November 23, 2012
Josh Vanek’s TOP List of 2012

(Josh holding what looks like a living, breathing creature)

Dr. Vanek needs little introduction if you’re familiar in any way with Missoula’s amorphous underground music scene(s). He’s kicking off our series of Best Of 2012 posts by some handpicked local luminaries. Here he goes:

Josh Vanek does a radio show on KBGA called Josh’s Ultramega Ultrablast ( helps with Total Fest, Missoula’s annual music festival ( and a label called Wantage ( This is his top list for 2012.

Oldest — S/T (Sleeping Giant Glossolalia) Mick Barr from Orthrelm, Krallice etc. and Brooks from Universal Order of Armageddon play mind-fucking technical skree with song names like Survivalist Compounds.

Multicult — Spaces Tangled (Sleeping Giant Glossolalia) Flawless noise rock from Baltimore, with clanky, cold tones and lots of err, post whatever angst. I kept thinking about that Steel Pole Bath Tub side project Milk Cult when I saw their name, but it’s nothing like that.

Slug Guts — Playing In Time With the Deadbeat (Sacred Bones). Sorta Birthday Party worship, done super well by this Brisbane degenerate outfit. Lots of sunken cheeks and scoliosis here.

Diat — 7” (Iron Lung) The Iron Lung and Sleeping Giant Glossalalia labels delivered a ton of excellence this year. Both are diverse, and give hope that the idea of a label, as I grew up knowing it can continue and really thrive. Diat, however, are Australians, living in Berlin, making music that sounds like a faster Warsaw. Good as hell.

Total Control — Henge Beat (Iron Lung) A 2011 release, but I got into it last year, and this ain’t fuckin’ Rolling Stone, bro. This record twisted my cap around. Cold, fast new wave punk from Australia.

Nu Sensae — Sundowning Something I’d read a fair amount on the internet, then Dane got it on the playlist at KBGA. It’s a ripper, in the way western canadians can rip. A little bit of the same vibe I loved with Pygmy Shrews. Savage drummer, great singing, rad riffs. I’m hooked.

Vaz — Chartreuse Bull (Sleeping Giant Glossolalia) This might have been on my 2011 list, or maybe I forgot it, but it did come out in 2011. It gives me hope that there might continue to be good, thoughtful, weird loud music into the future. It’s noisy, mathy, bleak, futuristic and rocking, all in one album. Their best since Demonstrations in Micronesia.

Thee Oh Sees — Putrefiers (In the Red) Another great, and not quite as samey as some of the past ones have been, though I dig it all. Has the dude form Mayyors on the recording end of things.

L.U.N.A.R. Revolt — Mind Losers (No Man) The party punk bros from Philly get sci-fi, and continue to rampage.

Brain Tumors — S/T (Deadbeat): Fuuuuuuuck! Confront of distort! So great.

Gay Witch Abortion — Opportunistic Smokescreen Behavior (Learning Curve) this Minneapolis band is so firmly planted in the 90s, and err, I know that’s kind of the thing to say, but from song tiltles like Cult Chimaera and err Hornet Japonica to their crusty rayon Dickies, they look like a couple of Cows roadies who stepped into a timewarp. This record makes me think of a Rick Simms (from the Didjits) song name generator. This is their third record, and while I like the first two fine, this is the real deal. Lots of thought/time put into these jams. Noise rock gemstone.

Moredecai — 7” (Wantage) This band’s output has got a way of just aging well. Like Bordeaux or something. Always something kind of refreshingly rough and weird about it. I’ve spent a lot of time replaying the Killertree record this year too, and that thing, let me tell you, always something new to like about that thing.

Dead — Idiots (We Empty Rooms) Vinyl’s just arriving in Australia, I guess, but I’ve got the MP3s and they are radical. Noisy, nomeansno-style riffs and great pounding. Stoked to get a full-on vinyl version.

Late discovery: The Consumers (late 70s Phoenix band re-issued by In The Red).


Milk Music: Sounding like the Grateful Dead and Meat Puppets at the VFW, playing to about 15 people after getting written up in the New York Times Total Fest bands: Buildings, White Walls, Criminal Code, Walls, Harkonen, Lozen, Dream Decay, lots of groups. Mordecai: 7” release show at the VFW. They covered Neil Young savagely. Monster w/ 21 Faces, My Two Dads, Mike Watt and the Missing Men, Thee Oh Sees, Skin Flowers at the ZACC Block Party. Magpies (Lots of shows). VTO (Jester’s in Helena). Birds Mile Home opening for Tragedy. Tragedy. Needlecraft (lots of shows). Dan Deacon at Total Fest.

Records I want to get, but haven’t yet:

Kromosom LP
Useless Children LP
Neon Blud LP

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