In order to properly close out this year, I’ve compiled a shortlist of what has stood out in this corner of the musical world in the past twelve months and what I am personally looking forward to in the next.
1. Pierrot Lunaire – Theme for Ascension and Eternal Love
January on Hooker Vision
It may seem odd to put a 7” at the top of this list, but for such a short release I found this to say much more than I thought a few minutes of music could. It remains huge on nostalgia while reeking of a painful, tongue-in-cheek surrealism. It is incredibly difficult to find anything to dislike about a record that leaves you completely satisfied with no desire to put anything else under the needle.
2. Miami Angels in America – A Public Ranking
March on Night-People
Probably the most original and darkest release to come out of 2012, Miami Angels in America (Alternately, cited as Angels in America on The Narrow Road to the Interior and Allergic to Latex) delivered an album that was incredibly crunchy and desperate. This album is certainly the strongest and most cohesive I have heard from the group as well as the least apologetic.
3. Mike Bruno and the Black Magic Family Band – The Willing of the Wisps
August on Haute Magie
Every track on this album pulls on something familiar in your ear, the collection is organized beautifully, and the album is recorded and mixed with just the right amount of degradation to put it just far enough out of reach to make it sound mystical. Definitely my most listened to over the past few months. Stream it or download here.
4. Golders Green – Suite n°2 in Drone Major (op.3)
August on BLWBCK
By far this album has the strongest organization (maybe in competition with Confluences) and clearly the most impactful musical moment of 2012. It is certainly my favorite drone release of the year. Of musicians to focus on motion in regards to the sense of space, this does the job the most organically and effectively. Available to stream and download for free here.
5. Brother Sun, Sister Moon – Brother Sun, Sister Moon
April on Cooper Cult/BLWBCK
Filled with light degraded faux-pop and ambient gems, this tape occupied my deck for a decent bit of the year. This group takes the skill of ambient composition that Merz’s“Birds of Passage” group has and takes about three steps in every genre direction by the time the album concludes. Very much a new, sunny and sedated shoegaze. Stream or download here.
Jen Paul / No Lakes - ✝ (February on Haute Magie)
Really a great release, the cassette covers a LOT of ground drifting from large drone/ambient constructions with layers of flowing guitar and synthesizer to intimate, degraded solo guitar and whisper vocals effortlessly. You can expect everything from desolation and huge expanses to incredibly warm and intimate guitar ballads. Stream it here.
Coyote Image Classic - Coyote Image Classic (December on Hooker Vision)
Clearly the strongest warm release of this year, it is an album I have really fallen in love with since it dropped earlier this month. Check it out if you haven’t. Stream or download it here.
Also wrapping up this year, I am still trying to get a hold of a copy of Perinde Ac Cadaver’s Exercitia Spiritualia which unfortunately for me sold out on Discriminate about a little over a week ago. Might be worth a look.
1. Grouper - The Man Who Died in His Boat (February 4 on Kranky)
2. Sádon – Earth (January 14th on BLWBCK)
Stream tracks 4 & 5 here.
3. Cooper Cult's upcoming releases, notably whatever is upcoming by Love Cult.
4. Any new releases from Haute Magie, especially after the incredibly unique, night-psych cassette Bathus’ Bastien earlier this month.
Also in 2013 you can expect more original digitally distributed releases as well as the occasional cassette or CD-R from us. A few small things are in the works as of now and we expect that by the summer you should see a few more cassettes popping up. We will keep you up to date via our site and social media.