E. Conner. He also traveled with us on that school bus and I also made fun of his band. The thing is, he's still in the same band and over the years, they have become better and better. MAX LEVINE ENSEMBLE have become tighter, way more political and a band that I can get behind 100%. Spoons is a good guy. Full disclosure: back when I wasn't too fond of his music, I was subleasing a room in his house. He came home from tour and was practicing songs in the living room at 3 am. I started to storm down the stairs to yell about how I had to work at 8 and he needed to shut the fuck up. When I got there, I realized that I had the damn song stuck in my head and I just started laughing about getting so dramatic. I asked him to knock it off, but to please play that song one more time. I went back upstairs and laid down while he played the song one last time. At the end, almost in a whisper, he said "Goodnight, Greg" I whispered back "Goodnight Spoons" and fell asleep. It was perfect. I love this guy.
SPOONBOY'S TOP TEN OF 2012For me, 2012 was about not believing in Mayan prophesies but living it like the world was gonna end anyway. i thought i'd include non-music events in my list, but when i started brainstorming i thought of more than 10 music things that were worth mentioning so i'm just sticking with that. not in any hierarchical order:
10. SICK FIX - VEXED LP finally, finally a record that represents how fucking tight, heavy and intense this longtime dc hardcore band is. Michelle is one of the angriest and fiercest vocalists in punk for sure, but unlike many other angry front people, her anger is substantive with smart lyrics about sexual assault, child + animal abuse, gentrification, government repression, etc.
9. AZEALIA BANKS ahhh! definitely my favorite new hip hop artist this year, she released a killer EP and mixtape and jaaammmmin videos like this one and this one and this one… (p.s. i wrote this before i heard anything about her feud with angel haze, which i won't comment on since it happened in 2013…)
8. THE TAXPAYERS - GOD FORGIVE THESE BASTARDS LP/NOVELETTE this record definitely took the taxpayers in a jazz-influenced dog-faced hermans/crass-y direction which i like on its own but what i love is that it's an accompaniment to a short book by the same title to which the album plays like a soundtrack to some future film noir adaptation. The book is a collection of stories written by taxpayers' singer rob morton from the perspective of a recently-passed homeless man named henry turner. it weaves together themes around the darkness of drug addiction, mental illness, and abuse with ideas about forgiveness and hope in a thought provoking way. very cool.
7. BAADER BRAINS - NEW ERA HOPE COLONY LP i loved this band for a long time pretty much just because they have the cleverest name in punk, but only got into their first LP "the complete unfinished works of the young tigers" early this year and loved everything about it. the fact they created a whole revolutionary history complete with manifestos and references to historical events is such a refreshing dose of politicized creativity in a more and more apolitical punk scene. then lucky for me, "new era hope colony" came out this year and took it to the next level with more please inform the captain style samples and political art, etc. i would have included this record no matter what, but 2012 saw the loss of the prolific sarah kirsch, RIP, whose bands just got better and better over her lifetime, with baader brains being no exception. she will be missed.
6. ONSIND - MILDRED, MARGIE, ANNIE, CLARICE EP these guys write the smartest catchiest acoustic anthems. this ep is the musical equivalent of feminist critique for these four movies: one flew over the cuckoo's nest, fargo, misery, and silence of the lambs. check out this cuuuute video!
5. THE AMBULARS/ MICHAEL CANTOR the ambulars and their guitarist michael cantor are two of dc's best kept secrets. (they all moved away from dc recently, but whatever). the ambulars released their first full length "dreamers asleep at the wheel" after teasing everyone by recording it for basically FOREVER but it was totally worth the wait. and mikey's beautiful low fi debut solo EP "bless all this debris" became my go-to chill out record. the songs "teenage hate" and "bless all this debris" were definitely two of my 2012 superjams.
4. SWEARIN' - S/T LP if we're talking about albums i listened to over and over and over again this year, we're probably talking swearin'. best of 90's worship.
3. FRANK OCEAN/ COMING OUT 2012 was a great year for queering up pop music (see also, azealia banks), and frank ocean's moving coming out letter was a big part of it. his single "thinking about you," was easily the best r&b song this year, and his contribution to jay z & kanye west's "no church in the wild" makes the song. it's also definitely worth mentioning that 2012 saw Laura Jane Grace of Against Me coming out as trans in an inspiringly public article in rolling stone, which was exciting and educational as it sparked important conversations for punks and non-punks everywhere. i don't think against me put out any records this year but whatever.
2. RUMBLETOWNE RECORDS i didn't want to fill my whole list up with bands from the pacific northwest but basically any record rumbletown records put out this year could have been a bullet point, with records from erica freas, dogjaw, divers, and agatha. also, technically not a rumbletowne release, but in the same family, molly from songs for moms blew everyone away with her new solo project hot tears and she just released an EP that you can check out online heeere.
1. POP MUSIC also, i didn't want to just rant about pop music on a punk blog, but i wasn't the only one who noticed that top 40 radio was kinda givin' it this year. i was particularly fixated on these singles from nick minaj, gotye, carly rae jepsen, taylor swift, and macklemore. no shame in it.