* Happy National Day (for those who live on the island of Menorca)!
* Happy Feast Day of Saint Achilles the Confessor (for those who follow the Eastern Orthodox Church)!
* Happy Birthday to Benjamin Franklin “The Guy on the Hundred Dollar Bill,” James Earl Jones “The Voice of Darth Vader,” comedian Andy Kaufman, bassist Andy Rourke, boxer Muhammad Ali, actress Betty White, FLOTUS Michelle Obama, and singer Eartha Kitt!
* Let’s also commemorate the passing of music producer Don Kirshner, chess player Bobby Fisher, and former U.S. president Rutherford B. Hayes!
If you can’t tell, I’m sort of reaching here, for any sort of a special occasion or commemoration to celebrate today. Since we’re now so long past the beginning of the year, I feel stupid saying “Happy New Year!” to you. But 2013 is still relatively new (and the majority of it is still yet to come), so I guess it really doesn’t hurt to still wish you a happy one.
Whatever, it doesn’t matter. The point is, I’ve been busy because I’ve been wearing a lot of hats recently — some of them new — and I’m still learning how to fit all those hats at the same time.
A few of the things I’ve been working on are already public knowledge. One big one was the Huge List of 2012 Year-End Lists, where a bunch of folks from the Pittsburgh-area music scene talked about their favorite albums or shows or whatever from last year. (Here was a list of videos that accompanied my own entry, dealing with some of the best shows I saw in 2012.)
Another thing was my own list of the Top 12 Albums of 2012, which was published by the lovely No Clean Singing for the second year in a row. For those too lazy to click the link, that list featured albums by each of the following: The Reticent, Titans Eve, (drama), Agruss, Pinkish Black, Anhedonist, Obolus, Hail Spirit Noir, MAKE, Vattnet Viskar, Vulture, Undersmile, and Solarburn.
In addition, I’ve got some stuff in the works that you don’t already know about, but will begin to be revealed soon enough. For example, I’ve got this thing that’ll involve some of the bands who are playing at Allure of the Earth‘s Winter’s Wake Festival next month, and this other thing concerning a couple upcoming releases from the Innervenus Music Collective. Not to mention tons more reviews and news updates and all the regular stuff I usually do around here.
But enough worrying about the future — the purpose of this post is to dwell on the past!
I would just like to take this moment to thank you. Each and every one of you who are reading these words. Whether you’re personally involved with a band (or record label or PR firm) who had an album or show or something that I wrote about, or whether you’re just a music fan who has enjoyed reading about the random nonsense I continually am rambling about, thank you for stopping by. It really means a lot to me that you’re here.
2012 was my first full year of writing; during the course of that year, I wrote more than 300 articles and have had well over 25,000 visitors. I’m sure those numbers mean nothing next to some of the larger, more established websites that are out there, but to me, I find it incredible that so many people have taken the time to look at things I’ve written. Honestly, I’m just some ordinary guy that is obsessed with listening to music and discovering new stuff, and I found that it’s fun to share that obsession with anyone else who might be interested.
During the year, over 50% of my visitors came from the United States.
The rest of the top ten countries where people viewed this website were (in order):
* The United Kingdom
* The Netherlands
So thanks to all those people — and all the other countries highlighted here. Some of those that aren’t (such as China, North Korea, Iran, and Cuba, for example) are places that aren’t known for having very good diplomatic relations with other parts of the world, so it’s possible they are blocked from accessing this site (or else they are just blocked from being counted as visitors?).
However, if you have friends in Greenland, or throughout most of Africa, or any of the other grey spots on this map, please tell them to check out Valley of Steel!
While we’re on the subject, let’s also reach out to anyone you know that lives in Albania, Andorra, Barbados, Brunei Darussalam, Fiji, Ghana, Iraq, Isle of Man, Jamaica, Mongolia, Montenegro, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Qatar, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Uzbekistan, Virgin Islands, or Zimbabwe — because in the past year, I’ve had exactly one visitor from each of those countries!
My post popular post in the past year — by far — was:
The announcement that the Municipal Waste / Toxic Holocaust split Toxic Waste was available for pre-order via Tankcrimes Records (published back in May).
The other most popular things I’ve written (based on number of views in 2012) have been:
* My review of Undersmile‘s Narwhal album
* The previously-mentioned Huge List of 2012 Year-End Lists
* My announcement that Arthur Von Nagel was leaving Cormorant
* My review of that band’s album Dwellings (which was published in December 2011).
Looking at all-time stats, which would take into account views from 2011 and 2013, the top five posts actually remain the same, but we would have to reverse the order of #2 and #3, and the order of #4 and #5. In case you were curious.
Just a few more quick notes:
In the past year I started a couple new features that were later abandoned. For example, starting last January and running on a weekly basis for several months, I discovered an awful lot of new music by browsing the “Signmeto Roadrunner Records” website, and featured many of those here. That was later terminated, though, because after all the turmoil with the ownership and leadership of that label, it was announced that the “Signmeto” website was going to be discontinued.
Another semi-regular feature that I had been running throughout almost the entire year was the “What To Do In Pittsburgh (Tonight / This Weekend / This Week / etc.)” articles. Having been thus engaged, I found that I was learning a lot about my own local music scene (and the people and bands within it) and consequently I ended up going to shows a lot more frequently than I ever did in the past. But as the year went on, the amount of time I spent with these show announcements increased as the number of reviews and other non-show-related posts dramatically decreased. Seeing that I was sort of moving away from my core reasons for establishing this website — and also seeing that no matter how dilligently I tried to keep track of everything, I could never be as accurate or complete as some of my peers — I decided to stop writing about those topics. I still share information about some shows via Facebook and Twitter, but for the most part I highly recommend you take advantage of two of the best resources on the internet (for the Pittsburgh area, anyway): MoshPittsburgh (metal/hardcore specific) and The Pittsburgh Scene (all genres, but filterable by various categories).
Well anyway, that does it for my annual recap. As I said, stay tuned for lots more updates and stuff coming your way — be sure to hit the “subscribe by email” button or add this site to your RSS reader! I do regularly post stuff on Facebook and Twitter, but it’s so easy for things to get lost amidst all the clutter (especially on Facebook, where they don’t necessarily show you everything I post!).
And again, THANK YOU for being here, and have a great 2013. At least the remaining eleven-and-a-half months of it.