This has been our best year yet for countdowns and this list here is the final installment of our 2012 year-end wrap up. Below you will find a mess of our favorite records we listened to throughout the year, starting with a brief list of honorable mentions and some others we unfortunately missed in 2012.
This will be our last post of the year, so we’ll see you again in 2013! Regular posting should resume again in the second week of January.
The ones that couldn’t fit and the ones time would not allow.
Legendary Wings – Making Paper Roses LP (Dirtnap Records)
Trust – TRST LP (Arts & Crafts)
The Spyrals – s/t LP (Mock Records)
King Tuff – s/t LP (Sub Pop)
Dikes of Holland – Braindead USA (Screamers Records)
Cousins – s/t LP (Saved by Vinyl)
Ancient Sky – T.R.I.P.S. (Loud Baby Sounds)
Mind Spiders – Meltdown (Dirtnap Records)
Purity Ring – Shrines (4AD)
Cult of Youth – Love Will Prevail (Sacred Bones Records)
Some we missed:
Protomartyr – No Passion All Technique (Urinal Cake Records)
Lower Dens – Nootropics (Ribbon Music)
The Liminanas – Crystal Anis (Hozac Records)
Grass Widow – Internal Logic (HLR Records)
The Eeries – Home Alone (Evil Weevil Records)
The Zoltars – Should I Try Once More? LP
Label: Sundae Records
It’s been said that if the slow pace of this debut record deterred you from listening, you were missing out. Well it’s the truth. The Zoltars brought us a one of a kind offering with their jangly, dreamy, slowcore formula, serving as a reminder that nothing sounded quite this somber in 2012.
Guantanamo Baywatch – Chest Crawl LP
Label: Dirtnap Records
Chest Crawl delivered us some of the most vintage sounding surf rock in all of 2012. Their songs somehow manage to come off both tight and sloppy, making for a wild live performance that sounds like it came right off the record. With that being said, these guys easily put on one of the better shows in 2012.
Ty Segall – Twins LP
Label: Drag City Records
Let’s be real – 2012 was the year of the Ty. Twins was Segall’s final nail in the coffin for 2012, but at this rate he’s probably already got stuff lined up for 2013. We already know to be on the lookout for much-needed represses of Ty and Mikal Cronin’s Reverse Shark Attack as well as the Traditional Fools s/t LP. Both will come courtesy of In The Red Recordings, so sit tight.
Spider Fever – s/t LP
Label: Windian Records
Dense, rambunctious punk n’ roll anthems fills this album from front to back, delivering on every little bit of promise we heard in the earlier Spider Fever singles from Hozac and Cave Punk. Mario Rubalcaba didn’t let us down and for that we’re thankful, but whatever comes next is still up in the air.
Vincas – Blood Bleeds LP
Label: Douchemaster Records
When it comes to strong debuts, you can’t forget Vincas down in Athens, Georgia. They combine just the right amount of post-punk snarl with brooding psych rock for a feverishly flattening psych-punk sound. In the end, nothing else from the year sounds quite this sinister, we’re sure of it.
Useless Eaters – C’est Bon LP
Label: Southpaw Records
Seth Sutton was busy with shit all year, dropping records of all sizes on labels all over the world. Even through all of that, C’est Bon! is easily still his most accomplished release to date and it’s a good time to start paying attention if you haven’t. Just assume now that he is going to be busy in 2013.
Plateaus – s/t LP
Label: Art Fag Recordings
A string of a few strong 7″ singles led to their best and boldest release yet. There’s no denying the caliber of pop-song craftsmanship that’s taking place on their debut LP, meaning Plateaus have been capable of songs like this since their beginning. Knowing that, you’ve got to think there’s going to be more from them somewhere down the road. We’re banking on it.
OBN IIIs – s/t LP
Label: Tic Tac Totally Records
This self-titled record was easily one of our most anticipated coming into the year. It includes over forty minutes of their filthiest punk n’ roll anthems to date, simultaneously leaving us foaming at the mouth for another tour announcement. When they come to your town it would be a shame if you missed out, so be on the lookout.
Natural Child – Hard in Heaven LP
Label: Burger Records
These filthy Nashville rockers had a busy year with a couple of full lengths and a 7″ in between. Both of those albums came from Burger Records and each had its own twist, but if you’re looking for some straight up, no rules blues-rockin’, then stick with Hard in Heaven. When it’s all said and done it’s the invigorating edge in Hard in Heaven that stands out against the other.
Ketamines – Spaced Out LP
Label: Southpaw/ Mammoth Cave Records
These guys dropped their debut LP and not much followed after it, but that doesn’t mean we forgot about Spaced Out. Ketamines channel a shit-ton of energy into their trashy psych-outs, bringing a bit of garage-leaning surf-pop into the picture for their own bizarre flavor. We can only hope they’ll be back in 2013 with more of the bubbly, hook-heavy madness.
White Laces – Moves LP
Label: Speakertree Records
The debut LP from Richmond’s White Laces did not get the recognition it deserved this year. We did the best we could to change that, but maybe by including it on our lists people will begin to realize what they’ve been missing. Moves is a stunning and cohesive effort all in one, leaving us to question how they might follow it up. If you’ve been missing out on Moves, now is a good time to catch up.
The People’s Temple – More for the Masses LP
Label: Hozac Records
This sophomore album from the People’s Temple is one that dropped later than the rest, but it would be a shame if that meant it couldn’t be included on these lists. This double set of brothers from Michigan play with an unmatched level of passion that is easily detected in their invigorating songs, coming together in what is easily their best collection of material yet.
