giovedì 14 marzo 2013

My top ten of indie / alternative plays in 2012. Little personal chart and a very, very unofficial one

From the title it's clear that you will not find common names. I want to specific it right away.
In addition, the list of these top 10 albums that have fascinated me and sealed with glue to ear headphones for most or almost the last 2012, is mine, personal and there is nothing that is derived from the various "Worldwide Charts" etc. , if they exist. So, no pop music, no names too well known, no clubber beats.
And above all, I'm not degreeded in music and I'm not a music critic.
This is a list of plays that reflect my personal tastes so I do not want to see on your faces expressions like: "But I would not even put them on the chart". Or, "Why didn't she put this or that artist".
Or again: "Who the hell are these people?".
I 've warned you in advance!

I wanted to compile this list of 10 most interesting albums released in 2012, some are old acquaintances first-time solo, others are at theyre first debut album. Still, others had already made known in the past but have preferred to spend a few years in silence before returning to music scene with new proposals.
The judgment is based on the all-resulting of the album, the harmony created by all songs contained therein, better managed by the number of pieces contained in a single LP.
There will not be big names but mostly unknown artists into the mainstream, because I like to "make it strange" and to introduce newcomers to the great mass.
Some discoveries must be shared!

Soap & Skin--Narrow
10. Soap & Skin -- "Narrow"
Let's start with something relaxed and extremely alternative. It will be the voice of this girl so warm and heartbreaking at the same time. Will be the construction melodic synth sounds and beats that blend raw melodies on the piano that struck me from the beginning, the fact is that it was love at first listen. And to think that I had never heard anything before hitting upon this production, nosed around here and there among the new releases of the year.
At times hysterical, at times as sweet as honey tones on this album are unconventional.
Sounds rough added during the production that remind me of a very recent publication of Feist (her "Metals", to be precise), I was immediately intrigued and push towards a second and then third listening, and so on. That's something very primal, like the cries of a child: the sound that the voice of Soap & Skin at times reminds me. The girl is special.
Listen to relaxing with a glass of wine in hand. Or in a winter evening we want pampering in the folds of being human.
Recommended listening: "Voyage, Voyage", the heavy synth of "Deathmental" and then be soothed by "Cradlesong" and "Wonder".

Cat power--Sun
09. Cat Power -- "Sun"
By something in low-tempo we switch to something ... complicated! Well, Chan Marshall is famous for being not a linear woman and a predictable one and after a solo album released almost six years ago, almost shelved depression and love delusions, she's back shaking her style almost consolidated of chanteuse du mal vivre.
Not that she's suddenly become cheerful and positive; she has always that malaise which is expressed in the bass distorted and complicated lyrics, in rhythmic hiccup that we hear in this new effort.
It isn't completly true that her style is upset; actually starting from that - guitar in hand, a few chords fetched - only then it was remixed by Philippe Zdar (Cassius), and the result is this very innovative product, never tiring.
Try it yourself, even if you never approached to Miss Marshall.
"Cherokee", "3, 6, 9," "Human Being", "Peace And Love": a little 'remind us of the past and a little' make a leap into the future.
Long, hypnotic but don't have to miss it: "Nothing But Time" ft. Iggy Pop.

Ty Segall-Twins
08. Ty Segall -- "Twins"
Psych me out! And this is just the first of two albums that seems to come from the 70s that I will propose (and I'm not particularly fanatical of the genre).
This third work in 2012 for our Ty, is the first solo album and I hope not the last. That were more often these flashes of genius that last three minutes each! Fresh, well-made, acid and garage untill the end.
Also 'summer-likable'; I already feel the endorphins that propagate along my veins. In addition it has the power to catapultarti directly on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco that is not from all.
Of hard and raw there are many, but so good and with such a strong sense of aesthetics, there are numbered.
The chaos is only apparent even though to an untrained ear it may not seem obvious.
And then, a nod to Nirvana never hurts.
"Thank God For Sinners", "Inside Your Heart", "Would You Be My Love", "They Told Me Too", "The Hill", you will understand why I love so much this festival of psychedelia.

Mumford & Sons--Babel
07. Mumford & Sons - -"Babel"
I had missed these four country-guys! As this work reminds me a lot the sounds of its predecessor ("Sigh No More"), and then design an evolution almost non-existent, I could not give up to listen at it, and listen ... and listen.
There's nothing to do: damn them and that banjo unleashed that accompanies them wherever they go! I can't help but want to dance like a mad woman possessed to the rhythm of their joy.
And this is the great beauty of this work: the world is a confused Babel, cultures, languages, different feelings are mixed indiscriminately, but now, you can not help but live this existence with hope, strength and a smile on your face .
Keep it up!
I suggest in particular: "Babel," "I Will Wait", "Lover's Eyes", "Hopeless Wanderer", even though as this album should be listened to everything in order to enter fully into unmistakable sound of this English band.

