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My Top 50 Albums of 2012 - Part II

Posted by Billy Gil, December 17, 2012 07:25pm | Post a Comment

25. SwansThe Seer

Swans The SeerA seer is traditionally thought of as a clairvoyant, a prophet of things to come. Whether you believe such an ability exists, has existed or never did, the 30-minute “The Seer,” the centerpiece of Swans’ excellent return album after more than a decade of dormancy, amazes for its ability to convey such a madness, either by being plagued by visions or the deception, either of self or others, that would come along with proclaiming oneself to be a seer. Michael Gira intones “I see it all” rapidly, without emotion, like someone being driven mad, exploding into an orchestral explosion that lodges itself among the year’s most affecting musical experiences. The rest of the album moves between no wave noise rendered dramatic (“Mother of the World”) and frighteningly beautiful chamber folk, such as the stunning “Song for a Warrior,” abetted by a vocal from Karen O. Though it’s a harrowing experience, The Seer feels entirely essential, even as it sometimes also feels like a thousand ancient hands pulling you into the abyss.

 

24. The MenOpen Your Heart

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Top Albums of 2012 So Far

Posted by Billy Gil, June 28, 2012 05:27pm | Post a Comment
It’s that time of year again — time for best of music lists. No, it’s not December yet, but I don’t care. It’s Thursday and I want to make a list. Pick up all of these if you haven’t yet.
 
beach house bloom
1. Beach House - Bloom
 
Song for song, Beach House’s Bloom is the most consistently great album that’s been released this year. The band sounds more energized than ever, grasping the pop brass ring with songs like “Lazuli” and “Other People” that match hookiness for sheer beauty. If Beach House are this generation’s Cocteau Twins, this is their Heaven or Las Vegas.
 







fiona apple the idler wheel
2. Fiona AppleThe Idler Wheel
 
Fiona Apple is no less mad or maddening than before on The Idler Wheel…, but her venomous lyrics have a new sting, her vocals are more accomplished than ever, and her arrangements are as bravely tangled and unafraid of ugliness as her lyrical content.
 

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