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WILD NOTHINGNOCTURNEORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 27TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #21Using the term “dream pop” to describe Wild Nothing’s brilliant second album at first seems a little redundant. Awash in a sea of one-trick pony acts who also befit this somewhat elusive terminology, Wild Nothing could easily fade into obscurity to the ears of anyone not truly paying attention. I say this because “Nocturne” is quite simply a wonderful treasure, one that really reveals itself in beautiful synth-laden pop hooks, gauzy reverb and spangly guitar effects across eleven tracks. It might come as no surprise that “Nocturne” is best experienced through headphones as lead vocalist Jack Tatum attempts to transport his listeners to another time and place. The title track opens with cascading drums and a wall of sound that sets the tone for the romantic, woozy atmosphere of long hot summer days. It’s tough to pick highlights on such a solid record when every track has something unique and distinct to offer. It’s perhaps best to think of “Nocturne” as evoking a variety of moods, ones which are all of the same palette yet subtle in their shifts. Mid-album track “Paradise” is the kind of heady, glazed-icing pop spectacle that gallops through a faithful belly of percussion with utterly beautiful vocals somewhere deep in the mix. The two aforementioned tracks remain my favourites, yet “Nocturne” would be missing something without the intoxicating choruses of “Through The Grass” and “Only Heather,” all indistinct vocals and gossamer production. Tatum clearly has a masterpiece in him somewhere and “Nocturne” approaches the ambitious edge of a professional gradually honing his craft. If it doesn’t quite warrant the ‘masterpiece’ label then it’s because he’s perhaps having too much fun. “Nocturne” bubbles and bounces along, inverting any niggling bad thought or feeling you could be experiencing. That’s because at their core these are love songs. Whether they’re love songs to fall in love to or with is ultimately down to you.

WILD NOTHING
NOCTURNE

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 27TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #21


Using the term “dream pop” to describe Wild Nothing’s brilliant second album at first seems a little redundant. Awash in a sea of one-trick pony acts who also befit this somewhat elusive terminology, Wild Nothing could easily fade into obscurity to the ears of anyone not truly paying attention. I say this because “Nocturne” is quite simply a wonderful treasure, one that really reveals itself in beautiful synth-laden pop hooks, gauzy reverb and spangly guitar effects across eleven tracks. It might come as no surprise that “Nocturne” is best experienced through headphones as lead vocalist Jack Tatum attempts to transport his listeners to another time and place. The title track opens with cascading drums and a wall of sound that sets the tone for the romantic, woozy atmosphere of long hot summer days. It’s tough to pick highlights on such a solid record when every track has something unique and distinct to offer. It’s perhaps best to think of “Nocturne” as evoking a variety of moods, ones which are all of the same palette yet subtle in their shifts. Mid-album track “Paradise” is the kind of heady, glazed-icing pop spectacle that gallops through a faithful belly of percussion with utterly beautiful vocals somewhere deep in the mix. The two aforementioned tracks remain my favourites, yet “Nocturne” would be missing something without the intoxicating choruses of “Through The Grass” and “Only Heather,” all indistinct vocals and gossamer production. Tatum clearly has a masterpiece in him somewhere and “Nocturne” approaches the ambitious edge of a professional gradually honing his craft. If it doesn’t quite warrant the ‘masterpiece’ label then it’s because he’s perhaps having too much fun. “Nocturne” bubbles and bounces along, inverting any niggling bad thought or feeling you could be experiencing. That’s because at their core these are love songs. Whether they’re love songs to fall in love to or with is ultimately down to you.

JESSIE WAREDEVOTIONORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 20TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #35
The rise of Jessie Ware remains one of 2012’s resounding success stories. Heralded for her vocal guest spots for bubbling underground acts like SBTRKT, Joker and Sampha, Ware soon became a name that, even if you weren’t familiar with her face or perhaps her voice, one would feel compelled to explore further. The hubbub surrounding the release of her debut album “Devotion” cannot be downplayed. Alongside Laura Marling, it’s safe to say that she is one of only a handful of emerging British female voices who is leading the way with a very specific vision. “Devotion” garnered a plethora of buzz-words and descriptions upon its release (“sensual!”; “dreamy!”; “gossamer!”; namely ones that revolve around the senses) in an attempt to perhaps pigeon-hole Ware as a modern day Sade. Ware is a powerhouse vocalist who could definitely stand her own amongst more established ‘divas’. Yet unlike Mariah Carey or Florence Welch, Ware understands the element of surprise and the subtleties that are required when operating with breathy, floating music such as this.On first single “Running” she weaves her velvet vocals into the fabric of the cushioned production before building to an explosive, albeit brief, climax. It recalls vintage Whitney Houston and feels smart, assured and confident. It represents a flexing of her vocal dexterity and becomes clear, time after time, that she’s so much more than a pop star. The level of artistry to songs like “Wildest Moments” and “110%,” both light as a feather and heavy with their muffled, lost-in-the-mix bass productions is a wonder to behold. Of course there are moments which remain weaker than others and Ware cannot always match the heady heights of the chosen singles, but this is truly an album to get lost in, to explore the many folds in numbers like “No To Love,” “Taking On Water” and “Sweet Talk.” There’s every possibility Ware will stumble on her sophomore effort. If she does, it’s only because “Devotion” remains a watermark debut from any artist period over the past ten years.

JESSIE WARE
DEVOTION

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 20TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #35


The rise of Jessie Ware remains one of 2012’s resounding success stories. Heralded for her vocal guest spots for bubbling underground acts like SBTRKT, Joker and Sampha, Ware soon became a name that, even if you weren’t familiar with her face or perhaps her voice, one would feel compelled to explore further. The hubbub surrounding the release of her debut album “Devotion” cannot be downplayed. Alongside Laura Marling, it’s safe to say that she is one of only a handful of emerging British female voices who is leading the way with a very specific vision. “Devotion” garnered a plethora of buzz-words and descriptions upon its release (“sensual!”; “dreamy!”; “gossamer!”; namely ones that revolve around the senses) in an attempt to perhaps pigeon-hole Ware as a modern day Sade. Ware is a powerhouse vocalist who could definitely stand her own amongst more established ‘divas’. Yet unlike Mariah Carey or Florence Welch, Ware understands the element of surprise and the subtleties that are required when operating with breathy, floating music such as this.


On first single “Running” she weaves her velvet vocals into the fabric of the cushioned production before building to an explosive, albeit brief, climax. It recalls vintage Whitney Houston and feels smart, assured and confident. It represents a flexing of her vocal dexterity and becomes clear, time after time, that she’s so much more than a pop star. The level of artistry to songs like “Wildest Moments” and “110%,” both light as a feather and heavy with their muffled, lost-in-the-mix bass productions is a wonder to behold. Of course there are moments which remain weaker than others and Ware cannot always match the heady heights of the chosen singles, but this is truly an album to get lost in, to explore the many folds in numbers like “No To Love,” “Taking On Water” and “Sweet Talk.” There’s every possibility Ware will stumble on her sophomore effort. If she does, it’s only because “Devotion” remains a watermark debut from any artist period over the past ten years.

FOUR TETPINKORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 20TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #44In many ways “Pink” represents a turning point in Kieran Hebden’s career. Having made his name releasing slow-burning, full-length albums for well over a decade now, Hebden’s collection of singles outlined here could’ve been difficult to pull off. It’s a marker of his talent as one of the UK’s finest producers that these eight songs are given the space to breathe; many approach run times that border on double figures without ever feeling bogged down with the insipid nature of repetition. Opening track “Locked” loops a myriad of drum beats for well over a minute before a sweet, shy melody creeps in and weaves itself around like a coiling spring. It’s difficult to pinpoint where these collection of songs begin to feel so essential. Indeed, there’s no clear trajectory and one gets the sense that having these eight songs on shuffle would make little difference to how Hebden intended “Pink” to be perceived.There’s a mechanical, perhaps almost mathematical construct to these arrangements. Work hard, play hard. The somewhat robotic nature of “Pink” makes sense and the elements of techno and house are perhaps most evident on the infectious “Pyramid” with its rubber-band vocal loop, or the shuffling rhythm sections of “Orcoras.” Often, Hebden introduces a clear element of something a little more organic,  perhaps suggested as a contrast to the more processed elements of its soundscape, and wholly in line with previous records (I’m thinking of “There Is Love In You“‘s “This Unfolds” which to me always felt like it should be soundtracking a blooming flower in slow motion). With Hebden’s latest release “Beautiful Rewind” coming out ‘soon’, it’s worth paying “Pink” the deserved attention than it failed to garner this time last year.

FOUR TET
PINK

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 20TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #44

In many ways “Pink” represents a turning point in Kieran Hebden’s career. Having made his name releasing slow-burning, full-length albums for well over a decade now, Hebden’s collection of singles outlined here could’ve been difficult to pull off. It’s a marker of his talent as one of the UK’s finest producers that these eight songs are given the space to breathe; many approach run times that border on double figures without ever feeling bogged down with the insipid nature of repetition. Opening track “Locked” loops a myriad of drum beats for well over a minute before a sweet, shy melody creeps in and weaves itself around like a coiling spring. It’s difficult to pinpoint where these collection of songs begin to feel so essential. Indeed, there’s no clear trajectory and one gets the sense that having these eight songs on shuffle would make little difference to how Hebden intended “Pink” to be perceived.


There’s a mechanical, perhaps almost mathematical construct to these arrangements. Work hard, play hard. The somewhat robotic nature of “Pink” makes sense and the elements of techno and house are perhaps most evident on the infectious “Pyramid” with its rubber-band vocal loop, or the shuffling rhythm sections of “Orcoras.” Often, Hebden introduces a clear element of something a little more organic,  perhaps suggested as a contrast to the more processed elements of its soundscape, and wholly in line with previous records (I’m thinking of “There Is Love In You“‘s “This Unfolds” which to me always felt like it should be soundtracking a blooming flower in slow motion). With Hebden’s latest release “Beautiful Rewind” coming out ‘soon’, it’s worth paying “Pink” the deserved attention than it failed to garner this time last year.

ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITIMATURE THEMESORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 20TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #32"Mature Themes" benefits in many ways one year after its release. As one of the most divisive characters in indie music, Ariel Pink has the tendency to inspire a love/hate reaction in his audience. Some may feel the need to pay extra attention when listening to new material by him: listen to "Mature Themes" for the first time all the way through and you’d be forgiven if your initial reaction was something along the lines of, "Where the fuck did this come from?" Trying to decode his weird brand of kooky can be exhausting and I’ve found it works best to detach the character from the music. "Mature Themes" follows on from Pink’s 2010 breakthrough album "Before Today," an album that to this day still seems to exist in its own dimension, caught in some time warp collecting nearly every major musical shift of the past three decades. I’ve heard stories of how "Before Today" captivated listeners so much that they literally had certain songs on repeat for hours. For me, it was "Fright Night (Nevermore)," but you could really make a case for any song on the album. "Mature Themes" doesn’t quite inspire such fervent devotion but it’s a remarkable follow-up nevertheless.It also marks a first for Ariel Pink. This is the first high-definition, ultra-slick, crystal clear, surround sound album he’s every released after a career spent primarily in lo-fi. Finally, his intentions are more coherent, one feels they truly ‘get’ what he’s trying to say. This works both for and against his case. Before, the fuzzy tape of records like “The Doldrums” added a sense of aura and mystery to oddball references and stream-of-consciousness word play. The oddities remain throughout “Mature Themes” yet there’s no mystery, it’s up front and in your face. The opening salvo of “Kinski Assassin” and “Is This The Best Spot?” are humorous and enjoyable but only to poke fun at. Their inclusion at the start of the album is a wise choice, and Pink soon moves on to poppier nuggets of gold in the form of the title track and “Only In My Dreams.” The inclusion of “Baby,” a cover of Donnie and Joe Emerson’s classic original, closes the album with a particularly stunning vocal delivery. It’s on slower, more transcendental numbers like this (“Symphony Of The Nymph” and “Nostradamus & Me” also score high) that Pink excels. They confirm that Pink is no mere one trick pony capable of mere flashy showmanship. “Mature Themes” confirms the fact that Pink is an endlessly playable musician, one not afraid to take gambles and risk falling down. That fallibility is an enduring quality and one that will ensure Pink remains in the public domain for as long as he bloody well wishes.

ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITI
MATURE THEMES

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 20TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #32


"Mature Themes" benefits in many ways one year after its release. As one of the most divisive characters in indie music, Ariel Pink has the tendency to inspire a love/hate reaction in his audience. Some may feel the need to pay extra attention when listening to new material by him: listen to "Mature Themes" for the first time all the way through and you’d be forgiven if your initial reaction was something along the lines of, "Where the fuck did this come from?" Trying to decode his weird brand of kooky can be exhausting and I’ve found it works best to detach the character from the music. "Mature Themes" follows on from Pink’s 2010 breakthrough album "Before Today," an album that to this day still seems to exist in its own dimension, caught in some time warp collecting nearly every major musical shift of the past three decades. I’ve heard stories of how "Before Today" captivated listeners so much that they literally had certain songs on repeat for hours. For me, it was "Fright Night (Nevermore)," but you could really make a case for any song on the album. "Mature Themes" doesn’t quite inspire such fervent devotion but it’s a remarkable follow-up nevertheless.


It also marks a first for Ariel Pink. This is the first high-definition, ultra-slick, crystal clear, surround sound album he’s every released after a career spent primarily in lo-fi. Finally, his intentions are more coherent, one feels they truly ‘get’ what he’s trying to say. This works both for and against his case. Before, the fuzzy tape of records like “The Doldrums” added a sense of aura and mystery to oddball references and stream-of-consciousness word play. The oddities remain throughout “Mature Themes” yet there’s no mystery, it’s up front and in your face. The opening salvo of “Kinski Assassin” and “Is This The Best Spot?” are humorous and enjoyable but only to poke fun at. Their inclusion at the start of the album is a wise choice, and Pink soon moves on to poppier nuggets of gold in the form of the title track and “Only In My Dreams.” The inclusion of “Baby,” a cover of Donnie and Joe Emerson’s classic original, closes the album with a particularly stunning vocal delivery. It’s on slower, more transcendental numbers like this (“Symphony Of The Nymph” and “Nostradamus & Me” also score high) that Pink excels. They confirm that Pink is no mere one trick pony capable of mere flashy showmanship. “Mature Themes” confirms the fact that Pink is an endlessly playable musician, one not afraid to take gambles and risk falling down. That fallibility is an enduring quality and one that will ensure Pink remains in the public domain for as long as he bloody well wishes.

SHEDTHE KILLERORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 30TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #33René Pawlowitz has already built himself a fine legacy in the guise of techno outfit Shed, having release three studio albums since 2008’s landmark cult hit “Shedding The Past.” His latest release, “The Killer,” remains as hypnotising as his earlier moments and does very little to deviate from the foundations they laid down. And why would it? Pawlowitz is clearly a unique and talented individual who has a great skill at envisaging a particular ‘feel’ to his albums and seeing it through to completion. The album opens with “STP3/The Killer,” a four minute ambient wash of sorts that wouldn’t sound out of place on Daniel Lopatin’s fantastic “Replica.” Immediately followed by “Silent Witness,” we witness a return to a more traditional techno edge as organic shapes flow between the more rigid formula of broken beats and fragments vocal loops. Almost a minute into “I Come By Night” and Pawlowitz throws in throbbing warehouse beats that shift the entire structure of the song. It’s one of the album’s finer moments and paves the way for the phenomenal “Day After,” arguably the most solid statement here. The progression towards the heady, cerebral second half of this song remains a wonder to behold time and time again. Indeed, part of what makes “The Killer” such a unique work is its whole-hearted investment in the techno genre, never deviating from it or betraying the very richness of its lineage. The cohesion here is the result of a master at work, someone with a profound respect for his craft.

SHED
THE KILLER

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 30TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #33


René Pawlowitz has already built himself a fine legacy in the guise of techno outfit Shed, having release three studio albums since 2008’s landmark cult hit “Shedding The Past.” His latest release, “The Killer,” remains as hypnotising as his earlier moments and does very little to deviate from the foundations they laid down. And why would it? Pawlowitz is clearly a unique and talented individual who has a great skill at envisaging a particular ‘feel’ to his albums and seeing it through to completion. The album opens with “STP3/The Killer,” a four minute ambient wash of sorts that wouldn’t sound out of place on Daniel Lopatin’s fantastic “Replica.” Immediately followed by “Silent Witness,” we witness a return to a more traditional techno edge as organic shapes flow between the more rigid formula of broken beats and fragments vocal loops. Almost a minute into “I Come By Night” and Pawlowitz throws in throbbing warehouse beats that shift the entire structure of the song. It’s one of the album’s finer moments and paves the way for the phenomenal “Day After,” arguably the most solid statement here. The progression towards the heady, cerebral second half of this song remains a wonder to behold time and time again. Indeed, part of what makes “The Killer” such a unique work is its whole-hearted investment in the techno genre, never deviating from it or betraying the very richness of its lineage. The cohesion here is the result of a master at work, someone with a profound respect for his craft.

PURITY RINGSHRINESORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 23RD 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #46Call me a cynic but there was something ‘off’ about Purity Ring before I had even had chance to play their debut album. Immediately after hearing their supposedly astounding melding of twitchy, crashing electro-pop I was left with the feeling that was one record I was gonna have to spin many times to register anything other than mild apathy. “Shrines” - at least to these ears - feels like the kind of album that was given a series of boxes to tick before the whole thing had even been conceived, ultimately applying pressure to the main contributors (vocalist Megan James and instrumentalist Colin Roddick) to the point where the very craft suffers under the weight of bureaucratic record label expectations. What transpires is an album with a series of wonderfully cerebral highlights, a heady mix of swirling beats and glowing vocals. Of course these highlights are the singles with “Fineshrine” taking the crowing glory. “Ungirthed” is interesting but ultimately annoying as a series of notes and clicks breeze across carefully placed vocal samples. “Amenamy” and “Cartographist” remain two of my favourite songs on the album, utilising the scattershot production and underwater sounds to greatest effect. It’s not that “Shrines” isn’t ambitious enough to maintain my interest, but its attempt to be something a lot more sophisticated than it clearly is remains a problem. A year of listening occasionally has done nothing to dissuade me of this. Nothing stands out and the lack of a cohesive strand tying these songs together is very noticeable, almost as though a series of interesting elements were aimlessly floating around space waiting to be tied together. Following a complete re-run of “Shrines,” I felt compelled to listen to “Glass Jar” by Gang Gang Dance, by all accounts the kind of driving, central force that “Shrines” should be but isn’t.

PURITY RING
SHRINES

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 23RD 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #46


Call me a cynic but there was something ‘off’ about Purity Ring before I had even had chance to play their debut album. Immediately after hearing their supposedly astounding melding of twitchy, crashing electro-pop I was left with the feeling that was one record I was gonna have to spin many times to register anything other than mild apathy. “Shrines” - at least to these ears - feels like the kind of album that was given a series of boxes to tick before the whole thing had even been conceived, ultimately applying pressure to the main contributors (vocalist Megan James and instrumentalist Colin Roddick) to the point where the very craft suffers under the weight of 
bureaucratic record label expectations. What transpires is an album with a series of wonderfully cerebral highlights, a heady mix of swirling beats and glowing vocals. Of course these highlights are the singles with “Fineshrine” taking the crowing glory. “Ungirthed” is interesting but ultimately annoying as a series of notes and clicks breeze across carefully placed vocal samples. “Amenamy” and “Cartographist” remain two of my favourite songs on the album, utilising the scattershot production and underwater sounds to greatest effect. It’s not that “Shrines” isn’t ambitious enough to maintain my interest, but its attempt to be something a lot more sophisticated than it clearly is remains a problem. A year of listening occasionally has done nothing to dissuade me of this. Nothing stands out and the lack of a cohesive strand tying these songs together is very noticeable, almost as though a series of interesting elements were aimlessly floating around space waiting to be tied together. Following a complete re-run of “Shrines,” I felt compelled to listen to “Glass Jar” by Gang Gang Dance, by all accounts the kind of driving, central force that “Shrines” should be but isn’t.

PASSION PITGOSSAMERORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 23RD 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #41Passion Pit’s 2009 debut album “Manners” arguably defined the summer in terms of feel-good electro-pop, utilising electronic beats and bold synth shifts to create a wholly unique and urgent sound. Surrounding “Manners” was the occasional whiff of one-hit-wonder syndrome, the sneaky suspicion that Passion Pit would have trouble following up with a sophomore release as brilliantly luminous. How they achieved this is by giving Passion Pit an identity, a face to the chipmunk voice that previously felt a little camera shy. Frontman  Michael Angelakos seemed to be everywhere this time last year, giving interviews for a slew of publications and raising his profile considerably. What emerged was the knowledge that Angelakos was bipolar and had even been placed on suicide watch. This news afforded Passion Pit the kind of audience-connection that seemed so sorely lacking with “Manners.” “Gossamer,” the band’s second full length, is anything but light and airy, expanding on the boisterous sounds of “Manners” with considerable aplomb. It’s the sound of a group more aware of their potential and exploiting that to often breathtaking effect. Lead single “Take A Walk” announces its presence by literally stomping through a glorious chorus of rising vocals. The frantic “I’ll Be Alright” feels like a “Manners” highlight whilst the pure pop confectionary of “Carried Away” and “Mirrored Sea” offset some of the record’s darker lyrical tones. The smooth rhythms of “Constant Conversations” hints at potential interesting developments for Angelakos further down the line and even if the second half hasn’t held up as well after a year, it still returns like a long lost friend as a reminder of why this album sounded so addictive in the first place. Passion Pit will no doubt have to become a little more experimental with future releases if they are to remain relevant, but for now “Gossamer” confirms their status as electro-pop masters. 

PASSION PIT
GOSSAMER

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 23RD 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #41

Passion Pit’s 2009 debut album “Manners” arguably defined the summer in terms of feel-good electro-pop, utilising electronic beats and bold synth shifts to create a wholly unique and urgent sound. Surrounding “Manners” was the occasional whiff of one-hit-wonder syndrome, the sneaky suspicion that Passion Pit would have trouble following up with a sophomore release as brilliantly luminous. How they achieved this is by giving Passion Pit an identity, a face to the chipmunk voice that previously felt a little camera shy. Frontman  Michael Angelakos seemed to be everywhere this time last year, giving interviews for a slew of publications and raising his profile considerably. What emerged was the knowledge that Angelakos was bipolar and had even been placed on suicide watch. This news afforded Passion Pit the kind of audience-connection that seemed so sorely lacking with “Manners.” “Gossamer,” the band’s second full length, is anything but light and airy, expanding on the boisterous sounds of “Manners” with considerable 
aplomb. It’s the sound of a group more aware of their potential and exploiting that to often breathtaking effect. Lead single “Take A Walk” announces its presence by literally stomping through a glorious chorus of rising vocals. The frantic “I’ll Be Alright” feels like a “Manners” highlight whilst the pure pop confectionary of “Carried Away” and “Mirrored Sea” offset some of the record’s darker lyrical tones. The smooth rhythms of “Constant Conversations” hints at potential interesting developments for Angelakos further down the line and even if the second half hasn’t held up as well after a year, it still returns like a long lost friend as a reminder of why this album sounded so addictive in the first place. Passion Pit will no doubt have to become a little more experimental with future releases if they are to remain relevant, but for now “Gossamer” confirms their status as electro-pop masters. 