Jake Bugg--Jake Bugg
06. Jake Bugg -- "Jake Bugg"
And I hate the self-titled albums of artists.
This kid is just eighteen years old whom is a rookie who poses as a great artist. But it does so with such a conviction and skill that I almost fell for it.
In fact, the album is a little gem of talent pouring from every note and even a lot of musical and compositional immaturity that though - if started on the right path - promises to make history.
Here is this young new Elvis Costello, or even young Mr. Zimmerman if you really want to agree with the criticisms all over world, which promises to give a dream.
The album should be heard in all its influence to Simon & Garfunkel, very acid-folk or simply folk-blues, but the pieces that absolutely must be passed in review at least once are "Lightning Bolt", "Simple As This", " Country Song"  and "Trouble Town"- the latter especially to understand how the eye to the past this young artist has, promises a bright future.

Tame Impala--Lonerism
05. Tame Impala -- "Lonerism"
Probably if I had twenty-five years in the 60s/70s, I would have done everything in my power to participate in the concert of Woodstock. And after my musical preferences confirmed by this chart, there are no more doubts.
Tame Impala also seem to come from an acid trip since the Peace and Love culture, yet they occupy a step higher than Ty Segall, however, that raised the genre in the sub-culture generation. Why? Because we are in front of a band still searching for innovation in every sound that produces, in every little guitar riffs, with every touch of the keyboard, the sound is distorted at best.
The funny thing is that they seem, however, a sort of Pink Floyd dressed according to the fashion of the twenty-first century who meeting with the Beatles in their most psychedelic period, with the same sounds distorted and hallucinatory but with a very aloud battery that's sometimes too monotonous.
However into lack of originality, because they refer to a genre soooo vintage, they try and then succeed in bringing to light a genre that belonged more to our parents.
Try to believe: "Apocalypse Dream", "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards", "Elephant", "Led Zeppelin (bonus track)", and "Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control".

Band Of Skulls--Sweet Sour
04. Band Of Skulls -- "Sweet Sour"
I fell in love with these three guys, that play as if they were thirty, back in 2009 and since then I have done nothing but play their album on loop on the iPod. When I found out that they would return with a brand new work, I abandoned all caution and booked immediatly their second LP. Given their presence in this list, they didn't let me down.
Almost every song on this album is a success and makes you feel like on a roller coaster. Try to run in order the first three tracks: the agreements of the homonymous aggressive "Sweet Sour", the syncopated rhythms of the beautiful "Bruises" and then relax yourself with a sweet and very bluesy "Lay My Head Down".
And the start again with a boom with "The Devil Take Care Of His Own".
In short, there is something for all tastes: from the workpiece typically garage to thypical soundtrack ballad.
For them whom have been told that they get what is left of the crumbs of the White Stripes, as if to be an offense. Well, crumbs are very successful.
Complete the listening "Wanderluster", "Lies" and "Close To Nowhere."

And now the podium. 
For the next album I think it's fair to list the entire tracklist.

Lana Del Rey--Born To Die
03. Lana Del Rey -- "Born To Die"
  1. Born To Die
  2. Off To The Races
  3. Blue Jeans
  4. Video Games
  5. Diet Mountain Dew
  6. National Anthem
  7. Dark Paradise
  8. Radio
  9. Carmen
  10. Million Dollar Man
  11. Summertime Sadness
  12. This Is What Makes Us Girls
  13. Without You
  14. Lolita
  15. Lucky Ones

Of this artist I have already spoken in detail but I can't help and I have to repeat myself.
The lady is insipid and has nothing to say? False. It 'a plastic character created to pearce the mainstream around her? Maybe, although I think the girl is just so, so beautiful that it seems fake. Her vocal talent is limited and she's not this great interpreter? Yes and no; certainly miss Grant still needs some lessons in singing but you certainly can not say that with those deep tones doesn' t give you chills.
This is a great album and there's no song in It that doesent' border perfection. Melodies studied untill the smallest detail to give that retro '50s and '60s style that makes the whole LP absolutely captivating and different from the usual soups heated - pass me the term.
Lyrics reminiscent of the old glories of the past, when Hollywood and Los Angeles were still dreamlands.
Sweetness and bitterness alternate each other during the all entire LP... In short, the first work of Lana recognized by the bulk is a great starting point for a great career ahead. I hope that provides for further maturation and experimentation genres that I will follow with interest.
Because the girl is like the sky that you see into the art cover: peaceful, but inlaid with gray clouds which interrupt the unnatural perfection

