Monday, March 4, 2013

Top 10 albums of 2012

I know this is a custom for the beginning of the year, but it's just now that I've realized I never posted my 10 favourite albums of last year. As you've probably noticed, this is not the only sign of this blog's retardation so you can rest assured that this is nothing out of the ordinary and there's nothing to worry about. Yet.
Off we go then with the thrilling countdown: *drum rolls*

10. Black Breath - Sentenced to Life
These American newcomers (sort of, they've been around since 2007) demonstrate casually how one can successfully shuffle the classic Swedish deathmetal (some would say "death n'roll") sound with a hardcore edge and a metal topping; and all that on their second full-length release. Listen like you did when you were 16.

9. Nightstalker - Dead Rock Commandos
Yes, stoner is dead; but if today it is represented by bands like this one, give me more zombies! Nightstalker keep on delivering a steady natural flow of groove and catchy guitar riffing. If your game is innovation and high culture, save yourself the time and effort and stay away. This is dirty and original rock n'roll feeling, what you see is what you get, and similar clichés.

8. The Nomads - Solna
I don't think I can find anything new to say about these Swedish garage old-timers that hasn't already been said. With a constant presence for almost 20 years and after an 11-year break, they returned in 2012 like they didn't age one day. Solna is definitely not their best work, but it stands with excess decency among their discography; something that automatically means that it easily beats the vast majority of the garage shit out there.

7. Terrible Feelings - Shadows
Another Swedish miracle that hit me out of nowhere. Moving generally within the melodic-punk/power-pop area, they take their Wipers experiences and blend them with beautiful and inspiring melodies dressed with a modest and humble attitude that you just can't help but love. And Manuela Iwansson's tender but deep voice is a basic factor.

6. Imperial State Electric - Pop War
Nicke Andersson's done it again! While his latest personal project Imperial State Electric's debut s/t album back in 2010 sounded to me a bit "little" and numb, Pop War marks his re-enthronement as the leader of the scandinavian rock n'roll movement (if we have to call it something). Nicke digs even deeper into his musical memories and keeps on paying tribute to his childhood heroes, offering us an enjoyable rock n'roll record.

5. Thanasis Papakonstantinou & Giannis Charoulis - Maganies
For more than 20 years, Thanasis Papakonstantinou has been taking Greek folk and traditional music and giving it new life through experimentation, always with utmost respect. Giannis Charoulis is, what almost everyone thinks, today's leading Cretan singer. Their discographic collaboration was anticipated for years and it is finally here. While many have criticized this album for poor or not adequate orchestration (especially judging by the standards Thanasis Papakonstantinou and his band have set), this fact doesn't take away the songs' intensity and beauty.

4. Gallon Drunk - The Road Gets Darker from Here
Gallon Drunk is a band with great history, being around for almost 25 years, while its members have been involved with numerous projects and collaborations, namely Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and the Scapegoats. Sadly and ignorantly, I always considered them somewhat as a second league Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, but I guess it's never too late as with their latest album they've gained more than just my attention. The Road Gets Darker from Here is groovy, dirty, artistic all at the same time, all with just the right dosage.

3. Turbonegro - Sexual Harassment
I cannot begin to express my excitement when this record fell in my hands. Disappointed by the sleaze/glam path thay had taken (especially with Retox and Party Animals, although the latter is not entirely bad) and the news of Hank von Helvete leaving the band, I was happily blown away by their return to their Apocalypse Dudes days. Tony Sylvester not only proves to be a great replacement for Hank, but he also gives new energy and edge to the band, resurrecting the infamous Turbonegro death-punk sound.

2. Ty Segall - Twins
Ty Segall is a thing of the '00s. He emerged as a solo artist in 2008, and has been considerably active ever since. He started off moving within the general lo-fi garage/rock n'roll sound, but he has greatly evolved since then. While this overproductivity of his does not guarantee a constant level of quality, there are times when it sounds like we've struck gold. In 2012, he was involved in three projects; Ty Segall Band's Slaughterhouse, his collaboration with White Fence Hair, and his solo album Twins. While the first two didn't personally strike me as something exceptional, the latter nailed me to the wall with its fuzz-driven guitars and pure garage attitude.

1. Burning Love - Rotten Thing to Say
Burning Love's base is hardcore punk featuring ex-members of Cursed and Our Father. While I had never got a sniff of their great 2010 debut Songs for Burning Lovers, you can say that Rotten Thing to Say really got my attention. This basically is pure rock n'roll with an unstoppable hardcore edge making you want to stagedive from the top of your refridgerator to your kitchen floor.

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