Album: Free Dimensional
Rec’d Tracks: 1, 3, 5, 8
Comments: Expression and glam (shaving half your head and wearing a lot of eye-makeup) seem to go hand and hand since like, the 80’s. From the Culture Club to Lady Gaga, pop has never been so misunderstood, and so intensely loved for just that reason. Those ideas, aren’t going to just disappear, so we shouldn’t be surprised to see most of these ‘expressive’ tracks as an outlet for Diamond Rings to form some identity the public can ‘accept’ and get on board with. Not that they will, or that they ever cared. Shit, it’s 2012 and I could care less that you like dress like a dude and a chick, at the same time, or not at all. I like some of your songs, they are catchy and what pop is supposed to be. So let’s leave it at that sometimes huh?
Genre: Glam Pop
Artist: The Amazing
Album: Gentle Stream
Rec’d Tracks: 2, 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 14
Comments: Gentle Stream accentuates frolicking guitar solos and massive ties to Crazy Horse Neil Young-era symphonics. This foundation is completely overpowering and intriguing due to the assumptive influences that spur The Amazing into a category not seen in a current scene of synths and indie pop. Gentle Streams’ cover art blasts you into the past from the initial pick-up, imagining a striking record pulled out of a dusty sleeve; a gem being uncovered for the first time since forty years prior. Alas though, The Amazing successfully channels past proven leanings while being released in 2012 as ‘fresh’ and provoking. As was much of the 60’s, Gentle Stream is a melodic, intense headphones record. Sustaining a genuine interest through the second half of the record, it’s not often you see a stronger end to a strong beginning. Tracks 6-9 really test the best qualities of Nick Drake, and what a great homage that is. This record deserves time to seep in, but in doing so gladly invites multiple listens to hear every nuance and detail.
Genre: Classic Folk Rock
Artist: Ty Segall
Rec’d Tracks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8
Comments: I’m entirely consumed by how this guy has managed to make not one, not two, but three amazing records in one year. Maybe I’m pleasantly surprised because, it shouldn’t be so easy. Bands don’t make music like this anymore. To step into a studio, press record, and go apeshit like Ty often does, is not an avenue even existent for most artists. Letting the fuzz, reverb, and snarls breath and die, just as they would live, is so god-damn wonderful. So maybe the conclusion is that more artists should stop ‘caring’ so much on recorded perfection and just jam the fuck out. I say all this with a disclaimer because Ty Segall has the possession of the devil and the blessing of his own madness to steer him towards greatness. Ha, if everyone could do it, I would hope they would. Maybe we should be glad there are only so many Ty Segall’s out there. What would we do with so MUCH good music all the time?
Genre: Garage Rock
Artist: For Fear The Hearts Of Men Are Failing
Album: The Wonderful Clatter
Rec’d Tracks: 1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 11
Comments: With a band name so annoying and inexplicitly difficult to care about such as ‘For Fear…’, you better hope something encompassed by such a name is worth a half-hearted listen. Maybe I should have seen it coming, but I’d be a liar to admit I was expecting drunken slurred back porch old-time folk to come screeching from this album. Alley cats and rusted tin cans are picking up their losses and headed for the hills, while this Oakland troupe is just warming up on traditionals and accessing how much whiskey it’s going to take to record a ‘reputable’ effort. That’s what is intriguing here. The obvious laidback aesthetic and ‘Who-gives-a-shit’ frolic is reminiscent of old O’Death and Larry and His Flask, and completely welcome here in the wintery unforgiving transition to Alaskan darkness. Where is Oakland hiding these guys?
Genre: Ol’ Time Drunken Folk