Jack White--Blunderbuss
02. JackWhite -- "Blunderbuss"
  1. Missing Pieces
  2. Sixteen saltines
  3. Freedom At 21
  4. Love Interruption
  5. Blunderbuss
  6. Hypocritical Kiss
  7. Weep Themselves To Sleep
  8. I 'm Shakin'
  9. Trash Tongue Talker
  10. Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy
  11. I Think I Should Go To Sleep
  12. On And On And On
  13. Take Me With You When You Go


And then Jack White returns.
This time with a solo project that made thrilled, as soon as I heard about it. Of pure joy, of course.
I know him from the beginning of his career and I have followed him up until his latest work for his independent label Third Man Records.
The wonderful thing is that starting from a garage sound and a dirty one, very rock and then very hallucinating (with Dead Weather), then moving on to more bluesy sound that is his declared passion and musical inspiration with The Raconteurs, now our dear Jack puts in this work all of this genres together and delivers us a suffered, complete and mature full album.
Ripe enough to bring him to definitive consecration as one of today's Masters of Rock.
Starting with songs that reminds of the splendor of the White Stripes, as "Missing Pieces", "Sixteen Saltines" and then let us do a check with "Freedom At 21" that has combined with the Dead Weather's production, could not miss the brackets blues of "Love Interruption" - magnificent in its disarming simplicity and simple structure of the melody - and "Blunderbuss".
White's career stages are just all here starting from the original ones to the most classic, of all being true respectful of what was once the kind of folk-blues. And how not to mention the fabulous cover of "I'm Shaking", original song of 1960 and revived with a sound adapted to the XXIth century.
"Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy" is a classic piece from The Raconteurs but there is no greater satisfaction than to hear the introduction of "On And On And On"; the sound seems to come directly from the dusty streets of Nashville and the repetition of the chorus in that urgent way appeals to you and forces you to restart the disc to enjoy every nuance.
Eventually Jack White is an entrepreneur of himself, a proponent of the most different and eclectic musical projects of the last decade, multi-instrumentalist and author of the best-known independent music on earth (who can forget "Seven Nation Army" or the magnificent and powerful cover of "I Just Do not Know What To do With Myself"?), and last but not least one of the biggest rock star of this century.
This LP is the proof and the final confirmation.

01.Thenewno2 -- "Thefearofmissingout"


  1. Station
  2. Wide Awake
  3. Timezone
  4. I Will not Go
  5. Hanging On
  6. Looking Beyond
  7. The Wait Around
  8. Staring Out To Sea
  9. Make It Home
  10. The Number

I'm afraid my favorite band of who-the-are-hell-they, will soon become ah-are-those-of-Beautiful-Creatures-saga. Since I discovered that they were working on the soundtrack of "Beautiful Creatures", in fact I got shocked. But then I thought that maybe this could be the way they would have gotten a bit 'of world-wide consideration they deserve. Beacause this band is really good.
George Harrison's son, Dhani Harrison (Dhani, I love you ... but what kind of name you got?), founded this band in 2009 along with a couple of puny fellow adventurers, but the project takes so much shape that currently the band has six members. All that mattered to these guys when they decided to join their artistic forces was to make music so that's why they chose a name that does not suggest anything material or real. Simply "The new number 2": the choice seemed legitimate because the high-sounding name of the frontman and guitarist, Dhani Harrison.
After a debut on the sly and not particularly relevant - the usual work of an indie band that does not want to be labeled in any musical defined genre - they achieved harmony that bringed them to maturity at this second job.
"Thefearofmissingout" is bold, experimental and awfully good. I love, literally, when someone tries to get out of the schemes being able to maintain this identity and that's what happens in this LP.
A perfectly integrated mix of synth-rock, rap and ambient music.
It makes you think.
This "Thefearofmissingout" makes you realize it's not good to remain anchored to stay within a genre and never attempts to experiment measured, accurate, clear and thorough. Because is such a studied album that we're talking about. Clean in every sound and linear as just a concept album can be.
The fear of not being able to reach an objective and continuous seeking reassurance that everything will go smoothly, that you're not alone, is the recurring theme of this work.
The ethereal voice of Dhani, sometimes even a little 'feminine in those acute, stylized vocals, increases the effect of time dilation that the listening to this album brings you.
In short, it is a real bomb that we're talking about.
That 's why I'm so afraid that from now on this very valuable band is likely to be identified with the franchise for which they wrote the soundtrack. I wouldn't them to do the end of other good bands - such as Death Cab For Cutie, for example - that after participating in a similar project, have known worldwide success and then brought them to a loss of identity, consequential and obvious decay (Death Cab splitted, just to be clear).
I hope that for Thenewno2's fate can be different.
Fingers crossed.
Hope Valentine.

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