There was new music from Britain’s The Darkness and an amazing opus for Darklings. What’s a Darkling, you ask? They are fans of Garbage. Shirley Manson and co. returned to the alt. music scene with the amazing album Not Your Kind of People for her Darklings. Not Your Kind of People made it into my picks for the best music releases of 2012. And here they are:
10. Shonen Knife – Pop Tune. The Ramones-loving, power-pop trio from Osaka do not disappoint with their latest release on Good Charamel. Pop Tune is exactly what you want from the masters of J Pop. They also put on a rockin’ show at Allston’s Great Scott for those lucky to attend.
9. ††† – EP ††. This brilliant side-project from Chino Moreno of Deftones and Shaun Lopez of Far has resulted in two moody, lush EPs. The trio is completed by Chuck Doom. EP †† is available for purchase through their website.
8. Killing Joke – MMXII. Remember when singer Jaz Coleman went missing this past year? Well thank the gods that he has resurfaced. Killing Joke’s album MMXII (or 2012, for those rusty on their Roman numerals) is another triumphant sonic dirge. Killing Joke will be playing at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston on April 20. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster or in person at the Paradise.
7. The Darkness – Hot Cakes. At first, one may have thought that The Darkness was mocking Queen and all the ‘70s greats. But by now, with their third album, even the most jaded of record store employees has to admit to the passion of the Darkness. Hot Cakes is one fabulous guitar driven track after another. The icing on the [hot] cake: Their amazing cover of Radiohead’s “Street Spirit (Fade Away).”
6. Ash – Little Infinity. Sure-it’s an EP of covers, but damn it’s good. The Northern Irish lads cover ABBA, The Beatles, Carly Simon and more on this seven track release. It’s available for purchase through iTunes and their website. Here’s hoping that 2013 will bring Ash on a full-scale U.S. tour.
5. Stars – The North. Our Canadian neighbors have a way with duets like no one else. When Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell sing together, it’s perfection grounded in realism. In “Walls,” Campbell asks, “Do you love me?” Millan responds with “What am I supposed to say?” There’s also the über-grandious “Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It,” in which Campbell sings solo, “The world won’t listen to this song. And the radio won’t play it. But if you like it sing along.”
4. Deftones – Koi No Yokan. Yes, Chino Moreno is on this list twice. Where his side project ††† may lean towards his Depeche Mode and goth tendencies, Deftones’ Koi No Yokan maintains the driving, gloom rock that have made them viable since 1995. The opening track, “Swerve City,” is so good that is hard to move on to track two. Ko No Yokan, which roughly translates to “Love at first sight,” is a solid album and worth having two copies in my household.
3. The Magnetic Fields – Love at the Bottom of the Sea. “Give me a drink or something quick. Between your outrageous remarks. Like the mating calls of sarcastic sharks.” – from “Quick,” written by the prolific Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields, and possibly the best lyricist of our generation. Love at the Bottom of the Sea is another gem from the Magnetic Fields.
Looking for plans for New Year’s Eve? They’re playing at Boston’s Symphony Hall as part of the First Night celebration. Tanya Donelly (formerly of Belly and Throwing Muses) is opening and scheduled to go on at 8 p.m. The Magnetic Fields are due to go on at 9 p.m. For information on purchasing tickets, check out the First Night website.
2. Metric – Synthetica. Metric has become one the best live bands on the planet. And front woman Emily Haines has become an amazing role model. The only thing better than listening to Synthetica at home is seeing Metric live. Synthetica is a gorgeous blend of swagger, synthesizers, and astounding lyrics.
1. Garbage – Not Your Kind of People. Garbage returned with an album that somehow captured the spirit of their debut album, but advanced to another level. The title track is a haunting anthem, “We are not your kind of people. You seem kind of phony. Everything’s a lie.” Singing along with Shirley Manson on it: daughters of band members Steve Marker and Butch Vig.
Released on their own label, Stun Volume, Garbage has been touring around the world in support of this, their fifth album. In addition to releasing the album on their own, they have been creating miniature movies that may be viewed on their YouTube channel.
Honorable mention – Some albums that did not make the top ten, but that were pretty close: Muse – The 2nd Law, Beach House – Bloom, Red Kross – Researching the Blues, and 2:54 – 2:54. For my full list, check out my Favorite Music Releases of 2012 Pinterest board.
What were your favorite albums of 2012? Post below in the comments!