2012, BOSTON/NE BANDS, End of Year Lists, Uncategorized



Will Mayo performs as Double Awake and organizes shows as Slow Blood. He’s also everyone’s favorite bartender at Great Scott.

Aaron Dilloway – Modern Jester (Hanson)

The midwestern tape-noise master has really created an intense sonic crawlspace with this double-LP. Hypnotic, almost-soothing loops warble their way into other dimensions or mutate into jarring heaps of schizoid chaos. A chilling and pleasantly unsettling journey into the uncanny that ends in an open-ended cliffhanger.. Good luck lifting that needle on side 4, and don’t blame Dilloway if this record compels you to “shatter all organized activities”. It had to happen someday.

Andy Stott – Luxury Problems (Modern Love)

This eagerly-anticipated LP had the difficult task of living up to the promise of last year’s EP’s Passed Me By and We Stay Together. Stott was able to meet those expectations without becoming trapped in his style, expanding on the signature sound with a deeper ambience and processed vocals floating above the murky, compressor-driven grooves and smeared-to-bits samples. A massive release.

The Dreebs – Bait an Orchard (Rotted Tooth)

Tense and spooky songs that creepily tip-toe down dark hallways until they erupt into furious fits of manic, overtone-soaked stomping. This NYC-based trio is definitely carrying the torch lit by Mars and Sonic Youth but this ain’t yer daddy’s No-Wave. They just released a new one-sided 12″ called Humiliation and I’m gonna spoil my 2013 list right now and tell ya that’s gonna be on there, too.

Harry Pussy – One Plus One (Palilalia)

This double-LP collects early recordings of the classic Harry Pussy lineup of Adris Hoyos and Bill Orcutt. It’s noise-rock in it’s simplest form: spastic blasts of guitar and drums captured by a hand-held cassette recorder in all their abrasive, wild, and confrontational glory. It might sound like a mess but there’s a fabulous interplay at work between these two musicians, a maniacal conversation at top volume with a logic of it’s own.

Keith Fullerton Whitman – Generators (Editions Mego)

A perfect sonic snapshot of KFW’s modular wizardry in 2010. I was lucky enough to see him perform this set (or something similar) several times and this record really comes as close as anything could to capturing the experience of his mathematically generated (non-sequenced!) tones blissfully filling a room. This is the shit that would make even the rocker dudes sit the fuck down and let their jaws hang low.

Multicult – Spaces Tangled (Sleeping Giant Glossolalia)

This Virginian trio have crafted a surprisingly fresh sound that has it’s roots in bands like Big Black, The Cherubs, and Brainbombs but retains a certain post-hardcore flair for the melodic. The rhythm sections’ machine-like precision is impressive but not stiff, the perfect backbone for Nick Skrobisz’ nimble guitar work as well as his distinctive holler.

Six Organs Of Admittance – Ascent (Drag City)

I’m a longtime fan of contemporary guitar wizard Ben Chasny, not only Six Organs but his work with Comets On Fire, Rangda, and most recently 200 Years (with the equally prolific Elisa Ambrogio). This new record is already my favorite thing he’s done since the 2005 Six Organs release School Of The Flower. He’s continued to move away from the experimental folk of that era and expanded on the more conventional psych of Shelter From The Ash, with help this time around from his former Comets bandmates. The right dudes doing it right.

Prizehog – A Talking To (Gravity)

This west-coast trio blessed us with another sonic bulldozer, 3 hits of psychedelic amplifier-worship and thunderous riff-wielding complimented by eerie processed vocals and lush keyboards. Fans of Thrones, Boris, and Harvey Milk are strongly advised to order a copy of this 12″ EP from the legendary Gravity Records (all their classic punk/screamo/stoner-rock releases are STILL in print, by the way). They just moved to Portland, Oregon so they can afford to tour the US. Look out for them playing Boston the weekend of 4/20!

SWANS – The Seer (Young God)

Here’s another “eagerly anticipated” record which really wiped away the sour taste in my mouth left by their first post-reunion LP. That record felt rushed and awkward to me, the hard-to-capture power of SWANS somehow restrained by the production or perhaps too much dust left on the long-shelved chemistry. This double-LP finds them returning to form in a big way, with sections of distinctively sweaty, grinding dirges; epic forays into “post-rock” that would wilt most bands unfortunate enough to be labelled as such; and moments of tender beauty and raw experimentation which have room to breathe thanks to the longer format.

Vladislav Delay – Kuopio (Raster-Noton)

Masterfully glitched-out rhythms and minimal melodies shuddering their way through a delicately textured dub-space. Most of these gorgeous tracks tend to coalesce around a very persistent pulse but remain shrouded in overlapping syncopations and subtle dynamic shifts that really reward multiple listenings.

Honorable Mentions:
Raglani (LP), Lazy Magnet (tape, LP), Baroque Punks (bandcamp), Guerilla Toss (LP), Skimask (LP), Emeralds (LP), Container (LPs), Merchandise (LP), BANG! BROS. (tapes), Morgan Evans-Weiler (tapes).

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