2012 was a pretty good year for music. Here are some of my favorite albums (in order of date released) over the past 12 months with a super short review for each. I highly recommend that you check each of these out. And on a side note, I also released an album called Union, Reunion this year, and it would mean a lot to me if you checked that out as well. It’s on sale for $5 until the end of the year! Click the link in the sidebar for that deal. Now, on to my favorite albums of the year…
Of Montreal – Paralytic Stalks (Feb 7)
I love Of Montreal, but I’m generally a bigger fan of their earlier (pre Sunlandic Twins) work. In fact, their 2001 album, Coquelicot Asleep in the Poppies, is probably in my top 5 albums of all time. So… It’s high praise when I say that in my opinion, this is the best thing they’ve done in since Coquelicot.
Dr. Dog – Be the Void (Feb 7)
I just love absolutely everything this band does.
Zammuto – Zammuto (April 3)
First solo release by Nick Zammuto, one half of The Books. I’m a sucker for music that just doesn’t sound like anything else and is hard to classify. I once read a review of The Books that described them in a way that I think also applies to Zammuto. To paraphrase: they are so ahead of their time that your grandkids will be ripping them off one day.
Brendan Benson – What Kind of World (April 3)
I feel like my reviews of favorite artists often resort to “it’s his best since _____.” But it’s an appropriate description here. Brendan Benson’s first 2 albums (1996’s One Mississippi and 2002’s Lapalco) are the absolute best power pop records I’ve ever heard. This is his best record since then.
The Followers – Wounded Healer (May 5)
This record sounds like if Dr. Dog recorded a worship album. The title track is particularly good.
Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan (July 10)
Dirty Projectors have been on my list of “bands I need to check out” since 2009’s Bitte Orca, but I didn’t get around to it until recently. Swing Lo Magellan is so good it makes me want to go buy their entire back catalogue ASAP.
Ben Folds Five – The Sound of the Life of the Mind (Sept 18)
One of the best bands of the 90s. This album sounds so much better than any “reunion” album has a right to. Just as good as their older work.
Lupe Fiasco – Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. I (Sept 25)
Best rapper today. I know, I know: the title is a little silly, and the album art is just a black square, but Lupe can do whatever he wants as far as I’m concerned. Lyrically, the most important and challenging album of the year. Musically, just as good.
Tame Impala – Lonerism (Oct 19)
Just recently discovered this band. Sounds like outtakes from The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour.
The Welcome Wagon – Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices (Dec 6)
This is one of those bands that friends generally assume I know all about, but sadly I never checked them out until this month. Glad I finally did. Simple arrangements, great melodies.