Reviews

UNITED STATES OF BEING

Author: D. Patrick Rodgers
12/06/2012 | Nashville Scene | www.nashvillescene.com | Record Review
Using an algorithm (read: spreadsheet) first concocted for 2010's Year in Music critics' poll, we at the Scene tabulated 2012's results based on the ballots of our 15 go-to music writers, both staff and contributing. Because only full-length albums were eligible for voting, critically beloved EPs such as Ponychase's Ponychase, Reid Magette and the 1020s' Shrine of Youth, Steelism's The Intoxicating Sounds of Pedal Steel and Guitar, installments of Forget Cassettes' O Cursa and Echo Group's Challtalk Record Collection (both released in three segments), Poly's 3 Songs by Poly, Little Bandit's Little Bandit, Elizabeth Cook's Gospel Plow, The Mavericks' Suited up and Lonely, Denney and the Jets' Denney and the Jets, Mystery Twins' Love Is Strange and The Weeks' Gutter Gaunt Gangster didn't make the cut. Certain would-be contenders Ke$ha's Warrior and Nahnee Bori's Place, for instance were released after the ballot deadline.

Just shy of making the Top 10 and it was a very close race were The Black Keys' El Camino (released in late 2011), Andrew Combs' Worried Man, Jack White's Blunderbuss, Wanda Jackson's Unfinished Business and Old Crow Medicine Show's Carry Me Back. Cherub's Mom and Dad, D. Watusi's Dark Party, DJ Wick-It's Grindhouse Basterds, Jamey Johnson's Living for a Song, Quichenight's Quichenight II, Justin Townes Earle's Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now, Rayland Baxter's feathers & fishHooks, Todd Snider's Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables, Uncle Skeleton's All Too Human and Wild Cub's Youth all received multiple votes, as well. It was yet another big year for the locals, and while we'd love to geek out in regard to all the aforementioned records, we had to cut the list off somewhere. Without further ado, here are the top 10 local records of 2012:

2. PUJOL, United States of Being
From his tenure in buzzy local house-show-punk troupe MEEMAW to PUJOL's signing last year with onetime Omaha tastemakers Saddle Creek, scholarly songster and poet Daniel Pujol has long been a ringer among Music City's garage-slash-punk scene. Handy with a reverse-engineered pop song and whip-smart, big-picture lyrics delivered with a snarl that's almost counterintuitive given his populist outlook Pujol guides his ever-evolving lineup through a collection of pressure-cooked punk-pop cluster bombs on United States of Being. There's the longtime live staple, "Endless Mike" once a swift-moving rocker suddenly stripped acoustic, backed with whirling atmospherics and landing closer to Radiohead's The Bends than to Buzzcocks' Love Bites. There's "Black Rabbit," once produced by Jack White and released as a Third Man Records single, now more about the song's naturally pulsing, burning energy than dueling guitars or lighting-fast drum fills. But there's new stuff, too, from the consumerism-critiquing "Made of Money" to the relentless, feel-good whirlwind of "Niceness." And it's all fashioned into one cohesive, ambitious, smartly arranged piece, adorned with found sounds falling rain, cellphones buzzing and beeping that perhaps are there to remind us that no art is made in a vacuum, and that Pujol, probably more than most, wants to say something meaningful about ... well, everything.
UNITED STATES OF BEING

UNITED STATES OF BEING

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UNITED STATES OF BEING

UNITED STATES OF BEING

LP / CD / MP3