D é N O U E M E N T S

THEIR LIST: Best of 2012, So Far

Based on experience, it is quite a task catching up with all the records coming out. It is a hit-or-miss as we scour through these releases and find the gems of which blogs adorn with high-praises as Best New Music or Best New Album, whatever they call it. Thinking of great amount of time listening to each hottest record of the moment, the potentiality of -not-my-things always prevails when it comes to really getting the music we like.

Last year I came up with this idea of making an aggregated list of all the lists published by numerous blogs all over the Internet with some of my favorite reads added in. Out of intention of creating a one paged-entry that sums up their choices, I hope a reader can make out the standouts by “leafing” through this list. Few weeks late but still a one-year old tradition is up!

RCRD LBL: 2012 Halftime by Carter Maness

Beach House – Bloom
Lee Hazlewood – LIH Years (Reissue)
The Walkmen – Heaven
Mount Eerie – Clear Moon
Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do

THE LINE OF BEST FIT: Favorite Albums of 2012 So Far (This particular list is really messy and random. It was hard choosing the best five out of it. So I opted to get the first five out the two part entries LOBF has published.)

First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar
Errors – Have Some Faith In Magic
Kathleen Edwards – Voyageur
Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory
Sharon van Etten – Tramp

MUSIC FOR KIDS WHO CAN’T READ: Best Album of 2012 So Far (First five, too.)

First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar
Hospitality – Hospitality
Shearwater – Animal Joy
Grimes – Visions
Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself

MIND EQUALS BLOWN: Top Albums of 2012 (So Far)

John Mayer – Born And Raised
Gojira – L’enfant Sauvage
Cherri Bomb – This Is The End Of Control
No Trigger – Tycoon
Schoolboy Q – Habits & Contradictions

STEREOGUM: from Top 25 Albums of the Year

1. Cloud Nothings- Attack on Memory
2. The Walkmen- Heaven
3. Chairlift- Something
4. Japandroids- Celebration
5. Beach House- Bloom

BANDCAMP HUNTER: Other Bandcamp favourites from the first half of 2012

Secret Mountains- Winter Sessions
New Myths- New Myths EP
Gunn-Truscinski Duo- Ocean Parkway
eyes, wings and many other things- Napalm Beach
Lower Plenty- Hard Rubbish

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Rosie Thomas’ toss to slight fame was when she partnered with Damien Jurado for the single “Parking Lot.” Admittedly, I have never heard from Thomas after that aside from some Sufjan Stevens videos online. It was my lack to not look much into her music aside from occasionally hearing her work in When We Were Small and These Friends of Mine. Though bereft of album-by-album familiarity, her name pretty much stayed within my musical satellite, whatever that means.

My full experience of Thomas’ comes across her latest record With Love. A collection of ten, heartfelt songs that listeners can either hate or love depending on how they would perceive Thomas’ generosity to amour. It can be taken as being honest to what the album gravitates to or going overboard with its theme.

The kickstarter “Where Was I” shows off Thomas’ delicate voice, child-like yet embittered, as she shuffles memories and wistfulness that works similarly in another track “In Time,”  two of the best songs in With Love. Cunningly placed to sandwich the lovesick “Over the Moon,” the two aforementioned tracks are the couple in the set which do not make the sappiness go bit over the top.

The most engaging track in the bunch is “A Really Long Year,” a nicely-written narrative that recalls Thomas’ thoughts about her public wedding marred with figures in her life- parents, brother, grandpa- and how she saw “somehow over the rainbow dreams will come true.” (The lyrics get forgivable once played from the start!)

Needless to say, With Love is created if you can bare hearing the title word sung more than ten times and not feel it crawling in your skin. While the record seems like a jar filled of honey to the brim, it has its bitter flavor bottoming in the pit. Few of the tracks are blessed with this, Thomas doing it personal and with a dash of melancholia, but the rest of it are just too saccharine sweet for my taste. It could work in a perspective that With Love is just paying its dues to its intention, that is to speak of the feeling in volumes, but a juicy bit of different taste could also do wonders.

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Beach House: Bloom

No introduction needed as to who Beach House are. We know who is Victoria Legrand with her equally important musical partner Alex Scally. Reigning throne bearer for dream pop circuit with the arrival of the important Teen Dream in 2010, Legrand and Scally defend the title with their latest Bloom. With a quarter of a million followers in Facebook, the mystery that looms over Legrand’s ethereal presence on stage and Scally’s shy-shoegazing appeal is a major key player in the band’s increasing popularity known to only few prior Teen Dream, and with Bloom the band is set for a wider audience.

Most of us, including this writer, has fallen in love with the fact how the first two records’ moodiness were shattered apart by the emotional honesty shown heard in Teen Dream. Not that the lyrics in that record were all out, the accessibility to the band’s music was heralded, much like gates opening to a showroom of vintage and potion. That openness grows further in Bloom, as heard in “Wild,” the second track after the earlier released “Myth” where Legrand opens with “My mother said to me that I would get in trouble/ our father won’t come home ’cause he is seeing double.” Comparing with how bleak yet emotionally attaching “Silver Soul” and “Zebra” are, the directness the band approach the songs in the latest record is a step up which occurs, too, in “Troublemaker” and “Other People” among others. It is clearly evident that Legrand took the time to hit the books and work on her narratives as compared to how Teen Dream‘s set was made in between tours.

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Soap&Skin: Narrow

Lovetune For Vacuum painted Anja Plaschg behind the shadows of her work. Veiled as Soap&Skin, Lovetune are like ghosts of memories for Plaschg, like entries in a notebook drafted in yearning and heartbreak about relationships gone wrong. With no intention of getting bigger than her work, songs like “Thanatos,” “Spiracle” and “Mr. Gaunt Pt 1000” are towering ballads that measure the then teenager to a higher order among her contemporaries. She sounded serious and immediate, and Lovetune was in no time became a cult favorite for people that care less about the name but are big on art grandeur.

It took Plaschg three years to serve a follow-up for Lovetune. The events between that and her current release, the mini-album Narrow, grew bigger than the persona she has created as Soap&Skin and as a woman of immense intensity. The death of her father, her seclusion in Italy and her artistic quest arched up to the height that no other catharsis can fulfill than music. Narrow assumes Plaschg as a grown up dealing with wordily problems, most especially death and sorrow. These themes were explored in her debut; it is only that in Narrow she is less confessional but more moody and strangely relative.

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Hectic Zeniths: For the Nocturnals and that Bedroom Gloom

It is hard writing an introduction for this post for I know it is long overdue. It should be easy considering the number of times I have listened to Hectic Zeniths‘ eponymous debut since January, but still I find it challenging cracking an introduction to an album as impressive yet so bleak.

Even though bedroom music has gotten its below par rep due to how easily anyone with a laptop and a spare time can, so they say, release an album; Hectic Zeniths‘ Adam Morgan Prince beg to take a higher place. He, probably the coolest high school Math teacher of the decade, has spent three years striking the perfect balance of instrumental and electronic music, just clocking in at the scale of Tori Amos’ temperament (“Know My List” and “Zeitschtichen”) to the subtle drama of DJ Shadow (“One That Got Away”). The hybrid of these influences is his eponymous debut, a batch of eleven songs that serves its listeners a soundtrack to a modern life, the kind of life spent using the subway on Mondays to and from work while staring at the metal floors counting the days before the weekend. Layers and layers of stories hidden in Prince and Co. muted allusion to our very own lives , working like industrial soundscapes by using the frame of our sensibilities to explore their subtle implication.

“I Might Drown” by Hectic Zeniths

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