Teen Daze and more...
Sunshine’s Trevor Risk
2012 will probably stand out in my mind as a “crux” year, a year when dance music (or EDM or whatever) swallowed its own bombast and finally tipped over the edge of silliness. Deadmau5 probably had the best, and most self aware, statements about this idea when he wrote about how ridiculous it is that fans are paying over a hundred dollars to see him and his counterparts just press play. Before you think I’m just another guitar-slinging snot who refers to anything electronic as “techno”, keep in mind that I’ve been a DJ for the last decade playing alongside the likes of DJs like Alan Braxe, Fake Blood, Sinden, Jacques Renault, the Magician, Skeet Skeet, and everyone else you can think of in that world. Going into 2013 I believe that “dance” music is about to go the way of hair metal, and we’re looking at a grunge front about to take over, although not necessarily (or even probably) sounding like the grunge of the early ‘90s. Based on albums that came out this year, here is my list of who might be that nouveau Cobain (or Mother Love Bone or Temple of the Dog or whoever you think was that era’s saviours).
Ty Segall: The guy’s output is unmatched. He released Twins and Slaughterhouse in 2012 and that footage of him screaming “CHICAGO!!!!” over and over on Chicago breakfast television is far more badass than any DJ’s festival light show.
The New Values: Accuse me of homer-ism here, but this Vancouver trio’s self-titled release gets to the point, only makes it once, and then exeunts. One critic referred to them as sped-up Hüsker Dü, but I like to think of them as original punk time travelers sent back from the future to make fun of the fact that nobody has an attention span in this specific era. “Hey have you got a minute?” “Yeah.” “Then you have time for one and a half New Values songs.”
The Raveonettes: The Raveonettes have been around since the last guitar populist revolution, but have recently favoured the piano and ignored the surf beat. Their latest album Observator is a mature slice of sunset pop crafted in Los Angeles and perfected on the road. Sunshine were lucky enough to have Sune Rose Wagner produce a song for us on our record, which sparked a giddy elation we have still yet come down from.
Lightning Bolt: Sometimes it’s good to get punched in the stomach, and Oblivion Hunter, Lighting Bolt’s 2012 album actually punches THROUGH your stomach and breaks your spine. Lightning Bolt are GI Joe to DFA 1979’s Barbie. Actually if DFA 1979 is a Barbie doll, then Lightning Bolt is a pre pubescent boy with a mean streak and access to a microwave.
Shiny Darkly: I like to think that Denmark is a country of well-dressed Nordic people, badminton fans, and where you hear dark, meaningful bands like Shiny Darkly on the radio. Until I go to Copenhagen and am proved wrong, this is what I will go to sleep dreaming about.
Black Moth Super Rainbow: Cobra Juicy is a mysterious album of mysterious sounds made by a mysterious man. Writing about it is futile. I dream of a place where twenty-somethings request songs off this album from DJs.
Turbo Fruits: Nashville is a funny place because it’s got three tiers of the music world. Tier 1: White bread country nostalgia at places like the Grand Ol’ Opry and the city’s honky tonk district. Tier 2: Top of the Billboard charts with Ke$ha, Taylor Swift, and Kings of Leon. But then there’s Tier 3: Literal garages full of rock. Garage rock if you will. Butter is Turbo Fruits’ latest offering and it’s moved them up a notch. They have the power to topple anyone with this kind of attitude and songwriting prowess.
Fucked Up: There’s only two problems with hardcore shows: that “punching the ground” dance that people do and the fact that there’s no women around. Fucked Up added a gorgeous female voice on David Comes to Life and the result is the world’s finest hardcore covered in delicious icing. It’s sweet, but it’s good for you!
BA Johnston: BA is a guy who gets basically ignored by the Canadian public even though he loves this country more than Nardwuar and Stephen Harper combined. I figure he gets tragically overlooked most of the time because his lyrics are kind of blatant and joke-y, so his songwriting ability gets lost in the chuckles the listener makes when he realizes that the song is about NBA Jam or Sean Astin. Hi Dudes! is a cherished tribute to this country and everything Johnston grew up with. He’s the last of the great white slackers.
