Obligatory white boy list-making bullshit. My opinions, let me vomit them forth, so you may be covered in my "intelligence" or "taste". Fuck it. This is in no order. Don't consider these reviews, you'll be let down.
New Lows - Harvest of the Carcass
This album makes a lizard brain kind of sense, especially when watching the news, or ignoring beggars on the street. Turn up the volume on my iPod, drown the world out, pretend my anger changes something. Mosh while the city burns. Build your home on the ashes of youth crew.
Lonesummer - There are Few Tomorrows For Feeding Our Worries
If there was an order to this, this would probably be number one. Lonesummer figured out that Leviathan and Saetia are pretty much the same thing, and wrote a bedroom masterpiece. Throw in GYBE!'s obsession with the end times, make it tremendously personal, and you've got the all time greatest staring-out-the-train-window album.
Good Luck - Without Hesitation
Jesus Christ, when did Ginger Alford become the world's premier lyricist? Between this and her other band Traveling, her lyrics are fantastic. Simple, passionate, and eloquent. Honest and direct. Seriously, listen to "The Story, Rewritten", and tell me I'm wrong. This album makes me happy, and gives me hope. I'm not sure I can write a stronger recommendation.
Wugazi - Wugazi
Mash-up culture wah wah wah recontextualization is the form of art we have left blah blah blah. Aside from one thematic mis-step("Slow Like That"), this release combines two fucking iconoclasts and proves that weed and straightedge are closer bedfellows than you'd think. When the bass line from "Waiting Room" shows up in "Nowhere to Wait", the room explodes.
Cold Cave - Cherish the Light Years
OVER COMPRESSED? FUCK IT, DANCE UNTIL THE LIGHTS GO OUT. RUE BRITTANIA, RUE AMERICA. IF IT'S TOO LOUD, YOU'RE NOT CLOSE ENOUGH TO THE SPEAKERS.
Ash Borer - Ash Borer
Black metal boom, hipsters with corpse paint, it's all a fucking joke, right, right? Ash Borer did epic without forcing redwoods or orcs or french poets down our throats. It's the sound of the ghost of black metal, scrabbling at the lid of the coffin you nailed down during the vocal recording. California's probably going to get fucking cold soon anyway.
Giles Corey - Giles Corey
Balance. This is an album about balance, trading between lines like "My love's out to get me, and you know it's going to succeed" and jaunty piano parts, strange ghostly doo-wop-isms and songs titled "No One Will Ever Want Me". You can always handle more weight, as long as it's balanced. You find hope in the strangest places.
Austin Lucas - A New Home in the Old World
Old punks play neo-country, everyone argues about legitimacy, Austin Lucas writes great songs and sings them beautifully, and I sit and smile. On his previous albums, he struggled with over-production, but this one blessedly keeps the focus on Austin's gorgeous voice. "The Grain" might be my favorite song of the year.
Des Ark - Don't Rock the Boat, Sink the Fucker
Aimée Argote winds her songs around her guitar lines, and they rage and rush through broken lovers, the meat-grinder of the patriarchy, and the other weird failures and excitements of modern existence. These are songs that never quite go where you expect, and we're better off for it. If I was writing a snobby bullshit pull quote, I'd talk about a punked-out Joni Mitchell, backed by a drummer with heavier hands than most grindcore drummers. But really, fuck comparisons. Des Ark is a strange and wondrous beast, unlike anything I've heard in a long time.
Dowsing - All I Could Find Was You
I saw Dowsing open for a friend of mine, and was charmed by their enthusiasm, and their willingness to continue after breaking their bass drum. I bought this release at Bucket 'O Blood, and it did not leave my record player for months. They straddle the sweet spot between summer and fall, when possibilities are still wide open, but you're wistful for those lost summer road trips.
Yep. This is what you get. Posting will resume in 2012.