All the Poor and Powerless live at Relevant
Please paint me Thom Yorke wrestling Mr. T in the Facility bathroom from Goldeneye for the N64.
Captured live at Air 1
Forgot about how funny this was/is. SO FUNNY.
Let’s be honest. This was a pretty weak year for new music. There were really only about 15 new albums that I really enjoyed, but that shouldn’t lessen the fact that these 10 are fantastic. So… Here we go…
10. Purity Ring - Shrines
Every year there’s one record that seems really fresh and this year that was Purity Ring for me. I like to think of them as the electro-pop version of Sleigh Bells. I have the same general feeling about the two bands. Female singer with a heavy emphasis on the beat of the song. I will acknowledge that most the album sonically runs together, but I’ve really enjoyed having it playing while I’m doing things around the house this year.
Favorite Track: Fineshrine
9. Sucre - A Minor Bird
I’ll be forthcoming a little bit and say I’m a bit biased about Sucre, as Stacy DuPree is a longtime friend, but I was smiling ear to ear the first time I heard her “solo” project away from Eisley. (Yes, I know it’s not technically solo, as Sucre is Stacy along with husband Darren King and Jeremy Larson). She channels just the right amount of Bjork as she’s backed by an old-timey hollywood string section. The whole album is the most cinematic thing I’ve heard in a long time. Also, the latest Apple iPod Touch commercial features this album cover bouncing around on a purple iPod and I get excited every time.
Favorite Track: Chemical Reaction
8. Mumford & Sons - Babel
I’m a bit disappointed that at this point, it’s kind of cool to hate on Mumford & Sons. Yes, they had huge mainstream success and yes, they have a “formula” that works, but that’s no reason to badmouth a band that single-handedly made it okay for a folky acoustic guitar to knock Chris Brown off Top 40 radio. Their sophomore release doesn’t really hold up against Sigh No More, but it’s in no way, shape, or form a “sophomore slump” record. I love the record and love that they didn’t decided to abandon their signature sound just yet. Word on the street is their next record will have synths instead of banjo… We’ll see how that goes…
Favorite Track: Below My Feet
7. Chris Staples - American Soft
I honestly don’t know much about Chris Staples. A friend posted this album and said it was one of the albums of the year this summer. I happened to check it out on Spotify and was blown away. I had no expectations and it ended being one of the best indie rock albums I’ve heard in years. With just the right amount of catchy hooks and indie cred, this former Twothirtyeight frontman has a winning formula on his hands. I wish more people knew about this album.
Favorite Song: Dark Side of the Moon
6. John Mayer - Born and Raised
What’s there to say about John Mayer? He went from acoustic LA playboy to folky hat-wearin’ Montana shut in. And you know what? That’s totally okay with me. I love that he teemed with David Crosby and Graham Nash on the title track and there’s just the right amount of slide guitar thrown in where it’s new and refreshing, but not so different that it doesn’t feel like a John Mayer album.
Favorite Track: Born and Raised
5. Ellie Goulding - Halcyon
I’m way on board the Ellie Goulding bandwagon. I appreciate the fact that she was given the opportunity to have big pop star mass appeal and decided to make a weird and artistic follow up to her smash debut. She isn’t afraid to showcase her gritty voice and when she belts out high notes, there’s an edge there that few modern pop singers have. The production is spot on too, and despite Ellie’s relationship with Skrillex during the production of the album, there’s not too much dubstep going on like there easily could have been.
Favorite Track: Hanging On
4. Paper Route - The Peace of Wild Things
I love Paper Route and I think this is a better album than their debut, Absence. I love 80s textures and they found a way to modernize them without feeling cheesy and dated. Also, how in the world can you make SO many catchy songs on one album? I think the last person to do that was Katy Perry and she tied Thriller with the most #1 singles on an album. Well done boys. Well done.
Favorite Track: Two Hearts
3. Matthew Perryman Jones - Land of the Living
This record was a very late addition to my 2012 repertoire. The one and only Pat Dodd told me I’d love it and sure enough, I can’t stop listening to it. His voice reminds me of Ryan Adams meets Rufus Wainwright, and his songwriting evokes a strong feeling of middle American values. It makes me want to drive a truck under a starry night with the windows down. If you’d be into that, you’d probably be in this.
Favorite Track: O Theo
2. Now, Now - Threads
Very rarely do I see a band on a late night show and think “Oh man, I need to check them out,” but when I do, it usually pays off. Now, Now was on Jimmy Fallon (the best late night show, beeteedubs) a few months ago and I’ve probably listened to this album no less than one a week since then. It was produced by Chris Walla from Death Cab for Cutie, and there are times on the album when his guitar playing is SUPER evident. The girls’ voices are wonderful and I really can’t say enough good things about them. I hope they can continue to put out records as good as this. If they do, they could easily become a household name.
Favorite Track: Thread
1. Milo Greene - Milo Greene
This was the most timeless record to come out in 2012. When a record comes along that feels so new and yet so old, that’s a recipe for greatness. And greatness this is. Almost everyone in the band sings, so there’s vocal variation happening constantly, and the way they play off each other makes it seem like they’ve been playing together for 30 years. They blend folk and indie rock together in the best way possible, where every song feels like an experiment gone utterly right. If you don’t own this, get it immediately and thank me later.
Favorite Track: Silent Way
Here’s to 2013 you guys!