Favorite Albums 2012

Another election year down the drain. Too many mass shootings. Another Apocalypse that never came. My realization that a creature named Honey Boo Boo actually exists. And reunions that I thought would NEVER happen, that of course, I could not attend. While there were many reasons to be stressed out in 2012, these are the records that kept me sane.

The Weeknd – “Echoes Of Silence”

Sick of finally getting that girl you’ve been chasing after only to have the General come up a bit soft? Fuck Cialis. Don’t even bother with the Viagra. Put away that prick pump you got off the Internet, you fucking pervert. Instead do yourself favor and quit stuffing your fat face with Chick-Fil-A. Hit the gym. Get that blood flowing and when that special someone comes over do yourself (and her) a favor and pop on The Weeknd – Echo of Silence on as soon as she crosses the threshold. It’ll get you two ready to roll quicker than a bottle of Mommy Juice and the audio book of Fifty Shades of Grey. The sexiest album of 2012. Proof that Canadians do it better. Breathtaking. Heartbreaking. And just enough groove to get that candle lit party started.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iW1-BuJ_Hc]

Torche – “Harmonicraft”

Remember that time you got really stoned and put the Care Bears Movie on. Put that fucker on mute and then listenend to the Black Sabbath catalog over it? No? Was that just me? Well, if the Care Bears really had smoked nothing but rainbows and then played out that wonderful Black Sabbath soundtrack with some Melvins and a touch of Foo Fighters, Torche’s “Harmonicraft” would no doubt end up being the outcome. To write a record this catchy while maintaining a certain heaviness Torche has become known for is a feat that should be fucking celebrated.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LayXKzbhtfQ]

Baroness – “Yellow & Green”

Everyone meet Christopher Weingarten. My newest favorite reason to hate Spin magazine. In a little piece entitled “Baroness’ ‘Yellow & Green’: Hear the Metal Album of the Year”, Weingarten has the following to say,

Ultimately two new albums on two discs — the pastoral Green is their I Am…, the hulking churn of Yellow their Sasha Fierce..

That’s right ladies and gents, Mr Weingarten, in my most favorite face palm comparison of the year, has compared Baroness to Beyonce fucking Knowles. Because OBVIOUSLY the first thing you think of when listening to this marvelous double album is how much you wanna put a fucking ring on it!

After smoking a cigarette and trying to figure out how to not completely berate him via twitter, I simply tweeted him asking if he could give me ONE logical reason for the comparison.

His response? “They’re both great pop albums?”

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW!?!?

Was it “Hear Pop Album of the Year”? Nope. Good ol’ “Metal Album of the Year”. This kind of brilliance is what gets you promoted to Senior Editor at SPIN.

The next time some poor kid says he just found Slayer Reign in Blood, tell him to check out Cyndi Lauper She’s So Unusual.. Obviously there’s a logical connection.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxNYP-OaPhE]

Title Fight – “Floral Green”

As per usual,  there would be one record that sparked feelings of nostalgia this year. A record that I easily would’ve stolen from my older siblings in the summer of 95. Riding bikes or playing street hockey,  pretending to be a Mighty Duck and wondering who this Pantera was that Charlie Conway was talking about in D2. Being blown away at sleep overs when I learned about AOL and that my computer can talk to other computers. While the influences are worn heavily on their sleeves and they may not take away from the impact that some of the bands had on my youth. I really did enjoy the trip down memory lane.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIbndxFYsSU]

Death Grips – “The Money Store”

Were they referencing the Pyramid building here in Sacramento? Or was it a metaphor for cashing in when L.A Reid signed Sacto’s gnarliest to Epic earlier in 2012 when they titled this record, we may never know. What we do know is they still bring heat. Ex Military was no fluke. While less abrasive on first listen, The Money Store’s imagery is just as gritty as previous material. With some of the CATCHIEST hooks I’ve heard all year. Less chaotic but definitely more of a cohesive experience. This album could not be denied. They’re still “teachin’  bitches how to swim.”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74NA48f66kk]
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Not So Guilty Pleasures 2011

Anyone who knows me can attest that if it’s on the radio – more often than not I know it – and probably like it. So after writing up my overall favorites for the year, I decided I should list off the songs that I will probably get shit for the next time a dollar of mine goes into a jukebox

LMFAO – “Party Rock Anthem”

I am not ashamed to say it. This group is as catchy as they come. From “I’m in Miami, Trick” to “Shots”. It just seems to be banger after banger for this duo from Los Angeles. These dudes love to party (who doesn’t?). I am a fan of their schtick and when I saw them earlier this year, they easily put on one of the most entertaining live shows I’ve seen.

Wallpaper – “#STUPiDFACEDD”

One of my more annoying traits this year was adding the hashtag to almost anything. Especially, if it wasn’t used on twitter. It peaked with me verbally saying the hashtag in casual conversations. So, it was almost a no brainer for me to be into this song from Oakland-based electro-pop act Wallpaper. I have got to give it up to dude too. He’s come a long way since I drunkenly watched a set of his at ToHo a couple of years ago. Lyrically, he is quite clever and he probably had one of the most entertaining videos of 2011.

