Thursday, December 13, 2012

Favorite Albums of 2012 - By Dan Bee

      Hi, My name is Dan Bee and I make music with a band known as Raw Mojo. Becasue I am a huge fan of music and lists are fun to make I have decided to share with you my favorite and most listened to albums that came out in 2012. This list is in no particular order and just off the top of my head as the music comes to it. I may miss a few albums but the ones I picked I have included a link to at least one cut which has affected me in some way.

Forgetters -Forgetters

      Forgetters is easily my highest anticipated and most listened to album of the year. I really enjoy the way Blake writes and how every single word and note he chooses to include somehow seems very important. This alb um has everything from experimental noise jams, punk rock anthems, to tender and well thought out songs like you hear in the track I've chosen below called "Die By Your Own Hand".

Jack White - Blunderbuss

      If you haven't heard of this album this year you have probably been enjoying your stay under the rock in which you've taken residence. Jack has managed to make an album that is uncompromising, eclectic, and yet still mainstream enough to capture the attention of the Grammy Awards for album of the year. Included below is the album closer and one of my favorite songs off of Blunderbuss known as "Take Me With You When You Go". The track starts off slow with touches of piano and a Doors like groove used to slowly draw you in as instruments are added until you reach the 2:08 mark... this is when the song stops to break out gnarliest of fuzz guitars and the song beats you over the head the way Jimmy Page and Robert Plant would drop a giant concrete balloon on your head in the 70's. Simply a great moment off a great album.

Dinosaur Jr. - I Bet On Sky

      When J Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph decided to reunite the original Dinosaur Jr line up a few years ago I was quite excited. At first they just played a few shows of old material and eventually put out 2 albums of new material. Those albums were good but something interesting happened by this 3rd release from them, they actually lived up to their potential. This is the album I've been waiting for the reunited line up to make. There is not a disappointing track from start to finish here. I was lucky enough to get the deluxe edition vinyl of this album and took it to Adam's house for the first listen. The song here is one we both immediately latched on to and rocked out to. At that point, I knew this album was something special.

Mark Lanegan - Blues Funeral

      Ever since the early 90's I've been a fan of The Screaming Trees. Since that band Mark Lanegan has gone on to do many projects and most of them are among my favorite albums of all time. Blues Funeral is no exception, in fact it may be his best effort yet. As if his voice isn't amazing enough, Mark's songwriting has gotten better with time and the man has mastered the art of creating and capturing a mood through music. This isn't just some rock singer spitting out lines to be cool, this is a vocal artist capturing the essence of life, death, and everything in between.

Neil Young - Psychedelic Pill

      You really can't go wrong when Neil Young comes together with Crazy Horse. From the opening, near 28 minute song to the closing "Walk Like A Giant", this is a rock album which takes risks and if you stack around they pay off. Below is the single edit of "Walk Like A Giant" for your tasting pleasure.

Bob Dylan – Tempest

      I haven't heard this album as much as I'd like to but the thing that strikes me the most about this recording is the amazing singing of Bob Dylan. We all know the man can write a great song but here his voice has just become otherworldly. There are times where I feel Bob is channeling Louis Armstrong. A good friend of mine told me they thought this is probably the way Bob has wanted to sing his whole life and I can only agree. Because Dylan's record company is so on top of anyone putting up unauthorized music by having it removed immediately, I am forced to use his officially released "Duquesne Whistle" below. While I really do enjoy the song and it gives you a nice taste of what the album is like I would suggest you seek out more for yourself.

Smashing Pumpkins - Oceana

      Being from Chicago there are a few things which I will always be a fan of, mainly The Cubs and The Smashing Pumpkins.  It seems like I am always pulling for both to succeed and in this case one out of two ain't bad. Oceana is a surprisingly good album filled with classic, yet progressive sounding Smashing Pumpkins songs. Band mastermind and only original member Billy Corgan has been re-releasing a slew of old 90's Smashing Pumpkins remasters with bonus tracks. I like to believe it was this trip down memory lane coupled with the eventual actual gelling of the newer band members which has us arrive at this great sounding Smashing Pumpkins record.

Bob Mould - Silver Age

      In the 80's Bob gave us Hüsker Dü, then in the 90's we got Sugar. Both were heavy guitar driven bands focused on catchy songs with great melodies. Somewhere along the way after the departure of Sugar, Mould became more and more experimental with electronic sounds to the point of losing a lot of his fan base. I've always tried to keep up with him while staying open minded and there were always diamonds in the rough among his releases. Then Bob decided to write an autobiography which led to a tour where he revised songs from Sugar, which led to the making of Silver Age, the return to Bob's guitar driven rock roots. This is pretty much everything you could want from Bob especially if you are a fan of his older stuff. Just one listen and you will hear he has found that spark of inspiration in which he used to create this particular genre of rock. My personal favorite cut "Briefest Moment" was not available anywhere to be shared but the video below should give you a decent taste of the album and the way it sounds.

Tenacious D - Rize of the Phoenix 

      If you know anything about my tastes you will know I have a deep rooted love for the weird and the comical when it comes to music. Tenacious D albums fill the spot every time they release an album. There isn't much more to say. If you haven't seen the video posted below it's worth watching at least once. The D like to mess with you while they self deprecate.

Soundgarden - King Animal

     To be fair, I haven't given this album a fair chance yet but after 1 listen I know it will be a mainstay in my player for awhile. Off the top of my head this track is one of a few that stood out right away. I'll need to spend a bit more time with King Animal but it's a safe bet it's an instant classic in my personal catalog.

Jeremy Kinn - Last Word 

 As both a song writer and guitar player I look up to Jeremy Kinn. Early this year he put out a small run of his album "Last Word". It's a brave heartfelt venture into honesty, experimentation, catchy melodies, and great songwriting.  Jeremy only has a few of these songs online so I went to his Soundcloud page to share this one with you.

All in all 2012 has been a pretty great year for music. I am sure I missed a lot of albums here but I did what I could to give you some cream of the crops. If there are any glaring omissions please feel free to put them up in the comments section.

Thanks for everything and have a great holiday!

-Dan Bee

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