TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2012: better late than never

Being that it’s already January and I’m about to start another semester at grad school, I had better pump this list out now. It was originally intended as a two-part deal with full reviews for each record…but now it’s going to be a list with some random words thrown in here and there.

Honorable mentions: Jessie Ware, St. Gregory Orange, Tigercats, Clock Opera, Sinkane, Shrag, The Maccabees, Maribel, Exlovers, Egyptian Hip Hop

And the top 20…

20. Lone Wolf / The Lovers

19. The Megaphonic Thrift / The Megaphonic Thrift

18. Django Django / Django Django

17. Cheers Elephant/ Like Wind Blows Fire

16. The Evens / The Odds

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After a week+ of putting this list together, I’ve finally reached the end. Not surprisingly, I’ve come across a few songs that should probably be included, but it’s impossible to be 100% thorough with these things. If you want to see the rest:


Next week I’ll work on the albums and my 2013 list, and maybe get around to some of the stuff I missed (but probably not).

Either way, this will be a good way to not think about how bad the Sixers are without Bynum and Jrue.

10. Everything Everything “Cough Cough”
At times when this quartet do the whole “art for art’s sake,” it can hinder the music, but on their debut you heard the potential for something great. Tunes like “MY KZ YR BF” and “Suffragette Suffragette” hinted at this, and with “Cough Cough” – the first single from their sophomore album, that potential has been fully realized. It’s an anthemic, percussion-heavy romp that shows the band at their darkest, but also most triumphant.

9. Runaround Kids “Blush”
There’s nothing minor about my obsession with this band any longer – it’s a full blown love that’s absolutely craving the next album. The smattering of singles and comp appearances from the band this year showed that the massive growth on Linked Arms was no joke – they were still looking above and beyond their current subject matter of “GIRLS DON’T LIKE ME DRINKING DRINKING DRINKING BAND BAND WAKEFIELD WAKEFIELD GIRLS.” With “Blush” – the sole new add-on to the Teeth Blue, Lips Red EP, we’re getting a potential sneak peak of 2013, a year that could very well feature this trio running things in West Yorkshire, London, and beyond.

8. Pulled Apart By Horses “Everything Dipped in Gold”
I gave up on most “heavy” music years ago – it just really wasn’t my thing any longer, but Pulled Apart By Horses are one of those rare, once-in-a-decade bands who are truly next level. What’s most important is that they know how to write songs – catchy as all fuck songs – that rarely leave your head and make their gigs truly memorable events. “Everything Dipped in Gold” is one of those moments that remind you that anyone can write a timeless song.

7. Pins “LuvU4Lyf”
Some bands are downright annoying with their marketing – like WU LYF, but others take a more understated approached, like Pins. And in reality all the band did was remain under the radar, release minimal information, and play utterly brilliant gigs – or at least that’s what I heard from scores of locals. The band’s first single stoked the flames a bit, but the release of their first EP, of which “LuvU4Lyf” is drawn from – lit a massive fire. Clocking in at just 2:30, it’s pulsating bass-led rhythm section and explosive chorus are accented by lead singer Faith Holgate’s proclamation, “I would die for you, and I love you for life.”

This is the type of song that makes a career.

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Mostly because I’m insane, I tried to put together a list of all of my favorite videos of the year.

I had to stop after awhile – I didn’t have time to go through all of them, so this post will be the first chapter. There may be another, there may be five more…or this may be the only one.

Below are two from the oft-discussed FOE and Blood Red Shoes, “The Black Lodge” and “In Time To Voices,” respectively. Above is a clip from the Megaphonic Thrift, whose second album is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Plus there’s some nice looking girls in it, guys.

Read on for some new music and key time-wasting tips.

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Almost a month ago I scribbled down a list of my albums of the year, or at least the contenders, and I posted it over here. I’m still not sure if that’s the entire pool I’m drawing from, as there are still a few titles I have yet to check out.

I still have a few weeks to formalize the list (and also do songs and new bands), but for now, here are some of the albums that will be near the top. This is completely out of order.

The Crookes / Hold Fast

FOE / Bad Dream Hotline

Blood Red Shoes / In Time To Voices

Saint Etienne / Words And Music By Saint Etienne

Bruce Springsteen / Wrecking Ball

Niki & the Dove / Instinct

Pulled Apart By Horses / Tough Love

Ellen & the Escapades / All the Crooked Scenes

The Megaphonic Thrift / The Megaphonic Thrift


As a fan of bands from all over, Filter’s Culture Collide fest seems like an event tailored to me. Over four days, a diverse selection of international up-and-comers play gigs throughout venues in the neighborhoods of Echo Park and Silver Lake. Some of the acts are big enough to anchor their own tours – like The Wombats and Of Montreal, and others have barely been noticed outside of their home countries, like Coldair (Poland) and The Moog (Hungary).

But that’s why fests like these are great. You drop a nominal amount of money (in this case it’s $20) and get to see as much music as you like, with well-known acts sandwiched together with obscure names.

In years past Culture Collide has brought some of my favorite international bands to the west coast, including Hello Saferide (Sweden), Harrys Gym (Norway), Casiokids (Norway), De Staat (the Netherlands), and For a Minor Reflection (Iceland). This year’s lineup (the third one, I think) is the probably the best one yet, featuring Moss (the Netherlands), Go Back to the Zoo (the Netherlands), Niki & the Dove (Sweden), The Wombats (UK), and Blood Red Shoes (UK).

Here’s the full schedule.

While the fest has gotten better over the years, it could use some improvement, namely with the amount of bands playing from Mexico and other Latin American countries. With the glut of quality indie bands coming from south of the border, as well as the city’s high Latino population, this would seem like a no-brainer. Oh, and also the fact that Filter has a Mexican-focused site.

Today’s (err, um, tonight’s, since this post is really, really late) 5 are those bands that I’m most excited to see, one of which was amazing just last night in Santa Ana.

Blood Red Shoes play Thursday at 10:30pm (Taix Champagne Room).

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Doing things a little differently this week, instead of the five tunes on Spotify, I have five videos for you on YouTube, all from English band Blood Red Shoes. They begin their North American tour on Tuesday in New York, and will be in Philly on Thursday at Kung Fu Necktie and LA on October 4th as part of the Culture Collide Festival.

The band’s third album, In Time To Voices, was released in the U.S. on July 24th and is yet another feather in the cap of these Pixies/Nirvana/Trail of Dead obsessives. Their first order of business in the States is an acoustic Flavorpill session and interview, which goes down today at 3pm. The full list of tour dates can be found here.

Furthermore, they haven’t forgotten what a brilliant medium that the music video can be. Here are five of their best, starting with their most recent single “In Time To Voices.”

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Blood Red Shoes is not only the best band in England right now, but quite possibly the best band in the world. This isn’t some hollow blogger hyperbole or whatever – it’s the honest truth. Their third album, In Time To Voices, finally got a US release release last month, although it hit shelves in the winter throughout most of Europe. Like their other two releases, it combines buzzsaw guitars with infectious choruses, landing in the same sonic spectrum as Trail of Dead’s Sources Tags and Codes.

After a few years away, the duo returns to North America for their biggest tour yet. Dates and the video for the album’s third single are after the jump.

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