Top 10 Most Pretentious Moments in Pitchfork’s Guest List of 2012

Every year Pitchfork ends their Best Of coverage with the “guest list“. They ask any artists deemed worthy for a best of list for 2012. What they get back are some of the most ridiculous and pretentious lists you’ll ever read. Here are the 10 most pretentious moments and lists.

10. A large chunk of the artists can’t even be bothered to come up with 10 things. Now, I know they weren’t asked specifically for 10 things, but come on. 

9. The Antlers’ Peter Silberman’s Other Year’s Top Albums. Seriously. He named albums from not 2012. 

8. Merchandise name their top “taypes_2012” and have the balls to write (Self Released) after many of them. Wow! Really? 

7. Sky Ferreira names her “top everything” manages to think of 4 things. 

6. Eleanor Freidberger’s “Most Played Songs” many of them are not from this year. 

5. Chairlifts’ Caroline Polacheck names her “Brain-Melt Moments Had to 2012 Releases” names 2 from 2011, but also names her list “Brain-Melt Moments”. 

4. Most of the lists are specifically written as “in no order” and then don’t include numbers. THANKS FOR THE HEADS UP! 

3. Mount Eerie’s Phil Elverum’s List of Top Things to do on Tour includes the gems “Not Listening to Music”, how much fun it is to go to a movie theater and watch snippets of all the bad movies, and “watching the world from the post-sauna perspective”.

2. Doldrums’ Best of 2012 features 2 number 10’s rather than call anything number 1. 

1. The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle’s TOP FIVE GENRES OF 2012 IN JOHN DARNIELLE’S KITCHEN

Top 10 Albums of 2012

10. MellowHype – Numbers (Odd Future Records)

A lot of albums rotated into and out of the number 10 spot on this list. Numbers kept popping up, and I wasn’t sure why as I hadn’t really listened to the full album more then once. So I started skipping around to the songs I liked and I realized that its Left Brain’s production that kept me coming back. See, I’m pretty sure Odd Future as a group has a shelf life like they wont be all together forever. Some will go on to greater success than others and they wont all be famous for rapping. After giving the highlight tracks a few more spins I realized that Left Brain could go on to be a legit in demand producer for mainstream hip-hop tracks. Numbers will be the touchstone, the album we go back to and say…”this….this is when we know Left Brain was going to be huge”.

Spotify Link: MellowHype – Numbers

 

9. Further Seems Forever – Penny Black (Rise Records)

There was a lot of reunions this year and a lot of Emo revival. Of course I’m talking about late 90s early 00s Emo music and not the hairstyle. A lot of great bands got back together but one of the most welcome reunions in 2012 was Further Seems Forever. In 2001 the band released their absolutely incredible debut album “The Moon is Down”. Unfortunately not long after its release singer Chris Carrabba would find fame with his solo project Dashboard Confessional. The band stuck together and recorded two more albums each with a different singer and each with varying levels of success. The band called it quits after the release of the 3rd album “Hide Nothing”. Over the last couple of years the band would pop up at festivals playing with Chris back in the role of lead singer. But they wouldn’t commit to being back together. Thankfully that changed in 2012. The band has released the proper follow-up to “The Moon is Down” and it is as dynamic and emotional as its predecessor. But it definitely doesn’t sound like it belongs in 2001, this is an emotional alternative rock album that honestly should be playing on modern rock radio. This thing is chock full of catchy singles and would please fans of Dashboard Confessional if only they knew it existed. Hopefully the lack of success on this record doesn’t dissuade the band into sticking it out and making more incredible music together.

Spotify Link: Further Seems Forever – Penny Black

 

8. Odd Future — The OF Tape Vol. 2 (Odd Future Records) 

The perfect introduction to Odd Future is this album. It features every member including Earl has some of their best songs and even features a multiple cover gimmick so fans would try to collect them all. The album spans all of the groups sounds from dark and sinister, to ridiculous hip-hop satire. There’s even the first half of Frank Ocean’s “White” the second half of which would appear on “Channel Orange”. I’m not sure this album would change any minds about Odd Future but it would definitely give you a glimpse into their world. For a fan like me it was everything I was hoping for and more. Proof that these guys still have plenty of tricks up their sleeves.

