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Old 12-30-2012, 09:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Trollheart's boring mainstream Top 20 albums of 2012

Yeah, most of you know my musical taste by now, and many, if not all, would consider it pretty damn pedestrian. There is no room in my collection for the likes of Death Grips, Frank Ocean, Swans or any of the other stuff you all seem to love and rate. Hey, I know what I like, and in general I mostly stick to it. If that's a crime, lock me in a cell and throw away the --- hey! Where are you taking me??

Seriously, though few if any will rate or have any interest in these albums, and they won't be in any way as eclectic, inspiring or interesting as the likes of Duga's or bob's or Goofle's, they're mine, and here they are, for what it's worth. The odd person here like Unknown Soldier, Big Ears or the mighty Anteater may recognise some of them, perhaps even have some of them, but sure if nothing else it'll give the rest of you a laugh. No point in being a poseur, say I, and pretending or trying to like albums or artistes I don't: this is me, straightforward, predictable and probably boring. Feel free to mock.

Oh, I won't be including any videos here. All of these albums have been reviewed by me in my journal, so head there if you feel like checking them out.

And so, without further ado, and to a chorus of titters no doubt...

20.

Anthony Phillips and Andrew Skeet --- Seventh Heaven

The man who could have been in Genesis gets together with composer Andrew Skeet to produce one beautiful double album, completely instrumental and the closest thing to modern classical I've heard in a long time. Despite having stagefright --- which led to his departure from Genesis in the early seventies --- Anthony has gone on to lead quite a successful music career. Many people may not know that in addition to being a guitarist, Anthony is equally comfortable playing most instruments, and on this album he uses his talents to their fullest. Not forgetting Skeet, who in addition to co-writing all the pieces can tinkle the ivories himself. A nice album to relax to, and makes you wonder what Genesis might have been like had Phillips stayed.

Woo-hoo! "Under the infinite sky", "Ghosts of New York", "Ice maiden", "Kissing gate", "Nocturne", "Forever always"

D'oh! "Credo in cantus" (and only because it's an operatic vocal, the only vocal on the album)

19.

Lynyrd Skynyrd --- Last of a dyin' breed

The godfathers of southern rock show that though their numbers may be thinning out, they still have it and continue to cut albums that sound both as if they were recorded back in the late seventies and yet seem bang up to date. You know what to expect: lots of songs about rockin', perhaps rollin', motorsickles, beer whisky and women. Ooh yeah. No pretensions here; these guys know what they're good at and they stick to it. Any serious rocker needs to hear this album!

Woo-hoo! "Last of a dyin' breed", "Something to live for", "Nothing comes easy", "Ready to fly", "Start livin' life again"

D'oh! "Honey hole", "Good teacher"

18.

Jadis -- See right through you

It's been years since there was a new Jadis album. 2005 in fact, and it was the last one of theirs --- the only one of theirs, before this --- that I reviewed, the excellent "Fanatic". It was also the album that got me into this great progressive rock band. If you like your prog rock flavoured with some really good heavy-style AOR and a touch of pop, Jadis may be just up your street. Not as good as "Fanatic", but then, no Jadis album I've listened to since has been. But a great album nonetheless.

Woo-hoo! "What if I could be there", "You wonder why", "See right through you", "All is not equal"

D'oh! Nothing.

Okay, that's the first few of my top twenty. I'll be back no doubt to a chorus of boos and hisses and smirks, but back nonetheless, tomorrow.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yeah, not quite tomorrow. Things got a little busier than expected...

Not that anyone's reading this, but hey, that has never stopped me before! So on we go, just me and the silent ghosts of disapproval, in my countdown...

17.

Hawkwind --- Onward
I cannot get over how fresh and relevant this new album from Hawkwind sounds! It's just amazing that they're still putting out quality releases like this, over forty years since they first started recording. Stunning! It's also a double album, which is even more impressive.

Woo-hoo! "Mind cut", "Death trap", "Southern cross", "Right to decide","The flowering of the rose", "Green finned demon"

D'oh! Nothing.

(Guest starring Otto) "Whoa! WEIRD, man!" "System check", "Electric tears", "The drive-by", "Computer cowards", "Howling moon", "Trans air trucking", "Final track (untitled)"

16.

Joseph Arthur --- Redemption City
What can you say about a guy, discovered by Peter Gabriel, who not only writes, sings, plays all the instruments on, produces and releases his own records --- and for free? Well, apart from "what's the URL?" you can say this is one hell of a comprehensive record, and again it's a double. My first introduction to Mr. Arthur, but I'll be looking at other releases of his for sure.

Woo-hoo! "Travel as equals", "I miss the zoo", "No surrender comes free", "Redemption City", "So far from free", "Surrender to the storm", "Follow", "Humanity fade", "Visit us", "I am the Mississippi"

D'oh! "Kadinsky"

15.

Deacon Blue --- The Hipsters

I've always liked Deacon Blue, thought they had broken up to be honest. Glad to see I was wrong, but if this is to be seen as a comeback album for them in any way, then it's one hell of a comeback! Ricky Ross's voice is as distinctive and warmly friendly as ever, even when he's haranguing you about something, and Lorraine McIntosh just as ever completes the vocal partnership in a way few pairings manage. A real treat for people who enjoy uncomplicated, honest, sincere music.