Katy Perry – “Last Friday Night (TGIF)”

After releasing one of the most annoying songs ever, “Fireworks”, Ms Perry rebounded quite nicely with this infectious pop gem. Her ability to continue to poke fun at herself never ceases to amuse me. Sonically, she is doing nothing groundbreaking. Just Katy doing what Katy does best. It also features a saxophone solo that surely would make Foreigner proud.

Britney Spears – “Hold it Against Me”

Well, it was only a matter of time. Blame Max Martin and Dr. Luke for bringing the dubstep (or should I now say popstep) craze to the mainstream. Talk all the trash you want, the song is energetic and infectious. And while I do sometimes yearn for the shaved head, umbrella wielding, Britney of yesteryear – it’s kind of nice to see her make a comeback. Especially, since I already lost that bet that she’d join the 27 club. Should’ve had my money on Amy (too soon?).

Kreayshawn – “Gucci Gucci”

You couldn’t escape it. It was everywhere. I was rooting for it all to end up being a fabulously executed prank, although it looks like Oakland’s Kreayshawn is just another dumb broad who won the life lottery. Either way, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by her. Inadvertently, she has created a commentary that parodies herself, as well as the majority of the Urban Outfitter populous.

Ke$ha – “Fuck Him (He’s A DJ)”

If Madonna and the Beastie Boys drank a bottle of whiskey and then had ridiculous amounts of group sex – using only a bottle of glitter as lube – Ke$ha would be the outcome.

C’mon. Did you really expect this to end any other way? I am the dude that dropped too much money on tickets to her show and danced my face off among a bunch of horrified soccer moms and scantily clad teenagers. She inspired the whiskey soaked, glitter bomb shit-show that was my favorite Halloween costume, yet. I allow this to  end up on the list because this song is the only original song to end up on her remix album,I Am the Dance Commander + I Command You To Dance, that came out this past March. No fucks given. I back this girl – hard. Bottoms up!

Favorite Albums 2011

Well, it’s that time again. All the leaves have fallen, it’s cold as fuck, and all of the Christmas shoppers have officially driven me insane. So, I figured now is as good a time as any to run through my favorite records of 2011. In no particular order, of course.

City & Colour – “Little Hell”

This year we saw the fall of Alexisonfire.  Mainly, due to the fact that guitarist Dallas Green had focused more of his time on his side project, City & Colour.  It’s full of fantastic guitar sounds and as always, his voice likely caused more than one unplanned pregnancy this year. It will make you happy, sad, and on more than one occasion – make you dance.

All Teeth – “Young Love EP”

Northern California’s All Teeth have been quietly trucking along for the last few years. Not a band to ride the internet hype or wait for handouts, they hit the road early and often all on their own. 2009’s I Am Losing was critically acclaimed, yet still found the band under the radar.  The time between I Am Losing  and Young Love, has allowed the band to become tighter and more comfortable. That being said, they have probably written the most heartfelt and honest 15 minutes of music I have heard all year.  This record and their blistering set at Killing the Dream’s last show in July solidified their arrival amongst the Northern California elite. Cheers.

Rival Schools – “Pedals”

The last few years have seen more than a handful of reunions. One I was especially excited about was Rival Schools. A decade after the highly acclaimed United By Fate, the band has returned to give us Pedals. While it may not have the lasting power of the former, I am always a sucker for late ninties/early 2000s nostalgia. It’s always good to remember what it was like when I first fell in love with music. You know, before I had one too many shots of jaded cynicism.

Ryan Adams – “Ashes & Fire”

A few years ago the Cardinals broke up. Ryan announced he would be getting married and due to an inner ear condition, would be retiring from music. As a fan who had yet to experience the man live, was devastated. So, the news that we would be receiving a new record this year excited me. Although, as it is the question with so many prolific artists – could he keep up? Did he have anything left? Apparently, hard drugs and rocky relationships aren’t the only things to inspire a wonderful record. Ryan is back in top form. Sober and happily married.  “Do I Wait” could perhaps, be one of the best things in his intimidating and extensive catalog.

Death Grips – “Ex-Military”

The thing I love most about music, is that you never really know when that next gem is going to hit you. The best records come out of nowhere and hit you like a haymaker to Danzig’s jaw. That is why one of my best decisions this year was to let a friend talk me into showing up to a club with no idea who I was to see. After showing up and grabbing a beer I was told Zach Hill had a new project. I was intrigued to say the least. Within moments of their set my jaw was on the floor and I was hooked. Still a record I really cannot put into words. It is one of the more difficult listens I have had in a long time. It sounds like RZA in a PCP fueled, schizophrenic episode. Clever samples, ferocious drum loops and some of the most genuinely angry vocals to come out of Sacramento in years.