Spotify Link: Odd Future – The OF Tape Vol. 2

7. The Chariot — One Wing (Entertainment One Music)

The Chariot is a band that fades into and out of my musical consciousness every other album. But when I do remember to check them out they absolutely floor me. Their latest “One Wing” is an absolute showstopper. Taking twists and turns you wouldn’t expect. The albums 10 tracks dart and dive between full on hardcore barn burners to a song featuring a mariachi break down. I can’t make this up. If any part of you has any respect for heavy music then definitely give this album a shot. Its a short journey but you’ll be glad you took it.

Spotify Link: The Chariot – One Wing

6. The Casket Lottery — Real Fear (No Sleep Records)

The Casket Lottery toiled away for years as one of the most underrated bands in Emo. 10 years after the release of their last album “Survival is for Cowards” the band returns pretty much out of nowhere with “Real Fear”. The band hasn’t played any shows, or made many waves. I don’t think they even have a Twitter account. Yet they are so well respected that No Sleep agreed to release this album. The band still hasn’t played any shows outside of their hometown and show no signs of touring. In their heyday I was a HUGE Casket Lottery fan and was terrified that this wouldn’t be any good. I mean how could it be? I vaguely knew the band was even back together. Luckily, this album is incredible. Track after track I continued to be blown away by the musicianship, the lyrics, and how well it all fit together. Its like they didn’t even miss a step. You know what? Its better than that its like they are a whole new band. This might as well be their debut album. The only thing that betrays that notion is how incredible it is front to back. You know these guys are veterans after one listen. Here’s hoping they hit the road and continue to make incredible music.

Spotify Link: The Casket Lottery – Real Fear

5. Circa Survive — Violent Waves (Self-Released)

Circa Survive’s fourth album is arguably their best. There are no singles here but instead we get probably the most cohesive album of the year. Skipping around probably wouldn’t be wise. I compare this album to The Felix Culpa’s “Sever Your Roots” which is about as high of a compliment I can give an album. Violent Waves is meant to be listened to all the way through. An experience like this is rare these days, most bands struggle to write a few good songs. Circa Survive has crafted a brilliant album. I can’t wait to hear what they do next.

Spotify Link: Circa Survive – Violent Waves

4. Mixtapes — Even on the Worst Nights (No Sleep Records)

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While Pop-Punk isn’t dead it does evolve pretty quickly these days. “Even on the Worst Nights” the debut album from Mixtapes is solid proof of that. At their heart the band is pop-punk and they have some definite pop-punk gems on here, but it’s the deviations from the formula that make this album special. First there are the dual male/female vocals. They never feel forced and are always in the right place. The acoustic tracks are inserted into the album perfectly. Giving the album a chance to breathe. Then there are heavier “alt-rock” tracks. Still catchy, still heartfelt and will make you wonder why Mixtapes isn’t a huge band. I could see these guys sharing an arena stage with Green Day or Foo Fighters. There were so many incredible debut albums this year and Mixtapes is way way up there.

Spotify Link: Mixtapes – Even on the Worst Nights

#3 Cloud Nothings “Attack on Memory” (Carpark Records)

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Cloud Nothings latest album leads the Emo revival charge. Released in January “Attack on Memory” kicked the year off with a vengeance. I was convinced for a good chunk of the year that this would be my Album of the Year. The album opens with the droning and frantic “No Future/No Past” and continues to throw curve balls for the entire 30 minutes. The album is only 8 songs but there is enough variety and emotion here to eclipse almost every other album I heard this year. Cloud Nothings have made what is easily the most underrated album of the year and by a wide wide margin.

