Sunday, December 30, 2012

REVIEW(S): TOP 100 ALBUMS OF 2012

I am sure you will agree with more than a few, I am hoping to surprise you with at least one or two, and (as always) I welcome a friendly debate between me & you.. Here are

+++++++++++++++++++EIC's Top 100 Albums of  2-0-1-2+++++++++++++++++++
99. Mirrorring - Foreign Body
98. Jared Fairfield/Afraid - EMF
97. Native Eloquence - s/t EP
96. School Of Seven Bells - Ghostory
95. TheeSatisfaction - Awe Naturale
94. Momus - Bibliotek
93. VA - Don't Break My Love
92. Skeleton Lipstick - Glows Then Melts
91. Gliss - Hunting
90. David Shane Smith - Snake V Owl
89. Fight Bite - s/t
88. Sleep Party People - We Were Drifting On A Sad Song
87. Ultraísta -s/t
86. Boy Friend - Egyptian Wrinkle
84. Red Alder - Empty Staircases
83. Tralala Blip - Soundbeam Sessions Vol. 1
82. Kitty Pryde - HaHa, I'm Sorry
81. Death And Vanilla - s/t
80. Bijou Winters - Dreams Everlasting
79. Dave Aju - Heirlooms
78. The Slaves - Spirits Of The Sun
77. Unison - s/t
76. Aspidistrafly - A Little Fable
75. Brother Sun, Sister Moon - s/t
74. Jarboe - Indemnity
73. TV Girl - The Wild, The Innocent, The TV Shuffle
72. Happy New Year - s/t
71. Altar Eagle - Night Runners
69. Sinner DC - Future That Never Happened
68. Ʌ - EverythingIsChemical Virtual 7" No. 30
67. Scott Walker - Bish Bosch
66. The Antlers - Undersea
65. The Caretaker - Patience (After Sebald)
64. Arca - Stretch 2
63. Water Borders - Each Dream A Scheme
62. Biblo - Projection
61. Eskimeaux - s/t
60. Dntel - Aimlessness
59. Sobrenadar - 1859
58. Collarbones - Die Young
57. Kid A - Pponey OST
56. First Person Shootr - Mobility For Gods EP
55. Wild Nothing - Nocturne
..if you're into Indie/Dream Pop
54. Halls - Fragile EP
53. Biblo - EverythingIsChemical Virtual 7" No. 29
52. Castratii - Eora
51. Molly Nilsson - History
50. Grisha Lichtenberg - And. IV
49. Milky Yoad + Chikiss - Zimní Son
48. Triad God - NXB
47. Hypermagic - Sugar
46. Rhubra - Slow Noise
45. A Decent Man - Life Is Meaningless | Clouds Are Beautiful
44. Jonwayne - Cassette
43. Kid Smpl - Escape Pod EP
42. Datassette - People Without Mouths
41. John Maus - A Collection Of Rarieties And Previously Unreleased Material
39. Gremlins - s/t
38. Evade - Destroy & Dream
37. The Xx - Coexist
36. Swans - The Seer
35. Edward Ka-Spel - Ghost Logik
34. Martial Canterel - Empire
33. Diiv - Oshin
32. Choir Of Young Believers - Rhine Gold
31. Trust - s/t
30. Porcelain Raft - Strange Weekend
29. Ʌ - Patriot Hills
28. Astrobrite - All The Stars Will Fall
27. Arca - Stretch 1
26. Super Galactic Expansive - Constants + Variables
24. Black Marble - A Different Arrangement
23. Colin Nance - EverythingIsChemical Virtual 7" No. 19
22. Sébastien Tellier - My God Is Blue
21. Edyptian Hip Hop - Good Don't Sleep
19. White Car - Everyday Grace
18. Trouble Books - Concatenating Fields
17. Chelsea Wolfe - Uknown Rooms : A Collection Of Acoustic Songs
16. Soap & Skin - Narrow
15. Vindicatrix - Mengamuk
14. Die Jungen - At Breath's End
13. SpaceGhostPurrpp - Mysterious Phonk
12. Evian Christ - Kings And Them
11. Groundislava - Feel Me
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
10. King Krule - King Krule
The amount of times a person can listen to one EP over and over again can be staggering sometimes. And when it comes to King Krule's music, I may have gone past the "over and over" mark/slipped into the world of obsession and need (for survival) a while ago. This s/t EP is King Krule's debut release (under this moniker anyways--he also went/still goes by(?) Zoo Kid) and to be quite honest ..if it he ever makes anything better I can't find any reason how I could (or why I would want to for that matter) walk away from it (ever).

