One Fab guy’s picks from 2012 and beyond … pretty persuasive, don’t you think? Read on for a serious selection of tunes from this year!
So, I’ve created year-end music lists for as long as I can remember. Sharing mix tapes,YouTube links, download cards, CDs, and all that with friends, peers, etc. So I figured: I have to keep the tradition going with my newfound Fab family!
There really isn’t a ranking except for my favorite record of the year—the first record on this list, which is….
FATHER JOHN MISTY - FEAR FUN
I could listen to this record once a day (which I nearly have) and not get sick of it. Sub Pop (home of Nirvana, Band of Horses, The Shins) is still killin’ it with at least two to three must-listen records every year. Set’em up John, we’ll knock em down. Fun note: former member of Fleet Foxes!
Stand Out Tracks - ALL OF THEM.
BARONESS - YELLOW & GREEN
It’s not likely that this will be a fan favorite with everyone, but I think it’s probably one of the most solid heavy-rock records of this year. Baroness are in the same vein of, say, Deftones or Mastadon—except a bit more subtle and more intelligent. It’s a concept record: I don’t want to pin this as a “Metal” record, because this is more subtle than a Mastadon record and not as angsty as a Deftones record. It’s a solid spin and a good workout record if you are into something harder hitting when you run.
Stand Out Tracks - Take My Bones Away, Little Things, Board Up The House
MATTHEW DEAR - BEAMS
I’m not going to lie: The electronic scene isn’t my area of expertise. I allow my more knowledgable friends to tell me when I should really give a record like this a spin. In all cases, for those who are fans of Twin Shadow, Toro Y Moi, Ariel Pink (PITCHFORK BAND DROP), this one stood out as one I could keep coming back to.
Stand Out Tracks - Her Fantasy, Earthforms, Get the Rhyme Right
THE AMAZING - GENTLE STREAM
This was the last record I got to work on from my old label (Partisan Records) I was really excited about. Think if you took the Kinks song “Sunny Afternoon” and added the propensity to jam like The Grateful Dead, and keyed in some flute solos (YUP) and that’s a pretty good idea as to what this record is into. Not that I endorse/oppose any sort of medicated relaxation techniques, but this is a good one to um, chill to.
Stand Out Tracks - International Hair, Gone, Flashlight
METZ - METS
This is the second Sub Pop record on the list and the one that leans way more into the Nirvana spectrum than something like the Shins spectrum of Father John Misty. I love a good punk record, and this is exactly what you should look for in a punk rock record. Short, fast, loud, and just an all out assault. Good jams, good times.
Stand Out Tracks - Get Off, Wet Blanket
PINBACK - INFORMATION RETRIEVED
Rob Crow, for a while there, was the equivalent of the indie rocker Ryan Adams. He wouldn’t stop writing music under different names and bands (my personal favorite moniker, his metal tribute: Goblin Cock), but Pinback has always been his mainstay and most successful project. They came back this year and dropped this gem and I had a hard time not going for it above the Father John Misty record…but there are still some sleepers on here worth skipping. If you’re a fan of technical guitar work (see: Built to Spill), this is right up your alley.
Stand Out Tracks - Glide, His Phase, Proceed to Memory
KENDRICK LAMAR - good kid, m.A.A.d city
I love a hip-hop record that tells a story. And while Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange” is another great storytelling record for hip-hop this year, I found myself coming back to this one more often. The beats are slick (Dr. Dre) and the rhymes are very powerful, offensive and poetic. Everything that makes for a great record. I’m really excited to see what happens with this guy.
Stand Out Tracks - Poetic Justice, m.A.A.d city, The Art of Peer Pressure
SHARON VAN ETTEN - TRAMP
Some idiot really blew it with Sharon, because she wrote a record that breaks your heart in all the right places, without having to sort out the details in your own relationships. The line in “Give Out” that really just nailed this one for me? “You’re the reason why I’ll move to the city, or why I’ll need to leave.” OOOOF. Many more lovely one-hitters in there as well.
Stand Out Tracks - Give Out, Serpents
I’ll end on two reissues:
TIM MAIA - The Existential Soul of Tim Maia (Nobody Can Live Forever)
Put out by David Byrne’s label, Luaka Bop, here is an excerpt about this Brazilian funk pioneer: “Standing just 5’7 (6′ with the Afro) Tim Maia was large, in charge and completely out of control. He was the personification of rock star excess, having lived through five marriages and at least six children, multiple prison sentences, voluminous drug habits and a stint in an UFO obsessed religious cult. Tim is also remembered as a fat, arrogant, overindulgent, barely tolerated, yet beloved man-child who died too young at the age of 55.”
REFUSED - THE SHAPE OF PUNK TO COME
This was actually reissued in 2011, but they toured the US in 2012. This record came out in 1998, when a young and impressionable bunch of people—myself included—got their hands on it and were blown away on this record. However, the band went relatively unnoticed when it came out, as that impressionable bunch of kids more than likely couldn’t get into their 18+ shows at the time, nor did we have a proper means of seeing this live. That all changed this year, and I saw them the day after my birthday. I almost didn’t go to this show as it was the day after my birthday, and those can be challenging days like most 20-30 somethings. But that show blew my hangover out the door. This was single-handedly the best live show I saw all year, and one of the more memorable shows I have seen in the past five years. Odds are you have heard the opening to “New Noise” in ads, game-time amp music, or other avenues, but this collection of songs from Swedish anarchists is one of the most important records in my collection. Punk-vibes notwithstanding, if you are a fan of music at all, and can respect all the genres and styles, this is probably one of the loudest records of innovation that has ever been put to tape.
Stand Out Tracks - New Noise, The Shape of Punk To Come, The Deadly Rhythm,
Other Notable Musical Pieces in 2012
- Neil Young’s biography and a new Crazy Horse record (See: Driftin’ Back, a 30 minute jam of an opening track. Keep on rocking Neil. Please.)
- Dinosaur Jr. still killing it with their new record, I Bet On Sky
- Tame Impala - Lonerism (See the Amazing for a “suggested listening”)
- QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE RECORDING A NEW RECORD
- A band being able to sell millions of records in the first year of their new record coming out that isn’t Adele. Too bad it was Mumford & Sons….
- Jeff the Brotherhood - Hypnotic Nights
- Going to the first Jack White show at Radio City Music Hall was well on it’s way to be the best show I saw this year, then he melted down and stormed off stage, leaving this to be one of the worst things I saw this year.
- Proudly stating I only watch Gangnam Style once.
- Watching Gary Clark Jr. ring in the Obama re-election at Brooklyn Bowl
- Watching and crying to the Townes Van Zandt documentary Be Here To Love Me for the umpteenth time. It’s one of the best music documentaries ever. So sad, so beautiful.
That’s all I got for now. Happy Listening y’all and share your favorite jams as well!
— David Ward