Category Archives: End Of Year

2012 IN REVIEW: The Blurt Top 75 Albums

 Matthew White

Because we just couldn’t stop at 20… or 25… or 50….

 BY THE EDITORS

 It was the best of years, it was the… er, well… yeah. It was the best of years. Funny though – could swear we’ve heard that somewhere before. Maybe it’s because 2011 was the best of years too! [Or maybe because you copied and pasted this intro from the 2011 essay.  – Formatting Ed.] Seriously; at this stage in the game, there are so many records released each year, and in every genre and micro-genre imaginable, that you’re either hopelessly ADD-derailed or just plain lazy if you can’t find 10, 20 or even 50 titles worth hollering each year.

        So as we suggested 12 months ago in this space, please feel free to slap that person standing next to you who is griping about not hearing anything good this year. Then ask us sometime about trying to pare down a list of some 200-odd worthy new releases (and that 200 was trimmed from the more than 3,000 CDs – we don’t count digital files; there were probably another 1,000 of those – sent to BLURT in 2012) into a manageable Top 50. Okay, technically it’s a Top 52, because we’ve got a separate Album of the Year and Artist of the Year, and the latter was a tie between Ty Segall and Grimes, whose Twins and Visions were, respectively, unquestioned highlights of the year.

We’ve tried to factor in the fave raves of our 50+ contributing writers, the best-album picks from our readership in our informal year-end readers’ poll, and sundry less-quantifiable measures that our highly skilled team of office interns employed in order to arrive at that Top 50/52. But in the end, we don’t take it all that seriously, because we’ve been doing this year-end stuff long enough to know that (a) our list is prone to change within five minutes of publishing it; and (b) the only folks who read these lists are the ones who write them, music publicists trawling for content for their next press releases, and maybe an aggregator or two. The artists themselves are too busy thinking about their next projects, their upcoming tours, paying the rent, etc., to worry about whether or not they land in someone’s ephemeral year-end roundup.

Bottom line: no excess navel gazing here; no what everything means, maaan… from your friendly neighborhood BLURT. Here’s our list – let’s do this.

[Photo of Matthew E. White, above, by Sara Padgett. Also feel free to consult our annual Revenge Of The Writers feature, wherein the BLURT staffers and contributors submit their individual lists of 2012 picks ‘n’ pans. And if you want to compare these lists with the previous couple of years, check out our Top 50 of 2011, our Revenge Of the Writers 2011, our Top 50 of 2010, and our Writers’ Picks for 2010.]

1. ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Matthew E. White – Big Inner (Hometapes/Spacebomb)

CONTRIBUTOR KYLE A. ROSKO SAID: Matthew E. White’s Big Inner, the solo debut from the bandleader of Richmond, VA-based jazz band Fight the Big Bull, is the first release on White’s own Spacebomb Records imprint… The sounds on the record include spiritual choir arrangements from Megafaun’s Phil Cook, starry-eyed string arrangements from Trey Pollard, and cool-water guitar work from White himself that is influenced in no small part by old soul records, as White harkens back to his house-band predecessors at Stax Records.

        There were many musical spirits in the room when White and his Spacebomb band went to recording the seven farmhouse-soul spirituals found on Big Inner, but what ultimately renders this record truly special is the band’s ability to synthesize all these elements into something that is uniquely their own.

 

2/3. ARTIST OF THE YEAR (TIE): Ty Segall & Grimes. As profiled here at BLURT by Contributing Editor Jennifer Kelly, San Fran rocker Segall was everywhere this year – on the road, on the late-night TV programs, and especially in the record store bins, with no less than three well-received platters (notably Twins, issued this past fall on Drag City) released on his 2012 watch. Twins, in fact, came about through the painstaking, time-consuming process of solo songwriting, Segall working on it for six months, on and off, first demoing songs with a guitar and provisional lyrics, later fleshing them out with bass, drums and lots of guitar.

        Grimes, meanwhile (also profiled, courtesy contributor Selena Fragassi) dropped her latest album Visions in February via 4AD/Arbutus and watched the critical and commercial momentum build steadily throughout the year even as she toured, made videos, got involved in the fashion world, and more. On the album she (known to her friends as Clare Boucher) is frequently given to ethereal wordless coos, giddy squeaks and wounded gasps, deploying them as rhythmic depth charges, and while some of the sonics also tilt towards the abstract, almost glitchy or Aphex Twin-like in places, because the melodies stay foregrounded the accessibility factor is high enough to give a casual listener the sense of confronting a more mainstream pop album than might be expected.

        We’re not exactly taking any blog-a-riffic chances by awarding the two musicians our top honors for 2012, as both of them have already topped a number of media and critics lists. Look for them to continue that trend. But we firmly believe that Segall and Grimes deserve all the accolades and we are looking forward to hearing more in 2013.

 

4. Bob Mould – Silver Age (Merge)

WE SAID: From the first notes it’s clear that Mould isn’t so much settling for his older style as reclaiming it. This kind of chunky chord work has been beaten into the ground in the hands of the alternarock hordes, but coming from the frets of Mould’s trusty Stratocaster it sounds fresh, clean and new. Silver Age isn’t only a shift in sound from the more eclectic work of Mould’s last few records, but a shift in mood as well. Somber Bob mostly takes a break, replaced by angry Bob, defiant Bob – even jubilant Bob…. another peak in a career full of them, and it’s due to the quality of the material Mould uses to construct the suit, rather than the classic cut of the design.

5. Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d city (Interscope/Top Dawg)

WE SAID: Kendrick Lamar may have invented psychedelic rap. A lot of critical attention has been paid to Kendrick’s storytelling (and deservedly so; with its The Wire-esque underpinnings, Kendrick’s stories dazzle) on his 2012 opus, but arguably not enough has been paid to the uniquely diverse sonic palette Kendrick uses to tell those stories. There’s influence from West Coast hip-hop in its 90s heyday, Outkast-era southern rap, and even psychedelic rock, namely on the trippy track “Swimming Pools (Drank),” the best song on the album. Form and function come together on this concept album brilliantly.

6. Lower Dens – Nootropics (Ribbon)

WE SAID: With the second Lower Dens album, freak-folk goddess Jana Hunter has moved even further from her guitar-toting beginnings, bringing on Carton Tanton for the synthesizers, which, along with machine-precise drums, usher Nootropics into the neighborhood of Krautrock. [And] much like Beach House’s Victoria LeGrand, Hunter turns the warmth of sung blues bends into something chilled and otherworldly.

 

7. Grizzly Bear – Shields (Warp)

WE SAID: While previous albums Yellow House and Veckatimest possess more elegant, sweeping and climactic moments, Shields arguably signifies their most cohesive effort to date. The 10 tracks that made the final cut ebb and flow in near-perfect doses — slowly ingraining themselves into one’s memory subtly yet potently with each passing listen.

 

8. Tame Impala – Lonerism (Modular People)

WE SAID: Recording the album in Paris may have been the catalyst to give frontman (and primary songwriter) Kevin Parker a more cosmopolitan edge, as he anchored Lonerism’s 12 tracks with a modern undertow lacking on 2010 album Innerspeaker. The new release wakes up from the latter’s slumbering dream state, curtailing jam band tailspins for songs confident enough to find a solid ending. Eschewed also is the surrealistic white noise that permeated earlier singles for more literal interpersonal memoirs.

9. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp (Jagjaguwar)

WE SAID: In many ways, Sharon Van Etten’s third full length is a huge step forward. Not that her first two albums Because I Was In Love and epic were anything less than impressive, but they were introspective records that fit the Brooklyn musician’s mindset. For Tramp, she crafted a beautifully-produced and outward record that was born on the road and resulted in her best work to date. There’s an inordinate amount of talent spread throughout these songs, but it’s always Sharon Van Etten at the front and center on her Jagjaguwar debut – making us forget about her supporting cast by showing off her growth as a singer and writer.

10. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill (Reprise)

WE SAID: Was Americana a feint or a misstep? Released scant months ago, it worked better on paper than on record; well intentioned or not, it was a sloppy affair. But Psychedelic Pill boasts nearly an hour-and-a-half of lengthy, jam-based numbers that left fans open-mouthed and slack-jawed during the fall tour. And while Pill probably isn’t destined to be held in the same regard as such stone ‘70s classics as Zuma or Rust Never Sleeps (and its concert counterpart Live Rust), it’s easily as tunefully unhinged as 1990’s Ragged Glory and as sonically immediate as 1994’s Sleeps With Angels; it’s as pure a distillation of the band as one could hope for in 2012.

11. Twin Shadow – Confess (4AD)

WE SAID: At its best, the album simply bursts at the seams with retro hooks and ferocious grooves, taking the blueprint of his insular, critically adored debut, Forget, and blowing it up in all the right places. Self-produced by George Lewis, Jr. (with assistance from keyboardist Wynne Bennett), Confess clearly bears the mark of its polished studio inception – a far cry from the living room-recorded confines of Forget. And you can even spot this confident reinvention without listening to the music: On the album cover, Lewis stands in a pompous, stylized pose, wearing a black leather jacket, its collar flipped up against his bare chest. It’s simultaneously retro and suave, dated and emphatic, in the best way possible. Its boldness speaks volumes.

12. Peter Buck – Peter Buck (Mississippi)

WE SAID: The vinyl-only post-R.E.M. solo debut of Buck is weird, raw and beautiful all at once. Swampy Crypt-tastic jams like “It’s Alright”, “Give Me Back My Wig” and “Hard Old World” echo the spirit of a pre-Fab Peter sitting behind the counter at the old Athens, GA mainstay Wuxtry Records fixing to increase his Cramps sales by playing the Gravest Hits EP over the sound system whilst discovering the joys of Loaded­­-era Velvet Underground and Nancy & Lee during the dead hours. And make no mistake: the man can sing. He’s got this throaty, tuneful growl similar to that of Billy Childish, whose Headcoats indeed proves to be an inspirational point of reference here as well.

13. Tift Merritt – Traveling Alone (Yep Roc)

WE SAID: Merritt’s alluring twang-soul vocals — laid-back, lilting and lightly bruised — suggest at times Emmylou Harris and Iris Dement. Throughout the disc, she sounds relaxed and confident which nicely balances the sense of uncertainty that her lyrics hold. Filled with straight-from-the-heart vocals, emotionally honest lyrics and sophisticated roots-based arrangements, Traveling Alone recalls Harris’ landmark Wrecking Ball — and stands as Merritt’s long-awaited breakthrough album.

 

14. Justin Townes Earle – Nothing’s Going to Change the Way You Feel About Me Now (Bloodshot) 

WE SAID: Edging ever closer to the genius songwriting of his father, Steve Earle, on Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now, Justin is nearly there. The young Mr. Earle spreads his wings on Nothing’s and uses the typical country approach of fiddle and lap steel sparingly. Instead, he welcomes a nice horn section (a nod to the South’s jazz history and the great Memphis Horns) and ambiance that makes the songs more powerful and lets the listener know that this young man fully understands the music he creates.

15. Spider Bags – Shake My Head (Odessa)

WE SAID: Chapel Hill’s Spider Bags have undergone a stunning transformation that may leave fans shaking their heads in amazement. Their music – “Southern rock turned on its ear” – has shed that tired cocoon and flown off like a butterfly-out-of-Hell for this go ‘round. They’ve shifted into punk rock mode, as well as offering up garage, psych and cow-punkish contributions. The Spider Bags are one of the best ‘bar bands’ in the biz.

16. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Live From Alabama (Lightning Rod)

WE SAID: This remarkable live album, a loose-limbed yet highly specific summary of Isbell’s oeuvre to date, and cut this past August on home turf before appreciative crowds in Birmingham and Huntsville, puts the man’s songwriting on display. It additionally allowing his 400 Unit (keyboardist/guitarist Derry deBorja, bassist Jimbo Hart, drummer Chad Gamble) to shine in subtle yet distinctive ways and underscoring the fact that several years of touring and recording together have, indeed, turned them into a unit.

17. Public Enemy – The Evil Empire of Everything (King Midas)

WE SAID: Looking for an antidote to all the bling ‘n’ bitches party rappers who’ve transformed contemporary hip-hop into the urban equivalent of brainless ‘80s hair metal? Well roll over, Motley Crue, and tell Bret Michaels the news: the boyz be back in town, and they’s takin’ no prisoners. Chuck D, Flavor Flav and the “crew” have delivered the hardest-hitting, most visceral PE platter since 1990’s epochal Fear of a Black Planet. Substantive-to-the-point-of-shattering lyrics, mastodon-sized beats and arrangements awash in cortex-uncorking sounds makes for a genuinely cinematic experience – in fact, someone needs to make a movie out of this record, pronto.

18. Giant Giant Sand – Tucson (Fire)

WE SAID: As this superb disc shows, the desert landscape – as well as the artistic outpost that is Tucson – still seems capable of sparking Howe Gelb’s inspiration and love of music. A concept album about a man who leaves Tucson for a new beginning in a sometimes-romantic, sometimes-confusing Southwest, it has the breadth, intelligence, mystery and ambitious arrangements of a major work. Almost every song is vivid in its poetry and instrumental coloration.

19. Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams (IAMSOUND)

WE SAID: Ben Schneider is a visual artist and on the debut album from his band Lord Huron, it certainly shows. Not only is the artwork included with the album beautifully rendered, there is a heavy visual component to these desert-dried folk-rock hymns; many of the ten songs collected come across like landscapes culled from old western films. And appropriately, the album’s lead single “Born to Run” has a music video that comes across like a Western short film, featuring an outlaw Schneider on the run in the desert, trying to return to his lost love. The rest of the album is just as visually evocative with its sonic soundscapes.

20. Calexico – Algiers (Anti-)

WE SAID: For Calexico, sitting still has never been an option, which is no doubt behind Joey Burns and John Convertino’s decision to decamp to New Orleans, to record their first studio album in four years. The music on this remarkable record creeps up on you, and subtleties abound; with Burns’ vocals mic’d very close and much of the instrumental flourishes occurring deep in the mix, it’s an intimate affair and perhaps the first Calexico release that could be described as “a headphone album.” No two songs are alike, yet all of the dozen here are interrelated in vestigial ways, lending it an uncommon weight and heft and rendering yet another sense of place for Calexico.

 

 

————————ALL THE REST————————

21. M. Ward – A Wasteland Companion (Merge)

WE SAID: A Wasteland Companion belies its foreboding title, largely eschewing the hushed introspection that’s cast a pall over previous efforts in favor of, well, a sound that’s at least marginally more hopeful. To be clear, nobody’s ever going to mistake Ward for the life of the party – not in a musical sense anyway – but with tracks like the telling “Clean Slate (for Alex & El Goodo),” the happy-go-lucky “I Get Ideas” and the casual strum of the title track and “Wild Goose,” Ward appears to have let down his guard and opened up to optimism.

22. Cat Power – Sun (Matador)

WE SAID: On her first album of original material in six years, Chan “Cat Power” Marshall has something new to say, and a new way to say it. Rather than chronicle her anguish and doubt, Sun preaches confidence and hope. And it does so with synth-heavy music whose every note, reportedly, was played or programmed by Marshall. And if the album’s style is surprising, it’s Marshall’s disposition that’s startling. She is so sure of herself that she’s prepared to confront not just romance’s injustice, but also the world’s.

 

23. Tamaryn – Tender New Signs (Mexican Summer)

WE SAID: Tender New Signs is meant for all-the-way-through listening, preferably horizontal, preferably with headphones. You could sink into the Tamaryn aesthetic like a soft pillow, so enveloping, so welcoming and gentle the sound, yet these are not formless exercises in texture. No, all nine of these slow-moving cuts are built on actual melodies, simple enough to stick right away, radiant enough to hang like this album’s overtones, well after they are finished.

24. Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits (Merge)

WE SAID: Angst and dark romance runs like a thread throughout the album. The songs marry Britt Daniel’s bombastic rocker inclinations with Dan Boeckner’s swagger and emotion with an itchy, staticy, adrenaline-fueled urgency from start to finish. There’s an immediacy to the band’s debut that suggests a passion project long in the works.

25. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! (Constellation)

WE SAID: The insanely-titled new release from this enigmatic Canadian post-rock outfit, is the band’s first full-length effort in almost exactly a decade, and the record is so good that it completely validates Godspeed’s return to the studio and the touring circuit. This isn’t the sound of a once-renowned band trying to cash in on their glory days; it’s the sound of a band invigorated.

26. The xx – Coexist (Young Turks)

WE SAID: A/k/a Romy and Oliver’s big adventure: the duo’s hushed-yet-cerebral compositions were this year’s teenage symphonies to God, equal parts ambient flow and psychedelic drift, with an additional dreampop component that most of the year’s other dreampoppers could only dream of mustering. The album unfolds like a half-remembered dream – pun intended – that gradually takes form as the day progresses, so much so that when it’s finished spinning you’re not sure where the beginning was. If that sounds too ephemeral and precious, listen a little closer: this is the sound of deep, lingering contentment.

27. Teengirl Fantasy – Tracer (True Panther)

WE SAID: Nick Weiss and Logan Takahashi aren’t exactly making broken beat e-music on the far-fetched, experimental end of the spectrum. Instead, the two Oberlin alums are admittedly influenced more by classic house, techno, and ambient. This definitely works in their favor, as Teengirl Fantasy’s music simultaneously contains satisfying cues drawn from its predecessors as well as a distinctive creative bent all its own. Tracer is a lovely, melodious, engaging work of electronic music that will play just as well in the bedroom as it will on the dance floor.

28. Bettye LaVette – Thankful N’ Thoughtful (Anti-)

WE SAID: Thankful N’ Thoughtful isn’t for the faint of heart or the smiley-face crowd, but for anyone seeking a visceral connection to the lifeblood of real people living real lives, park it right here. Producer Craig Street and LaVette’s killer band have concocted a pleasingly minimalist melange that mixes bluesy, soulful grooves with country and rock, putting LaVette’s voice front and center, exactly where it should be. LaVette is in incredibly fine form, squeezing every amount of emotional resonance out of every track, her voice a well burnished, emotionally charged instrument that she plays like a master.

29. The Fresh & Onlys – Long Slow Dance (Mexican Summer)

WE SAID: The opening track of Long Slow Dance, “20 Days and 20 Nights,” gives a hint of sordid emotionality.  But more important, it becomes immediately apparent what the listener is about to experience, a piece remarking on Springsteen-style power pop with an Old West aesthetic blanket laid over it. Tons of polish in the mix. Long Slow Dance is a schizophrenic album, at times frustratingly so. Yet it has its redemptive elements, so I’m just gonna use this last line to tell you that if you don’t listen to any other song this year, you need to listen to “Foolish Person.” Do it right now.

30. dB’s – Falling Off The Sky (Bar/None)

WE SAID: The dB’s of 1980 and 1982 were young and hungry, eager to prove to the world that they had a million song ideas; the dB’s of 2012 are older and more deliberate, careful to refine each idea into its most immaculate design. There is a measured authority in the songs included on Falling Off the Sky. The material is more complex, more carefully presented. The early records were rambunctious and immediately exhilarating. The new one is more wide-ranging, unfolding in waves of musical pleasures which slowly roll over the listener until there is no resistance possible.

31. Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes (Warp)

WE SAID: Flying Lotus swoops through his music like a trapeze artist working without net or partners.  Recorded at home like his last album, Until the Quiet Comes has free jazz references (Sun Ra, Pharoah Saunders), prog rock touches (Gentle Giant) and a few tips of his hat to Stereolab in the mix. Mostly though, it’s all Flying Lotus.

32. Scott Walker – Bish Bosch (4AD)

WE SAID: It is remarkable to see a once-teen-idol pop star, given complete freedom and long divorced from the star-making machinery, make music — sounds — so little related to anything that provided for his initial success. This has little in common with even “traditional” avant-edgy rock albums, although there are moments of rhythmic noise that recall Metal Machine Music. And as a singer, Walker, having stripped away the romanticism, sounds like a mournful choirboy whose solemn isolated voice, still struggling against odds for high-pitched purity, also aches for what has been lost.

33. Sigur Ros – Valtari (XL Recordings)

WE SAID: Sigur Rós has, in the past, caught flack for valuing static beauty over development, building icy, gorgeous landscapes that remain nearly motionless over the course of a song. Here, however, momentum lurks in even the prettiest tableaux. Wispy delicacy – the birdlike tones of Jonsi, the ghostly echoes of piano – builds into massive, swirling climaxes for these slippery, shimmery, beautiful songs.

 

34. Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light (Fat Possum)

WE SAID: Known for his expanses of heavy psychedelic crème and aerated foam, Jason Pierce crunched his usual sound into something blunter and poppier this time out. Sweet Heart‘s melancholy tunes are still grand, their orchestras soaring and their choruses rousing, even Phil Spector-orian in the epic kink, but they’re more tightly wound than on previous efforts. And on the album’s most yearningly romantic ballad, “Too Late,” he stretches himself to find redemption in love: “This is dedicated baby, what more can I say?/ I won’t love you more than I love you today/ And I won’t love you less, but I’ve made my mistakes/ Stay away from love, dear, if that’s what it takes.”

35. Lost In the Trees – A Church That Fits Our Needs (Anti-)

WE SAID: After a brilliant debut album that pushed the parameters into as yet unchartered realms, Lost in the Trees returns with a sophomore set that blurs those boundaries even further. Shimmering and ethereal, A Church That Fits Our Needs finds the band as ambitious as ever, daring to soar on the strength of a mere pluck of piano strings or billowing symphonic set-ups. It rings with a resilience that’s inspired, ambitious, mesmerizing and majestic.

36. Raveonettes – Observator (Vice)

WE SAID: A lot has happened with the Raveonettes since the mid-‘00s. Their splice of girl group melody and rackety, effect-driven guitar sounded new then, or at least relatively unusual. It was still half a decade before Vivian Girls, Pains of Being Pure at Heart and their many followers would colonize this blend of haze and sweetness. Rock was back, at least temporarily, and there was plenty of room for a floorboard’s worth of guitar pedals and a sound that linked the Ronettes to the Ventures to the Jesus & Mary Chain. As it turns out, there’s still some room for Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo, whose live act has gotten sharper even as their recorded output has grown more diffuse and atmospheric. Regarding the latter: Observator has a twangy, ethereal melancholia about it that’s rich in classic pop tropes (including the duo’s first love, Phil Spector’s wall of sound) and perfect for tapping the inner romantic in you.

 

37. Beach House – Bloom (Sub Pop)

WE SAID: With each album, Beach House, move farther away from their soft druggy drooogy waking-daydream éclat into something harder. The new Bloom still sounds as if it were recorded in a Salvation Army with an arsenal of instrumentation. But Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally up the ante on its blue-eyed soul slinging, additionally serving up hypnotic refrains and ice-thawing emotionalism – the stuff that made you fall in love with the pair in the first place.

38. Patterson Hood – Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance (ATO)

WE SAID: The only thing that keeps several tracks here from being Drive-By Truckers songs is the absence of a three-guitar firestorm. The biggest departure is the beautiful “Come Back Little Star,” which is driven by a melancholy piano and features co-vocals from Kelly Hogan, but even that tune could easily be Truckerized. It’s an indication of how many strong songs he has in the hopper, and how fans of his Truckers tunes will find much to love here.

39. Beachwood Sparks – The Tarnished Gold (Sub Pop)

WE SAID: 45 years after the fact, we finally have the true heir to The Notorious Byrd Brothers. Boasting vocal harmonies so Byrdsian you’d swear it was McGuinn, Hillman and Crosby instead of co-songwriters Chris Gunst, Brent Rademaker and Dave Scher. The Tarnished Gold dons the cosmic cowboy Stetson from the get-go. Thus staged, the album unfolds as a classic study in how to blend the best elements of rock, psychedelia, country and folk, even some touches of gospel and soul, with all the hyphenated hybrids those terms can conjure.

40. Eternal Tapestry – A World Out of Time (Thrill Jockey)

WE SAID: The peal of parrying, feedback-inducing e-bows; the chigger of arpeggiated riffing; the reliable propulsion of two percussionists a la the Dead or the Allmans; the elastic drone of distant Farfisa; and we’re off, embarking upon a magic carpet ride in pursuit of a fair maiden of the cancer moon in hopes of turning on her love light. Or maybe we’ve just wandered into the middle of a set by Portland quintet Eternal Tapestry, who suckle contentedly at the teat of vintage Bay Area ‘60s psych while also channeling everything from classic ‘70s Krautrock to latterday freak-folk to multiple-era free jazzers. If that sounds like a formula for hirsute grooviness, well, roll over Tim Leary, and tell Sun Ra the news.

41. Otis Taylor- Otis Taylor’s Contraband (Telarc/Concord)

WE SAID: Singer-songwriter Taylor finds his sweet spot on everything from jazzy, cornet-powered worldbeat and Memphis funk to twangy, hi-octane honky-tonk and neo-bluegrass, not to mention several of his patented hypnotic groove/blues rockers. He is consistently fitting his expressive voice to the material as he swaggers for the uptempo tunes and downshifts to a haunted moan for the starker, slower ones. And as producer, he’s similarly purposeful with the sonics, crafting a tight-ensemble-playing-in-a-circle vibe while providing enough separation and depth for each instrument so their timbres and nuances are clearly heard/felt.

42. Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas (Columbia)

WE SAID: Leonard Cohen has made the best full album of his career (song for song, sound for sound, lyrical point for point; yes, this is true). Old Ideas has a sort-of devilishness about it, in that it’s an exaltation and an assault on Cohen’s sacred/profane intellectualism. There is forgiveness. And then some. Sonically, the ghosts of delicate sympathetic instrumentation (this is his best, most diverse sounding album since the country/gypsy cabaret mix of 1985’s Various Positions) and deeply memorable melody aid his cause. Rather than rely on dense, stern synthesizers and heavy girl-voice backgrounds, those are kept to a spare minimum here. Everything is kept to a minimalist’s delight on Old Ideas. Ten short songs. Get in. Make the message count. Get out.

