Best of 2012

It’s been a fairly eventful year for me, so quite late.

That said, of 144 albums I bought last year, 89 were released in 2012, and it took a while to parse them all.  I’ll say that it was a really strong year overall.  There’s so much music being put out that it’s hard to keep up, but that’s a good problem to have.

My top 10 albums of 2012:

Japandroids (Celebration Rock) – Never any doubt about this.  Simply the strongest pop punk album in many years.  Starts and ends with (literal) fireworks because it’s a celebration.

Cloud Nothings (Attack on Memory) – A close second.  Way more angsty, but no less driving.

Perfume Genius (Put Your Back N 2 It) – It’s rare that I find myself thinking that a song could be longer, but that’s exactly the case with a lot of these.  I want more, but they’re just quick explorations of a melody or concept and then on to the next.

Allo, Darlin’ (Europe) – I admit I fought this a little.  So… twee.  But also so catchy, there’s no escaping it.

The Men (Open Your Heart) – Part of a trend of trainwreck noise that I cannot encourage enough.

Place to Bury Strangers (Worship) – Signed to a pedal company, you do the math.

Dinosaur Jr. (I Bet on Sky) – A good Dinosaur Jr. record.  That’s enough for me.

Purity Ring (Shrines) – I know it was inescapable all summer, but there’s something about the fresh (to me) sound that I really enjoy.

Two Gallants (The Bloom and the Blight) – two piece cowpunk, nothing of a departure from their earlier stuff, because if there’s nothing broken…

Diiv (Oshin) – dreamy with a frantic Galaxie 500 feel to it.  Argue with that.

Continue reading “Best of 2012”

Revisiting 2011

As promised, I want to slightly amend my Best of 2011 list.  I’ve actually been meaning to do this for months, so please don’t judge me on the fact that it’s nearly 2013.

  • Youth Lagoon – I seriously could not stop listening to this in January / February.  It’s a damned quirky record, but genuinely beautiful and when it rocks it gets the job done.  In an era when a lot of bands just push play in order to perform, the live show’s also surprisingly worth seeing given the few instruments involved.
  • The Rural Alberta Advantage – I’ll admit to being initially upset that the new album wasn’t like Hometowns, but the fact is that I don’t think anything will ever capture the fun and excitement of experiencing this band for the first times.  Those drums and the vocals / lyrics were enough to always bring a smile to my face, but the new album just didn’t grab me the same way.  I forgot that it’s not important that it doesn’t have the same effect, ultimately it’s a good album with songs that stand on their own.

It’s too late to put them into any sort of order, so I won’t try.


My Best of 2011

My reader will certainly agree that this site is a close second behind Pitchfork when it comes to eagerly anticipated best of lists.  So without further ado, here we go:

  1. Wild Flag:  What can one say that hasn’t been said.  Maybe supergroups shouldn’t be eligible.
  2. PJ Harvey:  A return to form, and I know everyone agrees.
  3. Wye Oak:  Solid growth and a shock to me from a band that I thought would always be an opener last year.
  4. Fucked Up:  I’ve already said this is the world I want to live in.  The fact that this is 4th says something about those in 1-3.
  5. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart:  Upped the shoegaze and won my heart.  That won’t shock anyone who’s been around me for the last 20 years.
  6. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah:  Nostalgia?  Maybe, but there are some really catchy tunes here.
  7. Deer Tick:  People will groan when I say (again) that this is the best new Replacements album in the last 20 years
  8. We Were Promised Jetpacks:  I like as much as the debut, maybe more because I find it a little more mature / accessible.  Probably why others hate it.
  9. We Are Augustines: Pela’s gone, and those days are, too, but this will do for now.
  10. Yuck: Surprising addition to me, I suspect this might not stand, but there are some really good songs on this album.  They should be looking over their collective shoulders for Youth Lagoon.

There are some that I suspect are missing and so I’m going to try to do a top 20 next month.  Let’s see how close I got.

Also, I’m hoping I’ll do a ‘surprisingly disappointing’ list.  *glances towards The Antlers*.