Frankie Rose: Charming ex-Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls, and Crystal Stilts lady whose Interstellar might have outshone any of her previous bands’ releases. Although I’ve never been a fan of the “You have to see them live!” argument, Frankie Rose is the funniest performer I’ve ever seen. She had us all in stitches between the recital of hit after hit on this album, and nobody ever yells at her to drop the bass.
Vancouver’s Sunshine is preparing to release its self-titled debut album in February 2013.
Taddy Porter will release its sophomore album Stay Golden (Primary Wave) on February 26. The album was co-produced by Dave Cobb (Chris Cornell, Shooter Jennings) and Mark Neill (The Black Keys, Dan Auerbach).
Talk Normal’s Andrya Ambro
1. Matthew Dear, Beams: Dark dance grooves and a languid baritone voice. These jams could roll on for hours and I’d be content.
2. Angel Haze, Reservation: I love every ounce of this album. This little pip has whole lot of soul and talent. And she’s smart. I find myself stopping what I’m doing to listen to her heartfelt (and often wrenching) stories. She commands sincere attention. Just waiting for her to blow up.
3. U.S. Girls, Gem: Wow! Finally U.S. Girls is exposing her voice. I’ve been waiting for this album and knew Meghan Remy had it in her. Plus the arrangements and songs rule.
4. Daughn Gibson,All Hell: Totally just bobbing to this as I type. Great sounds. Great re-invention of past genres/styles w/ timeless feelings. Plus Gibson’s a weirdo. I love it. Great arrangements/orchestration too.
5. Future Islands, “Tomorrow” b/w “The Fountain” 7”: In regards to “Tomorrow,” as Sam from FI says himself, “this song’s just a good piece of soul.”
6. Liars, WIXIW: It took me a while to like this one (sorry Liars). And then it just clicked. I could feel the fire from earlier albums with a more slick glitch approach. Goddamn drummer rules and makes me feel the possibility of beats, whether digital or of this tangible earth.
7. The Dreebs, Bait an Orchard: It has moments of Butthole Surfers meets Brainbombs with more unusual and interesting guitar work, sometimes shimmering, sometimes disturbed. Sorry to pigeonhole. I just like them, plus all of the above bands mentioned.
8. Frank Ocean, channel ORANGE: Frank is just stunning. The whole album. The whole experience.
9. Julia Holter, Ekstasis—Beautiful album. I very much like her imagination.
10. Grimes, Visions: I’m a total sucker for Visions. The production is excellent. Such good ear candy and I love her wackadoo aesthetics.
Lower Dens, Nootropics: Admittedly this second album is more jammier than I expected, BUT some songs just take off! The band is killing. And Jana with all her vocal subtleties is transcendent.
Sic Alps, Sic Alps: A quieter and cleaner pasture for Sic Alps. Still weird and beautiful. I’m still sitting with this one. I feel I will love it soon…
Talk Normal’s second full-length Sunshine came out on Joyful Noise in October 2012.
10 Things I Remember Playing, Discussing, or Recommending:
Acclaimed rap duo Tanya Morgan released You and What Army in 2011.
Top 10 albums of the year:
1. Mount Eerie, Clear Moon / Ocean Roar
2. Tame Impala, Lonerism
3. DIIV, Oshin
4. Mac DeMarco, 2
5. Mirroring, Foreign Body
6. Aidan Knight, Small Reveal
7. Four Tet, Pink
8. Flying Lotus, Until the Quiet Comes
9. Lotus Plaza, Spooky Action at a Distance
10. Frankie Rose, Interstellar
Top 10 songs of the year:
1. Willits + Sakamoto, “Completion”
2. Tame Impala, “Apocalypse Dreams”
3. Mac DeMarco, “The Stars Keep on Calling My Name”
4. How to Dress Well, “Ocean Floor for Everything”
5. Heathered Pearls, “Beach Shelter”
6. Jai Paul, “Jasmine” (Demo)
7. Wild Nothing, “Shadow”
8. Disclosure, “Latch”
9. Four Tet, “Locked”
10. Frank Ocean, “Thinkin Bout You”
Teen Daze had a busier 2012 than most releasing his debut All of Us (Lefse) in June and a follow-up, The Inner Mansions (Lefse), in November.