Woo-hoo! "Turn", "The outsiders", "Laura from memory", "That's what we can do", "She'll understand", "It will end in tears"

D'oh! Nothing

Okay then, for both of you reading, I'll be back maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day, or later, with more! Toodles for now!
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Excellent list so far buddy! Never heard of this Joseph Arthur fellow before -- his tendency toward spoken word makes him seem a tad analogue to guys like Gil-Scott Heron, but I'm diggin' what I've found on YouTube so far.
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hey Ant! Thanks for the compliment, and for popping into my little tumbleweed-strewn thread!
You know you can just go and download Joseph Arthur's album for totally nothing at his website, dont'cha? JOSEPH ARTHUR | official website Well worth a d/l...
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Well what do you know? I said tomorrow, and here it is tomorrow! Who woulda thunk it, eh?

So on we go...

14.

Diablo Swing Orchestra --- Pandora's pinata

I'm glad to see this on the lists of a few other members, as it is so weird it's almost impossible to describe. Okay then I'll try. Imagine walking into a thirties club with all that swing/big band music playing, when suddenly from the ceiling is lowered a 21st century metal band with an operatic diva singer and a few punk guitarists who somehow got pulled along for the ride. Got that image? Hear that sound? Not until you hear this album, you don't. And that's only half the story. Look, "expect the unexpected" is about all I can say. Deservedly one of the best albums of the year. And the weirdest.

Woo-hoo! "Exit strategy for a wrecking ball", "Kevlar sweethearts", "Of kali ma calibre", "Honey trap aftermath", "Justice for Saint Mary"

D'oh! Nothing

13.


Mystery --- The world is a game

With a vocalist known to fans of the "new" Yes and an incredible guitarist/keyboardist in founder Michel St. Pere, Mystery aim to put Canada on the progressive rock map. With this, their sixth album, they're well on the way to achieving just that. Throw in ex-Spock's Beard drummer Nick D'Virgilio and you have a prog rock album few aficionados of the genre should be able to resist. Only eight tracks, true, but one is eleven minutes long and another nineteen!

Woo-hoo! "Dear someone", "Time goes by", "Superstar", "Another day", "The world is a game"

D'oh! Nothing

12.

Magnum --- On the thirteenth day

Magnum are back with a powerful new album that ticks all the boxes and shows them as fresh and relevant as they've ever been. Their brief breakup seems to have been a good idea, as this and their last three albums just teem with purpose and intent. The interplay between Bob Catley and Tony Clarkin has never been better, and this album shows that Magnum are still a force to be reckoned with, even more than thirty years after their debut.

Woo-hoo! EVERYTHING!
D'oh! Nothing

and just so we can get to my top 10 from the next post...

11.

Half Moon Run --- Dark Eyes

Canada's best kept secret? Half Moon Run are a trio who produce beautifully sensitive bright pop/rock music, and this is their debut. It's full of songs that should be hits but quite obviously won't, but if they can make the break outside their home border they could be huge. One of the finds of the year, as far as I'm concerned, and only outside the top ten because of the other albums I had to include in it. Half Moon Run: remember, you heard it here first!

Woo-hoo! "No more losing the war", "Need it", "Drug you" "Nerve" "Judgement", "Fire escape", "21 gun salute"

D'oh! Nothing

So that's the first half of my top 20 albums for 2012 completed. Next post we'll be looking at the top ten: some great albums in there! Well, I think they're great...
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Okay then, time to get to the really good stuff...!

10.


Bruce Springsteen --- Wrecking ball

The boss is back! After three years Springsteen returns with a new album, and it's a changed landscape he's looking out onto now, and writing about. One person who never disappoints, the man from New Jersey again delivers in what must surely rank as his most fiery and angry album since "The rising". If "Nebraska" has a tougher, more worldly-wise big brother, "Wrecking ball" is it. If you're American you surely can't help but nod in anger to so much of the lyrics, and if you're not, like me, well you still know what he's singing about, and it's not confined to the borders of the US of A.

Woo-hoo! Ah, I would list tracks but it's all great.
D'oh! Nothing.

9.

ZZ Top --- La futura

Even longer since we had a record from the tres hombres, nine years in fact, but it's been worth it. Unlike Bruce, ZZ aren't generally that concerned with politics: it's more drinkin' , women and fast cars that are in their line. And here they don't disappoint. From opener to closer it's a joy to listen to. Few people get to the heart of the matter as well or as sincerely as ZZ, and here they do it again.

Woo-hoo! Again, not a bad track so
D'oh! Nothing

8.

Big Big Train --- English Electric (part one)

You'll find this in Anteater's top albums too, and with good reason. One of the finest and most accomplished progressive rock albums of the year, with too many good features to list, but among them the Gabrielesque voice of David Longdon. Takes you back in time, to a safer, better, gentler place.

Woo-hoo! "Winchester from Giles Hill", "Judas unrepentant", "A boy in darkness", "Summoned by bells", "Upton Heath"

D'oh! "Uncle Jack", "Hedgerow"

Some really great albums there, and more to come...
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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For "boring mainstream" music I only know a handful of these artists. You're edgier than you think TH!
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm not really sure what it is about ZZ Top that people like. I can't get past the vocals, and i'm a person who usually likes an odd vocalist.
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm not really sure what it is about ZZ Top that people like. I can't get past the vocals, and i'm a person who usually likes an odd vocalist.
They aren't my favorite band or anything but they have some stuff I love. And they have two vocalists who sound fairly different so they must be really striking out with you if you don't like either one.
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Old 01-08-2013, 04:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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They aren't my favorite band or anything but they have some stuff I love. And they have two vocalists who sound fairly different so they must be really striking out with you if you don't like either one.
In all fairness, i've only heard a few songs, so that by itself could lead me to be a little uneducated. I've wanted to given them a thorough listen, but I don't really know where to start.
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