Best of Springfield 2012: Albums

First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who voted in this category. We had about 100 people vote which is AWESOME! Our number one album this year won in a landslide, but the runners up were all neck-in-neck. We actually had a three way tie for fifth! So here it is, your top five (or seven) choices for Springfield album/release of 2012!

5. Our Lady – 2012 Demos

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2012 has been a productive year for Our Lady! Following their 2011 release ‘Scales’, they have put out several short but sweet demos. With each effort they seem to peel back another layer, explore new sounds, and catapult themselves forward. These once-folk-punks have snowballed into a force to be reckoned with, blending driving and eventful songs with angsty yet articulate lyrics, and – you can’t miss it – a cello! Our Lady will spend the latter half of January 2013 touring, playing tunes from their 2012 releases and a handful of new tunes.
– Brandon Carnes

5. Brandon Carnes – De Rerum Natura

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Next time you’re in the mood for a secular serenade, check out Brandon Carnes’s folksy americana tunes. He’s one of the most thoughtful and catchy songwriters Springfield has, and is in more local bands than you’ve probably ever heard of. He’s selling this new 4-song EP at shows, and you can find free downloads at brandoncarnes.bandcamp.com. His full band, Big Storm, is playing BxS New Year’s day, and he’s playing a solo set on the 11th, so come on out and support one of the people who help shape the identity of BxS!
– Mitch Baker

5. Josh Catalano & The Dirty Thoughts – EP

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Josh Catalano has been rock-pounding Springfield’s anus for years now.. and he is getting better at it all the time. With his most recent project, Josh Catalano and the Dirty Thoughts, Josh has added the reach-around to his musical arsenal. His band consists of some of the most rugged deviates ever to grace the Springfield stage. Sexy scumbags, if you ask me. My favorite JC&DT song is their most softiest-rockest tune entitled “When We Were Young”. Be sure to listen to this song in private, as it is sure to make you cry and jizz at the same time. After cleaning yourself off, go check out Josh Catalano and his Dirty Thoughts at Donnie’s Homespun on March 2nd along with Nephrons, Witch Feet, and The Sun & The Sea.
– Robbie Kording

4. Tiger Tank – EP

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Tiger Tank, for fans of Park. Duh! If your hopes were already high, do not worry. Their self titled EP does not disappoint. Veteran Springfield emo-rockers Ladd Mitchell and Miles Parkhill have returned with their new outfit, Tiger Tank! Joined by Brandon Carnes, they released their debut 5 track, self titled EP this year. The songs are reminiscent of Park’s trademark sound, featuring intertwined overdriven leads, precise drumming, and lyrical depth. The Tiger Tank EP is dynamic and driven, and a good listen for long-time Park fans and newcomers alike.
– Jessica Knight

3. Big Storm/Brother George – Split

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Upon listening, the Big Storm/Brother George split has many different aspects the listener may pick up on. Starting off the split with a fresh new pop sound singer/ songwriter, Brandon Carnes, sets the tone for a hopeful future while reminding us not to dwell on the past. As the songs go on you fall in love with the raw emotion put into every song without knowing the full story. Aside from the lyrical content there is much to be said for the musicianship. From twinkly bells to ear shattering guitar swells, Big Storm brings a wide variety of music into one memorable sound that will keep your head bobbing.
– Jordan Fein

2. Patchwork 2012 (Springfield Music Compilation)

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I was excited about the release of “Patchwork 2012”, it is a tremendous statement that this kind quality is amongst the Springfield music scene. Many of the bands on this comp I’ve seen morph over the years into their current incarnations. The songs are all genuinely good, as well as being a good representation of where we stand as a music town. It’s good to know we hold our own and that the best is yet to come. I’ve been excited about this crop of locals as well as the class of this year. Mucho thanks to Robbie and crew for putting this out!
– Kevin Bradford

1. The Timmys – Sangamon County Minefield

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Ever since I got my first taste of punk rock music in the late 90s – back when people shared tapes and burned cds before the internet made it easy, I have always been on a quest for that elusive, refreshing sound and energy. Around 12 years ago now I remember seeing The Timmy’s for the first time and thinking – THIS – this is punk rock!

Over the years life happened I experienced a lot of music and got more into punk rock as I watched it mutate so many ways. Sadly, a lot of that raw and rude yet intelligent punk rock faded into the background.

Fast forward to last year when The Timmy’s released an EP called “that’ll do” and started playing more shows – I thought, “YES, they are still releasing that good stuff!’. It was a nice hold me over for the regional punk pulse in central IL – but when I got a copy of Sangamon
County Minefield it blew me away and didn’t leave my car stereo for weeks.

I procrastinated with writing this review because I wanted to say the right things.  So here goes my attempt at giving the record the props it deserves.

Sangamon County Minefield harnesses all the ingredients and spares no excess for what I would have wanted to hear when I was 15, and all the things I’ve come to appreciate as I have reached my late twenties, making it the a very enjoyable record.

The Timmys have done it right with a truly intelligent and cohesive release.  It can be listened to all the way through, and every time through it still evokes a fire inside of me.  The music itself is full of drunken debauchery, youthful disregard, tongue in cheek laughs, and even a few cheeky metal riffs that come outta left field.

It is loud, fast, and rude just the way the Descendants would have wanted it when they started.   At the same time,  the music is balanced with great playing, great song structure, and hooks and catch that you won’t find on most peoples’ playlists.   It is enjoyable to hear great bass hooks and leads with hooks.  The rhythm section is tight and it is nice to be able to follow the lyrics and smirk throughout all the stories that are told.

Sangamon County Minefield is tied together with themes such as cancerous emo bands ripping off kids, dramatic suicide attempts, getting wasted before the party begins, shady drug dealers, and all things related to crazy situational stories you may find yourself in if you were a valiant rock and roll monster.  The Timmys do a great job of telling stories that keep you just as entertained as the music. That is absolutely refreshing in comparison to most contemporary acts one would compare them to.

It is also notable that The Timmys self produced and recorded the record themselves – and the quality is great.  Not so polished that it sounds fake but not so lo fi it is unpalletable.  It is nice to hear the music with clarity and then go to a show and get what you heard or more.  That is something I respect with any band. The Timmys pull this off well and that puts them a cut above a lot of bands, even nationally.

Perhaps The most enjoyable part of the record is Their self-admission in ‘nutshell’ that they “aren’t hereos, but part time musicians and career alcoholics” yet the record happens to be one of the tightest and refreshing records I’ve heard in years.  Contrary to what would be expected by such an admission, The record is nothing but full on integrity that could only be created by friends who have been playing together for years.  All twelve songs are both refined and explosive. I find that musically enjoyable, and a notch above most of
what I’ve heard nationally this last year.

It has the snap and appeal of everything I love about punk rock music and its coming out of a great DIY hotbed we are lucky to have in Springfield, without any of the trite and trendy bullshit that’s floated downstream in the last decade.

Sangamon County Minefield is my favorite local record of 2012, and quite honestly one of the best records that came out this year in general.

I pity anyone who hasn’t picked up a copy or had the chance to hear about it, or anyone who is too stuck up or high strung to cut loose and lose their minds to this record.

Long Live

– Benny Dewitt

2 thoughts on “Best of Springfield 2012: Albums

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