Monday, 14 January 2013

Brad's 20 Favorite Albums of 2012

I've reached the crotchety, old, "get off my damn lawn you punk kids" phase of my musical life, what with all the beeping, booping and discoteche-ing going on with their electronic future music.  I was born in the 80's....I really don't want to go back.  Plus, if history tells us anything, whenever we try to sound all futuristic and shit, it doesn't age well at all.

Luckily, Ty Segall exists.  And he kicks so much fucking ass.

20.) Cloud Nothing - Attack on Memory

I bet when Silverchair heard this album they were all like "Fuck...that's what we should have tried to do.  Then people wouldn't have forgotten we existed."

Fave tracks:  No Future, No Past and Stay Useless

19.) Godspeed You Black Emperor - Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!

Getting a Godspeed You Black Emperor album unexpectedly is always a nice gift that makes you feel all warm and cozy on the inside.

Fave tracks:  Godspeed You Black Emperor albums are to be listened in full.

18.) The Shins - Port of Morrow

Just classic Shins.  Poppy and produced enough to enjoy some mainstream success while maintaining street cred with the kids.

Fave tracks:  Simple Song and For A Fool

17.) Baroness - Green & Yellow

One of about three metal bands I actually listen to.  And metal is probably a loose term.  Still, they kick ass, write interesting songs, have some sweet riffs and don't sing a whole bunch about dragons, satan or corn children.

Fave tracks:  Eula and Take My Bones Away

16.) FIDLAR - Shit We Recorded In Our Bedroom EP

God I can't wait for FIDLAR to release a proper album.  It's going to tear everyone faces off.  This band should be the next big thing.  They probably won't, though, because people suck.  They are rock and roll.  This would be significantly higher if it had more than 4 songs.

Fave tracks:  West Coast and Crackhead Ted

15.) Killer Mike - Rap Music

I didn't hear too much rap that caught my ear this year.  Killer Mike had an awesome track called That's Life from several years ago and finally got me interested in a whole album this year.  Rap needs some more guys like, aware of what's going on in the real world and able to not be a total lame ass rapping about "issues."

Fave tracks:  Reagan and Don't Die

14.) Grizzly Bear - Shields

Part of me thinks I should like Grizzly Bear more than I do because they make some beautiful music that gets stuck in my head.  But part of me wants to hate Grizzly Bear because would it hurt them to display at least a little goddamn testosterone once in awhile?

Fave tracks:  Yet Again and Sleeping Ute

13.) Ty Segall & White Fence - Hair

Ty Segall is the future.  And the present.  And he kicks so much ass.  It's telling that this is his "worst" album of the year, and comes in at 13.  There are two more coming.

Fave tracks:  Easy Ryder and Scissor People

12.) Death Grips - The Money Store

Thank god someone finally decided to do something completely new with rap.  I guess its experimental and probably a lot of people will hate this, but at least its interesting and doesn't suck.

Fave tracks:  Get Got

11.) Titus Andronicus - Local Business

I'll admit, I kinda slept on Titus Andronicus.  The Airing of Grievances album sat in my collection, unlistened to for years.  Then a a few months ago I put it in and realized it is brilliant shit.  The Monitor was also pretty awesome.  Then they released Local Business this year.  Just another slice of brilliant rock and roll.

Fave tracks:  Ecce Homo and My Eating Disorder (no good youtube vids for these)

10.) The Flaming Lips - The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends

Just when I was starting to lose a bit of interest, they release this magnificent slice of psychadelic mind fuck.  Who would have thought I'd love a Ke$ha track this much!

Fave tracks:  2012 You Must Be Upgraded and Ashes In The Air

9.) Spiritualized - Sweet Heart Sweet Light

Hey Jane is one of my fave songs of the year.  So there's that.  And this album is another in a long line of great albums by J. Spaceman.

Fave tracks:  Hey Jane and Little Girl

8.) Metz - Metz

You can't listen to Metz loud enough.  You really can't.

Fave tracks:  Get Off  and Knife In The Water

7.) Jack White - Blunderbuss

An old favorite of mine.  While I wasn't blown away by his solo debut like some apparently were, I also wasn't disappointed.  And after the luke warm feeling I'd had towards the Raconteurs and Dead Weather, I thought I would be disappointed.

Fave tracks:  Freedom at 21 and I'm Shakin'

6.) Tame Impala - Lonerism

I jizzed my pants when I first heard Elephant.  Then I didn't fully understand the hype behind the rest of the album.  Then I listened to it using headphones.  It needs to be heard with headphones to be fully appreciated.

Fave tracks:  Elephant and Mind Mischief

5.) Ty Segall - Twins

The last album Ty Fucking Segall released this year.  It might climb higher the more I listen to it.  It's awesome.

Fave tracks:  You're The Doctor, Thank God For The Sinners and The Hill

4.) Thee Oh Sees - Putrifiers II

It's no secret that my upbringing of a steady dose of KY58 has instilled in me an affinity towards the wonderful musical stylings of garage rock.  So I'm not sure if the rekindling of my love of garage rock this past year is just part of my musical taste cycle or if people like Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees just released brilliant albums.  I'm pretty sure its the latter.

Fave tracks:  Putrifiers II, Lupine Dominus, and Flood's New Light

3.) FIDLAR - Don't Try EP

There are only four songs on this EP.  They all kick so much fucking ass.  Full album coming out in February.  It's gonna be awesome.