43. Dirty Three – Towards the Low Sun (Drag City)

WE SAID: It’s been seven years since the members of the Dirty Three have produced an album. The trio’s stark sound and loose, repetitious delivery have always featured more momentum than most rock bands that specialize in the play-two-chords-soft-play-them-loud-call-it-a-song formula. Most of this can be attributed to their unusual guitar/violin/drums lineup, and the way Warren Ellis plays haunting violin melodies instead of riffing. Furthermore, you can feel the enthusiasm as they play, even when a song might be a little sloppy. Jim White always plays like a creative jazz drummer, not just a time keeper. The group tinkers with their sound by having Turner and Ellis overdub extra guitars and violins in several tracks. It beefs up the sound while also challenging the ears. The time apart from one another has given the band a more expansive sound and Dirty Three have pushed themselves to create one of the most dynamic releases in the catalog.

44. Dan Melchior -The Backward Path (Northern Spy)

WE SAID: Melchior wrote and recorded The Backward Path during a time when his wife was becoming increasingly sick, a time when it must have become clear that he might lose her. As a result, the album is very serious, at times, quite sad, and also touched by a kind of mysticism. It is a lovely, extremely moving demonstration of exactly how a person can go on, not ignoring what’s going on, but not being beaten down by it either, and continuing to make art from the rawest of raw materials.

45. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Meat and Bone (Mom+Pop)

WE SAID: Aside from some intermittent touring, it has been eight long, painfully quiet years since The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion released their last record, Damage. Meat and Bone stands as quite possibly the band’s best album to date.  The Explosion breaks everything down to its root and reconstructs it all in a perfect way; it should show a generation of cool kids that may have missed him the first time around that Jon Spencer is among garage rock’s main guitar slingers.  Do not snooze on Meat and Bone: it is out of this world and as addictive as Heisenberg’s Blue Sky meth.

46. Swans – The Seer (Young God)

WE SAID: A quintessential Swans release. Moving from light to heavy, melodic to dissonant, gentle to violent over the course of its two discs and eleven songs, The Seer traverses the history of human emotion. On the title track, during 32+ minutes, Michael Gira & Co.’s music moves through acoustic solitude, pounding fury and haunting afterglow, before evolving into a shuffling groove, dissonant guitar waves and unsettling vocals that evoke the voices in God’s head during Earth’s creation.

47. Friends – Manifest! (Fat Possum)

WE SAID: Up front is singer Samantha Urbani, sultry like Lykke Li, sassy like club-era Madonna, and in possession of an uncommonly sensual coo, as one listen to the hypnotic, electro-pulsing New Wave of “Friend Crush,” and the way Urbani fairly French-kisses her long vowels, will demonstrate. Meanwhile, the rest of the group is stirring up the kind of funky-but-chic downtown vibe that Bronx post-punkers ESG once excelled in and, more recently, has been taken up by the likes of Brazilian upstarts CSS.

48. Warren Haynes Band – Live at the Moody Theater (Stax)

WE SAID: this sumptuous CD / DVD package, recorded in concert at Austin’s Moody Theater, finds the Gov’t Mule frontman and his solo band sharing the best of their wares – the fiery guitar licks, an exemplary rhythm section, horns and keyboards all locked in sync through a rousing set of up-tempo blues and frenzied R&B. The band draws liberally from their most recent studio set, last year’s breakthrough Man in Motion, while also tapping choice covers by Steely Dan, Jimi Hendrix and Sam Cooke.

49. The Old Ceremony – Fairytales & Other Forms of Suicide (Yep Roc)

WE SAID: The pleasures of OC are twofold. On the one hand are the acoustic-based yet cinematic arrangements, which blend wide-ranging folk, atmospheric rock and pretty much any other sound the band feels like borrowing or adapting to its cause. On the other hand is the imaginative songwriting by leader Django Haskins, the kind of tunesmith that makes you wonder why you haven’t heard of his work before – this is an individual who understands craft.

50. Anders Osborne – Black Eye Galaxy (Galaxy)

WE SAID: For years now Osborne has been known for his incendiary live shows and intense guitar playing. Now comes his second album for Alligator, which defies easy classification as blues or rock or anything else. This is a work of art-a throwback to the days before corporations completely controlled and corrupted media and culture. Corporations ruined radio and destroyed journalism with their emphasis on marketability and focus groups and playing it safe.

51. Archie Powell and the Exports – Great Ideas in Action (Good Land)

WE SAID: Amped up by what seems like a boundless supply of energy applied with equal amounts of enthusiasm, Greet Ideas In Action barely contains its fervor and becomes all the more intoxicating as a result. Without even the slightest pause between songs, Powell and company exude pure adrenalin as they take their headlong plunge into boisterous celebration, from power pop to ‘50s rock to just plain hi-nrg stuff that keeps accelerating until you’re out of breath.

52. Sidi Touré – Koïma (Thrill Jockey)

WE SAID: Where the African guitarist’s 2011 U.S. debut Sahel Folk was a series of voice and guitar duets, recorded casually at Touré’s sister’s home, Koïma brings in calabash, bass, multiple guitars and a back-up singer.  It’s a denser, more animated realization of Touré’s Songhaïroots, featuring a diverse group of Malian talent and filtered through Touré’s own experience and artistic vision.

53. Glen Hansard – Rhythm & Repose (Anti-)

WE SAID: a superb solo outing from Glen Hansard, front man for the Irish ensemble The Frames, and more recently, co-star – with musical partner Markéta Irglová – in the critically lauded duo the Swell Season. Hansard and Irglová were also, for a time, romantic partners, and knowing that they subsequently parted ways makes the low-cast laments that populate this effort all the most poignant. That’s not to say Rhythm and Repose is wholly devoted to melancholia, brooding and rumination; Hansard boasts more than a hint of ringing resolve, whether voiced through a wail and a holler on the soaring “High Hope,” or with a feeling of quiet resolve on the tender torch song “Bird of Sorrow.”

54. Jack White – Blunderbuss (Third Man/Columbia)

WE SAID: The Nashville skyline’s breeze that hovers over Blunderbuss (Third Man Records) is hotter and more, well, blustery than anything White’s managed previously. Certainly his immediate past is easy to spot here. And it being a Jack White effort, the kitchen sink is filled with dishy old T. Rex and Robert Johnson takes and Jagger-like-moves, hillbilly glam-rock and jive-talking honky-tonk. A few missteps aside, Blunderbuss is good, damn good.

55. Brian Eno – LUX (Warp)

WE SAID: Originally designed to be heard at an art installation, as an album the music of LUX makes for a beautiful listening experience whether you are sitting alone in your house or in a gallery full of folks. Eno views this record as the long-awaited third installment of his Music for Thinking series alongside 1975’s Discreet Music and 1993’s Neroli. And with its relaxing, wordless waves of pastoral hums and harmonies, LUX rightfully earns its place amongst such classic works by one of the great masters of sonic exploration.

56. Kendra Morris – Banshee (Wax Poetics)

WE SAID: 30-something neo soul diva Kendra Morris’ debut, released by Wax Poetics, blends the old school vocal chops with a post-modern complexity. For while she values the authenticity and honesty of classic soul, Morris is also a big fan of intricate, multi-part songs that say one thing and contradict it with another and, most of all, of vocal harmonies, which are everywhere on Banshee. Morris performs all these songs in her own, very natural voice, shunning the kind of digital processing that has defined pop music for the last couple of decades.

57. Moon Duo – Circles (Sacred Bones)

WE SAID: “The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end,” began Ralph Waldo Emerson in his 1841 essay “Circles.” 171 years later, Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada of Moon Duo strive to achieve the heightened form of transcendentalism the American philosopher was going for on paper in sonic form for their third full-length, also called Circles coincidentally enough.

58. Empresarios – El Sonido Magico (Fort Knox)

WE SAID: With Empresarios, it’s all about the good groove. Following up 2010’s superlative Sabor Tropical, these groove wizards from Washington, DC, are back with a seamless, sexy collection of twelve originals and a spoken intro (all in Spanish) that effortlessly achieves ecstatic lift-off. Their signature “tropicaliente” melange mixes up reggae, dub, salsa, cumbia and funk, all driven by an insistent, slippery dub bass line.

59. Corin Tucker Band – Kill My Blues (Kill Rock Stars)

WE SAID: Tucker’s self-professed “adult” record (she turns 40 this fall) isn’t MOR but fist-pumping rock that ain’t going gently into that good night.  The ex-Sleater Kinney rocker is in quartet mode with tinkerer/multi-instrumentalist Seth Lorinczi joining her for a raging double guitar sound (though unlike her former bandmates, Tucker’s OK with hiring a bassist). Tucker’s famous warble/shriek is balanced by cannily-placed decorative hooks throughout, and even when she gets mournful on the second half, she’s still angry, strong and lyrical, not overly sentimental.

60. Lee Fields & the Expressions – Faithful Man (Truth & Soul)

WE SAID: Like Bettye LaVette and Charles Bradley, Lee Fields is another late-period, deep-soul success story. Faithful Man is a product of the dream team of producers, arrangers, songwriters and players (the house band called the Expressions) at Brooklyn’s Truth & Soul Records, whose history parallels Brooklyn’s better-known Daptone. Fields’ voice has a pleading, straining urgency in its upper register, but it comes across full of gritty strength and ripping intensity in mid-range. The Expressions, who include Michels on multiple instruments including saxophone and guitar, are perfect companions for this soul-revival recording. Keep it comin’.

61. Shoes – Ignition (Black Vinyl)

WE SAID: Cut-for-cut, Ignition is the power pop band’s finest record since its earliest days. Sharp tunes like the winsome “Nobody to Blame,” the bright “Diminishing Returns,” the psychedelic “Out of Round” and the rocking “Hot Mess” may not push the band’s self-constructed envelope, but there’s a noticeable breath of fresh air running through the writing and performances. This sounds like the work of a new, young band. Crammed full of the band’s trademarks and with a killer set of absolutely winsome melodies, Ignition finds Shoes sounding refreshed and better than ever.

62. Ahleuchatistas – Heads Full of Poison (Cuneiform/Harvest)

WE SAID: Ahleuchatistas – the band name melded from both the title of a Charlie Parker song and a revolutionary movement spurred in Mexico – has morphed into a duo, guitarist Shane Perlowin and drummer Ryan Oslance, and Heads Full of Poison represents yet another rebirth in its decade-long daring trajectory into a shape-shifting universe of sound. The caustic Flying Luttenbacherisms and Beefheartian hiccups of earlier material has given way to a staggeringly precise whipping of Eastern music and raga-bent deconstruction fused with its trademark monolithic, fractured avant-rock detail.

63. Antibalas – Antibalas (Daptone)

WE SAID: Like Fela himself, Antibalas engages whole-heartedly in politics, making the common man’s struggles a center of its syncopated, body-moving art. (The video for “Dirty Money” is explicitly tied to the Occupy Movement, making abstract lyrics about a man drowning and falling off buildings concrete and economically determined.) Afro-beat has always been protest music, but it’s also an escape hatch, a physically enveloping, mildly hallucinatory experience that puts harsh realities on hold. Seventies American soul also twitches to life in the Shaft-era guitar work of Marcos Garcia, the space-age funk of the keyboards, but there’s fusion jazz, too, in the wild keening and blaring of Stuart Bogie’s saxophone.

64. Lana Del Rey – Born To Die (Interscope)

WE SAID: The early criticisms weighed upon Ms. Del Rey are based upon hype – the supposition that she should jump bolt upright from the cold, gray but entrancing “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” vibe of last year’s “Video Games” to become a hyperactive Katy Perry sort. Or worse, a soberer Lady Gaga. That’s the internet’s fault, this hot hype. Produced with weirdly atmospheric hip hop warmth by Emile Haynie (of Kid Cudi fame), Del Rey can play the role of R&B floozy (“Off to the Races”) with a moll’s aplomb and prove that cowgirls really do get the blahs on the tortured “Blue Jeans.” There’s even the delectable summer’s shine of “Diet Mountain Dew” where being a pretty girl in New York City seems as op-to-Pop-timistic as Edie Sedgwick driving with the top down. But mostly this Bryan Ferry in a smart dress sticks to a deathly lounge lizard display of emotionalism and musicality, a smoky girl with a smoking gun’s lyrical flourish fond of lines like “he loves me with every beat of his cocaine heart.”

 

65. Floating Action – Fake Blood (Removador/Harvest)

WE SAID: Black Mountain (NC) based Floating Action is the lushly lo-fi project of singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Seth Kauffman. And the new album, released on Jim James’ label, feels good. It bobs gently as a warm wave lapping a Caribbean island. It goes down easy as rum punch without the subsequent regret. What Kauffman is so good at, and what he never seems to tire of reinventing: How to work with muffled layers, resonance, feedback, echo. Each song is treated to varying degrees of delay and sonic density. Sound travels molasses-slow through secret passages. Here are crypts, vaults, burrows, crawl spaces, subways and the dark dens of the unexplored psyche.

66. Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby – A Working Museum (Southern Domestic)

WE SAID: A Working Museum may not be marked by much in the way of advanced musical technique. But for its creative abandon, and courage, it towers above a hill of output by younger musicians, as well as some of Goulden’s better-established contemporaries. There’s a nearly uniform freshness to the album’s colorful ruminations on “everyday” topics. Another magnet is provided by the frequent shift from Goulden to Rigby at the lead vocal mic.

67. Frankie Rose – Interstellar (Slumberland)

WE SAID: For Interstellar, Rose drops the Outs to go truly singular. She’s shed all the expectations accrued by a garage-pop repertoire to adopt an altogether new persona, one that’s doused in glitter and glam and driven by soft, mesmerizing vocals. You won’t find any “Candy” or “Girlfriend Island” type of tunes here, but instead, tracks touched by electronic, danceable beats and guitars akin to the Cure of the ‘80s.

68. Deerhoof – Breakup Song (Polyvinyl)

WE SAID: In many ways, Breakup Song is trademark Deerhoof. Infectious and celebratory in its claustrophobic cacophony, the songs jump from varying rhythms and soundscapes deftly and quickly. Still, although it is an electric, ultra-fun, frenetic carnival, it’s most satisfying in its quieter, more spacious moments.

69. Christian Fennesz – AUN: The Beginning and The End Of All Things (Ash International)

WE SAID: AUN: The Beginning And The End Of All Things is a strange Faustian drama from Austrian auteur Edgar Honetschläger AND the filmmaker could not have hired a better man to give this 100-minute cinematic meditation an appropriate sonic undercurrent. Beautifully melancholic passages on grand piano and guitar interweave and flutter through the ether of his static-encrusted digital ambiance over 15 compositions of unsettling serenity. 

70. Japandroids – Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)

WE SAID: It is a good sign when a record opens with the sound of fireworks ripping open the night sky. It is a signal to the world of what is to come in the 35 minutes that are to follow: an explosion of distortion, pounding drums, ear-splitting volume and stories of fighting against a mundane life.  Japandroids’ Celebration Rock has that by the truckloads; the Canadian duo picks up seamlessly were Bob Mould’s Husker Du and Sugar left off. Japandroids are showing, without reservation, their allegiance to music built upon pop sensibilities and the rotten teeth of punk rock. 

 

71. Chuck Prophet – Temple Beautiful (Yep Roc)

WE SAID: So-Cal boy Chuck Prophet has long embraced San Francisco as his home, and Temple Beautiful is his ambitious paean to the little city by the bay.  Each song is based on a bit of San Fran history, some events more notorious or infamous than others. It is the product you expect from this highly original and creative artist. It succeeds in its goal of telling some stories of this unique and singular city, as well as rolling out a dozen solid songs.

72. Quantic & Alice Russell – Look Around the Corner (Tru Thoughts)

WE SAID: Quantic and Alice Russell, Brits by birth, both possess a restless musical spirit that has taken them, literally and figuratively, around the musical world. Look Around The Corner, issued on Britain’s adventurous Tru Thoughts label, features fourteen tracks of Latin infused tropical pop, all produced with the unassailably tasteful, light touch that has always been Quantic’s hallmark as a producer and musician. It’s a terrific pairing, with Russell is in full vocal bloom.

 

73. Dead Can Dance – Anastasis (PIAS)

WE SAID: Dead Can Dance first reunited in 2005 for a tour as a celebration of its legacy, but Anastatis is arguably an even bigger deal: the first new material to come from the Lisa Gerrard-Brendan Perry partnership since 1996. From the first few notes, it’s clear that the duo’s signature blend of worldbeat rhythms and ancient melodies with rich electronic atmospheres is still potent, if leaning toward the synthesized side of DCD’s lush sound.

74. Aimee Mann – Charmer (Superego)

WE SAID: Charmer wins its way into our hearts just the same way Bachelor No. 2, Lost in Space, The Forgotten Arm, and  @%&*! Smilers did. The mid-tempo, intoxicating tuneful songs, filled with keyboard flourishes, George Harrisonesque guitar solos, and layers of overdubbed vocal harmonies and counterpoint, are as irresistible as ever. Mann sings of the lure of the charmer who, it turns out, is as insecure as everybody else, without quite revealing that she knows how charming she is herself.

 

75. Redd Kross – Researching The Blues (Merge)

WE SAID: A goddamn gem, crackling with energy, that totally celebrates the pure bliss and joy that rock ‘n’ roll can, and should be. With colorful tweaking around with production effects and thumping bass beats, there’s a familiarity harkening back to albums past. It’s really something, as well as a dichotomy, when a band can sound better than ever and still sound the same. From these ten songs, running 32 minutes, and not a weak one in the bunch, Researching The Blues is everything the dedicated Redd Kross fan could possibly desire from a return album – except of course, maybe a few more songs.

 

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REVENGE OF THE WRITERS: Best & Worst of 2012

2012

Was it the end of the music world as we know it, or another stellar annum? The folks who work in the trenches here are gonna tell ya. Coming soon: our “appreciation” of 2013.

 BY THE BLURT CRÜE

 As part of our ongoing year-end wrap-up – go here to view BLURT’s Top 75 Albums of 2012, and for features on our Artists of the Year, check out both the Ty Segall interview and the Grimes interview – we now yield the podium to the staffers and writers and their personal picks for 2012. Guarantee: all dialogue reported verbatim.

 

LEE ZIMMERMAN lezim@bellsouth.net

MIAMI, FL / BLURT CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

Top 10 New Releases

Malcolm Holcombe – Down the River (Gypsy Eyes)

Maldives – Muscle for the Wing (Spark & Shine)

Susanna Hoffs – Someday (Baroque Folk)

Glen Hansard -Rhythm & Repose (Anti-)

Charlie Peacock – No Man’s Land (Twenty Ten)

Hayley Reardon – Where the Artists Go (Kingswood)

Scott Miller/Rayna Gellert – CoDependents (Fay)

Jason Collett — Reckon (Arts & Crafts)

Steve Almaas – Trailer Songs (Lonesome Whippoorwill)

Kevin Bowe & The Okemah Prophets – Natchez Trace (Applause)

Top 5 Archival/Reissues

Rolling Stones – Charlie is My Darling (ABCKO)

Who – Quadrophenia (Universal)

Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day (Swan Song/Atlantic)

Elvis Presley – Prince from Another Planet (Sony/RCA)

World Party – Arkeology (Seaview)

Top 5 DVDs

Chris Isaak – Beyond the Sun: Live (Vanguard)

Doors – Live at the Bowl ’68 (Eagle Vision)

Replacements – Color Me Obsessed (MVD)

Grateful Dead – All the Years Combine (Rhino)

Queen – Live in Budapest (Eagle Vision)

Top 5 Music Books

Rod Stewart – Rod, The Autobiography (Crown)

Pete Townshend – Who I Am (Harper)

Mike Scott – Adventures of a Waterboy (Jawbone)

Ingrid Croce – I Got a Name, The Jim Croce Story (DaCapo)

Ann & Nancy Wilson – Kicking & Dreaming (Harper Collins)

Top 5 Concerts

Bonnaroo — June 7-10/Manchester,Tennessee

Newport Folk Festival – July 31/Newport, RI

The Who — November 1/Fort Lauderdale Florida

Chris Isaak – September 14/Miami Beach

Ian Anderson — September 18/Miami Beach

Top 5 Films

The Hobbit

Lincoln

Skyfall

Argo

Looper

Best Record Label

Yep Roc

In Memoriam – Most Lamented Death

The children and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary

Best New Artist

Jonathan Wilson

Worst New Artist

Lana Del Rey

Dumbest Band Name

!!!

Sex Object of the Year

Madonna (again)

Asshole of the Year

Whoever thought he/she could buy Lana Del Rey’s way to stardom

Best Hair or Facial Hair

The Avett Brothers

2013 release I am most anticipating

Civil Wars

Coolest trend or whatever

The newfound appreciation for all things retro – music, film and fashion

Most Fucked Up or Annoying Trend of Whatever

The publicists’ continuing efforts to get away from offering physical CDs and insistence on sending downloads – or worse – streams!

Wildcard: 50 Words From or About Me

I still celebrate new music, new artists and the sounds that circulate below the radar and under the surface. While some may complain that music isn’t as good as it used to be, I fervently dispute that notion and continue to do my best to celebrate great tunes and the great artists that provide them. Long live Rock!

Favorite Blurt Article

Peter Himmelman: “The Man, The Muse, the Mystery”

 http://blurt-online.com/features/view/1283/

 

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STEPHEN JUDGE stephen@secondmotionrecords.com

RALEIGH, NC / BLURT PUBLISHER & CEO

Top 10 New Releases

Dead Can Dance – Anastasis (PIAS)

Tift Merritt –  Traveling Alone (Yep Roc)

Swans – Seer (Young God)

.Shovels & Rope – O Be Joyful (Dualtone)

The Raveonettes – Observator (Vice)

Lost In The Trees – Church That Fits Our Needs (Anti)

Sharon Van Etten –  Tramp (Jagjaguwar)

Matthew E White –  Big Inner (Hometapes)

Spider Bags – Shake My Head (Odessa)

Lower Dens: Nootropics (Ribbon Music)

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JENNIFER KELLY jenpkelly@gmail.com

WALPOLE, NH / BLURT CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

Top 10 New Releases

1.        Shearwater, Animal Joy (Sub Pop)

2.        Sharon van Etten, Tramp (Jagjaguwar)

3.        Mark Lanegan, Blues Funeral (4AD)

4.        Dan Melchior, The Backward Path (Northern Spy)

5.        Calexico, Algiers (Anti-)

6.        Damian Jurado, Maraqopa (Secretly Canadian)

7.        TheeSatisfaction, Awe Natural (Sub Pop)

8.        Dirty Three, Towards the Low Sun (Drag City)

9.        Various Artists, Oh Michael, Look What You’ve Done (Tompkins Square)

10.        Spider Bags, Shake My Head (Odessa)

Honorable Mentions:

11. Ty Segall and White Fence, Wet Hair (Drag City)

12. Grass Widow, Internal Logic (HLR)

13. Red River Dialect, Awellupontheway (Lono)

14.  Japandroids, Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)

15. Sic Alps, Sic Alps (Drag City)

16. Rangda, Formerly Extinct (Drag City)

17. Easter Island, Frightened (Self-Released)

18. Cheap Time, Wallpaper Music (In the Red)

19.  Six Organs of Admittance, Ascent, (Drag City)

20. Bob Mould, Silver Age (Merge)

Top 10 Tracks/Singles

Shearwater, “Breaking the Yearlings”

Damien Jurado, “Nothing Is the News”

Sharon van Etten, “Serpents”

Mark Lanegan, “Ode to Sad Disco”

Mind Spiders, “Beat”

Gravenhurst, “The Foundry”

Moon Duo, “Circles”

Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, “Rats”

Spider Bags, “Quetzcoatl Love Song”

Cheap Time, “Night to Night”

Top 5 Archival/Reissues

1. Cleaners from Venus, Blow Away Your Troubles/On Any Normal

Monday/Midnight Cleaners (Captured Tracks)

2. Royal Trux, Accelerator (Drag City)

3. Cravats, Double Volume: Cravats in Toyland (Overground)

4. Charles Mingus, Jazz Workshop Concerts: 1965-1966 (Mosaic)

5. Annette Peacock, I’m the One (Light in the Attic)

Top 5 Concerts

Feelies, May 11, Northampton, MA

Jon Spencer BlueS explosion, Nov. 1, Northampton , MA

Man Forever/Gary Higgins, June 19, Easthampton, MA

Debo Band/Grupo Fantasmo, July 12, Northampton, MA

Magic Trick/Sonny Smith, August 13,Easthampton, MA

Best Record Label

Drag City

Best Music-related Website

Blurt

Best New Artist

Angel Olsen

Red River Dialect

Easter Island

Asshole of the Year

Amanda Palmer

Fave Internet Meme of 2012

Gangnam Style

2013 Release I Am Most Anticipating

Something I don’t even know exists yet

Coolest Trend or Whatever

The death of the Tea Party

Most Fucked Up or Annoying Trend or Whatever

Lying as a campaign tactic

Favorite story or review I wrote for BLURT

Silliest story I’ve ever written: “How NOT to Review a Divine Fits Concert!”

http://blurt-online.com/news/view/6847

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A.D. AMOROSI divaland@aol.com

PHILADELPHIA, PA / BLURT CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

Top 10 New Releases

Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas    (Columbia)

Lana Del Rey – Born to Die (Paradise Edition) (Interscope)

Jherek Bischoff – Composed  (Brassland)