Classic Dub + Jazz/Classical + Post Dub Step (yes, there's a lot of that this year, but that's ok with me) = something 100% magical. Archy Marshall has a voice that is unmatched (Joe Strummer maybe comes to mind). Actually, he's got one of those voices that you really can't imagine going with any "normal" human being, when in-fact it belongs to a 17 year old ginger kid from the UK, very strange indeed. There may be something acquired in taste here, but I would hope if you keep coming back to this site you will share that with me.

I suppose I keep listening to King Krule over and over again, because there isn't enough material out there yet, I need more NOW. There's a really special formula here, and I hope this youngster keeps it up, the future is extremely bright for Archy. HIGHLY (HIGHLY) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Standout Tracks: ALL (but mainly; The Noose Of Jah City)
 
9. The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Aufheben
TBJM have been at it for a LONG TIME now.. In-fact I won't even pretend to know even half as much as your average Jonestown junkie does, but I can tell you out of everything I've heard, 'Aufheben' is (quite possibly) their best.

"Middle Eastern sounds meets Kraut Surf-Gaze", may be the best way to describe 'Aufheben' (in my opinion). But to be honest, it could also pass for a classic Pop LP from the late 50's - mid 60's. Somewhat vintage and dusty sounding, really kitschy and psychedelic, and seriously catchy. There really isn't much more I can say about this band that hasn't been said. Trust me, you need this album in your everyday rotation.

I am pretty shocked by the amount of people that overlooked this album actually, had more people been paying attention I'm sure it could've been this high if not higher on their year-end lists too. So VERY STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.

Standout Tracks: Viholliseni Maalla, I Want To Hold Your Other Hand, Face Down On The Moon, The Clouds Are Lies, Walking Up To Hand Grenades, Blue Order/New Monday
8. Andy Stott - Luxury Problems
Andy Stott's art-sound has been tranquilizing my ear canals for a while now. He's always had me interested in what comes next.. this is it; 'Luxury Problems' is that point, f$#%ing$h!* this is so perfect. There is no next (can there be??), THIS IS IT.

On 'Luxury Problems' Mr. Stott gives us his best work yet. "How could he possibly do any better?"..Fair question I say. (the thing is he probably will though, this guy just keeps getting better and better.) Angelic-seductive vocals (supplied by Alison Skidmore [his old piano teacher]) are sampled, skipped, stretched, layered and made (somehow possibly) even more gorgeous. While white noise clicks, pulsating kicks, elongated subs, & brilliant Post Dub-dustrial Tech sets the mood.. Each track meticulously mixed together, the flow of the album VERY solid. "Comparison Time"; Think Twine's 'Violets' mixed with Lusine's 'Serial Hodgepodge' + a dash of Massive Attack.

Yeah, it's that good, assuming Micro-Provactive IDM is your thing. HIGHLY REC∞MMENDED

Standout Tracks: (oh man all of 'em are awesome) Lost And Found, Hatch The Plan, Luxury Problems, Up The Box, Leaving (PERFECT EXIT)
 
7. Liars - WIXIW
I'm incredibly lucky to have witnessed these guys perform this album live, I-LOVE-Liars. Every one of their (Liars) albums are completely different from the last, you seriously never know what you're in for when it comes to new Liars music. This is perhaps part of the band's biggest allure, their willingness to experiment and constantly impress.

