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GUTCHECK 2012 : the stuff my earholes enjoyed most

So it’s the new year, and here’s the crap I really liked about last year. Hope this year is better. – gg

ALBUMS

Tilts – Tilts
A perfect rock album providing the perfect soundtrack to cheap 12 packs downed in a parking lot – each song offering a melody and a riff that most groups spend decades never finding. Andrew Elstner sings lead and plays lead, while also bolstering the best metal band on the planet, Torche. His voice embraces the turf without irony – a true find for anyone who thinks there’s nothing out there but adenoidal beta males. He sounds like the dude from the New Pornographers – an alpha male voice trapped in a glam rock world, with a knack for sticky melodies. This record is so purely rock and roll that if you listen to it for seven hours straight – – you actually grow tattoos.

Devin Townsend band – Epicloud
How did I miss this guy? This record is so ridiculously over-the-top it should be mocked, except that it’s so great it MOCKS YOU. Imagine Slayer having sex with the Polyphonic Spree in a decompression chamber, and this is what you get. Each song contains one of each: rousing choruses, infectious melodies, brutal riffage. An ambrosia salad of the Wildhearts, Mike Patton and Muse – in a perfect world, his stuff would be in every 15 year old’s Ipod. He would also be president of Canada, if they had presidents!

Torche – Harmonicraft
A band so great that each album makes you wonder why they aren’t worshipped like the pagan gods they are. Steve Brooks is a rock star without the rock star trappings – David Lee Roth minus the mid-80’s cat-suits. A collection of poppy metal grenades, sugary with infectious melodies and chunky riffs- if Torche were food it would be cotton candy made of steak. Or steak made from cotton candy. Either way, your hands will be sticky, and you will die hours after ingestion.

The Oh Sees – Putrifiers II
Marrying psychelica to motorik is the thing these days – my mom even released a “Can meets Syd Barrett” Hawkwind jam (on Kickstarter). But no one does it better than these freaks. “Hang a Picture” is a perfect pop song, even if it gets lost among the weirder stuff. The album cover is horrible – which speaks to their confidence. Their music is so good, they figured, “hey, let’s come up with the ugliest album cover on earth, because we can handle it.” Mission accomplished.

Ty Segall Band – Slaughterhouse
Go to youtube and search this guy’s explosive Chicago morning show appearance, and see why this guy rules: he DOESN’T CARE. And HE CARES. The music delivers more punch than Tropicana, putting out more music in a year than most do in a career. He just figures, accurately, that even his so-so stuff is still better than anyone elses.

Black Moth Super Rainbow – Cobra Juicy
Enough has been written about Tom Fec’s sound – it’s sci-fi bubblegum that’s dark and gooey – the musical equivalent of an apple with a razor blade, etc…But who cares – at this point, he writes great music – and this is an album of great pop music. I didn’t just buy it, I got the rubber mask, which i wear on the stairclimber.

Death Grips – The Money Store
A sloppy joe of Black Flag and Public Enemy, but it’s more than that. It doesn’t so much break new ground as crap all over it. Scary music is rare these days, and this is scary. This isn’t a soundtrack to the apocalypse as it is a description of the aftermath.

Tame Impala – Lonerism
These Aussies do more in one song than Oasis accomplishes in an album. My prediction: in four years, they will be the biggest band in the world. My other prediction: cats begin to stand upright, adopt top hats and eat people.

Andy Stott -Luxury Problems
This guy’s music is perfect for the Acela – the train from NYC to DC. You see how low the world can be, down by those filthy train tracks, where used diapers outnumber chip bags. This is pretty music that operates on an ugly vibe, accurately reflecting where we are headed.

Goat – world music
The Wicker Man in sound form: crazy ritualistic psychosis with a great groove. There’s a lot of mystery behind this band, but you don’t need that baggage. The music works not on “so many levels,” but the one that matters most: when you’re in bed, buzzed, and not entirely sure if you’re in your own home.

SONGS OF THE YEAR

Battling the City – Lilacs and Champagne. This bifurcated beauty gets stuck in your brain and refuses to leave – occupying the lobby of your frontal lobe like a gentle, tiny bear. This song is so great i pretty much forgot to listen to the rest of the record.

Mexiqo – Tilts. The perfect rock song from the perfect rock album. The song is a reminder that music is about having a great time, and/or providing a great time for others. Tilts is doing charity work – making our lives better by providing pleasure that would not exist if not for their awesome instincts.

Angel – Devin Townsend Band. This song is so completely over the top that created by lesser talents, it could be Meatloaf. But instead it’s Heart drop-kicked through a Queen blender with a Wildhearts floater – resulting in not so much a song as an earthquake.

You’re The Doctor – Ty Segall
Channeling Nick Lowe, the Damned and a chainsaw, this pretty much covers all the qualifications for “a song nobody will ever do better.” Just over two minutes long, you can play it 30 times an hour. I know this.

Gangs in the Garden – Black Moth Super Rainbow
it’s up there with some of the best BMSR – a futuristic groove that takes you on a Jetson ride to some world where you can taste colors. BMSR is so far ahead in expanding the musical landscape, making the most exciting pop music on the planet – and i’m speaking of Venus.

Diddy Wah Diddy - Ty Segall Band
Shot from a cannon, pure noise and thoroughly irresistible – a two and a half minute swagger of incoherent joy. This is a reminder of how music should be: short, loud and memorable. Like your talk show hosts.

Goathead – Goat
This is the kinda song you hear when crazy cultists are chasing through a forest. And you want to stop running just to see what they might do to you. Hint: see the Kill List.

Default – Django Django. Ridiculously infective -like a kitten with herpes. You know it’s bad for you, but you can’t help embracing it.

Lupine Dominus – The Oh Sees
This is what’s called driving music, if you’re driving a monster truck made of lizard heads.

I’ve Seen Footage - Death Grips
Take “Push It” and have some insane man rap over it, and you have a pop song. This band’s philosophy -I take it – is that doing anything by the book, is selling out. My gut tells me in six years, they will be saying the same thing, while making millions.

The Melvins Lite – Let me Roll it. A remake of the Wings song. No other explanation needed.

58 thoughts on “GUTCHECK 2012 : the stuff my earholes enjoyed most


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