Recapping the year is always a daunting task, but a somewhat enjoyable one, especially in music. You get to relive your bloom and your summer days, the cool autumn night and the harsh (sort of) winter.
I don’t pretend to know more about music than anyone else, I know what sounds good to me, and I think I know what people generally like to hear. They want to hear passion and they want to feel emotion in the music. If not, you listen to rap. (Poor joke.) Twelve was an interesting year: musically, politically, end-of-the-world wise… But at the end of the day, we saw and heard new sounds emerging. Blues rock continues to hang on (surprisingly), folk has not lost weight in the indie crowd, and electronic indie music has truly come into its own, producing some of the year’s finest music. (Especially if you read Pitchfork…)
Thirteen has a lot of potential, but for now, we stay lucky, for a few more days in 2012.
10: Chromatics – Kill For Love – Drone, drone, drone… bring back Medicine. Don’t get lost in your shoes.
9: Sigur Rós – Valtari – Can’t describe it. Just… wow.
8: Father John Misty – Fear Fun – A late addition for me, but I am confident that this will continue its heavy rotation on my playlists well into 2013. Folky and fun, good, like Fleet Foxes before Helplessness Blues…
7: Discount Guns – Odessa – I am not traditionally a fan of blues rock, but this duo from Louisville, KY hit every button: Loud, Lo-Fi, and Meaningful. (Blues rock with meaning? Yup, I’m not shitting you.)
6: Lana Del Rey – Born to Die – I’ve come back to this album several times and every time it feels a little different. I can truly imagine Lana Del Rey pulling out an old steno note pad with these lyrics and repeating elements lamented throughout the book. Her voice pulls off these childhood memories with great gravity.
5: Chairlift – Something – The most fun album of the year is not by a band named Fun. It’s by Chairlift. This album is gorgeous. It is the album that I wanted Elizabeth Harper (aka Class Actress) to do, but she didn’t quite gut the whole thing out. Something is a great album, suitable for driving half-lit.
4: Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do – Fiona did her most self-deprecating, most personal album with Idler Wheel. Her old material seems dated and childish in comparison.
3: Kathleen Edwards – Voyageur – Produced by Justin Vernon… I loved Kathleen Edwards other material, this truly brought her into alt-country fame.
2: Beach House – Bloom – Musically the most powerful album of the year. The album is solid, top to finish, without skipping a beat. I typically like albums that finish stronger than they begin. Their best showing to date.
1: The Walkmen – Heaven – The most important album of 2012 is the story of survival. What happens when you make it to the end of the American Dream? What then…
Honorable Mentions: Frankie Rose – Interstellar; Wild Nothing – Nocturne; School of Seven Bells – Ghostory; Sharon Van Etten – Tramp; and Now, Now – Threads.