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Surfer's and Six's 6 Songs and CDs of 2012

Postby numbersix » December 30th, 2012, 1:03 pm

Folks, while we trawl through our favourite records of all time, it's always worth looking at the last 12 months to make us realise that music isn't dead, or in decline, but as vibrant and as exciting as ever.

SS and I have amassed a fair amount of new albums this year so we're going to share our Top 6 songs and Top 6 albums, starting with a list of almost-made-its. Click on the links if you dare. Feel free to commment, criticise, and join in!

ALBUMS THAT JUST MISSED OUT

The Soft Moon - Zeros
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DW14DvSKHLo
Gloomy goth rock with a shoegazer twist. A dark and occasionally unnerving act with some great basslines.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah, Don't Bend, Ascend!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXdF9uhVrI0
Post-rock flagship reunited after a 10 year hiatus to tour, spout their stay-hopeful-in-this-shitty-world ethos, and bring out this album of two tracks they used to play live and never committed to tape.

Swans - The Seer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdzYh1-MhjY
A revitalised Michael Gira follows up the awesome My Father Will Guide Me... with a 2 hour opus of metallic, industrial, bluesy post-rock. Featuring a few big names in music (including Karen O), this is at times too much and at other times brilliantly engaging.

Grimes - Visions
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtH68PJIQLE
Manic pixie electro girl does good in this dreamy and rather ambitious record that hit the mainstream. She's still an oddball, but you have to admire her imagination, which spawned a clitoris-shaped ring range and one of the best music videos I've seen in years.


TUNES THAT JUST MISSED OUT

Cat Power - "Ruin"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nl3Oo4-IQ4
Chan returns from her Nashville wandering to make an incredibly catchy song about First World priveleges and laziness.

A Place to Bury Strangers - "So Far Away"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9XUEb_ZZis
Shoegaze Psychadelics APTBS disappointed with their third album, but this EP track really pounds the static into shape.

Andy Stott - "Numb"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTOsBk-V9uA
Electro music from a dance producer who fell in love with tone, and makes this a late night dreamy fare.

Major Lazer - "Get Free"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI3shBXlqsw
Caribbean dancehall crazed producer drums up this rather soulful tune, with a little help from the leftfield vocals of Dirty Projectors' member Amber.


Tomorrow I'll post Albums and Tunes #6 and #5
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Re: Surfer's and Six's 6 Songs and CDs of 2012

Postby silversurfer19 » December 30th, 2012, 9:06 pm

ALBUMS THAT JUST MISSED OUT

Records which round out my top 20 of the year, no.6 following tomorrow...

Beach House - Bloom
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuvWc3ToDHg
While perhaps not containing that one killer pop song like Teen Dream's Zebra, this was still a very consistent collection of beautiful harmonies.

The Walkmen - Heaven
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wms59iOY8mE
The band may have matured a little since the days of their more punky The Rat and Bows And Arrows, but in doing so the band have only become a more concise unit, writing better songs and complementing them with a cleaner, more melodic sound. This is the album which finally sees them grow up.

The Twilight Sad - No-one Can Ever Know
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wi5iyxGsIQ
Still one of the best acts to emerge from Scotland in the last decade, The Twilight Sad have an knack for crafting post-rock in such an effortless manner.

Sweet Billy Pilgrim - Crown And Treaty
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VR38Al-KSLk
Came out of nowhere for me, but that voice is a killer and with such a beautifully harmonious backing to it, this record was a delight from start to finish.

Nada Surf - The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=honovfwgL9s
While The Shins faltered this year, another other indie-pop act proved they still have plenty left to give with this wonderful collection.

The Mars Volta - Nocturniquet
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q58XkUplDn0
For me at least the best record the band have released since Frances The Mute, collecting the best of their last few records and melding it with the sound of their first couple of records, it's a glorious return to form.

Crocodiles - Endless Flowers
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Jp7h6CUlg4
Another band who have tackled the Jesus And Mary Chain fuzz and used it to create a fun record which comes close to Summer Of Hate.

Maximo Park - The National Health
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eImcp9BXpoA
Return to form from a band who seemed to have lost their way. Back is the excitement and energy of A Certain Trigger, with Paul Smith voice still in fine form.

Richard Hawley - Standing At The Sky's Edge
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40DeE8eJ2v0
Moving a little more in psychedelia than in his previous efforts, Hawley's barratone voice is still the showstopper it always was, just his music is amped up a little.

Grimes - Visions
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAyIOL14eyo
At first I was bemused by her, but I find myself returning to this record over and over, as her mix of Fever Ray and Battles intoxicates your mind.