'WIXIX' ("Wish You" as it's pronounced) is the album most Liars skeptics were waiting for, it is their most "accessible album" (their label boss/mate Daniel Miller made sure of that). The whole album has this androgynous/post-bleak Punk-tronic Pop vibe to it, to put it bluntly it's very catchy. Every track has something about it that has you craving more just as soon as it ends. By exploring their general "(blissed out-ish)Post Punk" sounds and dabbling (even more) into Electronics Liars have re-summarized their career for a new fanbase..

I mean seriously, you already love the Liars by now right?? Believe the hype, 'WIXIX' is incredibly essential.

Standout Tracks: The Exact Colour Of Doubt, Octagon, No. 1 Against The Rush, WIXIW, Who Is The Hunter
6. Mount Eerie - Clear Moon
I'm gonna be honest with you, I didn't really "fall into/start appreciating" Phil Elverum's music until Mount Eerie's 2009 album 'Wind's Poem' (#17 of 100) came around. I could see how there was a definite genius or prodigy of some sort behind the Microphones sound, but it just didn't "hit me" the way I wanted it to. Still though I found his voice/art important enough to follow, I knew it would only evolve into something truly important (to me)... I couldn't be happier with the ending/current results. Patience more than paid off in this case, few independent musicians take on as many risks as Mr. Elverum does with his sound.

On Mount Eerie's latest release 'Clear Moon' (Pt. 1 of a 2-part album --second one coming later this year) Phil Elverum explores more of the "darker territories" that I loved so much on 'Wind's Poem', they're very similar in tone actually, but 'Clear Moon' is more "polished". 'Clear Moon' is, in all honesty, quite possibly his "biggest/most triumphant" release to date. The production, although recorded utilizing nothing more than an 8-track (from what I hear), sounds as if it was produced by someone with a much larger budget. And THAT is where Phil's genius lays, he is officially (in my book anyways) one of the most keen, provocative, and ingenious independent music producers of this current (or past) generation's sound. What he can do with so little is breath taking and at some points reminiscent of "another famous Phil". The quickest way to describe Mount Eerie to someone who has been living under a rock is "Experimental Indie Rock" ..that leans towards bizarre Ambient atmospheres buried underneath Jazzy substructures, or and even easier way I suppose; "weird". It won't be everyone's forte (which is a shame), but for the average music worshiper that's looking for a bit of a "challenge" in their listening experience, Phil Elverum will always deliver.

If you're reading this it's probably because you're already a fan (or will be). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Standout Tracks: The Place I Live, Lone Bell (PEREFECTION), House Shape, (Something) (it's more than that), Clear Moon, Yawning Sky
5. Flying Lotus - Until The Quiet Comes
I was first introduced to Flying Lotus back in '08 when he released what was (until now) my favorite album of his; 'Los Angeles' (still a classic). He's got (quite) a few releases under his belt now (including various side projects--EIC♥'sCapn'M), but it wasn't until now that I realized how truly important Steven Ellison is to the music community.

"a collage of mystical states, dreams, sleep and lullabies", that's how FlyLo describes this album and I couldn't agree more. With a lot of fancy new guest contributors, plus stepping up his Jazzy Free-flowing-[Post IDM] jangly compositions, as well as creating/using some of the most unique samples of 2012, whats not to love about 'Until The Quiet Comes'? ..I honestly don't know what else I could say about this artist that hasn't been said by now. Just get this album, otherwise you'll hate yourself for passing it up.

I'm not even sure if I can grasp the amount of influence this album will have on me & my future listening adventures. This (and everything FLyLo) is sooo-uper Highly Recommended.

Standout Tracks: Getting There, Until The Colours Come, Tiny Tortures, All The Secrets, Putty Boy Strutt, DMT Song, Only If You Wanna, Hunger, Phantasm, Corded
4. Laurel Halo - Quarantine
Laurel Halo's name has been bouncing around "the scene" for a while now, but it is just now that she is truly finding herself. 'Quarantine' is her opus.

