For more of what floated our boat last year check out DI’s picks for the Top 12 Debut Albums of 2012!
The primary criterion for Dirty Impound’s annual list is artists that honored and creatively worked in the ALBUM medium – not a random assortment of new songs, not 2-3 good singles surrounded by filler, not nearly complete visions. Rock is our church, our guiding star, our reason for getting up some days, and for myriad reasons these selections made the world seem better, brighter, more intense, beautiful, sad, meaningful, fun, or maybe just plain ‘more’ than it was before they existed. These selections represent the cream, the top 10-percent, of the 310 new releases we checked out in 2012, and without exception, each shimmers with a special, compelling glow.
While the Impound generally eschews hierarchies in this year-end wrap-up, we feel compelled to single out two albums – Howlin Rain’s The Russian Wilds and John Murry’s The Graceless Age – that we’re absolutely certain will be considered classics in decades time, song cycles that will be shared by the music loyalists who haunt what’s left of brick & mortar stores, gleefully handing copies of these records to friends with a breathless, “Your life is incomplete without this!” Both albums took a few years to germinate and reveal the virtues of time and close care in their creation – each free of the rush, rush release energy that defines music today, each a modern answer to the kind of shining craftsmanship that infused so many pioneering works in the 60s and 70s. Interestingly, both happen to come from Oakland, CA-based artists, resounding proof that some of the world’s best music is still being generated in the Bay Area (further testified to by the killer albums from Chuck Prophet and Penelope Houston on the list this year). Also, each digs deep for inspired cover tune selections – Murry tackles Derek & The Dominoes’ “Thorn Tree in the Garden” and Howlin Rain glows on The James Gang’s “Collage” – which sparkle in their care and show how obvious and lazy the competition is in this area. Simply put, the Impound stacks these two albums up against anything in rock’s canon.
Now, on with the show…