Torche - Harmonicraft
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1obEt5dmmo
Very catchy heavy rock from a band who have seemed to streamline their formerly fuzz noise into something which resembles the love child of the Melvins, Helmet and QOTSA. And all the while becoming one of the most pop centred guitar records of the year.

Grizzly Bear - Shields
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_JerSZ5aXw
A little more understated than Veckatimest, Grizzly Bear still maintain that delightful ability to harmonise their weird and wonderful world into some of the most addictive pop music around.

Bloc Party - Four
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juPagD7APQ8
I thought I'd lost these guys over the years, but back them come with their guitars this time and it's as close to the record which SHOULD have followed Silent Alarm as I could have hoped. It's quite a bit heavier than anything previously, but there's definitely something quite wonderful to hearing Kele's voice and Russell's guitar thrashing away once again.

Trailer Trash Tracys - Ester
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zztx7FBMr04
Another band who came out of nowhere for me, some truly infectious MBV-esque dream pop.
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Re: Surfer's and Six's 6 Songs and CDs of 2012

Postby numbersix » December 30th, 2012, 9:11 pm

The Grizzly Bear album almost made my Top 10. A really solid record.

I didn't care much for the new Beach House album. It kinda felt like they were covering old ground, but with a tad less passion.

There's plenty of your albums I've yet to hear, so will check out those tracks.
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Re: Surfer's and Six's 6 Songs and CDs of 2012

Postby numbersix » December 31st, 2012, 8:40 am

Right, time to press on with tunes and records #6 and #5.

ALBUM #6
Total Control - Henge Beat

This apparent Australian underground punk supergroup threw in all their favourite influences, ranging from the mid 70s to the mid 80s, to make a stunning tribute to the best of that era. The various songs borrow from the likes of the Buzzcocks, Suicide, Wire, Joy Division, Mission of Burma, etc. A promising debut and I hope they don't end up like other supergroups who split up early.

"One More Tonight"


"The Hammer"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4P9X0_zgKk


ALBUM #5
Animal Collective - Centipede Hz

"Today's Supernatural"


"Monkey Riches"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x535-QPfIEY

Critics were quick to express their disappointment regarding the follow up to the much adored Merriweather Post Pavillion, but I think it was na unfair assessment. This is a wonderful record, the first time all band members were able to record together. There's a return to Avey Tare's raw vocals giving the sound more of a edge, but the wonderful melodies of their last record are still in place.


TUNE #6
Metz - "Negative Space"



Known for their awesome live shows, this hardcore rock act put their best song at the end of their promising debut record. There's inspiration from Nirvana, Husker Du, and the Melvins on display here.


TUNE #5
Deep Time - "Clouds"



Another reference point to post-punk, this odd-pop singer-songwriter borrows from the likes of Delta 5, Liliput, and Y Pants to make a really fun and offbeat pop song.
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Re: Surfer's and Six's 6 Songs and CDs of 2012

Postby NSpan » December 31st, 2012, 5:04 pm

The English Beat (aka The Beat) are playing next door to the club we're going to tonight for NYE. We might switch venues to catch the show. Anyone heard/seen these guys since the 80s? Think they're worth checking out nowadays?
On the run from Johnny Law ... ain't no trip to Cleveland.
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Re: Surfer's and Six's 6 Songs and CDs of 2012

Postby Buscemi » December 31st, 2012, 5:31 pm

It's probably just a machine playing The English Beat.
Everything on this post is strictly the opinion and only the opinion of Buscemi.

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Re: Surfer's and Six's 6 Songs and CDs of 2012

Postby silversurfer19 » January 1st, 2013, 9:29 am

Catching up a little...

ALBUM #6
Blood Red Shoes - In Time To Voices

Fantastically catchy pop music from the duo from Brighton. Merging a kind of It's Blitz era Yeah Yeah Yeahs with The Subways, their fuzz infused music is just so infectious, as Laura-Mary Carter's soft, hushed vocals and driving, energetic guitar riffs compliment Steve Ansell's pumelling drum beats into some of the most anthemic rock music around.

