jamesreindeer DEAD special
deadlists » lists 11.01.2013
James Reindeer’s Top 5 Releases of 2012

In truth, 2012 was something of an ongoing struggle for me. A year in which so many things came apart, a year in which so much turmoil, confusion and doubt came to the fore. So many moments caught up within a strange dream of long, ongoing troubles to find a path through the cruel instances.

Still, no matter how each year reveals itself, we can be sure that there will be an ongoing soundtrack to document the moments in song, and how this years soundtrack marked so many uplifting and crippling moments in equal measure. Yet, still further, on struggling to compile this list, struggling to leave out so many great releases, I come to realise my final selections quite clearly mirrored the various moods of my psyche during this often-harrowing twelve months.
So, might I introduce my top five releases from within the turmoil
- jamesreindeer

Prison Soup – Prison Soup 
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The blessed unchurch of the six.six.seven. represented by easily two of my favourite writers currently in living circulation. Prison soup is an immense barrage of blue-collar-death-chew in its most perfected form. Each song rings out with such devatasting conviction, such great truth, such crushing terms and snide remarks of the adept; a fantastically devilish ultimatum or manifesto in the face of this unutterably sick civilization. Nine songs rich with the strength and sense of close communion I can only find in my closest of brothers, their words a reaffirmation of so many truths and beliefs buried deep in my hearts and thoughts.

Babelfishh – Howl Bender
I had an accident

I had been forwarned regarding the imminent arrival of the almighty ‘howl bender’ tape, and was needless to say besides myself in anticipation, and still how the final release was so unspeakably astonishing. Babelfishh is a staggering talent indeed. there is such a power within his words, such an undying truth burning bright within the cacophony and terror he extrapolates on his solo releases. An undiluted sense of complete immersion within the lines, within the drones, static and distortion. Howl bender is a masterpiece in terms of transfiguring pure emotion into a tangible, audible entity. This tape quickly became daily listening material during the painful collapse of the world as I knew it, and how it filled me with the close understanding of the chaotic madness of the deep, dark despair. A furnace boiling with the molten emotions of a world tipping over the precipice.

Godspeed You! BLack Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t bend! Ascend!

The studio-recorded return of our almighty Godspeed was inevitably to be one of this years highlights for so many, and yet more- so for those struggling with their own gathering storms. The album served as a genuine perfectly-executed exercise in the art of studio recording. Two long time favourite songs at last giving the hotel2tango treatment and spilling out in ever ascending waves of pure emotive force. ‘Mladic’ is absolutely the end of the world and has never sounded better. Godspeed have always had the power to generate such a powerful spell, a devastating yet truly-uplifting culmination of desperate emotions, ever on the verge of total-collapse, yet still always providing an unceasing sense of ‘hope’, even when the storm is at its darkest.

Home – Lone
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‘Lone’ was a release which I had been made privy to since its very earliest inceptions. l had been in close written communication with home and how he had hinted that he was slowly beginning to work on some ‘solo material’, yet still little could have prepared me for the day when the first three demos arrived, not to mention the complete whole having passed through the hands of the almighty Edison. I cannot begin to detail how many times I have auditioned this release over these last long moons. So perfectly concise, so perfectly considered, so wonderfully realised, and with such, such great depth. Home is a man and an artist who truly pushes me to want to think deeply, moreover to think clearly, to learn and to allow myself to try to see through so much that is of no importance. In this year of chaos, his words, his thoughts and his music has been the still center where I have found space to breathe, to reflect and to seek a truer purpose in my waking life.

Finger On Tallinn – Head Full of Feathers
Sous les paves

The fragile, beautiful tender bird-heart within this year of trouble and doubt. Finger On Tallinn are the gentle, lilting dream of love, of hope, of a soothing longing that vibrates softly amidst these billowing clouds of loss and regret. Their songs have held me so close in the darkest and coldest of moments; a simple wish, a gentle flickering flame that burns softly, no matter how fierce the storm rages around it. This collection of songs is a truly wonderful and mesmerising blend of words and melodies that resonate with such a melancholic, uplifting beauty, such a strong will reflected in timid pools of elegiac sadness. A truest treasure of honest hope and emotion in gentle, lilting song. A collection that has held me close when I needed it, allowed my thoughts to soar as simple wishes and calmed my broken-heart when the lights flickered out into the dark.