Playing Favorites 2012
I know how much you lot love it when I don’t write about soccer. It’s an alien language to most of my friends, and it’s usually me rambling, since I feel safe to be irrational self here.
Most of you that know me personally know that I’m really into music. Hell, I even play music sometimes. Here’s my list of albums I absolutely loved this year. They’re in no particular order, since I don’t believe in ranking music (unless it’s Rush and that ranking is BEST EVER). There were three big moments for me this year in my musical life.
1. The band I was in, 11:17, released an EP — All We Need is Here. I think it’s probably some of the best guitar work I’ve ever recorded, and a lot of that is attributed to Alex Daniel’s wonderful songwriting. It’s easy to write parts for great songs.
2. That band broke up, and now I’m just sitting around.
3. I finished my Master of the Liberal Arts degree. My thesis was on hip hop in the 1990s and the cultural backlash. It was really great to write, and I think it makes this year’s list of album more rap influenced than years past.
If you hang around at the end of this piece, there’ll be a link to download my best of list from my DropBOXXXX.
Title Fight Floral Green
This is pretty much best punk album I listened to all year. Sure, it’s different from Shed. It’s more melodic, less frantic, and mature. They’re growing up before our very ears, and I’m really happy about what they’ve become. Their live show is amazing as well. I saw them this November at Red 7. Definitely, you need to check them out if they come by your town. I recall turning to my friend in the middle of Title Fight’s set and yelling, “These are all bangers, dude.” All bangers.
You Blew It! Grow Up, Dude
I love/hate the term twinkle daddies. It’s both a cringe-worthy and hilarious way to describe this nüüüwave of emo. If anyone on this list is going to be twinkle daddy material, it’s going to be You Blew It!. Anyway, I was lucky enough to see them this year with pswingset at Red 7 in July. You Blew It! mix catchy tunes with intricate guitar work and lots of opportunities for singing and yelling with all your mates. On an emo note, it’s a great companion to the solitary confinement that being a 20-something can be.
Prawn Donald Domesky
Prawn are a band that get me excited about the future of indie punk music. Their sound is really genuine and dynamic. It’s really difficult to get those two things working for you. There are some really great builds and melodic moments in this album. Lovely work.
Everyone Everywhere Everyone Everywhere (2012)
These assholes put out an album this year with the same name as the album before. Still a solid, solid album. Not a bad song on it. I did think they had a tendency to get lost in long sections of their songs, but that seems sorted out. Think of Maritime if they bumped up the BPMs.
Joey Bada$$ 1999
I only recently REALLY got into Joey. I would always run across him, but I was never interested enough to go any deeper. Upon further inspection, though, this shit is fire. I can’t wait for the next one to drop.
Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d city
This is probably the most complete album in my list. It’s got the highs, the lows, and the storytelling to gets you hooked. The album can get a bit spacey with little vignettes and the multiple “songs” per track, but I don’t believe there is a bad song on this album.
BIG K.R.I.T. Live from the Underground
This was my go-to when I was down this year. Sometimes it’s great to disconnect, and Krizzle provides that with his songs about cars and riding clean. He makes me happy. Not saying his thoughtful stuff doesn’t work for me either. It does. His live show is amazing as well. Saw him at ACL this year.
Dowsing It’s Still Pretty Terrible
After All I Could Find Was You, I was pretty stoked about them releasing a full-length album. It did not disappoint at all. It sometimes feels like The Anniversary had a baby with late-Get Up Kids. They’re beautiful and energetic as people and musicians. Got to see them at SXSW this past year.
Dikembe Broad Shoulders
This album should just be called BAD BITCHES. Dikembe finally flexed all of their muscles on a full-length after their awesome Chicago Bowls release, and they didn’t disappoint. Rhythmically and melodically, they’re stronger than most of their contemporaries. Much love.
Joie De Vivre We’re All Better Than This
I just cry to this album. I’m never going to be this good, and I’m okay with that. I’m just glad someone got there. I saw this band in 2011, and I thought it would be the last time. Luckily, they’ve gotten back together and put new music out. They’re joined on this album at times by Keith from Empire! Empire! and Lindsay from Football Etc. for some short cameos. Legit.
Big Sant MFxOG
I learned about Big Sant at around the same time as Big K.R.I.T. Obviously, it’s because they were The Alumni together. Anyway, this album is a REALLY strong full-length solo debut for Big Sant, and I’m excited for what else he’s got in store for us.
Nas Life is Good
I never thought I’d put a new Nas album on my list, but this shit was amazing.
Between the Buried and Me The Parallax II: Future Sequence
It’s like my darkest nightmares had a baby with Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, and Earth Crisis, and that baby decided to play bluegrass-inspired grindcore through a couple of PRS guitars and some Mesa Boogie amps. It took me a while to come around on this release. I feel like BTBAM gets lost a lot in themselves. They have this childlike fascination and energy when it comes to creating these dizzying runs, time changes, and dynamic changes, but they get distracted by all that and forget that they’re REALLY good at making people bang their heads. They’re the strongest metal band of the past decade. Hands down.
My Best of 2012 in DROPBOX