Flag75 "Adhesion" (Electrax Recordings): Daniel Cuminale "Surface Signal" (Audiosignal): Mintech "Rock In Peace" (Electrax Recordings): Spiros Kaloumenos "Last Of The Last" (Focus): Jan Marks "Is That You" (Audiosignal): Hirax "La Bocca de la Bestia" (Metalhit): Jaydan & Renegade "Dead People" (Smokin' Riddims): Preditah "Red Bull" (Earth 616): Tex-Rec "Amstrong Part 1" (Hybrid Confusion): Peverelist "Stableface" (Soul Motive): Leghau "Clipper" (RemuteD): Cortechs "The Bane" (Mechno Music): Merky Ace "Eff Tizzy" (Family Tree): Ramson Badbonez "My Shit" (King Kong Holding Company): The Proctors / Apple Orchard split (Dufflecoat): Spiros Kaloumenos "Meteor" (Driving Forces): Forest People "Servant Spirits" (Analogeffekt): Frankyeffe "Without Pause" (Diva): Wu-Block featuring Jadakiss "Stick Up Kids" (E1): The Pains of Being Pure at Heart "Jeremy" / "My Life Is Wrong" (Slumberland): André Walter "Corporate Vultures" (Stigmata Digital): Bad Brains "Into The Future" (Megaforce Records)
One reason our post count this year increased by um, 2000% (pretty much a hard stat for once, rather than exaggeration!) was a desire to quit with that old-school "occasional but epic post" nonsense and instead be modern, slick, no-prisoners, up to the minute, twitter-friendly, no more than 140 characters per review, all that. We failed - *sigh* - meaning amongst other things that we built up a backlog of other records we enjoyed over the year that we never got near describing for you, because we were too busy over-wittering on about the ones we did get round to writing about.
So you'll understand that we must *must* MUST grab, right now, this last, heaven-sent opportunity to PROVE our newly-acquired minimalist review technique credentials by reviewing the first nineteen records here, mostly ones we meant to review months back, using a total of two, unmeticulous but accurate words:
*And* we're going to see Wu-Block in a few weeks. Woo. I mean, Wu.
As for the three that are left: well, the Pains need no introduction and you all will have bought everything they've ever done the nanosecond it was released, meaning that this single will be very old news. For our sins, we haven't invested in every record, not recently, but we've still seen them more than any other band over the last few years or so, and they mean a huge amount. Anyway, the cover of the Magnetic Fields' "Jeremy" is able enough, but it's "My Life Is Wrong" which they really seize quite brilliantly. We love East River Pipe, but if anything we actually prefer the Pains' version, which takes an early feedback-soaked stranglehold and does not, *will* not, let go.
When This Many Boyfriends' "Starling" fluttered into view, it 'inspired' us to list a few of our favourite, um, bird-related tunes, although we omitted to include Wire's rather smart "Culture Vultures". We're reminded to add it to the roll now, of course, thanks to the new André Walter single, which becomes at least the second best song ever with "vulture" in its title (putting New Order's "Dub-vulture" in third), a typically invigorating slab of high-octane alt-techno which is a little more direct, a little less minimally abstract than AW's excellent SWR outing "Infrasound" a few years ago,
"a rather intricate exercise in techno pointillism that oscillates rolling, ricocheting rhythms with jacking spring-heeled hydraulics, all sprinkled liberally with pitch modulation"
apparently. "Corporate Vultures" is, we hope, a nod to the still-scandalous excesses of any number of financial institutions and their still-willing lickspittle apologists, but even if it isn't, it's a fine piece of music.
One left, but one worth waiting for. We had Bad Brains' last LP "Build A Nation" in our top five albums of 2007:
"not only includes some of the dreamiest, most perfectly-picked roots reggae we've heard for a country while but also some of the more coruscating hardcore tunes we've encountered since the heyday of the great m.d.c..."
Anyway, "Build A Nation"'s follow up, "Into The Future", carries on the good work. In keeping with our newfound commitment to keep things brief, we will restrict our thoughts to a mere sentence or two. When punk first burst upon us all back in the 1970s via some of our cities' staider suburbs, it would probably not have been thought likely that the best punk album of 2012 would be made by four fiftysomething Rastafarians from DC: but it's happened. Like its predecessor, the album combines confident HC stylings ("Youth Of Today", "Into The Future"), fizzing sub-90 second firecrackers ("Yes I", "Come Down") and dub and reggae-soaked sizzlers ("Jah Love", "Rub A Dub Love"), but what really makes it special is the rousing last ten minutes, comprised of bountiful, plucked reggae instrumental "Make A Joyful Noise" and the moving, brass-tinged tribute, "MCA Dub" to close. Magical.