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Blake Solomon

Written by: Blake Solomon (12/03/12)
2012To paraphrase Ira Glass, taste takes time. I like to believe my slight befuddlement with music this year is based on maturation and not aloofness. Maybe I'm wrong. But on the excellent song "Coming Up Short," by You, Me, and Everyone We Know, there is the lyric, "The road ahead brings a warm smile / when I look back at the last mile." Which is then followed by the line, "There will be no more wasting time for me." What's to come only has context if we remember what we've done. Look, we're all fucked and fucked up. And we're probably going to be ok, but only if we want that to be the end game. Hoping for rainbows while obsessing on rainclouds is defeatist to say the least. I admit to becoming a more difficult, harder-to-please person. But that implies I believe "awesome" and "amazing" still exist. It implies that I will work to make them come my way. It's ok to hope for better in people and culture. And sure, it's ok to believe that if you try your best, the best is on its way.


Honorary Best Album of 2012

1.) All Get Out - The Season (2011)
WhyWow, just wow. Never before has an album floored me like this. And for so long! I still listen to The Season with the same excitement and attachment as that first lucky listen back in January. It's truly a game-changing record for me, and I think this band is probably the most in-tune with me ideologically right now. Seeing them live this Fall was just as awe-inspiring. I worry for their future, but if they do make music in this same dynamic ever again, you can bet I'll be giddy with excitement.


Best Albums Released This Year
1.) Passion Pit - Gossamer
WhyThis is an album I was never meant to like. And it was one that took quite an extraordinary circumstance, an emotionally-charged article on Pitchfork, to sink in. Passion Pit had never been for me, outside of that one song everyone loves. But upon learning about singer Michael Angelakos' mental illness and general unhappiness, I became intrigued and then intertwined. Gossamer became sort of a rallying cry for me, and I hope for lots of other people who are expected to be one way, but for whatever reason, just can't be that way. Passion Pit are party music, scream so many. But really it's pity party music, and that's fine. And also, to me, empowering. We all deal with our shit different ways, and Gossamer is one hell of a way to get better.

2.) Japandroids - Celebration Rock
WhyI guess this was the year of bands I didn't like making albums I love. Post-Nothing was just sort of loud and crap. Celebration Rock screams about life. It's full of moments of reckless abandon, lovingly recreated to be enjoyed in similar circumstances. Seeing the band twice was the highlight of my concert-heavy year; especially this summer, right after the record released. I've never seen an indie rock show where the whole audience was part of the mosh pit. It was thrilling and touching and I'm so happy to be proven wrong about this band.

3.) Misser - Every Day I Tell Myself I'm Going To Be A Better Person
WhyThis one just rocked. Lots of self-loathing, society-hating, etc. It fit with my morning commutes, when I'd sit on the train early in the morning and just be like, "God you are all the worst." I know that's not healthy thinking, but on a cold/rainy morning, it's all I had. This was one of those rare side-projects that feels like it could be more important than the real thing. Well, maybe not. But these dudes aren't messing around.

4.) Dads - American Radass (this is important)
WhyI remember finding their John Denver EP a few years ago and thinking that it was weird. I re-found it late last year and kinda got to know these guys. I even saw them live this year! Dads are two dudes who have given their all for this thing, and it's nice to see it working. Usually I hate that logic, but it also turns out these guys have got twinkly shit on lock. Don't ask them to play "Shit Twins" live, though. It's "boring." Behold a new dynasty in the majesty of emotional devastation.

5.) Joyce Manor - Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired
WhyThis one's only like 15 minutes long, but each song feels so chocked full of goodness that you actually wish something was longer in this weird, ADD-rattled world. I don't remember the last time that happened. It's hard to define this band, other than rock, and I think that's also to their testament that they can be so creative in such cramped confines. And one song is a cover! Crazy. As the title says, I will soon outgrow this. But I have no doubt I'll come crawling back.

6.) alt-j - An Awesome Wave
7.) You Blew It! - Grow Up, Dude
8.) Summer Heart - About A Feeling
9.) Caspian - Waking Season
10.) fun - Some Nights
11.) Strange Vacation - Chasm
12.) Major League - Hard Feelings
13.) Geographer - Myth
14.) Title Fight - Floral Green
15.) Dikembe - Broad Shoulders
16.) The Shins - Port of Morrow
17.) Spook Houses - Trying
18.) Dr. Dog - Be The Void
19.) Further Seems Forever - Penny Black
20.) King Tuff - King Tuff
21.) Pity Sex - Dark World
22.) Such Gold - Misadventures
23.) The Jealous Sound - A Gentle Reminder
24.) Basement - colourmeinkindness
25.) Departures - Teenage Haze
26.) Titus Andronicus - Local Business
27.) Islands - A Sleep & A Forgetting
28.) River City Extension - Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger
29.) Lord Huron - Lonesome Dreams
30.) The Menzingers - On The Impossible Past

EPs
Prawn - Ships
Arrange - Five Years With The Sun
Old Gray - Everything I Let Go & The Things I Refuse To
Coasta - Coasta
You, Me, And Everyone We Know - A Great Big Hole
Brighter Arrows - Division and What It Is To Abide
Foxing - Old Songs

