Category Archives: Best of 2012

2012 Complete Countdown List

25. Soundgarden – King Animal
24. Dry the River – Shallow Bed
23. Band of Horses – Mirage Rock
22. Marina & the Diamonds – Electra Heart
21. Woods – Bend Beyond
20. Swans – The Seer
19. Bat for Lashes – The Haunted Man
18. Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid: M.A.A.D. City
17. Japandroids – Celebration Rock
16. Grimes – Visions
15. Keane – Strangeland
14. Jessie Ware – Devotion
13. Imagine Dragons – Night Visions
12. The Shins – Port of Morrow
11. Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N 2 It
10. Beach House – Bloom
09. Alabama Shakes – Boy & Girls
08. Mumford & Sons – Babel
07. The Maccabees – Given To the Wild
06. Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan
05. Ed Sheeran – +
04. Twin Shadow – Confess
03. Grizzly Bear – Shields
02. Alt-J – An Awesome Wave
01. Muse – The 2nd Law

#1: Muse – The 2nd Law

I remember not liking the first single, “Madness,” when I first heard it. I thought “is this really Muse? – What happened to them?”

Then the album, The 2nd Law came out. That’s when I fell in love with what Muse was doing. They made a more mature and more holistic musical experience. Seriously. There are orchestral pieces, there are ballads, and there are even electronic/dub instrumental breakdowns. Plus, there over-arching story line that focuses on politics and the future of our world.

It’s pretty remarkable art, and that’s why I couldn’t deny them of the #1 spot this year. The three-piece truly deserve it simply for reinventing themselves after so many years. That’s musicality at its finest.

If you’d like to enjoy this album, purchase it on Amazon.

The aforementioned “Madness” video can be found below.

#2: Alt-J – An Awesome Wave

Alt-J hit my radar last month. I may have been a few weeks late to the party, but my discovery came at the perfect timing. It was a few weeks before I began compiling this countdown. Lucky for them, having their songs fresh in my head made for a very promising position in this countdown.

Alt-J is weird. They’re talented. They’re fun.

The album An Awesome Wave should be listened to by everyone. It is definitely a musical treat.

If you’re interested in purchasing this album, do so on Amazon.

The official music video for “Fitzpleasure” is below.

#3: Grizzly Bear – Shields

Is Grizzly Bear the best band around today? It’s amazing to me just how good they are. There’s no denying that they are one of the best bands around, especially after this year’s release of Shields. It’s yet another timeless classic filled with even more Grizzly Bear goodness.

Unfortunately, I have yet to have the pleasure of seeing Grizzly Bear live. Therefore, my above comments remain to be confirmed. After all, the best band of today needs to be able to put on a killer complementary show. I have heard good things, but never experienced their magic live first-hand.

If you’d like to learn more about this album, check it out on Amazon.

The embed for the video, “Yet Again,” can be found below. Enjoy!

#4: Twin Shadow – Confess

Twin Shadow‘s new album, Confess, instantly transplants you into an ’80’s dance club. Imagine that and add some dashes of Phil Collins, Empire of the Sun, and Gil Mantera’s Party Dream, and you’re somewhere close to the Twin Shadow sound.

There’s no question that Twin Shadow is one bad ass mother f-er. I wish I knew about him a lot earlier. Now I have the pleasure of looking back at his previous releases. While they may not be as critically acclaimed as this one, I’m sure I’ll uncover a few dance numbers while jamming out to them.

If you’re interested in this album, check it out on Amazon.

The embed of the short film / music video for “Five Seconds” is below.

#5: Ed Sheeran – +

I had heard of Ed Sheeran a long time ago, but sort of put him off as another boring UK singer/songwriter. But then when I connected with some of my British friends, they mentioned how big Ed has become over there. I knew there had to be something deeper to his music.

My first surprise was his age. Today, he’s only 21. I knew he was young, but that’s VERY young. It’s certainly astoundingly young for someone that’s taking over an entire nation.

So then I dove right into his album. Even if I skip over the overplayed single, “A Team,” I learned that the collection of songs cover an emotional spectrum and feature a unique blend of white rapping and catchy melodies.

Throw in the fact that he is a ginger (self-proclaimed), and you have yourself a distinct character with a bright future ahead of him.

If you’d like to learn more, you can find this album on Amazon.

One of my personal favorite songs from the album, “Give Me Love” is embedded below.

#6: Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan

Dirty Projectors have quickly become one of my favorite bands of the recent years.

To put it plainly, they are extremely odd and eccentric. Their style of music is unlike anything I have ever heard.

The vocals are distinct. The guitar work is off-time (at times), the drum beats are deep in

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the pocket, and the addition of dueling female vocals takes the ship even farther from land.

While they have garnered a strong following over time, they aren’t nearly as popular as their talent suggests they should be. I attribute that to them just not being everyone’s cup of tea.

Regardless, Swing Lo Magellan is another home run from a great indie band.

If you’re interested, you can find out more on this album over at Amazon.

Below you’ll find the official music video for the single, “About To Die.”

#7: The Maccabees – Given To the Wild

I feel like I really missed out on this one. The Maccabees have surprisingly released several albums over a span of several years. They obviously haven’t had much of a U.S. presence since they are only now starting to gain some traction.

It’s all thanks to Florence + the Machine who decided to bring these guys as support for her North American tour earlier this year. Ever since, their album has been receiving acclaim from American critics and enjoying its reign atop many countdowns such as this.

I am really happy I found out about the Maccabees this year. I’ll be playing catch up on their old stuff throughout next year.

You can find out more on this album at Amazon.

Below is an embed of the first single off the album, “Ayla.”

#8: Mumford & Sons – Babel

It looks like Mumford & Sons are 2 for 2. Their debut album obviously did surprisingly well a few years ago. This year, their second album, Babel, has performed even better – taking over the charts the second half of the year.

When it comes down to it, what’s not to love about Mumford & Sons?

Their music is so easily accessible. It’s poppy, catchy, and interesting. Best of all, it spans multiple genres; making it appropriate for everyone to enjoy.

Couple all of that with their raw talent to right good music, and you have yourself a hit on your hands. Hopefully they can keep it up for many years

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to come.

Find out more about this album here.

You’ll find an embed of the latest single, “Lover of the Light” embedded below.

#9: Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

When I say that Alabama Shakes are the new (and better) version of Kings of Leon, I don’t want you to be misled.

First of all, at first listen, you’ll relate the vocals of the two acts. However, (SPOILER ALERT) the frontman of this band is actually a woman.

I know – it’s kind of hard to believe…. but she is a BOSS!

The record, Boys & Girls, while I don’t know the meaning behind the title, I can only imagine it pokes fun at that notion.

The world has been missing a powerful female rock frontwoman. I’m so glad we’ve found one in Brittany Howard.

You can purchase this album at Amazon.

Below, you’ll find an embed of the single, “Hold On.”