Ben Murray (Creator-Destructor Records, Heartsounds)
Best Albums of 2012
- Propagandhi- Failed States
- Wintersun- Time
- Anchors- Lost At The Bottom Of The World
- Enabler- All Hail The Void
- The Stereo State- Crossing Canyons
- Backmasker- Effigies
- Bruce Springsteen- Wrecking Ball
- Hostage Calm- Please Remain Calm
- Murder by Death- Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon
- Dinosaur Jr.- I Bet on Sky
Maura Weaver (Mixtapes)
Best of 2012 - "Uh, Sorry I Wrote A Lot"
- THE SIDEKICKS - "AWKWARD BREEDS": I liked the Sidekicksâ "Weight of Air" that they released a few years back, and some songs I really liked, but I wasnât insane about them until I saw them after they released "Awkward Breeds." Why? I donât know. Maybe they were jumping around like crazy people and shredding their strings off before it came out, but not like I remember when I saw them this year. At that point I hadnât heard Awkward Breeds but I was blown away by the way they played that show, and every time Iâve seen them since then. Somehow these guys simultaneously play their songs perfect-sounding, better than the record, while pogo-ing like theyâre about to die in a "Pogo Really Fast Or Die Competition." It sounds dumb but never before have I seen a band that seems more cohesive, like every member is "feeling" the music and isnât his own member. Iâm not sure if that makes senseâ¦ But anyway, besides all that good stuff, the record is amazing. There are a million ups-and-downs dynamically and every part of that seems to be pulsing with life. Check this album out. "DMT" sounds like freedom.
- MASKED INTRUDER - "MASKED INTRUDER": Pop-punk love songs sung stalker-style by weird dudes in ski masks. Whether you like the schtick or not, these songs are more than that. They are amazing! Perfectly crafted pop songs and a voice that doesnât even really sound pop punk, it just sounds beautiful. I really canât write more about them without getting too excited and pounding my head on my keyboard.
- CLASSICS OF LOVE - "CLASSICS OF LOVE": I think this album is so awesome. I donât usually instantly preorder records but I felt like I should get my hands on this album before it becomes a collectorsâ item or something (although Iâm not really sure whether this album has actually gotten the love it deserves this year). Sounds like Operation Ivy ripped up by 80âs hardcore guitars and involves Jesse Michaels with more passion than ever. Does it get much better than that?
- THE FAKE BOYS - "PIG FACTORY": I was just searching for reviews of "Pig Factory," curious as to what other bands people compared the Fake Boys to, and came back with a mess of answers. This is why the Fake Boys ruleâyou can hear their influences in their music but they create a powerhouse of sound that is uniquely their own. I feel like anyone who enjoys â90âs alt-rock at all can get down with this album. The guitars are discordant and droning and heavy, pulling on and off on pop song structures while Jim Domenici sings in his soaring, spiteful way. Itâs totally grunge in the best way possible. I really like this album because I feel like the energy never stops, even when the tempos are slower, and every song is super catchy and contains at least 18 singalongs. At least 18.
- CHEAP GIRLS - "GIANT ORANGE": A humongous citrus fruit full of nostalgia that reminds you of driving around and listening to the Replacements.
- GNARWOLVES - "CRU": I really want people in the U.S. to know about this band because I feel like they donât and "Cru" fucking rules. I met these guys in the U.K. earlier this year and was blown away that they were all under 21 and that "Cru" is only their second release. When I heard their name I figured they were some weird metal band, but theyâre not!!! I donât really know exactly how to describe what they sound like. Some of their parts are vaguely reminiscent of Title Fight but it mostly just sounds like some anthemic Gainesville band. Most of the EP (itâs an EPâ¦) is made up of midtempo punk songs but they do slow it down at times and when they do, they really shine. The vocalist sounds super soft and pained during these parts and his voice becomes more interesting than just about every other band playing the same kind of punk. See "Community, Stability, Identity."
- BURNING LOVE - "ROTTEN THING TO SAY": Gritty hardcore with rock riffs and smart lyrics. A lot of times the "hardcore with rock riffs" thing can turn into a novelty, but Burning Love in no way falls into that category. They blend punk, metal, and hardcore perfectly into their own catchy brand of buzzsaw ferocity. Great listen if you like feeling like youâre about to die at any given moment (you do).
- SWEARINâ - "SWEARINâ": I saw this band once at Stay Sweet Fest and didnât think much of it because I only heard them while passing back and forth through the venue, really, but listened to this record on a whim this month and thought it was fucking awesome. Most of the record is pretty â90âs poppy punk-sounding and Superchunk-esque with split numbers between two vocalists, a combo which I fall for easily. However, I think Swearinâ is pretty unique! Iâm sure some people will think Iâm an idiot for saying this, but Allisonâs vocal melodies remind me of Five Iron Frenzy at times, and Five Iron Frenzy was "really really really good." Also, "Here to Hear" is likeâ¦ song of the year for me.
- RAINDANCE - "NEW BLOOD": Another on my list that isnât a full-length. Oh well, who cares anymore about anything, yâknow?!?! "New Blood" is a truly great hardcore release that sounds kind of like Converge and Everytime I Die had a mutilated baby together. The starts and stops and dynamics on this album are worth a listen alone, even if the "Converge/ETID baby" thing doesnât interest you. In "Dine With The Devil," vocalist Sean OâBrien sings about music with no soul, screaming "all you pretty little singers, with your pretty little songs, and all you motherfucking fans who love to sing alongâshove your tongue right down my throat." Nicely said, Sean.
- THE BOSTON STRANGLER - "PRIMITIVE": The second band on my list that has a song named after their band name where they shout their band name over and over again (see also: Masked Intruderâs "Masked Intruder"). Strangely enough, Masked Intruder also has an EP titled "First Offense" which is the name of a song on "Primitive." The vocalist yells "Weâre the Boston Strangler!" and in "Gonna Make You Pay," exclaims, "Stranglahâs gonna make you pay!" I like what these guys are about. The Boston Strangler is from, well, Boston, and may play hardcore-punk that sounds straight from the â80âs, but by no means sound like your average "revival" band or like they are blowing life into something that is dead. Their ferocity sounds new and sincere and even if it isnât, I donât give a shit because they have written some awesome tunes on "Primitive."
- Sundials - When I Couldnât Breathe
- New Bruises - Chock Full of Misery