2012, the year the world ended, the year the music died. There were only a handful of records that came out this year that really grabbed my attention and had a long lasting effect on me. I spent most of 2012 listening to The Replacements and Superchunk. I found myself indifferent towards a lot of bands that maybe in the past I would have actually given a shit about. That’s not to say that everything that came out this year was bad. All I’m saying is that there weren’t many releases in the last twelve months that really grabbed me and forced me to listen to them over and over again, absolutely fascinated like a 13 year old boy who just discovered masturbation. Maybe I’m just getting older and becoming apathetic towards new music. Maybe I’m on the money with this one. What I most certainly am is an obsessive compulsive, highly opinionated, self absorbed asshole who actually thinks someone might give a shit about what records I liked this year. So, without further ado here are the ten releases I thought sucked the least in alphabetical order.
The Babies – Our House On The Hill
I don’t like Vivian Girls or The Woods. The self-titled debut record from The Babies only had a handful of songs that I really enjoyed. To be perfectly frank, I didn’t really give a shit when I saw that Our House On The Hill had come out. That all changed when I kept seeing the video for “Baby” on my Facebook timeline. I clicked to watch it, heard the main hook in the first 13 seconds of the song and was mesmerized. I quickly went to the aid of Spotify and listened to the rest of the record. I was stunned at how much I enjoyed it. It’s a perfect mix of folk and surfy garage rock. The recording sounds amazing, and there isn’t a song I don’t like on this record.
Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory
This is an eclectic mix of modern “rock” songs done really, really well. The order of the songs on it seems a little backwards to me but that’s okay. There are elements of punk, pop, grunge, even psychedelic, but it’s all done in their own style and with grace. Some songs you just wanna bang your head to, some songs you just cant help but sing along with.
Creative Adult – Dead Air
I think this is one of the more interesting EP’s I’ve heard in a while. It has a darkness that was always there in the members’ previous projects, All Teeth and Life Long Tragedy, but instead of doing melodic hardcore these guys have opted to make a band that sounds more like a cross between Hot Snakes and Pissed Jeans. Not a bad thing at all.
Eagulls – Eagulls
God, what an awful name. I’d love to slap the spit out of whoever thought it was a good idea to have a band name that would bring to mind the atrocious assholes that wrote such awful hits like “Hotel California” and “Desperado”. In the immortal words of The Dude, “I hate The Fuckin’ Eagles, man!” With that being said, this was one of the best EP’s I’ve heard in quite some time. Just listen to “Coffin Song”. No seriously, listen to it. This is the one record I haven’t been able to stop listening to since I first heard it. These guys do a tremendous job of avoiding any sort of specific genre and remain somewhere in the blurred lines of indie and pop punk. I will always support a band whose sound I can’t exactly describe. I’m really looking forward to hearing what these guys do in the future.
Joyce Manor – Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired
It would be damn near impossible to top their self-titled album that came out last year, and these guys caught a lot of flak for making a “full length” record that feels more like an EP full of demos and “rare recordings”. Either way, Joyce Manor carried on and made something that felt natural to them. I think these guys are brilliant songwriters and songs like “These Kind Of Ice Skates” and “If I Needed You There” were stuck in my head for the majority of this year.
Nick Waterhouse – Time’s All Gone
Jazz? Rhythm and Blues? Rock and Roll? This album is full of soulful tracks that sound like they came out when my parents were children and before, yet are written with modern ears. He produces a type of sound that makes me want to hang out in a dark swanky lounge and drink gin and tonics all night. I’ve seen Nick Waterhouse a few times and I’m always impressed with the amounts of young kids that come out to see him. It gives me hope for the future of rock and roll.
Pity Sex – Dark World
I fell in love with this record within the first minute of hearing the opening track “When You’re Around”. This EP Is full of fuzzy lo-fi gems done in a style that’s reminiscent of Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine. “Dogwalk” is beautiful and haunting and unfortunately the only song that female vocalist/guitarist Britty sings on. Fortunately the rest of the EP is good enough to make up for it.
Teen Suicide – I Will Be My Own Hell Because There Is A Devil Inside My Body
Fascinating. Probably the only appropriate adjective to describe this record. Had this record come out in 2002, it’s exactly what I would have been listening to. Instead it came out in 2012, and it’s exactly what I want to listen to. It’s an intimate record made in a bedroom between two friends, with a few guests here and there. The album sounds like it was recorded on one of those 4 track cassette recorders that I used to use when I was 14, but it works out in their favor. It’s clear that these kids put a tremendous amount of thought into their music and lyrics and although I’m not crazy about every aspect of the record, I am most certainly fascinated.
Whirr – Pipe Dreams
Whirr is from Oakland and not only that; I used to be in a band with their guitarist Loren. Hell, my dear friend Jack Shirley recorded this album as well as my own. I think it makes me slightly biased. With that being said, I still think I would love this record regardless. The tones are amazing, the songwriting is fantastic, and this record is almost depressing yet joyful at the same time. Although I’m not a huge shoegaze fan, it’s songs like “Junebouvier” and “Toss” that have the right amount of pop sensibilities to make me come back for more.
Young Guv & The Scuzz – A Love Too Strong
Young Governor is the solo project of Ben Cook who you probably know from Fucked Up, Marvelous Darlings, or No Warning. He’s put out enough singles in the last few years to rival Jay Reatard. This current incarnation is Ben with a backing band called The Scuzz. It’s much larger sounding than his previous work and the introduction of other musicians makes it a little more interesting. Although I really wish there were more than six songs on this record, the execution on these tracks is flawless. He explores more psychedelic and folk songwriting techniques on this EP and it really gives you an insight on his current influence on Fucked Up. The song “Not In It For The Good Time” is easily my favorite and I’m happy to say that Ben continues to put out records that I enjoy.