Ryan Taylor plays bass in BRAIN KILLER and runs the FRAMEWORK record label.
Baader Brains – New Era Hope Colony
New Era Hope Colony by Baader Brains was probably my most anticipated record of 2012. When the record finally got its chance to spin on my turntable, it somehow exceeded my extremely high expectations. It was everything I wanted, and more. Forward thinking, forward sounding, radical post-futurist hardcore punk presented in a way only Sarah Kirsch could. I cannot recommend this record more. For fans of punk, beauty, sound, and perfectly executed art. Rest in Peace Sarah Kirsch.
Merchandise – Children of Desire
Merchandise’s second proper album, Children of Desire, has gotten quite a bit of publicity since its release, and I feel it’s completely warranted. I thought I knew what to expect from this record, but I was totally wrong. Desire expels the muddy bedroom haze that I felt hindered their previous releases, and what we’re left with is a gorgeous, cohesive album that, impressively, doesn’t really sound like anything else happening right now. If you like New Order, then you will likely enjoy this record, but it doesn’t sound like New Order. I plan to be listening to this record for years to come.
Fred Thomas – Kuma
I love Fred Thomas. He might be my favorite current songwriter. I love his music so much that I put out a record for him this year (but not this one). Ernest Jenning Record Company had the honor of unleashing this gem, and it’s a killer. This record is named Kuma for two reasons: 1st as a tribute to Fred’s close dog friend, Kuma, and 2nd as a nod to Neil Young’s classic album, Zuma; Why? Because there are some some serious Neil Young vibes on this album. Contained within Kuma are 12 beautiful, heart-felt, skeletal, downer-folk tracks for the sad sweety in all of us. I’m sure I’m biased, but I love this. For fans of Jeff Mangum, Phil Elverum, and of course, Neil Young.
Dum Dum Girls – End of Daze EP
End of Daze is the perfect follow up to the Dum Dum Girls’ 2011 album, Only In Dreams. Daze continues on the unstoppable combination of sadness and melody that made Dreams so strong. This EP contains 4 new originals and a soul-crushing rendition Strawberry Switchblade’s “Trees and Flowers”. I can’t stop listening to this.
Interview with Maurice Sendak – The Believer, VOL. 10, NO. 9, NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012
The Believer’s final issue of 2012 included a beautiful interview with author, illustrator, Maurice Sendak. Both hilarious, and devastating, the interview presents us with Sendak’s unique thoughts on love, family, and the arts, from the perspective of a compassionate man nearing the end of his life. A wonderful read which displays an incomparable level of honesty. Here is an excerpt that I especially enjoyed:
BLVR: What do you think of e-books?
MS: I hate them. It’s like making believe there’s another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of book. A book is a book is a book. I know that’s terribly old-fashioned. I’m old, and when I’m gone they’ll probably try to make my books on all these things, but I’m going to fight it like hell. I can’t believe I’ve turned into a typical old man. I can’t believe it. I was young just minutes ago.