Favorite Albums of 2012

Here are my other 2012 Rankings if you missed them:
Favorite Concerts 0f 2012
Favorite Songs of 2012

Below are my 30 favorite albums of 2012, arranged in descending order. The list has changed quite a bit from my midyear rankings, with new albums entering the list from the second half of the year and old albums from the first half jumping around.

As always, my favorite track from each album is embedded below together with a short write-up of why I have loved that album. (The write-ups get progressively longer as we get close to the top rankings)

This will be my last blog post for the year. See you next year in mid-January for all the upcoming new releases coming out! Anyways, on to the list!

30. alt-J – An Awesome Wave

Brit lads show why they deserved that Mercury Prize by perfectly capturing what current pop music sounds like.

29. Allo’ Darlin – Europe

DSC_0728Together with her London mates, Aussie Elizabeth Morris and her ukelele gives us a twee-ful take on innocence and longing.

28. Polica – Give You The Ghost

polica-bandThere is a serious danger that Channy Leaneagh may have surpassed Karen O as having the sexiest voice in indie rock – auto-tuned and all. Your move, Karen O.

27. The Avett Brothers – The Carpenter

Avett-Brothers - bandThe brothers Avett have grown older and more mature (and have definitely moved on from their hipper, ram-shackled early days), but they still know to write a folky ear-worm.

26. Exitmusic – Passage

exitmusic-bandA cinematic, insular, romantic debut from a Hollywood couple that knows first-hand where it all came from. This album will break your heart.

25. Taken By Trees – Other Worlds

takenbytrees - bandVictoria Bergsman transports us with her to Hawaii this time on her worldly travels as the ocean waves and the pineapple fields work to calm us.

24. Delicate Steve – Positive Force

delicate steve - bandSteve Marion shows that you don’t need to sing a whole lot – or have lyrics even – to create a relaxing, comfortable album.

23. Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man

Bat For Lashes - bandWasn’t as good as the incredible Two Suns. But I challenge anyone to find a song in Two Suns or any of her past discography really that is as hauntingly beautiful as how Natasha Khan sang Laura.

22. Metric – Synthetica

Metric - bandA typical, wonderfully-consistent Metric record that continues their tradition of creating chugging, dramatic glam-rock. This is a good thing.

21. Beach House – Bloom

Beach-House - bandBeach House didn’t break any new ground with an album that is basically a continuation of Teen Dream. But considering how (very, very) good that album is, we shouldn’t really complain.

20. Cat Power – Sun

cat powerChan Marshall reinvents her sound for her fans and for her self – to heal herself and to move forward. We like the happier you, Chan. Stay strong.

19. Titus Andronicus – Local Business

Titus-andronicusThere’s no way they can top the epic-ness that is 2010’s The Monitor, so Patrick Stickles and his Jersey boys didn’t even try. Instead they decided to go leaner and just have fun. Works for us, although we miss the beard.

18. Julia Holter – Ekstasis

julia holter- bandJulia Holter challenges our perception on boundaries with her experimental take on music by mixing the artistic with the classical.

17. Purity Ring – Shrines

Purity Ring - bandHave created a futuristic-sounding sound that made me say “wow” aloud on first listen. Along with Grimes (on the list further below), Purity Ring are the hope for the future of indie electro-pop.

16. Sigur Ros – Valtari

Sigur Ros - bandShoegaze legends return to the intimate, more quiet sounds of their earlier albums to the happiness of their fans. Guaranteed to give you goosebumps more than once when you listen to it.

15. Angel Olsen – Halfway Home

Angel Olsen - bandA new voice for female singer-songwriters in the mold of Joni Mitchell and Joanna Newsom. There is so much sadness and mourning in Olsen’s voice that it never fails to move you no matter what she sings

14. Of Monsters and Men – My Head Is An Animal

Of_Monsters_And_Men - bandWho would have thought that the next inheritors of indie rock’s love for communal sing-alongs via the Edward Sharpe and Arcade Fire molds would be an Icelandic band?

13. First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar

First Aid KitAnd who could have ever thought that this year’s best Americana-folk album would be made by two sisters from Sweden with the most glorious harmonies?

12. Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself

Andrew Bird - bandEven with six studio albums under his belt, Andrew Bird still never fails to bring the magic into his music. Listening to his music continues to be thoroughly mesmerizing and enchanting.

11. Stars – The North

stars - bandThe lovelorn Canadian veterans return to form by focusing on the fuzzy synths and yearning romanticism that made them great. Compares very favorably to 2004’s Set Yourself On Fire, the best album in their catalog.

10. Japandroids – Celebration Rock

japandroids - bandWell, after naming your album Celebration Rock, you better live up to the name. And Japandroids did – fireworks and all (the album literally starts and ends with fireworks). This IS the summer record of 2012 and The House That Heaven Built IS your summer jam of 2012. Oh oh oh oh indeed!

09. The Lumineers – The Lumineers

Lumineers - bandThe Lumineers are this year’s aw-shucks earnest folk-pop band that crossed over big-time to the mainstream. Even more amazing is that the Denver trio made a better Mumford album this year than Mumford & Sons. They were so good, I didn’t mind sharing it with everyone else.

08. Chromatics – Kill For Love

Chromatics - bandThe best soundtrack album that you’ll hear this year that wasn’t a soundtrack. Kill For Love from Johnny Jewel and his Italians Do It Better compatriots has everything you want from a good movie soundtrack – fast cars, dangerous femme fatales, and a coolness factor that borders on epic. This is the Ryan Gosling of records released this year.

07. Chairlift – Something

ChairliftThere’s nothing complicated about why Chairlift‘s sophomore album is so good. The secret for Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly’s success is their willful embrace for 80s dance-beats and an unabashed love for fun. Plus, have you seen all of the amazing music videos they created for the record, including this choose-your-own-adventure style video?

06. The Walkmen – Heaven

walkmen - bandThe Walkmen are like fine wine – they only get better with age. And so is their newest record. The more you play and listen to it, the better and greater it gets. Thirties with kids and still willing to rock – we can only hope to have it so good.

05. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp

SVE Band

Sharon Van Etten takes the MASSSIVE leap forward in her third album – from unassuming singer-songwriter to unquestioned stage master. Tramp is a sonically fuller and deeper record – one that demands to be listened to as a whole, each song building upon the previous one, working toward a holistic and truly satisfying conclusion.

04. Grimes – Visions

grimes - bandExploding onto the scene with her visionary approach to music, Claire Boucher is this year’s unquestionable best new artist and has the best song of the year in the utterly amazing Oblivion. If this is the future of pop music, I am very, very excited. And slightly afraid.

03. Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan

Dirty Projectors, Dave LongstrethDespite their love for the complex, Dave Longstreth and his Dirty Projectors have decided to go back to basics for their newest record. The result is not only the most cohesive and complete album of the year, but more importantly, it’s the Dirty Projector’s most intimate and approachable record to date – more than enough to make you want to discover their brilliant, extensive library.

02. Passion Pit – Gossamer

passionpit - bandThe first half of the album continues where Manners left off – a brilliant, climax-inducing, falsetto-driven, retro-filled electro-pop record , which in of itself is amazing already. However, it is the second half  where the album truly shines. It takes you through the mind and psyche of Michael Angelakos as he battled through his bipolar disorder, depression, and suicide attempts. You were there with Angelakos as he begs for forgiveness and assures himself that it is not his fault. If the whole album is like the second half, it would have come very, very close to dislodging the top album in the list. A life-changing record.

01. 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-apple-bandThe Idler Wheel…  in its basic form, is bare-bones and wholly un-commercial. But the thing is, this record is bigger than that. It is the wholesale vision of what a Fiona Apple album is and THAT is important. The songs – they dig you and claw you and gnaw through your bones. It becomes personal, because it is personal – for you, from Fiona. And that’s what makes it great. The best one this year. There’s nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key. Fiona Apple , you slayed my soul again.

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About boomingmusicscene

New life in nature and indie music
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5 Responses to Favorite Albums of 2012

  1. Pingback: Favorite Concerts of 2012 | Booming Music Scene

  2. Pingback: Favorite Songs of 2012 | Booming Music Scene

  3. bam bam says:

    no grizzly bear? 😦

  4. Pingback: Concert Gallery: Passion Pit @ Peabody Opera House | Booming Music Scene

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