Wednesday, December 19, 2012

0 Jon Weisnewski's (Sandrider) Top Albums and Shows of 2012

Photo by Invisible Hour
"Ten" of my favorite albums of 2012, in no order...

ACCEPT - Stalingrad
Very surprisingly good heavy metal album from some of the genre's pioneers. Usually at this age they are too old to bring it, let alone find the car keys.

BLACK BREATH - Sentenced to Life
I'm so glad this band is real and not just some metal fantasy I cooked up in my head to revitalize speed metal in my home town as part of some sleep deprived daydream. Second album is more of the first. Fast, furious, metal with just the right amount of Entombed rock garnish. All balls.

HIGH ON FIRE - De Vermis Mysteriis
Ballou was the perfect engineer for these guys. Pulled just enough mud out of the mix to give the songs a new legibility, and without reducing the heavy.

FUTURE OF THE LEFT - the plot against common sense
Pop sensibility and catchy melodies that are just as ear-worm-inducing as Torche, but with a much more vicious low-fi delivery. Fantastic music aside, they are easily bringing the best lyrics and song titles to the table these days, exemplified with "Robocop 4 - Fuck off Robocop"*.

OFF! - Off!
Hopefully all the fucking assholes complaining about how bands "don't play punk the way they used to" might actually shut the fuck up now.**

I HATE when self righteous music writers spend time reviewing an album only by comparing it to a band's other record, or some other record that it reminds them of, and how it is pretty good but not AS good as The Butthole Album*** back in 2002, meaning they really didn't like it all that much and they are pretty much giving it a pass based on the band's earlier work or some other album in the genre. That being said, Book Burner is pretty damn good, but not as good as Terrifyer.

TORCHE - Harmonicraft
More great songs from a great band. I'm almost bored with how good they are. I'll start paying attention again when they put out a bad record****.

Raw, pissed off, brutal hardcore. Their mutant power is to be able to rip shit up like they're sexually frustrated straight edge nerds all while smoking criminal amounts of weed.

GOOD TO DIE RECORDS - All the 2012 releases.
A whole bunch of these were in my top ten, so I figured I'd give them their own shared entry so I had enough room to mention other records that aren't GTD releases. Dog Shredder, Gaytheist, Rabbits, Brokaw, Absolute Monarchs, Deadkill... Fuckin buy that shit people. Nothing but quality.

THE SWORD - Apocryphon
The Sword has gone on a pretty interesting arc since Age of Winters. I feel like they were trying to challenge themselves with Warp Riders and do something a bit more concept-y, grandiose, and thematic. Apocryphon incorporates that new hotness and at the same time harkens back to the simpler, riff laden days of Age. Lots of sweet grooves on this album.

CONVERGE - All we love we leave behind
I keep waiting for Converge to suck, but every record rages hard enough to make up for the weird emo scream-sing thing that Jake loves to do. I liked this one better than Axe to Fall. Drumming is so sick. Fantastic band keeping it real, despite the lame emo album title.

Here are some awesome shows I went to this year.

The Sword, Gypsy Hawk @ Neumos
Bryan plays a Verellen bass amp full time now. The Sword played a great set with shit from all the albums. I may have been super stoned.

Total Fest, Missoula Montana
Torche, Iron Lung, Harkonen, Lozen, Walls, and lots of beers consumed waste deep in a cold ass river.

Converge, Torche, Kvelertak @ El Corazon
Got drunk at Fierabend before hand, showed up in time to see the last 10 seconds of Kvelertak, which is number one in my "saddest moments of 2012" list I am now compiling. Rest of the show was good though.

Sleep @ Neumos
Dopesmoker is such a no brainer favorite album you almost stop listening to it, just kind of "shelve" it as an all time best and move on. It becomes your frame of reference for all future entries to the genre. Well, shit. Seeing it live reinvigorates your love for this band and puts the album squarely back on the turn table where it belongs. This show was incredible*****.

TPotR: From Ashes Rise, Black Breath, Trap Them @ Highline
Kim Thayil was at this show. This may or may not describe why you were or weren't.******

Saviours, Bison BC, Fight Amp @ Highline
This was my first (long overdue) time seeing Fight Amp. They seem like they're kinda quiet at first but once you party with them they blossom into crazy fucks.

All the Good To Die bands @ Many places
Once again, GTD needs recognition. All the bands on the label are driven by fantastic live shows. Monogamy Party, Rabbits, Gaytheist, Absolute Monarchs, Dog Shredder, Deadkill, Brokaw. Well worth your Friday night.*******

Black Elk, Ruby Doe @ Comet
I think we were all kinda dubious when Black Elk came back with a new bass player and drummer... and then we all kinda shit ourselves. Ruby Doe is slowly fading, but all their remaining shows should be seen before they officially throw in the towel.

Akimbo last show @ Comet
Yeah, I played this show, but this is not an ego stroke saying we performed in a manner worthy of the X best shows of 2012. This show was a supremely special moment for me and I have to call it out. Thanks again for making that band a dream come true. I will never forget that night for the rest of my life.

* Funny lyrics and title, but not the strongest track.
** I am one of those assholes
*** The Butthole Album is not an actual album.
**** LOL
***** Surprisingly was NOT super stoned for this show. Likely the only one in attendance too.
****** King Animal sucks.
******* I'm not going to be super stupid overly humble guy and really exclude Sandrider from this list. We fuckin bring it too.

Sandrider is currently writing new material for their next release on Good to Die Records due sometime in 2013. 


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