Meshell Ndegeocello – Pour Une Âme Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone (Naïve)

Dave Douglas – Be Still (Greenleaf)

Frank Ocean – Channel Orange (Def Jam)

Swans – The Seer (Young God)

Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid: M.A.A.D City(Aftermath)

Scott Walker – Bish Bosch (4 AD)

Death Grips – The Money Store (Epic)

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FRED MILLS fmills123 (at) nc.rr.com

RALEIGH, NC / BLURT EDITOR & ONLINE EDITOR

Top 10 New Releases

Patti Smith – Banga (Columbia)

Grimes – Visions (Arbutus/4AD)

Matthew E. White – Big Inner (Hometapes/Spacebomb)

Raveonettes – Observator (Vice) Twin Shadow – Confess (4AD)

Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill (Reprise)

Peter Buck – Peter Buck (Mississippi)

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Live From Alabama (Lightning Rod)

Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes (Warp)

Dan Melchior, The Backward Path (Northern Spy)

Lower Dens – Nootropics (Ribbon)

Top 10 Tracks/Singles

Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe (Interscope)

Aimee Mann – Labrador (SuperEgo)

Jack White I’m Shakin’ (Columbia/Third Man)

Alabama Shakes – Hold On  (ATO)

Tame Impala – Be Above It (Modular People)

We Take Care of Our Own – Bruce Springsteen (Columbia)

A Brokeheart Pro – Bullets Ain’t Brakes (Kitten Next Door)

Grimes – Genesis (4AD)

Major Lazer– Get Free (Mad Decent)

Spiritualized– Hey Jane (Fat Possum)

Top 10 Archival/Reissues

Various Artists – Nuggets: Original Artyfacts… (Rhino)

Paul McCartney – Ram (Capitol)

V/A – Twin Cities Funk & Soul 1964-79 (Secret Stash)

Can – The Lost Tapes (Spoon)

The Cramps – File Under Sacred Music: Early Singles 1978-1981 (Munster)

Loop – reissues (Reactor/Revolver USA)

Cotton Mather – Kontiki: Deluxe Edition (The Star Apple Kingdom)

Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – The Hellcat Years (Hellcat)

My Bloody Valentine – Loveless (Sony UK)

Sonic Youth – Smart Bar – Chicago (Goofin’)

Tim Maia – Nobody Can Live Forever (World Psychedelic Classics 4) (Luaka Bop)

Top5 Music DVDs

Color Me Obsessed: A Film About the Replacements

Patti Smith – Live At Montreux

LCD Soundsystem: Shut Up and Play the Hits

Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day

The Beatles – Yellow Submarine

Top 5 Music Books

Peter Hook – Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division (Simon & Schuster)

Sylvie Simmons – I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen (Ecco Books)

Peter Townshend – Who Am I: A Memoir (Harper Collins)

David Menconi – Ryan Adams: Losering, A Story of Whiskeytown (Univ. of Texas)

Mike Scott – Adventures of a Waterboy (Jawbone)

Top 5 Concerts

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band   Moody Theater, Austin TX 3/15

Lower Dens – Kings Barcade, Raleigh NC 6/21

Quantic & Alice Russell – The Parish, Austin TX 3/16

Jane Jane Pollock – The Pour House, Raleigh NC (Hopscotch Festival) 9/8

Hiss Golden Messenger – Schoolkids Records, Raleigh NC 11/17

Top 5 Films

Searching For Sugar Man

The Dark Knight Rises

Hunger Games

Skyfall

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Terminator (okay, okay… watched it on Netflix, w/my son)

Top 5 Music Videos

Sufjan Stevens – Mr. Frosty Man

Grimes – Genesis

Calexico – Splitter

Grizzly Bear – Yet Again

Kendra Morris – Concrete Waves

Best Record Label

Stones Throw www.stonesthrow.com

Best Music-related Website

Perfect Sound Forever www.furious.com/perfect

In Memoriam: Most Lamented Death

Beastie Boys’ MCA (Adam Yauch) 5/4/12

Best New Artist

Lord Huron

Worst New Artist

The Beach Boys

Dumbest Band Name

My Bloody Valentine

Worst Album Sleeve Art

Titus Andronicus – Local Business (XL)

Sex Object of the Year

Josephine the Outlaw King (aka A Brokeheart Pro, aka Jeannette Kantzalis)

http://www.facebook.com/BrokeheartPro

Asshole of the Year

Rihanna (for pushing feminism to the back of the bus)

Fave Internet Meme of 2012

Still stickin’ w/Rick-roll…

Best Hair or Facial Hair

(… or lack thereof). C’mon, guys, shave that ridiculous shit off. Y’all look like underpaid extras in Spielberg’s Lincoln movie.

2013 Release I Am Most Anticipating

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away (Bad Seed Ltd.)

Coolest Trend or Whatever

Kids and parents coming into the record store where I work and buying vinyl.

Most Fucked Up or Annoying Trend or Whatever

Gunsgunsgunsguns

Wildcard: 50 Words (or less) From or About Me

My goal here at Blurt is to spotlight great music, talented artists, and even on occasion smart writers who “get” those first two notions. I’ve been writing about rock ‘n’ roll since 1977 and long ago jettisoned my ego; it’s not about me, it’s about YOU.

Favorite story or review I wrote for BLURT

(Recused. I edit or write everything in the magazine or on the site.)

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STEVEN ROSEN srosenone@aol.com

CINCINNATTI, OH

Top 10 New Releases

Barry Adamson – I Will Set You Free (Central Control International)

Frank Ocean – channel ORANGE (Def Jam)

Cat Power – Sun (Matador)

Scott Walker – Bish Bosch (4AD)

Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas (Columbia)

Emily Wells – Mama (Partisan)

Orcas (Morr Music)

Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man in the Universe (XL Recordings)

Grizzly Bear – Shields (Warp)

Sean Rowe – The Salesman and the Shark (Anti-)

Top 10 Tracks/Singles

Cat Power – Manhattan (Matador)

Jens Lekman – The World Moves On (Secretly Canadian)

The Beach Boys – Summer’s Gone (Capitol)

Giant Giant Sand – Love Comes Over You (Fire)

Dr. John – Revolution (Nonesuch)

Alabama Shakes – Hold On  (ATO)

Bettye LaVette – Dirty Old Town (Anti-)

PSY – Gagnam Style (Universal Republic)

Bob Dylan – Duquesne Whistle (Columbia)

Frank Ocean – Thinkin’ About You (Def Jam)

Top 5 Archival/Reissues

Rodriguez – Searching for Sugar Man (Legacy)

Country Funk 1969-1975 (Light in the Attic)

The Flatlanders – The Odessa Tapes (New West)

The Bailes Brothers – Standing Somewhere in the Shadows: The Legendary King Sessions 1953, Plus (Bear Family)

Lou Ragland – I Travel Alone (The Numero Group)

Top 5 Music Books

Ben Sandmel – Ernie K-Doe: The R&B Emperor of New Orleans (Historic New Orleans)

Sylvie Simmons – I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen (Ecco)

Bettye LaVette w/David Ritz – A Woman Like Me (Blue Rider Press)

       (That’s all I’ve read)

Best Music-Related Website

Blurt

2013 Release I Am Most Anticipating

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away (Bad Seed Ltd.)

Favorite Story I Wrote for Blurt in 2012

Karen Dalton: “Desperately Seeking Karen Dalton”

www.blurt-online.com/features/view/1103/

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JOHN SCHACHT Jschcht1@carolina.rr.com

CHARLOTTE, NC

Top 10 New Releases

Giant Giant Sand/Tucson: A Country Rock Opera (Fire)

Bo White/Same Deal, New Patrones (Kinnikinnik)

Sonoi/Tropics of Holland (Meno Mosso)

Andre Williams & the Sadies/Night & Day (Yep Roc)

Dirty Three/Toward the Low Sun (Drag City)

Ravi Coltrane/Spirit Fiction (Blue Note)

Matthew E. White/Big Inner (Spacebomb)

Various Artists/Aimer Et Perdre… (Tompkins Square)

Andrew Bird/Break It Yourself (Fat Possum)

Eleni Mandell/I Can See the Future (Yep Roc)

Honorable mentions: Antlers/Undersea (EP), Beachwood Sparks/Tarnished Gold, Takka Takka/A.M. Landscapes, JKutchma & the Five-Fifths/Pastoral, Carpet of Horses/It’s Only Light, Jimmy Cliff/Rebirth, Alabama Shakes/Boys & Girls, Lee Fields/Faithful Man, Screaming Females/Ugly, Bob Mould/Silver Age, King Mez/My Everlasting Zeal, Beach House/Bloom, Temperance League/Temperance League, Calexico/Algiers.

Top 10 Tracks/Singles

Temperance League—“Pursuits of the Past”

Wood Ear—”Leave My Walls”

Sonoi—”Micro-Coliseum”

Cat Power—“Cherokee”

Carpet of Horses—”Oblomov”

Bo White—”Sinaloa”

Giant Giant Sand—”Wind-blown Waltz”

Andrew Bird—“Break It Yourself”

Matthew E. White—“Big Love”

Azita—“Something That Happened”

Top 5 Archival/Reissues

Can/The Lost Tapes (Mute)

V/A – The Inner Flame, A Tribute to Rainer Ptacek (Fire Records)

Dan Penn/The Fame Recordings (Ace)

Codeine/When I See the Sun (Numero)

Lee Perry & the Sufferers/The Sound Doctor (Pressure)

Top 5 Concerts

Hiss Golden Messenger @ Hopscotch Festival, Raleigh

Nick Lowe @ McGlohon Theatre, Charlotte

Andrew Bird @ Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte

The Sadies @ Yep Roc 15 Fest, Chapel Hill

Mount Moriah @ the Evening Muse, Charlotte

In Memoriam: Most Lamented Death

Rodney Lanier, Sea of Cortez/Pyramid

Worst New Artist

fun.

Dumbest Band Name

Too many to list – if your band name is longer than two words, it’s too long

Asshole of the Year

Me or my editors.

Fave Internet Meme of 2012

Internet? Meme?

Best Hair or Facial Hair

Andy the Doorbum http://f0.bcbits.com/z/37/40/3740486778-1.jpg

Coolest Trend or Whatever

Whatever.

Most Fucked Up or Annoying Trend or Whatever

Everything I don’t care for.

 

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JASON GROSS perfect@furious.com

NEW YORK CITY

Top 10 New Releases

Gypsyphonic Disko – Nolaphonic Vol. 2 (gypsyphonic.com)
Guided by Voices – Let’s Go Eat the Factory (GBV)
Corin Tucker Band – Kill My Blues (Kill Rock Stars)
Jessie Baylin – Little Spark (Blonde Rat)
Wiley – Evolve or Be Extinct (Big Dada)
Jamie Woon – Mirrorwriting (Polydor)
The Men – Open Your Heart (Sacred Bones)
Hospitality – Hospitality (Merge)
Howler – America Give Up (Rough Trade)
Big Krit – 4Eva N A Day (livemixtapes.com)
Top 10 Tracks/Singles

A Brokeheart Pro – Bullets Ain’t Brakes (Kitten Next Door)
Mysdiggi – Cadoodledoo (no label)
Chappo – Come Home (Shout! Factory)
Guided by Voices – The Unsinkable Fats Domino (GBV)
Serengeti – Shazam (Anticon)
Wrinkle Neck Mules – Central Daylight Time (Lower 40)
Cadence Weapon – 88 (soundcloud.com)
Die Antwoord – I Fink U Freaky (Downtown)
Ray Wylie Hubbard – New Year’s Eve at the Gates of Hell (Bordello)
Nicki Minaj – Roman Holiday (Cash Money)
Top 5 Archival/Reissues

Little Richard – Here’s Little Richard (Concord)
The English Beat – The Complete Beat (Shout! Factory)
Bobby Bland – The Best of Bobby Bland (Verve)
Various Artists – Giant Single: The Profile Records Rap Anthology (Sony Music Club)
Hot Chocolate – You Sexy Thing: The Best Of Hot Chocolate (Music Club Deluxe)
Top 5 Music DVDs

The Replacements- Color Me Obsessed
Something from Nothing- The Art of Rap
Shut Up and Play the Hits
Muddy Waters and the Rolling Stones Live at the Checkerboard Lounge
Punk Revolution NYC: The Velvet Underground, The New York Dolls And The CBGBs Set
Top 5 Music Books

Jesse Jarnow “Big Day Coming- Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock”
Bruce Russell (editor) “Erewhon Calling- Experimental Sound In New Zealand”
Pete Townshend “Who Am I”
Michael Chabon “Telegraph Avenue”
Gil Scott-Heron “The Last Holiday”

Top 5 Concerts

All Tomorrow’s Parties- September 21st/New York City
Madonna – September 8th/Bronx
Wild Flag/Mission of Burma/Ted Leo – August 3rd/Brooklyn
The Who – December 5th/New York City
Bob Mould- September 7th/Brooklyn
Top 5 Films

