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Conan Neutron’s best of 2012 | WARNING: Contents will likely rock heavily

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Melvins 2012

By Conan Neutron

Another year passes by! Another year filled with wonderful life affirming music, and yet another year with tepid uninspired lists filled with background music and exercises in mediocrity. I will not name the site (it rhymes with Bitchdork) but people need to stop reading places that represent wack stuff. That said, here is a list of non-wack stuff. WARNING: Contents will likely rock heavily.

Tilts – Tilts

I had writer’s block this year. One of the few breaks was an article for Collapse Board I wrote around this album, entitled A love letter to classic rock. That is exactly what this is. The novelty hooks you, but you stay for the hooks and the passion. This really is a better record than most give it credit for. Granted, most haven’t heard it, but still. A hell of a rock group that should have a higher profile, plain and simple.

RIYL: All that is great with “classic rock” played without ironic detachment

Future Of The Left – The Plot Against Common Sense

Ahh! Future Of Fhe Left, as contentiously debated as the Zapruder film but at least 20 times more entertaining. This third record by Andrew Falkous and company was as divisive as it could be. The whining for Falco and Jack’s previous acts mcclusky reached a fever pitch, even as the robust and assured four piece FoTL brought those wonderful songs back to life in a seamless mélange with their current material. This band is smart, intense, and somehow fun all at the same time. There are a few songs that aren’t essential to the record’s flow, but some of the tunes rank with the band’s best. Which is high, high praise. “Where were you when Russell Brand invented fire?” Top-notch lyricism, inventive and compelling arrangements and awesome songs. They are the live act to beat and The Plot Against Common Sense is a hell of an album. Mark my words.

RIYL: Les Savy Fav, Fugazi, The Jesus Lizard, DEVO, Pixies, and other hard edged post-punk with a delicious pop twist

Nonagon – People Live Everywhere

Sharp and concise hook laden noisy rock that gets in, does what it intends to do and gets OUT. Only it does the dishes before it leaves. Just a fine, fine super independent release worth your attention. It’s great, just trust me.

RIYL: Hoover, Fugazi, Shellac, Drive Like Jehu, Girls Against Boys, Jawbox

B. Hamilton – Everything I Own Is Broken

A romp of blues based rock that keeps up with some raucous near shoegazer soundscapes at times. GOD THAT SENTENCE SOUNDS TERRIBLE, I AM AWFUL AT MUSIC WRITING. Look: this record is blues-based to be sure, but has a unique and almost noisepop sound. Another record that deserves a much wider audience. Do yourself the favor, would you?

RIYL: Afghan Whigs, The Black Keys (I mean that as a compliment damn it!), Superchunk

The Karl Hendricks Trio – The Adult Section
http://www.comedyminusone.com/021.php 

Downright caustic and bleak, sardonic lyricism put towards sharp and concise indie rock that actually rocks. Karl Hendricks is exactly the kind of dude I should have been aware of for years… but guess what? I didn’t. Oops! This record seems like a wonderful place to get started. Just on the edge of defeat, but still kicking.

RIYL: Dinosaur Jr, Silkworm

Minutes – Minutes

A sharp, concise and hook-filled thrill ride that flat out knocked me on my ass when I needed it most. Coiled tight and leaping into the world, Minutes is a damn fine record that has been criminally unheard. The songs are infectious and the energy unrelenting. Brevity is absolutely the soul of wit. I suppose a mention of member Ryan Nelson’s old band Most Secret Method is required. But Minutes stands on their own completely.

RIYL: Wire, Fugazi, Jawbox, Mission Of Burma, Archers Of Loaf, The Minutemen (heh)

Continues – Continues
Ahh Continues! Although I would like to write this review without mention of Mr. Dan Gatto’s previous act BABYLAND, I simply cannot. As such a formative influence on my standards for live performance and uncompromising ethics, I would be remiss for not mentioning the worthy and imposing shadow that wonderful act has cast. Continues is a different thing that retains the same commitment to purpose but towards a more maudlin intensely personal, honest and self reflective direction. I don’t think you need to be familiar with BABYLAND’s frenetic Big Black melded to New Order vibe to enjoy this record. This is just great synthpop, with… dare I say it? Less of a niche market than the mighty BABYLAND. To say that this is worthy of your attention is an understatement of the highest order. It may be a little out of the normal Neutron recommendation zone, but if you are into this kind of thing this is a necessary album. Period.

RIYL: New Order, The Human League, Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, BABYLAND

(continues overleaf)

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4 Responses to Conan Neutron’s best of 2012 | WARNING: Contents will likely rock heavily

  1. Daniel December 18, 2012 at 2:06 am

    @Erika

    Future of the Left, and that’s probably it.

  2. Conan Neutron December 18, 2012 at 2:46 am

    Yup.
    Sorry, it seems to be a dude heavy list. I could have easily gone on twice as long as that but I figured i’d at least make a cursory attempt at brevity.

  3. Conan Neutron December 18, 2012 at 6:23 am

    Hey Erika, criticism is always welcome… this is a music crit site is it not?
    I absolutely disagree that there isn’t a lot of innovation in this list. I’d actually argue that at least half of the list is very innovative indeed. Some are just good music and isn’t throwing away the rulebook or anything, but there is innovation there.

    That said, some of my very favorite female fronted acts or mostly female acts did not put out a record in 2012. I would be shocked if Helms Alee (2/3 female) didn’t end up on my list… as they did in 2011, or Marnie Stern as a for instance. Two incredibly innovative acts in an idiom that’s largely male dominated.

    Most of the true innovation is all happening on a very underground level. The pitchfork model of “safe background music” is a poison to me and I think ultimately harmful to the world of music lovers as well.

  4. M'ris December 18, 2012 at 11:41 am

    That said, Skamp DID get their album out this year, so I’m not sure why you’re sitting on it, Neutron. =p

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