2012: The Half Term Report
By: Rob Gannon
Already I hear you ask? With June almost done it is indeed time for the half term report. How is 2012 doing? Well, similar to last year the first few months weren’t awash with outstanding material, but the ball could not be more rolling now. As forever will be, if you disagree you’re simply looking in the wrong place. Here, in no particular order, is what’s been tickling my fancy most:
The out-of-nowhere award undoubtedly goes to Germany’s The Lost Rivers, whose industrial shoegaze/psyche-noise has even managed to out pulverise the efforts of their obvious influences. Never more in command of his singer-songwriting, the first half of 2012 has found The Tallest Man On Earth in unsurprisingly rich form. Japandroids‘ welcome return has more than maintained the duo’s status as the party-est punks around. Post-rock/noir synth enthusiasts Exitmusic too have come very good on their early promise and, though they may not be original having ransacked some of the choicest record collections around, The KVB‘s shoegaze/post-punk racket has really made a case for itself all the same.
Entirely more tender, Perfume Genius has nevertheless definitely found his voice in 2012 and in doing so has immediately aligned himself with the most famous gender-bending singer/composer of recent years. In not too dissimilar waters, and on this list for two years in a row, we also find the fragile Porcelain Raft whose laptronic singer-songwriting has been utterly mesmeric to a note. Delivering a real blast-from-the-past Cloud Nothings has now all but abandoned his former fuzz-pop guise in favour of some jaw-dropping emotive hardcore. Finally, keeping the female end up and seemingly unable to disappoint we have Sharon Van Etten‘s superlative singer-songwriting, as well as the female-led Poliça, whose maximalist multi-tracked auto-tune experimentation has to be heard to be believed.
So, despite a stumble or two (predominantly that god-awful Howlin‘ Rain album), and thanks to impending and likely favourable appraisal of promising releases from White Manna, Purity Ring, Chromatics and Light Asylum, 2012 is eventually starting to sound like every year on record – one of absolute note (puns intended).
That list of winners in full:
The Lost Rivers Sin And Lostness (Northern Star)
The Tallest Man On Earth There’s No Leaving Now (Dead Oceans)
Japandroids Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)
Exitmusic Passage (Secretly Canadian)
The KVB Always Then (Clan Destine)
Perfume Genius Put Your Back N 2 It (Organs)
Porcelain Raft Strange Weekend (Secretly Canadian)
Cloud Nothings Attack On Memory (Wichita)
Sharon Van Etten Tramp (Jagjaguwar)
Poliça Give You The Ghost (Memphis Industries)
Be more than free to offer your own selections by way of comment below …