Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Top Music from 2012

Around the holiday break each year I try to spend some time listening to the best music from the previous year and I spend the first month or so trying to come up to speed on what was new in the last year of music.  While many of my friends think there has been no good music since Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, I would beg to differ.

So for those friends who want to put down the cassette tapes and try something new, I humbly submit that these were some of the best artists making music in 2012 in no particular order other than loose groupings by take of music:

Hillbilly / Country / Yalternative

Mumford and Sons - Not only did the sell a ton of music, it was a ton of awesome music.  In my 20s, if you told me that I would be vaguely listening to hill billy music I would have laughed.  Somehow, here I am.  I blame the Grateful Dead.  Mumford and Sons followed up their last awesome effort with an almost as good follow on.  This is a must have.

Avett Brothers - I don't like them nearly as much as Mumford, but they have a great sound and I find that the more I listen the more I like.


Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Not as good as the debut but still full of a lot of hippy 60s good lovin.

Blues and R&B

Jack White - Jack White is amazing.  Whether it is The White Stripes, The Raconteurs or any of his other projects, he is always top notch.  I am sure we will look back over time and he will be thought of as one of the top notch artists of our time.  Blunderbuss is an AMAZING work.  Buy it.

Alabama Shakes - My neighbor and camping buddy Dave turned me on to them and while it took a bit to get used to the voice the first go around, it really grew on me and I like it a lot.  It is consistently on a ton of top 10 lists all over the place.

The Heavy - Following up from the work that had "How you like me now?" from the movie The Fighter, this one continues in the rocking tradition of music that I swore was James Brown.  I recommend What Makes A Good Man.

Frank Ocean - AWESOME album.  Not something I would normally listen to but really infectious.  Pretty much a consistent top 5 on people's year end list and if you listen you will get it.

Electronic / Indie / Experimental

MNDR - Ok, it is my sister in law, but I swear, check out this performance from The David Letterman show.  Her debut work had a ton of great tracks and I can't wait to see what she does next.  Great remixes on Hype Machine too...

Santigold - The artist MNDR is compared to a bunch.  The band has a great sound that is really catchy and puts them at the forefront of what is happening in dancehall electronic etc.

Passion Pit - Loved the last one and love this one too.  I Take A Walk has got to be the happiest song of 2012.

Alt J - Eclectic and very listenable.  It is one that grows on you and drives you to obsession.

the XX - One of my favorite bands of the last several years.  Wonderful, rich, haunting music with a voice to die for.

Bat for Lashes - New to me this year like a couple of others.  Really well done though with lots of great tracks.

Of Monsters and Men - I am still not sure about the whole record but I am still in the early part of this growing on me and might even throw it in the same grouping as Mumford.

Gotye - I don't like most of this one.  I do love the big track Someone I Used to Know.  That sounds just seemed to play all year long last year and I still like it...

Punk and Rock

I will admit that I didn't get to spend as much time this last holiday break digging in the crates for my fill of what is truly my bread and butter music, but these three jumped out and even hit the mainstream to some extent...

The Mars Volta - I was dying for the new record and it didn't disappoint.  Unfortunately it seems that the At The Drive In  reunion might have taken them off the circuit for touring in support of this one but nonetheless it is a great addition to their discography.

Japandroids - Holly crap, these guys hit it out.  I loved the track Art Czars from their last go around but this whole record is rocking and awesome and on a ton of top 10 lists all over the place.  Must buy.

Titus Andronicus - Not as strong as the last one, but still a rollicking fun punk rock kind of record.

All the links here are to Hype Machine, my hands down favorite music discovery tool.  You can play songs from all the artists there but I highly recommend you click to the blogs who wrote about the bands and find some more awesomeness of your own.