Saturday, December 29, 2012

What? There's still good music? (aka Bizarro Jerry's top 10 for 2012)

Yep, that's right...

Everybody else does it...

The only problem with me is that I DESPISE most modern music...I pretty much hear MAYBE one thing each year that I keep in rotation. Everything else is rehash, or just awful new ideas. So, it was pretty surprising to find that I liked a lot more music this year than in the past. I mean, it's still going to be a stretch to make this a ten-item list, but that's pretty good for me considering.

No particular order.

1. Lil Ugly Mane - 'Mista Thug Isolation'
I've been diggin' this a lot recently...didn't like it so much when I heard it over summer, but then I got into old Memphis shit and realized just how genius this fucker is. Plus, I love the concept of producer/rapper split personalities. Shawn Kemp is the producer, but Lil Ugly Mane is his rap caricature. And WHAT a caricature. Constantly doped-out pimp who makes references to the Ernest movies and drinking Vernors in the same 8 bars. The beats are all dusty-sounding and creepy as hell.

2. SpaceGhostPurrp - 'Mysterious Phonk: The Chronicles of SpvcxGhxztPvrrp'
A cohort of Ugly Mane's, this dude broke through and got signed to 4AD (best known for putting out Pixies and Red House Painters albums)...The more I listen to this album, the less I like his lyrics, but the beats are undeniably cool. I heard he's considering doing JUST production work, which might be a good idea. Not that he's a bad rapper...just a little too heavy on the sex the point where it's annoying. Oh well. 'Git Ya Head Bust' is probably the coolest rap song I've heard this year.

3. OFWGKTA - 'The OF Tape, Vol. 2'
Still kinda disappointed these guys aren't blowing up like I thought they would. I mean, I was all ready for these folks to be the next Nirvana and save pop music. Oh well, maybe it'll just be a lil longer of a process. We'll see once Earl's solo album drops...I'm betting it'll be the best thing this crew puts out to date. As it stands, I didn't like this QUITE as much as 'Goblin,' and I don't like either as much as 'Earl,' but I still like this a lot. Some of the beats are a little too 'commercial' sounding (Mike G, I'm lookin' at you) but overall, it's fun. Not as over-the-top as Tyler's albums, not as weird either, but as the world's first 'proper' introduction to the Wolfgang crew, it's great. Everybody can freak out about Frank Ocean's album if they want, but I really didn't think it held a candle to this shit.

4. Kendrick Lamar - 'good kid, m.A.A.d city'
To be honest, I haven't even listened to this all the way through. I heard 'Section.80' earlier this year and thought it was really cool, and even cooler since this guy's career is really taking off. Then I heard 'Poetic Justice' on the radio and figured he's just gonna become the next Drake. But, what with all my friends raving about this album, I'm giving it a second listen as we speak, and it's pretty good. Not as interesting to my ears as the previously-mentioned album, but WAYYYYY better than anything those fucks Kanye, Drake or Lil Wayne could come up with. Still cool that he's doing something different and getting recognized for it.

5. Death Grips - 'NO LOVE DEEP WEB'

(No picture, cuz I don't wanna put a disclaimer on the blog for ONE post. Look it up if you're really curious, it's just Zach Hill's dick with the title written on it.)

Hmmm, which Death Grips album to put on here? I mean, they put out TWO this year. I'm going with the one that immediately stuck with me more. I loved 'Ex-Military,' but then they got rid of all the cool samples on 'The Money Store,' so I didn't give it a fair shot. To me, this seems like an improvement on the sample-less style of MS. A lot more 'evil' sounding, which makes sense considering the real-life drama surrounding the album. These guys seem like genuinely unstable, crazy people. We'll see what happens.

6. Burzum - 'Umskiptar'
Everybody's pretty harsh on ol' Varg these's either 'oh he's an evil racist, so I don't even give his music the time of day' or 'oh, his music's garbage now that he's paid his debt to society.' Whatever. This guy got out of jail and went right back to work after like 20 years, and I have respect for that. Also, the three records he's put out since then are some of the best black metal coming out these days, this one being my favorite. I dunno, I just really like the fact that the atmospheric tracks have guitar and words now.

7. Deftones - 'Koi No Yokan'
If you couldn't guess from the big post I devoted to this album a while back, I liked it quite a bit. Not quite up to the level of 'White Pony' or 'Around the Fur,' but it's another solid Deftones release for sure. I think I like it better than both 'Diamond Eyes' and 'Saturday Night Wrist,' but that might be the 'new album blindness' talkin'...

8. The Frogs - 'Count Yer Blessingsz'/'Squirrel Bunny Jupiter Deluxe'
I'd feel like a dick for not including this double-release, considering the recent death of Dennis Flemion, one-half of the group. Sure, it's not a 'Racially Yours,' but it's a fitting send-off to the group, which is weird considering it came out about a week before Dennis' passing. One album is serious songs, the other is the joke songs the group is known for. Both are completely worth your time.

9. Quakers - S/T
I don't know much about this album, other than one of the producers (it's rap) came from Portishead. It's also got a rapper called Guilty Simpson who I've heard of, but beyond that, i'unno. It's really cool, though. Something like 40 songs, all of them very short. Some of the beats definitely remind me of the classic trip-hop sound, but then there's old school De La Soul-style tracks, weird spacey stuff, and tracks that have a whole new sound. Like the best mixtape (REAL mixtape, not 'rap' mixtape) of rap music 89-2012, but it's not, it's an album. How bout that?

10. V/A - 'Tomorrow's Achievements: Parry Music Library 1976-86' doesn't REALLY count cuz it's an archive release, but I honestly can't find anything else to put on here. At least, not without bending the truth a little, and I'm not into that. What you've got here is one of the coolest library music releases BBC PBS cheese...ALL synth. Some songs are totally atmospheric, and others are like lost backing music for 'Night Rider.' Love it.

...and some notes about the state of music in 2012, if you're interested:

*Killer Mike is boring and unoriginal. Why is everybody losing their shit about this guy?
*Frank Ocean's album was pretty cool, and definitely more original than ANY R&B released since the days of the Fugees, but I think that has a tendency to make people look for something that isn't there. He still uses a lot of auto-tune, and had a lot of help making the music, but he's on the right track for a pop musician.
*If you are in a band, please consider NOT over-producing your shit. This rendered so many albums unlistenable to me. It might be the thing to do nowadays, but so was gated reverb in the 80's.
*God damn a lot of shitty music is coming out these days. Please, no more 'wave' stuff...i.e. 'chillwave.' If you wanna write shitty 80's dance songs, then call it like it is. It's not ironic or cool just cuz you've got some hipstery blurry photo on the album cover.
*Rap music is where it's at. I think rock might be exhausted as a genre. It had its heyday in the 60's/70's, and again in the 90's. Currently, however, hip hop/rap is the only genre with consistently interesting albums coming out.
*Lots of sorta-cool releases happened, but they just didn't hold my attention. Guided By Voices and Dinosaur Jr both put out competent releases this year, but neither expanded on their sound, or refined it in a way they haven't tried before. Sorry folks, but Dinosaur is NOT 'just as good' as they were in the 80's, or even the 90's. I'd take one of J's solo Dinosaur outings over new stuff any day.

Lastly, my band (recently disbanded) put out two full-lengths this year. How 'bout that? You can hear both HERE.

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