Ex-Cult – s/t LP
Label: Goner Records
2012 saw the rise of Ex-Cult with their raw and bloody futuristic punk beatings. This record came out kind of late this year so maybe it hasn’t had the proper time to simmer, but once this stuff catches on there will be no denying their ferocity. If these guys come through your town you better cancel any other plans.
Nice Face – Horizon Fires LP
Label: Hozac Records
Synth-punk seems like the most fitting descriptor for Ian McGee’s hybrid punk rock. After an awesome debut in 2010 he came back stronger than thought possible with Horizon Fires by taking things to the next logical level. You won’t find a combination of chilly synths and ripping guitars as lethal as this one, hereby proving that this is as good as it gets.
Cold Showers – Love & Regret LP
Label: Dais Records
As far as recognition goes, Cold Showers were another who went criminally under-appreciated this year. It’s not clear how that is possible, but if you actually took the time to check Love & Regret, then you know it belongs here. Dark synth textures and deep, brooding vocals work together to create a murky complexion that supplies a juxtaposing backdrop for icy cool guitars.
Cop City/ Chill Pillars – Hosed LP
Label: Florida’s Dying
Thinking back to last year, the Pillars of Chill have come a long way. There’s not a record from 2012 that sounds quite as washed-out and possessed as Hosed. With their debut album we got some good insight toward their sound – on Hosed they totally tightened it all up and created their very own monster. These guys have found their stride and we need to watch out.
Ty Segall Band – Slaughterhouse LP
Label: In The Red Recordings
To keep it simple, Slaughterhouse tore us all a new one – it was far from clean and raw as can be which was all part of the plan. By now it’s a known fact that Ty Segall and his band put on the most lethal live performance. In essence, that’s almost exactly what Slaughterhouse is.
Gap Dream – s/t LP
Label: Burger Records
Gabriel Fulvimar delivered us an album this year that is truly one of a kind. Hazy as can be and totally stoned to the bone, these spaced-out pop jams will keep you coming back with their intoxicating atmosphere and psyched-out guitars. With that being said, it’s not wrong to say this is one of the better guitar albums of the year either – Fulvimar lays down plenty of nasty licks.
White Fence – Family Perfume 2xLP
Label: Woodsist Records
Tim Presley brought us on one hell of a journey with Family Perfume. It’s almost as if the album is a trip through the man’s conscious state of mind and to put it bluntly, it’s a fucking mess. But it’s a special kind of mess and it goes to show that this dude is constantly thinking about his songs and ways to make them better – he’s said it himself. Presley has been churning this stuff out at an above-average rate, so it’s a safe bet we’ll be hearing plenty more in 2013.
Spider Bags – Shake My Head LP
Label: Odessa Records
Again with the overlooked albums of 2012, Spider Bags own Shake My Head probably tops the list. This is undeniably their most accomplished offering to date, leaving behind some of the alt-country twang from past albums and replacing it with a rollicking pop twist. The best part though is that Shake My Head ends up giving us a little bit of everything, evidenced by two sides of a record that sound absolutely nothing alike.
Terry Malts – Killing Time LP
Label: Slumberland Records
The formula is so simple but the result is easily one of the best records of 2012. Fuzzy, hook-heavy guitars dominate this LP from front to back, broadened by crushing rhythm sections and Phil Benson’s calming, recognizable croon. Since this album they’ve dropped a 7″ on Windian Records, suggesting that we might be hearing more from Terry Malts in the new year. We’ll see where they go next!
Crooked Bangs – s/t LP
Label: Western Medical Records
It’s tough to imagine a stronger debut album, but Crooked Bangs totally blindsided us this year. Sharp, tight and moody qualities together combine into head-splitting action, serving up an album that is so fast you won’t know what the fuck hit you. Lead singer Leda Ginestra spearheads the trio with her bold and gloomy tone, signing a majority of songs in French and simultaneously leaving us to wince in terror.
Naomi Punk – The Feeling LP
Label: Couple Skate Records/ Captured Tracks
Naomi Punk initially dropped this album on a smaller label and were then quickly picked up by Captured Tracks. That happening alone says an awful lot about this band. After an effort like The Feeling, it doesn’t seem out of the question that they’re capable of doing something like it again. The folks at Captured Tracks are thinking the same thing. We’re hoping a third album won’t take as long to drop as the second, but considering their DIY approach, it could be awhile.
The Raw Nerves – s/t LP
Label: 1:12 Records
Hailing from New Zealand, nothing hit the spot quite like the Raw Nerves did this year. Their debut features 11 of the finest garage rock bangers from 2012, mixing in a bit of doo-wop, soul and surf for a well balanced mix. The entire album is easy to love with its straightforward nature and honest delivery, to the point where each new track is just as different as the last. Here’s to hoping these guys can make it to the US in the new year!
Ty Segall & White Fence – Hair LP
Label: Drag City Records
Hair is undoubtedly the result of a match that was destined to be. With these two guys forging their own prolific paths in the music world, it’s nothing short of a miracle that they met to deliver this record. At this point it’s not clear whether anybody knows if this was a one-off project or if they’ll be working together again anytime soon. We’d like to think these two will join forces another time, but then again, perhaps this is the kind of thing that will be better left all alone. We’ll see what happens in due time.
That does it everyone – 2012 is in the books. Now that the year is over, we’re hoping to start making some real changes around here. Thanks to all the people, bands, labels and friends who helped make another awesome year – you know who you are! We should resume posting around the second week of January – see you then!