Chromatics

Episode 18: Best Of 2012

If you think about the sheer quantity of music that was released in 2012, the thought of compiling anything into some sort of consensus seems a fool’s errand. Yet, this year, like every year, our prehistoric brain takes over and we are once again force to assign, rearrange, tabulate and label until we are able to put together one of man’s greatest contributions to the universe: The list.

This year, eleven voters ended up contributing over seventy different albums to a pool that ultimately had to be whittled down to just ten. Every single staffer here has one thing in common - THEY FUCKING LOVE MUSIC – and I think this list represents not only the diversity of the ChunkyGlasses team, but why what we do is so much damn fun.

But the time for writing is done this year. Now we hash it out, mano y mano, for your listening pleasure. For the faint of heart, we’ve broken this booze soaked supersized podcast into ten bite size nuggets to consume at will should you choose. Either way, strap in, grab a cold one (or ten) and get ready to find out what happens when a bunch of music nerds with no filters lock themselves in a basement and hit record.

70 albums. 11 contributors. Only the strong survived
The Official ChunkyGlasses Top 10 Albums of 2012!!

Episode 18: Best Of 2012

10

Alt J - An Awesome Wave

"It’s nearly impossible to describe the album, which won this year’s Mercury award in Britain, without referencing that Alt-J has clearly found the soul and innovation Radiohead abandoned over the past five years.  Joe Newman’s reedy voice weaves the best threads of world influence into ridiculously layered electronics, and the entire album runs like a drug-addled trip around the globe.  The band’s name is written Alt-J because that’s the keyboard shortcut on a Mac to make the Delta symbol (?) – if this album weren’t spectacular, the whole thing would smack of a project by a bunch of art school jackholes, but fortunately for them it is spectacular." - Carrie

#10: Alt-J - An Awesome Wave

9

Dinosaur Jr. - Bet On Sky

"...I Bet On Sky doesn’t break much new ground, nor would Dino Jr.’s fans want it to. The leadoff single “Watch the Corners” starts with a crunchy one-chord intro before finding its way to the melodic noise that Mascis excels at. At 46, Mascis’ voice has never sounded better, inasmuch as a voice that doesn’t actually sing as much as mumble with style can sound better. He manages to convey some emotion on a slower tune, “Stick A Toe In,” which hearkens back to another Dino Jr. song, “I Don’t Wanna Go There,” with Mascis asking in both songs if he’s doomed to “walk alone.” “Pierce the Morning Rain” may cover the most ground in terms of illustrating all Dino Jr. does well; the opening riff throws a nod to Nirvana’s “Scentless Apprentice” before seguing into the kind of jaunty rock found on songs like “The Wagon,” then right back to the Sabbath power chords. It’s a garden of delights." - Justin

#9: Dinosaur Jr - I Bet On Sky

8

Frank Ocean - Channel Orange

"It’s a concept album. It’s a confession. It’s a snapshot of LA life unlike anything we’ve seen in years. Landing somewhere between Steely Dan and Stevie Wonder, Frank Ocean has made the album of his career and lucky for all of us, he’s just getting started.  channel Orange is topping best of lists everywhere you look and it’s with good reason: It’s simply that good."

#8: Frank Ocean - channel Orange


BEST OF 2012: Paul's Picks

10

Bob Mould - Silver Age

Best Tracks: Silver Age, The Descent

One of the true elder statesmen of rock, Bob Mould still knows how to turn out a kick ass album.  A pure blast of 90s tinged grunge/alt rock free from irony or nostalgia, Silver Age could have come out two decades ago and sounded right at home.  Fortunately for the music buying public, Bob was busy with Sugar back then and waited until this moment (when we really need it) to drop this impressive set of great guitar tracks on us all.  Put on your flannel, crank up the cd player, and enjoy.

