Favorite Albums of 2012

Polica - Give You the Ghost

With 2012 here and gone, I wanted to share my favorite albums of 2012. These aren’t necessarily the “best” albums of 2012, but these were the ones I enjoyed immensely over the past year. Almost every single one I bought on vinyl and streamed on Rdio. I tried to condense the list to a top 10, but I just couldn’t do it. I’m not going to do a major review of each one – there are plenty of sites out there from Paste to Pitchfork that can give you more information on the artists and albums below.

  • UntitledJapandroids – Celebration Rock – Released on one of my favorite labels, Polyvinyl, Japandroids rock the house and don’t stop the whole album. As I trained for some 5k races this summer, I listened to this over and over again.
  • Bob Mould – Silver Age – Bob Mould returns to early 90’s form with a rocking album reminiscent of his early solo work and with Sugar. (And the two Sugar re-issues are awesome!) The best concert I saw this year, with Bob playing Sugar’s Copper Blue in its entirety followed by songs from Silver Age and songs from his whole career.
  • Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits – This supergroup with members from Spoon and Wolf Parade nailed it.
  • Father John Misty – Fear Fun – I loved this album and my wife hated it as I made her listen to it non-stop on a drive to Milwaukee. Haunting, with beautiful lyrics.
  • Metric – Synthetica – Metric follows-up their 2009 smash album Fantasies with a return that is slightly darker.
  • RNDM – Acts – Another “supergroup”, featuring Joseph Arthur and Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament. Jeff Ament challenged Joseph Arthur to write some up tempo songs, and they delivered.
  • Poliça – Give You the Ghost – This Minneapolis band (almost a local supergroup) exploded on to the scene in Minneapolis in 2011 and quickly built a national following. The formal release date for the album was Valentine’s Day 2012, but they dropped it digitally in December 2011. Channy’s vocals, combined with the only use of autotune I’ve ever liked, are a breath of fresh air. The beats by two drummers are unique and this is probably my album of the year.
  • A.C. Newman – Shut Down the Streets – The frontman for the New Pornographers releases another solo record – if you’re a fan of his solo or New Pornographers work, you’ll love it. Nothing new, but it works.
  • The Shins - Port of MorrowThe Shins – Port of Morrow – Even with an all new band backing James Mercer up, the sound is the same. Again, like A.C. Newman above, nothing new but it works.
  • P.O.S. – We Don’t Even Live Here – The Minneapolis rapper explodes on his latest album. There wasn’t a better hip-hop record released last year. Here is to hoping his upcoming kidney transplant goes well – you can help here.
  • JD McPherson – Signs and Signifiers – I love rockabilly and JD McPherson resurrects a lost art form.
  • Django Django – Django Django – The one album I can’t describe – but I know what I like.
  • Ladyhawke – Anxiety – Another album I listened to while running and one of my favorites to chill to on a long plane ride.
  • Stagnant Pools – Temporary Room – Another Polyvinyl release, this duo of brothers out of Indiana have a throwback sound in the vein of Joy Division or The Jesus and Mary Chain.

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