Another commencing year leaves so much to be desired, so much yet to be consumed then forgotten and of course, so much to chuck to the proverbial curb. Here is Circle of Fits' best albums of the year list to sum it up from our perspective.
Top Ten Albums of 2012
1) Blunderbuss-Jack White- A piano and prophecy prominent collection of purely beautiful and sometimes savage song craft. What can't this boy do? Weary, lovelorn, protective, private, jubilant, boogified..its all here. The most played album in our cardboard cubicle this year. Choice cuts "Hypocritical Kiss", "Sixteen Saltines".
2) The Russian Wilds- Howlin Rain- Highly under radar and under rated Northern Cali band bust through with a Rick Rubin produced?( Yes) masterpiece somewhere on the fringes of a jam band/blues crammed fringe. Impeccable harmonies, grace and gruff included. Choice cuts include "Self Made Man" and "Cherokee Werewolf".
3) Blues Funeral-Mark Lanegan Band- One of our perennial favorites returns with his most diverse and emotionally stretched -out set of songs of his career. Quite simply, if his charred and seasoned voice and sullen bliss don't take you somewhere else(anywhere but here) you've got to be having a hard time finding a pulse. Choice Cuts include "St. Louis Elegy" and the darkest dance floor anthem of all time "Ode to Sad Disco".
4) Arrow-Heartless Bastards-Please, I beg of you, forget the Alabama Shakes. This is the real deal. We beat you over your hard heads with the importance of a standout vocalist often here at Circle of Fits and Erika Wennerstrom from Austin's Heartless Bastards fills that void. This is the strongest outing yet from the band with chock fucking full of soaring melodies and tight super singable song structure, with just enough moody Texas gritty groove for y'all. But the centerpiece is Erika and her one of a kind silky warble vocals, just smacking you into the stratosphere. Choice cuts " Simple Feeling", "Only For You".
5) King Animal-Soundgarden- A straight- up surprisingly brilliant return from the NW fearsome foursome. Four guys hovering around fifty show the kids how to plug in, rock hard or stay home. Chris Cornell, even having lost a step in his sonic sustain, still sweeps aside most vocalists with a mere exhale. Kim Thayil still weirds us out with his psychedelic rhino stomp style, Ben Shepherd shakes the bottom through with brutal force, but the real hero of this epically varied set, rolled out of the studio for the first time in 16 years is drummer Matt Cameron. Finally he's truly showcased as a monster of switching time structures and unheard of precision, his chops in check from years of riding the throne in Pearl Jam (albeit with much simpler beat structures) King Animal puts his prowess and style in the spotlight, and into the high echelon of skin men, he goes. Choice Cuts- the eerily elegant frailty of "Bones of Birds" (our most played song of the year), "Crooked Steps" and "Rowing".
6) Harmonicraft- Torche- A metal meets powerpop cauldron of curiosities from the Floridian band of bros. The myriad of tonal washes over gutty crunch(with a peppering of prog thrown in) should be enough for you to love this album. Or you could just stare at the cover while basement bound in the midst of a bath salt rush. Choice cuts "Kicking", "Reverse Inverted".
7) Lonerism- Tame Impala- The latest outing from the Aussie wunderkind kids was the last entry to this list. We were flabbergasted with the production and the sheer depth of beauty for these dreamy pop songs and while we don't like to attach "esque" to the end of an adjective comparing another band with these lads, yet a few talented Liverpudlians come to mind. Choice cuts " Apocalypse Dream", "Endors Toi".
8) Kill My Blues- Corin Tucker Band- Nobody is talking about this debut album from the recently birthed band from the former Sleater -Kinney frontwoman, and we wish we knew why. I know Wild Flag and Portlandia have put a certain Ms. Brownstein on a much broader map, but this set of tracks rocks socks. Don't put Corin in a corner. She'll bust out with her baby and knock you over with a bottle of husky punk and bruisey blues. Choice cuts " Summer Jams", "Kill My Blues".
9) A Different Kind Of Truth-Van Halen -Yeah, a lot of it is rehashed demos and Diamond Dave's lustre is a bit glassy but it makes the list for putting the I Can't Believe This Album Doesn't Suck Meter into the red over and over again. EVH is still pretty much untouchable, even while being sober and without Frankenguitar. And after pre- ragging on Wolfie not being able to do Michael Anthony's back up voxes a solid, we were sorta proven wrong. Shit, puberty must have contributed in some way. Anyhoo, we bought it. Choice Cuts- "She's The Woman" (holds up to the '77 demo] and "Big River"
10) Lovelessness-Bison- A brutal,slayful album about a dog dying. ("Is Don on the Phone??-very inside reference)
The cover has a pic of the tumor that guitarist/vocalist James Farwell's dog succumbed to, yeah, that brutal. This crushing,dynamic metal band from Vancouver has yet to get its due, and damn it people let's give it to 'em! Or at least give them a shower the morning after they sleep on your floor. Choice Cuts- "Clozapine Dream", "Anxiety Puke/Lovelessness"
Locked Down-Dr. John
I Bet On Sky-Dinosaur JR.
Open Your Heart-The Men