Fave tracks:  Got No Money, No Waves, No Ass, and Black Out Stout

2.) Father John Misty - Fear Fun

Dude quits Fleet Foxes.  Dude makes music that definitely comes from same vein as Fleet Foxes, but is significantly more interesting than last Fleet Foxes album.  Funtimes in Babylon.

Fave tracks:  Nancy From Now, I'm Writing A Novel, Tee Pees 1-12, and Well, You Can Do It Without Me

1.) Ty Segall Band - Slaughterhouse

Have I mentioned before that Ty Segall is, like, really, really good.  Because he is.  He's rock and roll's best kept secret and even the indie kids seem reluctant to crown him grand champion of everything, which he probably is.

Fave Tracks:  Tell Me What's Inside Your Heart, I Bought My Eyes, Muscle Man, and Diddy Wah Diddy (magnificent Captain Beefheart cover)

Friday, 4 January 2013


In many ways, I didn't know Grandpa that well.  It's not that I didn't enjoy being around him or anything like's more that we Hunts have a tendency to keep things to ourselves.

I mean, I knew Grandpa loved hunting, sports, working in the garden, king pedro, the occasional rye and coke, cribbage and he could wear the shit out of a paper Christmas crown.  I just didn't know a whole lot about him.  What made him tick.

For example, I know he served in World War 2, but I have no idea what capacity he served, where he served, etc.  It was one of those things he never talked about.  And there were a lot of things us Hunts don't talk about.  We don't handle emotional stuff well and I'm pretty sure bringing up the war would bring up emotional stuff that Grandpa would prefer not to deal with.

I also know he was a stubborn sonofabitch.  Most old timers are.  Grandpa had his way about doing things and didn't stray too far from it.  At least that's what I gather from the stories I'd hear from Dad about growing up.

I remember numerous years ago Grandpa had some health issues and I think most of us, himself included, figured he was reaching the end of the line.  That Christmas we all got some pretty big cheques and it seemed like he was handing out one last gift to us before punching his card.  But that was several years ago........the next few Christmases had a significantly smaller cheque.  And then there were more health problems.  And we figured his card was going to get punched.  And he kept plugging along for damn near ten more years.  Like I said, the man was a stubborn sonofabitch!

Anyways, I've spent the week laid up on the couch, sick, and earlier in the week I was watching some program and one of the characters was overtly optimistic about everything, despite how poorly things were going in his life.  When confronted about his optimism he mentioned its important to stay positive so you can try and pull out any of the silver linings from your terrible situation, otherwise they will pass you by.  I thought it was pretty terrible and tacky and was willing to present an argument against such an outlook on life, but for some reason I kept thinking about that line all week.

Then yesterday morning I got a call that Grandpa was not doing well at all and they figured this was going to be the last hurrah.  In many ways, it was time.  Grandpa had a good run.  He was 90ish and had spent the last couple years slipping into poorer and poorer health.  And one of the things that had been going for awhile was his memory and mind, which is always a struggle for family members.  Grandma suffered from Alzheimer's when I was much younger and it's not easy.

Anyways, I spent a lot of the day thinking about Grandpa.  Remembering good times like hunting in Reston, playing hockey in his drive way or basement, watching Hockey The Lighter Side over and over again at his place as it was the only thing resembling children's programming in his VHS collection.  I remember Grandpa would drive out to Kirkella, which was like a 4 hour drive the one way, just to watch me play hockey.  He loved watching his grandchildren play sports and when you'd talk to him about sports, he'd be sure to remind you how to play the game properly.

Then I started thinking about recent years, as Grandpa's health deteriorated.  I didn't visit him too many times in the hospital/nursing home over the last couple years, I think mainly because of how much I struggled visiting Grandma when she was dealing with Alzheimer's.  I probably selfishly preferred to have my older memories of Grandpa.  However, the last couple months I ended up visiting him several times and was quite glad I got the opportunity to do so.  And then I got to thinking about that stupid silver linings quote from the other day......and was reminded of the following:

About a year and a half ago or two years ago I was out in Treherne and Dad decided to go in Sunday morning and pick up Grandpa and bring him out for the day, with the idea I'd take him back when I went back to the city.  Grandpa was in much better physical health then, but his mind was going.  Driving back, Grandpa completely forgot who I was within 5 minutes and didn't recognize me the rest of the trip.  But as we drove past Starbuck he turned to me and said "This here is the town where I met my wife."  Grandpa then started talking about Grandma and remembering a bunch of things about her.  And I think because I was a stranger to Grandpa since he no longer recognized me, there was no longer this emotional wall built up between us.  And so I took the opportunity to ask Grandpa about his wife, how they met and all these other things.  And Grandpa opened right up and spent the rest of the ride talking about her.  It was amazing.

After that experience, I felt like I got to learn a bit more about Grandpa and what made him tick.  For one thing, I have no doubt he loved Grandma deeply.  He had no idea who I was, but he could remember details about meeting her like it was yesterday.

I'm pretty sure what drove Grandpa was his love for the people around him.  He may not have always been the best at communicating this, but when I look back I think this is true.  He tried to do what he thought was best for them, even if they didn't quite understand it or like it at the time.

So, in many ways, this little experience where I got to learn a bit more about Grandma and Grandpa's obvious love for her was one of the silver linings of his illness.  And for that I will be forever grateful.

RIP, Grandpa Ted.