Tuesday, January 1, 2013
YEARS END: 12 VALUABLE SONGS IN '12
Twelve resonant tunes that made it to my ears in oh twelve. Reissues count, DIG IT. Will post a list of LPs I dove headfirst into shortly...
Can - 'Millionenspiel'
Starting off my list of 2012's most favoured with a song made in the 70's. How this dusty jewel remained locked up for so long is a true mystery. Seriously this would be a standout track on any Can album. Musical invention is off the charts. Ability to make me want to tear my shirt off, 'go gorillas' and stomp my house into dust - also off the charts. Psychotic Morricone shit colliding with that ridiculously cerebral funk that these gods are known for.
The Reveens - 'Twisted Games'
I know nothing about these guys, I don't even suspect them to be a real band. One is left to assume some loft-living Montrealer is cavalierly taking credit for his Dad's old psych band's moldy old sides. A very pleasant mystery off a nice release with the good fortune to be residing exactly up my alley.
Sic Alps - 'Glyphs'
Even with the grime lifted this Donovan's obscure word riddles and juke riffin make for obscured jive even as he's bringin it to ya. They've gone upscale now, or at least satisfied with having perfected that 'You Really Got Me' dum-dum shit have moved on to painting pictures of Magical Mystery. Delicious guitar splatter accompanied by stately strings.
The Makers - 'Don't Challenge Me'
Devastating dub accentuated by synth noodling ala Jean-Jacques Perrey. As appetizing as that description may be, the truth is it's the vocals you've shelled out the cash for. If you could distill sex into a fog, releasing it from a mist machine in high doses would feel as this music sounds... Clearly not of 2012, but re-issued therein.
Roc Marciano - 'Thug's Prayer Pt. 2'
Perhaps as close a taste of Madvillainy 2 as we may get. Shortened format, fragmented rhythms, abstracted gangster pointillism - shit ain't been so enlightened since 2004. When the OG T.P. lick drops in the cinematic effect is devastating (for someone who listened to this rap album more than any other the last couple years). An effective minute and a half of music.
Sheer Agony - 'She's an Artist'
My pleasure centre tells me the record this song comes from is the best Canadian pop recording of the year... This is no dubious honour. These guys, (once again faceless Montrealers to this T.O. hooligan) know their way around a song. Smartly and succinctly this 7" wonder evokes the very best record-collector favouring power pop you may find on your shelves, and let's face it - Sloan (another compliment hardly meant as a dubious distinction). Along with Actual Water, a rare (Canadian) guitar band that gets my rocks off. Pick up this lovely artifact from the lovely Fixture Records.
Lee Hazlewood - 'Nobody Like You'
How can you further illuminate perfection. The song itself sez it all. Talk about melody, production, arrangement... That mellow gold forreal.
Chris Cohen - 'Monad'
A totally unassuming beauty. The pieces seem pre-conceived and pieced together as if the tune had been translated from a single-mind-multitracker. Quietly psychedelic with a wicked intro, beckoning yet hesitant.
Kendrick Lamar - 'Cartoons & Cereal'
Kendrick is worth the hype. The storytelling ability of Nas with some of the vocal elasticity of Lil' Wayne. An exciting combo. My only problem, is that like Nas his beat selection can be a little iffy... I will agree with pretty much everyone that wrote about KL ad nauseum this year that he does represent something of a great hope. This beat is extra nice too.
Young Mother - 'No Straight Lines'
A highlight from a good set. A punky take on that great art-glam lineage of magical beasts - Roxy, Bowie, Walker et al. Nice pipes, cool stuff.
Donnie & Joe Emerson - 'Feels Like the Sun'
A flat out bizarre instrumental. Farm funk with all the charmed challenge of a Shaggs rhythm cut. A song you can root for, groove to and puzzle over in equal measure.
Frank Ocean - 'Pyramids'
A high tolerance for the baby smooth is required should you want to digest the LP whole, but this track is so obviously impressive. Frank Ocean is clearly a futurist and an innovator, and though I haven't heard the whole catalogue I feel like Pyramids must represent the prize so far. Hefty ambition flexing between musical movements (including a Eurotrashy synth sequence I could truly do without), a shifting setting and multiple perspectives all pulled through with panache. A setpiece and mini world all to itself, an impressive musical artwork.
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