Top 10 releases of 2012: A drummer’s perspective
Here are the rules: “Release” can mean anything. It could be an album, it could be a single, it could be a professionally released video, or it could be a crappy homemade video that just happens to illustrate my point. As long as it was released in 2012 it’s fair game. Also, something about the drums needs to have caught my attention. And no, they do not have to be real drums, and #1 isn’t necessarily a bigger deal than #10. K let’s begin.
1. Blink-182 “Dogs Eating Dogs” EP
Ever since I first heard “What’s My Age Again” on the radio back in 6th grade, I have been a huge Blink-182 fan and an even bigger Travis Barker fan. The man is a legend and one of the main reasons I play drums today. His parts are creative, cool, technically challenging and inspiring. I love the direction Blink’s sound seems to be taking with this EP. The songs are slower, which allows Travis to get groovier. Awesome drumming from an awesome drummer in an awesome band.
2. Periphery “Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal”
I cannot stop talking about this album. To me it is the greatest piece of recorded music in the history of recorded music. Big statement I know, but I love it that much. This band slays, and they can pull it off live too. Drummer Matt Halpern is right up there on my list with Travis Barker as one of my favorite drummers of all time, and for good reason. He’s opened my eyes to a whole world of possibilities, and I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t been taking the “What Would Matt Do?” approach to my own drum parts lately.
3. Cobus Potgieter “Who Let The Dogs Out?” Baha Men drum cover
For those of you that don’t know, Cobus Potgieter is a guy from South Africa that one day started filming drum covers and posting them on YouTube. He came to my attention a year ago or so and I have to say that I am very impressed with his stuff. He has created a career for himself through his covers, which I greatly respect, and his drumming is solid. I’ve never personally met him, but he seems like a solid dude as well. This cover is his most recent and definitely worth your time.
4. Skrillex and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley “Make It Bun Dem”
I don’t listen to a lot of dubstep. Skrillex is just about it, however I have grown a lot as a drummer in the last year since I started listening to his music and creating drum parts to go along with it. Regardless of the fact that this is electronic music, it grooves and provides an excellent canvas for developing ideas.
5. Dave Matthews Band “Mercy” off of “Away From The World”
I’m going to be honest, “Away From The World” was a very disappointing follow up to 2009’s “Big Whiskey And The GrooGrux King.” That being said, there are a few gems sprinkled throughout, one of which is the first single “Mercy.” Drummer Carter Beauford is capable of superhuman feats behind a drum set, and even with a slow ballad-ish type song, he still leaves you scratching your head and thinking “what just happened?” The man is a hi-hat wizard.
6. Maroon 5 “Overexposed”
I remember liking Maroon 5 way back when they first came out, and then for whatever reason I forgot about them. By way of a good friend they came to my attention again this year and I haven’t been able to stop listening since. Their newest album “Overexposed” was released this year and while I was at first annoyed at the amount of programmed drums vs. real drums, I quickly got over it due to the quality of the songs on the album. THEY’RE SO GOOD. “The Man Who Never Lied” is the song that really got me from a drum standpoint. I was not expecting the half time feel and it threw me the first time I heard it, but it’s become the coolest part of the record for me now. Alas, there isn’t a music video for that song so I hope you enjoyed watching Adam Levine box. (Who heard the tambourine in the choruses of “One More Night?” I am all about that).
7. Twelve Foot Ninja “Silent Machine”
This band is pretty freaking cool. Hailing from the land down under (that would be Australia), these guys have assembled a sound that cannot be described in one word. The best I’ve been able to come up with is “super early Incubus but heavier.” That still doesn’t do them justice. They have two EPs under their belt along with their debut full length “Silent Machine,” which was released last month, hence them being included in this list. Aside from being fluent in multiple genres (that’s what’s cool about the drums, they’re incredibly versatile) they’re also a pretty funny group of dudes. After you’re done watching the video for “Coming For You,” go check out their YouTube channel. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and then you’ll buy their music.
8. Between The Buried And Me “The Parallax II: Future Sequence”
Between The Buried And Me released an album this year. It’s a full-length follow up to their 2011 EP. It’s proggy and awesome, and if you don’t know who they are, give them a listen (if you like progressive metal). There are 12 tracks on the CD, but it’s really one super long song that clocks in at 72 minutes and 32 seconds. Drummer Blake Richardson once again does a masterful job crafting interesting drum parts that follow the riffs but don’t step on any toes. From full out blast beats to Latin grooves to super tight shuffles, this dude knows exactly what he’s doing behind the kit. Incredibly clean, precise playing from a very thoughtful player. If you ever have the opportunity to see BTBAM live, I would highly recommend you take it.
9. Polarization “Chasing The Light”
This Los Angeles based band showed up on my radar after they contacted me about trying to help them set up a show in Seattle. To my great chagrin those plans fell through, but luckily I can still listen to their album. This band is rad. I’m going to go ahead and assume that they love Animals As Leaders because they’re an instrumental trio that plays melodic math metal (or something) but hey, inspiration comes from many different places and I am totally buying what these guys are selling. (In their defense, they have a bass player instead of two guitar players). The drumming, along with everything else, is technical and fulfilling and I hope that I get a chance to see these guys one day. They have tour dates up on their facebook page for January 2013 so if they’re coming to your city, let me know how they are.
10. Matt Garstka joins Animals As Leaders
The video was released in 2012 so it counts. Speaking of Animals As Leaders, has anyone seen their new drummer yet? Matt Garstka is his name, and this kid is going to be successful. Holy crap. A recent Berklee graduate, he’s already toured Europe with the band, as well as helped them support Thrice on their farewell tour. I am a big fan of this guy and look forward to hearing him on the next AAL album.