Top 20 of 2012

The Birthday Massacre Hide and Seek – The Birthday Massacre are back and stronger than ever. It is a welcome surprise that this band still has some fight left in them!

BlakOPz Blood, Sweat And Fear – Is it ever nice to see a new act fly out of the gates with such aplomb. BlakOPz is a solid reminder that new industrial is a healthy genre. The live show caught my attention and the album continues to deliver.

Cult of Youth Love Will Prevail – May provide the answer to what would happen if Death in June and Nick Cave had a bastard love child. Driving acoustic guitars and tribal drumming sit behind piss-and-vinegar pronouncements and invocations.

Dead Can Dance Anastasis – The return of Dead Can Dance after nearly fifteen years exhibits a duo on top of their game, doing what they are best at: powerful songs with international flavors highlighted by epic vocal performances.

Dreamers Dreamers – Megan Gold and Robbie Williamson manage a perfect mix of assorted genres throughout this entire record, and who couldn’t love all the vocal styles performed by Gold?

ESA Themes of Carnal Empowerment Part 1: Lust – Keep going back again and again to listen to it more; great how raw and yet melodic this album is. Anything Jamie Blacker touches seems to be brilliant.

Killing Joke MMXII – Jaz Coleman and crew are back again once more before the end of the world. MMXII is their strongest and most killer album in the modern years.

Liars WIXIW – The most laid back, ambient album from the group to date, featuring sounds and samples that would easily fit into a krautrock or dreampop album. Nice change from a band that constantly redefines itself and defies categorization.

Lotus Plaza Spooky Action at a Distance – Side project from Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt. Jangly, dream-inducing guitar and bass swirl into catchy, hypnotic melodies. Great music for a long drive to nowhere in particular.

Matthew Dear Beams – Continues where Black City left off. Reminiscent of Low/“Heroes”-era Bowie and postpunk a la The Talking Heads but with a contemporary spin. Revelations – MIAB is quickly going down into the subculture history books as one of the greats. Revelations is one of those albums that marks this progress. It’s great to see them return to their cyberpunk opera.

Orbital Wonky – The reformed duo of the Hartnoll brothers come blazing back with an album that interoperates influences from various dance music styles and features some great guests. This is easily among their best.

Purity Ring Shrines  – Shrines takes sounds from witch house and post dubstep, adds synthpop elements, tops with dreampop vocals, and throws in hints of the occult. Seems like clichés left and right, but the result is a beautiful and engaging album.

Suicide Inside Homicide – With a year full of music hiding under foggy drones and echo, Suicide Inside really stands out. Harsh and brutal with substance, Homicide really hits the spot when you need to be awake.

Swans The Seer – Michael Gira is not content to rest on his laurels and create a nostalgic act. This is a renewed and reinvigorated band, as vital, groundbreaking, and good as the best moments in Swans or Angels of Light catalog.

Tonikom Found & Lost – Nice to see Tonikom back, cutting the edge of the IDM world! Possibly the finest artist in class, a true force of new atmospheric electronic.

Trust TRST – The debut album from Toronto duo Trust seemed to come out of nowhere to leave a lasting impression that hints at new horizons for dark toned music. Robert Alfons, with his distinct voice and magnetism, is the Peter Murphy of this new wave.

tweaker call the time eternity – Chris Vrenna’s quiet introspective solo work highlights his ability to craft intimate songs and build touching moods.

VCMG Ssss – Synthpop virtuosos Vince Clarke and Martin Gore reunite for the first time since their Depeche Mode days and produce some incredible techno beats. Pursuing a different mood and take on electronic music, these two veterans produce magic.

Yeasayer Fragrant World – Yeasayer’s Fragrant World is dark yet upbeat, delivering an album full of well-written excellent pop songs using their odd mix of building blocks, reminiscent of the way Depeche Mode is able to do this.

listen to these albums with the Auxiliary Magazine Top 20 of 2012 Spotify Playlist

view the feature in the December/January 2012/2013 Issue

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