The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Or the Much Overdue Year in Review 2012

As I’ve previously mentioned about 100 times by now, I manage this site (practically) full-time while having a full-time job in Midtown Manhattan, and as you can imagine it often means that certain sacrifices have to be made because there aren’t enough hours in a day. I sometimes think that if I had a 40 hour day, I might be able to cover shows, review albums, work a full-time job and even have a better social life – that is before I recognize the fact that I’d probably need to clone myself in order to get everything done. Still if there was one thing I could say about 2012 it had to be this: this site is probably the most awesome job I’ve ever had in my life.

   Now, it’s taken a while for me to compile my year in review. And perhaps I’m the only blogger/journalist/critic who managed to take so long but I’ve had a number of obligations and responsibilities that required my attention and my time. Shamefully, there were a number albums that I hadn’t written about over the past calendar year but they were still worthy and I give them a shoutout – regardless of whether I reviewed them or not.

   As you can imagine some years it’s easier to come up with a best of list because there are clear-cut winners and losers early on and in other years, it’s incredibly difficult because it may take quite a bit longer because that year’s releases don’t make a major impression, until something just hits me. This year, we have a first here – a tie for number 1. This year’s co-number 1’s made deeply personal impressions on me, and were quite honestly some of the most original, compelling music I’ve heard in quite some time. You’ll see some familiar names that have come up throughout this site’s history including the Funk Ark, Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang, BNLX, ESL Records, Electric Cowbell Records, Sub Pop Records and others. You’ll also see some new names. Regardless of their relative newness, the Best Of and Honorable Mentions offer their own pleasures. Hopefully you might pick some of these albums up or catch many of these acts live if they stop by a venue nearest you. (Buying an album whenever you can helps but what really helps artists – especially the ones who are on small labels or are self-releasing albums – is buying a ticket to catch artists you like live, and buying merchandise directly from them. )

  There’s also something new for this year: a list of the year’s 10 best singles – at least out of the songs and other material I posted. At least for me, there was a clear-cut winner of that category. 

So with that in mind, here’s the Joy of Violent Movement’s “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of 2012.”



The Best of 2012


1.    Cody Chesnutt – Landing on a Hundred. One Little Indian Records

1.    Lee “Scratch” Perry and the Orb – The ORBSERVER in the star house. The End Records

2. Bear in Heaven – I Love You It’s Cool. Dead Oceans Records/Hometapes Records

3.   The Funk Ark – High Noon. ESL Records

4. Steven A. Clark – Fornication Under Consent of the King. L&E Media Corp./BloodyGround USA

5.  Strong Arm Steady and Statik Selektah – Premium EP. Stones Throw Records

5.  House of Blondes – Clean Cuts. Glowmatic Records/The Musebox

6.   Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – YT//ST. Psychic Handshake Records

7.  My Jerusalem – Preachers. The End Records.

7.  Beacon – For Now EP. Ghostly International Records.

8.  Boys Noize – Out of the Black. Boys Noize Records.

9.  Super Hi-Fi – Dub to the Bone. Electric Cowbell Records.

9.  Drunken Prayer – Into the Missionfield Fluff and Gravy Records.

10.  Dirty Ghosts – Metal Moon. Last Gang Records.

11.  Husky – Forever So. Sub Pop Records       

12.  Metz – S/T. Sub Pop Records

12.  Each Other – Heavily Spaced. Prison Art Records/Crikey Records

13. Karthala 72 – Diable Du Feau! Electric Cowbell Records

14. Pazy and the Black Hippies – Wo Ho Ha. Secret Stash Records

15. Maus Haus – Light Noise. Lavish Habits Records

16.  Hands – Massive Context. Small Plates Records

17. The Right Now – Gets Over You. Self Released

18. The Sword – Apocryphon. Razor and Tie Records

19. Ralph “Soul” Jackson – The Alabama Love Man. The Rabbit Factory Records

20.  Bright Moments – Natives. Luaka Bop Records

20. Superhuman Happiness – The Physical EP. Electric Cowbell Records[1]

21. Debo Band – S/T. Sub Pop Records

21. Liars – WIXIW. Mute Records

22.  Curumin – Arrocha. Six Degrees Records

23. The Spy From Cairo – Arabadub. Wonderwheel Records

23. Theresa Andersson – Street Parade. Basin Street Records

24.  Maticulous – The Confluence EP. Fat Beats Records

25. The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – Out of Frequency. B.A.R. Records

26. Lone Wolf – The Lovers. It Never Rains Records

26. Jon DeRosa – A Wolf in Preachers Clothes. Rocket Girl Records

27.  Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang – En Yah Say. Luaka Bop Records

