December 31 2012 Drop Box Notes – Happy New Year (and Year End Lists!)


I’m putting this up a little later than anticipated, but I have dated it 12.31.12 to reflect the passing of another year and to a better next year (We should always be looking forward and reflect on the past for comparison). 2012 was a remarkably good year for music. I have always found something positive every year, but this year was unusual with a number of very terrific releases that I will continue to listen to long after this year is over and finally discovering one (and only one) rap-rave band that I truly enjoyed. In fact, I have watched all of this bands videos as they are definitely different. More about the awesome, in the true meaning of that word – AWESOME – Die Antwoord, who really was the answer.

 As promised, this year end drop box contains my top 50 albums from 2012 (with a few that reached these shores in 2012 but were actually released in 2011) and in a couple of weeks, I’ll put in my top 100 tracks. For those of you who missed some of these albums, either because you were late joiners or overwhelmed by the sheer volume of music, listen to the K-Town Top 100 (as NT calls me). For Eve and Tida, my Starbucks loyalists, thanks for the great year! For those who I only contact through this drop box I think about you often when making these selections, particularly Fran & John and Russell. Declan, you have time to catch up! Hope you had a great year and next year is better.

I’ve reviewed almost all of these albums previously, but as the year progressed, these were the albums that I listened to repeatedly. There is quite a diversity (at least as diverse as the Indie/Pop/Punk/Alternative/Metal/Experimental/Alt-Country/Rock genres permit) in these albums which I ranked purely arbitrarily as there is no objectivity involved – only my own idea of what I enjoyed and more or less based upon frequency of play. I will note in reviewing other “best of 2012” lists, notably Rolling Stone, Spin, Pitchfork, NME, and Stereogum that my list has a little overlap, but the majority of this list is unique to me. In all seriousness, I think that much of the commercial lists are influenced by the desire to maintain relationships with artists with large fan bases that subscribe to the magazines (Rolling Stone and Spin standout here) or were first hyped by the website and who the writers really like and like me are subtly influenced by prior experience with the band (pitchfork and stereogum). My list probably suffers from some of that subtle influence, although if anything, most of this list features new bands or bands with which I had little prior experience. I would note, that I did not pick any really old artists ( Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan come to mind who put out serviceable records but for the most part they were boring and didn’t introduce anything that you would spend any significant time…okay…you would never listen to either of these records ever again. Rolling Stone had Springsteen’s Wreckin Ball No. 1 and Dylan’s Tempest at No. 4.

Some other observations about my list. My list has two No. 44’s – Titus AndronicusMixtape which was good for a laugh and the new record Local Business. I also think I am mellowing out with age. I have always likes catchy melodic tunes, but usually have found them in the punk rock genre. This year, I leaned towards the more indie-pop end of the spectrum as evidenced by the Oh Mercy, Wolfgang, San Cisco selections. There is always room for big hooked alterno-metal as played by You and Me at Six, New Electric Sound, and Imperial State Electric. Punk still abounds but it is catchier that usual as found in Motion City Soundtrack, Gaslight Anthem, Henry Clay People and the Mixtapes. Anyway, I thought it was a great year for new music and hopefully you’ve discovered some new favorites along the way.

So here is my DropBox 2012 Top 50 List:

01 Oh MercyGreat Barrier Grief [2011]

02 Wolf GangSuego Faults [2011]

03 We Are AugustinesRise Ye Sunken Ships [2011]

04 Motion City SoundtrackGo [2012]

05 Japandroids Celebration Rock [2012]

06 VaccinesCome Of Age [2012]

07 Wiretree – Make Up [2011]

08 You Me At SixSinners Never Sleep [2011]

09 Purity RingShrines [2012]

10 San Cisco – San Cisco [2012]

11 The Static Jacks If You’re Young [2011]

12 Empires Garage Hymns [2012]

13 Swans – The Seer [2CD] [2012]

14 Walk The Moon – Walk The Moon [2012]

15 Gaslight AnthemHandwritten [Deluxe Edition] [2012]

16 New Electric Sound – The New Electric Sound [2012]

17 King Tuff King Tuff [2012]

18 Henry Clay People – Twenty-Five For The Rest Of Our Lives [2012]

19 MetzMetz [2012]

20 DelorentosLittle Sparks [2012]

21 XX – Coexist [2012]

22 Cloud NothingsAttack on Memory [2012]

23 Best CoastThe Only Place [Deluxe Edition] [2012]

24 Die Antwoord Ten$ion [2012]

25 Dirty ProjectorsSwing Lo Magellan [2012]

26 Divine Fits A Thing Called Divine Fits [2012]

27 Cheap GirlsGiant Orange  [2012]

28 Bob Mould Silver Age [2012]

29 HowlerAmerica Give Up [2012]

30 Imperial State Electric Pop War [2012]

31 Redd KrossResearching the Blues [2012]

32 Tame Impala Lonerism (Rough Trade Bonus Edition) [2CD][2012]

33 Electric TouchNever Look Back [2012]

34 Classic Crime Phoenix [2012]

35 Django Django Django Django [2012]

36 The Men – Open Your Heart [2012]

37 Grizzly BearShields [2012]

38 Hoodoo Gurus Gold Watch 20 Golden Greats [2012]

39 The View Cheeky for a Reason [2012]

40 The 1975 Sex [2012]

41 Sugar Army Summertime Heavy [2012]

42 SharksNo Gods [2012]

43 Sleigh BellsReign Of Terror [2012]

44 Titus AndronicusLocal Business [2012]

44A Titus AndronicusTitus Andronicus LLC Mixtape Vol. 1 [2012]

