It’s top 10 list time and I’ve spent all day wrangling Sub Pop employees for their lists, but boy did they deliver (some folks turned in TWO lists!). I’m still bummed though, that Sam Sawyer didn’t turn in a list of “Top 10 Best Waves I Caught in 2012” or that Garrett Kelly didn’t turn in a list of “Top 10 Things I Learned from Stuart Fletcher,” but here’s what people did turn in. Happy reading.
P.S. / DISCLAIMER : Bekah Zietz, who graciously helped me compile these, thinks I should tell you the lists aren’t 100% music lists and also, duhhh, we asked some of our bands! Scroll to the bottom if you don’t care what the employees listened to and really only care what Kyle from King Tuff was jammin’.
Top-ten (non-Sub Pop) things of 2012, in no particular order:
True Radical Miracle – Termites LP (Iron Lung) and live
Ed Schrader’s Music Beat – Jazz Mind LP (Load)
Cut Hands, Andy Stott live at Decibel Fest’s Modern Love showcase, and Demdike Stare’s live score to Jean Rollin’s La Vampire Nue
Zyanose – Insane Noise Raid LP (Whisper in Darkness)
Merchandise – Children of Desire (Katorga Works) and live with Shoxx at 538 Johnson
Swans – The Seer (Young God) and live at Neumos
Forward – Devil’s Cradle 7” (540)
Boston Strangler – Primitive LP (Fun With Smack)
Dream Decay’s various live shows
Daughn Gibson – All Hell (White Denim)
Hardly Art’s Ruben Mendez tries to remember 12 favorite LP/tape purchases of 2012
1. Protomartyr – No Passion/All Technique (Urinal Cake)
2. Tyvek – On Triple Beams (In the Red)
3. Lost Animal – Ex Tropical (Sensory)
4. La Luz – Damp Face EP (self released tape)
5. King Tuff – King Tuff (Sub Pop)
6. Tronics – Love Backed By Force reissue (WYR?)
7. Window Twins- Wish (Volar)
8. Subsonics- In the Black Spot (Slovenly)
9. Evening Meetings – Evening Meetings (Sweet Rot)
10. Cop City/Chill Pillars- Hosed (Florida’s Dying)
11. Liars WIXIW (Mute)
12. Shoppers- Silver Year (Feeble Minds)
-(If I could, I’d say everything and everyone on Hardly Art this year and last year. All are favorites!)
-(Bolded means: I didn’t pay for. Could change out with Thee Oh Sees Putrifiers II (In the Red) and the Public Nuisance LP reissue on Third Man)
Various things I became generally obsessed with in the time that was 2012:
20. Amen Dunes – “Bedroom Drum”
19. Swans – The Seer & live at Neumos
18. Metric – Synthetica
17. Cold Showers – Love & Regret
16. Mount Eerie – Clear Moon / Ocean Roar
15. Thee Oh Sees / Total Control – split 12"
14. Royal Headache – s/t
13. Grimes – Visions
12. The Fresh & Onlys – Long Slow Dance
11. Trust – TRST
10. The Babies – Our House on the Hill
09. Bat for Lashes – The Haunted Man
08. Light Asylum – In Tension EP (2011) & live at Neumos
07. Cat Power – Sun
06. Terry Malts – Killing Time
05. Grass Widow – Internal Logic
04. The Men – “Open Your Heart”
03. White Lung – Sorry
02. Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N 2 It & live at the Frye
01. Andy Stott – Luxury Problems & live at Decibel Fest
- Holy Other – Held
- A Place to Bury Strangers – Worship
- Moonface w/Siinai – Heartbreaking Bravery
- Purity Ring – Shrines
- Black Marble – A Different Arrangement
- Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
- Tim Hecker / Daniel Lopatin – Instrumental Tourist
- Symmetry – Themes For an Imaginary Film (the film score that should have accompanied the movie Drive this year from Johnny Jewel of Chromatics/Glass Candy)
- Death Waltz Records – UK label doing a bunch of horror & sci-fi reissues with original artwork and packaging.
