An Awesome Wave... Of publicity, arf!
2012 Top 100 LPs #56-53: Alt-J, Ariel Pink, Gaggle, Kevin Tihista
Published on December 12th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Yes, it’s…Rocksucker’s Top 100 Albums of 2012!
Rocksucker listened to a lot of albums this year and conferred varying degrees of merit (in quail form) upon them based on our own spurious criteria…
…and now we bring you our favourite hundred of them, counted down in order arbitrarily/for fun. By dint of mathematics (specifically 4 x 25), top spot shall be revealed on Christmas day. Now, let’s get crackling, and then cracking…
56. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Mature Themes
Spooky fairground psych may not be your cup of tea, but if anyone’s capable of winning you round it’s Mr Pink. Fuzzy, playful, tangential, occasionally jangly and/or serene, always melodic, Mature Themes makes its predecessor Before Today sound all the poppier in comparison, so perhaps we can expect Haunted Graffiti to make the of Montreal progression: that is, into sheer madness rather than mere dalliances with it. It’s about time someone wrote a song called “Schnitzel Boogie”, too. Here’s one of the album’s more lucid/less freaked-out moments…
55. Alt-J – An Awesome Wave
An awesome wave of hype (chortle) has sure surrounded this debut since it was nominated for and subsequently won the Mercury Prize, and it’s undeniably a breath of fresh air. A fine line between experimental and ‘too clever by half’ is trodden – mostly successfully – so it will be interesting to see where they go on album two. Flesh out the eccentricities and pop instincts in tandem and something truly special could result; let’s hope they don’t get too artsy fartsy about it, because goodness knows we get enough ‘difficult’, ‘atmospheric’ electro-pop records these days.
54. Kevin Tihista’s Red Terror – On This Dark Street
Here’s a musical accompaniment not to be sniffed at: beginning a song with the lines “I’m sorry that I ripped the cover off your Jack Kerouac novel / But I had to blow my nose / I had to blow my nose” and still making it sound dark and tense. Tihista has a real knack a wry lyric but he skilfully avoids a gag-fest by aligning them with a set of gorgeously presented campfire-pop. Remember the geography teacher from Beavis and Butt-head? Well, stuff him full of musical talent, wilful contrariness and a devastating way with combining light and shade; and blammo, you’ve got this doozy of a record.
53. Gaggle – From the Mouth of the Cave
21-piece all-girl choir transcend own novelty by turning in a remarkable album that sounds something like a monastic, female Animal Collective being produced by Tune-Yards and Flaming Lips cohort Dave Fridmann. The very nature of this project is bound to attract opprobrium from purists, but Gaggle both demand that you open your mind and reward you for doing so.