Hey everyone, KC here. Seeing as the number 12 seemed to pop up quite frequently during the year past I figured it only appropriate for my AotY list arbitrary number to be 12. Well then, onwards with my worthless opinions.
12. Exotic Animal Petting Zoo Tree Tongues
These guys are often labeled ‘experimental math core’ which was a bit intimidating upon first discovering them (I hate math). Sure, EAPZ aren’t exactly what you’d call accessible (just look at the song titles). They make up for this in sheer versatility. Tree Tongues has everything that a metal nerd like myself could hope for – even things I didn’t know I wanted.
11. Clubroot III – MMXII
Ambient dub from Dan Richmond. His use of bass, beats, and ambience creates a signature style matched by few in the dub scene. Put this on during your night cruises to feel like a badass.
10. Yellowcard Southern Air
Yellowcard is growing up. That doesn’t mean their insanely catchy sing along choruses have to disappear though. “Ten” is heartbreaking and “A Vicious Kind” is primed for car karaoke sessions.
9. Smashing Pumpkins Oceania
A return to form for the pumpkins. A return which I seriously doubted would happen given the abortion that was Zeitgeist. The songs on Oceania are colorful and memorable. Sure, every line Corgan utters certainly isn’t gold – there are some tracks that go nowhere. But tracks like “Inkless” and “The Celestials” really make me miss the good SP vacant the past 15 years.
8. Silverstein Short Songs
To be honest I’ve never been able to really get into Silverstein. A few songs here and there hooked me but I lost interest in them quickly it seemed. Short Songs is a great endorsement on behalf of brevity. Silverstein manages to filter out all of the bullshit that had previously turned me off. Songs like “SOS” are fast, heavy, addictive. The melodic side of Silverstein is by no means lost either. Oh yea, the last half of the album is entirely covers of bands like The Purity Ring, Dead Kennedys, Gorilla Biscuits, NOFX…should I keep going?
7. The Ghost Inside Get What You Give
Metalcore seems to be one of the more predictable aspects of my life. That doesn’t make me love it any less though. With The Ghost Inside’s new album I knew I was going to get hope inspiring lyrics highlighted by driving rhythm, crushing breakdowns, and sparse appearances of melody. Guess what? That’s exactly what I got.
6. The Flashbulb Opus At The End of Everything
The Flashbulb is the moniker for Benn Jordan – the idm do-it all from Chicago with a surprisingly extensive library (most known perhaps for 2008’s Sountrack To A Vacant Life which you should have already listened to). Check it out if you like words such as atmospheric, reflective, maudlin, and pastoral.
5. EL-P Cancer 4 Cure
Unfortunately overlooked by many thanks to a slew of solid hip-hop releases in 2012 (particularly Mr. Lamar), EL-P’s newest output deserves attention of it’s own. The production is sharp and inventive. The lyrics even sharper and at times deeply personal.
4. Burial Kindred
For me Burial is the voice of the lost generation. The voice of my generation. The 20 somethings out there facing crippling debt, a planet that is sick of our shit, and concerning population problems. A generation that is given glimpses of optimism and direction only for these glimpses to be masked by dark uncertainties. In Kindred I see a restless soul painfully accepting growth. Moving forward. Or maybe it’s just me. It’s truly remarkable how much emotion Burial is able to embed in his work though. In one instant he is alone in a crowded room, the next, vivacious and hopeful.
3. Converge All We Love We Leave Behind
Converge is back being Converge, which of course, is a good thing for all the metal and hardcore dorks like me. Their latest release offers a familiar ferocious wall of sound. “I’m not sure what the hell just happened to my face, but let’s do it again.”
2. Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d city
I can thank Kendrick Lamar for reigniting my hip-hop mojo. After the typical teenage whiteboy obsession with oldschool hip-hop (ala WuTang, Tribe, NAS, etc.) my interest in people talking/yelling fast seriously diminished. I did check out some of that Kanye fella out of curiousity and was not impressed. When listening to Kendrick Lamar though I can’t help but feel that I’ve been listening to him forever. I can’t help but feel the songs as part of my life.
1. Circa Survive Violent Waves
The fourth studio album from Circa is a less digestible yet more rewarding follow up to 2010’s Blue Sky Noise. Many of the lighthearted elements of Blue Sky Noise are dropped in favor of, as Anthony Green puts it, “heavy yet atmospheric, powerful yet patenting” sounds – but the enticingly catchy melodies remain. Green and the gang are the best that they’ve ever been. Violent Waves is plodding and personal and ultimately symbolic of the progression of the band. Album closer “I’ll Find A Way” is the best song Circa has written – “it’s a musing on feeling responsible for things that happen to the band and wanting to tell everyone that I would always do my best to make this shit as good as it can be.” Thank you Mr. Green.
The What Could Have Made The List But Didn’t List
Pierce The Veil Collide With the Sky
Stick To Your Guns Diamond
Deftones Koi No Yokan
Memphis May Fire Challenger
Bermuda The Wandering
Alright friends, thanks for reading.