-Mount Analog Records – Crazy awesome record store that opened up this last year in LA that specializes in being rad.
Rest of Life:
- Obama’s re-election and the approval of marriage equality in Washington State and the party in the streets that immediately followed the results.
- Finally breaking down the powers that be and becoming a full-time employee at Sub Pop!
- Releasing Nightmare Fortress’ first EP and then a week later getting to share stages with both Austra and Trust down the coast for some of the best shows I’ve ever been a part of my whole life.
- 4th of July weekend spent hiking and exploring different areas of Snoqualmie-Mt. Baker National forest including Lake-22, Goat Lake and the ice caves.
- Cutting off 14 inches of hair and not ever once regretting the decision in the weeks and months that followed. Phew!
Richard Dick Laing
Daughn Gibson – All Hell
Matthew E White – Big Inner
Swans – The Seer
Goat – World Music
Merchandise – Children of Desire
Godspeed You Black Emporer ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
John Talabot Fin
Chromatics Kill for Love
DIIV _ Oshin_
White Manna White Manna
LACEY’S TOP 10 OFF THE TOP OF HER HEAD AT 5 O’CLOCK ON A FRIDAY
MAGIC TRICK Invisible at Midnight (Come on, dumdums—don’t you trust me?)
SHABAZZ PALACES Black Up (Still. I was just listening to this really loud at my desk.)
UV RACE The new one that I haven’t heard, but I know it’s Great (I’m sure it has a real name. See Ruben’s list, probably.)
GIRLS on HBO (Lena Dunham can do no wrong, but I stand by my decision to not follow her on Instagram anymore.)
INSTAGRAM (What would I have to look at on the crapper if not this?)
RUSSEL BRAND’s new talk show on FX (I know, I know, but it’s GOOD, I swear!)
SLEEPWALK WITH ME (I think this film is perfect. People disagree, but fuck ‘em.)
LOUIS CK (I get to see him perform soon and I’m going to scream like he’s The Beatles the ENTIRE time. Sorry, Seattle.)
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS (In general, if not in practice…this year at least.)
GOLD VAN RECORDS (Me ‘n Ruben’s new mobile record shoppe, run out of our new, shitty van!)
Killer Mike R.A.P. Music
Angel Olsen Half Way Home
Daughn Gibson All Hell
Sharon Van Etten Tramp
Lower Dens Nootropics
Matthew E White Big Inner
Deep Time s/t
Devine Fits A Thing Called Divine Fits
Frank Ocean Channel ORANGE
Nu Sensae Sundowning
Carly Rae Jepsen “Call Me Maybe” (Best song of 2012)
Top 10 Music Things:
1. Daughn Gibson – All Hell
This is probably my most favorite album of the year. Also, it has the best jogging jams, except you have to go jogging somewhere slightly creepy for the musical magic to happen.
2. Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness
I rediscovered this album this year out of nostalgia for my childhood. Smashing Pumpkins blasted very loudly in my car = happiness.
3. Mirel Wagner – Mirel Wagner
4. Chelsea Wolfe – Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs
5. Karl Blau – Songles
6. La Luz – Damp Face EP
7. Cate Le Bon – Cyrk
8. Hungry Cloud Darkening – Dark Cloud At Water
9. Cat Power – Sun
10. Unknown Music Festival in Anacortes, WA – Lori Goldston’s set, Karl Blau’s set, Mt. Eerie’s set, Shipwreck Day, “Veggie Starts” at Adrift, Causland Park
11. Rose Windows unreleased jams
Top 10 Other Things:
1. Marrying Alex Kostelnik
2. Garrett Kelly’s new fashion blog Sequins in Seattle
3. Caroline Shadood’s fashion blog Broadist
4. Tavi / Rookie Mag
5. Lena Dunham / Girls TV show
6. Flower head bands
7. Estate sales
8. Etsy – did you know that Bradley Fry of Pissed Jeans even has an Etsy store!? Check it out.
9. Reading an advance copy of Steve Arntson’s new book The Wrap-Up List
10. Chichi Coconut
Top ten music I liked in 2012:
1. Survival Knife
2. Alex Minoff
3. Chris Brokaw
20 things that didn’t suck in 2012, as seen by my camera:
Not in any specific order:
1. 2012 is over!
