The following list represents The Adios Lounge’s Top 10 Records of 2012. Let me state upfront that I don’t take this list all that seriously. Don’t get me wrong, these 10 albums are a perfect reflection of my taste and how I experienced 2012. However, I also know that as the weeks, months, and years go on, some records will age well, others will age poorly, and a few 2012 records that I’ve yet to hear will someday blow me away. That’s why I like the idea of compiling a Top 10 with longevity factored in. If you really wanna know what the best records of any given year are, wait at least a decade and then revisit. But, until we successfully implement time travel, we’re stuck with what we have … another goddamn list.
Please note: These aren’t necessarily my favorite songs of the year. I simply wanted one video representative from each album. In Redd Kross’ case, it probably IS my favorite song of the year. In Mandible’s case, it’s the only video available. But hey, enough of my preambling, let’s boogie.
1. Redd Kross – Stay Away From Downtown
Album: Researching The Blues
Don’t be a dick. Buy from Merge Records.
“In an era when two guitars-bass-drums rock ‘n’ roll seems quaintly old-fashioned, the Kross breathes new life into both the genre and their career. If you’re a fan of The Kinks, Cheap Trick, Grand Champeen, Hoodoo Gurus, or Model Rockets/Tripwires, read on.”
Learn your ass on Redd Kross: The Best Record of 2012.
2. Bobby Jealousy – Take You On
Album: A Little Death
Don’t be a dick. Buy from Bandcamp.
Bobby Jealousy combines ’50s music, Dollsy glam, soul, punk, and probably a dozen other things into a joyous pop tornado. A Little Death is sprawling and epic, like Wilco circa Being There crossed with Queen. Yes, THAT Queen. This may not be an accident. As lead singer, Sabrina Ellis, told Austin360, “I grew up listening to Queen. I wanted to be Freddie Mercury. I would dress up in these one-piece unitards and put on a fake mustache and sing my heart out.”
Influences: Beer, dolphins, dirty feet, The Velvet Underground, Bo Diddley, The Seeds, The Kinks, David Bowie, The New York Dolls, Black Flag, The Coasters, The Four Tops, Sam Cooke, Daddy Backhand and the Loud Mouthed Bitches.
Take a walk with A Giant Dog: We Got a Better Fix, That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll.
4. Mandible – Space Saw
Album: Second ’N Ten
Buy from obscure indie label like neo-hipster.
Mandible’s second album continues the quirky path of debut (Here Come The) Mandible. Classic rock and new wave riffs get in a self-loathing, proggy bar fight, the audience wins.
While prog references typically scare me away with their insinuations of hoary/whorey self-indulgence, Mandible’s Phillip McEachern traffics in a brand of prog more akin to cartoon music, like Carl Stalling by way of They Might Be Giants. Also, Mandible’s guitar players just happen to be Rob Bernard and Tim Kinard from Prescott Curlywolf, patron saints of the Adios Lounge Beer Garden. So, if big guitar riffs colliding with keyboardsplosions are your thing, bombs away, bombs away.
5. Mission Of Burma – 7’s + What They Tell Me + Opener
Don’t be a millenial asshole. Buy the album.
Mission Of Burma is like Breaking Bad. If you come in thinking you’re gonna get quick resolutions, easy payoffs, and not have to put forth any effort, you’ll probably find yourself giving up. I say stick with it. MoB is a lot of angles, tangents, and murky enigma, with their periodic bursts of anthemia the most accessible elements of their face-melting genius. Burma is like an alternate universe Who, totally underground, and one whose rock opera would be entitled Claustrophenia.
Read more about MoB in 2012: The New Silver Age.
6. Henry Clay People – Hide
Album: Twenty-Five For The Rest Of Our Lives
Support independent music by buying album, not just talking about buying album.
