2012, End of Year Lists

Jeff Breeze’s top 20 of 2012


Jeff Breeze is the host of WMBR’s long running Pipeline radio program. He also plays in a number of band including the Concord Ballet Orchestra Players. 

His list:

Jeff Breeze’s top 20 of 2012

Trying to enumerate events is often an exercise in true futility, plus
the amount of crap I’d get if I admitted that Taylor Swift’s Red was
in my top 3 albums this year might not stop until 2014. This list
encompasses the top 20 local bands based on plays on Pipeline! during
2012, the only subjectivity comes when things were tied. Since we
played songs by 823 different bands out of the 1060 songs we played
during the year, plus 48 live band sets adding up to 28 hours of
music, nobody’s count reached too high.

Pipeline! airs every Tuesday from 8-10pm on WMBR 88.1, playing new
music from around New England with a live band every week.

20. Fat Creeps – Somehow all it takes are a couple of girls with
guitars and a guy on drums for the sounds of the ’90s to seem vital
again. While first listens had me digging for old Corndolly singles,
everyone in town seems to have a crush on someone in this band

19. Phantom Buffalo – Portland’s finest purveyors of smart pop
released their new album in France at the end of the year, and snuck
us enough songs in advance to make it on this list, and hopefully will
be back down early in 2013 showing off the concept album Tadaloora
that’s also the soundtrack to a video game the band made.

18. Earthquake Party – If you’ve heard a loud shaking coming from a
nearby basement, odds are these folks have had something to do with
it. They played live back in January and that really set the tone for
the year, and they haven’t slowed at all since.

17. Mmoss – The secret is out. Everyone knows who the best band in New
Hampshire is, and whenever there were new songs floating around, we
spun them. Their psychedelic majesty has only been harnessed by the
grooves of a record, and it’s fully appreciated by every ear that it

16. Coke Weed – These Bar Harbor folks toured with the Walkmen, and
they upstaged them when they did. Their new album was seriously
down-tempo, but these melancholy lamentations were the sort that you
could dream a second VU with Nico record might have sounded like.

15. CreaturoS – 2 parts Doomstar, 1 part Ketman, mix and stir. Like
many folks, their music was only sold on cassette, but the sounds they
made bled over so that everyone got caught up to such a degree that
they are playing live on January 1, to help us start 2013 the right

14. Hallelujah the Hills – Sure Guided by Voices reunited and put out
3 albums in 2012, but none of them matched the joyous excesses of
these Bostonians. Somehow they constructed an album of anthems for
people who only listen to their music on headphones.

13. Jeff Beam – He came down to WMBR from Maine with the Milkman’s
Union as a bass player, but the CD of his own tunes that he passed off
had some of the best hooks around and it kept lodging itself in my
head enough to make this list quite deservingly.

12. Lady Bones – Last time these kids played on the radio, they really
were kids, heck, they hadn’t even had Bones in their name or the
structure of their songs. Grown up enough to put some meat on their
bones, they are far from mature, but that just means there’s that much
more potential to grow on.

11. Marconi – Led by Luke Kirkland’s eerie baritone, it just seemed
essential for a radio show to spin tunes by a band named for the guy
who invented the long distance radio telegraph.

10. Sam Moss / STRING BAND / Howling Kettles – This local guitar
wizard was most noted for being the curator of the new Imagination
Anthem of modern guitarists, but he also started a revelatory old
timey band in his new home of Brattleboro that changed its name during
the year.

9. Royal Wedding – Spitfire and brimstone, and absolutely nothing to
do with William or Kate this marked the next step after the Big
Disappointments, and there’s no let down here at all.

8. White Pages – By the time you try to form an opinion on this local
trio, they’re probably already played 3 songs and you’re somewhere
beneath the boots of a joyous moshpit. Maybe, just maybe, there’s
still some life in punk rock.

7. King Tuff – Somehow after a dying, the rebirth of King Tuff was
made all the brighter by Sub Pop’s release of Kyle Thomas’ latest
endeavor. Nothing like Feathers or Witch, these hooks seem like they
come from Big Star fans wearing leather motorcycle jackets.

6. Nicholas Burgess – After working in both Clawjob and Hexmap, Nick
decided it was time to do things on his own and created a masterpiece
and followed it up with an EP. The only reason he didn’t play live
this year is he had no idea how to replicate this stuff on his own.
Now he’s got a band to help him translate these tunes, so be on the

5. RIBS – Criminally overlooked, these guys are local by dint of being
from Boston, but their scope and aim is on an international scope.
Rather than playing clubs once a month with hopes of a Phoenix
write-up, they are the band that’s got the NME in their crosshairs.

4. Speedy Ortiz – Packing punches that deliver the goods, this Western
Mass quartet ride an odd post-grunge wave that would get all the boys
nodding their heads along if they weren’t all too busy drooling after
Sadie as she sang.

3. Fat History Month – Given the frequency of their releases, this
Boston duo might determine that every month is fat history month.
Their incessant releases are only really a sign of their seemingly
limitless creativity. When that can still be done with just a guitar
and drums, there are some real signs of hope remaining.

2. A Severe Joy – The band is an anagram for Jose Ayerve, former
leader of the rock band Spouse. After more than a decade of shuffling
between Portland and Western Mass, and rotating a cast of characters
in and out of that band as necessary, he finally has really broken out
on his own as a masked marauder trying to get indie curmudgeons onto
the dance floor. The best part is that it works.

1. Debo Band – Ethiopian funk was originally birthed in Addis Ababa
when Mulatu returned to his homeland after being the first African
enrolled at Berklee back in the ’60s. This Boston ensemble coalesced
around their mutual love of that music, adding their own twists to
traditional melodies and creating their own well enough to be the only
American band embraced by both rockers locally and traditionalists in
Ethiopia. They’ve blown the doors wide open.

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