2. Obama still in office (THANK GOD)
3. WA state Legalized Mary Jane
4. Office water wars
5. Breaking 100 bowling!!! (that’s right people)
6. LOL on Bravo
7. Knocking myself out needing stitches and having to wear a neck brace
8. Bacon wrapped jalapeños
9. Switching to beer!
10) Of Monsters And Men My Head Is An Animal: some folks may say it’s Arcade Fire lite, but I love this album and the band is just as engaging live.
9) Japandroids Celebration Rock: a thankful respite from all the earnest singer songwriters.
8) Beach House Bloom: dreamy in all the ways I love dreamy.
6) How To Destroy Angels An Omen: just an EP, but wonderfully dark and beautiful.
6) The XX Coexist: not as song-oriented as the last one, but still a great album.
5) Tame Impala Lonerism: sonically psychedelic pop music just the way I like my psychedelics.
4) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis The Heist: Seattle repping the white-boy rap world with funny and smart lyrics and undeniable beats. Vaguely reminiscent of one Slim Shady.
3) Massive Attack Blue Lines (remastered): I was hoping for a little more in the release of this album, but it’s one of my favorite albums of all time, so it’s an excuse to re-listen.
2) Father John Misty Fear Fun: one of the broadest, smartest and funny records in years.
1) Approval of R74. Screw ‘liberal’ California, we got legal weed AND gay marriage.
Cloud Nothings Attack on Memory
JBM Stray Ashes
Killer Mike R.A.P. Music
Woods Bend Beyond
Kendrick Lamar Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
Daughn Gibson All Hell
Ty Segall Slaughterhouse
Felice Brothers Godbless You Amigo
Meek Mill Dreams & Nightmares
Top Tenish music things from 2012, new and old. Just some things I listened to more than often in 2012.
Alt-J- An Awesome Wave
The Sword- Apocryphon
Divine Fits- A Thing Called The Divine Fits
Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit- Here We Rest
The Chameleons- Script of The Bridge
Dawnbringer- Into The Lair of The Sun God
David GIlmour- S/T
Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats- Blood Lust
Talk Talk- It’s My Life
The Cult- Dreamtime
Shearwater Animal Joy
Some memorable 2012 listens (in no particular order) that weren’t on Sub Pop or Hardly Art.
1. Marzette Watts and Company (reissue)
2. Redd Kross—- Researching the Blues
3. Swans—- The Seer
4. Kendrick Lamar—- good kid, m A.A.d city
5. Daughn Gibson—- _All Hell
6. Mark Stewart—- Exorcism of Envy
7. Tame Impala—- Lonerism
8. Angel Olsen—- Half Way Home
9. Frank Ocean—- Channel Orange
10. Scott Walker—- Bish Bosch
Cloud Nothings — Attack On Memory (Carpark)
Kendrick Lamar — good kid, m.A.A.d city (Interscope)
Nu Sensae — Sundowning (Suicide Squeeze)
Le1f — Dark York (Greedhead / Camp & Streak)
of Montreal — Paralytic Stalks (Polyvinyl)
Japandroids — Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)
Chromatics — Kill For Love (Italians Do It Better)
Merchandise — Children of Desire (Katorga Works)
Lower Dens — Nootropics (Ribbon Music)
Angel Olsen — Halfway Home (Bathetic)
Top Ten Best Musical Experiences of 2012
1. Flying ‘outsider’ pop artist Jan Terri to Seattle to play a show. Watch here (Start at 10:30 to see her youtube hit, “Losin’ You”)
2. Shaking Lana Del Rey’s hand backstage at Easy Street Records. Never washing my hand.
3. Seeing newish feral heartthrob band Health Problems perform at the Black Lodge: Watch here
4. Lori Goldston & Karl Blau soothing souls at my wedding.
5. Doing that dance where you plug your nose and jump into a pool while listening to Shana Cleveland’s new surf band La Luz at Cafe Racer.