FRANK OCEANCHANNEL ORANGEORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 10TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #14"Channel Orange" is one of the more interesting albums in recent memory to benefit from a year in the spotlight. Frank Ocean’s crushing and devastating personal letter detailing a brief summer romance with a male friend sent shockwaves through the music industry and raised anticipation surrounding the record’s release to unprecedented levels. That hype has since died down and what we’re left with is a record that must stand on its own merit if it’s ever to live up to the universal acclaim attributed to it upon its release. It’s with a certain confidence that I can say it more than passes these tests with flying colours. "Channel Orange" is a glamorous record which manages to also be brutally human, honest and devastating all at the same time. Effortlessly scrutinising the many problems with life in Los Angeles, Ocean keeps a keen eye on what’s important and what matters to him. Life, freedom, love, happiness. These are all universal elements that Ocean revels in throughout the album, soundtracked by classy string arrangements and smooth grooves that recall the old school styles of Stevie Wonder and Al Green. Part of “Channel Orange“‘s enduring appeal, at least to me, is how conscious Ocean is of himself throughout its seventeen tracks. It is incredibly refreshing to hear music from a young male artist who isn’t dressing himself up in faked arrogance or over-the-top proclamations  about his supposed greatness. Ocean lets the music speak for itself. It is never loud or attention-seeking, never overproduced or indulgent. In some sense “Channel Orange” feels like a handful of actual ‘songs’ surrounded by a series of many sketches. From “Sierra Leone” to “Crack Rock” and “Sweet Life” to “Pilot Jones” there’s a beauty to be found in the three minute progressions of these ideas. That’s not to say they aren’t fully formed, realised pieces; quite the contrary. Every song on “Channel Orange” feels complete and there’s every possibility that Ocean could’ve pushed a double album out of this material. Aware of the power of what you take away or conceal, Ocean is clearly teasing the listener. Just when “Crack Rock” gets going and I’m settling into its grooves, expecting Ocean to spin another three or four minutes out of it, it ends abruptly and in struts the ten-minute “Pyramids,” the centrepiece of the record and a masterwork of experimental music in general. The variety of styles and musical influences across “Channel Orange” are incredibly broad and complex. For a record so subtle throughout it nevertheless remains a grand musical statement worthy of its acclaim. What’s perhaps most impressive is how it traverses several genres and ultimately will appeal to audiences who wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves fans of hip-hop or r’n’b. I myself am one of those people and am currently battling with Kanye West’s ego on “Yeezus” in an attempt to actually enjoy it. After a few weeks and repeated listens, I’m pretty certain I’m gonna lose. I have no such qualms with Frank Ocean. Unlike West who has little left to prove and is still railing against the corrupt industries and dodgy governments (please remind me why exactly when every critic is on his knees feeding his apparently tortured ego) in an attempt to keep his audience on his side, Ocean represents the exciting and vibrant youth of today. On “Channel Orange” he was eager to make an impression, to make an impact and perhaps make a difference to people’s pre-conceived notions of what their expectations from idols of American music should be. “Channel Orange” appears now to be a lot more progressive than people initially thought even one year ago and its status as a modern day classic will surely increase.

FRANK OCEAN
CHANNEL ORANGE

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 10TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #14


"Channel Orange" is one of the more interesting albums in recent memory to benefit from a year in the spotlight. Frank Ocean’s crushing and devastating personal letter detailing a brief summer romance with a male friend sent shockwaves through the music industry and raised anticipation surrounding the record’s release to unprecedented levels. That hype has since died down and what we’re left with is a record that must stand on its own merit if it’s ever to live up to the universal acclaim attributed to it upon its release. It’s with a certain confidence that I can say it more than passes these tests with flying colours. "Channel Orange" is a glamorous record which manages to also be brutally human, honest and devastating all at the same time. Effortlessly scrutinising the many problems with life in Los Angeles, Ocean keeps a keen eye on what’s important and what matters to him. Life, freedom, love, happiness. These are all universal elements that Ocean revels in throughout the album, soundtracked by classy string arrangements and smooth grooves that recall the old school styles of Stevie Wonder and Al Green.


Part of “Channel Orange“‘s enduring appeal, at least to me, is how conscious Ocean is of himself throughout its seventeen tracks. It is incredibly refreshing to hear music from a young male artist who isn’t dressing himself up in faked arrogance or over-the-top proclamations  about his supposed greatness. Ocean lets the music speak for itself. It is never loud or attention-seeking, never overproduced or indulgent. In some sense “Channel Orange” feels like a handful of actual ‘songs’ surrounded by a series of many sketches. From “Sierra Leone” to “Crack Rock” and “Sweet Life” to “Pilot Jones” there’s a beauty to be found in the three minute progressions of these ideas. That’s not to say they aren’t fully formed, realised pieces; quite the contrary. Every song on “Channel Orange” feels complete and there’s every possibility that Ocean could’ve pushed a double album out of this material. Aware of the power of what you take away or conceal, Ocean is clearly teasing the listener. Just when “Crack Rock” gets going and I’m settling into its grooves, expecting Ocean to spin another three or four minutes out of it, it ends abruptly and in struts the ten-minute “Pyramids,” the centrepiece of the record and a masterwork of experimental music in general.


The variety of styles and musical influences across “Channel Orange” are incredibly broad and complex. For a record so subtle throughout it nevertheless remains a grand musical statement worthy of its acclaim. What’s perhaps most impressive is how it traverses several genres and ultimately will appeal to audiences who wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves fans of hip-hop or r’n’b. I myself am one of those people and am currently battling with Kanye West’s ego on “Yeezus” in an attempt to actually enjoy it. After a few weeks and repeated listens, I’m pretty certain I’m gonna lose. I have no such qualms with Frank Ocean. Unlike West who has little left to prove and is still railing against the corrupt industries and dodgy governments (please remind me why exactly when every critic is on his knees feeding his apparently tortured ego) in an attempt to keep his audience on his side, Ocean represents the exciting and vibrant youth of today. On “Channel Orange” he was eager to make an impression, to make an impact and perhaps make a difference to people’s pre-conceived notions of what their expectations from idols of American music should be. “Channel Orange” appears now to be a lot more progressive than people initially thought even one year ago and its status as a modern day classic will surely increase.

TWIN SHADOWCONFESSORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 10TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #49Twin Shadow’s “Forget” remains one of the great undiscovered gems of modern pop music, a record so perfectly balanced in terms of its obvious 80s synth influences that it’s hard not to find something to love. Unfortunately many of the ideas on George Lewis Jr.’s debut have been taken to an extreme on its successor “Confess.” What works once doesn’t always necessarily mean it can be replicated to equal stature, furthermore when you’re mining an era that prided itself on carefree ideals and saccharine performances. After all, we’re dealing with a considered appropriation of the most vacuous and shallow decade of music since charts began. The inherent beauty of the superficial era of music that Twin Shadow relies so heavily on had just as many bad moments as it did good. Those bad moments are best left in the past, but it’s these painful memories that Lewis Jr. seems intent on dragging up time and time again across “Confess.”
The problem with “Confess” is that it’s not concerned with pushing boundaries or trying anything remotely new within context. This is all fair and well but when it’s been done before (and certainly better), it’s hard to remain convinced beyond that first initial listen. Things get off to a relatively successful start with lead single “Five Seconds” and opener “Golden Light” spinning irresistibly catchy hooks out of nothing, even if the latter’s chorus feels a little forced. “You Call Me On” should work but it’s bogged down by a plodding melody which shifts gears just when you think you’ve got to grips with it. The rest of the album follows a similar pattern and it’s hard to convince yourself that you’ve not heard this before done much better, especially when Lewis Jr.’s debut was such a resounding success. “Be Mine Tonight” remains the only memorable song on the record’s second half, thanks to a gloriously romantic vocal plea that tumbles forth like a neon light in the dark, shrouded in stage ice. “Confess” eventually endears itself if you listen to it on repeat for long enough, but of course doesn’t almost every album? Yet familiarity is not enough to convince me that this is still worth the time and effort after one year. We’re little over halfway through 2013 and it’s proven to be an absolutely remarkable year for new music. Knowing this only makes “Confess” seem all the more redundant. One feels Lewis Jr. still has it in him to return to prominence on his third album but in order to do so he will have to switch lanes and try something pretty radical.

TWIN SHADOW
CONFESS

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 10TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #49


Twin Shadow’s “Forget” remains one of the great undiscovered gems of modern pop music, a record so perfectly balanced in terms of its obvious 80s synth influences that it’s hard not to find something to love. Unfortunately many of the ideas on George Lewis Jr.’s debut have been taken to an extreme on its successor “Confess.” What works once doesn’t always necessarily mean it can be replicated to equal stature, furthermore when you’re mining an era that prided itself on carefree ideals and saccharine performances. After all, we’re dealing with a considered appropriation of the most vacuous and shallow decade of music since charts began. The inherent beauty of the superficial era of music that Twin Shadow relies so heavily on had just as many bad moments as it did good. Those bad moments are best left in the past, but it’s these painful memories that Lewis Jr. seems intent on dragging up time and time again across “Confess.”


The problem with “Confess” is that it’s not concerned with pushing boundaries or trying anything remotely new within context. This is all fair and well but when it’s been done before (and certainly better), it’s hard to remain convinced beyond that first initial listen. Things get off to a relatively successful start with lead single “Five Seconds” and opener “Golden Light” spinning irresistibly catchy hooks out of nothing, even if the latter’s chorus feels a little forced. “You Call Me On” should work but it’s bogged down by a plodding melody which shifts gears just when you think you’ve got to grips with it. The rest of the album follows a similar pattern and it’s hard to convince yourself that you’ve not heard this before done much better, especially when Lewis Jr.’s debut was such a resounding success. “Be Mine Tonight” remains the only memorable song on the record’s second half, thanks to a gloriously romantic vocal plea that tumbles forth like a neon light in the dark, shrouded in stage ice. “Confess” eventually endears itself if you listen to it on repeat for long enough, but of course doesn’t almost every album? Yet familiarity is not enough to convince me that this is still worth the time and effort after one year. We’re little over halfway through 2013 and it’s proven to be an absolutely remarkable year for new music. Knowing this only makes “Confess” seem all the more redundant. One feels Lewis Jr. still has it in him to return to prominence on his third album but in order to do so he will have to switch lanes and try something pretty radical.

DIRTY PROJECTORSSWING LO MAGELLANORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 9TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #12 Anticipation for the follow-up to one of the year’s best loved albums is traditionally high regardless of the band or their following. For the Dirty Projectors “Swing Lo Magellan” represented a turning point and the perfect opportunity to defy expectations after the critical triumph  of “Bitte Orca” three years previously. Dave Longstreth and his faithful bandmates had been releasing records for years before “Bitte Orca” catapulted them to indie-rock stardom, but those releases were viewed as somewhat elitist, purpose-made art rock for the selective middle classes. Fully aware of their emergence over the past few years, the Dirty Projectors famously collaborated with Björk on 2011’s “Mount Wittenberg Orca EP.” One gets the feeling that Björk was helping out friends, safe in the knowledge that her fame would effortlessly raise their profile. Since “Bitte Orca,” Dirty Projectors have displayed an increasing awareness of their own emotional worth. “Swing Lo Magellan” builds on these qualities, representing their most immediate and accessible sound thus far. Even if Longstreth appears at first a little apprehensive by exposing too much of himself in his writing, it probably comes as no surprise that he accomplishes it with considerable skill. Dirty Projectors have always felt more self-aware and referential than your average band, a quality which has allowed them to realise their own potential and limitations with each successive release. What may sound at first like a band uncertain of where to take their eclecticism  with quickly reveals itself to be their most mature and confident release to date. Highlights are numerous, but the acoustic jangle of the title track with Longstreth’s beautifully flourished vocal arrangement is surely one to remember. Equally impressive is “Impregnable Question,” a beautiful paean to a loved one in the most simple of terms. “Bitte Orca” never felt contrived, but there was always a sense that they were pushing an agenda which sought to challenge or even frustrate. Those complications are banished on “Swing Lo Magellan” where studio mistakes seem to crop up and weave seamlessly into the fabric of the band’s overarching sound palette. Longstreth clears his throat on opener “Offspring Are Blank” just before the first verse while the playful “Unto Caesar” places the listener right in the studio as bandmates question the song’s flow and composition. Clearly this is a world away from the vocal acrobatics of “Bitte Orca“‘s majestic title track. That first-take readiness casts the band in an entirely new light yet the song structures here are deceptively complex, surprising more attentive ears with unexpected nuances or shifts in sound; lead single “Gun Has No Trigger” builds explosive choral arrangements around a military drum march; the joyous handclaps of “Just From Chevron” belie the song’s dire warning of oil spills while the jubilant “Dance For You” is interrupted by orchestral swells before dancing out against a sunset backdrop; the psychedelic-tinged “Maybe That Was It” repeatedly folds and crumples in on itself like a crashing car before restructuring itself. The latter half of the album plays heavily on experimental time signatures and stop-start rhythms with muscular numbers like “The Socialites” and “See What She Seeing” retaining a featherweight lightness, thanks in part to Amber Coffman’s reassuring vocals and an overall ease at the unfathomable structures that Longstreth spews forth.
 “Swing Lo Magellan” is arguably the Dirty Projectors’ most perfectly executed release thus far and remains an impressive addition to a band a decade into their stride. “Bitte Orca” is certainly a more ambitious record, yet was conceived at a point in the band’s career when a push into newer directions felt essential. I still hold it alongside Animal Collective’s “Merriweather Post Pavilion” as the joint breakthrough alternative album of 2009. The real genius behind “Swing Lo Magellan” can ultimately be attributed to Longstreth’s intuition and vision of what his band should ultimately constitute. In stripping back the fuzz of earlier records he manages to retain the true essence of what it means to be the Dirty Projectors. Vocals are still alarmingly off-kilter and the instrumentation is frequently challenging, yet the sense of wonder and surprise inherent throughout all their music remains thankfully intact. By any other band’s standards this would be viewed as an incredibly experimental, almost avant-garde piece of work. With the Dirty Projectors it’s merely a transition piece, and a brilliant one at that.

