Since it’s almost February

That must mean it’s time for me to give my 10 favorite albums of 2012. In no particular order:

Andrew Bird – Break it Yourself
Easily the most pedal effects per violin of anything (in this list or otherwise). Bird’s obsession with layering, musically as well as lyrically, shows amazing dividends here. It’s fluid, it’s beautiful, and it incorporates 20 years of musical know-how.

Battleme – Battleme
This Austin outfit was born from the ashes of Lions, and I can’t recommend it enough. Some tracks convey a silky smoothness and relaxed cadence, others feel like the edge of a knife, all of it feels infused with energy. No two songs sound the same, but all of it seems to “work”.

Beach House – Bloom
If you buy one album off of this list, this is the one. Beach House has really hit their stride here, delivering 10 amazingly dreamy songs that fill you with a happy lassitude. The sounds you hear are all bright (apropos for an album entitled Bloom) despite leaving a slightly melancholy feel as they finish. It’s the music of the sun setting, but with tighter song-writing.

The Dollyrots – The Dollyrots
High energy to compliment the previous entry’s low, The Dollyrots manage to resurrect Pop Punk in a way that doesn’t make you want to punch a tween. Infectious fun is the name of the game; guaranteed to drive any bad day away. Don’t come here looking for a call to action or deep meaning, but be ready to tap your feet, it’ll be almost impossible not to.

Grimes – Visions
Fuck I don’t know what this is. It’s SynthWaveElectroClashPopCore run by an outstanding producer, who also happens to have a great voice. There’s very little that’s “hook-ey” about this one woman show, but the songs pull you in and trap you nonetheless. Best I can figure it, Grimes is what would happen if Aphex Twin got together with Massive Attack, morphed into a Voltron-style robot, and started freebasing The Internet.

Jack White – Blunderbuss
In a generation of internet-influenced, electronically informed music, there’s something delightful about Jack White’s simple approach. Many of White’s previous albums treated lyrics as a necessary evil, something to focus one when he wasn’t speaking with his true voice – his guitar. In Blunderbuss this is not the case, there’s the same Jack White grungy guitar wailings, but mixed in are some surprisingly polished vocals. Far from ruining his aesthetic, it helps Jack find a new “gear”.

Japandroids – Celebration Rock
Many argue that Celebration Rock is a pale imitation of the desperate exuberance of Post-Nothing. Don’t listen to those assholes, they probably also listened to the Japandroids “before they were cool”. Every song is a wave of energetic, fuzzy noise that quickly suck you in. The album starts strong with “The Nights of Wine and Roses” and “Fire’s Highway”, but the energy and quality don’t trail off. “Adrenaline Nightshift” smoothly carries the album through the middle, while showcasing just how far these guys have come in terms of pure playing ability. When the ‘droids close, they do so as they started: kicking and screaming.

Superbus – Sunset
Superbus has been around for a little bit (this being their 5th album), but now that they’ve blended their 80’s euro synth sound with the talents of Garbage sound engineer Billy Bush, they really start to shine. You won’t always know what the hell they are singing about (unless you speak French), but you’ll bop your head and pretend to sing along.

Tribes – Baby
Is it too soon to call the 90’s sound “throwback”? Because this album is pure 90’s. Pitchfork maligns this sonic offering as having “nothing to do with indie”, but they say that like it’s a bad thing! It’s a little derivative, and big on hooks, but perfectly enjoyable for all of that.

Foxy Shazam – The Church of Rock And Roll
Mix hard charging Rock and Roll with a dollop of gospel and a generous heaping of swagger, serve hot and as fast as you can. Foxy Shazam shows off some awesome guitar licks and an impressive vocal range as they attempt to take back and redefine “classic rock”. Listen with a sense of humor, and be prepared for some weirdness (they are called Foxy Shazam, after all) but you’ll make it through and be satisfied.


Since it’s almost February

2 thoughts on “Since it’s almost February

    1. heh. that category is mostly a joke; i found her latest album to be MUCH better than “When the Pawn…”, though it didn’t jump out at me like i wanted it to. i had to really work to love it.

      that said, i’d probably give it an honorable mention, along with Azalea Banks’ EP, the Kitten EP, and Garbage’s 2012 offering. 🙂

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