillman, as J. Tillman, as drummer/backup singer for Fleet Foxes and here as Father John Misty another aspect of the indie folk crooner.
The new one by Mars Volta has been somewhat ignored or spurned by a lot of critics. I wasn't expecting much and was pleasantly surprised.
Micachu & the Shapes are a rather wild indie/noise pop band. They were a contender from the start. I love their fractured sound.
Metric, with the voice of Emily Haines has made another worthy album.
I'm not sure I completely know what The Men are all about but their latest was quite good even as they were weaving all kinds of influences into their sound.
I've always liked Mission of Burma's instrumental sound and I do here but I found the vocals not as appealing as in the past.
I was surprised at how lyrical some of the songs were on Menzinger's punk rock album.
I'm not an expert in Muse's catalog but this one was spotty for me. Some of the prog stuff didn't work for me at all.
Miguel is an r&b artist who sometimes can sing and write songs with a lot of the old r&b style and substance. Other times he comes up with some stuff that is insipid.
Georgia Anne Muldrew was the biggest problem here. She has some rather amazing reviews from hip publications like Pitchfork and I read the words and wonder if it's the same album I just hear. Georgia has a very good voice, ala Eryka Badu, at times but in sometimes in moving up and down the scale, she sounds flat/off key. Her backup singers, often repeating her lyric in unison get very irritating after awhile and Madlib's busy arrangements often don't work for me at all. They seem to get in the way of the vocals. Muldrow may have a lot of potential but here, it seems to be trying too hard to be too many things. Her heart may be in the right place but the album isn't.

ed.
.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 1:32:15 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 8, 2013 1:39:13 PM PST
ed.-
No worries. The new KJ is very STRONG.
I would add the dB's "Falling Off The Sky" to your D's. As good
as any release they've done. Chris Stamey/Peter Holsapple
writing some great nugs.

And for your next letter N-
Neurosis' Halloween release "Honor Found In Decay".
HEAVY yet heady...

Posted on Jan 8, 2013 7:49:58 PM PST
E. Dill says:
@Thomas A. Corpino:

<<I would add the dB's "Falling Off The Sky" to your D's. As good
as any release they've done. Chris Stamey/Peter Holsapple
writing some great nugs.>>

Yep. That was another one I discovered I'd missed. I was posting a bit on a music forum board ("The Best 5 cd's you bought in 2012") and when someone listed an album I had bought and liked, I posted a shortened version of the alphabetical list I'd made on the pop forum. I got this from Gena..
.
Gena Chereck says:

"Deerhoof, Death Grips, Dirty Three, Dead Sara, Dr. John, Dirty Projectors, Dinosaur Jr., DIIV, Divine Fits, Bob Dylan, Dead Can Dance, Dry The River, Deacon Dan, Django Django, Demolition String Band"

I keep looking, not seeing any dB's here -- I take you missed 'Falling Off the Sky,' or maybe you heard it but didn't care for it?

I replied:
No, I definitely missed it and in looking it up now I find it was released way back in June. I guess whatever list I was using to keep me informed (I think it was RYM) didn't have it listed in their top 2012 albums. Why? Because as of today, 1 person submitted a rating about that album. Since they base their yearly lists mostly on readers ratings coupled with their own mysterious matrix...... although their rating for the album is now at 3.22 out of 5, a decent rating, it's based on one lonely rater. So, as far as I can tell, it hasn't even made their Top 1000 for the year. See, no matter how vigilant I am about trying to keep up with what is released that might interest me, I miss them. And I missed that one and have it on order."

As for the Neurosis album, I'll look for that one too. It's funny. When I posted a few excerpts from my lists here on that music forum board, I was criticized by someone for mentioning too many names that no one had the time to investigate. Gena scanned one of my lists and immediately noticed the db album as missing. So did you. That's why I think of these things as a "give and take". Sure, by the time I get done here, I'll have probably listed well over 200 albums from 2012 that I've collected one way or another, most pretty good or I wouldn't have bothered with them in the first place (sometimes I do get something on a whim). STILL, it doesn't surprise me that worthy music falls between the cracks and others help me along. I'm much appreciative.

