Well, here we are. We weren't thrust into a new dark age oblivion, the world didn't end and neither did my workaday quest for the best music for the day. This year was rife with records that just had to be snatched -- reissues, compilations, and a fair few newbies too.
Here follows my personal, "show and tell" style best-of list for 2012: the year that didn't stop the big wheel a-turnin'. Rather than just dicing up a list of cold-cut favorites, I've included personal events and trends herein that shaped the music I sought and gravitated towards within the past year.
BEST NEW ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Jessica Pratt - JP. No contest. I have naught but the best of things to say about this disc of spun gold and I'm not alone. It seems every Barry, Rob, and Maurice in the blogosphere has been falling all over this record like autumn leaves in the rain. If you really want to know my take check out my real talk review of JP here, otherwise please do enjoy the album's opening track, "Night Faces" below.
BEST 2012 REISSUE: It's a tie between two (Numero related) comps: WTNG 89.9FM: Solid Bronze and & Personal Space: Electronic Soul 1974 - 1984. Both platters piled high with private press oddments and rarities one could hardly go more wrong than to miss out on these two exemplary feats of the compilation arts. The former being a point of revision for many in that it is essentially a mix of largely unheard "yacht rock"/AOR triumphs of seventies song-writing sensibilities (man, is it ever sensibly sensitive) that confronts one's moral definition of guilty (listening) pleasures. The latter comp, Personal Space - a seemingly dark horse among the usual reissue fare fleshing out the the soul comps shelf space, made the rounds among Amoeba staff regularly thus enjoyed a healthy amount of in-store play as well. Chock full of rhythm-box workouts a la Sly Stone, Timmy Thomas and Shuggie Otis, it's a far-out soul/funk excavation of the highest order. Both of these are solid front-to-back listens for the home vinyl library/curio corner.
The new Sun Araw, Off Duty, is out this week on Woodsist and, man, is it as heavy as he's ever been...
...and the good news is that if you spaced on picking up Boat Trip on vinyl, the good folks at Woodsist have included it on the CD release of Off Duty. For those of you who've long been riding on the so-called "chill wave" (I prefer to call it "berm highs," but what's a girl to do) this release is as essential as Sun Araw's previous nuggets of music made by people taking drugs to make music to take drugs to, or music to not take drugs to because the music is so "druggy" you don't have to. Seriously, I don't see ever coming back from the next-next level trips that come of digging into Sun Araw with a juggernaut of a buzz on, just sayin. Anyhoo, if you like space, beaches, Spacemen 3, Lee "Scratch" Perry's 'Black Arc' period and never fake the funk, then consider this your next stop on the midnight train to oblivion....