Best of 2012

In December of 2012, I decided to listen to as many of that year's album releases as I could and rank them (including all of the albums I had already heard. This is what I found.

Bowerbirds- The Clearing

Well, here it is folks, number 1. Genre-less earthy folk / indie / pop goodness. Every track is a winner. It was a hard decision for number 1, but not that hard.       Spotify Link

Titus Andronicus- Local Business

Stuck in my head for months now. The replacements minus the bullshit, springsteen with more punk. More stripped down and raw than their past albums, but no less captivating. So goddamn good.       Spotify Link

Joe Pug- The Great Despiser

hopefully this guy will be a household name one day. until then, I'll keep repping him and enjoying listening to him get better and better.            Spotify Link

The Mountain Goats- Transcendental Youth

No comment necessary, it's the Mountain Goats. Probably my favorite since The Sunset Tree?               Spotify Link

Dr. Dog- Be The Void

This was the first album that I got into this year- the first that made me say "This could be my favorite album of the year." Seeing them live at Pickathon was a highlight, and I will always associate this album with the things that happened in 2012.       Spotify Link

Strand of Oaks- Dark Shores

haunting and beautiful. this guy can sing, and play, and write. if you like this, listen to his previous albums.          Spotify Link

Dan Deacon- America

Brilliant, noisy electronica with an orchestral back (especially the last 4 tracks). Love it. Spotify Link

Matthew E. White- Big Inner

Man, this album is really pleasant. I'm seeing him next Sunday, and I wouldn't be surprised if he moves up. Listen to this.   Spotify Link

Tallest Man on Earth- There's No Leaving Now

I first heard of this guy this year, and maybe overplayed him, but that's not going to sour the quality of this album.             Spotify Link

King Tuff- King Tuff

so much fun! snotty, classic rock and roll with hooks and heart.         Spotify Link

Japandroids- Celebration Rock

This album makes me feel 16 again.  Spotify Link

Sigur Ros- Valtari

This album is too good to be a letdown, but too ambient to be better than my favorite Sigur Ros albums. Still beautiful though.     Spotify Link

Zammuto- Zammuto

First solo album from Nick Zammuto of the Books. One of my favorite shows of the year.           Spotify Link

Langhorne Slim- The Way We Move

energetic, heartfelt, classic. hard to pin the genre down, not quite country, not quite rock and roll, but he's got a good thing going.          Spotify Link

Poliça- Give You The Ghost

So groovy! In a year where a lot of people made the same kinds of music, this one feels pretty original.        Spotify Link

Spiritualized - Sweet Heart Sweet Light

Kind of noisy, kind of classic. Wilco meets david bowie (heavier on the wilco), with maybe some of yo la tengo thrown in.  Spotify Link

Godspeed You! Black Emperor- Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!

They're back! Two crushing 20 minute tracks each w/ a 6 min recovery. After 10 years off, as good as ever.      Spotify Link

B. Fleischmann- I'm Not Ready For The Grave Yet

I don't think this has the same majesty of his masterpiece (The Humbucking Coil), but he finds such a nice balance between electronic and organic.           Spotify Link

Chromatics- Kill For Love

Spacey fuzzy shoegazey goodness        Spotify Link

Father John Misty- Fear Fun

Psych-folk, etc. Fun, lyrically pretentious at times but he keeps it lively.      Spotify Link

Woods- Bend Beyond

lo-fi fuzz with some nice melodies Spotify Link

Fiona Apple- The Idl....(etc)

I hope my judgements aren't too dependent on the last song of the album. When the Dan Deacon album was over, I said, "Yeah!" and promptly moved it to the top. This was a very good album, and the last song was very great. I think I'm judging fairly...    Spotify Link

Tame Impala- Lonerism

Fun psychedelic rock. Reminds me of a less annoying Of Montreal. Spotify Link

John K. Samson- Provincial

After crafting some great albums with/as "The Weakerthans", Samson's (second?) solo album is as good as any of them.   First two tracks are standout. Spotify Link

Andrew Bird- Break It Yourself / Hands of Glory

grouping these together because it might as well just be one long album. beautiful multi-instrumental stuff      Spotify Link

Passion Pit- Gossamer

Single got a little overplayed, but this is a fun hyped up dancey electrojam   Spotify Link

Aaron Freeman- Marvelous Clouds

This album has a long story and a lot of context behind it, but from the outsider point of view, it's mostly just some cheesy 70's folk.        Spotify Link

Justin Townes Earle- Nothin's Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now

country songs about heartbreak and such. the horns in the back are always a nice touch. Spotify Link

Alabama Shakes- Boys and Girls

maybe got a little sick of the hype, but hype exists for a reason, and these guys are really good.    Spotify Link

Hospitality- Hospitality

Pleasant but fun, well crafted dreamy pop. Surprisingly entertaining! Spotify Link

Dinosaur Jr.- I Bet On Sky

I'm too young to care / know about old Dinosaur Jr., but this is classic enough sounding that I get that they were probably worth knowing about. Timeless and 90's at the same time.   Spotify Link