Songs of My Year
All Get Out - "My Friends"
All Get Out - "Me and My Lovers"
Strange Vacation - "Lonely"
Misser - "Stay Asleep"
Summer Heart - "I Wanna Go"
Japandroids - "The Nights of Wine and Roses"
Japandroids - "Continuous Thunder"
fun. - "Some Nights"
Arrange - "Streams / At Night"
Young Statues - "Spacism"
alt-j - "Breezeblocks"
Spook Houses - "Try Pt 1 / Try Pt 2"
You Blew It! - "The One With Marc"
Passion Pit - "Cry Like A Ghost"
Passion Pit - Constant Conversations"
Dads - "Shit Twins"
Dana Buoy - "Call To Be"
Into It. Over It. - "Midnight: Carroll Street"
Joyce Manor - "See How Tame I Can Be"
Balance And Composure - "Patience"
Harrison Hudson - "Bookstore Girl"
Prawn - "Spring River"
Major League - "Arrows Crossed"

Movies (I saw a lot by myself this year!)
1.) Argo
2.) Skyfall
3.) Looper
4.) Wreck-It Ralph
5.) The Avengers
6.) Moonrise Kingdom
7.) The Sessions
8.) Safety Not Guaranteed
9.) The Dark Knight Rises
10.) 21 Jump Street
11.) Lawless
12.) The Hunger Games
13.) The Amazing Spiderman
14.) Prometheus
15.) The Campaign

Worst Movie of the Year (Usually don't hate in these things, but can't help it)
1.) Taken 2

TV Shows I Watched Obsessively This Year
1.) Parks and Recreation
2.) Happy Endings
3.) Breaking Bad
4.) Monk
5.) Raising Hope

Old Bands I Obsessed Over
1.) Nirvana
WhyI read an article by Chuck Klosterman comparing the fans of Nirvana to the cult members of the Branch-Davidian Complex in Waco. It was weird and fascinating, and I realized that a band's backstory has become increasingly important to me. Very often I like feeling separate from large groups of people, but to try and understand why so many people found so many deep meanings in Nirvana songs was fascinating to me. I'm not sure I became their biggest fan or anything, but I did obsessively read about them for a time. And yeah, I now appreciate most of their material (although Nevermind is the obvious standout).


2.) Weezer
WhyThis one came about after a heated conversation I had with a new friend. I had always hated this band; had always found them to be self-indulgent and silly. I didn't understand Rivers Cuomo, but now I think I do. He just doesn't care. He is unconcerned, at least now, with how his fervent fanbase feels. He is always just going to make the music he needs to. And the crazy thing is, one way or another, his fanbase will follow along. They might complain and cry, but they will never go away. There are very few former Weezer fans. Learning about Pinkerton and The Blue Album and shit like that is fascinating. But even greater is talking to some of the band's biggest fans, and hearing the dichotomy of songs that are revered or reviled. For a multitude of reasons, Weezer is the most interesting band in the world.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 13 of 13.
07:29 PM on 12/26/12
#2
Blake Solomon
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for those looking for a bunch of weird stupid stuff added on to the end, sorry. i didn't feel like doing it this year. seemed forced. while i do think a bunch of this stuff is silly and dumb, it is something i still obsess over, so it felt kind of weird making such fun of it. hope you all have a great 2013.
08:21 AM on 01/01/13
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stereokiller
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Love a lot of things on that list. A few things since I've been off posting on AP for a long time:

- The Season is amazing. One other record that comes to mind for me is Mansions' Dig Up the Dead.
- Feel the same way about Passion Pit. I never heard of the band until Gossamer. I was swept off my feet on first listen. I knew nothing about this man but immediately his lyrics resonated. Reading about the Pitchfork article made me love the album even more (I think it was posted on the Gossamer thread). For some reason Angelakos reminds me of the quirkiness of The Matches and the catchy tunes of The Format.
-Breezeblocks for coolest music video of the year
09:35 AM on 01/01/13
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theredline
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What you wrote about Passion Pit...word for word how I felt.
12:04 PM on 01/01/13
#5
8SlicesOfPie
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Surprised Driver Friendly's new album didn't end up on your list. Loved Bury a Dream
02:34 PM on 01/01/13
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kazuma_ootaro28
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Good seeing Geographer on a list. Really an underrated album.
03:45 PM on 01/01/13
#7
pleasedontask
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Blake, you are hand down the best writer on this site.
03:46 PM on 01/01/13
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tomahawk
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short but very hearty chuckle to "Movies (I saw a lot by myself this year!)"

love your list because of Dads, Dikembe, Titus, Japandroids, You Blew It!
04:36 PM on 01/01/13
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Blake Solomon
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Surprised Driver Friendly's new album didn't end up on your list. Loved Bury a Dream

Wow what an oversight! Love that album so much
07:04 PM on 01/01/13
Archael
listens to good music
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I thought blake died :'[
08:22 PM on 01/02/13
underdawg1119
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Glad to see All Get Out getting some love. Love Mel, but as long as Nate sticks around, I think they'll be alright.
12:10 PM on 01/04/13
emkvetwin
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Always enjoy your EOTY list, Blake... got a few albums to try out now.
Surprised Driver Friendly's new album didn't end up on your list. Loved Bury a Dream
Good seeing Geographer on a list. Really an underrated album.
Back both of these 100%.
08:00 AM on 01/07/13
a speedo model
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Good list. Good guy. That is all.
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