(I think it's time for me to do some reviewing of some of those 2012 lists again. I'm almost ready to get to the "N's" and I have 3 albums to review and one of those is rap which is always a crapshoot for me. Even though, alphabetically speaking, N has never been a big letter in rock/pop (I seem to remember that from all the alphabetical filing I've done with vinyl), there MUST be something else I've missed. We shall see.)

ed the obsessive

ed.

Posted on Jan 9, 2013 1:33:56 AM PST
Val H. says:
Hi Ed

I'm enjoying your wanderings through 2012. Thanks to you, I like what I've heard of Lost in the Trees and will probably purchase.

Can you tell me whether you heard Mark Knopfler's Privateering, and, if so, how you rated it? I will admit to bias because I enjoy his songwriting (more than his voice or guitar skills) and I found it one of the few double albums where I enjoyed both discs equally.

And in the Ms, I am still loving Orkney: Symphony of the Magnetic North by The Magnetic North (an off-shoot of Erland & The Carnival). I'd value your opinion.
Taster : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai95Nxu-_nU

Posted on Jan 9, 2013 6:12:09 PM PST
Val H. says:
Still pursuing my own tastes, did you get to listen to Dexys' One Day I'm Going to Soar? It made a lot of Top 20 lists - and, more importantly, my Top 5.

Like you, I also enjoy Lists and I came across this one (linked from Mojo's Top Albums list) which intrigued me as I only know 5 of their top 25:
http://www.awkwardsound.com/2012/11/awkwardsound-presents-25-best-albums-of.html
and 3 of their 10 Honourable Mentions:
http://www.awkwardsound.com/2012/11/awkwardsound-honorable-mention-albums.html

and not a single artist on their 10 most anticipated albums of 2013 list:
http://www.awkwardsound.com/search/label/Features

Posted on Jan 9, 2013 7:25:48 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 9, 2013 9:55:39 PM PST
E. Dill says:
@Val:

Glad you got something out of it. Someone had innocently asked me to list my Top Ten albums for the year and as is usual for me, I made a molehill into a mountain and decided to review all the albums I'd collected and review them one more time.....some of them for the first time. It's been fun but when I copied a few of them on another board a guy begged me to not post anymore long lists. He couldn't deal with that many. I told him to use "ignore".

Lost in the Trees is not exactly a knee slapper but I got into it. The voice and the emotional nakedness of it moved me.

I have NOT listened to Mark's new one because as usual, I once DID put it on a list of ones I'd missed and promptly threw away the list on a scrap of paper. Everytime I think I'm organized, reality sets in. Thanks a lot for reminding me. Maybe a Van Morrison album was on that list, too.

Speaking of Mark K. I still remember the first time I heard him singing "Sultans of Swing" with Dire Straits. I took to their music and stayed with them throughout their time together but hit a bump in the road with "Brothers in Arms", their biggie. Through repetition, I grew tired and then irritated by hearing and seeing the song/video "Money for Nothing". And later, I also got tired of "Walk of Life". Actually, it's been so long, I don't know how I feel about those anymore. But it didn't stop me from kind of keeping up with his solo excursions. I've always liked his guitar style. Thanks again for noticing "Privateering" missing from my list.....

I went to youtube and found the Magnetic North song and loved it. I'll keep that one on my short list, too.

BTW, I truly appreciate your card and thoughfulness during this difficult time. Hannah and I are doing ok. We've even begun a new Dill tradition, perhaps. For both Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, we went out to an Asian resturant and had dim sum. About 6-8 dishes of it.

Your list of possible concerts got me interested in reviving my live music "jones". I was never quite as into live music as Rachel was, health permitting, but I've quite enjoyed it when I went, especially the more intimate venues. There is nothing quite like sitting at a bar watching a very good opening act and having the headliner sitting next to you while you both discuss the music being played.

Thanks again for the heads up's on MK and the Magnetic North.

ed.