Like nothing you've ever heard..although, when listening to Laurel Halo it's hard not to compare her to Laurie Anderson (on some sort of a bender). Ms. Halo's sounds are (at the core) very experimental, but there's an extreme case of intellectually driven composition behind it. On 'Quarantine' she (Ms. Halo) has perfected her ever-evolving sound into a pristine synthesized masterpiece. The furthest spots you can take an instrument w/vocals, the most artistic sounds you can pull off with distortions, the most forward-thinking Electronics you could (possibly) need; 'Quarantine' has it all. Tomorrow's audiophiles will come back to (continue to revisit) this album one day, there's something really important about this release (I'm sure of this).

"The best Hypnogogic Synth Pop-Art album you'll ever hear." (or your money back..)

Standout Tracks: Year, MK Ultra, Wow, Carcass, Holoday, Tumor, Morcom, Light + Space
3. Tralala Blip - Submarine Love Songs
The best things in (my) life are the random pieces of wonder that sometimes fall across the (world wide web's) sky right in front of me. I'm never searching for anything specific (sort of), but I always know what it is (generally from the very first note/sound) when I do discover it. One of these terrific solar-aligning moments happened when I came across this project. Tralala Blip is a collective group of Experimental Electronic artists (with a rotating cast of members actually) that deliver the exact kind of sounds I crave all the time. A bit of sincerity, a lot of originality, a bit of warmth (as well as the chill factor), and a lot of flexible trial and error

Tralala Blips' Room40 debut is (so far) the group's defining moment. They have a few other pieces of music laying around out there (another LP, a split, and (yes) ANOTHER LP on the way..as well as a slew of awesome live tracks worth listening to) if you don't mind doing some online detective work (all very awesome), but 'Submarine Love Songs' is their best. The music within it's walls is is very precocious and precious, TLLB deliver an album that's as sincere and unapologetic as you can get within the realm of modern Electronic music. Lots and lost of sequencers, synthesizers, a few computers, bleeps/bloops, a few other random distortions, and some very peculiar vocals that I absolutely adore/sometimes obsess over. TLLB remind me Funkstorung, early Múm, (a dash of) Brian Eno, a bit of Coil (not so literal, but I think Coil fans will certainly appreciate a tone or two here and there), meets the more "eclectic" side of Radiohead. You probably shouldn't need much more convincing after those comparisons. Just trust me.

Buy it. Don't like it? I'll buy your copy from you. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Standout Tracks: ALL (I will not be picky here.) ...Try "In My Natural Way (Live)"
2. X-TG - Desert Shore/The Final Report
How do you honor/pay homage to someone as prolific and important as Peter C? You must truly no a person to do such a thing. It's pretty safe to assume that if any (currently living) musician/artist truly knew him it would be Chris & Cosey. There had been "rumors" for a while that (X)TG were in the process of covering Nico's 1970 album 'Desertshore'.. A few live recordings leaked, news of it finally being pieced together began to emerge, and then something sad happened; Peter Christopherson passed away. This may have been the shove surviving band members needed to finally finish this opus though, the way Peter truly envisioned it.

Before his untimely death Peter actually began finalizing the idea of re-creating Nico's masterpiece, he began writing it/recording it right before he passed. C & C took his recordings, polished them up a bit, and found all the proper guest musicians. So why guest musicians? Why not Genesis? Well, you may be surprised to know that it's not because of some silly feud between these long-time friends, the guest contributors were actually how Peter envisioned this project from the beginning. Before this album was released I listened to Nico's original over and over, readying myself for comparison. I already loved Nico, so going back to this album of course just reminded me of my little Nico obsession. The only things I feel these two versions (X-TG's & Nico's) share are the bleak-sparse tones and general narrative concept, other that there are substantial differences (good ones though). X-TG's 'Desert Shore' is of course a bit more dark, a bit more mechanical, and a lot more varied in sound (due to the guest contributors as well as Peter's unique sampling capabilities--does anyone else think this XTG release sounds more like Coil in the background over any other (x)TG release?). Antony's "Janitor Of Lunacy" is most likely the best cover you will ever hear of this song, truly haunting and gorgeous. Sasha Grey's "Afraid" minimizes the serene melody into a sadistic sounding cult-esque grand speech, you will be subdued. Blixa brings a bit of the dark/more commanding side to this album, Marc Almod's track could be mistaken for a lost/early 4AD song, Gaspar Noe's "Le Petit Chevalier" is something I could have on a constant loop behind me for a long time, and (of course) Cosey's vocals sound angelic as ever. X-TG's 'Desert Shore' will be the best/most-interesting cover/concept album you will ever hear.