DIRTY PROJECTORS
SWING LO MAGELLAN

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 9TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #12


Anticipation for the follow-up to one of the year’s best loved albums is traditionally high regardless of the band or their following. For the Dirty Projectors “Swing Lo Magellan” represented a turning point and the perfect opportunity to defy expectations after the critical triumph  of “Bitte Orca” three years previously. Dave Longstreth and his faithful bandmates had been releasing records for years before “Bitte Orca” catapulted them to indie-rock stardom, but those releases were viewed as somewhat elitist, purpose-made art rock for the selective middle classes. Fully aware of their emergence over the past few years, the Dirty Projectors famously collaborated with Björk on 2011’s “Mount Wittenberg Orca EP.” One gets the feeling that Björk was helping out friends, safe in the knowledge that her fame would effortlessly raise their profile.


Since “Bitte Orca,” Dirty Projectors have displayed an increasing awareness of their own emotional worth. “Swing Lo Magellan” builds on these qualities, representing their most immediate and accessible sound thus far. Even if Longstreth appears at first a little apprehensive by exposing too much of himself in his writing, it probably comes as no surprise that he accomplishes it with considerable skill. Dirty Projectors have always felt more self-aware and referential than your average band, a quality which has allowed them to realise their own potential and limitations with each successive release. What may sound at first like a band uncertain of where to take their eclecticism  with quickly reveals itself to be their most mature and confident release to date. Highlights are numerous, but the acoustic jangle of the title track with Longstreth’s beautifully flourished vocal arrangement is surely one to remember. Equally impressive is “Impregnable Question,” a beautiful paean to a loved one in the most simple of terms. “Bitte Orca” never felt contrived, but there was always a sense that they were pushing an agenda which sought to challenge or even frustrate. Those complications are banished on “Swing Lo Magellan” where studio mistakes seem to crop up and weave seamlessly into the fabric of the band’s overarching sound palette. Longstreth clears his throat on opener “Offspring Are Blank” just before the first verse while the playful “Unto Caesar” places the listener right in the studio as bandmates question the song’s flow and composition. Clearly this is a world away from the vocal acrobatics of “Bitte Orca“‘s majestic title track.


That first-take readiness casts the band in an entirely new light yet the song structures here are deceptively complex, surprising more attentive ears with unexpected nuances or shifts in sound; lead single “Gun Has No Trigger” builds explosive choral arrangements around a military drum march; the joyous handclaps of “Just From Chevron” belie the song’s dire warning of oil spills while the jubilant “Dance For You” is interrupted by orchestral swells before dancing out against a sunset backdrop; the psychedelic-tinged “Maybe That Was It” repeatedly folds and crumples in on itself like a crashing car before restructuring itself. The latter half of the album plays heavily on experimental time signatures and stop-start rhythms with muscular numbers like “The Socialites” and “See What She Seeing” retaining a featherweight lightness, thanks in part to Amber Coffman’s reassuring vocals and an overall ease at the unfathomable structures that Longstreth spews forth.



“Swing Lo Magellan” is arguably the Dirty Projectors’ most perfectly executed release thus far and remains an impressive addition to a band a decade into their stride. “Bitte Orca” is certainly a more ambitious record, yet was conceived at a point in the band’s career when a push into newer directions felt essential. I still hold it alongside Animal Collective’s “Merriweather Post Pavilion” as the joint breakthrough alternative album of 2009. The real genius behind “Swing Lo Magellan” can ultimately be attributed to Longstreth’s intuition and vision of what his band should ultimately constitute. In stripping back the fuzz of earlier records he manages to retain the true essence of what it means to be the Dirty Projectors. Vocals are still alarmingly off-kilter and the instrumentation is frequently challenging, yet the sense of wonder and surprise inherent throughout all their music remains thankfully intact. By any other band’s standards this would be viewed as an incredibly experimental, almost avant-garde piece of work. With the Dirty Projectors it’s merely a transition piece, and a brilliant one at that.

DIIVOSHINORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JUNE 26TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #25In a sea of indie rock bands, it’s hard to float to the top and make yours stand out amongst the foam. It’s harder still to make waves on subsequent releases without sinking to the murky bottom. If you’re familiar with the music on DIIV’s spectacular debut album “Oshin” then you’ll be aware that I’m trying to throw in as many references to water as possible. DIIV is supposed to read as “dive” (Dive was the band’s original name) with “Oshin” as “ocean.” It may not be the most original record in recent memory but DIIV frontman Zachary Cole Smith aims to make his offering stand apart from the crowd by imbuing these songs with a cohesive quality that works best heard from start to finish. The whole record essentially plays as a single epic number, complete with thundering reverb, murky vocals and jangly, sun-lit guitar hooks. It’s perhaps no wonder that this record would sound perfect on the beach, and the idea of it being heard through water affords “Oshin” a transcendent, communicative quality that is rare. You’re never quite sure of the words or what is actually being sung but, like a more upbeat Sigur Rós, DIIV have an uncanny way of making both your head and feet move.
it might be difficult for the uninitiated to get to grips with DIIV’s fluid guitar moments when ‘everything sounds the same’. For the most part this is true, and it’s hard to argue a case against this album being samey. “Oshin” rewards repeated listens plentifully, however, so much so that it’s often difficult to draw yourself away during those days where you want to do nothing but hit the repeat button. Like so many indie dream pop records, “Oshin” is an album that’s meant to be experienced outside of the bedroom. This isn’t guitar music made for domestic situations, so grab a pair of headphones and walk down to the beach on a sunny day, or through some fields. If you live near neither, it’s possible you’ll feel like you’re there anyway.

DIIV
OSHIN

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JUNE 26TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #25


In a sea of indie rock bands, it’s hard to float to the top and make yours stand out amongst the foam. It’s harder still to make waves on subsequent releases without sinking to the murky bottom. If you’re familiar with the music on DIIV’s spectacular debut album “Oshin” then you’ll be aware that I’m trying to throw in as many references to water as possible. DIIV is supposed to read as “dive” (Dive was the band’s original name) with “Oshin” as “ocean.” It may not be the most original record in recent memory but DIIV frontman Zachary Cole Smith aims to make his offering stand apart from the crowd by imbuing these songs with a cohesive quality that works best heard from start to finish. The whole record essentially plays as a single epic number, complete with thundering reverb, murky vocals and jangly, sun-lit guitar hooks. It’s perhaps no wonder that this record would sound perfect on the beach, and the idea of it being heard through water affords “Oshin” a transcendent, communicative quality that is rare. You’re never quite sure of the words or what is actually being sung but, like a more upbeat Sigur Rós, DIIV have an uncanny way of making both your head and feet move.


it might be difficult for the uninitiated to get to grips with DIIV’s fluid guitar moments when ‘everything sounds the same’. For the most part this is true, and it’s hard to argue a case against this album being samey. “Oshin” rewards repeated listens plentifully, however, so much so that it’s often difficult to draw yourself away during those days where you want to do nothing but hit the repeat button. Like so many indie dream pop records, “Oshin” is an album that’s meant to be experienced outside of the bedroom. This isn’t guitar music made for domestic situations, so grab a pair of headphones and walk down to the beach on a sunny day, or through some fields. If you live near neither, it’s possible you’ll feel like you’re there anyway.

TY SEGALL BANDSLAUGHTERHOUSEORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JUNE 25TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #28Ty Segall knows the importance of staying current. Perhaps more so than any other musician in 2012, Segall raised his profile to levels that would get even Bradford Cox worried. With White Fence he released the much-hailed “Hair” earlier in 2012 and would round out the year with “Twins,” a solo record that followed on from his 2011 mini breakthrough “Goodbye Bread.” Wedged inbetween these 2012 releases was “Slaughterhouse,” Segall’s attempt at hard-edged rock with no restriction. Taking a quick look at Segall’s fractured discography reveals an artist with his fingers in many different pies, one who is determined to showcase his own unique brand on every facet of rock music over the past half-century.Opening track “Death” crashes in with deafening distortion to ward off anyone not prepared to stomach this group’s effort. And it is a group effort, that’s the reason this record is credited to a band and not merely Segall himself. What follows is a surprisingly melodic and catchy series of riffs, part garage, part punk, part hard rock, all bouncing off Segall’s vocals high in the mix. The vocals on “I Bought My Eyes” are probably the record’s finest moment of clarity whilst the title track offers a ninety second assault on the senses. The hooks keep coming and the wonderful album centrepiece “Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart” confirms that Segall is intelligent enough to construct rock music that has a solid core, not mere fodder to satisfy the masses. “Slaughterhouse” only grows more intense as it progresses, so it’s perhaps no surprise that the final track is a ten minute cooler of sorts. “Fuzz War” feels like an attempt to apply the brakes on a record’s worth of intense fire, one which showcases remarkable confidence. “Slaughterhouse” almost feels like a soundtrack to Segall’s career thus far; intense, rapid, quick-fire and continually surprising.

TY SEGALL BAND
SLAUGHTERHOUSE

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JUNE 25TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #28


Ty Segall knows the importance of staying current. Perhaps more so than any other musician in 2012, Segall raised his profile to levels that would get even Bradford Cox worried. With White Fence he released the much-hailed “Hair” earlier in 2012 and would round out the year with “Twins,” a solo record that followed on from his 2011 mini breakthrough “Goodbye Bread.” Wedged inbetween these 2012 releases was “Slaughterhouse,” Segall’s attempt at hard-edged rock with no restriction. Taking a quick look at Segall’s fractured discography reveals an artist with his fingers in many different pies, one who is determined to showcase his own unique brand on every facet of rock music over the past half-century.


Opening track “Death” crashes in with deafening distortion to ward off anyone not prepared to stomach this group’s effort. And it is a group effort, that’s the reason this record is credited to a band and not merely Segall himself. What follows is a surprisingly melodic and catchy series of riffs, part garage, part punk, part hard rock, all bouncing off Segall’s vocals high in the mix. The vocals on “I Bought My Eyes” are probably the record’s finest moment of clarity 
whilst the title track offers a ninety second assault on the senses. The hooks keep coming and the wonderful album centrepiece “Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart” confirms that Segall is intelligent enough to construct rock music that has a solid core, not mere fodder to satisfy the masses. “Slaughterhouse” only grows more intense as it progresses, so it’s perhaps no surprise that the final track is a ten minute cooler of sorts. “Fuzz War” feels like an attempt to apply the brakes on a record’s worth of intense fire, one which showcases remarkable confidence. “Slaughterhouse” almost feels like a soundtrack to Segall’s career thus far; intense, rapid, quick-fire and continually surprising.

WILD NOTHINGNOCTURNEORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 27TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #21Using the term “dream pop” to describe Wild Nothing’s brilliant second album at first seems a little redundant. Awash in a sea of one-trick pony acts who also befit this somewhat elusive terminology, Wild Nothing could easily fade into obscurity to the ears of anyone not truly paying attention. I say this because “Nocturne” is quite simply a wonderful treasure, one that really reveals itself in beautiful synth-laden pop hooks, gauzy reverb and spangly guitar effects across eleven tracks. It might come as no surprise that “Nocturne” is best experienced through headphones as lead vocalist Jack Tatum attempts to transport his listeners to another time and place. The title track opens with cascading drums and a wall of sound that sets the tone for the romantic, woozy atmosphere of long hot summer days. It’s tough to pick highlights on such a solid record when every track has something unique and distinct to offer. It’s perhaps best to think of “Nocturne” as evoking a variety of moods, ones which are all of the same palette yet subtle in their shifts. Mid-album track “Paradise” is the kind of heady, glazed-icing pop spectacle that gallops through a faithful belly of percussion with utterly beautiful vocals somewhere deep in the mix. The two aforementioned tracks remain my favourites, yet “Nocturne” would be missing something without the intoxicating choruses of “Through The Grass” and “Only Heather,” all indistinct vocals and gossamer production. Tatum clearly has a masterpiece in him somewhere and “Nocturne” approaches the ambitious edge of a professional gradually honing his craft. If it doesn’t quite warrant the ‘masterpiece’ label then it’s because he’s perhaps having too much fun. “Nocturne” bubbles and bounces along, inverting any niggling bad thought or feeling you could be experiencing. That’s because at their core these are love songs. Whether they’re love songs to fall in love to or with is ultimately down to you.

WILD NOTHING
NOCTURNE

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 27TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #21


Using the term “dream pop” to describe Wild Nothing’s brilliant second album at first seems a little redundant. Awash in a sea of one-trick pony acts who also befit this somewhat elusive terminology, Wild Nothing could easily fade into obscurity to the ears of anyone not truly paying attention. I say this because “Nocturne” is quite simply a wonderful treasure, one that really reveals itself in beautiful synth-laden pop hooks, gauzy reverb and spangly guitar effects across eleven tracks. It might come as no surprise that “Nocturne” is best experienced through headphones as lead vocalist Jack Tatum attempts to transport his listeners to another time and place. The title track opens with cascading drums and a wall of sound that sets the tone for the romantic, woozy atmosphere of long hot summer days. It’s tough to pick highlights on such a solid record when every track has something unique and distinct to offer. It’s perhaps best to think of “Nocturne” as evoking a variety of moods, ones which are all of the same palette yet subtle in their shifts. Mid-album track “Paradise” is the kind of heady, glazed-icing pop spectacle that gallops through a faithful belly of percussion with utterly beautiful vocals somewhere deep in the mix. The two aforementioned tracks remain my favourites, yet “Nocturne” would be missing something without the intoxicating choruses of “Through The Grass” and “Only Heather,” all indistinct vocals and gossamer production. Tatum clearly has a masterpiece in him somewhere and “Nocturne” approaches the ambitious edge of a professional gradually honing his craft. If it doesn’t quite warrant the ‘masterpiece’ label then it’s because he’s perhaps having too much fun. “Nocturne” bubbles and bounces along, inverting any niggling bad thought or feeling you could be experiencing. That’s because at their core these are love songs. Whether they’re love songs to fall in love to or with is ultimately down to you.

JESSIE WAREDEVOTIONORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 20TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #35
The rise of Jessie Ware remains one of 2012’s resounding success stories. Heralded for her vocal guest spots for bubbling underground acts like SBTRKT, Joker and Sampha, Ware soon became a name that, even if you weren’t familiar with her face or perhaps her voice, one would feel compelled to explore further. The hubbub surrounding the release of her debut album “Devotion” cannot be downplayed. Alongside Laura Marling, it’s safe to say that she is one of only a handful of emerging British female voices who is leading the way with a very specific vision. “Devotion” garnered a plethora of buzz-words and descriptions upon its release (“sensual!”; “dreamy!”; “gossamer!”; namely ones that revolve around the senses) in an attempt to perhaps pigeon-hole Ware as a modern day Sade. Ware is a powerhouse vocalist who could definitely stand her own amongst more established ‘divas’. Yet unlike Mariah Carey or Florence Welch, Ware understands the element of surprise and the subtleties that are required when operating with breathy, floating music such as this.On first single “Running” she weaves her velvet vocals into the fabric of the cushioned production before building to an explosive, albeit brief, climax. It recalls vintage Whitney Houston and feels smart, assured and confident. It represents a flexing of her vocal dexterity and becomes clear, time after time, that she’s so much more than a pop star. The level of artistry to songs like “Wildest Moments” and “110%,” both light as a feather and heavy with their muffled, lost-in-the-mix bass productions is a wonder to behold. Of course there are moments which remain weaker than others and Ware cannot always match the heady heights of the chosen singles, but this is truly an album to get lost in, to explore the many folds in numbers like “No To Love,” “Taking On Water” and “Sweet Talk.” There’s every possibility Ware will stumble on her sophomore effort. If she does, it’s only because “Devotion” remains a watermark debut from any artist period over the past ten years.

JESSIE WARE
DEVOTION

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 20TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #35


The rise of Jessie Ware remains one of 2012’s resounding success stories. Heralded for her vocal guest spots for bubbling underground acts like SBTRKT, Joker and Sampha, Ware soon became a name that, even if you weren’t familiar with her face or perhaps her voice, one would feel compelled to explore further. The hubbub surrounding the release of her debut album “Devotion” cannot be downplayed. Alongside Laura Marling, it’s safe to say that she is one of only a handful of emerging British female voices who is leading the way with a very specific vision. “Devotion” garnered a plethora of buzz-words and descriptions upon its release (“sensual!”; “dreamy!”; “gossamer!”; namely ones that revolve around the senses) in an attempt to perhaps pigeon-hole Ware as a modern day Sade. Ware is a powerhouse vocalist who could definitely stand her own amongst more established ‘divas’. Yet unlike Mariah Carey or Florence Welch, Ware understands the element of surprise and the subtleties that are required when operating with breathy, floating music such as this.


On first single “Running” she weaves her velvet vocals into the fabric of the cushioned production before building to an explosive, albeit brief, climax. It recalls vintage Whitney Houston and feels smart, assured and confident. It represents a flexing of her vocal dexterity and becomes clear, time after time, that she’s so much more than a pop star. The level of artistry to songs like “Wildest Moments” and “110%,” both light as a feather and heavy with their muffled, lost-in-the-mix bass productions is a wonder to behold. Of course there are moments which remain weaker than others and Ware cannot always match the heady heights of the chosen singles, but this is truly an album to get lost in, to explore the many folds in numbers like “No To Love,” “Taking On Water” and “Sweet Talk.” There’s every possibility Ware will stumble on her sophomore effort. If she does, it’s only because “Devotion” remains a watermark debut from any artist period over the past ten years.

FOUR TETPINKORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 20TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #44In many ways “Pink” represents a turning point in Kieran Hebden’s career. Having made his name releasing slow-burning, full-length albums for well over a decade now, Hebden’s collection of singles outlined here could’ve been difficult to pull off. It’s a marker of his talent as one of the UK’s finest producers that these eight songs are given the space to breathe; many approach run times that border on double figures without ever feeling bogged down with the insipid nature of repetition. Opening track “Locked” loops a myriad of drum beats for well over a minute before a sweet, shy melody creeps in and weaves itself around like a coiling spring. It’s difficult to pinpoint where these collection of songs begin to feel so essential. Indeed, there’s no clear trajectory and one gets the sense that having these eight songs on shuffle would make little difference to how Hebden intended “Pink” to be perceived.There’s a mechanical, perhaps almost mathematical construct to these arrangements. Work hard, play hard. The somewhat robotic nature of “Pink” makes sense and the elements of techno and house are perhaps most evident on the infectious “Pyramid” with its rubber-band vocal loop, or the shuffling rhythm sections of “Orcoras.” Often, Hebden introduces a clear element of something a little more organic,  perhaps suggested as a contrast to the more processed elements of its soundscape, and wholly in line with previous records (I’m thinking of “There Is Love In You“‘s “This Unfolds” which to me always felt like it should be soundtracking a blooming flower in slow motion). With Hebden’s latest release “Beautiful Rewind” coming out ‘soon’, it’s worth paying “Pink” the deserved attention than it failed to garner this time last year.

FOUR TET
PINK

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 20TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #44

In many ways “Pink” represents a turning point in Kieran Hebden’s career. Having made his name releasing slow-burning, full-length albums for well over a decade now, Hebden’s collection of singles outlined here could’ve been difficult to pull off. It’s a marker of his talent as one of the UK’s finest producers that these eight songs are given the space to breathe; many approach run times that border on double figures without ever feeling bogged down with the insipid nature of repetition. Opening track “Locked” loops a myriad of drum beats for well over a minute before a sweet, shy melody creeps in and weaves itself around like a coiling spring. It’s difficult to pinpoint where these collection of songs begin to feel so essential. Indeed, there’s no clear trajectory and one gets the sense that having these eight songs on shuffle would make little difference to how Hebden intended “Pink” to be perceived.


There’s a mechanical, perhaps almost mathematical construct to these arrangements. Work hard, play hard. The somewhat robotic nature of “Pink” makes sense and the elements of techno and house are perhaps most evident on the infectious “Pyramid” with its rubber-band vocal loop, or the shuffling rhythm sections of “Orcoras.” Often, Hebden introduces a clear element of something a little more organic,  perhaps suggested as a contrast to the more processed elements of its soundscape, and wholly in line with previous records (I’m thinking of “There Is Love In You“‘s “This Unfolds” which to me always felt like it should be soundtracking a blooming flower in slow motion). With Hebden’s latest release “Beautiful Rewind” coming out ‘soon’, it’s worth paying “Pink” the deserved attention than it failed to garner this time last year.

ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITIMATURE THEMESORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 20TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #32"Mature Themes" benefits in many ways one year after its release. As one of the most divisive characters in indie music, Ariel Pink has the tendency to inspire a love/hate reaction in his audience. Some may feel the need to pay extra attention when listening to new material by him: listen to "Mature Themes" for the first time all the way through and you’d be forgiven if your initial reaction was something along the lines of, "Where the fuck did this come from?" Trying to decode his weird brand of kooky can be exhausting and I’ve found it works best to detach the character from the music. "Mature Themes" follows on from Pink’s 2010 breakthrough album "Before Today," an album that to this day still seems to exist in its own dimension, caught in some time warp collecting nearly every major musical shift of the past three decades. I’ve heard stories of how "Before Today" captivated listeners so much that they literally had certain songs on repeat for hours. For me, it was "Fright Night (Nevermore)," but you could really make a case for any song on the album. "Mature Themes" doesn’t quite inspire such fervent devotion but it’s a remarkable follow-up nevertheless.It also marks a first for Ariel Pink. This is the first high-definition, ultra-slick, crystal clear, surround sound album he’s every released after a career spent primarily in lo-fi. Finally, his intentions are more coherent, one feels they truly ‘get’ what he’s trying to say. This works both for and against his case. Before, the fuzzy tape of records like “The Doldrums” added a sense of aura and mystery to oddball references and stream-of-consciousness word play. The oddities remain throughout “Mature Themes” yet there’s no mystery, it’s up front and in your face. The opening salvo of “Kinski Assassin” and “Is This The Best Spot?” are humorous and enjoyable but only to poke fun at. Their inclusion at the start of the album is a wise choice, and Pink soon moves on to poppier nuggets of gold in the form of the title track and “Only In My Dreams.” The inclusion of “Baby,” a cover of Donnie and Joe Emerson’s classic original, closes the album with a particularly stunning vocal delivery. It’s on slower, more transcendental numbers like this (“Symphony Of The Nymph” and “Nostradamus & Me” also score high) that Pink excels. They confirm that Pink is no mere one trick pony capable of mere flashy showmanship. “Mature Themes” confirms the fact that Pink is an endlessly playable musician, one not afraid to take gambles and risk falling down. That fallibility is an enduring quality and one that will ensure Pink remains in the public domain for as long as he bloody well wishes.

ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITI
MATURE THEMES

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 20TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #32


"Mature Themes" benefits in many ways one year after its release. As one of the most divisive characters in indie music, Ariel Pink has the tendency to inspire a love/hate reaction in his audience. Some may feel the need to pay extra attention when listening to new material by him: listen to "Mature Themes" for the first time all the way through and you’d be forgiven if your initial reaction was something along the lines of, "Where the fuck did this come from?" Trying to decode his weird brand of kooky can be exhausting and I’ve found it works best to detach the character from the music. "Mature Themes" follows on from Pink’s 2010 breakthrough album "Before Today," an album that to this day still seems to exist in its own dimension, caught in some time warp collecting nearly every major musical shift of the past three decades. I’ve heard stories of how "Before Today" captivated listeners so much that they literally had certain songs on repeat for hours. For me, it was "Fright Night (Nevermore)," but you could really make a case for any song on the album. "Mature Themes" doesn’t quite inspire such fervent devotion but it’s a remarkable follow-up nevertheless.


It also marks a first for Ariel Pink. This is the first high-definition, ultra-slick, crystal clear, surround sound album he’s every released after a career spent primarily in lo-fi. Finally, his intentions are more coherent, one feels they truly ‘get’ what he’s trying to say. This works both for and against his case. Before, the fuzzy tape of records like “The Doldrums” added a sense of aura and mystery to oddball references and stream-of-consciousness word play. The oddities remain throughout “Mature Themes” yet there’s no mystery, it’s up front and in your face. The opening salvo of “Kinski Assassin” and “Is This The Best Spot?” are humorous and enjoyable but only to poke fun at. Their inclusion at the start of the album is a wise choice, and Pink soon moves on to poppier nuggets of gold in the form of the title track and “Only In My Dreams.” The inclusion of “Baby,” a cover of Donnie and Joe Emerson’s classic original, closes the album with a particularly stunning vocal delivery. It’s on slower, more transcendental numbers like this (“Symphony Of The Nymph” and “Nostradamus & Me” also score high) that Pink excels. They confirm that Pink is no mere one trick pony capable of mere flashy showmanship. “Mature Themes” confirms the fact that Pink is an endlessly playable musician, one not afraid to take gambles and risk falling down. That fallibility is an enduring quality and one that will ensure Pink remains in the public domain for as long as he bloody well wishes.

SHEDTHE KILLERORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 30TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #33René Pawlowitz has already built himself a fine legacy in the guise of techno outfit Shed, having release three studio albums since 2008’s landmark cult hit “Shedding The Past.” His latest release, “The Killer,” remains as hypnotising as his earlier moments and does very little to deviate from the foundations they laid down. And why would it? Pawlowitz is clearly a unique and talented individual who has a great skill at envisaging a particular ‘feel’ to his albums and seeing it through to completion. The album opens with “STP3/The Killer,” a four minute ambient wash of sorts that wouldn’t sound out of place on Daniel Lopatin’s fantastic “Replica.” Immediately followed by “Silent Witness,” we witness a return to a more traditional techno edge as organic shapes flow between the more rigid formula of broken beats and fragments vocal loops. Almost a minute into “I Come By Night” and Pawlowitz throws in throbbing warehouse beats that shift the entire structure of the song. It’s one of the album’s finer moments and paves the way for the phenomenal “Day After,” arguably the most solid statement here. The progression towards the heady, cerebral second half of this song remains a wonder to behold time and time again. Indeed, part of what makes “The Killer” such a unique work is its whole-hearted investment in the techno genre, never deviating from it or betraying the very richness of its lineage. The cohesion here is the result of a master at work, someone with a profound respect for his craft.

SHED
THE KILLER

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 30TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #33


René Pawlowitz has already built himself a fine legacy in the guise of techno outfit Shed, having release three studio albums since 2008’s landmark cult hit “Shedding The Past.” His latest release, “The Killer,” remains as hypnotising as his earlier moments and does very little to deviate from the foundations they laid down. And why would it? Pawlowitz is clearly a unique and talented individual who has a great skill at envisaging a particular ‘feel’ to his albums and seeing it through to completion. The album opens with “STP3/The Killer,” a four minute ambient wash of sorts that wouldn’t sound out of place on Daniel Lopatin’s fantastic “Replica.” Immediately followed by “Silent Witness,” we witness a return to a more traditional techno edge as organic shapes flow between the more rigid formula of broken beats and fragments vocal loops. Almost a minute into “I Come By Night” and Pawlowitz throws in throbbing warehouse beats that shift the entire structure of the song. It’s one of the album’s finer moments and paves the way for the phenomenal “Day After,” arguably the most solid statement here. The progression towards the heady, cerebral second half of this song remains a wonder to behold time and time again. Indeed, part of what makes “The Killer” such a unique work is its whole-hearted investment in the techno genre, never deviating from it or betraying the very richness of its lineage. The cohesion here is the result of a master at work, someone with a profound respect for his craft.

PURITY RINGSHRINESORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 23RD 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #46Call me a cynic but there was something ‘off’ about Purity Ring before I had even had chance to play their debut album. Immediately after hearing their supposedly astounding melding of twitchy, crashing electro-pop I was left with the feeling that was one record I was gonna have to spin many times to register anything other than mild apathy. “Shrines” - at least to these ears - feels like the kind of album that was given a series of boxes to tick before the whole thing had even been conceived, ultimately applying pressure to the main contributors (vocalist Megan James and instrumentalist Colin Roddick) to the point where the very craft suffers under the weight of bureaucratic record label expectations. What transpires is an album with a series of wonderfully cerebral highlights, a heady mix of swirling beats and glowing vocals. Of course these highlights are the singles with “Fineshrine” taking the crowing glory. “Ungirthed” is interesting but ultimately annoying as a series of notes and clicks breeze across carefully placed vocal samples. “Amenamy” and “Cartographist” remain two of my favourite songs on the album, utilising the scattershot production and underwater sounds to greatest effect. It’s not that “Shrines” isn’t ambitious enough to maintain my interest, but its attempt to be something a lot more sophisticated than it clearly is remains a problem. A year of listening occasionally has done nothing to dissuade me of this. Nothing stands out and the lack of a cohesive strand tying these songs together is very noticeable, almost as though a series of interesting elements were aimlessly floating around space waiting to be tied together. Following a complete re-run of “Shrines,” I felt compelled to listen to “Glass Jar” by Gang Gang Dance, by all accounts the kind of driving, central force that “Shrines” should be but isn’t.

PURITY RING
SHRINES

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 23RD 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #46


Call me a cynic but there was something ‘off’ about Purity Ring before I had even had chance to play their debut album. Immediately after hearing their supposedly astounding melding of twitchy, crashing electro-pop I was left with the feeling that was one record I was gonna have to spin many times to register anything other than mild apathy. “Shrines” - at least to these ears - feels like the kind of album that was given a series of boxes to tick before the whole thing had even been conceived, ultimately applying pressure to the main contributors (vocalist Megan James and instrumentalist Colin Roddick) to the point where the very craft suffers under the weight of 
bureaucratic record label expectations. What transpires is an album with a series of wonderfully cerebral highlights, a heady mix of swirling beats and glowing vocals. Of course these highlights are the singles with “Fineshrine” taking the crowing glory. “Ungirthed” is interesting but ultimately annoying as a series of notes and clicks breeze across carefully placed vocal samples. “Amenamy” and “Cartographist” remain two of my favourite songs on the album, utilising the scattershot production and underwater sounds to greatest effect. It’s not that “Shrines” isn’t ambitious enough to maintain my interest, but its attempt to be something a lot more sophisticated than it clearly is remains a problem. A year of listening occasionally has done nothing to dissuade me of this. Nothing stands out and the lack of a cohesive strand tying these songs together is very noticeable, almost as though a series of interesting elements were aimlessly floating around space waiting to be tied together. Following a complete re-run of “Shrines,” I felt compelled to listen to “Glass Jar” by Gang Gang Dance, by all accounts the kind of driving, central force that “Shrines” should be but isn’t.

PASSION PITGOSSAMERORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 23RD 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #41Passion Pit’s 2009 debut album “Manners” arguably defined the summer in terms of feel-good electro-pop, utilising electronic beats and bold synth shifts to create a wholly unique and urgent sound. Surrounding “Manners” was the occasional whiff of one-hit-wonder syndrome, the sneaky suspicion that Passion Pit would have trouble following up with a sophomore release as brilliantly luminous. How they achieved this is by giving Passion Pit an identity, a face to the chipmunk voice that previously felt a little camera shy. Frontman  Michael Angelakos seemed to be everywhere this time last year, giving interviews for a slew of publications and raising his profile considerably. What emerged was the knowledge that Angelakos was bipolar and had even been placed on suicide watch. This news afforded Passion Pit the kind of audience-connection that seemed so sorely lacking with “Manners.” “Gossamer,” the band’s second full length, is anything but light and airy, expanding on the boisterous sounds of “Manners” with considerable aplomb. It’s the sound of a group more aware of their potential and exploiting that to often breathtaking effect. Lead single “Take A Walk” announces its presence by literally stomping through a glorious chorus of rising vocals. The frantic “I’ll Be Alright” feels like a “Manners” highlight whilst the pure pop confectionary of “Carried Away” and “Mirrored Sea” offset some of the record’s darker lyrical tones. The smooth rhythms of “Constant Conversations” hints at potential interesting developments for Angelakos further down the line and even if the second half hasn’t held up as well after a year, it still returns like a long lost friend as a reminder of why this album sounded so addictive in the first place. Passion Pit will no doubt have to become a little more experimental with future releases if they are to remain relevant, but for now “Gossamer” confirms their status as electro-pop masters. 

PASSION PIT
GOSSAMER

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 23RD 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #41

Passion Pit’s 2009 debut album “Manners” arguably defined the summer in terms of feel-good electro-pop, utilising electronic beats and bold synth shifts to create a wholly unique and urgent sound. Surrounding “Manners” was the occasional whiff of one-hit-wonder syndrome, the sneaky suspicion that Passion Pit would have trouble following up with a sophomore release as brilliantly luminous. How they achieved this is by giving Passion Pit an identity, a face to the chipmunk voice that previously felt a little camera shy. Frontman  Michael Angelakos seemed to be everywhere this time last year, giving interviews for a slew of publications and raising his profile considerably. What emerged was the knowledge that Angelakos was bipolar and had even been placed on suicide watch. This news afforded Passion Pit the kind of audience-connection that seemed so sorely lacking with “Manners.” “Gossamer,” the band’s second full length, is anything but light and airy, expanding on the boisterous sounds of “Manners” with considerable 
aplomb. It’s the sound of a group more aware of their potential and exploiting that to often breathtaking effect. Lead single “Take A Walk” announces its presence by literally stomping through a glorious chorus of rising vocals. The frantic “I’ll Be Alright” feels like a “Manners” highlight whilst the pure pop confectionary of “Carried Away” and “Mirrored Sea” offset some of the record’s darker lyrical tones. The smooth rhythms of “Constant Conversations” hints at potential interesting developments for Angelakos further down the line and even if the second half hasn’t held up as well after a year, it still returns like a long lost friend as a reminder of why this album sounded so addictive in the first place. Passion Pit will no doubt have to become a little more experimental with future releases if they are to remain relevant, but for now “Gossamer” confirms their status as electro-pop masters. 

