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“A little more volume in the headphones, please …”

Might as well start with my fave song of 2012, then get to the other goodies … and some of Threedonia’s faves in the comments.

Hey, looky there: new music (well, new to me at least)
The Stripminers’s Movies — Thank you X for inviting The Stripminers (featuring The Donna’s Brett Anderson and X’s own DJ Bonebrake on drums) to open for your Roxy show last August. The interplay between Anderson and Paul Stinson (also guitar) echoes the best X’s Exene and John Doe bring to the table, capturing both the Stripminers’ raucous energy and subdued moments from stage to album, as well throwing in banjo and accordions. Frail Hope Ranch the band’s second album of 2012 doesn’t contain as many catchy songs as Movies, but its haunting mood, laid out over the course of how album experiences used to be, taken in one sitting, make the sophomore album just as damn good.

Muse’s The 2nd Law — Keyboard atmospheres not too shabby with falsettos and vocal harmonies as sweet as this. The Mrs. now has me digging Muse’s back catalog as well. Tastiest non-Van Halen or Bob Mould solo at 3:07 of the above tune, too, reminding me of what were so awesome about Andy Summer’s solos on Police songs: may be short, but damned if they don’t make the most of their measures.

Neon Trees’ Picture Show
Torche’s Harmonicraft

We’re still here, and we can still kick out the jams and/or your ass
Van Halen’s A Different Kind of Truth — As documented in these Threedonia parts many times over the last few years, I’d written off this band, so never saw this album coming, arguably the heaviest of their catalog. Much like Billy Idol should never not work with Steve Stevens — and as much as I like VH’s Sammy years — Eddie and David Lee Roth should always use each other as foils. Don’t care how much they get on the others’ nerves.

Bob Mould’s Silver Age — Mould’s dabbling with electronica wisely takes a back seat as he does what he does best: front a trio who delivers blistering guitar solos in front of a monster rhythm section.

Kid Rock’s Rebel Soul — Not surprising a guy who’s been around the Hollywood block a time or five would release an album this sleazily infectious. A welcome return to the down and dirty style which put him on the map, albeit with an air of respectability and the previously mentioned nod to our men and women overseas.
Dr. John’s Locked Down
Rush’s Clockwork Angels
John Hiatt’s Mystic Pinball — Even after a career of little but awesomeness, how this guy cranks out two beyond-solid albums in back-to-back years still astounds me. Sure glad he does, though.

Prong’s Carved into Stone — Strongest release from these fellers since 1994’s Cleansing. Hardly a shock since the guitars and tone so closely resemble that ear-blaster.

Soundgarden’s King Animal
Blues Traveler’s Suzie Cracks the Whip — Everything which used to annoy me about this band I suddenly seem to love. I hate getting older.
Beach Boys’ That’s Why God Made the Radio
The Cult’s Choice of Weapon

The Fixx’s Beautiful Friction

Asia’s XXX
Texas Hippie Coalition’s Peacemaker
Big Boi’s Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors — Channeling Prince in the Controversy-era lyrics department, dripping with sex on nearly every track, I still implore the non-rap folks to at minimum cue up “In the A” (as in Atlanta) to the 4:40 mark for the best socially conscious words I’ve heard since Chuck D encouraged kids to hit the books way back in Public Enemy’s heyday.
ZZ Top’s La Futura
Accept’s Stalingrad
The Whigs’ Enjoy the Company

Both kinds: country and western!
Lucero’s Women & Work
Nashville Soundtrack — Damn you, T Bone Burnett, guiding and gathering tunes from the town I find myself referring to as Hank III’s choice of “Trashville” less and less with each show. Second fave song of the year here:

Hank Williams Jr.’s Old School, New Rules — Damn you, Amazon Digital Albums, offering this one for $2.99. Eh, had to own a Hank Jr. album at some point, and this one ain’t too shabby.

Much ado over what I still like better from The Pogues and The Waterboys
Mumford & Sons’ Babel — Good to great tunes? No argument. Really annoyed by all the hubbub from people who never gave two shites about Irish music before this, though, to the point I consider those folks the equivalent of fans of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” something cited mainly to sound cool. I know it shouldn’t affect my opinion of the music, but it does. Let loose the slings and arrows, Threedonia.

Once more, with more (Re-Issues)
Sugar’s catalog (Copper Blue, Beaster EP, File Under: Easy Listening, plus two live shows), aka some of the best rock and roll of not only the 1990s; Judas Priest’s Screaming for Vengeance, the accompanying DVD of their full appearance at the 1983 US Festival pure metal icing; Johnny Cash’s The Soul of Truth – Bootleg Vol. IV, unleashing 52 songs (14 previously unreleased) of what the Man in Black did better than few others: gospel; Pantera’s Vulgar Display of Power, now including no-longer-lost track “Piss.”

Fave 1970s album I’d never heard till this year
Ace Frehley’s KISS-era self-titled solo album. If KISS albums sounded more like this back in the day, I’d be more than a “greatest hits” kind of fan. “Rip It Out,” “Speedin’ Back to My Baby,” “Snow Blind” and “Ozone Baby.” That’s how to start an album. Nine tracks which follow melt the face just nicely as well.

Fave “Better Late than Never” 2011 discovery in 2012
Vintage Trouble’s The Bomb Shelter Sessions. As much as INXS may have thought JD Fortune had the Michael Hutchence look and vibe, the band’s loss when not choosing Ty Taylor in their “Rock Star” show becomes our gain. Terence Trent D’Arby is alive and well in the 21st century and his name’s Ty Taylor, with a much more funkily rockin’ band to boot.

TOP 10 of 2012
10. Rush / Clockwork Angels
9. Texas Hippie Coalition / Peacemaker
8. ZZ Top / La Futura
7. The Fixx / Beautiful Friction
6. John Hiatt / Mystic Pinball
5. Bob Mould / Silver Age
4a. and 4b. The Stripminers / Movies, Frail Hope Ranch
3. Kid Rock / Rebel Soul
2. Dr. John / Locked Down
1. Van Halen / A Different Kind of Truth

6 comments to “A little more volume in the headphones, please …”

  • Some of those are available for $5 album downloads on Amazon too (THe Fixx, Bob Mould, etc.).

    I don’t keep up with music like I used to, though I did get into M83 a lot this year

    The song/album was released late 2011 but I got into it this last year.

  • Thanks for the M83 tip, Sir Floyd! Thanks for also apparently being the only person who hasn’t switched exclusively to Classical and/or Talk Radio.

    Also purchased at the $5 Amazon album downloads: Asia, Blues Traveler, Beach Boys, The Cult, Dr. John, Rush, Ace Frehley, Lucero and John Hiatt. The VH and ZZ Top were also available at that price, but I sprung for the CDs.

  • JimmyC

    Given that at least five out of your Top 10 have been famous since the ’90s or earlier, this just stands as more evidence supporting my theory that music has really started to suck since the turn of the century. (As opposed to the alternate theory that I’ve grown up into a grumpy bastard who automatically rejects the music of any generation younger than mine, because hey, that’s just crazy talk).

    Agreed with Floyd on M83, and I’d also add the album “Love” by Angels & Airwaves to the list; a great listen for those who are into such things.

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