More 2012 faves from our music writers



As promised in today's music feature, we've got more faves and un-faves from some of our music writers. Once you've finished that article, check out some more:

Best new release

Daughn Gibson: All Hell
This was one of those albums that came out of left field and knocked me on my ass. Gibson used to be a drummer for the PA stoner-metal band Pearls and Brass, but All Hell couldn't sound more different from that project. Along with his laptop of samples, Gibson takes the deep, emotional baritone of Johnny Cash and pushes it through a David Lynch looking glass. But at it's core, All Hell is driven by some of most assured songwriting, and beautiful lyrics, I've heard in the past few years. "In the Beginning" and "Tiffany Lou" are standouts. — Patrick Bowman

Dinosaur Jr.: I Bet On Sky
In describing Dinosaur Jr's sound, which is wont to include fuzzed guitar gymnastics and mush-mouthed self-recrimination, it is tempting to imply that they are slaves to their formula. In fact, however, they are and have been one of the most dynamic acts in the rock landscape for nearly thirty years, eschewing traditional song structures to make room for more blistering solos and more biting cynicism. If they do have a formula it is in their approach, an unabashed lack of pretension, which is antithetical to the twee contrivance of most critical darlings. I Bet On Sky is notable for its introduction — to great effect — of organ and piano to the guitar-heavy assault for which they are known. The album also marks the band's third outing since bassist Lou Barlow (Sebadoh) rejoined the band. Barlow's succinct over-sharing provides an interesting counterpoint to band leader J Mascis' obtuse interiority. — Ian Thomas

Best local release

Mac Miller: Macadelic
Point Breeze native Mac Miller took listeners on a psychedelic hip-hop journey with this one. Solid production helps Miller find his comfort zone on this project, and guest raps by Kendrick Lamar, Juicy J and Lil Wayne makes this a highlight of the Pittsburgh rapper's youthful music catalog. — Rory D. Webb

Code Orange Kids: Love Is Love//Return To Dust
After a handful of short releases, and a lot of touring, Code Orange Kids have morphed into a young band still trying to find its place in the music world to a trudging behemoth that blends hardcore, metal and ambient post-rock. The Deathwish debut from the quartet was the most mature release I've ever heard from a band's first full-length album, and showed an interesting and unique direction in which the band is headed. -- Gregg Harrington

Best live show

The Weeknd: Mr. Small's, June 19
I'm still kind of shocked that The Weeknd, Abel Tesfaye's mysterious, narcotic R&B project, included Pittsburgh as one of the first stops on its first tour, but holy crap did he put on a show. With his live backing band kicking ass, and a fairly impressive lighting rig, Tesfaye smoldered as he worked through the best tracks in his small catalog, including the lurid "High For This," Massive Attack-ish "House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls" and coked-out Michael Jackson homage "D.D." — PB

Julia Holter: The Andy Warhol Museum, Oct. 2
I was a tiny bit skeptical as to how well Holter’s exquisite, solo-made record Ekstasis would translate to the stage. But joined by a drummer and a cellist, Holter’s dreamy songs transformed from something to be listened to alone, to something fuller, richer and more human. — Margaret Welsh

Converge/Torche/Kvelertak : Altar Bar, Oct. 14
On the band's supporting tour for its eighth studio album, Converge continued to prove its worth as the leader in innovative hardcore/metal. Converge's set list spanned its discography, playing a slew of new songs, a handful of deep cuts, and everything in between. Torche and Kvelertak were nothing to snub either; Torche's new material brings to mind its prior incarnation, the heavy and melodic Floor, and Kvelertak invoked an Andrew WK-meets-Entombed type of Swedish party metal. Three-band shows are perfect. — GH

Best Tour that Didn’t Come to Pittsburgh in 2012

Their debut full-length, Sorrow And Extinction, has appeared on the year-end lists of nearly every major music publication, but Pittsburghers had to trek to other cities to hear Pallbearer’s heavy tales of woe in person. All the more reason to catch them in 2013, when they join Enslaved at Mr. Small's on Feb. 1. — MW

Flying Lotus/Captain Murphy
I'm not sure he went on an all-out tour, but Flying Lotus, the electro-jazz-funk producer from L.A. who also took on the alias of rapper Captain Murphy, is overdue for a performance in Pittsburgh. Incorporating plenty of visuals into his live performance, he would fit right in with VIA's annual festival. — RDW

Most disappointing live show

The Men: The Shop, July 13
I love The Shop, but their sound system couldn't come close to handling The Men's blistering strain of gonzo punk/classic rock that was so white hot on their 2012 release Open Your Heart. — PB


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