FRANK OCEANCHANNEL ORANGEORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 10TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #14"Channel Orange" is one of the more interesting albums in recent memory to benefit from a year in the spotlight. Frank Ocean’s crushing and devastating personal letter detailing a brief summer romance with a male friend sent shockwaves through the music industry and raised anticipation surrounding the record’s release to unprecedented levels. That hype has since died down and what we’re left with is a record that must stand on its own merit if it’s ever to live up to the universal acclaim attributed to it upon its release. It’s with a certain confidence that I can say it more than passes these tests with flying colours. "Channel Orange" is a glamorous record which manages to also be brutally human, honest and devastating all at the same time. Effortlessly scrutinising the many problems with life in Los Angeles, Ocean keeps a keen eye on what’s important and what matters to him. Life, freedom, love, happiness. These are all universal elements that Ocean revels in throughout the album, soundtracked by classy string arrangements and smooth grooves that recall the old school styles of Stevie Wonder and Al Green. Part of “Channel Orange“‘s enduring appeal, at least to me, is how conscious Ocean is of himself throughout its seventeen tracks. It is incredibly refreshing to hear music from a young male artist who isn’t dressing himself up in faked arrogance or over-the-top proclamations  about his supposed greatness. Ocean lets the music speak for itself. It is never loud or attention-seeking, never overproduced or indulgent. In some sense “Channel Orange” feels like a handful of actual ‘songs’ surrounded by a series of many sketches. From “Sierra Leone” to “Crack Rock” and “Sweet Life” to “Pilot Jones” there’s a beauty to be found in the three minute progressions of these ideas. That’s not to say they aren’t fully formed, realised pieces; quite the contrary. Every song on “Channel Orange” feels complete and there’s every possibility that Ocean could’ve pushed a double album out of this material. Aware of the power of what you take away or conceal, Ocean is clearly teasing the listener. Just when “Crack Rock” gets going and I’m settling into its grooves, expecting Ocean to spin another three or four minutes out of it, it ends abruptly and in struts the ten-minute “Pyramids,” the centrepiece of the record and a masterwork of experimental music in general. The variety of styles and musical influences across “Channel Orange” are incredibly broad and complex. For a record so subtle throughout it nevertheless remains a grand musical statement worthy of its acclaim. What’s perhaps most impressive is how it traverses several genres and ultimately will appeal to audiences who wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves fans of hip-hop or r’n’b. I myself am one of those people and am currently battling with Kanye West’s ego on “Yeezus” in an attempt to actually enjoy it. After a few weeks and repeated listens, I’m pretty certain I’m gonna lose. I have no such qualms with Frank Ocean. Unlike West who has little left to prove and is still railing against the corrupt industries and dodgy governments (please remind me why exactly when every critic is on his knees feeding his apparently tortured ego) in an attempt to keep his audience on his side, Ocean represents the exciting and vibrant youth of today. On “Channel Orange” he was eager to make an impression, to make an impact and perhaps make a difference to people’s pre-conceived notions of what their expectations from idols of American music should be. “Channel Orange” appears now to be a lot more progressive than people initially thought even one year ago and its status as a modern day classic will surely increase.

FRANK OCEAN
CHANNEL ORANGE

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 10TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #14


"Channel Orange" is one of the more interesting albums in recent memory to benefit from a year in the spotlight. Frank Ocean’s crushing and devastating personal letter detailing a brief summer romance with a male friend sent shockwaves through the music industry and raised anticipation surrounding the record’s release to unprecedented levels. That hype has since died down and what we’re left with is a record that must stand on its own merit if it’s ever to live up to the universal acclaim attributed to it upon its release. It’s with a certain confidence that I can say it more than passes these tests with flying colours. "Channel Orange" is a glamorous record which manages to also be brutally human, honest and devastating all at the same time. Effortlessly scrutinising the many problems with life in Los Angeles, Ocean keeps a keen eye on what’s important and what matters to him. Life, freedom, love, happiness. These are all universal elements that Ocean revels in throughout the album, soundtracked by classy string arrangements and smooth grooves that recall the old school styles of Stevie Wonder and Al Green.


Part of “Channel Orange“‘s enduring appeal, at least to me, is how conscious Ocean is of himself throughout its seventeen tracks. It is incredibly refreshing to hear music from a young male artist who isn’t dressing himself up in faked arrogance or over-the-top proclamations  about his supposed greatness. Ocean lets the music speak for itself. It is never loud or attention-seeking, never overproduced or indulgent. In some sense “Channel Orange” feels like a handful of actual ‘songs’ surrounded by a series of many sketches. From “Sierra Leone” to “Crack Rock” and “Sweet Life” to “Pilot Jones” there’s a beauty to be found in the three minute progressions of these ideas. That’s not to say they aren’t fully formed, realised pieces; quite the contrary. Every song on “Channel Orange” feels complete and there’s every possibility that Ocean could’ve pushed a double album out of this material. Aware of the power of what you take away or conceal, Ocean is clearly teasing the listener. Just when “Crack Rock” gets going and I’m settling into its grooves, expecting Ocean to spin another three or four minutes out of it, it ends abruptly and in struts the ten-minute “Pyramids,” the centrepiece of the record and a masterwork of experimental music in general.


The variety of styles and musical influences across “Channel Orange” are incredibly broad and complex. For a record so subtle throughout it nevertheless remains a grand musical statement worthy of its acclaim. What’s perhaps most impressive is how it traverses several genres and ultimately will appeal to audiences who wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves fans of hip-hop or r’n’b. I myself am one of those people and am currently battling with Kanye West’s ego on “Yeezus” in an attempt to actually enjoy it. After a few weeks and repeated listens, I’m pretty certain I’m gonna lose. I have no such qualms with Frank Ocean. Unlike West who has little left to prove and is still railing against the corrupt industries and dodgy governments (please remind me why exactly when every critic is on his knees feeding his apparently tortured ego) in an attempt to keep his audience on his side, Ocean represents the exciting and vibrant youth of today. On “Channel Orange” he was eager to make an impression, to make an impact and perhaps make a difference to people’s pre-conceived notions of what their expectations from idols of American music should be. “Channel Orange” appears now to be a lot more progressive than people initially thought even one year ago and its status as a modern day classic will surely increase.

TWIN SHADOWCONFESSORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 10TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #49Twin Shadow’s “Forget” remains one of the great undiscovered gems of modern pop music, a record so perfectly balanced in terms of its obvious 80s synth influences that it’s hard not to find something to love. Unfortunately many of the ideas on George Lewis Jr.’s debut have been taken to an extreme on its successor “Confess.” What works once doesn’t always necessarily mean it can be replicated to equal stature, furthermore when you’re mining an era that prided itself on carefree ideals and saccharine performances. After all, we’re dealing with a considered appropriation of the most vacuous and shallow decade of music since charts began. The inherent beauty of the superficial era of music that Twin Shadow relies so heavily on had just as many bad moments as it did good. Those bad moments are best left in the past, but it’s these painful memories that Lewis Jr. seems intent on dragging up time and time again across “Confess.”
The problem with “Confess” is that it’s not concerned with pushing boundaries or trying anything remotely new within context. This is all fair and well but when it’s been done before (and certainly better), it’s hard to remain convinced beyond that first initial listen. Things get off to a relatively successful start with lead single “Five Seconds” and opener “Golden Light” spinning irresistibly catchy hooks out of nothing, even if the latter’s chorus feels a little forced. “You Call Me On” should work but it’s bogged down by a plodding melody which shifts gears just when you think you’ve got to grips with it. The rest of the album follows a similar pattern and it’s hard to convince yourself that you’ve not heard this before done much better, especially when Lewis Jr.’s debut was such a resounding success. “Be Mine Tonight” remains the only memorable song on the record’s second half, thanks to a gloriously romantic vocal plea that tumbles forth like a neon light in the dark, shrouded in stage ice. “Confess” eventually endears itself if you listen to it on repeat for long enough, but of course doesn’t almost every album? Yet familiarity is not enough to convince me that this is still worth the time and effort after one year. We’re little over halfway through 2013 and it’s proven to be an absolutely remarkable year for new music. Knowing this only makes “Confess” seem all the more redundant. One feels Lewis Jr. still has it in him to return to prominence on his third album but in order to do so he will have to switch lanes and try something pretty radical.

TWIN SHADOW
CONFESS

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 10TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #49


Twin Shadow’s “Forget” remains one of the great undiscovered gems of modern pop music, a record so perfectly balanced in terms of its obvious 80s synth influences that it’s hard not to find something to love. Unfortunately many of the ideas on George Lewis Jr.’s debut have been taken to an extreme on its successor “Confess.” What works once doesn’t always necessarily mean it can be replicated to equal stature, furthermore when you’re mining an era that prided itself on carefree ideals and saccharine performances. After all, we’re dealing with a considered appropriation of the most vacuous and shallow decade of music since charts began. The inherent beauty of the superficial era of music that Twin Shadow relies so heavily on had just as many bad moments as it did good. Those bad moments are best left in the past, but it’s these painful memories that Lewis Jr. seems intent on dragging up time and time again across “Confess.”


The problem with “Confess” is that it’s not concerned with pushing boundaries or trying anything remotely new within context. This is all fair and well but when it’s been done before (and certainly better), it’s hard to remain convinced beyond that first initial listen. Things get off to a relatively successful start with lead single “Five Seconds” and opener “Golden Light” spinning irresistibly catchy hooks out of nothing, even if the latter’s chorus feels a little forced. “You Call Me On” should work but it’s bogged down by a plodding melody which shifts gears just when you think you’ve got to grips with it. The rest of the album follows a similar pattern and it’s hard to convince yourself that you’ve not heard this before done much better, especially when Lewis Jr.’s debut was such a resounding success. “Be Mine Tonight” remains the only memorable song on the record’s second half, thanks to a gloriously romantic vocal plea that tumbles forth like a neon light in the dark, shrouded in stage ice. “Confess” eventually endears itself if you listen to it on repeat for long enough, but of course doesn’t almost every album? Yet familiarity is not enough to convince me that this is still worth the time and effort after one year. We’re little over halfway through 2013 and it’s proven to be an absolutely remarkable year for new music. Knowing this only makes “Confess” seem all the more redundant. One feels Lewis Jr. still has it in him to return to prominence on his third album but in order to do so he will have to switch lanes and try something pretty radical.

DIRTY PROJECTORSSWING LO MAGELLANORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 9TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #12 Anticipation for the follow-up to one of the year’s best loved albums is traditionally high regardless of the band or their following. For the Dirty Projectors “Swing Lo Magellan” represented a turning point and the perfect opportunity to defy expectations after the critical triumph  of “Bitte Orca” three years previously. Dave Longstreth and his faithful bandmates had been releasing records for years before “Bitte Orca” catapulted them to indie-rock stardom, but those releases were viewed as somewhat elitist, purpose-made art rock for the selective middle classes. Fully aware of their emergence over the past few years, the Dirty Projectors famously collaborated with Björk on 2011’s “Mount Wittenberg Orca EP.” One gets the feeling that Björk was helping out friends, safe in the knowledge that her fame would effortlessly raise their profile. Since “Bitte Orca,” Dirty Projectors have displayed an increasing awareness of their own emotional worth. “Swing Lo Magellan” builds on these qualities, representing their most immediate and accessible sound thus far. Even if Longstreth appears at first a little apprehensive by exposing too much of himself in his writing, it probably comes as no surprise that he accomplishes it with considerable skill. Dirty Projectors have always felt more self-aware and referential than your average band, a quality which has allowed them to realise their own potential and limitations with each successive release. What may sound at first like a band uncertain of where to take their eclecticism  with quickly reveals itself to be their most mature and confident release to date. Highlights are numerous, but the acoustic jangle of the title track with Longstreth’s beautifully flourished vocal arrangement is surely one to remember. Equally impressive is “Impregnable Question,” a beautiful paean to a loved one in the most simple of terms. “Bitte Orca” never felt contrived, but there was always a sense that they were pushing an agenda which sought to challenge or even frustrate. Those complications are banished on “Swing Lo Magellan” where studio mistakes seem to crop up and weave seamlessly into the fabric of the band’s overarching sound palette. Longstreth clears his throat on opener “Offspring Are Blank” just before the first verse while the playful “Unto Caesar” places the listener right in the studio as bandmates question the song’s flow and composition. Clearly this is a world away from the vocal acrobatics of “Bitte Orca“‘s majestic title track. That first-take readiness casts the band in an entirely new light yet the song structures here are deceptively complex, surprising more attentive ears with unexpected nuances or shifts in sound; lead single “Gun Has No Trigger” builds explosive choral arrangements around a military drum march; the joyous handclaps of “Just From Chevron” belie the song’s dire warning of oil spills while the jubilant “Dance For You” is interrupted by orchestral swells before dancing out against a sunset backdrop; the psychedelic-tinged “Maybe That Was It” repeatedly folds and crumples in on itself like a crashing car before restructuring itself. The latter half of the album plays heavily on experimental time signatures and stop-start rhythms with muscular numbers like “The Socialites” and “See What She Seeing” retaining a featherweight lightness, thanks in part to Amber Coffman’s reassuring vocals and an overall ease at the unfathomable structures that Longstreth spews forth.
 “Swing Lo Magellan” is arguably the Dirty Projectors’ most perfectly executed release thus far and remains an impressive addition to a band a decade into their stride. “Bitte Orca” is certainly a more ambitious record, yet was conceived at a point in the band’s career when a push into newer directions felt essential. I still hold it alongside Animal Collective’s “Merriweather Post Pavilion” as the joint breakthrough alternative album of 2009. The real genius behind “Swing Lo Magellan” can ultimately be attributed to Longstreth’s intuition and vision of what his band should ultimately constitute. In stripping back the fuzz of earlier records he manages to retain the true essence of what it means to be the Dirty Projectors. Vocals are still alarmingly off-kilter and the instrumentation is frequently challenging, yet the sense of wonder and surprise inherent throughout all their music remains thankfully intact. By any other band’s standards this would be viewed as an incredibly experimental, almost avant-garde piece of work. With the Dirty Projectors it’s merely a transition piece, and a brilliant one at that.

