Jeremy’s Top Albums of 2012

OK, as usual, going through everyone else’s lists has broadened the scope of what I needed to listen to, and I just know I’m gonna find something I wish I would’ve been able to swap in, but here’s my top 10 as well as a bunch of albums that almost made it for whatever reason.   A lot of great stuff this year (though not that many new artist discoveries for me).

Top 10 (in no particular order)

  • Kishi Bashi – 151a (The Arts & Crafts / Polyphonic Spree album I actually liked)
  • El-P – Cancer4Cure (Better than the Killer Mike album by far I think…then again i dont like southern rap)
  • Hammock – Departure Songs (Epic, orchestral, so beautiful it hurts to listen to.)
  • Ryan Teague – Field Drawings (on the filmic side of post-rock electronica. Beautiful uses of unusual instruments similar to how Thomas Newman does in things like Shawshank Redemption and American Beauty)
  • School of Seven Bells – Ghostory (Let’s just forget Disconnect from Desire ever happened.  Integrates more Secret Machines sounds. Like an old Siouxsie record featuring Liz Fraser)
  • Matthew Perryman Jones – Land of the Living (My favorite guitar/piano rock record of the year.  Reminds me a lot of Will Owsley with a grander scope (string section, etc)
  • Emeli Sande – Our Version Of Events (My favorite pure pop album this year.  “Suitcase” makes the room go all dusty.)
  • Duke Special – Oh Pioneer (Cabaretish art-rock with pop instincts.  So so good.)
  • Susanna Hoffs – Someday (I love this record so so so much.  A fabulous collection of jangly power-pop songs from my second favorite modern female singer/songwriter.)
  • Sun Kil Moon – Among The Leaves
  • Shearwater – Animal Joy (This and the Sun Kil Moon album feel like the defeated and the pumped-up versions of the same band.  The SKM continues to channel Nick Drake-on-downers in the best way, though it ends on a more Red House Painters rockin-ish note)

Runners-up (in no particular order):

  • John Talabot – Fin (Like a 2012 sequel to Future Sound of London’s “Lifeforms”)
  • Elenowen – EP (Admittely I have a huge weakness for guy + girl + guitar lush acoustic folk-pop… see: The Weepies, Ida, last years Down Like Silver.  This is this years entry in that line, and it adds piano.)
  • Mark Lanegan Band – Blues Funeral (I really like it, but its kind of annoying to listen to all in one sitting. Worth it for “Harborview Hospital” alone)
  • Mike Wexler- Dispossession (Nice dreamy swirly guitars, Slowdive-style. Thanks to Courtney Smith for the recommendation)
  • Keith Kenniff – Branches (Lovely soundtrack for a film that doesn’t exist. Plays like a demo reel for directors like Tim Burton and also indie darlings.  The songs themselves are beautiful, i’m just not sure it holds up as a cohesive album more than a set of songs that convey a particular mood)
  • Eva Abraham – Cold Light (Best country/folk album i heard this year…if only i liked country more…)
  • Milo Greene – s/t (Lots of great songs and sounds…I like it a lot, i just dont LOVE it. Maybe the next one.)
  • Plan B – iLL Manors (I like this one like I like the first album by The Streets.  Dystopic British electronic-backed hiphop ftw)
  • Of Monsters And Men – My Head Is An Animal (Fits squarely in the “I enjoy it while its on but I can’t remember any songs once its off” camp, like Florence and the Machine.  Music for VW commercials.)
  • Geographer – Myth (My favorite Dance-Rock album of the year.)
  • Steve Hogarth & Richard Barbieri – Not The Weapon But The Hand (sophistipop at its finest. Just missed the list because it can get a little same-y)
  • Caravan Palace – Panic (The most clever record I listened to this year.  Swinghouse = always good times.  I’m interested to see what the breakout artist/album will be of this trend of sampling the 30s now that the 70s have pretty much been tapped)
  • fun. – Some Nights (The most…er…fun record I listened to in 2012. Suffers from overexposure, but also led me to rediscover the Queen catalog. I have a feeling this is going to stay on my iPod, though I will be skipping We Are Young and Some Nights.)
  • Die Antwoord – Ten$ion (This years Fat Of The Land. Listened incessantly when it came out, haven’t really listened since)
  • Miguel – Kaleidoscope Dream (best mainstream R&B i heard this year)
  • Solar Fields – Random Friday (Great psy-ish ambient trance in the vein of old Juno Reactor.  Ultimae Recordings has become one of my favorites.

Wouldve made the list except they are compilations:

  • David Sylvian – A Victim Of Stars 1982-2012 (a brilliant collection of one of the kings of elegant, elegiac sophisticated pop)
  • Four Tet – Pink (For “Locked” alone…)

Favorite remix of 2012:

  • Four Tet – Vessel (Jon Hopkins Mix)