The Best Music of 2012


I tell you what Planet Earth, 2012 was a doozy for good tuneskies. If you had your ears glued to top 40 radio or entertainment headlines, you probably thought 2012 was pretty lame in the musical world. Fear not! I have scoured the globe for musical greatness, and provided the best of the year, attempting to be as unbiased as possible, because I care.

Biggest Disappointments


Remember when you were a kid, or maybe just last week, and you did something really stupid? Then your Mom would say she’s not mad, just disappointed, which was a whole lot worse. Well, here are the biggest disappointments of the year. No, I’m not mad, just disappointed that they didn’t live up to expectations, that’s all.

6. The Tallest Man On Earth – There’s No Leaving Now

With so much potential and such legendary previous albums, I was disappointed that this good album wasn’t great. Or super-duper, which technically is a step up from great.

5. Grimes – Visions

Oh no, the Hipsters will all scoff at me for this one, but I just couldn’t get to digging this LP. Maybe it wasn’t my style, maybe I didn’t give it enough listens, or maybe I’m just a wee bit dumb, but this album did not live up the hype in my nerdy opinion.

4. Menomena – Mines’

I was sure excited about this bad boy hitting the shelves, but after a few listens, I decided it would have to grow on me a bit. So I gave it a bazillion listens, and after all that effort, still nada. Sure it has its moments, but Memomena can do bettamena, or something like that.

3. Mars Volta – Noctourniquet

Back in the day, The Mars Volta rocked. Now, after three dud albums, they in fact do not rock. They actually are plain terrible, and I could only muster a few listens on this worthless album. Oh well, I’ll just pretend the band broke up and the only albums available are their awesome early ones. That kids is what’s called make-believe.

2. Yeasayer – Fragrant World

Speaking of back in the day, boy did Yeasayer release a timeless jam in 2007. Ever since then, they’ve been trying to be some sort of electro-pop hit makers, and have thus far failed. Epic fail.

1. Crocodiles – Endless Flowers

Yes, Crocodiles failed as well. They tried to sound like a poppier Strokes, which was in fact quite lame. They used to sound like crazed, noisy, Psych-Indie hipsters, which in fact was quite awesome.

Most Anticipated


You know I’m not so angry, Earth! I have all good things to say from this point forward. How about the most anticipated releases this year? See, that’s all warm and fuzzy, right? These were albums me and my music nerd counterparts in the musical blogosphere world were excited to get to jamming to this year.

6. Dinosaur Jr – I Bet On Sky

Nothing really new here, just a bunch of old dudes cranking up the jams and making some ear drums bleed. Yes, that’s what Rock N Roll is all about for all of you lame-os out there that didn’t know.

5. Woven Hand – The Laughing Stalk

Man, do I love Woven Hand and 16 Horsepower. Their last album was my fave of 2010, so needless to say, I was excited about this one. Though the album did rock, it wasn’t one of my favorites, but it sure got a lot of listens.

4. The xx – Coexist

All the music nerds were atwitter (I should use that word more often) with the release from the spacey, minimalist’s sophomore release. This one didn’t disappoint at all, and proved to be a great listen.

3. Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror

I sure was stoked about this release, and even though it didn’t pack the same punch as Treats, it still kicked out the jams.

2. Cat Power – Sun

If the new Cat Power album sounded exactly the same as all of her previous releases, I would have been happy. This one was an electrified, sunny gem in its own right, and I give Chan Marshall cred for thinking outside the box. Yay, thinking!

1. Jack White – Blunderbuss

Yee Great Holiness Jack White, God among men. Yes, he really is some sort of freaky genius. All of his albums have been picked apart by music nerds, but me, I say everything he releases is awesome. Simple as that, because they all are. Winner winner, chicken dinner.

Most Jammed


A yes, the most jammed list. Here are albums I just couldn’t get enough of and according to the evil robot known as iTunes, really did jam to these more than anything else.

6. The Men – Open Your Heart

These dudes rock. They’re a wee bit Psych and wee bit Garage Rock, but a whole lotta loud-as-hell.

5. Screaming Females – Ugly

I couldn’t get enough of this album. Screaming guitar, screaming vocals, screaming songs, but only one female. Clever move, team.

4. The Heavy – The Glorious Dead

Just discovered these English Funksters, and I’m really surprised they’re not better known, because I hear their tunes everywhere. The Heavy is a great Neo Funk band, but they really pack some punch as a loud Rock band too. Good stuff.

3. K-Holes – Dismania

This isn’t going to grace anyone’s top lists of the year, which is a bummer since this albums ruled. It was like any other Garage Rock release, but darker and uglier. Think a modern version of The Stooges’ Fun House, and yes, this one includes the ol’ saxophone too.

2. Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

The newcomers to the scene are all Soul, with a throwback Southern Rock sound that’s as familiar as it is unique. Make sense?

1. Ty Segall – Twins, Slaughterhouse, Hair

It was a good year to be a Ty Segall fan. Of the three releases, all proved to be awesome. You can’t go wrong with fuzzed-out Garage Rock, especially through the loco cabesa mind of Ty Segall.

And now, we’re almost to the finish line, but we have one more mini list. Of course, it’s the honorable mentions, because we don’t want to forget them too, even though they didn’t make it to the big dance.