Dirty Projectors- Swing Lo Magellan

almost too off kilter to really grab me, but it works a little magic. About To Die is a standout track. Spotify Link

Ty Segall- Twins

This guy shreds, and is super prolific. Will see him on Thursday and see if this moves.   (not on Spotify)

Zeus- Busting Visions

These guys weren't necessarily on my radar, but this is kind of different and good!       Spotify Link

The xx- Coexist

This album was one of the higher-anticipated of the year for me, and is hurt only by not being better than the last one. In fact, I can't really tell the difference.        Spotify Link

Kishi Bashi- 151a

If you blended up Animal Collective, Beirut, The Shins, Fleet Foxes, etc.  First song is stellar, but doesn't keep the tempo.    Spotify Link

Walkmen- Heaven

This is a really nice rock and roll album with some pleasant songs that occasionally get heated. Like a lot of other albums, but slightly better.  Spotify Link

Beach House- Bloom

more dreamy synth pop. is this what everyone is into nowadays?   Spotify Link

Sharon Van Etten- Tramp

This is a beautiful record. A might too melancholy for what I'm usually looking for, but if you like that sort of thing (you know who you are) check this out.   Spotify Link

David Byrne and St. Vincent- Love This Giant

This one turned me off the first time I heard it, but on this listen I can see the appeal. It's no David Byrne and Brian Eno, but has some merit.   Spotify Link

Grizzly Bear- Shields

very solid, as good as their last one. Spotify Link

Menomena- Moms

Saw them live and liked it ok. Liked this album slightly more than ok, but not a lot more.      Spotify Link

Divine Fits- A Thing Called Divine Fits

side project with the guy from spoon singing some electronic / stuff that I liked ok.        Spotify Link

Swans- The Seer

Swans is a band that I want to like. This album is great at what it is, and what it is is a pretty crushing / haunting 2hr dirge of experimental drones, drums, and rocknroll. I may not listen to it again. Spotify Link

Dustin Wong- Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads

Excited guitar loops with songs that don't know how to transition from one to another. Saw him open for the Mountain Goats- pretty captivating live, especially when he starts singing. Spotify Link

AC Newman- Shut Down The Streets

I'm still just learning the ins and outs of the New Pornographers, but this was pretty good. Pretty tootheless though.    Spotify Link

Wild Nothing- Nocturne

Calm and dreamy / synthy. Like Destroyer but with less saxaphone and spacier vocals. Spotify Link

Kendrick Lamar- good kid, m.A.A.d. city

I can respect the craft of this album, but can't relate to most of what he's rapping about and that takes me out of it.  Glad I heard it.    Spotify Link

The Oh Sees- Putrifiers II

Not as noisy as I feared, nice melodies with a surf-garage feel. Drink and play pinball or something. Spotify Link

Memory Tapes- Grace/Confusion

More dreamy synth stuff. A lot of that this year!   Spotify Link

Jens Lekman- I Know What Love Isn't

sounds like morrisey singing over some smooth stuff  Spotify Link

Mac Demarco- 2

Pleasant twangy pop songs, but ultimately forgettable. Spotify Link

Metz- Metz

Brutal post-punk, pretty nuts and pretty good.  Spotify Link

The Shins- Port of Morrow

I think I'm maybe just not really a Shins guy. This album was totally fine, sounded like the shins.  Spotify Link

Four Tet- Pink

Marcus Says: Smooth and buttery. A little bounce. With a hint of noisy and repetitive. Spotify Link

Sleigh Bells- Reign of Terror

This is kind of an interesting thing- pumped up guitar licks and chantalongs with some light singing on top. I liked it ok.  Spotify Link

JEFF the Brotherhood- Hypnotic Nights

Like a fresh weezer album? Like a fresh weezer album with a cover of "Changes" by Black Sabbath. Spotify Link

Animal Collective- Centipede Hz

Bleep Bloop Blort. Too busy for me, but better than I thought the first time I heard it. Spotify Link

forgetters- forgetters

Blake Swarzenbach is back.  Spotify Link

Glen Hansard- Rhythm and Repose

I listened to Sleigh Bells and then Metz, and I got a headache. I listened to this and it went away. Prob not good for much else, but serves a purpose.   Props to Hansard, but this isn't anything new from him.   Spotify Link

Cloud Nothings- Attack on Memory

Kind of like a more experimental / alt Jawbreaker. mix of heavy and poppy, but in a pretty good way.

Punch Brothers- Who's Feeling Young Now?

consistent with previous albums. interesting bluegrass song structures, pleasant melodies. hooks don't always grab me, but great Kid A cover. Spotify Link

Santigold- Master of My Make-Believe

I think this is just a bad genre choice for me. A couple jams, but didn't hook me. Spotify Link

Daphni- Jiaolong

New project from Dan Snaith (Caribou / Manitoba). I like a lot of Caribou, this doesn't do a lot for me. Spotify Link

Kacy & Clayton - The Siren's Song

A beautifly arranged mix of 70's folk / country