Top Singles of 2012
1. Blawan His He She And She 12″
2. Daughn Gibson Lite Me Up 7″
3. Hoax 2nd EP 7″
4. Dawn Of Humans Blurst Of The Birdfish 7″
5. Emptyset Collapse 12″
6. Boddika & Joy Orbison Swims 12″
7. Räjäyttäjät Räjäyttäjät Räjäyttää! 7″
9. Burial Kindred EP 12″
10. Bandshell Dust March 12″
11. Boddika & Joy Orbison Froth / Mercy 12″
12. Neon Blud Discotheque Deathbed 12″
13. Satanic Rockers Eviction / Rat Versus Boredom 7″
14. The Traveller A-100 EP 12″
15. Brown Sugar Tropical Disease 7″
16. Joe MB / Studio Power On 12″
17. Manic Manic 7″
18. Blawan Long Distance Open Water Worker 12″
19. Exit Hippies Part 2 7″
20. Shed The Praetorian 12″

Honorable Mention:
Drosofile Mal / Your Roberts 7″
November Növelet Heart Of Stone 7″
Cold Cave A Little Death To Laugh 7″
War At War For Youth 7″
Barker & Baumecker A Murder Of Crows EP 12″

Top Albums of 2012
1. Merchandise Children Of Desire
2. Mount Carmel Real Women
3. Shackleton Music For The Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ EPs
4. Andy Stott Luxury Problems
5. Boston Strangler Primitive
6. Blank Realm Go Easy
7. Constant Mongrel Everything Goes Wrong
8. Petar Dundov Ideas From The Pond
9. Spacin’ Deep Thuds
10. Mountain Cult Mountain Cult
11. Blues Control Valley Tangents
12. Demdike Stare Elemental
13. Raime Quarter Turns Over A Living Line
14. Hank Wood And The Hammerheads Go Home
15. Holy Other Held
16. Crazy Spirit Crazy Spirit
17. Modra The Line For The Men’s Room
18. D-Clone Creation And Destroy
19. Killer Mike R.A.P. Music
20. Frank Ocean Channel Orange

Honorable Mention:
Slices Still Cruising
Creem Creem
Holograms Holograms
FRKSE Guilt Surveillance
Ricardo Villalobos Dependent And Happy

Another year in the record books! Lots of killer music was released this year, and while it wasn’t easy narrowing it down to a mere 25 albums and 25 EPs I enjoyed (which seems like a ridiculous number of records for any one person to actively listen to in a year anyway), these are my picks. Gotta share one caveat, though – my true favorite album of the year is without a doubt Daughn Gibson’s All Hell, but since I released it myself and love it like a child, I figure it would be uncouth to place it on my year-end list. Still, I didn’t listen to any other record as much as All Hell this year, and its songs still haunt me and provoke all sorts of emotions nearly a year later. Here’s to a bountiful 2013!

Blawan His He She And She 12″ (Hinge Finger)
When it came to techno in 2012, no one did it like Blawan. His early EPs were cool-if-expected future-bass excursions not unlike his Hessle Audio / Hotflush contemporaries, but with Long Distance Open Water Worker, Peaches and most stunningly of all, His He She And She, Blawan blew the doors off what dungeon techno could be. The four tracks of His He She And She are as gnarly and raw as any Wolf Eyes CD-r, as catchy as Luomo and as relentless as Sandwell District, blaring the evil vocal hooks and blown-out rhythms like they’re coming from a warning siren, not a stereo. When I listen to this EP, I feel both energized and terrorized, like I am in the middle of a warzone and my only reaction is to dance. Keep the hits coming, Blawan!

Merchandise Children Of Desire (Katorga Works)
After blowing my mind with their (Strange Songs) In The Dark album, Merchandise had a lot to live up to with their follow-up, and did they ever! Everything I loved about Merchandise before is brighter, bolder and bigger than before – the riffs are catchy new-wave bliss, Carson Cox’s vocals are some sort of squat-house Morrissey with a Chet Baker fixation, the lyrics are as melodramatic and overwrought as I could’ve hoped, and the songs themselves stretch time as thought it were just another instrument to play with. There’s bits of Neu!, Arcade Fire and The Cure in there, whether they intended it or not, and there’s really no other band that sounds like Merchandise (although in 2013, I certainly expect many others to start trying). Conflicted with staying punk or embracing the indie machine, Merchandise are ignoring cries of “sell out” while still playing ratty punk basements instead of corporate clubs (at least for now), and it’s been entertaining watching them navigate their new-found world, particularly as they have a fantastic set of songs to take with them. Children Of Desire is a beautiful record that will only continue to unfold its wealth as the hype dissipates and the music stands entirely on its own, just as Merchandise intended.