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Favorite Albums of 2012: Tyler Hanan

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Read the rest of our end of the year coverage:

Happy new year! 2013 is upon us, and so let’s do the most fitting thing - look back at… wait… Okay, so our final year end list is being posted at the beginning of the next year, but that’s actually fitting given that the list is mine. I’m late on something yet again. One day, we were off. One day.

Here it is, though, as incomplete as any other. A year from now, I won’t have listened to a few of these, and a few other albums not mentioned here will become favorites, as is the way of these things. I was pained to leave off such albums as Laurel Halo’s Quarantine and Jens Lekman’s I Know What Love Isn’t, pleased to omit Grizzly Bear’s Shields, and disappointed at the lack of spins I gave to Sun Kil Moon’s Among the Leaves, How To Dress Well’s Total Loss, all of Ty Segall’s seventeen releases, and countless other albums I6’ve already forgotten about. Again.

The numbering here is largely irrelevant - a tiered format is a more accurate structure for how I rate albums, with the parsing out of the placement being more of an annoyance than anything. It hurts me, looking at this list as I realize how much I have missed. The heavier hardcore/skramz part of my taste has been underfed this year, as a Loma Prieta or Beau Navire didn’t even make the cut (and I never even listened to A Lot Like Birds). Rap and hip are sorely represented, with Ab-Soul and even Killer Mike not making the cut. Some of my favorite labels, such as Topshelf and Count Your Lucky Stars, even got pushed much further out of my life as I care to admit.

It’s a testament to how much great music is being made out there - for someone as time-strapped and multiple-interest-laden as me (boo hoo, first world problems, etc), it’s hard to keep up with it all. Here’s to listening to more music than ever; covering more music, and doing so better; and becoming more well-rounded people in the industry, creator, and fan realms all in this new year - I’ve never felt better on a New Year’s Day. Thank you to all of you, those old readers and new, both the followers and the casual Google-took-me-here…ers - we certainly do much of this for us, but we also do it in the hopes that you will benefit too.

Songs:

Cat Power - “Ruin” 
Chairlift - “I Belong in Your Arms
Death Grips - “I’ve Seen Footage
Fiona Apple - “Werewolf
Icona Pop - “I Love It" (ft. Charlie XCX)
Menomena - “Skintercourse
M.I.A. - “Bad Girls
Mount Eerie - “House Shape
Pinback - “Proceed to Memory
Twin Shadow - “Five Seconds

EPs:

Burial - Kindred
Dum Dum Girls - End of Daze EP
Icona Pop - The Iconic EP
Ricky Eat Acid & Arrange - Sketches
Yohuna - Revery


Honorable Mentions: Shlohmo - Vacation; Elvis Depressedly - Glamour Kills; Prawn - Ships; TNGHT - TNGHT; Daniel Rossen - Silent Hour/Golden Mile

Albums:

20. Joie De Vivre - We’re All Better Than This

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Ah, Joie De Vivre - once dead, now, so soon, alive again. It’s one of numerous great Count Your Lucky Stars releases (including quality new albums from Annabel, Innards, and others) but one of the few I made extensive time for. It’s full of all the midwestern emo goodness one could hope for from one of the better bands (of the many great bands, make no mistake) doing it, all the more welcome for the fact that we once thought another Joie De Vivre album wouldn’t happen. Let’s all add on a poorly improvised, “and many mooore” to the end of this.

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Favorite Albums of 2012: Kevin Tappin

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Read the rest of our end of the year coverage:

Let me be honest: I have a hard time assembling lists like these. There’s an overwhelming necessity to not only provide a sound opinion, but to also make that opinion matter. In a year where the top three albums on three of the bigger critic sites are not only the same, but arranged in such a way that each album finds a seat at a #1 spot, it makes one feel sheepish to suggest anything different.

I was at odds with much of this year. Visions and Ekstasis seemed overrated; Moms and Skelethon seemed underrated; channel ORANGE was good, but was it the best? It’s alienating to see critics and peers alike all saying the same thing with such vehemence and consistency that to say otherwise is practically rebellion. Not agreeing with the consensus, I took a backseat on the latter half of the year. I got lazy. But that is no excuse. My list is my own. Take it as you will.

The playlist below is by no means a “Best Of.” Rather, they are chosen as secondary representatives to albums that are found on my list.

