For anyone that reads my blog you know that making and publishing lists is my favorite part of blogging. However this year a detailed, complete, best-of 2012 list just isn't possible. 2012 brought our third child and expanded work duties; a thorough list will have to wait. My goal is one sentence per album.
Someday I will flesh out this list, and complete the other lists I have in progress. I started publishing year-end lists on this blog in 2003, so this marks the 10th anniversary of Turn Off The Radio. I started writing detailed lists in 2006, and then I have also been working my way up through my teenage years, and have completed detailed lists for 1991-1997. 1998 has been in the works for over a year and still not published. Stick with me for a couple decades and I'll have a detailed year-end list for every year of my life!
Top 20 Albums of 2012:
1. mewithoutYou- Ten Stories* They almost lost me with their last album, but this one is terrific. Even the band agreed that this was the proper follow-up to the amazing Brother, Sister. The biggest change to their unique style is the addition of lots of female background vocals, which honestly change the whole feel of the band's music. The album starts more aggressive than the band has been in 5 years, and then settles in to the mellowest the band has ever been. The bonus tracks are essential and the best songs on the album (so make sure you listen to the 13-track version).
Starflyer 59- IAMACEO Jason Martin's 13th studio LP, this time sans-label and funded by Kickstarter.
Sandra McCracken- Desire Like Dynamite Her first proper solo album in a few years, and she has never sounded better. I was very impressed by her voice when seeing her in concert earlier this year, and made the comment that I didn't think her vocals had ever been recorded properly. This might be the first album where she actually sounds like her impressive self.
Albums I got for Christmas that might break into my top-20 with some spins:
Hospitality- Hospitality Two spins in I am really digging it. Sunny, female fronted indie rock.
Sucre- A Minor Bird Solo album from Stacy Dupree King of Eisley. Quite a departure musically, most of the instrumentation is strings and unique percussion. Arguably much more interesting than what her band has been recording lately.
Stars- The North My opinion of Stars for the last decade has been, "they write good songs, but not good albums." That opinion changed with Five Ghosts, which blew me away. Well, they are back to their lesser, old form. Half the songs are terrific, half are boring or worse.
Albums I got for Christmas that are fun, but will not break into the top-20:
Demon Hunter- True Defiance* Got on vinyl, and I haven't been home to use my turntable. And frustratingly, it is the only vinyl record I got this year that did not come with an MP3 download. What's up with that Tooth & Nail?!
Taylor Swift- Red I enjoy Taylor Swift far more than 99% of the pop music in the world, but I look forward to her aging and recording more folk-type songs.
No Doubt- Push and Shove OK, so it's not fun, it's TERRIBLE. Not that I was ever a huge No Doubt fan, but man they should have just called it quits.
Most disappointing album of 2012:
Sarah Jaffe- The Body Wins Not disappointing because its not good, but disappointing because it is such a drastic departure from the Sarah Jaffe I loved. If you are hearing her for the first time, you might love it. I prefer the quiet, folk of her old work to the electronica/rock of her new stuff.
Best 2011 album I bought a year late:
Haley Bonar- Golder Have been aware of her for a decade, but just never dove that far into her work. Her 2012 single Bad Reputation stunned me, and I am now exploring her back catalog.
Looking forward to...
CUSH- A new EP for sure and maybe 1 or 2 LP's!? Pretty incredible after almost nothing in a decade.
Appleseed Cast- Illumination Ritual out soon. And just this week they released a new song that appears on a 7":