6. Playing the best gig of my life in a ‘Blacklight Bar’ in Salem, Oregon with my band WaMu to 4 people (two friends, and two guys later introduced as Death Metal Dave and his buddy David).
7. Watching Kenneth Piekarski of Slashed Tires play experimental lounge pop / ‘smooth grunge’ at the upscale Triple Door Musiquarium bar on Halloween night.
8. Father & son Eric Ostrowski / Ian Ostrowski putting out equally good & vastly different solo albums on the same day.
9. Krudas Cubensi (Cuban queer feminist hip-hop) turning Hollow Earth Radio into a huge dance party.
10. Setting up one of the raddest punk shows ever in the banquet room of the Moon Temple Chinese Food restaurant in Wallingford.
Favorite Local Cassette Releases
1. The Webs / Creakies
“Stay Holy” Split Cassette, self-released – “doom pop cool surf donut garage duh webs seattle the webs Seattle”
2. King Tears Bat Trip – S/T – Hanged Man Recordings – 4 drummers, tenor sax, guitar. “The folksy melodies seem as much like Haitian Vodou music as they do an Albert Ayler spirit song.”
3. La Luz – Damp Face EP, self-released – new “surf pop” band led by Shana Cleveland of the Curious Mystery.
4. Iboga S/T – Hanged Man Recordings – Kinda like Earth on the wrong speed.
5. Stefan Tcherepnin & Christopher DeLaurenti , Bleed the Capacitors: Heavy Analog Electronics Vols. 2 and 3 – Refined noise.
6. Ragana – All’s Lost – Olympia Black Metal
7. Nod & the Hob Goblins – S/T / Lost Sound Tapes – Goblin Doo Wop
8. Rat Riot! – Barbie Apocalypse – MASA Records – Bellingham teen punk.
9. Tiny Knives – Static / Stankhouse Records – Portland post-punk / riot grrrl
10. Black Hat – spectral disorder EP / self-released – Industrial improvised drone dance.
Top Ten Albums Of The Year As Selected By Josh Tillman of Father John Misty
10. Prez P. A. U. L. A. C. R. O. N. Y. M. S. 2055
9. Blood Diamond Vague Geometric Shapes
8. Assorted Bears Debts
7. Skyler No and Terror Maze Electric’s Grid
6. Holy Matrimony Retrograde Flux
5. Lil’ Cleopatra $$$ Intro-deucing: Return of The 2nd Queen: Reloaded (Pink Edition)
4. NOVUS ^
3. Girl Camp Beach Cat
2. Tierro and Dempsey CEEEiling FrEEEquencies
1. Groupthink S/T
Guy Maddison’s (of Mudhoney) top ten list
1. Coco Marie Maddison’s first words and steps.
2. Barack Obama’s re-election.
3. Sydney Swans win the Premiership.
4. Mudhoney complete their new album.
5. Aung San Suu Kyi elected to parliament in Myanmar.
6. Bradley Wiggins becomes the first Englishman to win the Tour de France, and perhaps the first Mod to win any sporting event, ever.
