ALARM's 50 Favorite Songs of 2012

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, we have our 50 (+5) favorite songs of last year — singles, B-sides, EP standouts, soundtrack cuts, and more.

ALARM's 50 Favorite Albums of 2012

ALARM’s 50 Favorite Albums of 2012

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.


Review: Jerseyband’s Forever Hammer EP

Jerseyband: Forever Hammer EPJerseyband: Forever Hammer EP (8/16/12)

“Not Hammer”

Jerseyband: “Not Hammer”

When we last heard from “lungcore” septet Jerseyband, the NYC ensemble had self-released Beast Wedding, a monster of mutated metal that conjoined Meshuggah-like “djent” with unwieldy horn-formed power chords. (Read more here.) Now the unheralded group is back to launch hammers into space with Forever Hammer, a four-track EP that reveals yet another side.


Free MP3: “Lungcore” innovator Jerseyband mixes Meshuggah-like “djent” with jazz horns

Jerseyband: Forever Hammer EPJerseyband: Forever Hammer EP (8/16/12)

“Not Hammer”

Jerseyband: “Not Hammer”

Some brave souls have tried to mix metal and jazz, but you’ve never heard anything quite like “lungcore” septet Jerseyband: four horns, guitar, bass, drums, and all fury.

Though much of the band’s recent material has been more like math metal, constructed with a front-line of horns forming unwieldy power chords, “Not Hammer” is one of the skronkiest, jazziest tunes that the band has unleashed. Download it for free here in advance of the group’s Forever Hammer EP, which is out next week.


Jerseyband: Outlandish Brass-Metal Orchestrations

Jerseyband: Beast WeddingJerseyband: Beast Wedding (6/11/09)

“The Glad Hand”

[audio:|titles=Jerseyband: “The Glad Hand”]

On stage, a costumed septet prepares to unleash a serious sonic force that belies its members’ festooned bodies. An all-male horned frontline of three saxophonists and a trumpeter is adorned in women’s clothing, a red cape, and a spiky foam wig, belting out furious riffs that weave back and forth atop a syncopated, polymetered math-metal foundation.

The trumpeter unleashes a harrowing scream, and the music darts to a quick brass motif reminiscent of The Green Hornet before the all-male rhythm section — a bassist in a dress, a guitarist in a lab coat, and a drummer in a tank top — pounds out down-tuned accompaniment as the saxophones create one giant, unwieldy power chord. After a rapid-fire call and response and a prolonged groove, the horns switch to a somber harmony, which transitions to one final math-rock breakdown.

Morrow vs. Hajduch

Morrow vs. Hajduch: Seven That Spells’ Future Retro Spasm

Scott Morrow is ALARM’s music editor. Patrick Hajduch is a very important lawyer. Each week they debate the merits of a different album.

Seven That Spells: Future Retro Spasm

Seven That Spells: Future Retro Spasm (Beta-Lactam Ring, 5/20/10)

Seven That Spells: “Olympos”
[audio:|titles=Seven That Spells: “Olympos”]

Morrow: Based in Zagreb, Croatia, Seven That Spells plays a powerhouse fusion of psychedelic rock, math and jazz influences, and full-tilt drumming assaults.  The group, originally a power trio, is led by guitarist/keyboardist Niko Potočnjak but has undergone radical changes in its lineup over its relatively brief tenure, and its last album, Cosmoerotic Dialogue with Lucifer, was a noisy, progressive, multi-drummer attack on the senses.

Ten Albums to Anticipate This Spring

As the weather stops being oppressive in the Northern Hemisphere, a number of potentially great albums from countless genres are on the way.  Here’s a list of ten that have us excited, including efforts from Isis, MF Doom, Coalesce, Prefuse 73, Mr. Lif, and more.

18 Albums on our Radar in 2009

This year promises to be a great one for music. Isis, The Bad Plus, Mastodon, Dan Deacon, Coalesce, Jerseyband, Converge, and at least three Mike Patton creations (Mondo Cane, Fantômas, Crudo) are slated to release new albums.

Get the ETA on these and other anticipated albums after the jump.

Ten Songs in Our Headphones

The Bad Plus
The Bad Plus

Care to peek at our personal playlists? Here is a collection of ten songs that we’re jamming at the moment, including work by Mike Patton, Helms Alee, 2 Foot Yard, Ocean, The Bad Plus, and more.

Q&A: Jerseyband on Lungcore and the Lives of Unsigned Artists

Photo credit: Theo Wargo
Photo credit: Theo Wargo

With a demolishing dose of horn-heavy chug metal, Jerseyband stands as the logical result of loose forerunners such as John Zorn’s Naked City, Mr. Bungle, and Estradasphere. The seven-piece band’s progressive fusion touches on jazz, groove, big-band flair, and math rock, making a sonic concoction as wild as its live shows.