Category Archives: Best of 2012

#20: Swans – The Seer

It’s been called a “dazzling masterpiece” and a “psychedelic journey.” Critics acclaimed its greatness this year, and rightfully so. The Seer is a tremendous album that has put the artist behind Swans, Michael Gira, back in the forefront of music masterminds. He intentionally pieced the album together in a way that is both unfinished and all-inclusive. He wanted it to be the “ultimate contradiction.”

And again, his plan has worked.

Below is an embed of the song, “Avatar” from the album. It might not be for everybody, but for those that “get it,” you’ll be spell-bounded.

If you’re interested in purchasing this album on Amazon, click here.

#21: Woods – Bend Beyond

Woods is just one of those new bands that you can’t avoid. For those of you that were exposed to them this year, you undoubtedly took note of their incredible musicianship and “old school” rock ‘n roll sound.

It’s good to hear such raw talent today. Just human art at its finest. No machines. Just authenticity.

Below is an embed of the opening and title track from the album known as Bend Beyond. I hope you enjoy.

You can purchase the album from Amazon here.

#22: Marina and the Diamonds – Electra Heart

In the 2010 countdown, her debut album, The Family Jewels, came in at an impressive #3. There was no doubt that she was extremely talented even at such an early point in her career.

Now, two years later, she is just as, if not even more, charming. This year’s offering, Electra Heart, is more of the same.

She can be best described as Katy Perry with a brain. I like that description with the exception of her also being A LOT more talented.

I was even so excited for this album that I posted a teaser about it earlier this year.

Below, you will find an impressive acoustic version of the song “Lies.”

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

#23: Band of Horses – Mirage Rock

Band of Horses are no stranger to this countdown. Every album they’ve put out since 2007’s Cease To Begin have garnered a generous position here. And rightfully so. They literally can do no wrong.

However, critics thought that this year’s release, Mirage Rock, was the wrong that nobody thought they could do. Critics called it boring and lackluster. There was no question that it was a departure from their usual sound, but surely it wasn’t as bad as the reviews were suggesting.

After a few listens, I sadly had to agree with the negative reviews. I couldn’t get into a lot of the tunes. I found myself reaching for something to attach to.

My wife started listening to it to give me her two cents. Lo and behold, she loved it. So, I gave it another whirl. And another.

THERE IT WAS. I found it. The old Band of Horses were in there after all. I just hadn’t found it until my wife pointed it out.

Enjoy the opening track on the album, “Knock, Knock” embedded below.

And if you ever get the chance to, go see this band live. They are flawless.

Finally, if you’re interested in this album,

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you can purchase it here.

#24: Dry the River: Shallow Bed

One listen to the song “No Rest” (embedded below) and you’ll see why the promising new act, Dry the River, made this year’s countdown.

Their unique folky-rock sound is something that truly grows on you. It’s yet another British guilty pleasure for my argument that British has, and always have had, better music acts than we do in the U.S. (The Beatles, Adele… need I continue?)

Shallow Bed is a great debut from a group that is destined for indie stardom. They may never gain the traction of a Mumford and Sons over here, but you can rest assured that they will stay busy as successful musicians for many years to come.

If you’re interested in purchasing this album, you can do so here.

#25: Soundgarden – King Animal

I was never that big of a fan of Audioslave, so when I heard Soundgarden was reuniting, my childhood memories of an almost perfect alternative rock band began to resurface, filling me with excitement and anticipation.

To me, Chris Cornell can do no wrong anyway. But there is just something special about what Soundgarden does together.

I was very happy to hear that they were able to capture that signature sound on “King Animal” this year. Of course, it’s no “Superunknown,” but I don’t think anyone was expecting that type of magic this late in their rock careers.

I loved the fact that they came right out of the gate with a song called “Been Away Too Long.” It serves as a perfect introduction back into a new era of Soundgarden music.

While you won’t be blown away by King Animal, it’s safe to say that my loyalty to one of my favorite bands of all time has earned them the opening slot on my annual countdown. Perhaps it’s fair to say they were “Grandfathered in.”

You can purchase this album here.

25 Days of Music Countdown 2012 Preview

Starting on Saturday, December 1st, the 25 Days of Music Top 25 Albums of the Year Countdown will be initiated for the sixth year in a row.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing this for six years. Where has the time gone?

This year will be the same as the previous ones. Every day in December, I will write about one album a day making my way down from 25 to 1. If you’re good at math, you might uncover that the best album of the year will be revealed on Christmas morning. I do that intentionally. It’s because it’s a gift.

I look forward to Saturday. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.