Posted on Jan 10, 2013 11:18:09 AM PST
Last edited by the author on May 19, 2013 8:49:53 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
The 2012 "N"s:

1. Neurosis - Honor Found in Decay (alt metal)(10-)
2. Nude Beach - II (power pop/jangle pop) (10-)
3. Marissa Nadler - The Sister(Alt Folk Singer/Songwriter (9+)
4. Niki & The Dove - Instinct (new wave/indie electronics) (9+)
5. A.C. Newman - Shut Down the Streets (indie pop)(9+)
6. Neon Trees - Picture Show (alt pop rock)(9+)
7. No Doubt - Push and Shove (alt indie rock)(9)
8. Nas - Life is Good (Rap)(9)

not rated yet:
The Newno2 - The Fear of Missing Out (alt indie rock/indie pop)

COMMENTS:

1. I like Marissa's voice, even though this is a somewhat more subdued album than her previous one. Less instrumental changes and vocalese.
2. I thought Niki's was going to be a bore after the first couple of cuts (I didn't like the way the chorus seemed to get louder than necessary and without any payoff), but then all of a sudden I liked most of what was being done....even the dabbles into electronics.
3. I never know what to say about rap because I don't know what I'm looking for. Here, Nas does his own version, kind of, of Marvin Gaye's "Here My Dear" when, as part of a divorce settlement agreement giving all his royalties from his next album to her, Marvin writes a scathing album about their divorce. Nas reminds us of his by the cover of the album, showing himself sitting on a chair with his wife's wedding dress draped over his knees. But, actually, the album is less about his divorce and more about the hood. I kind of liked it despite myself. We even get guest appearances by Mary J. Blige, Amy Winehouse and Victoria Monet, among others. I haven't analyzed why (I never try to with rap) anymore than I never tried to explain why I didn't gush enough over Nas' breakthrough album, Illmatic, which is STILL thought of by some as the GREATEST rap album EVER.

ed.

Posted on Jan 10, 2013 4:14:43 PM PST
Last edited by the author on May 19, 2013 9:17:31 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
O's - 2012:

1. Of Montreal - Paralytic Stalks (indie pop/indie electronic)(10)
2. Ono/Gordon/Moore - Yokokimthurston (noise rock/experimental)(10-)
3. Beth Orton - Sugaring Season (alt folk/singer-songwriter/indie rock)(10-)
4. Orbital - Wonky (techno electronic)(10-)
5. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange (r&b)(9+)
6. Sinead O'Connor - I Had a Baby (singer/songwriter)(9+)
7. Off - ST (alt indie rock/punk revival)(9+)
8. Old Man Gloom - No (heavy metal/sludge/ambient)(9+)
9. Overkill - The Electric Age)(heavy metal/thrash)(7)

not rated yet:
OF MONSTERS & MEN - MY HEADS AN ANIMAL (CD-R)

comments:

1. I love this album!
2. Enough people will question me putting Frank Ocean at #5....this will remove any credibility I had left.
What a perfect paring. Ono's experimental shreiks/shouts/gurgles and the two masters of instrumental noise, Kim and Thurston from Sonic Youth.
I will admit I probably won't often listen to this album in one sitting. But a single cut may be a one a day necessity to get me going.
3. In the 6 years I've been waiting for a new one from her, I'd forgotten just how much I love her voice.
4. Orbital has been silent for awhile too. I love their version of techno/electronic)
5. Frank Ocean - yes, it is a very good modern r&b album. But #1 for the year? I read there had been all this controversy about whether he'd written something that hinted at his bisexuality and that it got him a lot of pub. Wow. I mean the Supreme Court is going to look at whether gays can marry and the music world is a-flutter over whether Frank Ocean is bi? I like Antony & the Johnsons better musically and he's a crossdressing pre-op transsexual...maybe. Where are the 'attention police"?
6. I must have everyalbum Sinead has made. She has a great voice and she writes emotionally. I like that.
7. Off - the new kings of the 1 minute song.
8. Overkill - yes, I try. No one can say I DON'T have my share of metal and thrash albums. I keep trying and usually I find something to like. Here, I was a bit put off by the singers voice. And I used to complain about the AC/DC duo (by duo, I meant their two different lead singers.)

ed.

Posted on Jan 10, 2013 4:28:26 PM PST
Val H. says:
Me piping up again Ed. Please consider My Head Is an Animal by Of Monsters & Men in your "Os". This Icelandic band really know their musical chops.
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Discussion in:  Pop forum
Participants:  6
Total posts:  59
Initial post:  Dec 25, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 18, 2013

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