Peter Christoperson was always working on new music, in-between the 'Desert  Shore' sessions he also worked on a few new dark & brooding loops for "a unique collaboration between him and C & C.." (aka Throbbing Gristle w/o Genesis P-Orridge). This one-time project is what birthed "The Final Report", which is comparable  to "The Third Mind Movements" mixed with "20JFG's" and "The Second Annual Report".. It's mostly vocal-less, mech-ambient, very ominous and of course addicting (to the right set of ears). 'The Final Report' is everything you'd expect from these three, a perfect cap to an amazing career/long-time collaboration. I find myself (always wanting more) when it comes to anything Peter is involved in, and this may be it.. (unless the people that represent the Threshold House get their act together and release all of those "lost tracks" he did..we can only dream/hope) Until then, I am 100% happy with this release, and can truly say this project ended the way it should've.

Had this been released earlier in the year I may have placed it at #1, but there just wasn't enough time to soak this masterpiece in and absorb all of it's little nuances (I have no idea how important this release is yet (nor does anyone else), but I(we) will soon). This is utterly essential music though, that much can be said. RIP Peter C. & (X-)TG.

Standout Tracks: Janitor Of Lunacy, The Falconer, Le Petit Chevalier, My Only Child, Desertshores // E.H.S., Um Dum Dom, Trope, In Accord, Emerge To Space Jazz

+++++++++++++++++++++++(..and the #1 Album of 2012 is..)+++++++++++++++++++++++

1._Chromatics - Kill For Love
"How many times can one person listen to the same album in a year?" ..That seemed to be something I was exercising when it came to Chromatics 2012 masterpiece 'Kill For Love'. I remember (back in '07) walking through the back alleys of my neighborhood listening to 'Night Drive', thinking to myself these guys are going to only get better and better, and they did. I don't think anyone could have predicted how amazing this release was going to be though when it (finally--5 years later) came out. In-fact, if you're visiting another music blog that doesn't mention this album somewhere on it's year-end list you should probably stop going there. Between then and now a small ("independent") film came out called 'Drive', the soundtrack to said film set a new standard in After-Midnight Post-Disco Chill Electro sounds, I believe Johnny Jewel (Italians Do It Better) took/borrowed notes from it (actually, check out his 'Symmetry' release as well). Mixing both those atmospheres and a few from '07, Chromatics have created an hour and a half long opus that is one of the most important Indie Electronic releases of the century ..that's right I said it.."of the century".

Mixing equal parts cinematic flare with neon themed glossy Electronic music, Mr. Jewel (& Co.) seem to have mastered this genre. On 'Kill For Love' you will hear LOTS of synthesizers mixed with silent (but important) drum pad sounds, breezy guitar riffs, and (of course) Ruth Radelet's pristine vocals which are in pitch-perfect harmony with every back up sound involved. The first half of 'Kill For Love' is a bit more Poppy/catchy, the second half a bit more dismal and "city after dark" Ambient. Going from the bright to dark environments allows this album to give so much more interest, I believe this choice of recording to be complementing and compelling for a proper album narrative. I like what this album does to my brain, maybe you will too? Go on a cruise, get lost in the metropolis you live in, set radio to 'Kill For Love', you'll never want to return from this (trust me).

Seriously though, who isn't attracted to shiny objects?  You need this album in your life more than you will ever know. HIGHLY (money back guaranteed release*) RECOMMENDED Necessary for a better audial fulfilled/satisfied life.
*You don't like it? I'll buy your copy from you.

Standout Tracks: ALL. (but if I haaave be picky..) Kill For Love, Back From The Grave, Lady, These Streets Will Never Look The Same, Candy, The Eleventh Hour, Running From The Sun, Birds Of Paradise, At Your Door, There's A Light Out On The Horizon, The River
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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