By Scott Creney
It looks like I wrote over 50,000 words for Collapse Board this year, nearly a novel’s worth of thoughts about music — stuff I loved, stuff I hated, stuff I didn’t care about one way or another. Hell, I even wrote 2,000 words about Barry Manilow.
Few of these will come as a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention, but the good thing about compiling this list is it allows me to mention stuff that I never got around to reviewing for one reason or another. Page one will be stuff I already reviewed. Page two will be stuff I didn’t. And page three will be the issues. I’ve made Rdio playlists for this year’s releases as well as the reissues if you’re interested in listening. They’re at the end.
It should go without saying that these are in no particular order.
Micahu & The Shapes – Never
“Never is completely insane; it’s the only thing in the world that makes any sense to me. Not since Public Enemy and the Bomb Squad has a recording artist so effectively conveyed the chaos and noise of everyday life. This is what it feels like to be alive in 2012 — connected to everything and more isolated than ever.”
Willis Earl Beal – Acousmatic Sorcery
“Play it at 3am when you’re scared and shaking and unable to sleep. Play it as you sit under a streetlight and eat your convenience store supper. Play it as the roaches scurry around your apartment and you debate whether you should spend the five dollars on traps now, or you should wait until payday. Play it over and over again and be grateful that this music exists. It has the power to heal and provide strength, and god knows there’s enough people out there who need it.”
Holly Herndon – Movement
“Few electronic composers have more than one interesting idea. Aphex Twin reached three before retreating into the background. The ambient Eno had, at most, two. Holly Herdon is fucking bursting with them.”
Clams Casino – Instrumentals 2
“Why the hell should I sit here for an hour or two racking my brain as I struggle to evoke the beauty, the tragedy and loss of Clams Casino’s music, its programmed swoons and electronic sighs, its music of weeping computers and children trapped in ice, when someone else has already done it?”
Talk Normal – Sunshine
“Five hundred years ago Talk Normal would have been burned as witches for this act of prophecy. What a powerful piece of music. What a great album. Go listen. There’s a world at stake.”
Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory
”Frontman Dylan Baldi shows a willingness to scream himself into oblivion, a desire to pursue his thoughts down any nihilistic corner that is downright refreshing.”
Sissy Spacek – Wastrel Projection
“Boredoms is The Beach Boys. Beefheart is a tv preacher. Sonic Youth is so fucking what. This is screaming John Coltrane on fire seconds from cancerous death.”
Clinic – Free Reign
“Free Reign finds the band opening up and stretching out, embracing the drone and a slow deliberate groove — think Can playing Suicide. It also has a strong mid-70s atmosphere, very autumnal, which totally makes sense considering the dude from Oneohtrix Point Never produced it.”
Coasting – You’re Never Going Back
“Coasting is well acquainted with all the ways ‘nothing’ can manifest itself. Their songs are sweet, but they’re played with a snappy bitterness. Every disappointment is tempered by hope. And every optimistic moment is fleeting and broken. Aw hell, it’s great. If you have to choose between the Flying Nun comp and this one, in these hard economic times when every shilling counts etc, go buy the Coasting album. It’s happening now; it’s here today.”
The Bastards Of Fate – Who’s A Fuzzy Buddy?
“In every sense, The Bastards Of Fate are special. They are tightrope walkers running between floors along the banister, resolving the contradictions between structure & chaos, the rational and the uncanny, the need to be loved v. the desire to repel.”
Dirty Three – Towards The Low Sun
“Fierce and beautiful, stomping and subtle, Dirty Three make some of the most evocative music on the planet. If you want to be immortal, have them play Dirty Three at your funeral.”