Sound As Language

Will. Columbia, SC. I listen to music for a living, co-run a label called Tiny Engines and do press work for bands & labels via Beartrap PR. I used to run a music blog called Sound As Language. This is where my music thoughts will reside for now.

Absolutely in love with this Paint Branch record, I Wanna Live. You might know the duo of John Davis and Chris Richards from their previous band, DC post punkers, Q And Not U. There’s certainly a familiarity from Q And Not U to Paint Branch but I Wanna Live heads off into beautiful indie pop moments recalling Elliott Smith on a number of occasions. This is sure to be one of my favorite albums of 2013.

I Wanna Live is available for name your own price download on Bandcamp.


I feel bad for not mentioning Quiet Steps a bit more on my year end lists cause I spun them a ton in 2012. The Australian band released two great records this year, Secular in the Spring and Dying Livers in the Fall. Occupying space somewhere between Mew and The Casket Lottery, Quiet Steps seem to be pushing the boundaries of classification. We’ll just call it post-emo for now. Highly recommended! Check out the releases on Tenzenmen.

(My list was actually posted yesterday on Property of Zack along with a ton other Tiny Engines/Beartrap lists, go check it out here.)

Albums of the year 2012 (1-10)

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead Lost Songs (Superball) - Hard to believe this is Trail of Dead’s 8th album but the band remains as ferocious as ever.
Annabel Youth In Youth (Count Your Lucky Stars) - Criminally underrated.
Everyone Everywhere Self-Titled 2012 (Self-Released) - Pretentious indie/emo rock never sounded so good.
forgetters Self-Titled (Too Small To Fail) - Schwarzenbach. Enough said.
Japandroids Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl) - My go to running soundtrack.
The Jealous Sound A Gentle Reminder (Rise) - Hopefully the band’s recent signing to Rise finally gets them their just due. And go listen to Knapsack while you’re at it too.
Luther Let’s Get You Somewhere Else (Chunksaah) - I worked press for the band’s first EP but wasn’t expecting a debut album this good.
The Menzingers On The Impossible Past (Epitaph) - A punk band that deserves to be huge.
Nada Surf The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy (Barsuk) - Nada Surf are just so consistent, they are one of those comforting bands that I always find myself going back to again and again.
Sundials When I Couldn’t Breathe (Asian Man) - I had kind of forgotten about Sundials so this album came out of nowhere in a great way.

Albums of the year 2012 (11-20)

Bob Mould Silver Age (Merge) - I apologize for not keeping closer tabs on Mould throughout the years.
The Fencemen Times Are Alright (Self-Released) - This is basically just a lost Constantines record, right?
Guided By Voices Let’s Go Eat The Factory / Class Clown Spots A UFO / The Bears For Lunch (Self-Released)
- The one band I’ve listened to more this year (outside of Tiny Engines bands) is GBV and there’s something really comforting about having them back. Calling this a “reunion” would seem inadequate though. The band came back with a vengeance in 2012 with 3 LPs & countless 7 inches. Just keeping up with Bob Pollard and GBV is a chore and as always it’s a lot of material to wade through. But, if you are a long-time fan there is plenty to keep you occupied. Oh, and Pollard put out a solo album as well. And yup, it’s pretty good too.
Hop Along Get Disowned (Hot Green)
Hospitality Self-Titled (Merge) - I’m a sucker for really well done indie guitar pop. Add in female vocals and I’m hooked.
Infinite Void Self-Titled (Poison City) - White Lung got all the hype but this record is where it’s at if you are missing Pretty Girls Make Graves.
Joie De Vivre We’re All Better Than This (Count Your Lucky Stars)
Ladyhawk No Can Do (Triple Crown Recording Co.) - I dare you to listen to this and not have these songs stuck in your head for days.
Let Me Run Mad/Sad (Taking Flight) - Blown away there hasn’t been more talk about this record. The band has made quite a transformation from their beginnings. Mad/Sad is a straight up awesome emo rock record. Fans of Texas Is The Reason, Gameface, Liars Academy, etc. should be all over this.
Pinback Information Retrieved (Temporary Residence) - So consistent.

Honorable Mentions:

It’s A King Thing Aldo Is The King Of Italy (Self-Released) - So, this full album isn’t available online anywhere but it’s definitely one of my favorites of the year. I”m just not sure where to put it on my list. Regardless, I love this band too much for words. This is a bit more indie than Buffalo but still incredibly catchy. Here’s hoping that these songs and other new IAKT tunes see the light of day in 2013.

