2012 | Twenty First Half Favourites

We’re already half away through 2012, crazy huh? It felt like it was a slow start to the year in terms of standout album releases but slowly things have picked up pace and some (in our ears) essential purchases have emerged. Here, in no particular order are twenty LPs that have captured our attention over the last six months.

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LAMBCHOP | MR. M

This is their best since Nixon, majestic, intimate and ethereal.

NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE | AMERICANA

The long awaited return of Crazy Horse to the NY fold and they recommence work with brilliant primitive garage rock interpretations of folk classics.

EARTH | ANGELS OF DARKNESS, DEMONS OF LIGHT II

Dylan Carlson and co continue to explore parched and ghostly americana doom.

SHACKLETON | MUSIC FOR THE QUIET HOUR

This music for the head, food for the ears and possesses an astonishing range of electronic composition.

TORCHE | HARMONICRAFT

The sludge metallers continue to refine their heaviosity with their most realised collision of melody and surging heavy rock.

JOSEF VAN WISSEM & JIM JARMUSCH | CONCERNING THE ENTRANCE INTO ETERNITY

A fascinating journey into experimental post rock with this collaboration between a lutist and the acclaimed indie film director on electric guitar.

DR JOHN | LOCKED DOWN

The Night Tripper hooks up with a Black Key and produces his finest work in years. New Orleans voodoo swamp blues and jazz at its finest.

SINEAD O’CONNOR | HOW ABOUT I BE ME (AND YOU BE YOU)?

O’Connor gets personal and raw on one of her best collection of songs in years. FULL REVIEW

OREN AMBARCHI | AUDIENCE OF ONE

Ambarchi’s exquisitely recorded guitar compositions are stretched fleshed out with vocals, whirs and patter making this his most holistic release to date.

DEEP SEA ARCADE | OUTLANDS

Sydney quintet Deep Sea Arcade deserve to top charts and win hearts with this stellar collection of infectious indie guitar pop. FULL REVIEW

FATHER JOHN MISTY | FEAR FUN

Josh Tillman discards his dark stark folk and reveals an album brimming with hooks and a sharp wit. FULL REVIEW

SUZY CONNOLLY | NIGHT LARKS

An early candidate for my album of the year. Night Larks is heartfelt and mature songwriting of the highest order. This will take up residency in your heart and ears. FULL REVIEW

THE CARETAKER | PATIENCE (AFTER SEBALD)

Arcane, lost and forgotten sounds in a bed of crackle and hiss. Pick the right time (night, wine and headphones) and prepare to be transported through space and time.

DAMIEN JURADO | MARAQOPA

Jurado follows up his excellent Saint Bartlett with another LP of classic troubadour songs, this time a tad more psychedelic and swirling in the hands of collaborator Richard Swift.

OPOSSOM | ELECTRIC HAWAII

Essentially the solo project of ex Mint Chick Kody Nielson, this is technicolor pop music at its finest. FULL REVIEW

THE MEN | OPEN YOUR HEART

A real mix of post punk, hardcore and indie rock. The songs tumble from the speakers leaving a trail of carefree gems scattered in their wake. FULL REVIEW

PUBLIC IMAGE LTD | THIS IS PIL

The return of John Lydon and his band of merry men and what a welcome return with this dub heavy excursion into indie, post punk, industrial rhythms and rhymes.

JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE | NOTHING’S GONNA CHANGE THE WAY YOU FEEL ABOUT ME NOW

Earle is now beginning to expand his sound, taking it into Memphis soul territory with horns aplenty and a bigger band sound to match his outstanding country and folk songwriting abilities. FULL REVIEW

CHARLIE HORSE | I HOPE I’M NOT A MONSTER

A record from Sydney’s Blue Mountains that takes strong and sultry country rock vocals and marries them to some Peter Buck and Neil Young guitar anthems in waiting. FULL REVIEW

VCMG | SSSS

Who’d have thought original Depeche Moders Martin Gore and Vince Clarke would collaborate again/ They did and the results were surprisingly dark and fun on this techno collision between two stalwarts of modern electronic pop music. FULL REVIEW

ALBUM REVIEW: Opossom | Electric Hawaii

by C. Familton

Opossom is essentially Kody Nielson, formerly of The Mint Chicks. When they split, his brother Ruban formed Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Kody retreated to his bedroom to write, play on and record Electric Hawaii. The album retains much of  the bright energy of Nielson’s former band but it also decidedly more trippy and psychedelic, awash with an array of electronic and tropicalia influences.

Getaway Tonight, one of the standout tracks manages to make a hazy melancholic vocal work over frenetic drumming and all manner of strings and synths. Melody has always been a strong component of Nielson’s work and here it is amplified to a day-glo level. Everything sounds like it should be accompanied by technicolor rainbows, neon and hallucinogenic imagery. On Watchful Eye Opossom veer close to the psych rock of Tame Impala while the title tracks eschews vocals and conjures up the ghostly sound of a haunted carnival ride. The psych aspect is omnipresent throughout Electric Hawaii both in the way Nielson structures his songs, layers their elements and the sonic light in which he casts them. There are traces of Beck’s experimental side and playful way with rhythms and on the closing track Inhaler Song Opossom channel Flaming Lips before tipping the music into a sonic blender, chewing it up and spitting it out as static in fantastic fashion.

It is all over in thirty minutes, highlighting how tightly Nielson has edited Electric Hawaii. This type of psych pop music too often becomes an indulgent exercise yet he has honed in on one or two key ideas per song and built a kaleidoscopic world around them that is intensely creative, a ton of fun and quite a unique listening experience.

this review was first published in Drum Media

 

NEWS: Opossom (ex-Mint Chicks) release single and visit Australia.

Kody Nielson has a new project of glorious psych pop called Opossom and he has released the first single Getaway Tonight ahead of a run of Australian dates. This will be the first chance for Australia to see the new trio which also features another Mint Chick Michael Logie and Bic Runga who also collaborated with Nielson on her recently released album.

Opossom will release their debut album Electric Hawaii on June 1st.

Tour Dates

Wednesday, May 16 – GoodGod Small Club, Sydney

Thursday, May 17 – Phoenix Public House, Melbourne