Top 11 of 2012: Why Look Back When You Can Look Forward?

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By this time o’ year, every man, woman, blog and hipster dog have put out their Top Whatever Lists for 2011.

This year was good for music, sure, but there wasn’t a ton that blew me away to the point of drooling obsession. There were drool-worthy MOMENTS (meeting Matt Berninger of the National for a brief, shining second being one, crossing the border into Canada on the Dinosaur Jr. tourbus with Henry Rollins, being another, doing an exclusive photoshoot and meeting Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer for a third), but not a lot changed my life.

Still, let’s hear it for the really, really most excellent albums released this year, and the ones I played the most:

…but that’s getting rather list-like, innit? There were also some  lovely chilled offerings from Dan Mangan, Richard Buckner, Kate Bush, Kurt Vile , Thurston Moore, Wire, Bon Iver, M83, Beirut and on and on. Lovely albums, yes. Mind-blowing? No.

So I’ve decided to look ahead. Be positive. Future-thinking. Buck the trend, etc etc.

Here’s the Top 11 things I’m looking forward to in 2012, yo:

  1. WEEZER CRUISE – I will be drunk on a boat for a week in January cruising from Miami to Cozumel with Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr, The Antlers, Nervous Wreckords, Yuck, Wavves, Gene Ween and, yeah, Rivers Cuomo et al on the Weezer Cruise. Even Andy Stack from Wye Oak will be joining us on board for fun. How can this not be absurdly awesome? Note that I will also have the mother of all Weezer prize packs to give away in January. Stay tuned.
  2. THE ELDERS OF BRITPOP RETURNETH – Apparently Blur will be meeting up over the hols to decide whether Alex canIan Brown, Stone Roses, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com leave his cheese farm long enough for the guys to make some new music. Hmmm. Add to that, the car-crash?/amazing? news that the Stone Roses have reunited for a tour and new album (this was one of my fave columns written this past year). PLUS possibly/definitely more car-crash from Shaun William Ryder’s Happy Mondays reunion or the La’s playing New York’s Sound City? Let’s see how this all turns out, shall we? I’ll be pulling up a chair to watch.
  3. GENTLEMEN, RE-START YOUR ENGINES– please dear gods, let this one stick. The Afghan Whigs mighta broken up 10 years ago, but announced in early December that they will be playing ATP festivals in New Jersey and England in 2012. Praying for news of a complete tour that comes close to where I live. I’d really like to hear ANYTHING off of Gentlemen come out of singer Greg Dulli’s mouth again. And new music? Uh, fuh yeah.
  4. BOLDLY GOING TO GIGS I’VE NEVER GONE TO BEFORE – tons of bands touring next year that I’ve never seen live: Kasabian, Gotye, Bombay Bicycle Club, folks tell me I should like Fanfarlo, and more. Hell, I’ve never seen the Kaiser Chiefs, which is weird. Look forward to lots of “Huh…they were better/worse than I expected” posts.
  5. LIKE A MONKEY WITH A MINIATURE CYMBAL- My favourite show of almost all time happened back in 2008, and was Hot Chip. The band itself even rated Vancouver’s gig as the best of their entire North American tour. But they’ve not been back and the five-piece’s now in total side-project mode. I’d really like to have Hot Chip back, please. At least live? Maybe this year? Al from Hot Chip told me a few months ago over  Twitter that the band were aching to tour again and hadn’t forgotten the Vancouver show.
    Sebadoh and Mikala/Backstagerider, pic by Jens Norström, jensnordstrom.com
  6. GIMME MORE INDIE ROCK… – A new Sebadoh record? YUP. Their last album happened in 1999, but after a series of pretty rad “Bakesale/Harmacy Remembering Time” tours last year, the addition of an amazing new drummer Bob D’Amico, and a new lease on indie rock life, it looks like the band that never really broke up is gearing up to put together some new music in 2012 as part of a fan-funded project. Expect Jason, Bob and Lou to record in March with hopefully an autumn release and all sorts of goodies if you help them make it a reality. I’m pleased to announce, too, that I’ll be involved this project, too…which may be unsurprising to anyone who reads BSR regularly and saw the umpteen posts about how I went on tour this past year with Sebadoh in the US and Germany.
  7. …AND MORE GOTH: Rumour has it that when The Cure recorded their 13th album 4:13 Dream (which was wayyy more poppier than any of us’d like), they also recorded a batch of suitably gloomy stuff for a possible “Dark Album”. And rumour ALSO has it that that album may show its birdsnest-hair-head in 2012. I will weep tears mixed with gothy black eyeliner if not.
  8. BRONZE SLIPPY – electro duo Underworld were named musical directors of the London 2012 Olympic Games’ Opening Ceremonies, and are teaming up up with Slumdog Millionaire/Trainspotting director Danny Boyle to direct this big insanity, happening on July 27th. I reckon this could be interesting, ‘cos there’ll be lots of cool folks involved. Am I curious? HELL YES. I mean, Vancouver had Bryan Adams. SO TOP THAT, KARL HYDE!
  9. RECORDS BEING SET STRAIGHT - Mike Doughty has spent the last, oooh, millions of years dissing his former band Soul Coughing and talking openly and honestly about life as a drug addict in the 90s. His very first book (not including Slanky, his poetry collection) is a memoir called The Book Of Drugs, and will reach deeply into how Soul Coughing came together, then fell apart and also look at the anatomy of a musician addict. Doughty’s a superb writer and I’ve got an advance copy going beside my bed. It’s brilliant, honest and really bolshy. Pre-order The Book of Drugs now, it’s out on Jan. 10.
  10. BORN TO DIE OF OVEREXPOSURE? – Fascinated by how mainstream media glommed on to quirky Florence and the Machine a year or two ago, I’mma gonna be watching as the squeaky and annoying wheels of MAJOR MARKETING continue to spin around Lizzy Grant, aka Lana Del Rey. I’m not really buying it – though clearly everyone wants us to. Lizzy will be playing SNL before her first album comes out and she’s got mega bucks invested in her. I’m guessing they wanna fill the void of Lady Gaga/Crooner Girl hybrids? Should be fascinating to watch this THING explode.
  11. THE BEST ROCKHANDS ARE YET TO COME – I’ve got my fingers in so many pies that I feel like a really sticky octopus. There might be some festivals, too (though I’m broke), some partnerships with the coolest of the West Coast music scene, and there will DEFINITELY be a lot of surprises coming up on BackstageRider. One thing I can guarantee that I will look forward to next year: knowing that you’re reading me, tweeting me, FB’ing me, Google+’ing me, and supporting this one-woman show. So keep talking to me, okay? And in the meantime, seriously, why aren’t you on the Rockhands Gallery? Send in your pics of you and friends throwin’ the horns for our gallery now.

Have yerself a merry little holiday and a groovy 2012. Rock on! \m/

Tom Dickins (top left), from The Jane Austen Argument, from Melbourne, AUS and friends in Vancouver


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