Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Favorite Albums of 2012

Few albums blew me away, but it was certainly another good year overall, with perhaps a slightly more eclectic mix of music attracting my attention. Here's a list of my Top 10 favorites, in no particular order. Follow the links and give 'em a listen...might find a couple to your liking as well!

Dr. Dog
Be The Void

What charmers. Dr. Dog plays the finest kind of indie rock, almost folksy with acoustic guitars, easygoing vocals, super-catchy melodies, mostly cheery lyrics but with depth, and at times rocking with joy. Great music for walking around in the woods.


Paul Weller
Sonik Kicks

This guy has been been around since the late 70's with mod revival band The Jam. None of his solo stuff since then has really grabbed me, but this sonically adventurous album is a different story. Rock, electronics, big beats,'s all here in interesting ways. Get your kicks!

David Byrne & St. Vincent
Love This Giant

Mr. Byrne does his best work collaborating with others:  From his old Talking Heads buddies, to choreographer Twyla Tharp, Brian Eno, recently Fatboy Slim, and now St. Vincent's Annie Clark. Duet singing, lots of inventive brass, catchy and funky songs exploring the human condition. Vintage Byrne.

Men Without Hats
Love In The Age Of War

Calling all New Wave fans! This band was a "one hit" wonder (has anyone never heard "Safety Dance" or not gotten sick of it?) but they actually released several albums through the 80s and early 90s before falling off the popular music map. Well, surprise surprise, in 2012 they came back with a new album and I was, VERY pleasantly, surprised. I never really took this band seriously, but this album has a lot of urgency and sincerity to it, and the insistent beats and catchy tunes make a very easy and fun listen. This would be a great addition to anyone wanting to host an 80's Dance Night party.

Bob Mould
The Silver Age

Wow, Bob Mould...first with indie hard rockers Husker Du, then legendary - and brief - Sugar, then the many solo years, branching out into electronica, mellowing a bit and stating a few years back, "no more loud rock albums" (or something to that effect) as we learned that he suffered from tinnitus. So I was a bit...well more than a bit...surprised to hear this new album, which sounds like a followup to those two epic Sugar albums of the 90s. Silver Age is the perfect title to sum up where he's at now, back into fighting shape and pumping out the heavy melodies. Rock on, Bob!  This may be my next personal anthem:

In the silver age I walk away singing 

The silver age is calling out a melody 
Never too old to contain my rage 
The silver age, the silver age

DC Fontana
Six Against Eight

Whee, what fun! A total throwback album to the swingin' 60s London scene. Loud brass, horns, Hammond keyboard and orchestral flourishes. This album's got it all, baby! (I have to admit, what initially attracted me was the video to the title track, an homage to the classic (and one of my favorite all time series), The Prisoner. Well done, lads and lasses!

Carnivale Electricos

The ultimate soundtrack to a Mardi Gras party!  Great rock, New Orleans R&B,, smile, and shake your stuff!

The Stranglers

Well, these old punks just won't quit, nor should they!  Better music, by far, than one would expect at this stage. The band that started in the punk era, expanded their sound into rock, pop, goth and electronics as they grew, and survived into the 80's, 90's and 00's.  Here they are, older, a little wiser, becoming the cranky old men they always were from the beginning, and still making great music.

Clockwork Angels

I could go on about this album for many paragraphs, but I'll spare you.  If you're not a fan, you won't be now (Geddy's voice is "nails on a chalkboard" says one friend, for example).  Hey, they are what they are, but what they are if you ARE a fan is simply AMAZING.  This is a prog-rock masterpiece, complete with overarching theme (a futuristic society in thrall to clocks), masterful playing, and a handful of songs that ROCK most majestically.  A lyric from my favorite track goes "I can't stop thinking big" and that is truly the case with this most ambitious of bands that almost 40 years on continues to impress.

Sugarman 3
What The World Needs Now

Funky, cool...songs from this new/retro album could easily be featured on one of Quentin Tarantino's films.  Great for strutting around a city with this in your earbuds. Booker T. & The MG's would be proud.

Next year, lucky '13.  Looking forward to see what comes:  Older acts still kicking? New upstarts with exciting sounds?  A band ready to make a creative (and possibly commercial) breakthrough with their 3rd or 4th effort?  Looking forward to hearing as much of it as possible.  And if you come across anything of interest, please feel free to let me know and I'll check it out!  Cheers.

No comments:

Post a Comment