"In Time To Voices"


"Lost Kids"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_KAAS8TuL4


ALBUM #5
Cloud Nothings - Attack On Memory

A band I discovered through Metacritic, Cloud Nothings are a band heavily indebted to the late 80s post hardcore scene but while listening to their songs you'd be forgiven for believing they were one of the pioneers of the genre, such is their translation of the scene. It's a highly addictive record with driving rhythms, intense beats and passionate vocals. Attack On Memory is an uncompromising attack of the senses, mixing Slint with Sonic Youth, Sunny Day Real Estate with The Strokes, and as all the songs come together it creates a continuous assault of rock n roll, and one which is probably one of the most challenging records of the year

"Wasted Days"


"No Future/No Past"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVO5OYoZQHc
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Re: Surfer's and Six's 6 Songs and CDs of 2012

Postby numbersix » January 2nd, 2013, 3:39 pm

ALBUM #4
Holograms, Holograms

"ABC City"


"A Tower"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-s8OwLnMb_w

Looks like it's not just the Danish punk scene that's thriving. These young Swedish lads released an incredibly strong debut album, reliving the purity of punk with the darker elements of post-punk.


ALBUM #3
Liars, WIXIW

"The Exact Colour of Doubt"


"Who is the Hunter"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SriJzEKEIQ0

This came as an utter surprise. Liars are a notably experimental act, pushing the limits of their guitar led sound to make droney chants and atmospherics. Their last two albums embraced the mainstream a tad more with brash rock and even choruses. Here, they decided to make an organic electro album, recording all the samples physically before toying with them in the studio. The result is a dreamy, Krautrock-inspired album and I think it's their best.


TUNE #4
Lower Dens, "Brains"



In a year in which Beach House disappointed by failing to do anything interesting with their dream pop sound, along comes this Baltimore act to show them how it's done. From their promising album Nootronics, this song adds touches of Krautrock to their shoegazy pop sound.


TUNE #3
Ty Segall Band, "Wave Goodbye"



This prolific young chap released 3 albums this year (and his album Twins is right up NSpan's Nuggets-loving alley), and all of them were incredibly strong, particularly his heavy rock record Slaughterhouse, in which this tune is the highlight.
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Re: Surfer's and Six's 6 Songs and CDs of 2012

Postby numbersix » January 2nd, 2013, 3:41 pm

SS, you probably ovesold Blood Red Shoes to me a bit, as neither song really struck a chord with me.

I do, however, really like that Cloud Nothings record. I describe it as "Bloc Party listening to Shellac", and those two songs are my favourite from the album. It's teen angst done with style and intensity. I even managed to see them live this year, and once you got over how incredibly young they are, they're ultimately a blast.
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Re: Surfer's and Six's 6 Songs and CDs of 2012

Postby silversurfer19 » January 2nd, 2013, 8:12 pm

ALBUM #4
Django Django - Django Django

The D is silent. This album completely blindsided me on its release. Living in NZ at the time I had no idea who these guys were, but going by the buzz I thought I'd check them out. What I got was a fabulous indie band obviously inspired by the likes of The Beta Band with a keen knack for crafting pulsating pop music with catchy hook after hook. As the beats swirl and the vocals pummel you like a sort of inducing chant. I was left with one of the most intriguing but playable records of the last few years.

"Zumm Zumm"


"Hail Bop"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK1m__CqWAk


ALBUM #3
The Mark Lanegan Band - Blues Funeral

For the most part I knew of Mark Lanegan through his work with other bands, namely Screaming Trees, Isobel Campbell and his collaboration with QOTSA. I'd never really paid much attention to his solo work. I'd heard bits of Bubblegum and Field Songs which although appealed hadn't totally grabbed me. That was until I heard Blues Funeral, however. His intoxicatingly gravel-esque voice is still in fine form here, but the music takes you even further into this dark, intense world as he explores the blues, electronica, rock and even a little disco. How all these styles come together is testament to Lanegan's ability, it's a truly cohesive record that devours you on first listen and keeps sucking you deeper and deeper into his world.

"Bleeding Muddy Water"


"Harborview Hospital"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OC5KfkO5sY
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Re: Surfer's and Six's 6 Songs and CDs of 2012

Postby numbersix » January 4th, 2013, 6:56 pm

Okay, time to finish the countdown...

ALBUM #2
The Men, Open Your Heart

"Ex Dreams"


"Open Your Heart"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en1lfsSaOqw

Imagine if Thurston Moore took over Springsteen's E-Street Band, and they spent a month listening to the great rock records of the late 70s and early 80s. This is a stunning debut froma band with iPods packed with amazing music. It's the variety that makes the album so satisfying, and fans of the Buzzcocks, the Replacements, the Clash, Mudhoney, and Sonic Youth will dig the hell out of this.



