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.

Parenthetical Girls

Video: Parenthetical Girls’ “Curtains”

Parenthetical Girls: Privilege, Pt. VParenthetical Girls: Privilege, Pt. V: Portrait of a Reputation (Slender Means Society, 9/11/12)

Culminating two years of work on a five-EP cycle, the final installment of Parenthetical GirlsPrivilege series is here and full of dynamic pop beauty and angst.

Drawing back from the orchestral expanse of 2008 LP Entanglements, the core duo of vocalist / creative director Zac Pennington and producer/arranger Jherek Bischoff (whose solo album you must hear) offers dreamy electro- and 1960s pop, psychedelic rock, an organ dirge, and a touch of chamber elegance on Portrait of a Reputation. Watch here as the “Curtains” are closed on Pennington for a viking sea funeral.

Jherek Bischoff

Review: Jherek Bischoff’s Composed

Jherek Bischoff: Composed (Brassland, 6/5/12)

“Young and Lovely” f. Zac Pennington & Soko

[audio:|titles=Jherek Bischoff: “Young & Lovely”]

Jherek Bischoff has more than a few tricks up his very well-tailored sleeves. You know it just by looking at him, at his satin-collared tuxedo and manicured hairdo circa 1939, at his high cheek bones and golden-brown eyes, the color of failing light refracted off coated steel. Bischoff is maybe a renaissance man, maybe one of many. He’s not the only musician whose pedigree includes both experimental ensembles like Xiu Xiu and more classically oriented groups like Wordless Music.

Jherek Bischoff

Video: Jherek Bischoff’s “Young and Lovely” f. Zac Pennington & Soko

Get ready to hear the name Jherek Bischoff a lot more often. The multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, and ex-Parenthetical Girls member has crafted an epic orch-pop debut called Composed, which is coming via Brassland on June 5.

And if you need a few familiar names to get you interested, the album features David Byrne, Nels Cline (Wilco, Nels Cline Singers), Craig Wedren (Shudder to Think), Greg Saunier (Deerhoof), Zac Pennington (Parenthetical Girls), Soko, Carla Bozulich, Dawn McCarthy (Faun Fables), and even more notables.