Honorable Mention


No, honorable mention isn’t like the “participation award,” it’s way higher up. Here are the albums that almost made the final cut.

6. John Talabot – fin

This fellow is from Espana. That’s what the natives call their homeland of Spain. I hear they enjoy a fine game of futbol and some killer electro beats, as displayed on this great LP.

5. Pallbearer – Sorrow And Extinction

No top list is complete without some Metal. This album was a great listen from start to finish, with a great mood and character. While jamming, of course head bobbing is a must.

4. Sigur Ros – Valtari

Those crazy Icelandic folk sure know how to jam. I haven’t seen this highly touted album on anyone’s best of list, but I gotta tell you, I sure liked it. See, just trying to be different.

3. Crystal Castles – (III)

This was one of the noisier and wilder Electronic albums I’ve jammed to in a while, and it definitely grew on me over time.

2. Dirty Projectors – Swing Low Magellan

Finally a Dirty Projectors album that was easily digestible, unlike a gigantic Chipotle burrito. Though delicious, the burrito and the early releases from the band aren’t for everyone. Actually I take that back, Chipotle is for everyone because it’s delish. And so should those early releases.

1. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp

I remember this album came out around the same time as the hyped-up Lana Del Rey album, and this one really deserved all the attention. Great jamz (yeah I’m cool like that) from start to finish.

The Top 12 of 2012


And now on to the main event where we kick out the top 12 of 2012. Notice I didn’t do top songs, because I think an album communicates the artistry of the music better (deep, I know). The key tracks to all these albums are on my countdown for TRR radio, so check out that link below.

12. Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself

The multi-instrumentalist and songwriter was introduced to me with this phenomenal album. So many different themes connect to a cohesive unit that is uniquely Andrew Bird’s. I saw some TV special where he played the album in full with his band. It was quite cool, since things on TV are usually cool (ie anything with explosions).

11. Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes

I can’t decide if I like this album more than the last release, because I’m still trying to understand what’s happening on any of the albums. It’s not really a bunch of songs, it’s a collage of sounds and noises that somehow tie together utterly perfectly.

10. Father John Misty – Fear Fun

The former Fleet Foxes drummer proves he can hold his own with a very soulful Folk record. Each song is a joy to listen to, almost as joyous as having a picnic or something of that nature. Not sure where I was going with that.

9. Metz – Metz

Man these dudes are loud. The Canadians show its aboot time to crank up the noise with a ferocious onslaught of an album. Start to finish is a kick in the head, proving that Punk still has a voice in the Indie world.

8. Daughn Gibson – All Hell

This may be the most unusual on the list. Snippets of songs mixed with electro beats and rock instruments all behind a deep baritone is surely a concoction for a wild ride. Each listen new listen breathes new life into this gem of an album. Well done good sir.

7. Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory

This was one of the albums I couldn’t stop listening to this year. Yet it didn’t jump onto my best of list until I heard their first album, and saw what a jump in the right direction this one really was. We’ve got a new style of Punk, thanks to stellar songwriting, killer performances, and great production.

6. Polica – Give You The Ghost

It sure is cold in Minnesota, but Polica is hot with this great release! Cheesy headline aside, this was a unique mix of Electronic and Indie Rock, with so much auto-tune, you’d think it would get old, but it just doesn’t.

5. Japandroids – Celebration Rock

The true rockers kick out legendary jam after legendary jam. Everything show, song, and note has every bit of blood, sweat, and tears poured in (name drop). The Japandroids show us what Rock N Roll is all about, even if they wear skinny jeans like some hipsters.

4. Grizzly Bear – Shields

I always thought Grizzly Bear was low-key, but this album ain’t play like that. It had soaring vocal harmonies and cool guitar riffs, making for an instant fav on my first listen. Sidenote: grizzly bears do not love honey and will eat your face if encountered in the wild.

3. Tame Impala – Lonerism

No sophomore slump from the Psychedelic Aussies. The album flowed like some trippy tapestry, with outstanding groves and perfectly crafted songs. You know it’s a great album when you love all of the songs equally and can’t pick a fave.

2. Lost in the Trees – A Church That Fits Our Needs

Some albums, like John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band, are so powerful because of their personal nature. This album was written in response to the suicide of singer Ari Picker’s mother. That right there is some heavy, personal stuff, so needless to say, it made for a pretty powerful album. At the same time, the songs are gorgeous and graceful, and no, I didn’t use a thesaurus for those highly descriptive adjectives.

1. Swans – The Seer

Hands down my number one from the first listen. Clocking in at over two hours, jamming to this double album is an experience unto itself. It’s not like many albums you’ve ever heard before, I can promise you that. It’s dark, ugly, droning, noisy, but in the end, after the exhausting listen, you realize it is a masterpiece. When you try to pick apart how things were recorded and written, they sound so misplaced. Yet when you sit back and let the music move you, it’s a roller coaster ride, and riding those nifty things is a pretty good time.

And that’s the end of my story, I sure hope you liked it. What did I miss? Drop me a line and let me know. Do you want to jam to any of these great albums? Well check out the radio show where I countdown all of these killer LP’s with key tracks all up in HERE.

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