Hi, Bobo here.
It’s hard to believe, but 2013 is already half over. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was struggling to pick and choose what my favorite releases of 2012 were. Yet here we are, two and a half weeks into June. While I’ve still got no idea what’s going to make the final version of my “Best of 2013” list (early signs point to Allison Weiss, Off With Their Heads, and Captain, We’re Sinking, among others), what better time than now to revisit some of the albums that I missed out on last year? As soon as January began, I was on the search for stuff that had gone under my radar, but now that we’re six months in to 2013, I have a bit more confidence in saying that I’m disappointed that I didn’t listen to these albums when they first came out.
Enough intro, here are five albums from 2012 that I didn’t discover until it was too late:
5. Future of the Left – The Plot Against Common Sense
I have something to admit: I had heard about this album not too long after its release. I just never got around to checking it out until these last few weeks, right around the time Future of the Left announced that they would be experimenting with crowdfunding for the release of their fourth album (more on that here). That was no coincidence, as the announcement reminded me that there was an entire Future of the Left album that I hadn’t listened to yet. Even with the shift in the line up, The Plot Against Common Sense doesn’t change things too much from the band’s previous releases. The lyrics are still snotty and sarcastic, the bass is laid down just as thick and heavy as it has always been, and Andy Falco’s signature shout is still in tact. A perfect addition to the band’s discography. “Robocop 4- Fuck Off, Robocop” had me rolling in a fit of laughter (figuratively- my first listen to it was walking home from work, and I couldn’t very well roll around laughing in the middle of the street)
4. Baby Ghosts – Let’s Always Hang Out Together, Okay?
I’m not even sure how I came across this one, other than that I was day-drunk and wrapping up an editing shift. Lo-fi rock and roll with dual male-female vocals. Sometimes the music gets poppy and cute, and other times it’s all fuzzy and shouty. The cover art is pretty nauseating, and kind of gives the wrong impression about the music (just looking at it makes me think about white people trying to play synth-laden j-pop), but the music contained within is a-okay.
3. Apologies, I Have None – London
I missed out on Apologies, I Have None as a whole for the last few years. I avoided them mostly because that name is pretty stupid, and I thought that the music would be pretty stupid too. As it turns out, the music is actually pretty good. Contemporary punk rock played by a bunch of young guys. Never judge a book by its cover, right? Their early works got compared to Against Me! a lot, but now that the band has a full line up they’ve developed their own sound and feel. That said, if I were going to suggest them to anyone, I might go as far as to say that they could be an English Menzingers (although that’s just because I first heard a song by them when they came on while I was listening to the Menzingers last.fm station).
2. Matt Pryor – Still, There’s a Light
Still There’s a Light is a companion disc to Pryor’s sophomore solo album, May Day, which made my Best of 2012 list. It’s mostly made up of b-sides and whatnot, and was originally released to those who contributed to Pryor’s May Day Kickstarter. I didn’t even know it had existed until I was late night DJing with Neesh, discussing Pryor and all of his projects, when I found it in the Turntable Database. Go figure. It’s nothing out of the ordinary for Pryor’s solo works, but as a huge fan of his solo work I was happy to discover it. (I also kind of like the Lasorda album, but I was hoping that Pryor would sing more).
1. Operation Space Opera – Songs from the Black Hole
Here’s a surprise fact about me: I really, really like Weezer’s Pinkerton. I also really like listening to fan-made mixes of what might have been Weezer’s Songs from the Black Hole (if you don’t know what that is, get out) (not really, just read about SFTBH here). The problem with fan-made tracklists is that often times the audio levels are constantly shifting, and the quality between tracks is never consistent due to the fact that the tracks have all been taken from various sessions (bootlegs, one of the Alone demo albums, etc). Not to mention that every one of those tracks features Rivers singing in a high falsetto as a placeholder for vocals that were meant to later be sung by a woman.
Enter: Operation Space Opera. A group of Weezer nerds got together and recorded their own version of Songs from the Black Hole from scratch. It’s not perfect (one still might long to hear Rivers sing the part of Jonas) but it’s definitely one of the best, and complete, versions of Songs from the Black Hole out there right now. The characters are a lot easier to distinguish when they’re sung by different people, and it’s easier to see where and how the story progresses. As it turns out, the story isn’t all that great, but that probably has less to do with the fine folks of Operation Space Opera, and more to do with the fact that the Weezer version of the album was never finished to begin with.
By the way, Operation Space Opera put up their album for free download, so check it out if it sounds interesting.
So… which albums from 2012 did you not discover until this year?