 

9

Screaming Females - Ugly

Best Tracks: Doom 84, Red Hand

Holy hell does this album shred.  Marissa Paternoster has always had a way with a guitar (and by that, I mean she throttles her axe and aggressively squeezes every last ounce of sound out of the thing) and a great voice.  But on Ugly, she and the rest of the band graduated from the enjoyable if somewhat simplistic punk stylings of their earlier albums to produce a full throated beast of a guitar rock album.  From the stripped down nastiness of “Red Hand” and “It All Means Nothing” to the 7 and a half minute epic “Doom 84,” the album is perfect for any time you are in the mood for some old fashioned, grunge and punk inflected guitar rock. 

Unfortunately, Marissa has taken ill and has had to stop touring.  Here’s hoping she gets well and gets back to the concert circuit soon.

 


Best Of 2012: Roddy's Picks

10

Burial– Kindred

Standout Tracks: All three of them. (No, seriously.) 
Though only a three-track EP, Burial's latest clocks in at over a half hour and is tough to pass over. My first exposure to the young Londoner's work makes clear why his top-rate productions have been receiving the accolades they have. Unmistakeably electronic but never completely mechanical, his experiments crackle with a vinyl-static electricity that invokes mad science but breaks through as very human. Burial's dance deconstructions seem to unearth, as it were, old attic relics of house, bass and dub, blowing the dust off, examining their parts, and refashioning murkier off-kilter versions that feel artfully cohesive if slightly sinister, never once compromising groove for concept -- always a great listen.

 

9

Purity Ring - Shrines

Standout Tracks: "Crawlersout"; "Fineshrine"; "Grandloves (feat. Young Magic)"

Showcasing its impressive plumage, Montreal production duo Purity Ring makes a strong debut with Shrines, their own take on all things downbeat, modern, emotive and shiny. Once more, flesh and blood trump synths and circuitry in this female-fronted collection of heartfelt electro. Led by Megan James's youthful voice, most of the tracks contain some element ranging from childlike (joyful, nursery-rhyme-esque sing-song hooks) to teen-tinged (poetic angst proclaiming, "I'll stick red toothpicks in my dirt-filled heart"), giving the album a very fresh-to-the-world feel -- which makes sense, given their average age of twenty-two-and-half. Nevertheless, the production quality reflects a maturity and experience -- top-notch, crisp and often dark -- making for a curious contrast that begs to be heard on a killer speaker system.


Paul's Top 10 of 2012 (so far)

What's a word economist? F@#@ if I know, but Paul is a pretty damn good one. And while we may not agree (Often? Ever?) on what is good in new music these days, ChunkyGlasses just wouldn't be the same without his "dark cloud" of curmodgeonly goodness. 

Oh, and that picture above is both recent and accurate. Resistance is futile. 


Best of 2012...so far

What happens when you put a bunch of music nerds in a room and ask them to talk about their favorite music of the year so far? Why you get a Top Ten List of course! There's been a metric sh@# ton of great music this year, with new releases from the likes of Punch Brothers, Leonard Cohen, Alabama Shakes and more, but ultimately there can be only TEN that make the cut.

With over sixty albums mentioned the whittling down process was arduous and sometimes painful, but in the end we came together and saw our way through the adversity/diversity to deliver unto you this list of the best that 2012 to date has to offer. 

#10 Hospitality - Hospitality

KEVIN - New York hasn’t sounded this cool since the glorious heyday of CBGB’s, Blondie and The Talking Heads. Complex, confident, and unabashedly poppy, this is easily the most memorable debut record from any band on a long, LONG while. 

 

ANDRE - I recommend talking to Kevin on this one. Just remind him that the first step is accepting you have a problem.  I dig it as well, just not as much as Kevin...because that's impossible.


ChunkyGlasses THE PODCAST - Episode 5: Taking Off The Sock

In which the team seeks answers to universal mysteries like catfights at a Magnetic Fields show, Star Wars disco, and  Kevin offers up tips on how to prevent a bear attack PLUS new music from M. Ward, Alabama Shakes, Eidolons, Chromatics and Colorado's Lumineers. 

So grab a seat, grab a beer and strap in, because this might get ugly.