Brian Cook: Things I Was Stoked on in 2012

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I already did a list of my favorite records of 2012 for
SeattleRockGuy.com, but I felt like there were so many other inspiring
music-related things I stumbled upon this year that I needed an
alternate list. These are the things I was stoked on in 2012.

1. Genesis The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

A sound engineer friend of mine used this album to EQ the soundboard
at a gig back in 2006 and it boggled my mind. The recording quality
definitely pinned it to the ‘70s, but the sounds, arrangements, and
general vibe didn’t seem to belong to any era. I was stunned to learn
it was Genesis, and my friend subsequently burned me a copy of the
two-disc album. I gave it a couple of spins on my own at home, but
what I heard on my speakers didn’t live up to the tracks I’d heard at
the club. This spring, I gave it another whirl on my iPod. For
whatever reason, the tracks were out of sequence, and all of the
sudden I was hearing the stuff that caught my ear back in 2006. I
became obsessed with this album. From the heavy gloom of “Fly On The
Windshield” to the math-prog of “Back In NYC”, the whole album is a
total artistic gamble that only pays off after repeated listens. For
the entirety of summer and most of the fall, I was listening to this
album at least once a day. Ideally, I wish that every year one record
would permanently alter my relationship with music. Realistically,
that only really happens about once every five years for me. The last
record to hit me this hard was Stars of the Lid’s And Their Refinement
of the Decline back in 2008. I have a feeling it’s going to be another
five years until something affects me as much as Lamb.

2. Bob Mould See A Little Light

I’ve owned Zen Arcade since I was 14. I’ve owned Copper Blue since I
was 15. But I never really dug much further into either band’s
catalog. So I’m not sure why I picked up Bob Mould’s autobiography
earlier this year, but once I cracked it open I couldn’t put it down.
Mould’s story isn’t even all that spectacular. In some regards, he’s a
difficult person to empathize with at times. But I saw bits and pieces
of myself in his story and started examining those old records more. I
realized that over 21 years, I’ve actually come to be pretty familiar
with all 70 minutes of Zen Arcade, and coming back to it after so much
time away from it made me view it in a whole new light. I also went
and picked up the Sugar vinyl reissues and realized what I’d been
missing out on from Beaster and FU:EL. I probably should’ve picked up
the new Bob Mould album too, but I’ll save that for next year.

3.  Chelsea Wolfe

I was fortunate enough to get to see  Chelsea perform nightly for three
weeks straight this summer when she toured with Russian Circles. As
much as I like Apokalypsis and The Grime And The Glow, neither album
does her live show justice. Harrowing, haunting, beautiful. And
judging from her new material, 2013 is going to be Chelsea’s year.


4. Minus The Bear @ The Showbox

I moved from Tacoma to Seattle in January of 2001. Later that year, my
friends started a band called Minus The Bear. It seemed like a
frivolous project at the time. After all, these were dudes from
hardcore bands playing this upbeat dancey indie pop stuff. But it
turned into a big deal, and this light-hearted side project cranked
out some serious game-changing albums. In many ways Minus The Bear
became my soundtrack to the ‘00s and, by extension, my time in
Seattle. I’m heading for the East Coast in a couple of weeks, and I’m
glad that I got to catch one last Bear show back in November as a bit
of closure for the moving away process.

5.  Against Me! @ El Corazon

These Arms Are Snakes did our first “tour” with Against Me! back in
early 2003. We went out with them again in 2007. A lot had changed for
AM! in those four years. It seemed that with every new record they
gained momentum while simultaneously receiving more and more shit from
their more stringent DIY fanbase. Things have only gotten more
polarized in the last five years, with the band signing to a major
label, playing with Springsteen and Foo Fighters, and prompting every
newbie crust punk to cry out “Judas”. So when singer Tom Gabel came
out as transgendered, I couldn’t help but wonder how the public would
react. Their first tour in the wake of the news was with The Cult. In
a text message conversation with their bassist Andrew, I asked how the
public was dealing with Tom’s new identity as Laura Jane Grace. His
response was that he had a renewed faith in humanity. And sure enough,
catching their set at El Corazon in September was one of the most
inspiring things I’ve witnessed in a long while. The audience was a
healthy mix of people—young punks, older rock fans, and a new
contingent of LGBT folks. The crowd launched into applause when Laura
took the stage and the band played the most impassioned show I’ve ever
seen from them. My faith was restored that night too.

– Brian Cook

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