The Master
Moonrise Kingdom
Looper
Seven Psychopaths
Lincoln
Top 5 Music Videos

Cody Critcheloe- “Sometimes I Think About You Every Day”
Kate Nash- “Fri-end?”
Pussy Riot “Light Up the Fires”
Mystery Guitar Man “Stop Motion Excel”
YN Rich Kids – “Hot Cheetos & Takis”
Best Record Label

Sony/Legacy- great reissues this year, including My Bloody Valentine (UK only), Profile Records, Taj Mahal, Louis Armstrong, Big Brother & The Holding Company, and “Death Might Be Your Santa Claus”
Best Music-related Website

Perfect Sound Forever, natch! http://www.perfectsoundforever.com
In Memoriam: Most Lamented Death

Tie: Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys & Etta James
Best New Artist

The Milk- great neo-soul UK band
Worst New Artist

Lana Del Rey should be enough to shake your faith in any kind of divine force in the universe.
Dumbest Band Name

fun.
Worst Album Sleeve Art

Alabama Shakes “Boys and Girls” (really good album though)
Sex Object of the Year

FM3 Buddha Machine, version 4- it’s the ultimate fetish object for music geeks
Asshole of the Year

Tie- Bob Lefsetz and whoever heads the RIAA
Fave Internet Meme of 2012

‘90s Problems (“My TV Guide Didn’t Come This Month So I Don’t Know What’s On TV Right Now!”)
Best Hair or Facial Hair

Dan Deacon
2013 Release I Am Most Anticipating

Tie- V.V. Brown (under-rated dance/R&B singer) and MIA (who will get her mojo back, guaranteed).  I’ll hope for a new Wrens record but I’ll believe it when I see it.
Coolest Trend or Whatever

Cassettes are now joining vinyl as retro objects of worship
Most Fucked Up or Annoying Trend or Whatever

Continuing decline of journalism as a feasible career
Wildcard: 50 Words From or About Me

Grateful as always to all of the readers of Blurt and PSF and any music pub in general out there now, and of course to the wonderful Robin Cook who’s seen fit to stay with and tolerate me for several years now.
Favorite story or review I wrote for BLURT

“Trust Yourself… And Get A Good Lawyer- Musicians’ Advice for Musicians”
http://blurt-online.com/features/view/1163/

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JOHN B. MOORE jbmoore00@hotmail.com

ABINGTON, PA

Top 10 New Releases

Todd Snider – Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables (Aimless)

Lucero – Women & Work (ATO)

Cory Branan – Mutt (Bloodshot)

Willie Nelson – Heroes (Legacy)

Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball (Columbia)

Jukebox the Ghost – Safe Travels (Yep Rock)

Hostage Calm – Please Remain Calm (Run for Cover)

Archie Powell & The Exports – Great Ideas in Action (Good Land)

Dr. Dog – Be the Void (Anti-)

fun. – Some Nights (Fueled By Ramen)

Top 10 Tracks/Singles

“Wrecking Ball” – Bruce Springsteen (Columbia)

 “Live and Die” – The Avett Brothers (Universal Republic)

“In C” – Loudin Wainwright III (StorySound)

“Stray Heart” – Green Day (Reprise)

“At Last” – Jukebox The Ghost (Yep Rock)

“Vampire” – Dr. Dog (Anti)

“Fuck You” – Bad Religion (Epitaph)

“Classy Girls” – The Lumineers (DualTone Music Group)

“Babel – Mumford & Sons (Glass Note)

“We Are Young” – fun. (Fueled By Ramen

Top 5 Archival/Reissues

Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – The Hellcat Years (Hellcat)

Frank Turner – Last Minutes & Lost Evenings (Epitaph)

Smoking Popes – Born to Quit (SideOneDummy)

Paul Simon – Graceland 25th Anniversary (Legacy)

Johnny Cash – The Greatest: Duets (Legacy)

Top 5 Music Books

Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin (Touchstone)

The Book of Drugs: A Memoir by Mike Doughty (Da Capo Press)

I Got a Name: The Jim Croce Story by Ingrid Croce and Jimmy Rock (Da Capo Press)

Rock ‘n’ Roll Myths: The True Stories Behind the Most Infamous Legends by Gary Graff and Daniel Durchholz (Voyageur Press)

Mercury – An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury  by Lesley-Ann Jones (Touchstone)

Best Record Label

SideOneDummy

 Best New Artist

Masked Intruder

 Dumbest Band Name

Destiny Potato

  Asshole of the Year

Mike Huckabee who said God didn’t save the kids and teachers at the CT school shooting because we kept prayer out of school. Mike Huckabee: former preacher; current right-wing talk show host; future head of the Westboro Baptist Church.

 2013 Release I Am Most Anticipating

Bad Religion’s True North

 Most Fucked Up or Annoying Trend or Whatever

Grassroots political groups getting behind a solid cause and then fucking it up with no clear plans, aside from plenty of drum circles (looking at you, Occupy Wall Street).

Favorite story or review I wrote for BLURT

Redd Kross http://blurt-online.com/news/view/6642/

 

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MICHAEL TOLAND highbiaseditor@yahoo.com

AUSTIN, TX

Top 10 New Releases

The Coffee Sergeants – Purple Martin Sanctuary (self-released)

Dawnbringer – In the Lair of the Sun God (Profound Lore)

Matthew Edwards & the Unfortunates – The Fates (Last Tape/Vollwert)

Mark Eitzel – Don’t Be a Stranger (Merge)

Gallon Drunk – The Road Gets Darker From Here (Clouds Hill)

Richard Hawley – Standing at the Sky’s Edge (Mute)

Ian Hunter and the Rant Band – When I’m President (Slimstyle)

Japandroids – Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)

Bob Mould – Silver Age (Merge)

Three Minute Tease – s/t (Idiot)

Top 10 Tracks/Singles

The Black Keys – “Gold On the Ceiling”

Gary Clark Jr. – “Ain’t Messin’ Round”

The dB’s – “Before You Were Born”

Matthew Edwards & the Unfortunates – “No More Songs”

Gallon Drunk – “You Made Me”

Richard Hawley – “Leave Your Body Behind You”

Japandroids – “The House That Heaven Built”

Bob Mould – “The Descent”/”Keep Believing” (tie)

Redd Kross – “Stay Away From Downtown”

Tenacious D – “Rize of the Fenix”

 Top 5 Archival/Reissues

Blue Oyster Cult – The Complete Columbia Albums Collection (Columbia/Legacy)

Cotton Mather – Kon Tiki (Deluxe Edition) (The Star Apple Kingdom)

Dave Kusworth – The Bounty Hunters (Troubadour/Easy Action)

Mink DeVille – Cabretta/Return to Magenta/ Le Chat Bleu (Capitol/Culture Factory USA)

Epic Soundtracks – Wild Smile: An Anthology (Troubadour/Easy Action)

Top 5 Music Books

There is a Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of the Smiths by Tony Fletcher

Who I Am by Pete Townshend

Top 5 Concerts

The Afghan Whigs – Austin City Limits Music Festival, 10/12/12, Austin, TX

The dB’s – BD Riley’s, 3/16/12, Austin, TX

Grulkefest: A Celebration of Brent (w/ True Believers, Doctors’ Mob, Glass Eye, the Wild Seeds, the Reivers, Sixteen Deluxe, Fastball, Wannabes) – ACL Live at the Moody Theater, 9/8/12, Austin, TX

Japandroids – Fun Fun Fun Fest, 11/4/12, Austin, TX

Bob Mould – Austin City Limits TV taping, 11/1/12, Austin, TX

 Best Record Label

Merge

 Best Music-related Website

Blurt, of course

 In Memoriam: Most Lamented Death

Perry Baggs (Jason & the Scorchers)

 Best New Artist(s)

Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires, Matthew Edwards & the Unfortunates, the Mastersons, Radiana, Three Minute Tease

 Worst New Artist

Daughn Gibson

 Dumbest Band Name

How to Dress Well

 Sex Object of the Year

Esperanza Spalding

 Asshole of the Year

So many assholes, so little toilet tissue.

 2013 Release I Am Most Anticipating

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away (Bad Seeds Ltd.)

 Favorite story or review I wrote for BLURT (include URL)

“The Boy With the Wild Smile: Epic Soundtracks”

http://blurt-online.com/features/view/1161/

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KYLE A. ROSKO chillskids@gmail.com

RALEIGH, NC

Top Ten Albums of 2012

1. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city (Interscope/Top Dawg)

2. Spiritualized – Sweet Heart, Sweet Light (Fat Possum)

3. Tame Impala – Lonerism (Modular)

4. Matthew E. White – Big Inner (Hometapes/Spacebomb)

5. John Talabot – ƒIN (Permanent Vacation)

6. Andy Stott – Luxury Problems (Modern Love)

7. Chairlift – Something (Columbia)

8. Black Moth Super Rainbow – Cobra Juicy (Rad Cult)

9. Grizzly Bear – Shields (Warp)

10. Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams (IAMSOUND)

Top Reissues
1. Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights
2. Rodriguez – Searching for Sugar Man
3. Massive Attack – Blue Lines
4. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico
5. Paul & Linda McCartney – RAM
6. William Basinski – The Disintegration Loops
7. The Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness
8. Blur – Parklife
9. Sleep – Dopesmoker
10. My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
Top 10 Tracks/Singles (in no particular order)
Kendrick Lamar – “Swimming Pools (Drank)”
Frank Ocean – “Thinking Bout You”
Grimes – “Genesis”
Bat for Lashes – “Laura”
Usher – “Climax”
Tame Impala – “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “Mladic”
Black Moth Super Rainbow – “Hairspray Heart”
Purity Ring – “Fineshrine”
Chairlift – “I Belong in Your Arms”
Top 5 Films
1. Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master
2. Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty
3. Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln
4. Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild
5a. Jean-Pierre Dardenne’s The Kid with a Bike
5b. Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom

 

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HAL BIENSTOCK hbienstock@hotmail.com

NEW YORK CITY, NY

2012 New Releases

Frank Ocean – Channel Orange (Def Jam)

Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls (ATO)

Japandroids – Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)

Beach House – Bloom (SubPop)

Tame Impala – Lonerism (Modular)

Lucero – Women & Work (ATO)

Bob Mould – Silver Age (Merge)

Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill (Reprise)

Matthew E. White – Big Inner (Spacebomb)

Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas (Columbia)

Honorable Mention: Mountain Goats – Transcendental Youth (Merge); Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory (CarPark); Jack White – Blunderbuss (Third Man/Columbia); Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel (Epic); King Tuff (SubPop); Spoek Mathambo – Father Keeper (SubPop)

Best Reissues

Various Artists – Country Funk 1969-75 (Light in the Attic)

Sugar – Copper Blue/File Under Easy Listening (Merge)

David Ruffin – David (Hip-O Select)

Jerry Lee Lewis, The Killer Live 1964-70 (Hip-O Select/Mercury)

Tim Maia, World Psychedelic Classics 4: The Existential Soul of Tim Maia (Luaka Bop)

Archers of Loaf – Icky Mettle/Vee Vee (Merge)

Top Shows

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band  – Austin, TX, 3/15

Bob Mould – Brooklyn, NY, 9/7

Wild Flag/Mission of Burma/Ted Leo – Brooklyn, NY, 8/3

Gary Clark Jr./Blitzen Trapper/The Roots – Austin, TX, 3/17

Jack White – NY, NY, 4/27

Bon Iver – NY, NY, 9/20

Dinosaur Jr./Lucero – Austin, TX, 3/16

Fiona Apple/Sharon Van Etten/Alabama Shakes – Austin, TX, 3/14

Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Brooklyn, NY, 12/3

Jimmy Cliff – Brooklyn, NY, 6/5

Top Songs

Japandroids – The House That Heaven Built (Polyvinyl)

Gary Clark Jr. – When My Train Pulls In (Warner Bros.)

Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Ramada Inn (Reprise)

Thee Satisfaction – Queens (SubPop)

Divine Fits – Shivers (Merge)

Miguel – Adorn (RCA)

Bob Mould – The Descent (Merge)

Bob Dylan – Pay in Blood (Columbia)

Alabama Shakes – I Ain’t The Same (ATO)

Bruce Springsteen – Rocky Ground (Columbia)

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DAVE STEINFELD skinnythai@aol.com

NEW YORK, NY

Top 10 New Releases

1.  Bob Dylan — Tempest (Columbia)

2.  Patti Smith — Banga  (Columbia)

3.  Martha Wainwright — Come Home to Mama (Cooperative Music/V2)

4.  Shoes — Ignition (Black Vinyl)

5.  Girlyman — Supernova (Girlyman, Inc.)

6.  Graham Parker & the Rumour — Three Chords Good (Primary Wave)

7.  Mary Gauthier — Live at Blue Rock (Proper Records)

8.  Aimee Mann — Charmer (Superego Records)

9.  Stuart Davis — Music for Mortals (SDM)

10.  SHEL — self-titled (Moraine Records)

Top 10 Tracks/Singles

1.  Girlyman — “Nothing Left”

2.  Aimee Mann — “Labrador”

3.  Stuart Davis — “Beautiful Place”

4.  Shoes — “Hot Mess”

5.  Martha Wainwright — “All Your Clothes”

6.  Bob Dylan — “Narrow Way”

7.  Susan Justice — “Born Bob Dylan”

8.  Graham Parker & the Rumour — “Coathangers”

9.  Kanisha K. — “I Found Love (Just in Time for Christmas)”

10.  Steve Forbert — “All I Need to Do”

 Top 5 Archival/Reissues

1.  The English Beat — The Complete Beat (Shout Factory!)

2.  Paul Simon — Graceland: 25th Anniversary Edition  (Sony Legacy)

3.  Buttons: From Champaign to Chicago (Numero Group)

4.  20/20 — 20/20 and Look Out! (Real Gone Music)

5.  War — The World is a Ghetto: 40th Anniversary Edition (Xenon)

In Memoriam: Most Lamented Death

Bob Welch

 Best New Artist

SHEL

 Asshole of the Year

Chris Brown

Most Fucked Up or Annoying Trend

Jon Bon Jovi continues to make albums and tour

 Wildcard: 50 Words From or About Me

Music obsessive and Anglophile, originally from suburban Connecticut, presently based in New York City. As has become the norm, my work has help keep me sane in an otherwise difficult year, personally and globally. And my work for Blurt is no exception. This year, it was especially nice to interview bands like Shoes and The Distractions, both of whom I thought would never release new music again!

 Favorite story or review I wrote for BLURT

“The Distractions: Time Goes By So Quickly”

http://blurt-online.com/features/view/1262/

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JHONI JACKSON jhonijackson.atl@gmail.com

PUERTO RICO

Top 10 New Releases

Gentleman Jesse – Leaving Atlanta (Douchemaster)

King Tuff – S/T (Sub Pop)

Ty Segall – Slaughterhouse (In the Red)

The Babies – Our House on the Hill (Woodsist)

Terry Malts – Killing Time (Slumberland)

Paint Fumes – Uck Life (Slovenly)

Hunx – Hairdresser Blues (Hardly Art)

Natural Child – For the Love of the Game (Burger)

Fletcher C. Johnson – Salutations (Burger)

Peach Kelli Pop – S/T (Burger)

Best Label

Burger Records

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 LOGAN K. YOUNG www.twitter.com/logankyoung

WASHINGTON, DC

Top 10 New Releases

Scott Walker – Bish Bosch (4AD)

Jason Lescalleet – Songs About Nothing (Erstwhile)

Holly Herndon – Movement (RVNG Intl.)

X-TG – Desertshore/The Final Report (Industrial)

Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill (Warner Bros.)

Wadada Leo Smith – Ten Freedom Summers (Cuneiform)

Florian Hecker – Chimerization (Farsi Language Version) (Editions Mego)

Fushitsusha – Hikari To Nazukeyo (Heartfast)

Matmos – The Ganzfield EP (Thrill Jockey)

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Mature Themes (4AD)

Top 10 Tracks/Singles

Matthew Bourne, “Infinitude”

Spiritualized, “Hey Jane”

Dan Deacon, “Call Me Maybe Acapella 147 Times Exponentially Layered”

Chelsea Light Moving, “Frank O’ Hara Hit”

Swans, “The Seer”

Bob Dylan, “The Tempest”

Neneh Cherry & The Thing, “Dirt”

Godspeed You! Black Emperor, “Strung Like Lights at Thee Printemps”

Leslie Keffer, “Finally, Caves! (Joy Dance)”

Sirvana, “Cut Me Some Slack”

Top 5 Archival/Reissues

Sonic Youth – Smart Bar – Chicago (Goofin’)

Pauline Oliveros – Reverberations: Tape & Electronic Music, 1961-70 (Important)

Can – The Lost Tapes (Mute)

G. I. Gurdjieff – Improvisations (Mississippi)

Various Artists – Pictures of Sound: One Thousand Years of Educed Audio, 980-1980 (Dust-to-Digital)

 Top 5 Concerts

Jandek (Garfield Artworks, Pittsburgh PA 1/13)

Glenn Branca Ensemble (Sonic Circuits Festival, Washington DC 9/30)

Mx Justin Vivian Bond (Joe’s Pub, New York NY 3/25)

Thurston Moore (Naropa University, Boulder CO 6/5)

Morton Subotnick (University of Maryland, College Park MD 4/18)

Top 3 Music Books

Alan Licht – Will Oldham on Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy (Faber & Faber)

Bruce Russell – Erewhon Calling: Experimental Muisc in New Zealand (CMR)

Thurston Moore – By The Lightswitch (MONDO BUMMER)

Top 3 Films

The Master

The Bay

Liz & Dick

Top Music Video

The Flaming Lips & Amanda Palmer, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”

Best Record Label

Mabson Enterprises http://mabsonenterprises.bandcamp.com/

Best Music-related Website

Besideshttp://www.blurt-online.com, of course?Rockandrolltedium.tumblr.com/

In Memoriam: Most Lamented Death

Q4: Jonathan Harvey; Q3: Lol Coxhill; Q2: Chuck Brown; Q1: Gerre Hancock

Best New Artist

RGIII

Worst New Artist

Tebow (in NYC)

Dumbest Band Name

fun.

Worst Album Sleeve Art

The Sacred Bones catalog

Sex Object of the Year

Fiona Apple

Asshole of the Year

Fiona Apple’s

Fave Internet Meme of 2012

Noise Park http://noise-park.tumblr.com/

Best Hair or Facial Hair

Fiona Apple (tie)

2013 Release I Am Most Anticipating

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Coolest Trend or Whatever

CULTURE DEALER reviving theSong Poem genre

Most Fucked Up Thing I, Myself, Saw

Brah punching a woman at the Preakness (as The Darkness sang “She’s Just a Girl, Eddie”)

Favorite story or review I wrote for BLURT

Report: Against Me!/Cult Live in Md.

http://blurt-online.com/news/view/6431/

 

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STEVE KLINGE djuna35@aol.com

WILMINGTON, DE

New Releases

Allo Darlin’—Europe (Slumberland)

Andrew Bird—Break It Yourself (Mom + Pop)

Julia Holter—Ekstasis (Rvng Int’l)

Hot Chip—In Our Heads (Domino)

Jamey Johnson—Living For A Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran (Mercury Nashville)

Japandroids—CelebrationRock (Polyvinyl)

Frank Ocean— channelORANGE (Def Jam)

Royal Headache—Royal Headache (What’s Your Rupture)

The Walkmen—Heaven (Fat Possum)

The xx—Coexist (XL)

 Tracks

Allo Darlin– Tallulah (Slumberland)

Best Coast– The Only Place (Mexican Summer)

The Fresh & Onlys — Long Slow Dance (Mexican Summer)

Daughn Gibson– In The Beginning (White Denim)

Grimes– Genesis (4AD)

Kelly Hogan– Sleeper Awake (Anti)

Major Lazer– Get Free (Mad Decent)

Spiritualized– Hey Jane (Fat Possum)

Sharon Van Etten– Serpents (Jagjaguar)

The Very Best– Kondaine (Moshi Moshi)

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MARY LEARY acertainblue@cox.net

SAN DIEGO, CA

Top 10 New Releases

Helvetia – Nothing in Rambling – Joyful Noise

Matt Bauer – No Shape Can Hold Me Now (Crossbill Records)

Tennis – Young & Old (Fat Possum)

Giant Giant Sand – Tucscon (Fire)

Dana Falconberry – Leelanau (Antenna Farm)

Swans – The Seer (Young God)

Mission of Burma – Unsound (Fire)

The Doc Marshalls – Look Out, Compadre (Twinpost)

Poor Moon – Poor Moon (Sub Pop)

Chrome Cranks – Ain’t No Lies In Blood (Thick Syrup)

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ZACHARY BLOOM zacharybloom@gmail.com

OAKLAND, CA

Top 10 New Releases

Beach House – Bloom (Sub Pop)

Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man (Capitol)

Japandroids – Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)

Moonface – Heartbreaking Bravery (Jagjaguwar)

The Walkmen – Heaven (Fat Possum)

Chromatics – Kill For Love (Italians Do It Bettet)

Wild Nothing – Nocturne (Captured Tracks)

Rocket Juice & The Moon – Rocket Juice & The Moon (Honest Jon’s)

Tanlines – Mixed Emotions (True Panther Sounds)

Antlers – Undersea (ANTI-)

Top 10 Tracks/Singles

Japandroids – “The House That Heaven Built” (Polyvinyl)

Chromatics – “Kill For Love” (Italians Do It Bettet)
The Walkmen “We Can’t Be Beat” (Fat Possum)
Bat For Lashes – “Lilies” (Capitol)
Beach House – “Other People” (Sub Pop)
Rocket Juice & The Moon – “Hey, Shooter (feat. Erykah Badu)” (Honest Jon’s)
The Killers- “Runaways” (Island)
The Antlers – “Drift Drive” (ANTI-)
The Shins- “Simple Song” (Columbia)
Blur – “Under The Westway” (Parlophone)

 Dumbest Band Name

Rocket Juice & The Moon

 2013 Release I Am Most Anticipating

The Knife – Shaking The Habitual

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JOSE MARTINEZ planetjlm@yahoo.com

LOS ANGELES, CA

Top 10 Records

1. Calvin Harris ’18 Months’

2. Funeral Party ‘The Golden Age of Knowhere’

3. Vintage Trouble ‘The Bomb Shelter Sessions’

4. Jack White ‘Blunderbuss’

5. Dr. John ‘Locked Down’

6. Alabama Shakes ‘Boys & Girls’

7. Mumford & Sons ‘Babel’

8. Leonard Cohen ‘Old Ideas’

9. Stone Sour ‘House of Gold & Bones Pt. 1’

10. The Cult ‘Choice of Weapon’

Top 10 Singles

1. Calvin Harris ‘Feel So Close’

2. Adele ‘Set Fire to the Rain’

3. Vintage Trouble ‘Blues Hand Me Down’

4. Calvin Harris ‘We Found Love’

5. fun. ‘We Are Young’

6. Alicia Keys ‘Girl on Fire’

7. Elle Goulding ‘Lights’

8. Avicii ‘Levels’

9. Calvin Harris ‘Sweet Nothing’

10. Gaslight Anthem ’45’

Top 5 Films

1. Dark Knight Rises

2. Django Unchained

3. Cabin in the Woods

4. Lincoln

5. Zero Dark Thirty (just beat out ‘End of Watch’)

Top 5 Concerts

1. 12.12.12 Sandy Benefit at Madison Square Garden

2. Vintage Trouble 1/15/12 at The Troubadour

3. Outside Lands Music Festival Aug 10-12 at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco

4. Guns N’ Roses 3/9/12 at Hollywood Palladium

5. Mana 4/25/12 at Staples Center

Top 5 Music Books

1. ‘Inside a Bizzy Mind’ by Bizzy Bone

2. ‘It’s So Easy and Other Lies’ by Duff McKagan

3. ‘The One: The Life and Music of James Brown’ by RJ Smith

4. ‘Waging Heavy Peace’ by Neil Young

5. ‘How Music Works’ by David Byrne

Top 5 Music Videos

1. Calvin Harris ‘Drinking from the Bottle’

2. Marilyn Manson ‘Slow-Mo-Tion’

3. Psy ‘Gangnam Style’

4. Vintage Trouble ‘Blues Hand Me Down’

5. Marilyn Manson ‘Born Villain’

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MAX BLAU maxcblau@gmail.com

AVONDALE ESTATES, GA

Top 10 albums

1. Japandroids – Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)
2. Zammuto – Zammuto (Temporary Residence)
3. Father John Misty – Fear Fun  (Sub Pop)
4. El-P Cancer 4 Cure (Fat Possum)
5. Diiv – Oshin (Captured Tracks)
6. Matthew E. White – Big Inner (Spacebomb/Hometapes)
7. Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t (Secretly Canadian)
8. Lambchop – Mr. M (Merge)
9. Titus Andronicus – Local Business (XL)
10. Tame Impala – Lonerism  (Modular)

Top 10 songs

1. Cat Power – “Nothin But Time”

2. Zammuto – “The Shape of Things to Come”

3. Father John Misty – “Fun Times in Babylon”

4. El-P -“$4 Vic/FTL (Me and You)

5. Titus Andronicus – “My Eating Disorder”

6. Chromatics – “Kill For Love”

7. Lambchop – “If Not I’ll Just Die”

8. Sharon Van Etten – “We Are Fine”

9. Frank Ocean – “Thinkin About You”

10. Patterson Hood – “Come Back Little Star”

Best Record Label

Merge

Best Music-related Website

Blurt

Best New Artist

Father John Misty

Worst New Artist

Lana Del Rey or Chief Keef

Worst Album Sleeve Art

 Death Grips’ No Love Deep Web

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:No_Love_Deep_Web_artwork.png

