Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mat's Albums and EPs of 2012

2012 was a great year for post-metal. Half of the albums on my list had something to do with post-metal, and I surprised myself by having two emo albums on there. However, my list pretty much explains itself, so I think it's better to follow through and read each description rather than explaining the list in the blurb up top. It is slightly important to note that I included some EPs I found notable, and separated the lists, rather than mash everything into one list. Click on the album or EP name to read our coverage.


5) 65daysofstatic - The Last Dance
The Last Dance was an EP that really reached out to folks that didn't know 65daysofstatic. It's more of a collection of songs from their previous albums and EPs that the band offered up for free on their own website. It was actually a very good compilation, since the band doesn't tend to offer up their music for free very much. In addition, the compilation actually goes back to We Were Exploding Anyway and Heavy Sky, so it's a broad range of their many, many musical offerings. Highly recommended to pick up from the band for free if you don't already listen to 65days or need a bit of an update.

4) Autism - Falling Motion
This band released their first ever release this year. It's really a pretty cool experimentation in post-metal and post-rock, and definitely worth taking a look at. The band has a pretty cool style that's very reminiscent of Beware of Safety, and could have a lot coming in the next year or so.

3) Mogwai - Les Revenants 
Released in the last half of the last month of 2012, Les Revenants is no less impressive than it would be released any earlier. The EP is intended to be a soundtrack for the French television series of the same name, but quite holds its own when listened to separately. Mogwai never fails to impress, and the song, while slightly set apart from their own style, fits the haunting mood that sets in with the translated title "Ghosts" quite nicely.

2) 10 Paces, Fire - Twenty / Twelve
Featuring the last two songs the band will ever write, 10 Paces, Fire gives us the last of their efforts in Twenty / Twelve. In that sense, and the song styles, it's a sad release, but it's incredibly solid, written in similar style to Lakes Refract & Lakes Reflect, but with a slightly more advanced and controlled sound. The band will be sorely missed; I could listen to a full album of songs like "Cosby Sweater" all day.

1) Chemtrail - Sounds Like Ghosts
Chemtrail released a wonderful EP this year, and it's definitely something worth paying attention to. Sounds Like Ghosts is an EP that features four original compositions and one acoustic cover, but thoroughly explores the atmospheric sound that Chemtrail so beautifully performs. It's a collection of B-sides and unreleased tracks from before Via Satellite to songs unused on Youth Obsessed Death Culture. "Prove You're Not A Robot" is a neat song that looks at the brighter side of post-rock and instrumentalism, while "Poison Bag" is pretty much incredible in every way. Highly recommended.


10) If These Trees Could Talk - Red Forest
If These Trees Could Talk write some pretty inspiring post-rock and some pretty crushing post-metal. They hit a really neat stride with Red Forest, and went for the much heavier side of their sound. The result is a dark, foreboding album that brings bitter despair as well as an incredible album in general.

9) Pray For Sound - Monophonic
I unfortunately didn't get the chance to review Pray For Sound's debut, but I did get the chance to listen to it, and it was a beautiful musical adventure. The album is an instrumental tale of the singular musician of the project, and how Bruce Malley struggled with hearing loss after a surgical procedure. It embodies a lot of pain and a lot of growth portrayed in the music, and it's an inspirational piece of work.

8) Again For The Win - We've Been Here Forever
Again For The Win has an incredible album that fits in with famous emo albums of the '90s, but also many mainstream alt-rock albums of today. The sheer combination of each of these leaves us with something really quite unique, and modernizes the 25-year-old genre to make it stand apart beautifully.

7) The American Dollar - Awake In The City
I picked this album up again the other day, and took a listen to re-familiarize myself with the album. The American Dollar had the idea to connect the listener with the city they live in, and I had that in mind when I listened again. It was a really neat listen knowing exactly what the band had in mind for the listener, and was once again bowled over by the album. It was a really cool release for the ambient genre and hasn't lost its touch.

6) Deathmole - Advances
Jeph Jacques writes a popular webcomic. He also makes very good music. His solo effort's latest release, Advances, although having somewhat odd song titles, progresses his heavy style while retaining just as much of his unique melodies. he has an interesting way about post-metal, and Deathmole's Advances is definitely worth a look if you haven't taken a listen to Deathmole yet.

5) Gifts From Enola - A Healthy Fear
This Mylene Sheath band is something to pay attention to. They have been, are, and will continue to be successful. Each and every one of the tracks on A Healthy Fear has musical genius shining through every crevice, and while the record doesn't necessarily shine through as one that flows, the tracks show more than enough solidity to stand alone by themselves, and the quality of the tracks is what really makes this album.

4) Take One Car - It's Going To Be A Nice Day
Take One Car has been consistent on my tops-of  list for a while. It's not a coincidence. It's Going To Be A Nice Day is some of the most melodic post-metal I've listened to, and while melody doesn't necessarily correlate to quality for most bands, it definitely does for Take One Car. Tyler Irish sings with powerful, powerful angst that carries any tune much beyond what it would be as an instrumental, and the tunes themselves have so much emotion behind them that they complement his voice beautifully.

3) Athletics - Who You Are Is Not Enough
Athletics basically wrote one song for this album. Then, they went at it in every possible angle they knew how to, and wrote four variations of the one song. The result is essentially a musical definition of sadness, and it is wonderful. Who You Are Is Not Enough is a somber, depressing record that has a message written in every second of every song. It  describes hope, fear, loss, pain and growth with incredible ease, and makes the album very worth listening to.

Caspian explores a darker side of themselves in Waking Season, and produce an essentially perfect record as a result. I'll describe the only reason it's not my #1 in the next post, but Caspian hits the nail on the head with this one. It has depth beyond what Caspian has released before, and aligns all of Caspian's strengths in a brilliant setlist. Absolutely pick up this best of post-rock records to get into Caspian, just to listen to Caspian's latest, or to hear my #1 post-rock record of the year.

1) Cursive - I Am Gemini
Cursive's I Am Gemini has persistence. Every time I listen to it, which is many times, it gets better and better. One would think that an album would get old after so many repetitions, but I have some 40 listens to it since January and it still has emotional merit and power beyond anything Cursive has released before. Needless to say the album is fantastic; a perverted story between two brothers and one's revenge against the other. The music is incredible, too; Cursive takes minor chords and whips them into submission, and then bends them and contorts them into styles that work brilliantly with the subject matter presented in Kasher's lyrics. The album is fantastic, and receives the top position of my list, which it more than deserves.

Honorable Mentions:
The Sun Explodes - Emergence
Anathema - Weather Systems
Efterklang - Piramida
Gates - You Are All You Have Left To Fear
Japandroids - Celebration Rock
Mono - For My Parents
Sigur Ros - Valtari
Mogwai - A Wrenched Virile Lore

1 comment:

  1. Pleased to see Caspian so high. Brilliant, brilliant record.