Spotify Link: Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory

#2 Code Orange Kids — Love is Love//Return to Dust (Deathwish, Inc) 

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You have exactly one second to prepare yourself for the onslaught that is “Love is Love//Return to Dust”. That’s all you get before the insanity begins. If you can make it to the end of the first track you are rewarded with a chance to breathe. 30 or so seconds of a single guitar lulls you into a false sense of security before the next track begins and promptly begins kicking your ass again. While at their core Code Orange Kids are a hardcore band that’s not all they do here on their debut album. The song “Colors (Into Nothing)” is like all the best parts of Underoath’s atmospheric tracks distilled down to 3 minutes. Code Orange Kids are blazing their own trail. Not by going in their own direction, but by burning to the ground everything that came before them.

Spotify Link: Code Orange Kids – Love Is Love // Return To Dust

#1 Frank Ocean — channel ORANGE (Def Jam) 

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This album is truly the album of the year. In a year where we re-elected a black president, several states legalized gay marriage and marijuana, no album was more 2012 than “channel ORANGE”. A complete destruction and rebuilding of R&B Frank Ocean manages to defy simple genres. There is nothing here that can be categorized. For over an hour Frank Ocean lays his life open for all to hear. Its like stumbling on a journal you know you shouldn’t be reading but you can’t put it down. The music almost doesn’t matter, but luckily the music is incredible. The dubstep tinged “Pyramids”, the heart-wrenching ballad “Bad Religon”, and the funky “Pink Matter” are just a few examples of how all over the place this album can seem when separated. But when combined the 17 tracks of “channel ORANGE” make for the greatest listening experience of the year. Frank Ocean is the breakout star of 2012 and he’s made a masterpiece of an album that will live on as a historic moment in music history for years to come.

Spotify Link: Frank Ocean – channel ORANGE

My Favorite Music In 2011

Normally I would tell you what my favorite album of the year was, but really it was more about my favorite phenomenon of the year. Anyone who knows me even casually could guess that I’m talking about Odd Future. If you held a gun to my head and made me pick my favorite album it was Goblin by Tyler, the Creator. But every single thing that Odd Future put out this year is worth talking about. Domo Genesis’ Under the Influence mixtape, Mike G’s Award Tour EP, and the absolutely breathtaking Purple Naked Ladies by The Internet.

Tyler, the Creator – Goblin (XL Recordings)

Goblin, the “Empire Strikes Back” of the three part narrative that began with 2009’s Bastard and will conclude with this year’s Wolf is an absolutely dizzying bloated album. It’s well over an hour long, picks up right where Bastard left off, and ends with some of the most batshit insanity you’ll ever hear on an album. Yet if you’re invested it’s by far one of the most creative and refreshing pieces of music put out in 2011. By far and away Goblin is not for everyone (anyone?) but if you can penetrate the layer of insanity that surrounds it you will be rewarded.

The Internet – Purple Naked Ladies (Odd Future Records)

While it doesn’t get a physical release until next week The Internet’s debut album has been available digitally since a few days before Christmas. Forget about the fact that this album shows just how scary talented the members of Odd Future are and revel in the fact that this is just a great fucked up R&B album. It’s incredible that a bunch of teenagers can take a genre and turn it completely on its head. Drake wouldn’t dare make an album that sounded like this. Usher would never come near this level of genius and this is only their first album.

Frank Ocean – Nostalgia/Ultra (Self Released)

Before you heard his debut album you already heard Frank Ocean’s songs. He wrote for Justin Bieber, John Legend, and many other famous singers, but in his spare time he was quietly toiling away on his solo debut. Once he turned it in to Def Jam things went south. It had too many samples on it, it was too weird, maybe there was no big hit. So his friends in Odd Future said, fuck it, do what we do and just give it away. Needless to say the rest is history. It was downloaded hundreds of thousands of times and suddenly Mr. Ocean was back in Def Jam’s good graces. He ended up writing songs for Nas and Beyonce, and most famously appeared on not 1 but 2 tracks on Watch the Throne. Nostalgia/Ultra does not come easy and you will wonder just what the hell is going on, but you will find favorite tracks and then you’ll listen to the track after that until you have fallen in love with the whole album. All that’s left is to wonder why you can’t buy it.

Jay Z & Kanye West – Watch the Throne (Def Jam)

It’s not perfect, but it is cray.