ALBUM #1
Dirty Projectors, Swing Lo Magellan

"About to Die"


"Swing Lo Magellan"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yf7OKBlvAig

I have this band's previous two albums, both of which were critical darlings. I could appreciate them but I failed to have an emotional connection. This album changed the relationship entirely. By becoming a tad more accessible, the band's utterly unique approach to folk (which involves hip-hop rhythms, off-key vocals, Dylan-esque ballads, and a whole pile of other sounds) now resonates deeper, especially with lyrics that are more direct and perhaps more honest. A beautiful and challenging record.


TUNE #2
Zebra Katz, "Ima Read"



Hip-hop has its limitations, and it's good to see the NY performance art scene mix it up. Hip-hop is by nature hyper-masculine and Zebra KAtz is part of a homosexual niche that is very much welcome. This tune is incredibly minimalist, the deadpan delivery of the lyrics are both chilling and a satire on the cliches of rap. Damn cool video too.

TUNE #1
Lower, "Craver"



I said earlier that Denmark's punk scene seems to be taking off, with last year seeing Iceage's debut hit the world (their follow up is due in Feb). Part of the same scene is this act, and they're even better, leaning more towards the abrasive post-punk sound in their racuous guitar tunes. There's great timing shifts in this song, and I can't wait to see what they do in their debut album, also due out in 2013.
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Re: Surfer's and Six's 6 Songs and CDs of 2012

Postby numbersix » January 4th, 2013, 6:57 pm

SS, the Mark Lanegan songs didn't really do much for me. It's just not something I'd even give time if I didn't know where he came from.

But the Django Django record was right up my alley. Lots of crazy sounds going on there but it was also strangely coherent. Really cool.
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Re: Surfer's and Six's 6 Songs and CDs of 2012

Postby silversurfer19 » January 4th, 2013, 8:22 pm

Maybe I chose the wrong songs for you for Blues Funeral. They were a couple of my own favourites but there is plenty of variety on the record. Maybe try:
The Gravediggers Song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVCNSZPPr9M
Gray Goes Black http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzVtVoz2wfw
Ode To Sad Disco http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obrG7t2kgM0

Or maybe we can't always like the same music.... Anyway, I'll catch up on all your picks when I have a chance, heard of a few of them but not actually heard any of their actual sounds.


ALBUM #2
Japandroids, Celebration Rock

As a big fan of Post Nothing I was highly anticipating the release of Japandroids sophmore effort. And following on from that highly energetic and youthful debut, Celebration Rock is probably the most apt title for a record released this past year if not decade. It's a hell of a lot of fun from the opening bars of The Nights Of Wine And Roses until the sensitive parting shot Continuous Thunder. It's a feel good record, and it's refreshing for a band to try to produce a record like that in an age where this is almost uncool. It's a record which is highly kinetic, it never gives up on this adrenaline fuelled, visceral sense of urgency which seems to exist between the duo. Fans of The Replacements and The Hold Steady take note, this is that exciting record of adolescence you've been looking for.

"The House That Heaven Built"

"Continuous Thunder"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AztLPSGcow

ALBUM #1
Perfume Genius, Put Your Back N 2 It

Until about 12 months ago I'd never even heard of Seattle based singer songwriter Mike Hadreas, AKA, Perfume Genius. Now he is absolutely one of my favourite artists of this decade and have probably been listening to his two records at least once a week non stop since I first heard that tender, piano led, haunting dream of Awol Marine. I was completely awestruck on first listen, it truly was a thing of such beauty, and indeed left me quite emotional after it. The rest of the record then continued to pull at my heart strings, with such a fragile, delicate vocal and stark musicianship captivating me on each of the twelve songs. Put Your Back N 2 It has left me captivated with Hadreas, obsessed with his music perhaps. I haven't been so stunned by an artist since maybe Michael Stipe, Elliot Smith or Jeff Buckley. He sits well alongside that triumviant, artists with an ability to craft truly awe inspiring music. Sitting late at night listening and contemplating the record is a delightful experience, with the melodies linking together to form a truly atomspheric listen, and one which I know will never fail to tantilise me for many years to come.

"Awol Marine"

"Dark Parts"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aZ_5c3vl68
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Re: Surfer's and Six's 6 Songs and CDs of 2012

Postby numbersix » January 5th, 2013, 4:35 pm

I'm not too surprised that Perfume Genius would be your #1. It's a really nice little record, as if Sufjan Stevens joined Sigur Ros to play songs written by Angelo Badalamenti. Floating Spit and All Waters are my favourite songs.

As for Japandroids, I actually didn't like Post-Nothing at all. Perhaps I was expecting more from the reviews but all I got was moderately anthemic college rock. I have to admit, though, that they've honed their craft for this new record, and the songs sounds generally a lot better. Not exactly my thing, but there's something undeniably catchy about them.
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