Twenty-five was like the most pure and optimistic that the band ever was, because it was a point where, in our post-college, early 20s, we started the band. There was something pure and innocent about that time. And then when things got better for the band and started happening, obviously, it’s a cool thing, it’s an opportunity. But, along with the higher stakes there are, I feel like, some compromises and sacrifices were made that maybe got away from what the pure, fun rock & roll intention that the band was. That’s why we decided to call this record (Twenty-Five For The Rest Of Our Lives), because we wanted to get back to why we were doing this stuff in the first place.
—Henry Clay People singer/guitarist Joey Siara to Consequence Of Sound
So we went missing, while they were sleeping
We spread ourselves out and started dreaming
Of a quiet life we could leave behind
We spread ourselves out faster than they thought we could hide.
–Chorus to “Hide”
7. Bob Mould – The Descent
Album: Silver Age
Don’t be a dick. Buy from Merge Records.
This ferocious KEXP performance succeeds on two levels: it takes the production out of the equation and highlights the best part of this project: the power trio (wich includes Jason Narducy on bass and Superchunk‘s Jon Wurster on drums). Mould’s voice is in fine snarl, as is his guitar, especially the solo from 2:01-2:19. He also looks like he’s having fun, which would’ve been unexpected when he was 31. The fact that he’s 51 blows me away. On a side note, I love that he’s rockin’ so hard his glasses are fogged up.
Read more about Bob Mould in 2012: The New Silver Age.
There are insidious melodies throughout Slowburner, sometimes in the service of big rock songs, other times for plaintive ballads. In that sense, the District Attorneys remind me of longtime Adios Lounge faves, Li’l Cap’n Travis, another band whose sound rocks and sways in fairly equal amounts and has also been described as shimmering summer pop.
9. OFF! – Cracked
Anyone can NOT buy the album. Be a rebel and actually spend money on it.
Maybe you have to be from southern California to enjoy this, but I’ll never tire of classic LA punk. If I do, you have permission to punch me in my stupid face. “Wiped Out” is “Nervous Breakdown” redux (Black Flag), an aggressive, curiously joyous ‘fuck you’ that changed music and changed Los Angeles. If nothing else, the song’s only 1:13. Even if you don’t like it, it doesn’t last that long. In fact, the album’s 16 songs don’t even total 16 minutes! Put that in your self-indulgent bong and smoke it, hippie.
Get on the OFF! train at 2012: The New Silver Age.
10. Tough Shits – Try Not To Laugh
Album: Tough Shits
Contact Burger Records about album being sold out.
Dumb Rock: I read that you guys look up to The Replacements. What are some of your other influences?
Tough Shits: T. Rex, Beach Boys (this is our bassist Nick’s only influence), Minutemen, Wire, Richard Hell, Iggy & The Stooges, Television, CCR, Dictators, Wipers, R.E.M., Sparks, etc.
—Mark and John from Tough Shits to Dumb Rock
The irony of this list of influences isn’t that I disagree with any of the mentions. No, the irony is that the one influence I hear more than any other is the one band somehow missing from said list: The New York Dolls. Dollsy swagger, especially of the Thunderous variety, is all over Tough Shits, and even moreso on the band’s previous release, Prick Up Your Ears: Complete Tough Shits ’07-08. If there’s a downside to these Philly badasses it’s that both of their albums are almost impossible to find. So, before you go questing for the South Sillydilly rock ‘n’ roll, check out their tunes via Muxtape. You’ll be glad that you did.
UPDATE (1/13): Per the band’s Facebook page, if you’re interested in purchasing their new, self-titled album, email email@example.com and demand that they sell you a Tough Shits record ASAP!
For shits and giggles, here’s 11-20:
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires – There Is A Bomb In Gilead
Bill Fox – One Thought Revealed
Ty Segall Band – Slaughterhouse
Figgs – The Day Gravity Stopped
Lee Ranaldo – Between The Times And The Tides
Cheap Girls – Giant Orange
Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls
Iris DeMent – Sing The Delta
The Men – Open Your Heart
Ty Segall and White Fence – Hair