45 Choir Of Young BelieversRhine Gold [2012]

46 Ty Segall – Twins [2012]

47 ChairliftSomething [2012]

48 MixtapesEven On The Worst Nights [2012]

49 All-American RejectsKids in the Street [2012]

50 The Pusher – The Art Of Hit Music [2011]

Honorable Mention:

  1. Grimes Visions (Deluxe Bonus Edition) [3CD] [2012]
  2. Chromatics Kill for Love [2012]
  3. Allo Darlin’ – Europe [2012]
  4. Crystal Castles(III) [2012]
  5. Fiona AppleThe Idler Wheel [2012]
  6. Of Monsters and MenMy Head Is An Animal [2012]
  7. Alt-J An Awesome Wave [Deluxe Version] [2012]
  8. Tennis – Young & Old [2012]
  9. Walkmen Heaven [2012]
  10. Beach HouseBloom [2012]

By way of comparison here are some other Best of Lists of 2012 from of a couple of other reviewers ( Most picked 50 but I’ve only included the top 10 from most, except Rolling Stone because it was so freakily out of touch with the rest of the world:

 Pitchfork’s Top Albums of 2012:

01 Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City

02 Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
03 Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel…
04 Tame Impala – Lonerism

05 Swans – The Seer

06 Grimes – Visions

07 Beach House – Bloom

08 Chromatics – Kill For Love

09 Death Grips – The Money Store
10 Grizzly Bear – Shields

 Rolling Stone’s Top 50 of 2012

I put all 50 albums because it is so odd to me how they managed to cover all areas but still skewed very oldSpringsteen, Dylan, Neil Young, Jimmy Cliff, Leonard Cohen and Dr. John all in the top 20. Seriously, there is little criticism going on at Rolling Stone to include some of these records). Count the old people (nearing or over 50) in this list. There are many more here than probably anywhere – ever). I’ve highlighted the oldsters!

01 Bruce SpringsteenWrecking Ball (Age 63)
02 Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
03 Jack White – Blunderbuss
04 Bob DylanTempest (Age 71)
05 Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel…
06 Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city
07 Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Here
08 Green Day – !Uno!
09 Japandroids – Celebration Rock
10 Neil Young and Crazy HorsePsychedelic Pill (Age 67)
11 Mumford & Sons – Babel
12 Jimmy Cliff Rebirth (Age 64)
13 Leonard CohenOld Ideas (Age 78)
14 Best Coast – The Only Place
15 Dr. John – Locked Down  (Age 72)
16 Cat PowerSun ( Chan Marshall is 40)
17 John Mayer – Born and Raised
18 Nas – Life is Good
19 Band Of Horses – Mirage Rock
20 Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music
21 Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory
22 Bonnie RaittSlipstream (Age 63)
23 Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits
24 G.O.O.D. Music – Cruel Summer
25 Donald Fagen Sunken Condos (Age 64)
26 Django Django – Django Django
27 Gary Clark Jr. – Blak and Blu
28 Beach House – Bloom
29 Dave Matthews BandAway From the World (okay he is only 46 but plays way old)
30 Azealia Banks – 1991
31 Taylor Swift – Red
32 Hospitality – Hospitality
33 Grimes – Visions
34 Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls
35 Grizzly Bear – Shields
36 Bobby WomackThe Bravest Man in the Universe (Age 68)
37 Justin Townes Earle – Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now
38 Titus Andronicus – Local Business
39 Passion Pit – Gossamer
40 Escort – Escort
41 The Avett Brothers – The Carpenter
42 Allo Darlin’ – Europe
43 fun. – Some Nights
44 Garbage – Not Your Kind of People
45 Rick Ross – Rich Forever
46 Muse – The 2nd Law
47 Todd SniderAgnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables ( Age 46)
48 The Smashing PumpkinsOceania ( Corgan is Age 45)
49 Amadou And MariamFolila ( Amadou Bagayoko ( Age 58Mariam Doumbia (Age 54))
50 Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan

Stereogum’s Top 10 of 2012

01 Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel…

02 Frank Ocean – Channel Orange

03 Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city

04 Swans – The Seer

05 Jesse Ware – Devotion

06 Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory

07 Japandroids – Celebration Rock

08 Walkmen – Heaven

09 Chairlift – Something

10 Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan


Spin’s Top 10 of 2012

01 Frank Ocean – Channel Orange

02 Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City

03 Japandroids – Celebration Rock

04 DJ Rashad – Teklife Vol. 1 – Welcome To The Chi

05 Miguel – Kaleidoscope Dream

06 Bat for Lashes – The Haunted Man

07 Swans – The Seer

08Killer Mike R.A.P. Music

09Ty Segall – Twins

10 Santigold – Master of My Make-Believe

I’ve compiled my top tracks of 2012 as well and will put them up after you’ve had time to digest this offering. Until next time…gabba gabba hey!

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