Songs:

  1. Cloud Nothings - “Wasted Days”
  2. Sharon Van Etten - “Give Out”
  3. Menomena - “Pique”
  4. Frank Ocean - “Bad Religion”
  5. Purity Ring - “Cartographist”
  6. Aesop Rock - “Gopher Guts”
  7. Japandroids - “Younger Us”
  8. Death Grips - “Hustle Bones”
  9. Kendrick Lamar - “The Art of Peer Pressure”
  10. El-P - “$ Vic/FTL (Me and You)”

Albums:

20. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!

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Political connotations aside, this is practically the same GY!BE that left us in 2002. With less talk than on previous albums, Ascend! is all about the music. That music is as grating and tireless as ever, making it the sole proprietor of its hopelessly apocalyptic soundscape. Even though that whole stink about the Mayan calendar didn’t pan out (Surprise!), you can still play the album and feel like maybe it happened anyway.

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Amazon MP3 Sales: Grab Some of 2012’s Finest Releases

If you’re fortunate enough to not have to work retail and intelligent enough to avoid leaving your house, then you’re probably keyed in to how many incredible deals Amazon has been laying down in the past twenty-four hours or so. It can be a little overwhelming at times, so here’s a few directions in where you should take your digital music purchases.

HYPE MASTERS:

These are the records you couldn’t stop hearing about even if you wanted to. Frank Ocean's Channel Orange and Kendrick Lamar's recent success good kid, m.A.A.d. city are both a measly four bucks on Amazon’s MP3 store. Difficult to tear yourself away from mass appeal with prices like that.

     //Kendrick Lamar

     //Frank Ocean

DROWN OUT YOUR HOLIDAY WOES:

Perhaps sensuality isn’t what you’re looking for. Maybe you’re the caustic type, the one fed up with familial interactions and looking for a musical purge or two to gouge your ears out on. Maybe the post-adolescent angst of Cloud NothingsAttack On Memory fits your agenda? No, no, you’re clearly more interested in breaking sound barriers. Try Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! or the hardcore-bent METZ's self-titled record. Drown the holidays out with decibels for only four bucks a piece, folks. METZ'll run you five, but it's a small dollar to pay to stock up on aural warfare. 

     //Godspeed You!

     //Cloud Nothings

     //METZ

NOTHING SAYS SALES LIKE QUIET INTROSPECTION:

Fine, maybe obnoxiously loud music isn’t your thing and you’re simply not interested in being persuaded by hyped up records. That’s OK, you’re the quiet type. The Antlers' aquatic EP Undersea will run you just under four dollars, and then you can surface with Damien Jurado's musings in Maraqopa. Plenty of material to keep the noise out and the solace of soothing music in. 

     //The Antlers

     //Damien Jurado

Well, I’m out of time to provide any more easy recommendations. Let us know if you’ve found a record or two you think I’ve overlooked and I’ll investigate it with the confines of my wallet. Happy music shopping!

Oh, and before I forget:

Grab Flying Lotus' “Putty Boy Strut” for free. Yes, grab one of the best, mind-bending tracks of this year for free. Thank the Amazon Gods. 

Nothing Sounds 13: This Halloween, the Batcat Cometh

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My favorite holiday is almost gone, but I’ll refuse to let it go for another few days still. Music is just as big a Halloween event for me as decorations and haunted houses; plus, I actually have the time and funds to indulge it. Epic post rock (Godspeed You!, Mogwai), drawn-out, creepy electronic and drone (Oneohtrix Point Never and Tim Hecker) and the queerer realms of ambient pop (Julia Holter, whose Halloween-ready Tragedy is sadly not on Spotify) - these are the things that pique my interest even more than normal this time of year. So enjoy your Halloween, folks. I wasn’t able to embrace it as much as I would’ve liked, but we’ll take what we can. Pick out some of your favorite soundtracks and blast those through the house, double-check your beds and closets, and for the love of John Carpenter, do not go outside to investigate that sound. I’ll be watching Trick ‘r Treat and Halloween if you need me. [link]

Tracklist:

  1. Oneohtrix Point Never - “Andro”
  2. Crystal Castles - “Year of Silence”
  3. Soft Moon - “Into the Depths”
  4. Mogwai - “Batcat”
  5. Young Widows - “Miss Tambourine Wrist”
  6. Tim Hecker - “Borderlands”
  7. Zomby - “Haunted”
  8. Julia Holter - “Goddess Eyes I”
  9. Zola Jesus - “Avalanche”
  10. Explosions in the Sky - “Greet Death”
  11. Mount Eerie - “House Shape”
  12. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - “East Hastings
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