28. Meshell Ndgeocello – Pour un Ame Souveraine: A Tribute to Nina Simone. Naïve Records

29. Gordon Voidwell – Malcolm XXXMcLaren. Self Released

30. Barry Adamson – I Will Set You Free. Central Control Records

31. Nickodemus – Moon People. ESL Records

32. The Dig – Midnight Flowers. Buffalo Jump Records

32. BNLX – BNLX #7. Susstones Records

33. Zambri – House of Bassa. Kanine Records

34. Grimes – Visions. 4AD Records

35. Isidore – Life Somewhere Else. Communicating Vessels Records

36. Gregory Scott Slay – Horsethief Beats. Communicating Vessels Records

37. All Good Funk Alliance – Jacks of All Trades. Fort Knox Recordings

37. All Good Funk Alliance – Rhythm and FX EP. Fort Knox Recordings

38. Grand Duchy – Let the People Speak. Sonic Unyon Records

39. Cold Specks – I Predict a Graceful Explosion. Mute Records

40. Analog Players Society – Hurricane Season in Brooklyn. Studio Brooklyn Records

41. Silver Splits – Horse Divorce. Self Released

42. Jemez Mountain Hawkz – Hey Mez EP. Cerveza Fria Records

43. You Bred Dinosaurs? – Hammond. Self Released

44. PS I Love You – Death Dreams. Paper Bag Records

45. Vanessa Boyd – Agnostic Electric Gospel. Self Released



The Best Singles of 2012

1.     Cody ChesnuTT – “‘Til I Met Thee”

2.     Lee “Scratch” Perry and the Orb – “Hold Me Upsetter”

3.     Strong Arm Steady and Statik Selektah – “Premium”

4.     The Funk Ark – “Hey Mamajo”

5.     St. Lucia – “September”

6.     Liars – “Brats”

7.     Boys Noize – “Ich R U”

8.     Each Other – “An Instant”

9.     My Jerusalem – “Preachers”

      8.   My Jerusalem – “Mono”

      9.   Hands – “Come to Know”

10.  Gordon Voidwell – “Malcolm XXXMcLaren”

      10. Barry Adamson – “Destination”



Honorable Mentions

1.  Jazzanova – The Funkhaus Studio Sessions. Sonar Kollectiv Records

2.     Breton – Other People’s Problems. FatCat Records

3.     Afrolicious – Pleasuretime. ESL Records

4.     Moon King – Obsession 1 EP. Sub Pop Records

5.     Papa Grows Funk – Needle in the Groove. Funky Krewe Records

6.     Hank & Cupcakes – Naked. BMG Rights Management

      6.   Hank & Cupcakes – Ain’t No Love EP. BMG Rights Management

7. Pretty Good Dance Moves – LIMO. MAD Dragon Records/Township Records

8.     AVAN LAVA – Flex Fantasy EP. Self Released.

9.      Ending People – Fill Your Lungs. Cash Cow Records

      10.  Irata – Vultures. Silber Media 

10.   The Valery Trails – Feline EP. Self Released

11.   Muthawit – PMS Junkie. Urb Alt Media

12.  Empresarios – El Sonido Magico. Fort Knox Recordings

13.  Easy Star All Stars – Easy Star’s Thrillah. Easy Star Records

14.  Raya Brass Band – Dancing on Roses, Dancing on Cinders. Self Released

      14.  Mucca Pazza – Safety Fifth. Electric Cowbell Records

15.  Y La Bamba – Court the Storm. Tender Loving Empire Records

16.  St. Lucia – September EP. Neon Gold Records/Columbia Records

      17. St. Lucia – Closer Than This EP. Neon Gold Records/Columbia Records

17.  Youth Sounds – Burn Out/Sin Ti EP single. Self Released

18.  Blackbird Blackbird – Boracay Planet EP. Lavish Habits

19.  Silent Rider – S/T. Self Released

      20. Mati Zundel – Amazonico Gravitante. Waxploitation Records/ZZK  Records   

      21. Nicola – Canyons and Cathedrals. Hot Cherry Records

      22. Lionize – Superczar and the Vulture. The Penimento MusicCompany

      23. Phenomenal Handclap Band – Form and Control. Tummy Touch Records.

      24.  The Big Sleep – Nature Experiments. Kanine Records

      25.  Rush Midnight – +1. Cascine Records

      25. Various Artists – Sembah Ma Fe Fe. Stronghold Records



The Duds

1.     Polica – Give You the Ghost. Totally Gross National Product

2.   Fully Bearded – 15 Years of Tummy Touch Records. Tummy Touch Records

3.     Los Lonely Boys – Rockpango. Playing in Traffic Records[2]

4.     The Yawpers – Savage Blue. Self Released

5.     Black Marble – Weight Against the Door. Hardly Art Records

6.     Stephen Paul Smoker – Ripe Fruit. Kilo Records








[1] Although this album came out in 2011, I received a review copy of the album in 2012. It fits in thanks to a personal technicality I’ve had since I’ve run the site.

[2] Although this album came out in 2011, I received a review copy of the album in 2012. It fits in thanks to a personal technicality I’ve had since I’ve run the site.