7. Convinced 3 other people to join me in eating fermented, icelandic shark.
8. Mudhoney finally played Mogwai’s ATP curatorship.
9. Stoofvlees or Carbonade Flamande recipe perfected.
10. Seattle Cyclocross season 2012, by the way can Seven Cycles give me a “Mudhoney” frame for next season?
Kyle Thomas of King Tuff
1. Audacity- Mellow Cruisers
2. Gap Dream- s/t
3. Chris Weisman- Beatleboro
4. White Fang- High Expectations
5. Natural Child- For The Love Of The Game
6. The Memories- s/t
7. Tame Impala- Lonerism
8. Hector’s Pets
9. Fletcher C. Johnson- Salutations
10. The Babies- Our House On The Hill
1. Breaking Bad season 5
2. Denver Broncos
3. Thee Satisfaction- Awe Natural
4. Kathleen Edwards- Voyageur
5. Toy poodles
6. Music for Marriage Equality
7. Bulliet Rye
8. Father John Misty- Fear Fun
9. Shovels and Ropes- Oh Be Joyful
10. Raquetball resurgence
Benjamin Weikel of The Helio Sequence
1. DIIV – Oshin
2. Menomena – Moms
3. Here We Go Magic – A Different Ship
4. Beach House – Bloom
5. Tame Impala – Lonerism
6. Ultraísta – Ultraísta
7. Lackthereof – Building Personal Strength
8. Pure Bathing Culture – S/T EP
9. Chairlift – Something
10. Opossom – Electric Hawaii
Here are my top 10 songs of 2012:
1. Menomena – “One Horse”
2. DIIV – “How Long Have You Known”
3. Beach House – “New Year”
4. Here We Go Magic – “Alone But Moving”
5. Tame Impala – “Apocalypse Dreams”
6. Mirroring – “Drowning the Call”
7. Ultraísta – “Bad Insect”
8. Lower Dens – “Propagation”
9. ERAAS – “Fang”
10. Lotus Plaza – “Jet Out of the Tundra”
Brandon Summers of The Helio Sequence
Ombre- Believe You Me
Beach House- Bloom
Dirty Projectors- Swing Lo Magellan
Here We Go Magic- A Different Ship
Tame Impala- Lonerism
Tu Fawning- A Monument
Toy- Self Titled
The XX- Coexist
2012 Top Twelve in Chronological Order from Mark Arm of Mudhoney
Playing with OFF! and Grinderman in Australia (yes, that was last December, but I’m including this because top 10 lists screw December).
El Rancho, an uncrowded long left 20 minutes north of Perfect Rivermouth #27 (featured in the film Siestas & Olas)
Packing my house with so many good friends on my 50th.
feedtime. I never thought I’d get to see them, much less share a bill with them.
Washington & Oregon Coast (There’s no chronology here, because it can be great throughout the year.)
Watching Haramafuji win two consecutive tournaments without a single loss and his subsequent promotion to Yokozuna.
1994 Weingut Günther Steinmetz Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Auslese
Swans – The Seer (holy shit!)
The results of the Washington State and National elections, highlighted by watching Karl Rove deny reality when Ohio was called for Obama. Suck it Karl!
Covering Minor Threat’s “Filler” with Bitch Magnet.
Johnny Sangster’s recording & mixing and Bob Weston’s mastering
The night of Poggio Di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino 97, 98, 99, 01, plus a couple of others whose names were lost in the fog of wine.
Ryan of Ruby Suns
ten tubular tunes of 2012:
todd terje – inspector norse
bear in heaven – the reflection of you
el perro del mar – walk on by
ice choir – teletrips
when saints go machine – church and law
opossom – blue meanies
lawrence arabia – early kneecappings
boycrush – everybody all the time
bjork – mutual core
hot chip – don’t deny your heart
Chris Slorach of METZ
In no particular order:
Thee oh Sees – Putrifers II
Moon Duo – Circles
Mrs. Magician – Strange Heaven
Redd Kross – Researching the Blues
Swans – The Seer
Liars – WIXIW
Soupcans – Good Feelings
Teenanger – Frights
- The new song Patrick Flegel sent me he described as “very Butthole surfers”
- Finally putting out our record