Royal Headache Self-Titled (Eighteen / What’s Your Rupture) - I see a bunch of people listing this album because of the 2012 re-release but in actuality it came out in October of 2011. Granted though, I love it and listened to it a ton. I’m not a huge garage fan but this is the best soul infused-garage rock record I’ve heard since Mando Diao’s Bring Em In.

Albums of the year 2012 (21-30)

Center Of The Sun Machine Gun (Mayfly / Self Aware) - New band from Charlotte, NC…like a cool cross between True Widow and Joy Formidable. 
Cheap Girls Giant Orange (Rise)
Cloud Nothings Attack On Memory (Carpark)
Dinosaur Jr. I Bet On Sky (Jagjaguwar)
Happy Particles Under Sleeping Waves (Self-Released) - This came out last year at Christmas but under my rules that makes it a 2012 release. Indie pop slowcore. AmAnSet fans take notice.
Hostage Calm Please Remain Calm (Run For Cover)
The Men Open Your Heart (Sacred Bones)
Museum Mouth Sexy But Not Happy (Self-Released)
Pswingset All Our False Starts (Topshelf)
Thinking Machines Extension Chords (Self-Released)

Honorable Mentions: Basement, The Casket Lottery, Dads, Delay, DIIV, Downtown Struts, Further Seems Forever, Glocca Morra, The Greek Favourites, Gypsy, The Marine Electric, Matt Skiba & The Sekrets, mewithoutYou, Modern Baseball, Oddczar, Old Flings, Quiet Steps, Shores, Smashing Pumpkins, Sore Eyelids, Tall Ships, Tyler Daniel Bean, The Walkmen, White Lung

This was a late entry to my year end list but very well deserved. London band, City Dweller, recently called it quits but left us with quite a parting gift. The band’s last release, I Will Become Unique (Regicide) has been on repeat on for me for days now. It’s difficult to describe the band but if you grew up on Dischord Records I find it hard to fathom you won’t be thoroughly impressed. Throw in some snotty punk rock and mix it with a bit of 90’s indie rock vibe ala Archers Of Loaf and you have quite a kick ass recipe. Needless to say it will be very interesting to see where these guys branch off to next. I’ll certainly be paying attention.

The band also have a Self-Titled EP and split with another great band, Plaids, that are highly recommended. You can get those here.

Favorite 2012 Demos / EPs

Adventures Self-Titled 7” (No Sleep)
Big Awesome Birdfeeder 7” (Baby Moon)
Bonehouse Summer 2012 Demo EP (Self-Released)
Cayetano Demo EP (Self-Released)
City Dweller I Will Become Unique EP (Regicide)
Muscle & Bone Self-Titled EP (Self-Released)
Pity Sex Dark World EP (Forward/Run For Cover)
Save Ends Strength Vs. Will EP (Self-Released)
Springtime Demo 2012 EP (Self-Released)
Wild Moth Mourning Glow 7” (Asian Man)

Arctic Flowers Procession 12” EP (Self-Released)
Brighter Arrows Division And What It Is To Abide 10” (Fairweather/The Ghost Is Clear)
California X Sucker/Mummy 7” (Damage)
Latenights - Sunrise Surprise EP (Self-Released)
Month Dogs That Aren’t Mine & Bath Salts EPs (Self-Released)
Sebadoh Secret EP (Self-Released)
Serfs Who Cares 7” (Self-Released)
Solids Fog Friends/Blown Out 7” (Machette)
Spraynard Exton Square 7” (Asian Man)
Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson Small Changes We Hardly Notice 10” (Count Your Lucky Stars)

My Favorite Carolina Releases for 2012

Apart (SC) - Gray Light LP (Mayfly) and Love Is Not Enough EP (Self-Released)
Big Awesome (SC) - Birdfeeder EP (Baby Moon)
Center Of The Sun (NC) - Machine Gun LP (Mayfly / Self Aware)
JKutchma & The Five Fifths (NC) - Pastoral LP (Last Chance)
Latenights (SC) - Sunrise Surprise EP (Self-Released)
Modern Man (SC) - Eyes No LP (Self-Released)
Museum Mouth (NC) - Sexy But Not Happy LP (Self-Released)
Muscle & Bone (NC) - Self-Titled EP (Self-Released)
Oddczar (NC) - One Word LP (Bitter Melody / Self Aware)
Old Flings (NC) - Spite LP (Bitter Melody / Self Aware)
Parlour Tricks (SC) Self-Titled LP (Self-Released)
Red Collar (NC) - Welcome Home LP (Tiny Engines)
Richard Parker / Mon Frere (NC) - Split LP (Self-Released)
Serfs (NC) - Who Cares EP (Self-Released)
Yardwork (NC) - Slamdunks EP (Self-Released)