2012/12/06

Music of 2012

I wrote a blog post last year called Albums from 2011 that I downloaded (and paid for). It would be about time for a similar entry for 2012. But I was looking at some other lists, and I realized something. There is so much that I haven't heard! I'm not keeping up.

eMusic.com does encourage me to download at least some new albums because I pay monthly for the subscription. And some I got from Bandcamp or directly from the artist. Of albums released in 2012, these are the ones I bought:
  • Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra - Theatre Is Evil
  • A.C. Newman - Shut Down the Streets
  • Apollo Ghosts - Landmark
  • Bloc Party - Four
  • The Corin Tucker Band - Kill My Blues
  • DIIV - Oshin
  • Dum Dum Girls - End of Daze (EP)
  • Grass Widow - Internal Logic
  • Holograms - Holograms
  • Kathleen Edwards - Voyageur
  • La Sera - Sees the Light
  • Ladyhawk - No Can Do
  • The New Values - The New Values
  • prOphecy Sun - Bird Curious
  • The Raveonettes - Observator
  • Stars - The North
  • Tyranahorse - Garbage Bears (EP)
  • White Lung - Sorry
  • Wintermitts - Océans
I don't see anything here that hit me quite like PJ Harvey's Let England Shake or the full-length debut from Veronica Falls or the Pack a.d.'s Unpersons or Feist's Metals, my top picks for 2011. But there are still high points. I was never an Amanda Palmer fan, but I'm definitely a fan of this album (and of her stage show). My love of lo-fi was satisfied by the Dum Dum Girls (better than Only in Dreams), Grass Widow (I downloaded all three of their albums), and La Sera (a side project by Katie Goodman of the Vivian Girls). Kill My Blues isn't great but is much better than Corin Tucker's previous 1,000 Years and totally blows away last year's Wild Flag from her former band mates Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss. I like pretty much everything the Raveonettes put out. They don't change much, but I still like their sound.

I like A.C. Newman's Shut Down the Streets, but I don't love it. Same with Four from Bloc Party, a band that I do love. Voyageur from Kathleen Edwards is pleasant. I find that Stars' The North pales in comparison to the previous In Our Bedrooms After the War. And Oshin by DIIV and the Holograms eponymously titled album are only OK.

You might not know, but there's a theme here: seven of the records are from Vancouver artists. Among those, my favourite is the Garbage Bears EP from our roommates Tyranahorse. It's frankly better than many other records I listened to. Apollo Ghosts is a new discovery for me, and a pleasant one. I like both Sorry and Océans and think they are steps forward for both bands. Ladyhawk are also a band I didn't know before, and I really like this album. The New Values are a punk band that do punk really well (and also form the current incarnation of the Modernettes behind John Armstrong). And Bird Curious from my friend prOphecy (who sings in Tyranahorse) is a curious and interesting listen.

I haven't got around to downloading Metric, Soundgarden, or Wax Idols, all of which I will probably like. I listened to one track from Neil Young's Psychedelic Pill and decided that however much I loved Neil and Crazy Horse over the years, this was the same old shit, and not even very inspired. Just long. One of the best things I downloaded was a single from Veronica Falls, "My Heart Beats" b/w "Killing Time." Can't wait for the new album!

I'm glad that nothing was as big for me as PJ or Veronica Falls or the Pack or Feist -- or Kathryn Calder, or Vivian Girls. That's because for me, the best record of 2012 was Love Hz by Lisa's Hotcakes. Of course I'm prejudiced because it's my own band's record, and it's only four songs, but give it a listen and tell me it's not worthy at least of this company if not of last year's.

I'm also glad that even the albums I love from 2012 didn't make that strong an impression on me, and I know why that's so. I am busy playing and writing. I'm still a fan, of course, but first I'm a musician, and I have work to do. I'm glad for inspiration, but I'm better off without any influences that are too strong. I'm helping to create the sound of a new band. I don't want it to sound like anyone else.

2 comments:

the CFG said...

It's a good job you love lo-fi, 'cause you download all your new music from a website, so that's mp3!?
Why not CD's, and support their artwork and production, not to mention decent sound quality...
(I mean, *I* have zero ethics or conscience but I think you do ;-))

Véronique said...

I do download a lot of MP3s. These days, I do most of my listening at my computer or on my not-very-good MP3 player (to make time on the cross-trainer tolerable). I could download FLAC files from Bandcamp. I don't know if I can play them. Thing is, though, I have listened to our music both from WAV files and from MP3s. Of course they sound different, but to my old ears the difference isn't big, and it doesn't really matter to me most of the time.

Once we set up a stereo in the parlour again, I might favour CDs or even vinyl. Otherwise, any CD I buy just gets ripped anyway.