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, we have our 50 (+5) favorite songs of last year — singles, B-sides, EP standouts, soundtrack cuts, and more.
Another year, another torrential downpour of albums across our desks. As always, we encountered way too much amazing music, from Meshuggah to The Mars Volta, Converge, Killer Mike, P.O.S, and many more.
The second full-length from Michael Johnson (formerly of Holopaw and The Lilys) is as strangely juxtaposed as his moniker, Ape School. Peculiar placements permeate Junior Violence — his first release for Hometapes — from its name to its song titles (“A New Low! It Sucks Itself!,” “Marijuana’s on the Phone,” and “Weak in the Teeth”) to the lyrics to the instrumentation.
If you’re in a band from Wisconsin, and you’re friends with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, people are going to hear about your record. And if you happen to enlist his help, if only for one track, most of those people will venture a listen or two. Make that song your single and you’ve pretty much guaranteed a modicum of favorable attention from fans and critics alike.
But if, like Madison’s All Tiny Creatures, you also happen to seamlessly weave synthesizers, guitars, and percussion into loop-heavy, pop-friendly melodies, then you’ve probably earned a great deal of that notoriety on your own; in fact, that attention might be long overdue. With or without Justin Vernon, your band is on the verge of something exciting. And you should congratulate yourself with a nice Wisconsin cheese tray.