2013 Release I Am Most Anticipating

Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic

Coolest Trend or Whatever

Awesome bands putting about 3+ records in a year (i.e. Ty Segall, GbV)

Favorite story or review I wrote for BLURT

Grizzly Bear: “Sense Of Place, Sense Of Purpose, Sense Of Self” (cover story, issue #13)

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MICHAEL BERICK mikeberick@aol.com

LOS ANGELES, CA

Top 10 New Releases

 Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

John K. Samson – Provincial

Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams

The Coup – Sorry To Bother You

Tift Merritt – Traveling Alone

Dr. Dog – Be The Void

Patterson Hood – Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance

Kelly Hogan – I Like To Keep Myself In Pain

Lee Fields & The Expressions – Faithful Man

Archie Powell and the Exports – Great Ideas in Action

 Top 10 Tracks/Singles

  Hold On – Alabama Shakes

When I Write My Master’s Thesis – John K. Samson

Making Love To Bob Dylan – John Wesley Harding

Wishing Well – Trapper Schoepp & The Shades

Just About Now – Matt Keating

 Top 5 Archival/Reissues

 Nuggets

Rodriguez – Searching For Sugar Man soundtrack

The English Beat – The Complete Beat/ Shout Factory Records 5xcd Box

Old 97’s – Too Far To Care

Velvet Underground Boxset

Top 5 Films

 Argo

Moonrise Kingdom

Searching For Sugar Man

 Paranorman

Perks of Being a Wallflower

 Best Record Label

 Yep Roc

 In Memoriam: Most Lamented Death

 Sadly, there were a number of deaths of people from the music world that resonated with me in ways large and small. Davy Jones from one of my favorite childhood bands, the Monkees. Dick Clark and also Don Cornelius, who brought together TV and music for me and millions of others. Hal David, for his classic pop songwriting skills. Etta James, for singing “At Last.” Doc Watson and Levon Helm for their years of making great American music. But the most lamentable death was probably Adam Yauch. Not so much that I have been a big Beastie Boy fan, but because he has created so much in less than 50 years and left the promise of what was to come tragically unfulfilled. 

 Best New Artist

  Lord Huron

 Worst New Artist

  Psy

 Dumbest Band Name

 Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs

  Asshole of the Year

  The NRA Spokesperson Wayne LaPierre

 Favorite story or review I wrote for BLURT

 The dB’s: “21st Century Boys (Men)”

http://blurt-online.com/features/view/1160/

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DANNY R. PHILLIPS drpwords@windstream.net

UNION STAR, MO

New Releases (in no order of Importance)

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Meat and Bone (Mom+Pop)

Japandroids Celebration Rock(Polyvinyl)

The Hives Lex Hives!(Disque Hives)

Heartless Bastards Arrow(Partisan Records)

Bob Mould Silver Age(Merge)

Dinosaur Jr I Bet on Sky(Jajaguwar)

Band of Skulls Sweet Sour(Vagrant)

North of Grand A Farewell to Rockets(Brolester Records)

Guided by Voices Bears for Lunch(Guided by Voices Inc.)

Top Five Tracks

Bad Books Forrest Whitaker

Black Keys Little Black Submarines

Bob Mould The Descent

Beck Looking for a Sign

Jack White I’m Shakin’

Top Five Archival/Reissues

Nirvana- Nevermind (4 LP set)

Lightin’ Hopkins- The Very Best of Lightin’ Hopkins (expanded edition)

Sugar- Entire Sugar Catalogue

Woody Guthrie- Woody at 100

The Velvet Underground and Nico

Music DVDs

Led Zeppelin- Celebration Day

Archers of Loaf What Did You Expect?- Live at Cat’s Cradle

Big Star- No One Can Hurt Me: The story of Big Star

Pearl Jam- Twenty

LCD Soundsystem Shut Up and Play the Hits

Best Label

Bloodshot

Best Concerts

Stephen Egerton/Drag The River/Stiff Middle Fingers @ The Jackpot Lawrence, KS  7/5/2012

Guided By Voices @ The Granada Theater Lawrence, KS 9/28/2012

Melismatics/ Radkey @ The Rendezvous St. Joseph, MO 6/15/2012

The Lemonheads @ The Granada Theater Lawrence, KS 1/27/2012

Best Music Related Website

Chrome Waves www.chromewaves.net

Worst New Artist

fun.

Best New Artist

Japandroids

Most Lamented Death

Adam “MCA” Yauch

Asshole of the Year

Billy Corgan

Worst Band Name

fun. (because it is false advertising; this band is,in no way, fun.)

Most Annoying Trend

Bowties

About Me

For more than a decade, I have been writing about what makes music both great and intolerable.  My work has appeared in The Pitch, Skyscraper Magazine, Blurt (of Course), Hybrid, The Omaha Reader, Fader, Popshifter, Perfect Sound Forever and many others.  On the second Saturday of every month at 4pm central time, my podcast “Don’t Have a Clue”, airs on www.stjosephmusicfoundation.org radio & reaches over 100,000 dedicated listeners per episode. Lastly, I believe that Bon Iver, Radiohead and Grouplove are currently battling it out for the title of most overrated band in the history of recorded sound.

***

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2011 Best-Of coverage: Top 50 of 2011, our Writers’ Picks for 2011. 2010 Best-Of: Top 50 of 2010, our Writers’ Picks for 2010. 2009 Best-Of is here (Artists Top Tens), here (Writers), here (Top 50). 2008 Best-Of is here and here.

FAREWELL Music World Passings of 2012

EttaRaviMike

We pay our final respects to Etta James, Ravi Shankar, Michael Davis, Adam “MCA” Yauch and many, many more that we lost in 2012. Coming soon: saying goodbye to 2013.

 BY FRED MILLS

 I’ve written so many obituaries – brief, in-depth, even copy/paste – over the past 12 months that I’m exhausted purely in retrospect. But as an editor and journalist, it’s part of what I signed up for; to mark time’s passage, and to pay respects accordingly. This annual ritual – cataloguing those we lost in the year that’s just completed – might be considered depressing by some, a morbid exercise that doesn’t serve any concrete purpose other than providing busywork for the compiler.

 That may be true, but having performed this ritual for years now, I’ve learned to take a quiet comfort in pulling together notes and combing the internet to learn names, dates, causes of death – and the artistic achievements that prompt us to memorialize the people in the first place. So as you scan down the list of those who did leave us this year, pause when you reach an artist who was particularly special to you, and meditate momentarily on why he or she was special. The list isn’t comprehensive, but it does dovetail into virtually every musical genre and discipline (it additionally includes a handful of non-musicians), and it touches equally upon the obscure and the well-known. Links are included for those artists we wrote about at BLURT this year and you can follow those links if you want to read more.

 And after you pay your last respects, pledge to seek out those artists who are still with us and who are important to you, and let them know in some way how much you appreciate them.

 Meanwhile, as they have done the past five years, this week The New York Times posted online a wonderful audio/video tribute to some of the artists who passed away in 2012. It’s titled, appropriately enough, “The Music They Made.” Likewise at NPR: once again they’ve posted a wonderful audio-enhanced gallery of images that’s well worth checking out as well.

Read also:

*BLURT’s farewell to music passings of 2011

*BLURT’s farewell to music passings of 2010

*BLURT’s farewell to music passings of 2009

*BLURT’s farewell to music passings of 2008

*************

JANUARY

(December 16, not announced until early January) Jen Miro of The Nuns

(December 29, not announced until early January) Michael Houpt of the Hot Knives

Fred Milano (Dion & the Belmonts) 1-1-12

Larry “Rhino” Reinhardt (Iron Butterfly, Captain Beyond) 1-2-12

Bob Weston (Fleetwood Mac) 1-3-12

Charlie Collins (Smoky Mountain Boys) 1-12-12

Jimmy Castor 1-16-12

Johnny Otis 1-17-12

Etta James 1-20-12

Clare Fischer 1-26-12

FEBRUARY

David Peaston 2-1-12

Don “Soul Train” Cornelius 2-1-12

Mike Kelley (Destroy All Monsters) 2-1-12

Joe Stanley “Snuffy” Smith 2-3-12

Jimmy Sabater (Latin soul/boogaloo pioneer) 2-8-12

Whitney Houston 2-11-12

Dory Previn 2-14-12

Michael Davis (MC5) 2-17-12

Joe Thompson (Carolina Chocolate Drops mentor) 2-20-12

Christopher Reimer (Women) 2-21-12

Billy Strange 2-22-12

James “Red” Holloway 2-25-12

Louisiana Red 2-25-12

Davy Jones 2-29-12

MARCH

Ronnie Montrose 3-5-12

Robert B. Sherman 3-5-12

Jimmy Ellis (Trammps) 3-8-12

Michael Hossack (Doobie Brothers) 3-12-12

Earl Scruggs 3-28-12

APRIL

Jim Marshall 4-5-12

Barney McKenna (Dubliners) 4-5-12

Richie Teeter (Dictators) 4-10-12

Dick Clark 4-18-12

Greg Ham (Men At Work) 4-19-12

Levon Helm 4-19-12

Burt Weedon 4-20-12

Chris Ethridge (Flying Burrito Brothers) 4-23-12

Matt Brown (Rosewood Bluff, Two-Dollar Pistols) 4-25-12

Todd Simko (Pure) 4-25-12

Kenny Roberts 4-29-12

MAY

Charles “Skip” Pitts (Memphis soul/funk guitarist) 5-1-12

Lloyd Brevett (Skatalites) 5-3-12

Adam “MCA” Yauch 5-4-12

George “Goober” Lindsey 5-6-12

Maurice Sendak 5-8-12

Duck Dunn (MGs) 5-13-12

Chuck Brown (the Father of Go-Go) 5-16-12

Doug Dillard 5-16-12

Donna Summer 5-17-12

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau 5-18-12

Peter Jones (Crowded House) 5-18-12

Robin Gibb 5-20-12

Doc Watson 5-29-12

Pete Cosey (Miles Davis, Muddy Waters) 5-30-12

JUNE

Andy Hamilton 6-3-12

Herb Reed (Platters) 6-4-12

Ray Bradbury 6-6-12

Bob Welch (Fleetwood Mac) 6-7-12

Mehdi Hassan 6-13-12

Tim Mooney (Toiling Midgets, American Music Club, Sun Kil Moon) 6-13-12

Chris Neal (Nashville music journalist) 6-17-12

Richard Adler 6-21-12

Susanna Clark 6-28-12

JULY

Andy Griffith 7-3-12

Dennis Flemion (Frogs) 7-8-12

Lol Coxhill 7-10-12

Bob Babbitt (Funk Brothers) 7-16-12

Jon Lord (Deep Purple) 7-16-12

Kitty Wells 7-16-12

Sherman Hemsley 7-24-12

Larry Hoppen (Orleans) 7-24-12

Tony Martin 7-27-12

Bill Doss (Olivia Tremor Control) 7-30-12

Tony Sly (No Use For A Name) 7-31-12

AUGUST

Jason Noble (Rodan, Rachel’s, Shipping News) 8-4-12

Chavela Vargas 8-5-12

Marvin Hamlisch 8-6-12

Von Freeman 8-11-12

Brent Grulke (SXSW creative director) 8-13-12

Scott McKenzie 8-18-12

Neil Armstrong 8-21-12

SEPTEMBER

Hal David 9-1-12

Joe South 9-5-12

Dorothy McGuire (McGuire Sisters) 9-7-12

Frank Wilson (Motown songwriter/singer) 9-21-12

Andy Williams 9-25-12

R.B. Greaves 9-27-12

OCTOBER

Big Jim Sullivan 10-2-12

Nick Curran (Fabulous Thunderbirds) 10-6-12

B.B. Cunningham Jr. (Jerry Lee Lewis, Hombres) 10-14-12

David S. Ware 10-18-12

George McGovern 10-21-12

Russell Means 10-22-12

Natina Reed (Blaque) 10-26-12

Terry Callier 10-27-12

Mitch Lucker (Suicide Silence) 10-31-12

NOVEMBER

Elliott Carter 11-5-12

Pete Namlook (electronic/ambient pioneer) 11-8-12

Major Harris (Delfonics) 11-9-12

John Napier (Ethyl Meatplow, Buccinator) 11-11-12

Frank Barsalona (concert promoter) 11-22-12

Michael Dunford (Renaissance) 11-22-12

Chris Stamp (Who manager) 11-24-12

DECEMBER

Jonathan Harvey 12-4-12

Dave Brubeck 12-5-12

Jenni Rivera 12-9-12

Ravi Shankar 12-11-12

Lee Dorman (Iron Butterfly) 12-21-12

Mike Scaccia (Ministry, Rigor Mortis) 12-22-12

Marva Whitney 12-22-12

Ray Collins (Mothers of Invention) 12-24-12

Sir Richard Rodney Bennett 12-24-12

Capital Steez (Pro Era) 12-24-12

Fontella Bass 12-26-12