Best Albums: Jack White, Trap Them, Clipping, Sole & DJ Pain 1

This week’s best albums

Jack White follows his solo debut with another wide breadth of styles—though with less persistent panache.

– After its blistering 2011 album, hardcore group Trap Them returns with a new rhythm section and a slower pace, proving that it has more to offer than speed and raw power.

– Experimental rap group Clipping delivers full-throttle, noise-fueled dance-hop with a tune about a club-stalking female serial killer as well as the raunchiest last-call song ever.

Sole & DJ Pain 1 create something spectacular between the rapper’s socially conscious rhymes and the producer’s mainstream-tinged style.

Honorable mentions

The Algorithm: Octopus4 (Basick)

The Atlas Moth: The Old Believer (Profound Lore)

Open Mike Eagle: Dark Comedy (Mello Music)

Rival Sons: Great Western Valkyrie (Earache)

Tombs: Savage Gold (Relapse)

Vader: Tibi Et Igni (Nuclear Blast)

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Best Albums: Secret Chiefs 3, Mutoid Man, Deicide, Sole, Soundgarden

This week’s best albums

– Indefinable fusion masters Secret Chiefs 3 make good on a decade of anticipation for the second installment in its “mega-trilogy,” an album that vies for best of the year.

– Joining forces as Mutoid Man, Cave In’s Stephen Brodsky and Converge’s Ben Koller deliver one of the most blistering yet complex albums of the year.

Deicide’s latest death-metal opus demonstrates a continued love of blazing riffs, hellacious beats, and pissing off Christians.

– With yet another quality release, MC Sole pieces together an expert album of cast-offs from hard-drive crashes and fallen-apart side projects.

Soundgarden reissues its out-of-print double EP of Screaming Life and Fopp, a collection that filters raw power through the artier edges of post-punk.

Honorable mentions

Beachwood Sparks: Desert Skies lost debut album (Alive Naturalsound)

Dead Meadow: Warble Womb (Xemu)

Hammock: Oblivion Hymns (self-released)

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ALARM’s 50 (+5) Favorite Songs of 2012

Last month ALARM presented its 50 favorite albums of 2012, an eclectic, rock-heavy selection of discs that were in steady rotation in our downtown-Chicago premises. Now, to give some love to tunes that were left out but that hold major water on their own, we have our 50 (+5) favorite songs of last year — singles, B-sides, EP standouts, soundtrack cuts, and more.

(Text by the ALARM crew. Presented in chronological order.)

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ALARM’s 50 Favorite Albums of 2012

Another year, another torrential downpour of albums across our desks. (Not literally — our insurance doesn’t cover that.)

As always, we encountered way too much amazing music. How does anyone keep track of it all? It’s good that we have this magazine, because our mushy brains can’t keep up…

(Text by the ALARM crew. Albums are in chronological order.)

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MC Sole says “fuck the vote” in co-opted Jay-Z track

After time spent in Barcelona and Arizona, rapper/producer Tim Holland – better known as Sole – has settled in Denver and enmeshed himself in the local Occupy movement. In advance of his upcoming solo album, A Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing (sans Skyrider Band), Holland has released a fresh political proclamation called “No Presidents,” a co-opted version of Jay-Z‘s “Dead Presidents.” It adds to Sole’s collection of strategically rewritten songs for his third mixtape and gives a pertinent sample of the not-so-timorous record to be released later this fall.

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Review: B. Dolan’s House of Bees Vol. 2

B. Dolan: House of Bees Vol. 2 (Strange Famous)

“Still Here”

[audio:|titles=B. Dolan: “Still Here”]

In 2005, indie rapper / poet B. Dolan, with a self-released full-length under his belt, hooked up with Strange Famous Records after gaining notoriety among New York City’s slam-poetry scene. His first record, The Failure, was re-released in 2008 through his new independent home with the welcome addition of such names as Sole and label head / fellow Epic Beard Man Sage Francis. Since then, he has pushed deep into foreboding hip hop and sociopolitical commentary on another full-length as well as a mixtape titled House of Bees.

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Review: Vieo Abiungo’s Thunder May Have Ruined the Moment

Vieo Abiungo: Thunder May Have Ruined the MomentVieo Abiungo: Thunder May Have Ruined the Moment (Lost Tribe Sound, 4/17/12)

“With Its Slow Decay”

[audio:|titles=Vieo Abiungo: “With Its Slow Decay”]

Multi-multi-multi-instrumentalist, composer, and all-around whiz kid William Ryan Fritch has lent his musical dexterity to a number of film scores, as well as underground rapper Sole and his Skyrider Band. He also has recently begun making a name for himself under the pseudonym Vieo Abiungo, having released two albums in addition to his latest, Thunder May Have Ruined the Moment.

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