The Ten Best Musical Happenings of 2012: Humble Edition
Editor's Note: The end of 2012 is upon us, so we thought we'd put a cap on things by sharing some of our personal favorite shows, albums, events and general shenanigans. Join us as we indulge in some navel-gazing!
Pussy Riot's incarceration was one of the most remarkable musical sagas of 2012.
I am not the most active of local scenesters. I am not up on many of the year's critically-lauded releases. Therefore, consider this a purely subjective, humbly-submitted Top Ten list of music-related items that caught my attention in 2012.
But first, special thanks to Kiernan Maletsky for sticking it out as music editor this year. Not only was he professional and easy to work with, but he was willing to at least consider whatever bizarre idea I proposed ("a piece about GG Allin's critical re-evaluation? Go for it"). So let's wish him luck as he heads to Dallas, and be glad that he's left the section in good hands with Daniel Hill.
10) The Kafkaesque saga of Pussy Riot. I do not want to hear about how tough it is on tour sleeping on people's floors and playing empty bars. I do not want to hear your lukewarm "political" songs that could have been written by any university student armed with a Howard Zinn text. I definitely don't want to see your "transgressive" performance art. Are you willing to risk a two-year sentence in a Siberian hard labor camp for your art? Because that's how two members of this Russian performance collective spent this Christmas. Their transgressive, confrontational acts garnered supportive press worldwide. Even Time magazine nominated them for 2012's "Person of The Year." Sadly, only about 13 percent of Time's readership endorsed them. That's compared to more than half the Time readership who endorsed Korean singer/rapper/invisible horse rider Psy.
9) Liechtenstein, Fast Forward (Fraction Discs CD). Released at the dawn of 2012, this CD was ignored by virtually everyone -- even the indie-pop fans who championed their earlier releases. On Fast Forward, this all-female Swedish trio revisits the early '80s sound of LiLiPut and Kleenex, complete with clipped phrases and vaguely social/political lyrics ("No Idealists Left," "Heads on Golden Plates"), with hints of Bay Area pop band Aislers Set. Completely addictive, and my favorite new release this year.
8) Driving to Farmington, Missouri to see Bay Area three-piece Grass Widow playing at The Vault, only to find out that said club was scheduled to close two weeks later due to lack of interest outside of a small local core. It's a shame to see it go, but hopefully the Vault's example will pave the way for other adventurous performance spaces in other towns in rural Missouri (and elsewhere).