DIRTY PROJECTORS
SWING LO MAGELLAN

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JULY 9TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #12


Anticipation for the follow-up to one of the year’s best loved albums is traditionally high regardless of the band or their following. For the Dirty Projectors “Swing Lo Magellan” represented a turning point and the perfect opportunity to defy expectations after the critical triumph  of “Bitte Orca” three years previously. Dave Longstreth and his faithful bandmates had been releasing records for years before “Bitte Orca” catapulted them to indie-rock stardom, but those releases were viewed as somewhat elitist, purpose-made art rock for the selective middle classes. Fully aware of their emergence over the past few years, the Dirty Projectors famously collaborated with Björk on 2011’s “Mount Wittenberg Orca EP.” One gets the feeling that Björk was helping out friends, safe in the knowledge that her fame would effortlessly raise their profile.


Since “Bitte Orca,” Dirty Projectors have displayed an increasing awareness of their own emotional worth. “Swing Lo Magellan” builds on these qualities, representing their most immediate and accessible sound thus far. Even if Longstreth appears at first a little apprehensive by exposing too much of himself in his writing, it probably comes as no surprise that he accomplishes it with considerable skill. Dirty Projectors have always felt more self-aware and referential than your average band, a quality which has allowed them to realise their own potential and limitations with each successive release. What may sound at first like a band uncertain of where to take their eclecticism  with quickly reveals itself to be their most mature and confident release to date. Highlights are numerous, but the acoustic jangle of the title track with Longstreth’s beautifully flourished vocal arrangement is surely one to remember. Equally impressive is “Impregnable Question,” a beautiful paean to a loved one in the most simple of terms. “Bitte Orca” never felt contrived, but there was always a sense that they were pushing an agenda which sought to challenge or even frustrate. Those complications are banished on “Swing Lo Magellan” where studio mistakes seem to crop up and weave seamlessly into the fabric of the band’s overarching sound palette. Longstreth clears his throat on opener “Offspring Are Blank” just before the first verse while the playful “Unto Caesar” places the listener right in the studio as bandmates question the song’s flow and composition. Clearly this is a world away from the vocal acrobatics of “Bitte Orca“‘s majestic title track.


That first-take readiness casts the band in an entirely new light yet the song structures here are deceptively complex, surprising more attentive ears with unexpected nuances or shifts in sound; lead single “Gun Has No Trigger” builds explosive choral arrangements around a military drum march; the joyous handclaps of “Just From Chevron” belie the song’s dire warning of oil spills while the jubilant “Dance For You” is interrupted by orchestral swells before dancing out against a sunset backdrop; the psychedelic-tinged “Maybe That Was It” repeatedly folds and crumples in on itself like a crashing car before restructuring itself. The latter half of the album plays heavily on experimental time signatures and stop-start rhythms with muscular numbers like “The Socialites” and “See What She Seeing” retaining a featherweight lightness, thanks in part to Amber Coffman’s reassuring vocals and an overall ease at the unfathomable structures that Longstreth spews forth.



“Swing Lo Magellan” is arguably the Dirty Projectors’ most perfectly executed release thus far and remains an impressive addition to a band a decade into their stride. “Bitte Orca” is certainly a more ambitious record, yet was conceived at a point in the band’s career when a push into newer directions felt essential. I still hold it alongside Animal Collective’s “Merriweather Post Pavilion” as the joint breakthrough alternative album of 2009. The real genius behind “Swing Lo Magellan” can ultimately be attributed to Longstreth’s intuition and vision of what his band should ultimately constitute. In stripping back the fuzz of earlier records he manages to retain the true essence of what it means to be the Dirty Projectors. Vocals are still alarmingly off-kilter and the instrumentation is frequently challenging, yet the sense of wonder and surprise inherent throughout all their music remains thankfully intact. By any other band’s standards this would be viewed as an incredibly experimental, almost avant-garde piece of work. With the Dirty Projectors it’s merely a transition piece, and a brilliant one at that.

DIIVOSHINORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JUNE 26TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #25In a sea of indie rock bands, it’s hard to float to the top and make yours stand out amongst the foam. It’s harder still to make waves on subsequent releases without sinking to the murky bottom. If you’re familiar with the music on DIIV’s spectacular debut album “Oshin” then you’ll be aware that I’m trying to throw in as many references to water as possible. DIIV is supposed to read as “dive” (Dive was the band’s original name) with “Oshin” as “ocean.” It may not be the most original record in recent memory but DIIV frontman Zachary Cole Smith aims to make his offering stand apart from the crowd by imbuing these songs with a cohesive quality that works best heard from start to finish. The whole record essentially plays as a single epic number, complete with thundering reverb, murky vocals and jangly, sun-lit guitar hooks. It’s perhaps no wonder that this record would sound perfect on the beach, and the idea of it being heard through water affords “Oshin” a transcendent, communicative quality that is rare. You’re never quite sure of the words or what is actually being sung but, like a more upbeat Sigur Rós, DIIV have an uncanny way of making both your head and feet move.
it might be difficult for the uninitiated to get to grips with DIIV’s fluid guitar moments when ‘everything sounds the same’. For the most part this is true, and it’s hard to argue a case against this album being samey. “Oshin” rewards repeated listens plentifully, however, so much so that it’s often difficult to draw yourself away during those days where you want to do nothing but hit the repeat button. Like so many indie dream pop records, “Oshin” is an album that’s meant to be experienced outside of the bedroom. This isn’t guitar music made for domestic situations, so grab a pair of headphones and walk down to the beach on a sunny day, or through some fields. If you live near neither, it’s possible you’ll feel like you’re there anyway.

DIIV
OSHIN

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JUNE 26TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #25


In a sea of indie rock bands, it’s hard to float to the top and make yours stand out amongst the foam. It’s harder still to make waves on subsequent releases without sinking to the murky bottom. If you’re familiar with the music on DIIV’s spectacular debut album “Oshin” then you’ll be aware that I’m trying to throw in as many references to water as possible. DIIV is supposed to read as “dive” (Dive was the band’s original name) with “Oshin” as “ocean.” It may not be the most original record in recent memory but DIIV frontman Zachary Cole Smith aims to make his offering stand apart from the crowd by imbuing these songs with a cohesive quality that works best heard from start to finish. The whole record essentially plays as a single epic number, complete with thundering reverb, murky vocals and jangly, sun-lit guitar hooks. It’s perhaps no wonder that this record would sound perfect on the beach, and the idea of it being heard through water affords “Oshin” a transcendent, communicative quality that is rare. You’re never quite sure of the words or what is actually being sung but, like a more upbeat Sigur Rós, DIIV have an uncanny way of making both your head and feet move.


it might be difficult for the uninitiated to get to grips with DIIV’s fluid guitar moments when ‘everything sounds the same’. For the most part this is true, and it’s hard to argue a case against this album being samey. “Oshin” rewards repeated listens plentifully, however, so much so that it’s often difficult to draw yourself away during those days where you want to do nothing but hit the repeat button. Like so many indie dream pop records, “Oshin” is an album that’s meant to be experienced outside of the bedroom. This isn’t guitar music made for domestic situations, so grab a pair of headphones and walk down to the beach on a sunny day, or through some fields. If you live near neither, it’s possible you’ll feel like you’re there anyway.

TY SEGALL BANDSLAUGHTERHOUSEORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JUNE 25TH 20121YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #28Ty Segall knows the importance of staying current. Perhaps more so than any other musician in 2012, Segall raised his profile to levels that would get even Bradford Cox worried. With White Fence he released the much-hailed “Hair” earlier in 2012 and would round out the year with “Twins,” a solo record that followed on from his 2011 mini breakthrough “Goodbye Bread.” Wedged inbetween these 2012 releases was “Slaughterhouse,” Segall’s attempt at hard-edged rock with no restriction. Taking a quick look at Segall’s fractured discography reveals an artist with his fingers in many different pies, one who is determined to showcase his own unique brand on every facet of rock music over the past half-century.Opening track “Death” crashes in with deafening distortion to ward off anyone not prepared to stomach this group’s effort. And it is a group effort, that’s the reason this record is credited to a band and not merely Segall himself. What follows is a surprisingly melodic and catchy series of riffs, part garage, part punk, part hard rock, all bouncing off Segall’s vocals high in the mix. The vocals on “I Bought My Eyes” are probably the record’s finest moment of clarity whilst the title track offers a ninety second assault on the senses. The hooks keep coming and the wonderful album centrepiece “Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart” confirms that Segall is intelligent enough to construct rock music that has a solid core, not mere fodder to satisfy the masses. “Slaughterhouse” only grows more intense as it progresses, so it’s perhaps no surprise that the final track is a ten minute cooler of sorts. “Fuzz War” feels like an attempt to apply the brakes on a record’s worth of intense fire, one which showcases remarkable confidence. “Slaughterhouse” almost feels like a soundtrack to Segall’s career thus far; intense, rapid, quick-fire and continually surprising.

TY SEGALL BAND
SLAUGHTERHOUSE

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: JUNE 25TH 2012
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2012 RANKING: #28


Ty Segall knows the importance of staying current. Perhaps more so than any other musician in 2012, Segall raised his profile to levels that would get even Bradford Cox worried. With White Fence he released the much-hailed “Hair” earlier in 2012 and would round out the year with “Twins,” a solo record that followed on from his 2011 mini breakthrough “Goodbye Bread.” Wedged inbetween these 2012 releases was “Slaughterhouse,” Segall’s attempt at hard-edged rock with no restriction. Taking a quick look at Segall’s fractured discography reveals an artist with his fingers in many different pies, one who is determined to showcase his own unique brand on every facet of rock music over the past half-century.


Opening track “Death” crashes in with deafening distortion to ward off anyone not prepared to stomach this group’s effort. And it is a group effort, that’s the reason this record is credited to a band and not merely Segall himself. What follows is a surprisingly melodic and catchy series of riffs, part garage, part punk, part hard rock, all bouncing off Segall’s vocals high in the mix. The vocals on “I Bought My Eyes” are probably the record’s finest moment of clarity 
whilst the title track offers a ninety second assault on the senses. The hooks keep coming and the wonderful album centrepiece “Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart” confirms that Segall is intelligent enough to construct rock music that has a solid core, not mere fodder to satisfy the masses. “Slaughterhouse” only grows more intense as it progresses, so it’s perhaps no surprise that the final track is a ten minute cooler of sorts. “Fuzz War” feels like an attempt to apply the brakes on a record’s worth of intense fire, one which showcases remarkable confidence. “Slaughterhouse” almost feels like a soundtrack to Segall’s career thus far; intense, rapid, quick-fire and continually surprising.

About:

1YRON aims to shine the spotlight on albums exactly one year after their release. Presented as an alternative to writing about them instantaneously, I hope to recall the album in question with a fondness of time having passed. Perhaps you may even be inspired to go back and discover something new.

Since physical and digital release dates often vary worldwide (the US commonly a day after the UK for example, or for smaller releases, sometimes weeks or months apart), these reviews will only be published on their UK or US physical release date (whichever comes first).

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