Okay, I hope this works (I am in the dark of a Mexican hotel room posting on my phone) – this is our first guest post of the season! Ringo of Kill County has been awesome and sent over a best of albums for the year…or years, but lets not get picky. Great list below folks:
While Sandy is on a well-deserved fling doing who-knows-what, who-knows-where, he offered Kill County a chance to play music blogger for the day. I was charged with the compilation of a list- Favorite Albums of 2012.
Like a lot of folks I know, I am always behind; before the UPS man even darkens my door with the records I just ordered, new ones are coming out, new artists are emerging, older records are being discovered and re-issued, on and on and on. So while I was reflecting on my own 2012 discoveries/obsessions I had to make a concession on some records released in 2011 that I only came to know or own in 2012. So while it is pretty clear I am in no position to offer any sort of cohesive reflection of what you might call, “The Best of 2012”, these few records were on a more or less constant rotation over these past months.
I am pretty sure I missed something, pretty sure I will find some record in some distant future that was released in 2012 and I will wonder how the hell I missed it, wonder how I even lived without it. But for now I am pretty happy listening to these 9 records (which, by the way, are not ranked in order of devotion) over and over again.
McCarthy Trenching – Fresh Blood (2011), Plays the Piano (2012) – (Both of these records can be picked up at Saddle Creek Records)- Dan McCarthy is a hero; no man looks this good in a mustache or sobered so nicely. When Kill County plays Omaha we seek this gentleman out—beg, plead, kick, scream, and bribe our way onto his calendar. ‘Fresh Blood’ and ‘Plays the Piano’ are genuine charm put to music. His video for ‘Oh Nancy’ is a standard.
Glenn Jones -The Waiting (2011 Thrill Jockey) – Instrumental guitar and banjo work. The recording is intimate and the songs are individual gems. He talks about playing the banjo as not so much dictated by schools of thought but rather by joy.
Richard Buckner – Our Blood (2011 Merge) - To me, this record was a perfectly crafted album. The overall tone, the sequencing, the arch is perfect. Really dark, really good—well worth the wait.
Catherine Irwin – Tiny Heater (2012 Thrill Jockey) – Catherine Irwin is the songwriter who first inspired me to write and play folk/country/acoustic music. Full disclosure: she can do no wrong. She shared singing duties for the seminal band Freakwater and since then has sadly only released two records of solo material (Cut Yourself a Switch is also incredible). For my money Irwin is peerless when it comes to sad-sack country/folk acoustic music. Her split with Wooden Wand covering Hazel Dickens songs (7 inch from PIAPTK) was another standout in 2012.
Bus Gas – Train Out ( 2012 SicSic Tapes) – This is Jon and Eric from Kill County. Both tapes these boys have produced have sold out within hours/days of release. I love these records for long drives through the night, for needing space from my own internal dialogue, or making pizza.
Wooden Wand – Briarwood (reissue with demo’s 2012 Fire Records) – Recently, I have had the pleasure of getting to know James Toth of Wooden Wand and I spent the better part of 2011-2012 wondering where the hell I have been the past 10 years. This band has a discography that you can dive into without ever hitting bottom. Briarwood was released in 2011 but then re-issued in 2012 with demo versions of some of the songs. Well worth owning both versions, Toth has a penchant for recording incredible demos (Hard Knox on Ecstatic Peace case in point) and the Briarwood Virgins treat these with authority and grace.
Glacial – On Jones Beach (2012 Three Lobed) – This might not be entirely appropriate for Slowcoustic, but I just cannot ignore this record. The story Three Loped gives us concerning how this record came to be is pretty great. Thanks to those folks for making sure this record saw daylight. This record comprises of only one song but it plays like a story; the characters, the plots, the heartbreak, the drama is all there.
Simon Joyner – Ghosts (2012 Sing Eunuchs!) – What to say about Simon Joyner? What to say about this staggering record? It is hard to know if Joyner is underappreciated for his 20 years of recording. His now famous positioning as the father of the Omaha folk music scene (you know what I am talking about) notwithstanding, his records stand alone as monuments to thoughtful, unique and deeply talented artistry.
Listen: Simon Joyner: “If I Left Tomorrow”