Here's 12 albums released or reissued in 2012 that I really enjoyed... which will conclude my recapping of my year in music.
Bear Bones, Lay Low - El Telonero
This one came as a nice surprise. Hadn't heard any prior tunes, Meg got the LP in the mail and it kills. Along with thee almighty Zacht Automaat BBLL ranks as a premier cosmologist, drawing obscure connections among far flung interplanetary outsider visions - the tape manipulation of Delia Derbyshire, the exotic psych-prog of Baris Manco and his ilk, driving Kosmiche and general synth worship - all fodder for an original and highly delectable blend. I listened and loved this A BUNCH this year.
Zacht Automaat - Bags Inside of Bags
No year end list is complete without these gods. In 2012 they took stock rather than unleash the flood as they have previously. What they did release went overtime. Legendary double album status to rival 'The Beatles' (true nerds don't refer to that shit as 'the white album'). The world seriously doesn't even know how good they have it with this seemingly endless series of albums. Despite my friendship and collaboration with these fellows little has demystified how fantastic their records can be. THIS SHIT IS BONKERS. YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW. Just listen to the shit. If you're up on 'that shit', I swear to god it will become the SHIT for you, na'mean? This may be the least articulate thing I've ever written on music, but writing about music of this foggy dexterity is silly. Each person should meet it on their own terms without any critical cloud fogging up one's proverbial rocket ship window.
R. Stevie Moore - Hearing Aid
Speaking of genius level talents, we have another R. Stevie comp to devour! This maybe the best collection yet. A rare beast, that most beautifully synchronized hybridization of the 'Greatest Hits' & 'Rarities' type dealies. Great pop tunes, left brain instrumentals, totally weird and lonely sounding lyrics. A-Game four-track productions. Great stuff from one of the best ever.
Tame Impala - Lonerism
Just cuz shit is mad popular, I'm not gonna front on it. 'Apocalypse Dreams' is a ridiculous song. 'Elephant' makes me spit my soup. It is everything you've heard it to be. It really does sound like Lennon & Barrett & Rundgren jamming in some gauzy instagram'd heaven. Retarded drum sounds, prog-synth interludes, good tunesmanship, guitar-hero skullduggery and enough magazine spreads referring to 'the psychedelic revival' to make me want to peel my skin off.
Fleshtone Aura - On Rusticated Slant
I listened to this shit twice I think... It's that kind of thing. Is it music? Is it art? My feeling is that some of the most valuable works of conceptualization or 'art' are those works that literally have 0 functionality in what we call 'the real world'. They exist mainly either as physical objects, or as encounters that have obscure value but a highly particular texture or experiential quality. My honest take on this record is that it is a hybrid musique concrete / comedy album (and seriously, not even some high-brow DFW-essay brand of humour, I'm talking like, fart joke comedy). A particular mixture made by a particular person, housed in a wonderfully mysterious sleeve and accompanied by a highly enjoyable collection of visual ephemera. A collectors item to be sure.
Various Artists - Glimpses Vol. 1
A straight ripper. An unknown classic reissued this year that I kind of stumbled on and ordered. You have to be into this sort of thing - mid 60's psych obscurities, or else it will probably sound like bar rock or something... But if you are into it, this is one of the best comps I've heard! An American collection to rival Chocolate Soup for Diabetics wonderous brit-sike-pop. 'There's a Sudden Rise in the Temperature' in particular is an absolute monster... Also, how is West Minst'r's 'My Life' from the 60's and not a Cheap Trick song from 7 years later??
Ka - Grief Pedigree
What sells me on this record is the modesty of it. A handful of tracks, restrained but effective beats, a single guest rapper, a whispered delivery - the economy of it seems truly unparalleled in today's rap culture. Highly potent stuff. Great raps, killer licks. Minimal quotient of offensive bitch/fag-talk to deal with, just the straight grimy goods. The Roc Marcy album could easily be substituted here, but I honestly can't overemphasize the modesty of KA and how appealing that is to me. A great, completely underrated rap album.
Eric Copeland - Limbo
Man, I got so much love for Eric's tunes. This guy just does it. Straight bangers, free of any kind of retro affiliation or bombast. Pop tunes without pop Tones. Imagination as a weapon. A fully articulated aesthetic, and an original one at that - it doesn't get much rarer. Limbo is the audio equivalent of that cliched scene in every friendly-alien movie where the kid realizes this superficially strange looking creature just wants to pal around for a while before heading back to space. Friendly? Yes. Familiar? No. As excitingly modern as it gets for me.
Eddie Callahan - False Ego
A reissued and rediscovered classic thanks to some archeological muscle over at Time-Lag Records. Comparable to R. Stevie Moore in it's unfavouring approach to pop music, though clearly realized at a pro studio. A bizarre blend of mellotron assisted power pop, psych, convincing white guy funk and deranged Moog manipulation. No-format radio beamed directly from the mind of a self probing but fun loving Hare Krishna worshipper of the 70's. Ace.
Ariel Pink - Mature Themes
Ariel Pink goes Kool Keith. Another record you've definitely read too much about already, but one that I really dig. I think the Sparks and Zappa name drops are appropriate here, along with his usual original flavour. Highly enjoyable stuff.
Creme Soda - Tricky Zingers
Another ripper that could be confused for a comp if you didn't know better. Psych soldiers lost in time deliver the goods. One of the best tunes ever, accompanied by some other not as good, but still very tasty joints.
Black Dice - Mr. Impossible
Legendary status, key-to-the-city-wearing motherfuckers deliver again. A party record for space travel. Like looking under a modest sized rock and seeing A REALLY BIG bug. Psychedelic drug music that doesn't connote it's psych status by talking at you about third eyes, or paisley partridges, or the inner mind... Real deal by real dudes.
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