'Twas a ball-breaking task trying to include all of the quality local music Rhody-based artists cranked out over the past 12 months. There are a ton of bands and acts to commend here in less than 1000 words, so let's stop fucking around and toast another solid year of homegrown product. There's something for everyone on this page, so do yourself a favor and look up some of these musicians, then get out there and catch some shows. (As for my hip-hop brethren, I am devoting a full page to y'all in early January, for there is just too much RI rap talent to cram in here.)
First we'll salute a few notable bands we lost in 2012. While I lament the demise of MOUTH OF FLOWERS and DELETED ARROWS (the 2012 instrumental record The Body As a Wasteland is a beast), we did gain a VERSE reunion, and that is huge news. Bitter Clarity, Uncommon Grace received rave reviews from national outlets like Alternative Press; 2013 will mark the post-punk quintet's 10-year anniversary. Welcome back, fellas. Pick up Bitter Clarity at bridge9.com. The most notable loss would be KANERKO; the hard-rock quartet took back-to-back honors in our Best Music Poll in 2011 and '12, thanks to a roaring return to form with the 2011 EP Delusions of Grandeur.
Speaking of our Best Music Poll, Warren-based imprint and annual BMP behemoth 75orLess Records (founded by Six Star General's Mark MacDougall) kicked out another two dozen or so albums in 2'12, ranging from high-octane punk (scoop up both EPs from VERTICAL TWIN) to another excellent release from legendary songwriter/six-string slinger MARK CUTLER. Sweet Pain is a roots-rock beauty, and a phenomenal outing from the local hero who has been kicking around these parts for 30 years, dating back to the legendary Schemers. Back-to-back music poll champ "Suicide" Bill Cole released a new disc just a few weeks ago. SUICIDE BILL & THE LIQUORS excel at tongue-in-cheek alt-country and acoustic rock tunes, and Suicide Comes Alive is spiked with plenty of catchy hooks and harmonies disguised as old-guy slacker rock. And how about the debut from '70s stoned-fuzz rock trio SWEET LOVE? Motor reeks of Deep Purple and Kyuss, dense grooves tailor-made for a high-ride. Visit 75orlessrecords.com for all the info, and stay tuned for updates on Six Star and Broadcaster in our 2013 preview feature dropping next week.
Mike O'Donnell and his SKINNY MILLIONAIRES crew released their first album on 75orLess a few years back (which featured John McCauley), and earlier this year enlisted Scott Rancourt (of the diePods) and his new Giant Robot label to unleash the Easy Tiger EP. Visit iTunes and download a copy.
Anchor Brain Records (anchorbrain.com) delivered some serious heat in 2012. Anchor Brain was founded by Eric Paul, the shrieking vocalist known for his work with Arab On Radar, Chinese Stars and, most recently, the caustic quartet DOOMSDAY STUDENT. Drummer Craig Kureck and guitarists Steve Mattos and Paul Vieira collide with Paul's post-apocalyptic vocal shrapnel to create a searing platter of eye-twitching goodness (and just about stole the show at Deer Tick's DudeSmash fest at the Met earlier this year). Anchor Brain also serves as home for WHORE PAINT (Meredith, Hilary, and Reba dropped a seven-inch earlier this year and will hit the West Coast with Trophy Wife in early 2013), WHAT CHEER? BRIGADE (perhaps you are one of the 4,000,000 people who saw the "Joey Quits" video?), and another album of the year nominee in MATH THE BAND. Kevin and Justine go all out on Get Real, the follow-up to their 2009 debut Don't Worry. Math the Band is a different kind of loud, like Matt and Kim, Andrew WK, and a bag of catnip trapped inside a Commodore 64. Rapid-fire beats and retro gaming blips (none of the 15 anthems dip below 170 BPMs) combined with party-hard hooks make for one fun, seizure-inducing romp.