Ye gods, 2012 was one hell of a year! Good thing too, if we’d dribbled into the cosmic abyss rather than going out on a gee-tar stroke strum thunderclap, we all should be ashamed. Thankfully this was a helluva time and place in the world to be alive and we got a whole selection of short-form loveliness to indulge ourselves, so firsty I’mma drop you the best songs of 2012, ‘cause sometimes you don’t wanna hear a whole record, and this is to reward some releases with a single prime cut (sometimes worthy of buying the whole sub-standard album) so juicy you really need to avail yersel of the whole record just to enjoy it. There’s a lot here that won’t be making it into any other list ‘cause they really are a single cut marred in an ocean of sameyness or boredom but worth rewarding because, if only for a single moment, each of these suckers nailed the beauty.
|Tommy Concrete as part of the Jackals, Bannermans, 2012. I like this photo.|
Let’s start as we mean to go on, with instant gratification-type stuff and Black toGold from Christian Mistress’s debut album Possession, a shot glass orgy to all things superb with speeded-upper super-Sabbath riffage and proto-Thoth vocal gesticulations and one of the best riffs of the year and a good amount of bass action. Throttle back after that with She’s So Groovy ’86 by Haight Ashbury from their second album Haight Ashbury 2: The Ashburys; Glaswegian neuvo-psyche with a special emphasis on repetition and repetition, guaranteed to give your soul a serious massage. Watch the Freaks Lose It by the Witches Drum from their EP Future Kings of an Empty Throne is exactly the sort of full-on freakfest needed to banish the pagan gods come the 21st, and a righteous party anthem should the whole lot of us go the way of the dinosaurs. Kiss My Dudely from Torche’s Harmonicraft album is truly the mutt’s nuts; if the three minute warning does sound, get to the stereo and throw this to the wind at full volume, you’re guaranteed to come before the end does. The War on Wisdom from the Melvins FREE Scion A/V EP the Bulls and Bees towers over the fairly perfunctory Melvins album of this year, but the opening track is pure heathen Melvinite grumbling of the highest order; I’d go so far as to say this song and that free EP would be the inroad into Melvinite addiction for the uninitiated. It wouldn’t be a 2012 column by me without Scando-Afro groovepushers Goat, so the best track they did this year, and only non-album slice was The Sun The Moon my first intro to the Goat trip that in many ways defined the year, and still the best; pure joyful afrobeat with a stunning exuberance that had me laughing all the way to the Highlands; a limited edition tape but drop me a line and I’ll hook you up personally; better still, demand full digital releasing from Rocket Recordings, go on! End of the Line on Burning Motherfuckers (shit song title, great band name) self-titled debut is a full on bass-drums garage workout; building with its every molecule a vision of its creation. Honey From a Knife was definitely my guilty pleasure song of the year, from the Cult’s new album Choice of Weapon (which I actually thought was damn-near perfect, and a great cover) and it’s just a middle of the road, centre field, unsurprising rock song; surprising only for its almost perfection. I highly recommend the whole thing. Bitch On Wheels by Edinburgh’s own sexy Engines of Vengeance is full-throttle fire-breathing rock charging down the centre-line of the four-lane highway of bland predictability and spitting on the siding that calls itself ‘alternative’. These Men are Wolves from the Heavy Eyes’ early year EP 2 is better than the version on the full record (review incoming in the new year) I like the full on declaration of everything the Heavy Eyes stand for, I like the way the opening reminds me of Cremation Ghat from OM and the whole thing just smells of whisky.
|Torche's Jonathan Nuñez in Glasgow|
I haven’t mentioned anything I’ve already covered in depth, because what’s the bloody point? I said these releases were on the whole unremarkable or otherwise unsuitable for inclusion of what is ostensibly an exploration of the underground (the Cult, I’mma lookin’ atchoo) so if you just go down a lil’ more and take a look at the 2012 tag, you’ll find all the explorations of the year, and I don’t see the point of repeating myself (more than I already do, I mean). I still thoroughly endorse everyone I’ve talked about over the year and a bit of doing this shit, so check ‘em out, old or new, whether they be your thing or not. Full lists of what EPs and albums to avail oneself of. I would just say, songs of the year, the re-release of Dopesmoker in its fullest version yet with beautiful gatefold artwork and limited edition picturedisk is a top-notch artefact and the new canonical edition of Dopesmoker. By all accounts the real version was never really recorded, and of the existent recordings, this one comes the closest, over and above the 2003 version. What’s super-groovy is that the differences aren’t that subtle (perhaps to someone for whom Dopesmoker is his Apocalypse Now) and this really does feel like a useful purchase, even for people well aware of the different versions. So go forth to Southern Lord, and demand the as-of-just-now definitive Dopesmoker.
Written under duress by Steven.