Childish Gambino – Camp (Glassnote Records)

I don’t know what it is about this album that bugs me so much. Too polished? Too clever for its own good? It tires too hard? Still the good outweighs the bad and it has definitely grown on me. You could do a lot worse, I just hope Gambino does a lot better next time out.

Moving Mountains – Waves (Triple Crown Records)

Moving Mountains has always been on my radar, and I liked them well enough, but this feels like their first true album. In fact it is. They have only released EPs before. The album is heavy and beautiful like the best Underoath songs but with a pop-rock feel that makes it very accessible. It’s just a good album by a good band. Too bad no one is paying attention. They totally stole the show at last year’s Warped Tour but were playing to MAYBE 40 people. If there was any band that needed saving in 2012 it’s Moving Mountains.

Into It. Over It. – Proper (No Sleep Records)

Chicago’s Into It. Over It. was always pitched to me as “a guy with an acoustic guitar sings heartfelt songs”. I’m kind of over that right now, so when Proper was announced I didn’t think much of it. Then someone told me that this album was with a full band and I gave it a listen. Well, I’m a dummy because this album is absolutely fantastic. It’s a very 2012 take on pop-punk. It tickles the nostalgia centers of my brain while also satisfying my craving for something new. If you were disappointed by the new Blink-182 album give this a shot.

Wilco – The Whole Love (dBpm/Epitaph)

Wilco can do no wrong.

Other albums worth noting are the spectacular Get Up Kids comeback album “There are Rules”, Touche Amore’s “Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me”, La Dispute’s “Wildlife”, Thursday’s “No Devolucion”, and The Wonder Year’s “Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing”

To hear songs from these albums and more check out my Best of 2011 playlist on Spotify.

What A Crazy Day For Music

Back in the year 2000 there was a hype storm of epic proportions. Every magazine, every fledgeling website, and every indie rock kid would not shut up about At the Drive-In. This was before the Internet was a household thing and everyone was talking about this band. They had just signed to a major label and they were going to be “the saviors of rock and roll”. That was a phrase that was thrown around quite a bit back in the year 2000. Hip-hop albums were debuting at #1 on Billboard and boy bands were ruling the airwaves. The press was constantly looking for rock and roll’s savior.

In September of 2000 the band released the album “Relationship of Command”. The first single was getting lots of play at rock radio, MTV was playing the video constantly, and it seemed like these guys were going to be huge. Unfortunately a year later the pressures of fame got to the band and they called it quits. 2 of the members went on to form The Mars Volta while the remaining members would found Sparta. In the press the band would constantly poo poo any whispers of a reunion. These guys seemed to genuinely hate each other. About three years ago something started to change. In interviews most of the members would say they would consider a reunion then they would go ask the other guy and he would say “tell them to go fuck themselves”.

Today was the day that Coachella was going to announce its 2012 lineup and suddenly in advance of that a new At the Drive-In Twitter account popped up announcing that the band was reuniting. Sure enough when the Coachella lineup hit the net the band was on it. This reunion doesn’t just mean a lot to me because I was a big fan of the band but I actually had tickets to see them, but they broke up right before the tour was going to start. So, to think that it’s possible I’ll see them in the year 2012 is incredible.

However, that wasn’t the only other ridiculous piece of music news today. Also, playing Coachella? Refused. The band that inspired countless other hardcore bands is playing for the first time since they broke up while touring on their groundbreaking album “The Shape of Punk to Come” in 1998. That’s not a bullshit title, that album still sounds like it was recorded recently. New bands are formed every day after listening to it. It’s truly a touchstone for the hardcore music scene. Bands are still trying to figure out how they seamlessly melded hardcore, electronica, and jazz and have it make sense.

These reunions were once thought to be impossible, they were never going to happen, yet here we are. It doesn’t even feel real to me. I never got to see either band and I really hope I get to see them during these reunions. Each of them had a big impact on my life and if you have never heard them before I’ll drop a couple of Spotify links in this post and hopefully you will check them out.

At the Drive-In “Relationship of Command”

Refused “The Shape of Punk to Come”