December 31, 2012

2012 Music

Other Years: 20162015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007.

For the last few years, I've put together a list of my favorite releases of the year. And this year, there was a ton of great music to come out in a variety of genres. I found it really difficult to narrow this down to 10 let alone 20 best albums of the year. I settled on 30 best releases of the year. They span several musical genres and the list is based on what I listened to most and on musical merit???in my opinion. Some of these, I admit, I didn't listen to a ton. But they captured my attention the way most from a particular genre typically does not. If you'd rather just jump to listening, you can do so on Spotify here. So, here it goes...

1. Metz, s/t
2. Xenia Rubinos, Magic Trix
3. Lambchop, Mr. M
4. David Byrne & St. Vincent, Love This Giant
5. Alt-J, An Awesome Wave
6. The Evens, The Odds
7. Y La Bamba, Court The Storm
8. Neneh Cherry & The Thing, The Cherry Thing
9. Birthmark, Antibodies
10. Lost in the Trees, A Church That Fits Our Needs

This was a great year for loud music! There were several new artists to hit the scene that proved capable of bringing a new perspective to an easily tired genre. Metz's self-titled release is on the top though. And 2012 was a great year for experimental, genre-bending music. The albums put out by??Xenia Rubinos and Neneh Cherry & The Thing were albums I came back to all year long simply because of how creative and unique they were. Equally unique was the fantastic collaboration by David Byrne and St. Vincent. Both Neneh and David were a "blast from the past," artists whose names I've known since I was a kid.??
11. Carla MorrisonD'jenme Llorar
12. Dirty ProjectorsSwing Lo Magellan
13. The Heavy, The Glorious Dead
14. JJ DoomKeys to the Kuffs
15. Buke and GaseFunction Falls EP
16. PinbackInformation Retrieved
17. Killer MikeR.A.P. Music
18. Yellow OstrichStrange Land
19. PeaceDelicious EP
20. Bad BooksBad Books II

Another pleasant surprise of 2012 was the solid return of artists that I've been endeared to for awhile. The Evens returned with another great album. Buke and Gase proved that they were capable to continue their innovating beginnings. And Pinback returned with an album more true to their earlier work. The Latin American indie music scene is really beginning to thrive and artists like Rubinos, along with Y La Bamba and Carla Morrison are proof that there's great stuff coming about. And there were the hip hop releases by Killer Mike and JJ Doom??that I was surprised to find myself enjoying so much.

21.??Alabama Shakes, Boys & Girls
22.??Japandroids,??Celebration Rock
23.??Regents,??Antietam Afterparty??(link)
24.??Young Magic, Melt
25.??Greys,??Easy Listening
26.??Baroness,??Yellow & Green
27.??Cold Specks, I Predict A Graceful Expulsion
28.??Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
29.??Choir of Young Believers, Rhine Gold
30.??Swans,??The Seer

For me, an introduction to Baroness early in the year set me up for a year of loud music. Greys and the all-star line-up of Regents appeared doing the DC-punk sound that I've loved for ages. And of course, there was the successful return of Japandroids. But on the other side of genres, I was taken by the return of soulful music of several types. Alabama Shakes didn't break any new ground, for me, but their first full-length release remained consistent. On the funkier side, The Heavy delivered a really fun album that equally channels the spirits of James Brown and Robert Plant. And then there's Frank Ocean's solo album that even got my attention. I haven't liked a soul album as much since Marvin Gaye. There were others, of course, and they're on the list. I encourage you to check out all of them. You can listen to a sampling of these artists the a 2012 mixtape playlist I created on Spotify.

And you can also check out my year-long "soundcheck" list of almost weekly musical findings here.