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Articles Home » Best Of » Best Of 2012 - 2013 (Eric)
 
Best Of 2012 - 2013 (Eric)



ARTICLE: Best Of 2012 (Eric)
YEAR: 2013

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:


Background
2012 seemed to race by all too quickly with an overabundance of good music and not enough time (or money) to hear everything.

Pros: Still resisting the temptation of downloading. Sitting on a couch in front of a humble and entertaining Greg Lake and wondering why more concerts can't be as up close and personal? My interview with Firefall's Rick Roberts and a small role in Rock Candy's Roadmaster reissues. After years of avoidance and snobbery 'discovering' a couplet of creative progressive metal releases that were less about the technical and more about sweet emotion and melody. Queen 'Live In Budapest' on the big screen while non-music highlights have to include the best James Bond movie in years and 'Boardwalk Empire'.

Cons: The deaths of Robin Gibb and Bob Welch, our heroes are falling far too frequently these days. Ian Anderson's decision not to leave 'Thick as a Brick' alone, Jeff Lynne's disappointing comeback and Adam Lambert fronting what's left of Queen.


In Summary
My Best of 2012..


Ultravox- Brilliant
'Brilliant' was my most played disc of 2012. There were certain aesthetics in Ultravox during their 80s heyday that I found attractive and still do. Artful, stylish, progressive and oh so European; the band are older, grayer and taking fewer chances but nevertheless designed an intriguing future pop sound that summed up perfectly in the well-chosen title.


Asia - XXX
Sounds like a porno movie, not that I would know anything about that (!) but seriously, while not the most imaginative of titles 'XXX' was the year's biggest surprise with the original Asia line-up back with their strongest effort since the 1982 debut.


The Producers - Made In Basing Street
This is the kind of arty, hook-heavy song craft few seem interested in making anymore but we expected nothing less from prog pop veterans Lol Creme and Trevor Horn did we? 'Made in Basing Street' bumped Ultravox out of my CD deck more than a few times.


It Bites - Map Of The Past
One of the great prog rock comebacks in recent memory, It Bites are a very different entity from the Francis Dunnery days although he's really not missed. A nostalgic concept album dealing with the mysteries of war, childhood and death; the songs are short, catchy and complex but never overly so, just the way I like it.


Devin Townsend Project- Epicloud
Townsend plays by his own rules, a solitary genius who knows few boundaries and no two albums are the same. His latest 'Epicloud' is breathtaking, stratospheric wall of sound pomp metal with pop rock flourishes and female vocals from the lovely Anneke van Giersbergen, counterpointing Devin's high octane growl. A masterpiece.


Nits - Malpensa
I've been a fan of this long-running Dutch band forever and 'Malpensa' did not disappoint. The fact Nits and their arty pop are barely known outside Europe and a small cult following is a shame. Then again why ruin a good thing?


Ne Obliviscaris - Portal Of I
Yow. Epic and unclassifiable; 'Portal of I' is jaw-dropping progressive metal from an Australian band worth keeping tabs on. Clean and Black vocals, female choirs and folk music with violins and classical orchestration; this is truly groundbreaking.


The Fixx - Beautiful Friction
I don't think anyone was expecting new material from The Fixx or more to the point, a release as consistently solid as 'Beautiful Friction' and bonus- another eye-catching sleeve by artist George Underwood.


Docker's Guild - The Mystic Technocracy-Season 1: The Age Of Ignorance
An 80-minute progressive AOR all-star rock opera with a weighty quasi-religious concept on paper might sound a tad messy but this works exceedingly well. Ayreon meets Asia; it's a massive work that's both melodic and enjoyable and this reviewer can't wait to hear a follow-up.


Marillion - Sounds That Can't Be Made
Their best since 2004's 'Marbles'; Marillion have long been evolving into a post-rock powerhouse but 'Sounds.' elevates the band well above the increasingly overcrowded field with beautifully executed modern day pop and a share of controversy with the sprawling 'Gaza'.

Almost made it and bubbling under: The Night Flight Orchestra 'Internal Affairs', Field Music 'Plumb', 3rdegree 'The Long Division', Presto Ballet 'Relic of the Modern World', Shadow Circus 'On A Dark and Stormy Night', the back to back Galahad stunners 'Battle Scars' and 'Beyond The Realms of Euphoria', New Goblin 'Live In Roma' and last but not least Big Big Train's 'English Electric Part 1'.

Reissues/ Archival

Roadmaster - Sweet Music, Hey World, Fortress
How long did we wait for these? Rock Candy continues to set the gold standard for AOR reissues and snagging pomp gods Roadmaster after so many labels failed was quite the coup. Now if only we can convince Derek Oliver to put out the debut.


Roxy Music - The Complete Studio Recordings 1972-1982
Elegant eight studio album box set that includes two CD's bursting with B-sides and alternative mixes. This is all you need.

Not Forgetting Repertoire's Climax Blues Band reissues, Sensation's Fix 'Music Is Painting in the Air', Max Carl 'Circle', Nektar 'Recycled Deluxe Edition', Cressida 'Trapped in Time: The Lost Tapes' as well as Kayak's debut and 'See See The Sun' from Esoteric.


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Comments
#1 | tompa on January 01 2013 14:26:24
It Bites really do sound great even without Francis Dunnery and it's only now without him being around anymore I realise what a great impact John Beck actually had on those early albums.
Good to see Ultravox back although I prefer the John Foxx-era.
#2 | Jez on January 01 2013 20:22:53
Some good uns there Eric especially Producers, Marillion and Dockers Guild. All making my top 20 or so.
#3 | machoman on January 01 2013 22:39:43
Great to see that the Nits are back among your favorites, and believe me : after having seen them in concert recently their new songs sound a lot better live than on cd.
#4 | Nick C on January 01 2013 23:06:11
That Fixx album cover really is something.
#5 | tonissive on January 02 2013 20:35:46
very good albums eric! galahad 'battle scars' also is one of the my favorites of 2012!
#6 | englandashes on January 13 2013 21:14:20
The Ne Obliviscaris sounds very interesting and just up my street, love all this extreme stuff with a twist, so CD has been ordered and its on its way, thanks eric!
#7 | Eric on January 13 2013 22:25:23
Enjoy man! It blew me away and I'm not big on extreme metal, but it's a beauty!
#8 | swazi on March 11 2013 22:52:18
I have been spinning the PRODUCERS again and again in the last few days. Great stuff! Kudos to Eric for making me aware of this gem! clap
 
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